Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

"Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things"

by digby

Ed Kilgore riffs on a disturbing new column by Thomas Edsall and it won't make you feel any less anxious than you already are:
Millions of words have been spilled in efforts to understand Donald J. Trump’s appeal, much of them involving discontent with the alternatives in both parties offered to voters in 2016. But now, 32 months into his presidency, the more pressing question is how Trump maintains such steady support despite his erratic behavior, his incessant lying, his outbursts of racist malevolence, and his many broken promises.

Is it simply a matter of a booming economy anesthetizing people who really only care about their own pocketbooks, and if so, could the steadily increasing economic jitters — many of them directly attributable to Trump’s policies — finally send his approval ratings into a downward spiral? Is the whole MAGA movement purely and simply an effort by demographic “losers” — particularly white men on the margins of the economy and society — to turn back the clock? Or is Trump just an especially lurid product of extreme ideological and partisan polarization — proof that literally anyone can command one of the two major political parties with no serious erosion of support?

To these much-discussed possibilities — each with its own implications for 2020 and American political life generally — you can add an especially alarming alternative explanation highlighted in a column by the New York Times’ Thomas Edsall: Trump is tapping into a hunger for chaos that he is uniquely qualified to feed. According to an award-winning paper by three political scientists (two from Denmark and one from Temple University), there is a sort of toxic synergy at work between this “populist” pol, chaos-seeking voters, and social media that has placed Trumpism in the mainstream of American politics:
It argues that a segment of the American electorate that was once peripheral is drawn to “chaos incitement” and that this segment has gained decisive influence through the rise of social media.

How do Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux measure this “need for chaos”? They conducted six surveys, four in the United States, in which they interviewed 5157 participants, and two in Denmark, with 1336. They identified those who are “drawn to chaos” through their affirmative responses to the following statements:

I fantasize about a natural disaster wiping out most of humanity such that a small group of people can start all over.

I think society should be burned to the ground.

When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking “just let them all burn.”

We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.

Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.

In an email, Petersen wrote that preliminary examination of the data shows “that the ‘need for chaos’ correlates positively with sympathy for Trump but also — although less strongly — with sympathy for Sanders. It correlates negatively with sympathy for Hillary Clinton.”
More terrifyingly, they found sizable numbers of people agreeing with three of the five “chaos” statements:
The responses to three of the statements in particular were “staggering,” the paper says: 24 percent agreed that society should be burned to the ground; 40 percent concurred with the thought that “When it comes to our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking ‘just let them all burn’ ”; and 40 percent also agreed that “we cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.”
If you ever wondered to whom Trump was addressing his dark vision of “this American carnage” in his inaugural address, this could be your answer. More importantly, perhaps, these chaos-seekers don’t seem to care about empirical data or even truthfulness:
Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux find that those who meet their definition of having a “need for chaos” express that need by willingly spreading disinformation. Their goal is not to advance their own ideology but to undermine political elites, left and right, and to “mobilize others against politicians in general.” These disrupters do not “share rumors because they believe them to be true. For the core group, hostile political rumors are simply a tool to create havoc.”
To put it another way, when Trump says and does outrageous things, he’s just “owning the libs,” or defying “political correctness,” which is a more important goal than truth-telling to people driven by fury. This could well be the reality underlying Salena Zito’s famous maxim that MAGA folk “take Trump seriously, but not literally.” What are a few thousand lies among comrades-in-arms?

Ho boy.

This reminds me of this little budding psychopath:

There was one young white supremacist marching in Charlottesville last year who, when things got scary, stripped off his white polo shirt uniform and tried to blend in with the crowd. When he was asked by a journalist why he was doing what he'd been doing, he said:
It’s kind of a fun idea. Just being able to say, like, "Hey man, white power!" You know? To be quite honest, I love to be offensive. It’s fun.
One of his cohorts thought it might be fun to mow down a bunch of people with his car that day. It was "fun."