This week, the Atlantic Studies Podcasts of Note blog is continuing with a Journal of the Plague Year after an attack on the United States Capitol by white supremacists and conspiracy theorists in support of a manipulative Cult of Personality. The Atlantic Studies Podcasts of Note blog also continues to post important podcasts for scholars of Atlantic History so that scholarship can continue even in these darkest moments of protest, propaganda, and pandemic. Those specific selections focus upon disputed elections, academic activism, mythmaking, Africana philosophy, and contested spaces in early America.
There are many who will continue to question how the attack on the United States Capitol could have occurred? The answer, for most who have followed the creeping emergence of the Far-Right movement the past few years, is quite simple. However, regardless of the clear answer, many will still wonder out-loud through what they believe is a clever and performative way to dismiss their role in the ascension of a demagogue. Many will still wonder out-loud that they could have never seen something like this happening; each time pondering as a performance to dismiss their roles in the ascent of disreputable political agitators and the use of Confederate Nationalism and White Supremacy to support a broad coalition on the more mainstream Right proudly breathing lies.
The pattern of modern Right-Wing media is set from the tactics of public relations firms that have protected the nefarious for decades. Their latest wedge issue concerns whether to accept common and inescapable realities within modern American life; of pandemic and protest, of status shock and the limits being placed on whiteness, of electoral results. That wedge issue slithers upon fiber deep into the subterranean discourse of the Far-Right, and pushes into mainstream media, upon the most watched channel for news in the nation. First, these more mainstream media groups briefly played along with the outrage from the masses. Second, they slowly justified the outrage of the attackers. Thirdly, they equivocated the outrage of the attackers with the outrage of the masses, thereby processing out the abnormality of domestic terrorism and normalizing the attack.
Right-Wing media has been refining these equivocation processes for years, shifting and shaping and spinning to avoid having to accept the status shock of living in a modern America where whiteness and maleness no longer guarantee Power. The tiger is out of the cage, the toothpaste is out of the bottle, whatever metaphor is being thrown around this day, it was Right-Wing media that adulterated the meaning of news to become the loudest voice with the highest ratings, applying postmodernist recognition of social construction and linguistic manipulation without the academic reverence for the abuses of Power that those operations nearly always release.
Right-Wing media does not care if the Left-Wing understands the processes of manipulation that they utilize, because the Right-Wing employs these tactics upon an audience that does not allow itself to move outside of the conservative bubble. For forty years, Right-Wing radio has made Democrats into maniacal fiends bent on radicalizing the population into a false idea of a nowhere Communism. For thirty years, Right-Wing television has made Democrats into political monsters who support anti-Christian politics bent on destroying your family. For twenty years, the Far-Right internet has moved that absurd identity formation of the constructed Democratic other into a conspiratorial and religiously inspired language of even deeper Manicheanism, whereby defeating Democrats is the only way to save the United States from being controlled by demons, pedophiles, and rapists.
Because of the now mainstream manipulation let loose at the core of Right-Wing culture, we should expect more violence from the Far Right. For decades, the white nationalist movement in this country has been training for this moment of division, since Oklahoma City, before that Far-Right signpost, since Fascism was first defeated in World War Two. For decades, these Neo-Confederate and Far-Right movements have been expecting this moment of animosity to rise, using debates on Second Amendment rights to amass more mainstream allies to their violent factions. These groups managed Trump, a narcissist if nothing else, to fight their way to the Capitol steps. They used inherent racism built into the American system to climb those hallowed stairs. And they will not stop because the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, or MSNBC offers evidentiary analysis of their manipulative lies and preposterous propaganda of the deed.
Many of these terrorists are willing to die for white pride. Many of these rioters are willing to kill for the absurdist lies of childhood adrenochrome and Q, who has been outed already with evidentiary proof of the swindle. Many of these fanatics have not heard any other news for decades. They exist within an echo chamber of increasingly non-evidentiary ignorance that sweeps away contradictory thoughts as threatening to the arrogant cause of the false past they hope to rebirth. The President and Right-Wing media let these Far-Right groups into mainstream consciousness through an egomaniacal bid for the reins of government. One should take Fascist groups in America at their word when they say they are not going away. One should take them at their word when they say outrageous things about assassinating politicians, because they believe those things, because those causes are falsely justified by what many of these terrorists have heard, seen, and read for decades.
The previous political realities and beliefs in the commonweal that were shared by the majority of Americans has faced an uneven percepticide over the past few decades, quickly accelerated during the past year of pandemic, creating a novel and obstinate epistemology on the Far Right, born of status shock to previously supportive whiteness and subsidized by organizations like the Pioneer Fund. This is an intransigent section of the American public sphere, an unchanging and growing mass of what can be defined openly as Fascism. This is a burgeoning part of the electorate that cannot be convinced that they are in the wrong. This is a serious faction, propped up by some mainstream politicians now wavering whether to continue their succor; a faction that also hides much deeper and reprehensible motives of the Lost Cause and the Herrenvolk than the political goals of the Grand Old Party, the Party of Lincoln, which let these groups out of their anti-Democratic dugouts, allowing for the betrayal of Federalist Ten and Common Sense with each anti-American lungful.
Be strong in the abnormal.
Wear masks. Wash hands. Keep distance.
Atlantic Studies Podcasts of Note:
1) The Dig Podcast – “Race, Politics, and Chaos in the Capitol: The Election of 1876”
2) New Books Network – The Scholar and the Struggle: Lawrence Reddick’s Crusade for Black History and Black Power – David Varel
3) C-SPAN – Lectures in History – “Colonial Myths and Monuments” – Zara Anishanslin
4) History of African Philosophy – “Chike Jeffers on Slavery and Diasporic Philosophy”
5) History of the Atlantic World – “Complexion of Empire in Natchez: Interview with Christian Pinnen”
This Date in History:
1/8/1811 – German Coast Uprising Began
1/5/1893 – Elizabeth Cotten Born
Remembrance of Past Podcasts:
For more on Latin American scholarship related to Atlantic World issues see New Book Network's interview with Claire M. Wolnisty on A Different Manifest Destiny: U.S. Southern Identity and Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century South America.
Ben Franklin’s World continued their constant production of important interviews on early America with a selection on “Craft in Early America” from Glenn Adamson.