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Potent possible parallelisms?

Friday, September 13th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — you know I’m fascinated by parallelisms and analogies — here are some I’ve noticed recently — enough for three fine posts, and you get three in one ! ]
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Parallelisms of interest that have surfaced in my reading recently include:

  • between Trump speeches and the Crusius El Paso manifesto
  • between Trump’s and Hitler’s uses of language
  • between AQ’s Sami al-Uraydi and French revolutionary Saint-Just
  • between ISIS strategy and use of social media and western Neo-Nazi terrorism
  • between Christchurch and El Paso
  • between the Gildead of Margaret Atwood and the Family of Jeff Sharlet
  • between the Family of Jeff Sharlet and the Muslim Brotherhood
  • between 11 Sept 2001, NYT, and 11 Sept 1683, Vienna
  • oh, and on a different note altogether, there’s:

  • between the arts of architecture and cartooning
  • **

    El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language:

    At campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, President Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

    Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

    Sources:

  • NY Times, El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language<
  • Intercept, After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role
  • **

    A professor of German history explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville

    We haven’t had a Reichstag blaze, nor a Kristallnachtnot even close!!! — still, if we consider rhetoric alone, there’s food for thought:

    “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

    Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

    Source:

  • RawStory, A professor .. explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville
  • **

    Here’s a nice one observed by jihad-scholar Cole Bunzel:

    Looks good, though one wonders whether the parallelism comes from the translator’s memory-store rather than al-Uraydi‘s?

    Wikipedia quotes St-Just thus:

    Those who make revolutions by halves do nothing but dig their own tombs.

    and gives the date as January 1793 and the source as Oeuvres Complètes de Saint-Just, vol. 1 (2 vols., Paris, 1908), p. 414.

    **

    Here’s the Stratfor analysis:

  • Stratfor, What White Supremacism and Jihadism Have in Common
    .
    Like jihadism, the various ideologies driving white supremacism are not going away any time soon, and comparing the two can provide valuable lessons for understanding the ongoing threat. [ more.. ]

  • I’ll have a separate post on whether white supremacists as well as jihadists should be classified as terrorists — a matter on which opinions are divided..

    The other piece referenced in the DoubleQuote above:

  • Rantt, White Supremacist Terrorists Operate Like ISIS, Trump Shrugs
  • And here’s an impressive, alternative contrast by Tim Furnish:

  • Stream, White Terrorists vs. the Sultans of Slaughter
  • **

    There’s something akin to a waterfall of manifestos on the supremacist, arguably starting with Breivik, and thence to Christchurch and El Paso:

  • WaPo, Christchurch endures as extremist touchstone
    .
    In the days after a gunman killed 51 people in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, analysts warned the attack could become a rallying point for extremists.

    It was a high-casualty attack, intended to be imitated by others, live-streamed on social media, accompanied by the release of a white supremacist manifesto decrying immigration and immigrants.

    On Saturday, a similar manifesto appeared online, with similar grievances. The author opened by expressing “support” for “the Christchurch shooter.” Within minutes, a gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, killing 20..

  • The second quote in this above DoubleQuote says what it needs to say in the subtitle: “the more oxygen these manifestos get…”.

    Onwards. Here’s a rather more disturbing aspect of the El Paso > Christchurch parallelism:

  • WaPo. Two mass killings a world apart share a common theme: ‘ecofascism’
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    Before the slaughter of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso this year, the accused gunmen took pains to explain their fury, including their hatred of immigrants. The statements that authorities think the men posted online share another obsession: overpopulation and environmental degradation.

    The alleged Christchurch shooter, who is charged with targeting Muslims and killing 51 people in March, declared himself an “eco-fascist” and railed about immigrants’ birthrates. The statement linked to the El Paso shooter, who is charged with killing 22 people in a shopping area this month, bemoans water pollution, plastic waste and an American consumer culture that is “creating a massive burden for future generations.”

    The two mass shootings appear to be extreme examples of ecofascism — what Hampshire College professor emerita Betsy Hartmann calls “the greening of hate.”

  • **

    On the existence of “so much similarities between the family and Muslim Brotherhood: praying groups“<:

    OK dear friend I have done a full thread to that in Arabic. I’ll try to make it in English:

    First major similarity is the refusal to be organised with official presence. The founder and up tell now calling it “Al-gama’a”… And they call each other “Brother”..

