Tuesday, January 31, 2017
On our Reading List:
It Can't Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis
by George Orwell
I had written some things down because I wanted to blog a few notes today about this person President Trump appointed to something: Stephen Bannon, formerly of the Breitbart website -- (they of the "rolling narratives").
So then the New York Times beat me to it (are they reading my mind while I sleep at night?) with a piece by their Editorial Board titled "President Bannon?"
The first paragraph reads,
"Plenty of presidents have had prominent political advisers, and some of those advisers have been suspected of quietly setting policy behind the scenes (recall Karl Rove or, if your memory stretches back far enough, Dick Morris).
But we've never witnessed a political aide move as brazenly to consolidate power as Stephen Bannon -- nor have we seen one do quite so much damage so quickly to his putative boss's popular standing or pretenses of competence."
(If only the NYTimes op-eds would stop beating around the bush and say what they really think...!)
The Times had more to say about this person than I did: I only had two things, really:
1. A few days ago the quote was printed from Mr. Bannon where he said the press should "keep its mouth shut." Some days some of the rest of us get tired of the media, but we don't really want someone from the White House dictating that....
A little technicality called "freedom of the press" (which is certainly exploited very freely to the point of being turned inside out, at Mr. Bannon's former employer, Breitbart, for purposes of entertainment / profit).
But now he's in the White House in the employ of President Trump, oh, Now he wants the press to "shut up" or whatever... (nobody can talk except for me??)
I didn't care for that, and thought I'd look up the specific quote. Printed in Jan. 26 NYT, Steve Bannon says, "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while."
The "just listen for a while" part sounds kind of OK, like he's trying to say, We want to do positive things for our country -- give us a chance, don't run everything down before we even have a chance to accomplish good things.
But the earlier part -- "the media should be embarrassed and humiliated" -- is weird. To me, anyway. "Humiliated" is a word that expresses a very strong sentiment, it hints at undercurrents of uncontrolled anger, or spite or something.
It's like -- it's "too much WORD" for that sentence. Why would Mr. Bannon wish for "the media" to be "embarrassed" in the first place -- he didn't give a reason for any embarrassment, and then to stack the word "humiliated" on top, I don't know -- it's too much negative energy there, for the topic at hand. ("Dude. Overkill. Chill. Corona?")
The number of times I have hoped for someone to be "humiliated" is zero. It's a little hard to relate to. You know -- why? What would my problem be, to wish that? It was sort of like a slip of the tongue, or "a Freudian slip" -- showing his true colors, or something.
And -- you know -- he doesn't get to tell the press to "keep its mouth shut" just because he now has a job at the White House.
As a matter of fact, having a job at the White House is a very important reason why he really cannot tell the press to "keep its mouth shut."
Well, he "can," but it's not smart. It isn't intelligent behavior, and does not point in a direction of positive things. It doesn't "look good." All I could think when I read that is, "This guy is a babbler"...
And the second thing I had in mind to mention was, I read where Mr. Bannon had said he was a "Leninist." This was on an Online site called "The Daily Beast," an article written by Ronald Radosh, Aug. 22, 2016 -- about meeting Bannon Nov. 12, 2013. [from the article] - "I'm a Leninist," Bannon proudly proclaimed.
Shocked, I asked him what he meant.
"Lenin," he answered, "wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment." [end, excerpt]
When Radosh e-mailed Bannon to let him know he was publishing the quote, and giving him a chance to comment, Mr. Bannon said, "I don't remember meeting you and don't remember the conversation."
------------------------- MMhh. So -- that's like -- he's a communist / anarchist, but he -- forgot?
A Reader Comment on today's Times op-ed from Grace in Morgantown, West Virginia reads:
"I think it's a bit of a mistake to focus on Bannon's alt-right ideology -- the more basic problem is his lust for power and his willingness to sow chaos in order to achieve it.
...He is a nihilist who is flattering Trump in order to gain power for himself. An executive order to ban Muslims from only some countries and not others, undertaken without any vetting through proper channels: could be incompetence and ignorance, but I would suggest that it's a deliberate attempt to sow chaos at home and abroad.
I don't think it's an accident that it only angered and emboldens Islamic extremists; I think that was part of the intent....
And now he's been promoted not only to be [the president's] top political adviser but also to sit on a council that has very broad powers -- of life and death, war and peace....His removal from the NSC and the White House cannot happen too soon."