a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
When I concluded the “Grievance Grift” series I asserted that America’s dire difficulty with political technologies [PT] will not be solved for online. That is not to say that the online aspect of the problem does not need to be solved for as soon as we’re possibly able.
A snip from TheFacebook taken last Tuesday, June 1:
No way to know why, however, at the time I’m writing [6/2] we do know the account that posted the above homemade meme has vanished. Perhaps it will reappear at some point.
The “Rick Fishbourne” (Chewbacca profile pic) account presented Rick as a resident of Australia, with an appearance of him being a native Aussie. I just glanced at it briefly, but Rick’s friends list was curiously diverse and was well populated with some rather prominent names.
So, I do imagine that at fifty thousand shares things can get a bit weird and maybe even intense. Perhaps Rick took the account down as part of ducking for cover, or some other pressing reason. The account and the relevant post (e.g., the artifacts) may be down now, however, the damage—times fifty thousand—is already happening. Thankfully, before it was taken down I’d already made the snip above as I had planned to appropriate it to be an illustration for this missive—Rick’s post inspired my writing this week. Now I wish I’d snipped from Rick’s friends list.
The PT back story
In what amounts to a smoking-gun admission, Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, wrote:
We have successfully frozen their brand — ‘critical race theory’ — into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category. The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory. [cf., article by Marisa Iati]
Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, June 1, one hundred scholars of democracy issued an alarming statement that posits—thanks primarily to Republican leadership—American democracy is at an existential crossroads. A sample:
Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his “Stop the Steal” crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread.
The statement set off a rash of related articles: The Hill; Forbes; Vanity Fair; Boston Globe; Washington Post; Business Insider; Yahoo. No wonder as this June 2, 2021, WaPo headline and story reminds us: Trump has grown increasingly consumed with ballot audits as he pushes falsehood that election was stolen.
Now, it’s impossible to say that we’ve not been warned.
How does this confront our ongoing PT question?
So, we’ve now been formally warned by those who would best know about these troubling matters regarding the threat to democracy. OK, let’s take care of it; what’s the problem? Well, for PT purposes, anti-CRT fits like a dovetail joint with populism and MAGA‘s anti-elite bigotry.
Obviously, Rick’s post indicates anti-CRT political technologies are generating significant effects. From the other side of the planet, Rick Fishbourne’s post reflects the broad effects of American (anti-CRT) PT and the weaponization of the CRT phrase. This at a time when we would do well to pay close attention to those who know about such matters, Fishbourne’s post reflects the outcry of anti-intellectualist energy that the CRT political technologies tool is able to animate half way round the globe. Closer to home, former V.P., Mike Pence, said last Thursday evening that it’s: “past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of systemic racism.”
I’ve been arguing that DJT appropriated and adapted Russian political technologies (especially the ‘firehose of falsehood‘) for the purpose of organizing his unholy political coalition around outrage—e.g., for instance, to subtlety include White Christian nationalists and militant White supremacists. This morally bankrupt grievance strategy has, to various degrees, been taken up by most Republican politicians.
This week, with the help of Marisa Iati’s education beat article, we are able to triangulate on one deadly serious downside that is latent in the PT problem that we’ve been observing. [cf., article by Marisa Iati]
Political technologies are empowering the unapologetic expression of anti-intellectualism in America and around the globe—through weaponized PT terms/phrases like critical race theory [CRT]. Fifty thousand TheFacebook shares of Rick Fishbourne’s post have algorithmically expanded the global footprint of anti-intellectualism. This amidst growing populist and nationalist energies. Thanks to U.S. PT, such as the present anti-CRT hysteria, the drumbeat of MAGA‘s populist, anti-elitist bigotry is only growing louder.
Next week: No idea. Come and see.
[this post approx. 850 words (3 min. read)]
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