Trumpism in a Nutshell

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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152 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Using pray paint

    At least they respected being in a chapel.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Lots of white people get really defensive and angry at mentions of privilege especially more privileged white people. You can see this during bar classes on ending bias in the law.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Where is there any indication that these people are ‘privileged’, rather than merely affluent enough to afford Northwestern when various discounts are added in? (Or are you someone like Richard Bradley who fancies the daughter of a suburban physician counts as ‘incredibly privileged’?).Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Most liberals always recognized that there is a big racist element in Trumpism. It really isn’t mutual inconsistent for Trump to appeal to white racism and economic populism. Its what George Wallace advocated updated for the modern age.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      No, most liberals are in the habit of defining their opponents as ‘racist’ in lieu of arguing with them.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
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        says:

        From the guy who figures there’s no indication two able-bodied straight white men studying at Northwestern enjoy any kind of privilege.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
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          says:

          Non sequitur.

          That aside, unless their parents are people who have pull, they’re not properly described as privileged. You’re confusing privilege with affluence.

          I have a doctor in my nexus. Are his children privileged? They had advantages other people do not have, but having a pair of married parents who know what they’re doing counts as an advantage. His children had that, but people from any walk of life can and do have that. He was more affluent in middle age than his father ever was. What that meant in his case is that his children attended out-of-state schools whereas he and his siblings attended state schools (his parents finished high school and made satisfactory livings with that; his grandparents got whatever schooling was available in small town Virginia ca. 1908).

          Now, what kind of favors can my relation and his wife do for their children other than spend some money on them? In his case, he might prevail on some other doctor in town to hire his daughter as a billing clerk. Since she lives in California and has a better job than that, this isn’t of much use to her. Now, he and his wife have a large mass of cousins, some of which might be of help (one was the sheriff in that county, I believe). Most married couples do not have 60-odd 1st cousins between them, so that avenue is seldom open.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
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            No, you are the one confusing privilege with affluence. If you’re going to engage in debate about who has or doesn’t have privilege, you’re going to need to read up on the meaning of “privilege” in the 21st Century.

            And yes, to your specific example, having both parents in a stable and supportive relationship is absolutely a form of privilege – it is another unearned advantage.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
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              says:

              I’m rather certain Saul knows quite a few streets that millionaires can’t walk down at night if they’re black.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kim
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                says:

                They can’t walk down the same streets if they’re white either. The people who live in those neighborhoods would be well-advised not to walk down those streets if they’re not in the young male demographic.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to dragonfrog
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              says:

              Right, which is why the only way to win is not to play at all.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Sure, @art-deco could “win” by deliberately maintaining ignorance and also choosing to stay out of discussions on the topic. Same way I “win” all debates on auto mechanics I guess…Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to dragonfrog
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              says:

              “having both parents in a stable and supportive relationship is absolutely a form of privilege – it is another unearned advantage.”

              Nope. Having parents in an unstable non supportive relationship, or none at all, is a disadvantage. The dysfunction is the disadvantage, not the normality.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Two sides of the same coin. I’m pointing out heads, you’re pointing out tails. But only one of us denies there is a coin.

                Able-bodied privilege exists. Just because there are probably more people who are able-bodied than physically handicapped doesn’t mean there is a disadvantage without a mirroring advantage.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                Is being able-bodied an unfair advantage?Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                It’s kind of irrelevant, I think. There is no requirement for privilege to be unfair (and anyway, what are you going to do if you decide it is unfair?), it’s just unearned. I did nothing to be born with the use of all my limbs and senses, any more than a disabled person did anything to be born without.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
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              says:

              you’re going to need to read up on the meaning of “privilege” in the 21st Century.

              No, I do not need to ‘read up’ on the rhetorical games you elect to play. (In any case, they’re being thrown in my face).

              And, no, your complaint makes no sense. We’ve had in the occidental world delineated orders and we’ve had caste societies. Nothing remotely like that obtains today. You’re offering a complaint on the ordinary variation you find among human beings – some are smarter than others, some develop their talents better than others, some are more disciplined and thoughtful in domestic circumstances, &c. Not only can you not do a blessed thing about that, you would not want to live in circumstances where people are not developing their talents and exercising discipline.

