Narcissus, the dreamy pool-gazer who loved no one, might flinch at the term that has sprung up in his name. Today, narcissists are known as the thin-skinned complainers, the ones who want it all and don’t care who they bulldoze to get it. They ignore everything but the desire of the moment, retool ugly actions into some socially acceptable format, and seek and find popular, specious repudiation of their obvious, real and documented flaws, because they just want what they want. They manipulate useful listeners and make up stuff as they go along. Frequently, and largely to avoid unpleasant outcomes for themselves, the general population takes sides with a powerful narcissist’s loud, annoying, attention-getting tactics, or more frequently, their shaming, silencing, derisive tactics, because sheeple fear popular opinion or any worrisome shift in their personal status quo, and also because many prefer to enjoy their own similarly noxious habits, unmolested by censure. Intermittent buoys of ringing dissent in a sea of lazy, insistent, and temporarily popular cliques are but a minor hindrance to rising tides of hate. Sooner or later, the rogue waves gather in their unchecked resonance and grow to be 50 feet tall. Narcissists are eternally greedy for acceptance and coronation (Uk, the ur-hominid stomping around on the North American ice sheets, shamans in the prehistoric age, William the Conqueror, a large number of Popes, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, any number of monarchs from A to Z, some select and modern elementary school teachers), and they steal their power from chaos, from those who feel powerless, and from those who are too busy staring at their cell phones to worry about civilization.
One exemplary face in the recent blossoming of delicate flowers is the one that belongs to Stephen K. Bannon. And what a face it is. A bloated, disheveled, boozehound of a face, which by many accounts is the perfect reflection of its inner workings. The angry, entitled man whose rage is inflamed and fanned by LOTS of alcohol, who brings about silence by several means, often monetary, physical, or threatening. Here’s a guy known for tussling with his ex-wife and buying her silence, and for storming around his offices, loudly distributing the bruised fruits of his intellect and proclaiming the desire to ram things down the throats of females who displease him. He’s also known to be not fond of Jews, but he’s been keeping that under the radar, you know, like they ordinarily do in polite society. He is a special kind of modern rot. He shines with the glistering, morbid pallor that is the mark of an overtaxed liver, and the fine sweat that distinguishes the habitual sot’s low blood sugar. You can see those guys in murky corner bars every day, staggering in for a pre-lunch bump, complaining about their wives and their losing streak at the racetrack. Or in upscale districts in DC, where the richly suited quaff from the top shelf, and where their DUIs get pushed under the rug with a few well-placed simoleons.
I don’t know with any certainty if Mr. Bannon is a juicer. He does act like one, however, particularly in terms of that implacable anger. Tweets emerging from alt-White House staffers indicate that a sobriety check might be wise. You would think that for all his fancy degrees, he might have learned to demonstrate more restraint. He might ensure that his pet “news” organization, Breitbart, put forth more sophisticated arguments (let’s choose just one) than “birth control makes women crazy.” Nah, birth control helps to make women free. That’s what these basement wankers hate. They hate freedom for any group but their own. Perhaps he could distinguish logic from smash if he were a bit more… measured.
Be assured that Bannon foresees a long era of getting whatever it is that he wants. He can be quoted, verbatim, on that account. He is said to be a walking bibliography, but what books is he reading? The Book of the Dead? And let’s not even talk about He Who Shall Not be Named. Recently, the esteemed Mr. Bannon, who has flaunted his Harvard “degree” while decrying the same, labeled the media as “losers.” He is a media executive who calls his own breed by an (evidently?) deserved name, in a similar manner to that of his President, who one minute serves up the elites on a platter, and the next claims all manner of pride that rubs off by acquaintance with the Wharton School of Business. Clearly, these two schmoes can’t figure out when to damn the elites and when to boast about being one of their number. And after stacking the Cabinet with billionaires, they are still proclaiming, with a straight face, that they will save America from ruin and from Muslims. The Guided Cheeto excluded from his recent “Muslim ban” all the “Muslim” countries in which he does business. Including Saudi Arabia, home of Osama bin Laden. Is everyone asleep?