    [ thread ]

    **

    The Family: More Gilead than Godly:

    In both Gilead and Virginia, men in inner circles have been anointed by God to lead. Conversely, those women chosen to be of service remain in the background where they respond to these godly guys’ commands with a heavenly “blessed be.”

    **

    A stunner:

    Here’s from the London Review of Books review of Lawrence Wright‘s The Looming Tower:

    Wright offers the sense among the jihadis that America was the centre of Christianity, and that the Christian world had been winning the battle of faiths since the Islamic host began to be beaten back from the gates of Vienna on 11 September 1683.

    I’d be interested if anyone has evidence connecting 2001 to 1683 in the mind of UBL

    Timothy McVeigh, after all, timed the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to coincide with the date set for the execution of Richard Snell, who had earlier plotted to blow up the same building, also the date of the final holocaust of the Branch Davidians in Waco two years earlier, the 220th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord — the “shot heard ’round the world” –and the start of the FBI’s siege of the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord compound in 1985. Quite an impressive concatenation of anniversaries!

    Anniversary dating, indeed, is not solely a white nationalist phenomenon. According to Hussain S. Zaidi‘s Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts, the principal suspect in the 1993 bombings, Tiger Memon says:

    Friday, 12 March, is the seventeenth day of Ramazan. It will be the day when the Holy Prophet fought the first battle of Junge-Badr against the heathens of Mecca and forced them to retreat. The auspicious date will help us achieve success.

    Or as Anuraga Kashyap‘s film Black Friday has it:

    Tiger‘s memory reaches back to 624 CE.

    **

    And for a sunnier thought..

    Here’s a parallelism between architecture and cartooning, courtesy of Bill Benzon:

    Uday and Qusay Trump motif traces back to Bill Maher

    Sunday, January 7th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — more striking examples of form in the news, “pressed down and flowing over” ]
    .

    Michael Wolff‘s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House has been quoted extensively, but one accusation struck me forcibly, both because of its viciousnes and because it has a formal property of double, parallel construction. The comparison was between Trump‘s sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and Saddam‘s sons, Uday and Qusay:

    Don Jr. and Eric — behind their backs known to Trump insiders as Uday and Qusay, after the sons of Saddam Hussein — wondered if there couldn’t somehow be two parallel White House structures, one dedicated to their father’s big-picture views, personal appearance and salesmanship, and the other concerned with day-to-day management issues.

    Crudely but vividly put in a Pinterest graphgc [I’ve reduced its scale, but you get the idea]:

    **

    Under the header, Maher Rips Trump Sons — Calls Them ‘Uday and Qusay’, Breitbart reported in September 2016 what seems to me most likely the original source of Wolff’s unsourced remark:

    On the Friday airing of HBO’s “Real Time,” host Bill Maher slammed the two sons of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump.

    Maher partially cited a Trump quote from his 2008 book, “Think Big,” which he used as a segue to attack the Trump children.

    “Donald Trump also once said, ’Sometimes people will come into my office and they will be great. They will look great, they’ll sound great, they dress beautifully. Everything is great. Then after you hire them they turn out to be morons,’ which explains his sons Uday and Qusay.”

    “I mean Trump, Sr. at the what House is bad enough without these two American psychos putting plastic over the furniture so that they can axe murder prostitutes while discussing Phil Collins,” he continued.

    According to Breitbart, then, Maher would seem to be the ur-source — with just a hint that Trump himself may be partially responsible at that:

    which explains his sons Uday and Qusay.

    The Trump sourcing strikes me as so attenuated as to be worthless, but the tie to Maher seems undeniable — whether it’s Wolff’s only source or not.

    **

    Here are a couple of other items in the news which have caught my eye on account of their formal propeties. Here, from Real clear Politics, is the first:

    President Trump said there was no collusion between himself on the Russians, but there was collusion between Hillary Clinton and the Russians and the Democratic National Committee and the Russians.