              The closest you get to the privileges of a society of orders would be people making use of connections. Someone like Hunter Biden, nosecandy lover, is ace at leveraging connections. The trouble is, the overwhelming majority of people influence nothing of much importance, and some of those who do make a point of not doing any favors for their family.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Privilege means two things, sometimes in the same sentence.

                Definition One: Stuff that will give your kid an advantage over other kids, all things considered.

                Definition Two: Stuff that if you don’t give your kid, he’ll be disadvantaged under other kids, all things considered.

                There’s blurry stuff between these two definitions and they aren’t perfectly delinable but I’m sure you remember the one crazy guy who argued that, ahem:

                ‘I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’

                Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                Jaybird, we’ve talked about this before, but people who talk about privilege don’t mean either of those two things. They mean the standard definition (Google’s first choice is close enough):

                a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

                Which is to say, a privilege isn’t stuff you can give/not give your kid. It’s something that is attributed to or denied your kid via norms, rights, institutional structures. Eg, walking down the street sipping coffee without getting harrassed by the cops is a privilege accorded to white people and not blacks.

                So the argument goes.

                Now, pre-emptively, I wanna concede that you don’t define the word that way. But that’s how most people (other than yourself) define it, and even if there’s a dispute about the semantics of the term two people can (if they’re reasonable) disambiguate the meanings for a fruitful discussion – that is, one that isn’t about semantics – to ensue.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                But the non-standard definition keeps bubbling up.

                Scroll up a bit. Here’s something from Dragonfrog:

                And yes, to your specific example, having both parents in a stable and supportive relationship is absolutely a form of privilege – it is another unearned advantage.

                It’s not just me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                Yes, I noticed that, too. I think he’s wrong to say that – having a supportive upbringing is no more a privilege than having a supportive spouse. It’s a benefit, along a certain calculus, but not a privilege.

                But I’d say the same thing to Dfrog as you: there’s a standard definition people mean when they talk about this stuff, and that ain’t it.

                I mean, you can use the word to convey it’s non-standard meaning all you like. (Free country and all that!) But a discussion with someone employing the word’s conventional meaning will require agreeing that there are two meanings which apply to, or describe, radically different properties in the world.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                Sure, but, and here’s my point, it’s not just me and Dragonfrog. This definition of privilege keeps showing up in weird places.

                I can (and probably have) found examples of other writers talking about privilege and they’re talking about a lot more than mere unpacking of an invisible knapsack.

                They’re actively talking about stuff like parents who stay married, parents who read to their children, parents who spend time with their kids and give them appropriate praise (and appropriate criticisms sandwiched between appropriate praises).

                While it’s true that Dictionary Definition Number One of privilege has not yet been supplanted, let’s go to the Wikipedia and read the first paragraph:

                Privilege is a special right or advantage available only to a particular person or group of people. The term is commonly used in the context of social inequality, particularly in regard to age, disability, ethnic or racial category, gender, sexual orientation and social class. Two common examples would be having access to a higher education and housing. Privilege can also be emotional or psychological, regarding comfort and personal self-confidence, or having a sense of belonging or worth in society.

                Regarding comfort? Personal self-confidence?? Having a sense of belonging or worth in society???

                Now, of course, this is wikipedia and so God only knows what the first paragraph looked like yesterday. Probably talked about Tara Reid or something.

                But this definition keeps showing up and it keeps being one that is understood in addition to the dictionary definition that is the google’s go-to definition.

                It’s not just me. It’s not just Dragonfrog.

                This thing is seriously out there.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well, Jaybird, per your quotation, there are two definitions of “privilege” operable in today’s discourse (tho I admit I’ve never seen the word used to express the second one) yet you cited neither of them when defining the word for Art.

                Can we at least agree that yours is radically non-standard?

                (I’m guessing that we cannot…)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Well, my definition is more intended to be descriptive than prescriptive.

                When we say Two common examples would be having access to a higher education and housing. Privilege can also be emotional or psychological, regarding comfort and personal self-confidence, or having a sense of belonging or worth in society.

