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Donald Trump ticks all 14 boxes in Umberto Eco’s list of what makes a fascist a fascist

Donald Trump: The very model of a modern Ur Fascist?
Donald Trump: The very model of a modern Ur Fascist?

One of the most perceptive analyses of Trump and his followers was written more than two decades ago. I’m talking, of course, of Umberto Eco’s oft-discussed essay on what he calls Ur Fascism or Eternal Fascism, his attempt to set forth the central features that define Fascism. I reread it today for the umpteenth time, and was struck again by its eerie prescience.

Though it contains precisely zero references to Trump — who at the time was just a real estate mogul with a penchant for boasts and bankruptcy — Eco’s 14-point checklist describing what makes a fascist a fascist applies to Trump and Trumpism in so many ways it’s scary.

Let’s go through the list, shall we? The bold parts are Eco’s categories; the rest is my commentary.

The cult of tradition: Trump frequently harks back to what he sees as a former golden age for America. His slogan, after all, is Make America Great Again.

The rejection of modernism: Trump has famously said that he thinks “a lot of modern art is a con.” In the final days of his campaign a number of his most fervent followers convinced themselves that Hillary was a literal devil worshiper because her campaign chair John Podesta was once invited to a so-called “Spirit Cooking” dinner held by performance artist Marina Abramovic. Many of Trump’s fans seem to actually believe that her artistic performances are in fact Satanic rituals.

The cult of action for action’s sake: Trump is a whirligig of pointless action who repeatedly declared that Hillary was unfit for president because sometimes she took a day or two off from campaign events, and was even known to go to sleep from time to time.

Disagreement is treason: Trump has repeatedly called the press “corrupt” for not accepting his version of reality. During his rallies he regularly led what Orwell might have called “two-minute hates” against journalists covering his campaign. Trump’s fans ultimately began chanting “lügenpresse” at journalists; the term, German for “lying press,” was originally made popular by, yes, literal Nazis in literal Hitler’s Germany.

Fear of difference: Do I even need to cite examples here? Trump’s campaign, which began with a bizarre attack on Mexican immigrants, was largely based around Trump’s weaponization of this primal fear.

The appeal to a frustrated middle class: Again, do I even need to bother with examples? Trump’s whole campaign centered around his attempts to convince white middle-class Americans that they had more to fear from poor people of color than from wealthy tax-avoiders and serial-bankruptcy-declarers like him.

The obsession with a plot, possibly an international one: Trump, like many of his followers, is both a proud nationalist and a conspiracy theorist. He kicked off his political career alleging that Obama wasn’t born in America; last week he declared that the anti-Trump protests that have sprung up all over the country in the wake of his electoral college victory are the work of “professional protestors, incited by the media.” Trump’s fans on the alt-right blame everything on a cabal of Jewish globalists, a charge Trump himself echoed in the final ad for his campaign.

The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies: You might have thought that Trump, in many ways the poster boy for ostentatious wealth, would have had a hard time pretending that Hillary and her supporters were the privileged ones. But Trump was somehow able to convince his fans he was a sort of “billionaire Robin Hood,” as Trump admirer Piers Morgan put it, while portraying Hillary as “a career politician who has repeatedly fleeced her positions of power to make millions of dollars for herself and her husband, and who carried with her a permanent smug sense of entitlement to be America’s first female president.”

Life is permanent warfare: Trump is someone who will go to war against a former beauty queen on Twitter at 3 AM. He’s always fighting someone. His advisors and surrogates also live in a constant state of war — from ideological scrapper Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart boss who Trump just picked as chief White House chief strategist, to spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, known to wear a literal necklace of bullets during her media appearances. Meanwhile, Trump’s alt-right fans — particularly those who learned virtually everything they know about politics from 4chan and Gamergate — are happy to serve tirelessly in Trump’s unofficial meme army.

Popular elitism: Given Trump’s penchant for superlatives, is it any shock to find his fans declaring themselves “the best supporters?” 

Everybody is educated to become a hero: Declaring that “I alone can fix it,” Trump famously presented himself as the one true savior of American society. This makes voting for him, or wearing a Make America Great Again hat, itself a kind of heroism.

