The thing is, this stuff is supposed to work.
And the Covington Catholic school boys hoax worked only too well, and too quickly–swallowing it hook line and sinker the Narrative can’t just spit it back out now.
I first learned of it when overhearing an earnest young man telling someone else about a disturbing video of MAGA teens setting upon “indigenous people”, how he couldn’t stop thinking of it and how this must be one of those pivotal moments in political history. And every one of the crazed responses online betrayed something like hope, that this horrendous act, finally, would Change Everything.
And it might.
Despite being a typical leftist hoax-outrage in its elements, this one transcended the genre. The image was that powerful, the players that compelling, the context, the timing; there’s nothing to do but mix the cliched metaphors: This perfect storm struck a chord.
The desperation of the “resistance” to get Trump is a constant. The visceral responses to the initial Covington video revealed something more, a post-shock confidence, confidence in the power of the searing image to justify escalation in their cold war on white men. Now it was truly “on”; or so they thought. New rules applied and it was about time.
So it’s instructive and chilling to have seen how they reacted when they felt certain there would be no walking-back. Indeed, the pressure was on to show how much one was appalled, how much he hated those awful kids.
The calls for violence resembled nothing so much as those calling for harsh punishments for terrorists; a gruesome signalling contest sets in, with people trying to outdo one another in severity to show they, truly, truly despise the terrorists. Sure, you’d hang them, but I’d have them drawn and quartered!
If your intention was to expose the true, emotional depths of anti-white animus in this country you could have done a lot worse than expose right-thinkers, now well into their cloistered, post-Trump indoctrination, to the kids from Covington. The students, with their unashamed white-male-ness, emerged as if directly from the recent APA report pathologizing masculinity, Gillette’s gloomy ad , or the pages of a Rolling Stone “expose” of “rape culture” in college. Haven Monahan finally revealed himself and he was everything they said, ready to stuff the hollow-cheeked old Indian into the nearest book locker.
The moral high ground is held by appropriating historical-cultural archetypes. That of the Noble Indian rivals even the Numinous Negro in emotional punch. We hear so much more from the latter because he’s top producer of demagogic energy, while Indians lack charisma (the Noble Indian is distinctly un-charismatic in his laconic dignity). Blacks have, disastrously, proven to be very entertaining in their dysfunction, and their very savagery–for lack of a better word–is indispensable to their cultural domination. This subtext underscores the demagogy like a bass line.
Meanwhile, the Noble Indian remains unassailably sympathetic, the embodiment of all the sins of colonialism, slavery, genocide. He suffers in quiet dignity at a time when loud, angry blacks–such as the Black Hebrews–dominate. Perhaps if the average white American had to endure the daily absurdities Indians might visit upon them things would be different. But the Indian remains more myth than experience in the collective consciousness.
Nathan Phillips’ sorry physical appearance makes him appear as if the embodiment of Indian’s post-genocidal condition. He was perfectly cast for the moment.
But his was definitely the supporting role. This was about the kids. They impressed not because they fit the crafted image of Trump supporters–which we’re supposed to see as knuckle-dragging losers, incels, old. That’s who they would have picked, of course, but this accident of fate made for genius casting: the rosy-cheeked white youths against the emaciated, Christ-like suffering Indian.
There was another archetype at hand to project onto them: the smug, psychologically unassailable Wasp bad guy from every other eighties film about high school, and their real life avatars.
And there he was, smirking right in the face of the Noble Indian.
It tore open the personal-mythic memory of boomers and millennials.
Go with your first impression, and those vibes, this scribe advised
Two days ago, video was posted online that pretty much everyone who saw immediately recognized for what it was—footage of white teens taunting and harassing a Native American elder named Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. What was happening was clear and unmistakable, not just resonant but immediately recognizable as iconic. If you wanted to compress the history of relations between the powerful and the powerless in America, or the dynamics of the current moment, into a single image, you couldn’t do much better than to present a white teen in a MAGA hat, surrounded by a screaming horde of his peers, smirking into the face of an old Native American man.
Watching the video accompanying this story you realize what triggered the author and her ilk is the healthy confidence and defiance of the youths:
The truly triggered, those still holding the line, were triggered by the sight of healthy, well-adjusted young men. Triggered by high school cheers!
They showed their fangs, they said “things you can’t take back”, they revealed the depths of their hate for a second there, and there’s no returning.
And into this glorious future we go.