                That second one is something that I see ALL THE TIME. I am more than happy to not disagree with you when you say that you’ve never seen it but there’s stuff like this and this and I’m sure that if I spent more time on the google, I could find even more examples.

                (Now if we’re talking about the definitions that *I* gave above, if you want to call it sloppy, I’ll agree and toss it away and go back to say that the two kinds of privilege are the dictionary definition that we talk about when we talk about the invisible backpack (something that you give your kids genetically, socially, and culturally) but there is a second kind. The other kind is the kind that you can bestow by reading to kids, spending time with them, staying in a loving relationship with their other parent, so on and so forth (that is, the kind that you can stunt them by withholding). And it keeps showing up.)Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Note that one of those definitions is vitally necessary for the concept of White Privilege to exist.

                So is it really that hard to accept that definition as valid, and the intended one, when discussing White Privilege?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
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                DD,

                Exactly. And conceding those semantics doesn’t mean people have to agree with the conclusions of White Privilege arguments, of course. But if folks are to engage those arguments both participants must be talking about the same thing for an actual discussion to take place.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I went looking for the example of this that I remembered, so I could say “look, here’s someone else saying it too!”, and it turned out it was Dragonfrog.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I don’t think I was being sloppy there with the definition of privilege. Looking at the wikipedia article (FWIW) I think my statement fits the mold.

                Does a stable family background convey advantages?

                Are those advantages available only to members of the group (not visually identifiable in this case, but still a group) of people who were born into stable family circumstances?

                Did those people take some meritorious action to earn their birth into those circumstances?

                Would you argue able-bodied privilege is not a thing though? A right, advantage, or immunity doesn’t have to be at the hands of e.g. police or employers. It can be the advantage of access to visual culture and (non-Braille) written language, available only to those with decent eyesight. The ability to easily move around and care for oneself, available far more easily to those with full use of their limbs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                Does a stable family background convey advantages?

                Sure, but it’s NOT the case that having one is “available only to a particular person or group of people.”

                Edit: except, until recently, for gays.

                This ain’t social rocket science, guys.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                People use “privilege” a lot of different ways and one of the ways they use it is co-extensively with “social capital”.

                Maybe they shouldn’t. That’s cool.

                But they sure as hell do.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well, white people do. “It’s a privilege to know you sir!”

                When talking about social, and in particular racial, issues, there’s generally only one meaning people invoke.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                “Generally” is doing a fair amount of heavy lifting there.

                I think that, generally, we’re going to find that “privilege” will evolve as a concept with regards to social and racial issues so that it’ll be something that can’t be used as a weapon against academic types. Even if they’re white academic types.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                No , it’s not doing any lifting. I only threw it in there as a bone to you and views like yours. I was being charitable.

                I should have gone with my first inclination, which was to write “exclusively”.

                (That’ll teach me to be nice…)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                While a prescriptivist could easily argue that all of the people who aren’t using it the way that it’s used exclusively are using it incorrectly, I’m more interested in how it seems to be evolving as a concept.

                Because it ain’t just me and dragonfrog who are confused into using it incorrectly on this website and this website alone.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m more interested in how it seems to be evolving as a concept.

                In the same way that in our evolved language NO ONE is a racist anymore?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                In a very interesting way that allows for academic types to not be criticized personally but allows them to criticize institutions.

                Personal racism vs. structural racism.

                See also: Feminism.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Btw, Jaybird, don’t you find interesting that you and I are talking about semantics this much? I mean, we both agree (I think anyway…) on the various meanings that have been thrown around, yes? Is that all the White Privilege debate amounts to: who gets to determine the meanings of the words being used?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’ve either fallen so far into a pit of nihilistic despair or have gone so very meta that I see only the sabermetrics of the swing and am incapable of just getting excited when the Rockies get a game-winning home run.