Machismo: The constant sexual boasting (including his casual admissions of sexual assault); the relentless misogyny; the schoolyard threats of violence  — does anyone doubt that Trump wants the world to see him as the ultimate “alpha male?”

And then there’s that whole Wrestlemania thing.

Against “rotten” parliamentary governments: Trump clearly has very little comprehension of how government works, seeming to think that the president has or should have almost unlimited power. We’ll just have to see what happens the first time a legislative body stands in the way of his political desires.

Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak: Trump’s fans have invented a whole weird lingo of their own, calling themselves “nimble navigators” and/or “cenntipedes” and flooding the web with Pepe memes. Trump hasn’t adopted any of this lingo for himself, but he does speak his own, distinctively Trumpian, version of American English — big league! Trump’s speeches are collections of slogans and platitudes; he regularly reduces his opponents to single insulting adjectives — “lyin’ Ted,” “little Marco,” “crooked Hillary.” Trumpspeak, like Newspeak, is an impoverished language filled with thought-stopping cliches.

So there we have it.

Trump basically ticks every one of Eco’s fourteen points. And of course many of his supporters are Hitler-worshipping, Jew-hating, Holocaust-advocating white supremacists. All Trump seems to be missing, Fascism-wise, is an armband.

If you haven’t read Eco’s essay, go read it now. If you have read it, go read it again.

H/T — Thanks to Skiriki, who pointed out some of Trump’s similarities to Eco’s Eternal Fascist in the comments here yesterday.

EDIT: Added more on Trumpspeak.

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Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Mass

Chavez fits all boxes, as did Charles de Gaulle in the sixties, Clemenceau in 1917-1918 and Lee Kuan-Yew

So?

a Jew

Welp…

@Hawk
I’m with you, but I kinda wanna see how this turns out 1st…

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

MassH*steria, why are you fighting this fight? Is it a purely intellectual exercise for you; an attempt to establish and maintain a “correct” definition of fascism? Are you trying to justify your vote or others’ votes for a dangerous bigot? Or is it just an excuse to call Jewish people you don’t like “Jews”?

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
4 years ago

Since it had been mentioned upthread, Going Postal is probably my second favorite PTerry book (Night Watch is first). Moist Von Lipwig is my favorite character though, Sir PTerry was so good at writing flawed but likable characters.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

Why, why, why do alt-right trouser stains always insist on making their arguments with YouTube? Apparently the University of YouTube is the sister school to the University of Assfax.

Laugher at Bigots, Mincing Betaboy
Laugher at Bigots, Mincing Betaboy
4 years ago

University of Assfax

I laughed harder than I should have at this phrase. It sums up these fools’ argument style so well.

Makroth - Agent of the Great Degeneracy
Makroth - Agent of the Great Degeneracy
4 years ago

I think he specified that she is a jew to point to the fact that she’s not getting any shit from anti-semites. Is he trying to prove that there is no anti-semitism problem?

I’ll offer this as a response:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/donald-trumps-anti-semitism-controversies-a-timeline/

http://www.jta.org/2016/11/14/news-opinion/politics/trumps-chief-strategist-5-things-jews-need-to-know-about-stephen-bannon

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

http://img12.deviantart.net/93c3/i/2012/358/9/5/fluttershy___you_think_this_is_a_game__by_mrbeattyjr-d5p10wh.png

@MassHysteria,

Before I start, please understand – While I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, and you do make a few good points, there’s something that screams “troll” to me about you that’s so loud it’s impossible to ignore. Hysteria and Hysterics refers specifically to women being ‘crazy’ and irrational (sorry for the ableism, it’s terrible, but it’s the history of the word), because of their uteri. That’s the “Hyster” part of the word. So either you intentionally chose this word to irritate us, or you’re ignorant of it. And you seem like a fairly knowledgeable person.

That said, I’ll do my best to give you the benefit of the doubt. Not just for your sake, but for my own.

Shifting the goal post, nice.

Using a thought-terminating cliche, nice.

Skiriki brought up a valid and real point – the world is different, and we should expect that ur-fascism would take on different forms now compared to so long ago. This is the rational position to take.