There is a (dimly lit?) bright side to how the crack in the world has widened. The fact that Mr. Bannon’s “alt-right” is indeed a thing shows us something. For the last decade or so, the alt-right has had to re-tool its dirty, pustular face thanks to a real change in society; it had to re-name itself, adopt a new euphemism, to perpetuate its existence. The more change has manifested itself, the more the insecure beings, knocked from their historically comfortable and protected perches, have increased the howling and stomping. There is no doubt, though, that they’re back in force, for a time anyway. Even in my cushy corner of the world, they’re hooting with glee, ready to exact their creepy, bitter vengeance. The most frightening thing is that these Manichean creatures desire destruction, pure and simple. They enjoy inflicting pain.
What should you do when you must survive an administration that might control with unsavory malignancy the many aspects of your life, when frequently you will be discouraged to speak up because you may be shunned, ignored, doubted, or actively persecuted? Or to be termed “butt hurt,” the new and puzzling portmanteau word favored by the new bullies? This may or may not apply to you specifically over the next four years, depending on what part of the red/blue line you register. I am hoping that our new President will rise to the occasion, because I do see rare signs that he may be capable of this, in those quiet moments when he’s not busy hiring another KKK sympathizer or screaming at news media heads about photographs taken at unfavorable angles. The presidency of the primary global superpower is a most frightening and august position. I hope that this thought is getting through all that hair. I am a passenger on this Ship of State, and I have no desire to watch it sink.
When I was in junior high, I endured many daily but usually minor physical assaults, which were really attempts to put me in my place in the hierarchy of budding mankind. I put up with the hassle for a long time, while I concentrated on my schoolwork. One afternoon, though, when we were passing to sixth period class, I found myself exceptionally weary and worried about cramming three years’ worth of algebra into two. My arms were filled with binders and textbooks as I marched up the crowded stairwell to my next class. My rear flank was undefended. A boy behind me on the stairs felt he had the right to stick his hand up my skirt. Yes, I do know how that feels. It feels much worse knowing that The Cheeto smirks smugly when he brags about barging in on half-dressed young women in beauty pageants.
I vividly remember that day: how the sickness rose from my gut. I can still feel that energy flooding me from my toes to my eyebrows: hot, murderous, and unstoppable. I remember switching my books to my left arm. I remember twisting my torso, locating the jerk’s face, and executing a roundhouse right that I had practiced many times in my daydreams. I remember the feeling of intense satisfaction when my knuckles cracked on his cheekbone. I remember the sniveling bully backing off very quickly. He learned that day that he couldn’t just do as he pleased.
That’s how you deal with this nefarious stuff. Sometimes it is necessary to fight fire with fire. Call it out, shout it out, punch it out. Don’t be polite. Put it out in the sunshine where everyone is forced to acknowledge it.
Because this is how it starts. This is exactly how malicious, powerful people force themselves or their agenda on an unwilling recipient, whether the item being forced is a hand up a skirt or another war in the Middle East. In this atmosphere, if you object to being ripped off, sexually abused, physically threatened thanks to your coloration, mocked for your beliefs, the predatory will ignore, deny, lie, cheat, break out their lawyers, and blame it all on you. Suck it up buttercup. It’s the new era of the bully. The bullies now feel they have permission from the Bully-in-Chief to prey openly, unabashedly.
Large historical problems, in humanistic terms, are small problems writ large. Sages make pithy quotes about great minds discussing ideas, but these ideas are stickily, imperfectly human, arising from no other source but from our mushy, error-prone brain matter. We will have to deal with the overt effects of unexamined primate emotions for the next little while: greed, insecurity, and a dangerous desire for sheer power. Our nation is being led by a corrupt and secretive serial bankrupter, a man who does not honor his contracts, a sexual predator who is protected by money and other wealthy predators, a bloviator who wouldn’t know a dictionary from a banana, a showman who surrounds himself with celebrities and military shills, a nut-case intent on the mere appearance of adulation. He has no ideas of his own, which is why Bannon et al. chose him as their conveniently empty vessel.
What worries me most is that Steve Bannon is so pickled that he actually believes the quasi-mystical, pseudo-spiritual, cyclical history crap he has been spouting to the Vatican and to the ditto heads. The guy has made all the money he’ll ever need. Evidently he’s not much on women; he’s known to routinely use a loathsome word to describe them, as does DJT. He likes to affect the wardrobe of a rumpled, high-minded ascetic, so clothes-shopping is out as a diversion. What’s left? Maybe it’s a bottle of obscenely expensive single-malt, and a front-row seat to the destruction for which he so gleefully calls.
Some men really do want to watch the world burn. Let’s not give them any more matches.
Find out why closing the women’s wealth gap matters by reading & sharing this report: wawf.org/2lsCEWH #our100days