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Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:14 PM

"You Know What to Do": Decoding the Grotesque Symbolism of Trump's Tulsa Rally

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/06/decoding-the-grotesque-symbolism-of-trumps-tulsa-rally


“You Know What to Do”: Decoding the Grotesque Symbolism of Trump’s Tulsa Rally
Instead of unleashing his inner sulking toddler, the scant attendance in Tulsa inspired the president to deliver one of his most rhetorically violent performances, complete with a grim Election Day threat.
By Jeff Sharlet
June 22, 2020

snip//

Those who’ve never seen a Trump speech before remarked on what they took to be its incoherence. They didn’t understand that for his followers, that’s the appeal. It’s a dual signal: simultaneously the official story and the vicious undertow, “the economy” (read: boring) and “comedy,” racist or just mean, “kung flu” like the imitation of a CNN reporter with which, flagging a bit at 12 minutes in, he revved up the proceedings. From there on out he took what he wanted from the teleprompter, but he didn’t look back once at even his own authoritarian sense of decorum. Trump usually tiptoes up to the QAnon conspiracy theories undergirding his base’s faith in “the chosen one”; Saturday night he went romping through them.

snip//

Who is the enemy in this civil war? It’s a secret one, of course. Trump’s frequent claims Saturday night that Joe Biden is “controlled” by unnamed radical powers is straight out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as filtered through QAnon. I’ve heard similar ideas from many of his supporters. Usually they say George Soros, sometimes the Rothschilds. Sometimes they make it plain: “Jews.”

And then there was this, Trump’s biggest Q “drop” of the night, an escalation that should concern us all: Biden, he said, will “subsidize late-term abortion and after-birth execution.” After-birth execution. This is Pizzagate rhetoric straight from the president’s mouth, a pillar conviction of QAnon, the remarkably widespread belief among his supporters that Democratic elites traffic children, ritually kill them (cue Protocols of the Elders of Zion again), and even eat them. The first time a Trumper told me Democratic elites practice cannibalism, I dismissed it as fringe. By perhaps the fourth or fifth time, I understood cannibalism to be part of the mythos, a minority belief within Trumpism but a potent one in that it validates as “moderate” the belief that the Clinton-Obama–Biden axis merely abuses children.

This obsession with what is done to the bodies of children by Democrats is, like the rape fantasies with which Trump has taken to lacing his rally speeches, grossly sexualized. It is the most violent pedophilia of all, projected onto Trump’s enemies. It allows his followers to wallow in the most grotesquely taboo thoughts and to relish the revenge they’ll take on those whom they imagine actually committing such horrors. And it’s an escalation of the any-means-necessary methods of abortion-clinic bombers. If you really believe abortion is murder, isn’t assassination justified? Take that view up (or down) a notch: If you really believe Democrats are raping and eating children, what punishment would not be merited? What rage would not be righteous? The Trump rally—the collective voicing of such fantasies, their sanctification by way of the flag and, implicitly, the cross—is the ritual by which Trump remakes the American dream into a fetish for revenge.

It’s meant to foment violence—but violence from which Trump can maintain a distance. “We have to go to the polls on November 3,” Trump said Saturday night in Tulsa, “and the rest”—what was “the rest”? He didn’t say. He let his people imagine: a tough hombre, climbing through your window; animals, carving up young women like turkeys; innocent little babies, executed. Imagine revenge, for our people. “And the rest,” Trump said Saturday night in Tulsa, “you know what to do. You know what to do.”

Jeff Sharlet is the author of The Family, recently made into a Netflix documentary series, and This Brilliant Darkness. He is the Frederick Sessions Beebe ’35 Professor in the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College.

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Reply "You Know What to Do": Decoding the Grotesque Symbolism of Trump's Tulsa Rally (Original post)
babylonsister Jun 22 OP
saidsimplesimon Jun 22 #1
LakeArenal Jun 22 #2
Disaffected Jun 22 #3
underpants Jun 22 #4
robbob Jun 22 #7
Wednesdays Jun 22 #8
Demovictory9 Jun 22 #5
Hermit-The-Prog Jun 22 #6

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:20 PM

1. We "know what to do".

November will not be kind to those who expose their families and neighbors to support the mad man on the hill.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:25 PM

2. Republicans are the ones who cage children.

Many that disappear.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:29 PM

3. "After-birth execution"?

Now I know some folks freeze and store it and others cook it up for dinner but executing it??

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:33 PM

4. I didn't listen but had the re-airing on.

I was listening to music on my headphones. This is some stark stuff.

I was watching and Fox was very careful how they showed it. When they finally showed a shot wide enough to see the empty seats I almost did a spit take.

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Response to underpants (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 06:59 PM

7. Yeah, Fox "News"

The great presidential editor. I have an ongoing conversation with a friend who gets his news from Fox and the like, and every single time I tell him some outrageous thing tRump said or did he’s totally clueless. Like all the “Covid will go away like a miracle...”, things we all take for granted, he’s just never heard it mentioned. So at least now he acknowledges the tRump is an idiot and fool, but he’s still all obsessed about “Obamagate” and convinced laws were bent and broken in an attempt to oust the duly elected president. I bet him 100$ that no one he’s accusing of breaking the law will ever see the inside of a courtroom. Of course, I’m sure he’ll just chalk that up to the all powerful arm of the insidious “deep state”...

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Response to robbob (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 07:31 PM

8. Why do elephants paint their toenails red?

To hide in cherry trees. Ever see an elephant in a cherry tree? No? See how good it works!

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 05:39 PM

5. he'll say anything and everything

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2020, 06:52 PM

6. GOPers support this monster. Republicans are hazardous to your health.

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