You are less interested in coming to the best conclusion, though. You’re more interested in defending your position. Stop it. Merge your opinions with ours, and let the best of them all win. Otherwise, admit that you’re just here to shout and sneer.

I hesitated to link this article myself, because it completely refutes David’s point. Paxton’s position, as an expert, isn’t clear cut at all. David and Eco, non experts, are absolutely certain. This is what I was pointing at: this list is bullshit. Once again, Chavez fits all boxes, as did Charles de Gaulle in the sixties, Clemenceau in 1917-1918 and Lee Kuan-Yew.

First – Eco is certainly an expert. He may not be a historian, but he’s a semiotician. Understanding the facets of fascism certainly falls within that domain.

Google Scholar reports 6,800 papers and articles either by him, or about him, specifically in reference to fascism. If that many scholars consider his work worthy, who are you to say he isn’t?

Second – being an ur-fascist doesn’t mean one is going to usher in a Reich. There’s nothing at all contradictory with De Gaulle, Chavez and the others “checking all the boxes” while it still being a falid and meaningful identifier for ur-fascism.

I did find some examples that show that we are back in 1933, though, such as when a resistant violently pushed a nazi down stairs from behind … [videos follow]

Do you really want to play the game of “find the horrible people”? Because I guarantee that if you want to actually tally that shit up the answer isn’t going to be in your favour. As I’ve said in a few places now – when progressives win, they celebrate by marrying, drinking, and partying. When conservatives win, they celebrate by harassing, vandalizing and assaulting.

The popular saying is “the plural of anecdote isn’t data.” It’s ridiculously wrong – of course the plural of anecdote is data. The question is whether the data is biased or not. Your data shows deep signs of confirmation bias. Again, you don’t want to tot up the tally on this one.

(Also, it’s disgusting to take violence and tally it up like some sort of scorecard. I denounce any and all violence, from any political position. The people in those videos were horrible.)

I see the racist acts that seem to rise right now. I also see the number of Hillary supporters who would not get off Trump’s ass for not saying he would recognize the results, verbally and physically assault people for wrongthink.

For wrongthink? Really? Stop thinking in cliches. Stop thinking in witty or biting retorts. If you’re interested in truth, stop speaking in sarcasm when you’re talking about a serious topic. As for your belief that it’s progressives that are assaulting people for “wrongspeak”, see the paragraphs above.

There’s a million very good reasons to vote for Trump over Hillary.

Sure, he put forward positive things to vote for. No sarcasm there, he did. He wanted to build jobs. If I was an out-of-work coal truck driver, his platform would help me. If I believed he was going to fight corruption in Washington, that’s a huge point in his favour. (Not that his cabinet isn’t a who’s who of corporate cronyism and political corruption, but hey – hindsight, 20/20, amirite?)

Hillary also has some huge problems. I wouldn’t fight you on that at all. Many people here wouldn’t. She’s far from perfect, and there are some very worrisome things there.

Here’s the problem with voting for Trump, though. On top of wanting to build energy sector jobs, he also said he’d deport 11 million people. On top of wanting to clean corruption in Washington, he also said that there should be a religious test for entering the country. That Estonia is a suburb of Moscow. That women should be “grabbed by the pussy”.

That’s where the cry of racism and sexism comes from. You don’t get to cherry pick the good things and leave the bad things when you’re voting. If you can support the guy saying “Jobs, End the corruption, throw our the Muslim, Grab’em by the pussy!” you don’t get to say you didn’t vote for the last two as well when you cast your vote.

We progressives knew that we’d have to hold Hillary’s feet to the fire. We knew that there’d be a fight. We now have the same fight with Trump, only now the Establishment has full control of the House, Senate, Supreme Court and Executive, so they can push through anything they want. It’s going to be much harder to get work done around here because of them, and it’s going to continue while alt-right assholes howl and harass and assault.

Thanks.

Oh and in 1933, Hitler had been designating the Jews and foreigners as enemies for about 15 years, and had attempted a coup with a militia he had created, which got him to jail. Clearly, we’re dealing with the same type of man here.