                I suppose it amounts to the same thing.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                I’ll go with nihilistic despair. You know that when black people talk about these issues they aren’t referring to whether the Rockies can hit a walk off home run…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                Wait until the academics have sufficiently processed “intersectionality”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                I’da thought you were temperamentally and intellectually opposed to letting academics define reality, Jaybird. When did you make your move and align with CK on the Dark Side? 🙂Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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                None of us were the same after Qatar.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Stillwater
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                Just because the group of people to whom it is available isn’t a box you can look for on a census, doesn’t mean it’s not a group. It’s the group of people to whom it was available, that’s all.

                A stable family background is not available to someone who grew up in an abusive home, or who was removed from an one and bounced from foster home to foster home, or who fled one and was homeless, or had it denied them for any other number of reasons.

                What’s the group of people to whom white privilege is unavailable? Those who don’t have whiteness. The group to whom straight privilege is unavailable? Those who don’t have straightness. The group to whom the privilege of a stable family background is unavailable? Those who didn’t grow up in a stable family.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Stillwater
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                It’s possible that there are institutional forces – e.g. disproportionate incarceration of young males and badly written welfare/AFDC incentives – that don’t impact all communities equally, and lead to structural barriers to creating long-term two-parent families in a stable residence in some communities that aren’t present in others. That would be a type of privilege for children in the latter communities.

                It would be a hard argument to make – and as you point out, it’s not the argument most people would think is being made in the original statement – but I don’t see it as facially invalid.Report

  4. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    That is so egregious, so flagrant, and so stupid that it boggles me. These are Northwestern students – you would think they would be smarter than to get caught like that.

    Hmmm. I’ve known a few people who really do think they are smarter than everyone else, and they attempt to prove it by doing outrageous things and NOT getting caught or disciplined or stopped.

    And yeah, that does sort of sound like it’s right in the Trump wheelhouse.Report

  5. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    Wait, are they Trump supporters, or are they anti-Trump supporters who wanted this blamed on Trumpists?

    The article doesn’t say either way, they haven’t said anything.

    Is this a fake hate crime?
    ETA Either way they are a huge part of the problem right now, and rightfully condemmed.Report

  6. Avatar Will Truman
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    So, here’s where I am coming from. Trumpism is hard to categorize, and the more you read about who is involved, the harder it becomes. But there are to some degree at least two groups: Jacksonian Trumpists and Wallacean Trumpists.

    I feel a bit for the Jacksonians, if partly because I have myself piled on in the past. They have some cultural concerns and economic concerns and feel that society is actively working to leave them behind. In some ways, I think society should, and in others I think what they want to do to prevent that from happening is a bad idea for one reason or another. But I do get the angst and why they take it as personally as they do.

    Then there’s the Wallaceans. The lines between the two aren’t always clear because Trump speaks to both, but some pretty clearly seem to me to fall into this camp.

    I seek some degree of understanding of the first group. Not because I want to give them what they want, but because they are a part of the body politick and clearly cannot be as disregarded as they have been without… well… this. Maybe it would be a hopeless cause, with them demanding more than I am willing to try to accommodate. Maybe not.

    That’s all terribly beside the point, though, because as soon as they wrapped themselves up with Trump, they became something that has to be politically crushed. No accommodation, no quarter. No “trying to understand them” until this more imminent threat has passed. A lot of people on the right – even those that didn’t embrace him – have been trying to put him in the context of conventional politics and looking for the sweet-corn in his excrement because he helps their preferred party or could be used to hurt the other.

    This goes beyond that. I don’t know or care if Trump himself is evil. I doubt he is. But he is ideologically untethered to anything but himself. Not Jacksonian populism and not fascism, but self. That in and of itself is dangerous because I cannot imagine someone like that doesn’t become as tyranical as our system allows Add to that where his power base is, and who serves him most loyally, and I cannot find it in myself to care about bruised feelings in Kentucky or what position box he checks on energy and tariffs.

