This morning’s hideous Cabinet news: Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a man literally too racist for the 1980s. It seems obvious that, like during the election, Trump is working to numb his enemies with a fire-hose of soul-crushing and shocking news, every one bit of which should be immediately disqualifying. President Obama is trying to keep his chin up, but this week we’ve seen Japanese internment cited as a positive precedent for Muslim registries, requests for security clearance for Trump’s children and their spouses, literal fake news straight from the horse’s mouth, accusations that protests are paid and thus should be punished and suppressed, media outlets tamping down their descriptions of racists and bigots taking top roles in the new administration…

What I’m saying is you should all be following Central Asian dictatorship expert and St. Louisan Sarah Kendzior on Twitter, although she’s going to scare the shit out of you every single day.

One tip from that last link is taking a moment to clarify for yourself what’s most important to you politically and personally. I still have no idea, in my inmost lizard-brain heart, why Trump’s campaign rhetoric wasn’t a deal-breaker for so many voters. You can talk to me about economic anxiety and feeling ignored and beaten down and disparaged until you’re blue in the face, but minorities and people of color in this country, not to mention Native people (who have the most right to rage of all, frankly), have been treated far worse by society and the government and still didn’t buy in. If you have links to an argument otherwise that truly convinces you, I’d love to see it — please share in the comments if you can.

2 responses to “Things I’m Verbing: Central Asian dictators, elegiac hillbillies and the nature of reality (or something)”

  1. Wendy Holloway Avatar
    Wendy Holloway

    That tweet by Nussbaum was a cheap shot. Maybe it made her readership feel better but it seemed pointless to me.

    This is why I stay away from Twitter.

    Nothing about this election is simple. There is no one reason that people voted for Trump. Economics played a huge role in the swing states, in the rural areas that came out so strong for Trump. This article is pretty convincing on that point:

    The reason minorities, people of color, and Native Americans didn’t vote in significant numbers for Trump is because he wasn’t speaking for/to them. Quite the contrary. However, Trump may have done better than Romney did with Latino voters.

    I already posted this on my journal so maybe you’ve read it and discounted it.

    The reason I found Wong’s argument convincing stems in part from a conversation I had a few years back with a fellow fan of The X-Files about what she described as the series’ contemptuous attitude toward the white working class. I admitted that I hadn’t thought about it, but she was right: white, working class, rural characters were portrayed as offensive stereotypes that would have been called out as such if they’d been written about any other group. It’s not ubiquitous but I’ve seen those attitudes mirrored elsewhere in fandom, with characters being offhandedly referred to as “white trash” or “trailer trash.”

    I haven’t read all of your links yet but I did read the article in The New Republic. It seemed…predictable. J.D. Vance is a Republican. His book was essentially a memoir. I have no idea why left-wing journalists were so fixated on him then (or why TNR wants to rag on him now). They’ve all been living in their own echo chamber, same as the rest of us, I guess.


    1. Esther Avatar

      I guess it doesn’t make sense to say Nussbaum’s tweet killed with journalists, who are constantly talking about 1) how white we are, 2) how poor we personally are and 3) how our industry seems constantly in its death-throes. It felt suitably cathartic and self-parodying to me.

      Another tweet that I didn’t share read something along the lines of “People keep saying city folk don’t understand rural people. Where do you think we CAME FROM??” Virtually all of my friends and I were desperate to get out of our hometown (pop: 10K, maybe, not counting the college students?), and we’ve stayed out, by and large. The more I think about it, the more I have a pretty complicated essay in my head about this, so I’ll just leave off and thank you for the links. But it seems like if our misunderstandings of rural life run so deep, we also need to be met in the middle; this piece still (obviously, in some ways) speaks very closely to my first reaction.


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