Get a grip, dialectic is your friend. You’ve explored the hypothesis that Trump is a fascist ad nauseam, now put it aside for a second and try to prove the opposite. At this point you’re just all pushing each other to become more agitated as time passes.

There are more fascists than Hitler, you know. I’ve always seen him as more of a Mussolini.

But hey, keep painting us as hysterical know-nothings by assuming our arguments. Great “dialectic”.

Here’s the thing. We’ve talked about Trump a lot over the past year or so. You aren’t some sage wandering into a backwater village, and so far you’ve presented nothing that hasn’t been discussed – what was it you said? – ad nauseam. Your cry for a dialectic is nothing more than a cry for us to just shut up and agree with you already. No. Real dialectics involve heat and sound as the arguments collide. Stop being a chicken and let go of your pride.

Howabout you get a grip and explore the hypothesis that Trump is a fascist with us? Don’t you want to challenge your own preconceived notions? Or is that just for people who are wrong, because they disagree with you?

That’s an honest invitation, by the way. Seriously. Challenge yourself.

Most of us have in fact been dealing with men like Trump our entire lives, men who rate women on a scale of 1 to 10 and who judge men as being “pussies” if they don’t nod and grunt enthusiastically. We’ve seen this show before, and it sucks.

Stop trying to convince us that your opinion is right. Start trying to find out if your opinion is right. Explore openly and honestly. Be more critical of yourself than others. This is the only way to find truth.

Best of luck,

– Scildfreja Unnýðnes, Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge

PS: Please answer Viscaria, if no one else. It’s an important question for you to know the real answer to.

HawkAtreides, on the floor again with a head full of rain
HawkAtreides, on the floor again with a head full of rain
4 years ago

@Scildfreja

Most of us have in fact been dealing with men like Trump our entire lives, men who rate women on a scale of 1 to 10 and who judge men as being “pussies” if they don’t nod and grunt enthusiastically. We’ve seen this show before, and it sucks.

Some of us have been those men – then we grew up.

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

Edit: Sorry, this was in response to Makroth 🙂

I am not Jewish and cannot in any way speak for the community, but several people who are have told me that they would prefer that Gentiles not use that noun, but rather use the adjective Jewish (when appropriate). That’s specifically because of constructions like MassH*steria’s: accusations against Jewish people that center their Jewishness, like they’re some Scary Other that’s always doing Scary Other things that Gentiles should find frightening. Language used in that way has been invoked in the justification of a lot of anti-Semitic atrocities.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@wwth,

Why, why, why do alt-right trouser stains always insist on making their arguments with YouTube? Apparently the University of YouTube is the sister school to the University of Assfax.

Oh, that one’s easy. Reading’s hard. You have to think about what you’re reading. Video’s easy. You can just soak in the emotions coming out of the screen. We all know that the alt-right isn’t interested in real learning, they just want the appearance of it. Brave New World and all that.

(I also suspect that their concepts of science and reason come mostly from documentaries and science dork videos, so they assume “smart” == “watches science documentaries”. So there’s a positive association going on there.)

@HawkAtreides,

Thank you. Seriously. Thank you.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Mish

@Kat (whose comments lately have been even better than usual)

Aw, thanks!

We can form a tiny club: Mammotheers Mystified by Programming but Willing to Learn?

Sure! And in my case, there’s more.

OTOH, some Mammotheers might find what I enjoy — long discussions about the proper use of the comma and such — really dull. At best.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@Kat …

(do you know how interesting I would find that? My work is mostly logical semantics with mathematical gravy on the side. I do semantics for a living o god i am such a dork)

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Kat

some Mammotheers might find what I enjoy — long discussions about the proper use of the comma and such — really dull. At best

The WHTM Comma Splice Wars of Summer 2016, I remember them well 😛

Laugher at Bigots, Mincing Betaboy
Laugher at Bigots, Mincing Betaboy
4 years ago

@Kat @Scildfreja

I also, though I’m not in artificial intelligence. I’m more interested in linguistics.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Linguistics and artificial intelligence are closer than you might think. A huge part of modern AI is in natural language processing, and, well. The way our brains uh, do … language … is almost a direct analogue to how we just straight-up think about things. There are some incredibly potent data storage and inferencing systems that use the very same structure as brain-language-structure. So, they’re actually very related fields!

