Friday, January 22, 2016

The White Man Pathology: Inside the Fandom of Sanders and Trump

A Canadian, Stephen Marche, reporting for The Guardian, drives to Iowa for back-to-back Trump and Sanders rallies. Like many Canadians and Englishmen before him, he is able to look at America from a remove, and what he sees, both Democrat and Republican (and overwhelmingly white), seems soaked in gloom. As for Republicans:
I remember reading a passage from bell hooks once, the kind that circulates on Facebook because it sounds slightly unusual in its predictable virtue. “The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males,” she wrote, “is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage is psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves.”
Her compassion is admirable, glorious even, but also inaccurate. No one is more emotional than a piece-of-shit white man. They are sentimentality personified. How else can so many be moved to rage over the absence of a Christmas tree on a Starbucks cup?
And Democrats?
A few desultory bands [performed] an assortment of leftwing songs from various historical leftwing movements. They harmonized on The Auld Triangle, a prison ballad that was covered on Inside Llewelyn Davis. The singer from Alice in Chains (remember them?) did an electric version of I Won’t Back Down. An old The Clash song, Jail Guitar Doors, was sung by the subject of the first verse, Wayne Kramer. And it was all, so obviously, a nostalgia act, the indulgence for a longing of a time when music encouraged politics, when activism possessed an artistic face, and vice versa.  
Read the piece here. I highly recommend it.

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