    That strrikes me as a clear instance of what psychologists term projectionAri Melber writes in his intro to psychologist Dr. Justin Frank, who discusses the issue with him:

    Trump uses ‘projection’ as a defense tactic

    Trump is an expert at projecting his own faults onto his political rivals as a defense mechanism

    There are plenty of other arguable examples of Trump’s likely instinctive use of projection, but to my mind the most powerful are those that use the same words or phrases — eg: “collusion between [self, other] and the Russians” — in a short span to contrast the denial [against self] and accusation {against the other].

    It’s a widely-found psychological trick — and a beautiful formal setup. The saying about “the pot calling the kettle black” summarizes it nicely, as Ari Melber obviously knows:

    And dig this example:

    **

    A second form to keep an eye out for, and one of my own favorites, is the serpent-bites-its-tail motif, or ouroboros.

    Discussing Trump saying he’llannounce his “Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards” tomorroww:–

    “I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock,” Trump wrote. “Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!

    Everyone in comedy took immediate advantage, proposing themslves (!) for awards:

    but it was Ari Melber, host of MSNBC’s The Beat, who nailed the ouroboric implications of Trump’s challenge with this question:

    Will he be physically able to give an award to anyone other than himself?

    It may not feature groovy graphics, like the two late-night comedians’ tweets do — but that explicit Trumpian self-reference really stings!

    Enough. I’m getting dizzy, and that’s something my doctors would scribble about it I mentioned it. Gotta save them pencil-wear — I’m not so simple as a list of symptoms, added to a single numbered diagnosis,

    Orwell, Fascism, &c – we need our own red lines, but where?

    Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — how far gone are we — from a sorta leftist-centrist-don’t-really-fit-labels POV? ]
    .

    I’m not sure what exactly JM was responding to here, there have been too many pointers..

    **

    I for one don’t think Charlottesville stacks up against Kristallnacht, and am wary of the words Fascism and Nazi. I wholeheartedly agree with JM Berger in his piece today, Calling them Nazis:

    There’s an increasingly common argument online against referring to the alt-right by its chosen name. “Call them Nazis” is the refrain. If you haven’t said it yourself, you’ve probably seen other people saying it.

    While this approach may be understandable and may suit certain rhetorical purposes, it’s a grave mistake for journalists and experts who substantively study and cover the movement to embrace this approach.

    JM continues:

    The alt-right category is extremely important to understanding what’s happening in this movement. Nazis are only part of this movement, or more correctly neo-Nazis, since most of them aren’t German nationalists. If neo-Nazis were America’s only problem, it would be a much smaller problem.

    **

    My concern here is with a somewhat different angle, and not specifically with the Charlottesville clashes. I’m noting the widespread tendency to suggest we’re already in Brownshirt territory, if not deeper in than that, and I think it may be a bit premature.

    IMO, we need to be cautious in where we draw the lines that say, beyond here is Fascism, or Nazism, it seems to me: exaggeration only serves to discredit those who indulge.

    There are real problems, both with overt swastika-wavers and with those who support or merely tolerate them. Which way the wind will blow over the coming few years, however, is yet to be seen.

    **

    However, getting back to Orwell

    — it does seem to me that scooping up more than a million IP addresses of epople who may have an interest in protesting Trump gies way beyond some kind of Orwell Limit.

    Orwell kept his resistance movement cellular and basically unnowable: datamining the web blows an enormous hole in that strategy.

    I’d have to say that with today’s news about DOJ vs DisruptJ20, one of my personal Orwell Red Lines has been crossed.

    Jack Jenkins’ twitterstream

    Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — sources for my previous post with tweet & DoubleQuote]
    .

    In fairness, because I questioned & implicitly critiqued Jenkins on one of the tweets in this series in my previous post, here’s the whole series for your consideration:

    Here you can find Jenkins’ ThinkProgress article, Trump is creating a new form of Christian nationalism centered on himself.

    High Priest, or Savior?

    Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — semantics of the theology of presidency, seen from the left ]
    .

    Jack Jenkins, in ThinkProgress and on his Twitterstream:

    It’s interesting how expression differs across media, no?

    **

    Jack Jenkins is a Harvard Divinity alum, I’m from Christ Church, Oxford, myself, and we both think informed religious reporting is important. In short, he’s a natural ally.

    My tweet to Jack:

    I might grant you High Priest, maybe — but Savior?


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