(Figuring out what to do with a comma in a sentence is hard)

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
4 years ago

COMMAS OH MY GOD HOORAY.
My cup, it runneth over in joy.

@Headologist, no probs – I understand! I only have about half of them myself. Thanks for replying 🙂

@Dalillama,

You’re correct, I’ve not read Going Postal yet. My 14y.o. and I are working our way through; currently around the Jingo/Carpe Jugulum point.
In my FB group, when a member loses a loved one (pet or human), everyone posts “GNU [name of deceased]” so I asked about it. The idea of keeping someone ‘alive’ by looping their name endlessly through code brought tears to my eyes.
Your post explained the specific details brilliantly – thank you.

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

I comma! I’ll comma with the best of them!

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
4 years ago

@Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars,

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Moist von Lipwig yet. My current fave is a toss-up between Sam Vimes and Granny Weatherwax and Death 😀

@Axe

The WHTM Comma Splice Wars of Summer 2016, I remember them well 😛

mutter mutter northern hemisphere people … summer for you, maybe!

Belladonna
Belladonna
4 years ago

MassHysteria said:

Get a grip, dialectic is your friend. You’ve explored the hypothesis that Trump is a fascist ad nauseam, now put it aside for a second and try to prove the opposite. At this point you’re just all pushing each other to become more agitated as time passes.

Does anyone here feel more agitated because we’ve been talking together the last week and sharing our thoughts? I mean, I know I don’t. I feel calmer.

The curious thing, to me, is that the troll came here to lecture us on dialectic and then failed to offer any cogent arguments. Just arrogance and condescension. I mean if you want to assert that Trump is not a fascist, but is instead a populist, fine. Lay out your arguments and let’s discuss them. I’d be interested.

You want to argue that Umberto Eco should not be considered an authority on fascism? Fine. Present a better argument than “because I said so.” Your points might even be interesting. But I swear “he’s not an authority, but I am” should be a new logical fallacy. The opposite of the appeal to authority fallacy (which is not always entirely fallacious).

The only thing you did do is dismiss us all as irrational and hysterical. Oh, and make an argument that it’s 1933 again because three people were mean to Trump supporters and you had shocking video proof.

I’ll be honest. I never thought of this post on Trump as a fascist as anything more than a diverting intellectual exercise. And I considered some of the argument’s pros and cons all on my little lonesome without your help. It does not matter in the slightest whether he is labeled a fascist. It only matters what he does, and what becomes of it, and whether we are able to do anything about it if it is awful.

@Scildfreja

While I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, and you do make a few good points, there’s something that screams “troll” to me about you

Normally I applaud you for giving people the benefit of the doubt and its one of the things I love most about you. But this one? He’s dripping with condescension and contempt. I’ll grant that he seems a bit more intellectual than the run-of-the-mill troll, but he also has an aggrandized opinion of his own intelligence. And he underestimates ours.

Belladonna
Belladonna
4 years ago

@Kat

OTOH, some Mammotheers might find what I enjoy — long discussions about the proper use of the comma and such — really dull. At best.

I recently wrote a couple of articles on such fascinating matters as the present and past subjunctive in English and on prefixes and particles.

And, just to get it out of the way, I am strongly in favor of the serial comma!

And I just realized I have a bad “its” in my previous post. 🙁

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@Belladonna,

The fisher casts out a long line, and allows it slack, for the hook to fully take before pulling it home.

:D

As for my real motivation? Sun Tzu suggests to always offer a path of retreat to those you confront. Allow them a graceful surrender, or they will fight you to the bitter end. So I try to leave them the option of detente.

Your evaluation’s right, though.

dreemr
dreemr
4 years ago

@Scildfreja Unnýðnes – just stop it already with the fantastic point-by-point refutations. I’m developing an almost embarrassing hero-worship-platonic-girl-crush on you 😉

(I’m exaggerating a bit, I hope that didn’t sound creepy. I just admire you quite a lot).

@Belladonna

I never thought of this post on Trump as a fascist as anything more than a diverting intellectual exercise.

