France's Islamophobe-in-residence. / Blandine Le Cain
The Baffler,  November 14, 2016

Daily Bafflements

Normalization, Islamophobia, Save Our Souls

France's Islamophobe-in-residence. / Blandine Le Cain
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• And so it begins. Over the weekend Mr. Trump, when asked how many immigrants he wanted to deport (or jail), threw out a cool three million figure. He gave a top job to Steve Bannon, a man who makes your common-or-garden spin doctor look quaint. We suggest you do not retire your soul for the next four-to-eight years. Why not submit to our magazine? (Apparently we’re part of an “intellectual renaissance”!)

• It’s happening everywhere. France’s fascist du jour, Marine Le Pen—whose father and political predecessor was rejected by 82 percent of the electorate just a few years ago—is getting interviews on the BBC: “You don’t gain any special insight on an ideology by letting ideologues take the floor,” argues Baffler friend Sam Kriss, “all you do is allow it to reproduce itself ( . . . ) We’re on her turf now.”

• “Americanness is a sponge, not an ethnicity; normalization is a key part of how it works” writes Hua Hsu at the New Yorker. “We should remain suspicious of efforts to welcome Trumpism into the fold of mainstream American ideas ( . . . ) to laugh, and to think that, at the end of the day, we all just want the same thing.” Sounds sensible, so why did the same magazine profile a prominent member of the alt-right a few weeks ago? Read Angela Nagle’s salvo on the link between the Internet’s countercultural id and real violence for some actual context.

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 February 13

A truly progressive man would be one who rejects the social and economic advantages that come from masculinity, with a “feminine flourish.”