Archive for May 2016

Inside the Anti-Trump Circus

My new photo essay is now online at both zombietime and PJMedia.

The zombietime version has bigger pictures, slightly updated text, and new ending:

Inside the Anti-Trump Circus: Protest at the California GOP Convention

The PJMedia version has comments and social media widgets and all the bells and whistles:

Inside the Anti-Trump Circus: Here Comes the Summer of Hate


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, both versions are essentially identical.

Basically, I went to a protest, took pictures, and uploaded them. Simple enough.

But I was faced with a dilemma: How can I summarize for my readers “what happened” at the protest? My problem was that all sorts of things happened, and it would be dishonest of me to cherrypick some single incident or theme and announce to the world that this one narrative summed up the entire event.

That kind of slanted reportage is Standard Operating Procedure in journalism and blogging these days, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. There wasn’t merely one single incident or headline that happened at the protest , as convenient as it would be for me to claim there was. So I decided instead to present every narrative from the event, and use the report as a platform to deconstruct media bias itself.

Anyway, read the report to get the whole story.

To whet your appetite, here is a teaser, one of the chapters lifted from the overall photo essay. This narrative (one of several that I explore) asks the question: Since the anti-Trump rhetoric has already reached (even now at the very beginning of the campaign) its hyperbolic maximum, is there anything left to say? I suspect the next six months will be one long ear-splitting scream of rage.

“Trump = Nazi” Is Already Mandatory

Normally, a debate only descends to “Godwinization” (comparing your opponent to a Nazi) as a final desperate measure when all other arguments have failed and all lesser insults have been exhausted. In contemporary politics, calling someone a Nazi is the most extreme position you can take.

But when it comes to Trump’s opponents, their starting point is to call Trump a Nazi; the general election hasn’t even yet begun, and the anti-Trump rhetoric is already turned up to 11.

It’s kind of hard to imagine where the conversation will go from here. How can you amplify your rhetoric when the very first thing you say is the most extreme put-down you can conjure?

A textbook example of the logical fallacy known as Reductio ad Hitlerum.

Clear enough for you? (Notice that this particular attempt at a swastika has an intriguing extra bend in its lower leg. Is this a tentative experiment at designing a new kind of ultra-swastika which applies only to Trump — or mere sign-making incompetence?)

Sometimes the Trump=Nazi theme was as concise as possible.

While other times it was incorporated into a longer message.

You don’t even need to actually spell out the word “Nazi” in your anti-Trump message: a simple swastika will get the same point across.

Some protesters, trying to think outside the Nazi box, got creative and called Trump a mere “Fascist,” but on the political insult scale, “Fascist” is actually a slight step down from “Nazi.” It’s truly quite a conundrum; once you’ve gone full Nazi, any further elaboration of your argument only softens the insult. So you’re stuck saying “Nazi Nazi Nazi” over and over with no variation.

Bingo! Here’s a solution: The term “KKK” is the only political insult nearly on a par with “Nazi,” so expect to see a lot of this in the upcoming months.

Click here to read the rest.