I thought of it similarly, as kind of a “food for thought” exercise. I’ve no idea why Mr. Mass Hysteria is getting so worked up about the absolute most accurate to the nth micron definition of fascism and how closely Mr. Trump may or may not fit that definition, but…I mean go ahead, dude, wow us if you’re gonna.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
4 years ago

@Belladonna

And I just realized I have a bad “its” in my previous post. 🙁

Ssssshh, it’s ok. You were annoyed (or was it ‘hysterical’) 😛

@dreemr,

I try to restrain myself from gushing over Scildfreja (not always successfully). Scildfreja, you must tell us if it does in fact get creepy or just plain old irritating, ok?

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Mish

mutter mutter northern hemisphere people … summer for you, maybe!

My deepest apologies
http://67.media.tumblr.com/46c25b37ac3a4672fa97d54a5ecf9005/tumblr_oez2n47I2v1udouqko1_500.gif
I swear I know how seasons work! Enjoy your springtime. I’ll trudge thru the dreary chill of autumn as penance

Moocow
4 years ago

Well. About that video proof. I did some analysis and I have to say:

The first one is a video of a trump protester getting pushed down the stairs. There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that the man in the red shirt is a Hillary supporter.

Here’s an actual news article covering the same incident: http://abc13.com/politics/anti-donald-trump-protester-tackled-pushed-down-stairs/1607585/

And here’s a biased article in the opposite direction to negate your dumb youtube video:
http://www.politicususa.com/2016/11/14/peaceful-protester-shoved-flight-stairs-trump-supporter.html

Second video is just two people debating. Trump supporter thinks Trump is a “brilliant businessman who’s written great books”, says trump is “standing up against the machine” and compares Trump to Jesus, Socrates and Martin Luther King before declaring Trump to be “the best candidate to ever walk across the political elections!” which had me in tears. (3:55)

What I did learn from the video is that Trump supporters had some bullshit excuse prepared for any criticism/scandal of Trump. Discrimination in housing? “They all had bad credit […] it was just a coincidence they all happened to be black!”. Complete denial.

Third video is a woman yelling obscenities at Trump supporters while they yell back. Sure, not pleasant. But Donald trump supporters have plenty of video compilations of them being unpleasant.

Nice video evidence. If this is the worst of Hillary supporters then Trump supporters are objectively* more violent

*based on three videos

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

@Axe
That’s not a dreary chill. This is a dreary autumn chill:
comment image

sparkalipoo
sparkalipoo
4 years ago

@Moocow

Is it not known that the man who pushed the other man down the stairs has aspergers? Because if the person posting that youtube channel didn’t know he had aspergers, labeling him as someone with aspergers is messed up because it plays into some really negative stereotypes about autistic people

HawkAtreides, on the floor again with a head full of rain
HawkAtreides, on the floor again with a head full of rain
4 years ago

@sparkalipoo

The “proof” for the ID of the man is a Twitter account claiming to know the assailant. Given the use of Asperger’s and other autism-spectrum conditions as insults by the alt-right and their penchant for blaming every bad act on false flag operations by the Left, I’m less than convinced.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

Never have I seen so many “upvotes” for conversations about commas!

It’s heartening.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
4 years ago

@belladonna

I recently wrote a couple of articles on such fascinating matters as the present and past subjunctive in English and on prefixes and particles.

::glow of admiration::
@scildfreja

Linguistics and artificial intelligence are closer than you might think. A huge part of modern AI is in natural language processing, and, well. The way our brains uh, do … language … is almost a direct analogue to how we just straight-up think about things.

::swoons::
(I do translations a fair bit of the time – often tedious in the extreme, but occasionally quite satisfying).

Personally I find that reading you all here is one of the few things that mitigates my inclination to despair in the face of the current political fuck-ups.

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

*lifts a hand* Do people still need my hot take of the situation with Trump and fascism and shit, or did Scildfreja Unnýðnes do a sufficient job in it? Askin’, ’cause I got a lot to do, and writing it (plus sourcing it with not-video linkage) is going to take some time, maybe couple of days?

(I, for one, think that our Fluttershy did a splendid job.)

Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
4 years ago

@Moocow
Thank you for doing the dreary legwork on the “video proof” and letting us know!

@Kat
I’m always up for conversation about commas. I’m kind of persnickety about them in my work, but there’s always disagreement (or artistic license). There are people in my field who think a clause introduced by “because” should always have a comma in front of it, but I sometimes think a because clause is too essential to the meaning of the sentence to warrant such treatment. 🙂

@opposablethumbs

I do translations a fair bit of the time – often tedious in the extreme, but occasionally quite satisfying

Admiration returned! I think translation is endlessly fascinating. Maybe tedious (if you say so), but fascinating! Le Ton Beau de Marot is my favorite book I’ve never finished. I’m not on board with the crowd who thinks a different language completely changes the way people are able to think of things. But I definitely do believe it may color the way people conceptualize some things. Even something as simple as the fact that when I was speaking French every day, I started to think of my hair as being “my hairs.” It may not be some world-changing difference, and I can’t totally describe it, but it just kind of changed the way I felt about my hair (or hairs) when it was a plural noun instead of a collective one.

@Skiriki
I would totally be interested in seeing your non-video sources! But I am not going to selfishly ask you to do that work. Our troll seems to have either been banned or to have shut up, for now. So, you know, if you happen to really want to . . . 😉

Moocow
4 years ago

@sparkalipoo

Yeah. There was no evidence to suggest it. Asshole youtuber as just using “asbergers” as an insult. Asshole youtuber can go fuck themselves.

@Belladona

You’re welcome!

http://media.tumblr.com/5b6f7533a269fc8714591efa5c822256/tumblr_inline_mvgpmxPpt11s6pfvo.gif

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
4 years ago

Hey, @Belladonna 🙂
On the (very rare) occasions I get to do something with interesting content or that presents interesting challenges, then yes! Bring on the dancing horses! Mostly I’m just a donkey trudging round and round in a mill, though :-s

Ariblester
Ariblester
4 years ago

I’d actually be open to someone arguing in good faith about how exactly Lee Kuan Yew, who I understand was an authoritarian and a traditionalist, but also an intellectual technocrat, ‘ticks all the boxes’ of Ur-Facism.

Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
Belladonna "Toxic Hag"
4 years ago

@opposablethumbs

On the (very rare) occasions I get to do something with interesting content or that presents interesting challenges, then yes! Bring on the dancing horses! Mostly I’m just a donkey trudging round and round in a mill, though :-s

I’m going to take a wild guess that as a technical writer, I have possibly had the dubious pleasure of producing the type of scintillating content to which you are referring. Here’s to trudging! 😉

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
4 years ago

@Belladonna, I’m not sure but I think that’s definitely possible! 🙂

::raises Nice-Cup-of-Tea in traditional Brit-type toast::

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ opposablethumbs

A proper nice cup of tea?

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
4 years ago

@Alan, I’ll have you know that all my tea is both highly improper and licitly come by. Not a tea-leaf in sight, in fact 😉

Jaygee
Jaygee
4 years ago

@Scildfreja Unnýðnes you often make a lot of very good points, and I do also appreciate that you leave a peaceful way for trolls to retreat (a pity they don’t often take ad of that), so would you be all right with me sharing some of your words? I particularly liked

As I’ve said in a few places now – when progressives win, they celebrate by marrying, drinking, and partying. When conservatives win, they celebrate by harassing, vandalizing and assaulting.

Thanks for your sensitive and in-depth responses to everyone.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

aw, @Jaygee, you’re a sweetie, thank you <3 Of course you can share! I'm deeply flattered

@Dreemr, Mish, you’re makin me blush over here :3
comment image

ospalh
ospalh
3 years ago

An update:
The German Spiegel went through the list.
They got 8 of 14.
On ⒋, “disagreement is treason”, i agree with this list, ⭕, not them, but especially on ⒒, “everybody is educated to become a hero”, I agree with them, ❌, not this version. That one is about literal death cults. I don’t see typical Trump supporters being willing to die for Trump. No “The flag is (worth) more than death”.
Details:
(⭕=Yes, ❌=No, ?=Unknown so far)
⒈❌
⒉?
⒊⭕
⒋❌
⒌⭕
⒍⭕
⒎⭕
⒏⭕
⒐❌
⒑❌
⒒❌
⒓⭕
(⒔⭕)
⒕⭕
(I couldn’t find ⒔ in their list. The ⭕ is implied from the sums, but fits IMO.)

ospalh
ospalh
3 years ago

P.S.:
Don’t really know what the issue with ⒔ was exactly. Could read their ⭕ with another browser, but not with Firefox.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

@ospalh,

Thanks for pointing out that article on Der Spiegel! I really don’t agree with it, though, in a few ways.

