Hope all of you had a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm before you go off to engage in mortal combat to save $5 on an improved deframbulator.
- “If Americans outside the big blue cities don’t care about the social obsessions of aging hippies, indoctrinated millennials, and frigid feminists, then they’re wrong. You can probably fix everything by redoubling your efforts to show them how horrible they are.”
- “Why pretend to respect their opinions when you don’t respect their opinions. They like guns and America and Jesus, and frankly those things are, at best, embarrassing if not downright horrible. I mean, #Science, right?”
- “Why bother assembling and analyzing the facts when you know what the answer will be, what it must be: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and whatever other faux-phobias that come slinking out of academia to give you an excuse to hector and nag normal people.”
If you want to see politics based on emotionalism over reason and a borderline-religious devotion to an iconic figure, forget the Trump Army; look instead to the Cult of Clinton.
Ever since Donald Trump won the presidential election, all eyes, and wringing hands, have been on the white blob who voted for him. These “loud, illiterate and credulous people,” as a sap at Salon brands them, think on an “emotional level.” Bill Moyers warned that ours is a “dark age of unreason,” in which “low information” folks are lining up behind “The Trump Emotion Machine.” Andrew Sullivan said Trump supporters relate to him as a “cult leader fused with the idea of the nation.”
What’s funny about this is not simply that it’s the biggest chattering-class hissy fit of the 21st century so far — and chattering-class hissy fits are always funny. It’s that whatever you think of Trump (I’m not a fan) or his supporters (I think they’re mostly normal, good people), the fact is they’ve got nothing on the Clinton cult when it comes to creepy, pious worship of a politician.
By the Cult of Hillary Clinton, I don’t mean the nearly 62 million Americans who voted for her. I have not one doubt that they are as mixed and normal a bag of people as the Trumpites are. No, I mean the Hillary machine—the celebs and activists and hacks who were so devoted to getting her elected and who have spent the past week sobbing and moaning over her loss. These people exhibit cult-like behavior far more than any Trump cheerer I’ve come across.
Trump supporters view their man as a leader “fused with the idea of the nation”? Perhaps some do, but at least they don’t see him as “light itself.” That’s how Clinton was described in the subhead of a piece for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter. “Maybe [Clinton] is more than a president,” gushed writer Virginia Heffernan. “Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself,” Nothing this nutty has been said by any of Trump’s media fanboys.
“Hillary is Athena,” Heffernan continued, adding that “Hillary did everything right in this campaign…She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second.”
That’s a key cry of the Cult of Hillary (as it is among followers of L. Ron Hubbard or devotees of Christ): our gal is beyond criticism, beyond the sober and technical analysis of mere humans.
As with all saints and prophets, all human manifestations of light itself, the problem is never with them, but with us. We mortals are not worthy of Hillary. “Hillary didn’t fail us, we failed her,” asserted a writer for the Guardian. The press, and by extension the rest of us, “crucified her,” claimed someone at Bustle. We always do that to messiahs, assholes that we are.
And of course the light of Hillary had to be guarded against blasphemy. Truly did the Cult of Hillary seek to put her beyond “analysis for even one more second.” All that stuff about her emails and Libya was pseudo-scandal, inventions of her aspiring slayers, they told us again and again and again.
As Thomas Frank says, the insistence that Hillary was scandal-free had a blasphemy-deflecting feel to it. The message was that “Hillary was virtually without flaws… a peerless leader clad in saintly white… a caring benefactor of women and children.” Mother Teresa in a pantsuit, basically. As a result, wrote Frank, “the act of opening a newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station.”
Then there was the reaction to Clinton’s loss. It just wasn’t normal chattering-class behavior. Of course we expect weeping, wailing videos from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Perez Hilton about how Clinton had been robbed of her moment of glory; that’s what celebs do these days. But in the media, too, there was hysteria.
“‘I feel hated,’ I tell my husband, sobbing in front of the TV in my yoga pants and Hillary sweatshirt, holding my bare neck,” said a feminist in the Guardian. Crying was a major theme. A British feminist recalled all the “Clinton-related crying” she had done: “I’ve cried at the pantsuit flashmob, your Saturday Night Live appearance, and sometimes just while watching the debates.” (Wonder if she cried over the women killed as a result of Hillary’s machinations in Libya? Probably not. In the mind of the Hillary cultists, that didn’t happen—it is utterly spurious, a blasphemy.)
Then there was Lena Dunham, who came out in hives—actual hives—when she heard Clinton had lost. Her party dress “felt tight and itchy.” She “ached in the places that make me a woman.” I understand being upset and angry at your candidate’s loss, but this is something different; this is what happens, not when a politician does badly, but when your savior, your Athena, “light itself,” is extinguished. The grief is understandable only in the context of the apocalyptic faith they had put in Hillary. Not since Princess Diana kicked the bucket can I remember such a strange, misplaced belief in one woman, and such a weird, post-modern response to someone’s demise (and Clinton isn’t even dead! She just lost!).
It’s all incredibly revealing. What it points to is a mainstream, Democratic left that is so bereft of ideas and so disconnected from everyday people that it ends up pursuing an utterly substance-free politics of emotion and feeling and doesn’t even realize it’s doing it. They are good, everyone else is bad; they are light itself, everyone else is darkness; and so no self-awareness can exist and no self-criticism can be entertained. Not for even one second, in Heffernan’s words. The Cult of Hillary Clinton is the clearest manifestation yet of the 21st-century problem of life in the political echo chamber.
A word of neighborly advice to our more genteel media friends, the ones who sit at the high table in their pristine white dinner jackets and ball gowns. You’ve been barfing all over yourselves for a week-and-a-half, and it’s revolting to watch.
For your own sake, and that of the republic for which you allegedly work, wipe off your chins and regain your composure. I didn’t vote for him either, but Trump won. Pull yourselves together and deal with it, if you ever want to be taken seriously again.
What kind of president will Trump be? It’s a tad too early to say, isn’t it? The media are supposed to tell us what happened, not speculate on the future. But its incessant scaremongering, the utter lack of proportionality and the shameless use of double standards are an embarrassment, one that is demeaning the value of the institution. The press’ frantic need to keep the outrage meter dialed up to 11 at all times creates the risk that a desensitized populace will simply shrug off any genuine White House scandals that may lie in the future (or may not).
Hysteria is causing leading media organizations to mix up their news reporting with their editorializing like never before, but instead of mingling like chocolate and peanut butter, the two are creating a taste that’s like brushing your teeth after drinking orange juice.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Stolen from a random Twitter liberal who was very, very upset about it…