Faces of America

Posted: January 11, 2021 in Culture, Idle Nonsense, Outrage, Politics, Tacky
Tags: , , ,

I admit it: I’m a bit triggered. Storming of the U.S. Capitol Building last week, even though it was over in one day, sent a lot of us back to the drawing board, wondering how things could come to that. Not that civil unrest, attempted coups and secession, and even revolution haven’t been predicted for months. Still, the weirdness of this particular manifestation of citizen frustrations is hard to fathom. See, for instance, this blog post, which offers a reckoning not easy to face. Simply put, crowds that form into protests and physical occupations fully recognize their abandonment at the hand of oligarchs and political leaders and as a result act out their desperation and nihilism. Their question becomes “why not take over and occupy a building?” Doesn’t matter, nothing to lose anymore. It’s already all gone. Whether it’s a college administrative building, governor’s mansion, federal or state office building, or the U.S. Capitol Building, the sentiment appears to be the same: why the hell not? Doesn’t matter there was no plan what to do once the building was breached; doesn’t matter that it wasn’t occupied for long; doesn’t matter that property was damaged; doesn’t matter that lives were ruined and lost; doesn’t matter that no replacement government or executive was installed like a real coup or revolution would demand. Still works as an expression of outrage over the dysfunctions of society.

On the bright side, actual death and injury were quite limited compared to what might have obtained. Mayhem was largely limited to property destruction. Plus, it was a potent reminder to legislators (filmed scrambling for safety) that maybe they ought to fear backing the citizenry into corners with nowhere to turn. Conjecture that, had the racial make-up of the protesters been different, a massacre would have ensued remains just that: conjecture.

In the meantime, the mainstream media (MSM) are making hay. Many reports feature this ridiculous dude (various images available) prominently:

Problem is that the MSM are presenting news in a form roughly equivalent to People of Walmart. Call it instead Faces of America. Find the craziest image/example of protest, dissent, and sometimes violence and raise its prominence, thereby invalidating crowds that form as kooks neither to be taken seriously nor having legitimate grievances. It’s like the monk, academic, or mystic who, in his extremity, publicly self-immolates. The underlying message is that people so upset they would take such drastic steps simply aren’t worthy of serious concern because, well, they’re already too far gone.

Here’s a similar, well-circulated image of a protester falling to her knees and shrieking, distraught over something (again, context and motivation lose irrelevance), who was promptly turned into a meme, a laugh at her own expense:

No doubt, there’s something stagey, theatrical, and performative about these folks. (I’ve limited myself to just two.) Cosplay is more familiar to me at Renaissance fairs, with participants sometimes assemble outfits from wildly disparate cultures, themes, and historical periods (not unlike the dude above — face paint, horned bonnet, and tattoos originating from any of a number of cultures). Superfan conventions are less familiar to me, but cosplay there is also harmless fun. But with political protest, the whole point seems to be to position oneself flamboyantly in front of cameras and claim one’s 15 seconds of fame. The MSM love it, of course, and their extended Faces of America gambit is humiliating and ghoulish, not unlike excessive attention paid to mass murderers who should be instead be anonymized. Squeaky wheel, I guess.


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