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Mammoth Classic: Trump is the very model of Umberto Eco’s Ur-Fascist

This graphic isn’t subtle. Neither is Trump

By David Futrelle

I‘ve written a lot of posts for this blog since I started it in 2010. 3629, to be exact, not including 80 drafts of posts that I decided for some reason weren’t worth posting. It occurs to me that not all readers of this blog have literally read every single post on it. So they — you — may have missed out on some Actual Good Posts of mine from years past.

So today I’m going to start highlighting some of these Mammoth Classics. To start off, let me draw your attention to a post I wrote a few days after Trump’s electoral college victory: Donald Trump ticks all 14 boxes in Umberto Eco’s list of what makes a fascist a fascist. The basic thesis?

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.

I have to say, though I worried a little at the time that I might be overstating things, this post has held up surprisingly well. If I rewrote it today, I suppose I’d have to add quite a bit to some of the sections. The “conspiracy” section would be much longer and weirder; the bit about his desire for power unchecked by congress would have to mention his love of executive orders and now pardons; and finally, the section on his “fear of difference” would have to include his failed Muslim ban(s), Trump’s blithe indifference to literally thousands of deaths in Puerto Rico, and the horrors he has unleashed on Mexican immigrants, including the inhuman practice of separating parents from children and keeping both in cages.

Yesterday, in a heartbreaking article, The Boston Globe cited a public defender working on behalf of parents whose children were taken from them (for the misdemeanor crime of crossing the border illegally) and who said that

several of her clients have told her their children were taken from them by Border Patrol agents who said they were going to give them a bath. As the hours passed, it dawned on the mothers the kids were not coming back.

That’s a little on the nose, huh? There’s little doubt in my mind today that Trump is bringing fascism to this country — and we need to do everything in our power to get him out and roll it back, before it’s truly too late for all of us.

Call your Senators and your congressperson to demand they do something about these forced separations of parents and children at the border. You can get their numbers and a script here.

Ok, not all Mammoth Classics will end with a request you call some politicians (or do anything at all, really) but this one sort of needs to.

NOTE: On a lighter note, which do you prefer: “Mammoth Classic” or “Mammoth Rewind?” Or do you have a better idea of what to call these?

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F is for 'Fro'
F is for 'Fro'
2 years ago

Mammoth Throwback! 😀

Becca
Becca
2 years ago

Surely since it’s a mammoth it should be “defrosted” or “unearthed” or “resurrected” (etc.)?

Tovius
Tovius
2 years ago

Seriously question: At what point should we need to plan to flee the country?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

“Mammoth Redux”

(I’ve no idea what that actually means, but I’ve seen it used for films)

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
2 years ago

@Tovius : look at other countries before considering fleeing. You will see it’s not that easy to get something that don’t seem directed toward the same end.

Brandy Turing
Brandy Turing
2 years ago

“Redigging the Mammoth”

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I was just reading this today

https://theconversation.com/warning-signs-of-mass-violence-in-the-us-82546

It’s from last year and I wish they would do a follow up since Trump/ICE have really stepped up the fascism lately. It is worth a read as it contains the ten stages of genocide

This is the more complete version of the 10 stages
http://genocidewatch.net/genocide-2/8-stages-of-genocide/

I could find elements from nine of the ten stages being done by the administration already. The only one they haven’t done yet is extermination. I say yet because it looks like they could be building up to it. I even see the final stage, denial in the blocking of Sen. Jeff Merkley from visiting one of the detention centers where they’re keeping children and in Sessions referring to parents bringing their children along to seek asylum as “smuggling children.”

And make no fucking mistake about it. If they continue to get away with doing this immigrants and asylum seekers, they’ll do it to other marginalized groups next. Maybe black people. Maybe Muslims. Maybe the mentally ill and disabled. Maybe all of the above. Then it’s on to political dissenters.

And as all this is happening, Trump is getting so much praise ahead of this stupid fucking North Korea summit. As if Kim isn’t going to just flatter him into taking a shitty deal and then he’ll later renege on that deal and continue nuclearizing. Notice also how human rights are not even going to be discussed. This is a giant red flag. Normalizing the N. Korean regime is normalizing human rights abuses for the express purpose of the Trump administration committing them (even more) here at home. He’s sending the message that human rights are not important.

