Normalizing the unthinkable

In culture, especially one dominated by the persuasive arts of advertising (where our brains are actually shaped by ads more than by any other single force) what is acceptable is changed by creating new “norms”.   The Overton Window is moved in the desired direction and the range of what is acceptable changes.   

You don’t start a program of genocide, for example, without first making people truly hate the target population.  Once enough citizens accept that these people are scum, terrorists, criminals, rapists, parasites, an infestation of implacable enemies, it becomes much easier to get them to support harsh measures against the future subjects of genocide.  But the needle is moved one or two tics at a time in the desired direction by small cultural shifts.  Public readiness must be regularly tested to see how far their shifting beliefs have come.

At one time a president couldn’t say the word “bullshit!” in public, for example, now this president regularly thrills loyal campaign crowds with the word.  I’m not squeamish [1] about a fucking word, but, seriously– that’s all the control you have of your “best” words, your fine vocabulary? Oh, well, whatever works, I suppose.  As no less an expert than Herr Josef Goebbels shrewdly observed:

There is no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals for intellectuals will never be converted, and therefore we must yield to the man in the street. The arguments must therefore be crude, clear, and forcible and appeal to emotions and instincts, not intellect.

I was thinking of how this president has normalized lying.   All presidents lie once in a while.  It’s apparently part of the job description.   This president has set a new standard for lying and he’s become famous for openly and unabashedly lying many times a day.  He simply does it, can’t help it.  He’s compelled to lie by some force he can’t control.   And, best of all, everyone seems to now agree that lying, unless you lie under oath (which everybody knows is called perjury), is perfectly fine, perfect, really.  Presidents since Clinton have learned: never speak about a delicate subject under oath.

Lying, which used to be a bug to be concealed, is now a feature to be bragged about.   “So what, everybody lies, you’re lying right now saying that I’m lying, you bullshit-faced liar.  You’re the liar, not me (though, if I wanted to, I could lie much better than you)!  You losers make me sick with your bullshit lies, you’re the worst people, sick and dangerous.  You can all suck my sweaty blank-strap!”

The traitorous enemies of the people at Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post have created a lie tracker.  Type in the subject of a presidential statement, hit the button et, voila, every fact-checked lie the greatest winner in American, yea, world, history has told since becoming our forty-fifth (and possibly final) president.   I haven’t tried it myself, but why not give it a spin?

I guess my point here today is that Mr. Trump and his remaining loyal dead-enders (and yes, I recall that Rumsfeld used this to describe Iraqi “insurgents” who were no happier under a generous democratic US occupation than under that modern day Hitler Saddam who they’d been liberated from) keep returning to the only play they know.  When in trouble – LIE.   If you’re caught lying, lie about the lie and attack the person who caught you lying, the fucking liar.   

BBC report: Erdogan of Turkey read Trump’s childish letter that ended

History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!

I will call you later.

and tossed it in the garbage.  Of course, the BBC hates America, the Brits have been our enemies since before 1776 when they tried to bomb our airports.   Take state news with a grain, or better, a box, of salt.   They are fucking liars.  Ask Sean Hannity.



[1] my favorite dictionary definition.   Squeamish:   exhibiting a prudish readiness to be nauseated.

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