Daily Bafflements

Alt-right moping, elite amnesty, and our post-truth era

The BafflerNovember 21, 2016
Will there one day be Snowden Avenues? /

Will there one day be a Snowden Avenue? / Corey Doctorow

• At the alt-right confab in DC last weekend, “while much of the discourse at the conference was overtly racist and demeaning toward minorities . . . the focus was on how whites were marginalized and beleaguered.” We know how this one goes. Susan Faludi saw it coming:

After a half century of misbegotten wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, economic downturns and deindustrialization, and blue-collar and middle-class decline, the virus of self-pity is running in the country’s veins. It infects the Trump rallies whose crowds bemoan a nation no longer “great,” the Tea Party assemblies where family members of “the fallen” from our most recent failed conflicts are paraded for applause, and all those municipal flagpoles from which POW/MIA banners have been flying since Vietnam. Feeling sorry for ourselves has become a chronic condition, proudly showcased. Our national mope-fest might seem like the end result of a new civic humility. Instead, it is the means to an end—an end that is decidedly unhumble. Victimhood becomes the enabler of brutality.

• On Friday Obama suggested that he couldn’t pardon Edward Snowden but, despite the president’s excuses, it is within his power. Astra Taylor’s latest explores the history of civic pardoning. “By insisting on preemptive amnesty for their crimes,” Taylor writes, “today’s elites have turned the wisdom behind pardoning on its head”

• “Post-truth” is the OED word of the year. Thanks, 2016. Onward.