Dreamer
Dreamer
2 years ago

Tbh, I’ve been afraid since Trump became the main candidate for Republicans. It made me wonder about the people who live near me. If I were younger and richer, I’d move to another country.

2-D Man
2-D Man
2 years ago

Re-Hunted the Mammoth

Bina
2 years ago

We Dug Up the Mammoth!

Crip Dyke
2 years ago

Since “flogging” can also mean “promoting”, you could try

Flogging A Dead Mammoth

although I also like “Re-Hunted” and “We Dug Up the Mammoth”.

Miss Cobalt
Miss Cobalt
2 years ago

I like re-hunted

Full Metal Ox
2 years ago

How about Mammoth Fossil Record?

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent, Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent, Bard of the New Movement
2 years ago

Leftover Mammoth Casserole?

Z&T
Z&T
2 years ago

We like them all! 🙂

@ Troubelle,

“Leftover Mammoth Casserole” – especially like 🙂

TreePerson
TreePerson
2 years ago

I like the suggestions referencing paleontology myself.

Maybe “we defrosted the mammoth”?

TreePerson
TreePerson
2 years ago

How about “we unearthed the mammoth”?

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

My vote is for “Mammoth Fossil Record”.

@Tovius:

Seriously question: At what point should we need to plan to flee the country?

November 9, 2016. Failing that, “as soon as practicable”.

@WWTH:

I could find elements from nine of the ten stages being done by the administration already. The only one they haven’t done yet is extermination.

Two words: Puerto Rico.

Ironically, the method chosen is out of Stalin’s playbook rather than Hitler’s: just starve a region filled with “undesirables” of resources and wait for nature to take its course.

JenniferAndLightning
JenniferAndLightning
2 years ago

@Tovius

On one hand, I want to choose to leave Omelas, but on the other I know that as a white woman who comes from some means and has a law degree I am extremely privileged and maybe I should let those most directly impacted leave first since the rest of the world is willing to accept only so many American ex patriots. But I do think about leaving every day. I understand that fascism is on the rise globally, but there are places where it hasn’t already infected government to this degree. Watching the Handmaid’s Tale hasn’t helped. If anything it has foreced me to set some hard and fast limits on when I take my daughter and run, the most likely of which is the reversal of Roe v. Wade or Miranda v. Arizona.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
2 years ago

several of her clients have told her their children were taken from them by Border Patrol agents who said they were going to give them a bath.

That has a chillingly familiar ring to it.

bluecat
bluecat
2 years ago

The Beloved sings with a local choir which has the startling idea of placing choristers according to their vocal range rather than their (perceived) gender. As a tenor he sings with several women and there are chaps in the alto section.

One of his fellow tenors was born in Germany in 1942. Throughout her school days, she says, they were constantly warned what to look out for in incipient fascism, how to spot a potential fascist leaders on the make, and , how to make sure it never happens again.

For a couple of years now she has been saying that ALL the signs she was warned about are present here, in the UK and Europe, right now.

The other thing: I have been banging on about Bob Altemayer’s book “The Authoritarians” – free to download here:

https://theauthoritarians.org/

I can’t recommend this too much: very good, and very frightening.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Bluecat,

Meanwhile, while the media is distracted by the NK summit, the Trump administration changed the rules so that they can strip citizenship from any naturalized citizen suspected of fraud. Not convicted. Suspected.

https://apnews.com/1da389a535684a5f9d0da74081c242f3?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_medium=AP

This means they can deport or detain people for making a clerical error on immigration forms. Or use it as a thin justification to persecute immigration rights activists.

I mean, I doubt the members of the administration are sitting around consciously planning a genocide at this very moment, but conditions are ripe for one. That’s for damn sure.

We have a political media that is covering Trump as a sideshow and failing to make noise about just how authoritarian he is becoming. A disengaged general public. A base that will stick by Trump no matter what he does. The Republican party is letting him get away with absolutely everything. The Democratic party is afraid to outright oppose him with some real teeth. I see no reason that Trump won’t become more and more drunk power, and keep pushing the boundaries bit by bit until we reach the point of genocide.

Combine a media that wants to be seen as objective with a populace that thinks America is inherently democratic and therefore fascism can’t happen here, we have a perfect recipe for a genocide to start right under our noses. It’s far from set in stone, but it’s too close for comfort right now.

