Is it me or is the Left adopting a National Socialist aesthetic? Here’s the president’s iEnemies site (note the link may re-direct to Obama’s main campaign site):
Report lese majesty here. Or else.
Bringing to mind the SPLC’s longtime paranoid theme for its Hatewatch. An interrogating eye emerging from pixellated obscurity immobilizes the viewer with its aggressive gaze:
Jeepers, creepers, it’s the virtual panopticon! “Here’s looking at you. And you. And you…”
And this poster from a minor Occupier faction apparently isn’t parody:
Then of course there’s Martin Luther King as the Mall’s forbidding doorman:
Its heroic gigantism calls to mind Hitler and Speer’s ambitions for Berlin. As sculpture, its scale makes modest the far superior works of National Socialism’s Arno Breker (Richard Spencer on the subject here). At least Breker’s heroes gaze romantically off into the distance or benevolently upon the people.
The Left’s triumphalist/paranoid style is incapable of benevolence, only condemnation or condescension. After all these years it’s still a mirroring response to fascism, substituting contrition in place of achievement as the noblest of individual or national ideals (that will show those mouldering Nazis!).
So MLK must glower forever downward in sullen, lizard-lidded reproach upon generations of American schoolchildren touring their capital; no matter how many more disappointments come from the promise of civil rights, whatever degradations remain for us, a maudlin tyranny of the mediocre etched crudely in stone.
This exceptionalism is distinguished from the fascist brand by the accusatory, inward focus of its aggression. I don’t see how this recommends it. America must now phrase its boasts in the fawning language of minority rights; the most craven imperial adventure or corporate mission adopts it to advantage. Having made a fetish of contrition our sins become magnified, numerous–and jealously guarded by those for whom they have proven lucrative. This is imperialism for the postmodern Left. This is its nationalism. Why and where else would the cultural elite assent to such confident, earnest kitsch?
This is why we elected Barack Obama, our Cipher-in-Chief. After the crimes, humiliations and, finally, the economic collapse of the Bush administration we lost confidence and faith; we turned with unrecognized nostalgia to what we’ve been conditioned to see as our greatest achievement and finest hour–the black civil rights movement. This is what America does right! This was what we did in our uncorrupted past. Pastoralism for Progressives. That impulse is spent. Multiculturalism, unchallenged by anyone in power and vulnerable only to reason, empiricism and history, has nowhere now to go but reaction when confronted by change or critique.
When Barack Obama slighted American exceptionalism (a perfectly defensible thing) he wasn’t being honest. He does not reject American exceptionalism as such; he merely improvises on it. Obama has reminded us time and again what is exceptional about America: him. Only America, remember, could produce the wonder that is he.
Obama is an improvisation on our theme of national greatness, made incarnate. How dare they. The president reveres American exceptionalism.
The MLK monument is a fair representation of the now cynical civil rights narrative after decades of black failure–perpetual condemnation from an obscenely aggrandized figure.
If a tyrant pays himself tribute on such a scale, its purpose is clear. Those beyond his reach denounce his ambition and mock his vanity. Just who does this man think he is? We call him mad.
Likewise, just who does the Left think MLK is? Whose madness is this? What is their ambition?
Are we beyond its reach? Because in this curious case, American citizens have little more freedom than that tyrant’s subjects to meaningful dissent.
Black Americans remain atop the hierarchy of grievance by virtue of their now proud helplessness and dysfunction. By achieving political success by virtue of failure everywhere else, black America has created a disastrously effective demagogic model, giving impetus to an ever-increasing host of ethnic and other factions mimicking the chauvinism and hostility of the black political identity. For this they pay their tribute in return, defending the narrative; but like resentful mafiosi kicking back upstairs to a decrepit godfather, they jockey among themselves, bide their time.
Had black America risen, as was expected, to the extraordinary, continuing measures adopted on its behalf at the advent of the civil rights movement, achieving a true equality, the movement might have passed into history a success. But this hasn’t happened, so we’ve adapted by declaring the old expectations quaint and the original ideal–equality before the law–racist, burning the boats that brought us here.
Like the fascists before them, with whom they remain obsessed, our generation’s revolutionaries co-opted their nation’s racial mythology with disregard equally for religion, custom or decency. Revolution quickly became rule, and here in its most deliberate artistic expression it makes of MLK a static, reactionary bulwark against dissent, built to last a thousand years. The movement, like its monument, is derivative. Worse than a crime, a cliche.
What damn poor timing for MLK’s apotheosis though, with the economy going to hell and youthful black lynch mobs cleansing the streets. In the present those insensate eyes, that petulant scowl, the schoolteacher’s accusatory stance are an unearned and dishonest condemnation issuing from mediocrity and failure. Fitting for our inverted empire and its hectoring project of division and displacement directed upon its own. The MLK monument is an opportunity, a teachable moment as they say, to reflect on the wisdom and justice of that project.