The Trump-hating left's descent into pornoviolence
Fareed Zakaria, for better or worse, is generally considered a man on the housebroken side of the left. He's the establishment, the kind of leftist who goes to conferences and opines deep thoughts. He's not the street thug, cyber-goon, or rabid foul-mouthed late-night comedy mess-on-the-carpet side of the left.
But even Zakaria has now fallen to the bloodlust against President Trump prevalent on the left, tweeting:
If you're in NYC, go see Julius Caesar, free in Central Park, brilliantly interpreted for Trump era. A masterpiece: https://t.co/RiJJnW3g8V
— Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria) May 31, 2017
Having failed to prevent the election of Donald Trump, having failed to prove Russia collusion allegations against him, having failed to impeach him – the left is now turning to assassination fantasies, some say in the hope of getting one deranged lunatic to act on them. It started early, grew prominent with late-night comedian Kathy Griffin's beheading stunt, and has since moved on to the highbrow theatre crowd, the same people who had a cow when Vice President Pence went to see a production of Hamilton. The highbrows have opted to stage Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in Central Park with a Trump-like figure playing the role of the assassinated Roman consul who made himself dictator.
It probably could work as a sort of art – but not with this crowd doing it. As the postmoderns say, context is everything. The context here is that we all know that the left hates Trump. We all know they haven't gotten over the election. We all know they are still stewing as if it happened yesterday. And we all know what they really want.
So we know what they have in mind with this assassination shtick, which has cause numerous sponsors to pull out, not wanting to get sued if some nut tries to act on what the play seems to be encouraging.
But as for the left itself, if it's not assassination they are advocating, it's another revolting phenomenon: what Tom Wolfe called "pornoviolence" back in 1967, when he discussed the media's fascination with looping footage of the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy "to watch some guy get his head blown off," as I recall. The Washington Post discussed the phenomenon in 2013:
Tom Wolfe, an essential chronicler of the '60s, called the assassination "the prologue to America's season of violence" – indeed, a new "pornoviolence," in which images and narratives of death were incessantly repeated, hardening Americans against pain.
The TV networks, he wrote in 1967, "schooled us in the view from Oswald's rifle and made it seem a normal pastime." From then on, he argued, the center of the story, in news and entertainment programs, was not so much the hero but the aggressor, with gory details becoming the driving force of the narrative.
Sound like today's anti-Trump left to you?
With that analysis, it would point to a shift away from Trump in any sort of hero role in the press, replaced with the left's dark descent into an aggressor-focused "narrative." Any aggressor against Trump, no matter how foul, will becomes the left's loving focus, its hero, the center of its narrative. So even as Caesar is stabbed in a play, the left cheers. The left's aim seems to be to keep that drumbeat rolling as a means of eventually getting what it wants, using some lunatic if necessary.
What's more, the left tries to escape responsibility for its own base instincts. Variety reports that the play depicts baying "mobs" of Trump voters as the most dangerous elements, not the actual assassins, in its appropriation of Shakespeare's play.
It's a grotesque thing, signaling that if anything, the left is out of ideas and has gone bone-dry on any pretense to morality. Fareed Zakaria's endorsement of this shows just how far the rot has spread. If the left can't check itself, we are in for dark days ahead. The template is out there.