Anti-Peterson potion
Anti-Peterson potion
2 years ago

According to Vanity Fair, Cohen has been telling friends he expects to be arrested any day now. When/if that happens, Trump will go ballistic. Because he knows full well that Cohen will spill all the sordid beans hidden over the past few decades.

If Vanity Fair is correct, we’re now entering really dangerous territory.

jy3
jy3
2 years ago

My vote is for “Flogging A Dead Mammoth”.

Brandy Turing
Brandy Turing
2 years ago

David’s choice of headline has left me with an earworm I couldn’t quite shake. To be sung, as Tom Lehrer put it, to a “vaguely recognizable tune”.

I am the very model of Umberto Eco’s ur-Fascist,
I claim to be pro populo but I’m in fact a pure classist.
While I know naught of history, I seek to make us great again.
(Admittedly I’m at a loss to say why we were greater then.)
I’m very well acquainted with my victory electoral
But in all other things I keep it simple and conjectural.
To stoke my base I have a stock of slogans counterfactual,
A lie gives them more solace than the information actual.

I’m known to give my enemies a sobriquet desultory,
From Lyin’ Ted to Crazy Joe to Crooked Heartless Hilary.
In short, I’m not a populist – I’m a Plutocratic classist.
I am the very model of a modern neo-Fascist.

I can’t abide the notion that all men have equal dignity;
I can’t discern a difference between weakness and benignity;
Traditional allies are no use to me, disposable.
Though dictators and tyrants find that everything’s negotiable.
I spout a pithy phrase for every talking point conservative.
Surrounding myself with those who respond in the affirmative.
I cannot take the chance of a Republican insurgency;
All those I keep around have learned that loyalty is currency.

My rhetoric and bullying has moved the window Overton.
I’ve changed the US for the worse, of that you can be so certain.
In short, I’m not a populist – I’m a Plutocratic classist.
I am the very model of a modern neo-Fascist.

I’ve curious connections to our rivals who are Soviet,
I claim investigations of this fact are inappropriate.
My allies on the vulpine news will denigrate my enemies,
(Fox and Friends and Hannity are my favorite amenities.)
I know the GOP won’t find my actions are impeachable.
My presidential pardon power means all sins are bleachable.
In short, I can proceed at will with absolute impunity.
Republicans will always cave to my vain importunity.

My minions at my rallies cheer and say I’m quite relatable.
(Despite the fact that what I say is to reason untranslatable.)
But still, I’m not a populist – I’m a Plutocratic classist.
I am the very model of a modern neo-Fascist.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
2 years ago

@Brandy Turing, that’s brilliant!

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

@ brandy

Bravo!

Brandy Turing
Brandy Turing
2 years ago

Thanks, everyone! It is totally your fault, David. 🙂

snake.eyes.johnson
snake.eyes.johnson
2 years ago

🎶 Brandy Turing don’t tell no lies
Brandy Turing will make you wise 🎶

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

TreePerson | June 12, 2018 at 1:10 am
I like the suggestions referencing paleontology myself.

Maybe “we defrosted the mammoth”?

That makes me think of the “forced defrosting” from that Lovenskold’s recipe for charcoal chicken.

Katiekitten420
Katiekitten420
2 years ago

Oh my God I am so impressed it’s slightly jealous or envious sometimes I mix up to do I think I meant envious LOL. Brandy that was utterly brilliant! Would you mind if I show that to my boyfriend? Obviously I’ll give you credit, wait your name is right there so I won’t need to.

That actually boosted my whole mood. I’ve been feeling better than I was when I wasn’t commenting at all but I’m still melancholy I guess is the right word. But now I’m just mildly amused and reasonably content. I’m not melancholy at all. So thanks for that and I hope you and everyone else have a great night and day.

EverythingIsRidiculous
EverythingIsRidiculous
2 years ago

Standing ovation for Brandy!

Dalillama
2 years ago

@Katiekitten

Completely OT, but I wanted to ask you for some advice on options a friend of mine in NYC might have. I would very much prefer to dicuss it privately, as there may be some confidential info involved. If you’re willing, I can be reached through the discord or my nym at gmx dot us by email. Sorry to be a bother

Brandy Turing
Brandy Turing
2 years ago

Thanks for the nice words, Katie. Feel free to share as much as you want. 🙂

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

Seconded re: Brandy