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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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jy3
jy3
4 years ago

My vote is for “Flogging A Dead Mammoth”.

Brandy Turing
Brandy Turing
4 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
4 years ago

@Brandy Turing, that’s brilliant!

Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ brandy

Bravo!

Brandy Turing
Brandy Turing
4 years ago

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

snake.eyes.johnson
snake.eyes.johnson
4 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
4 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
4 years ago

Standing ovation for Brandy!

Dalillama
4 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
4 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
4 years ago

Seconded re: Brandy

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