First, it’s really sort of tone deaf about a number of the prevalent issues in the united states. For example, it claims that there’s no sense of “mass elitism” for those inside the party as those without of it. I’m pretty sure that an average talk with a Trump supporter is enough to upset that notion. As for #11 and the “literal” death cults, I take the worship of the military and the rampant militarism to be a more than adequate for that category. Also, note their line:

Eco did not provide guidelines for interpreting the results. But he did write: “It is enough for one of them to be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.”

The article reads like an outsider from the society, looking in and going “what the heck is going on?” There’s a sense of disbelief, a sense that beneath the outrageous rhetoric there has to be some sort or countervailing measure going on. They allude to it right in the article – they say with shock that “that would mean half of the american voters voted for fascism!” Which – well, yeah. That could happen. Given that that’s 18% of the actual population, that could certainly happen.

It’s a good article, and a good analysis, but it’s not going to convince me that this isn’t fascism. Fascism in the 21st century is certainly going to have a different shape than it did in the 20th, and we need to acknowledge that.

Dalillama, Effort Chicken
Dalillama, Effort Chicken
3 years ago

@Ospalh
Mr. Kurbjuweit has clearly never actually lived in the U.S., let alone grown up here. Nor has he been paying much attention to Trump and his associates, it would appear.

Should we die for Trump’s glory and the immortal destiny of the United States? If this question is ever asked of American students, then they will, without a doubt, be living under fascism.

American students have been told about the virtues of dying for the immortal destiny of the United States for as long as there’s been a United States. What a lot of people don’t want to admit is that U.S. culture had strong measures of a lot of these traits already, long before Trump came on the scene.

thus far there haven’t been any significant signs of religious or philosophical underpinnings to his movement. So that criterion, at least, does not apply.

So you haven’t noticed all the bleating about Jesus, and being born again, and anointed by various assbag televangelists, at all? You haven’t been paying attention to his main fucking slogan, ‘Make America Great Again“, which is what if not hearkening back to a mythical golden age when all was right in the world?

Feature four for Eco is an entirely closed worldview that considers any disagreement to be “treason”. That kind of worldview to which all must submit is not currently detectable in Trump.

What the hell planet is this guy living on? He talked about arresting Clinton, he wants to lock up journalists who don’t kiss his ass enough. And, of course, so, so many of his followers, well; just listen them for thirty seconds and you’ll find out what kinds of things they think are treasonous.

Feature No. 2 is the “rejection of modernism,” of capitalism, but also of Enlightenment and the Age of Reason — the “Spirit of 1789,” Eco wrote, in reference to the French Revolution. Trump is himself a capitalist, but politically he has shown a strong tendency towards the irrational and intemperate. No determination is yet possible on this point.

He’s a goldbug for chrissakes, pay the fuck attention.

As for point 10, Eco says that Ur-Fascism reflects what he calls a “mass elitism.” Those who are members of the movement, the party or the nation look down on everyone else. Surely some of Trump’s white supporters disdain African Americans, but the feeling of indignity is still greater than the idea of superiority.

Bullshit. This guy has no fucking clue how racist Yanks in general are, let alone Trumpists.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

You don’t even have to vocally disagree with Trump to be treasonous. Just existing as an immigrant or a Muslim is enough. In the eyes of many of his supporters, existing as anything other than a white cishet male is treasonously disagreeable.

Rhuu
Rhuu
3 years ago

Scildfreja said:

Fascism in the 21st century is certainly going to have a different shape than it did in the 20th, and we need to acknowledge that.

QFT.

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