    Which is how one ends up voting for Ted Cruz in the primary and then rooting for Hillary Clinton in the general.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
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      says:

      Jacksonian Trumpists

      The ones that want to deport all the immigrants so they can take over their homes?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman
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      says:

      Gonna have to work in the phrase ” looking for sweet corn in his excrement” into a conversation soon. A good ol down home country folksy saying like that can’t go to waste. Hmm wonder what the wife is planning for dinner?Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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      I knew a fellow in Rochester many years ago who borrowed without asking his grandmother’s Benz and went on a joyride with a buddy of his (the son of a local surgeon). One thing he decided to do was a lawn job on a local property, in the course of which he ran over a rock and scraped the oil pan right off. A patrol car with a Brighton town cop just happened to be passing by. They may or may not have been seriously buzzed at the time (something which would have been normal for these two). People who knew them got a good laugh over the whole scene.

      Years later, I rented an apartment in a college town from a local merchant who had a free standing wooden sign on her lawn. Someone enrolled at the college just down the street kept breaking it, so she puts a security cam on it and caught them on film. The local constabulary located them. They were rather poleaxed that they’d been caught on tape. The local JP was not amused.

      Here’s a suggestion: these guys are punks. Haut bourgeois punks, rude punks, unfunny punks, but punks. Let the JP courts smack ’em good and hard. It doesn’t have much larger significance.Report

  7. Avatar Damon
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    I think these idiots actions were more about shock than anything else. As was said above. Hell, they “offended” all kinds of groups with the penises, the trump, the swastika, and painting over the Muslim pictures. Would anyone have reacted as much if they would have wrote “Bernie”? Nah, they hit all the social/political hot topics. Unless these guys admitted they did all this in support of trump, they didn’t commit “acts committed in the name of a presidential forerunner.” Is just a more extreme example of what I do; tweak those who faint at the thought of trump being elected and claim they will move to canada if he is elected.

    And even intelligent 20 somethings are stupid. No mask? Didn’t check for cameras? I will say, 50K bail seems high for 300 dollars damage. But of course, I support caning as punishment so….Report

    • Avatar gingergene in reply to Damon
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      Well, if all they had done was $300 in damage (say, by spray painting a bunch of penises on a random wall), I’d agree. But these guys did a lot more than just physical damage*, and I think that’s why the judge threw the book at them.

      *Charged with “institutional vandalism, hate crime to a place of worship, and criminal damage to property”.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to gingergene
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        Here’s what they did:

        “Once inside the chapel, the pair spray-painted an expletive and a slur against African-Americans with a swastika on the chapel hallway…In a separate area, they spray-painted a derogatory word for homosexuals on a wall, along with lines spray-painted over photos of Muslim students.

        The young men also spray-painted penises in several places around the church, including on a piano in the chapel, above the word “God” in a hallway, and in a stairwell where they also painted the word “Trump,” authorities said.

        University officials estimated the damage to be more than $300.”

        Yes, that ALL they did was 300 dollars of damage. Vandalism and criminal damage to property. The rest is crap. Hate crimes aren’t real crimes. They are just made up “damage adders”.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Damon
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      Signing on to this interpretation. They mustered every word they could think of that could cause offense. “Trump,” for pretty good reasons, has now joined that pantheon.

      A few miles away at UIC, Trump was treated by college students as too dangerous to be allowed to speak. It’s a vigilante version of the court case about a Nazi March in similarly nearby Skokie over 30 years ago. So if you’re going to offend people with a swastika, writing “Trump” is the logical next step.Report

  8. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    You see some sort of defining moment for Trumpist racism, I see hispanic outreach.

    Basically, there’s no supporting evidence for much of anything in the episode or articles you drop… possibly they are founding members of Trumps new Orange Shirts (I’m just guessing here, but Orange – or would it be gold? – is probably the right color for Donald’s Dons, yes?). But to drop the article here with a simple: This… knowing you, I have to believe there’s more there there than there is. Or have you gone all frothy too?Report

    • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Marchmaine
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      All the shirts were taken decades ago; he’s going with the Red Hats.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Autolukos
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        Red Hat would very very strongly like him not to do that.
        Unlike my friend, they haven’t got Trump under contract not to wear red hats, though.

        Can’t plan for everything, I guess.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Autolukos
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        He doesn’t seem to me like a Linux guy.

        edit: then again, if you could characterize the Trump ascent in one phrase, it’s “Open Source Campaign”.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Kolohe
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          says:

          Classiest, most luxurious distro, gonna be yuuuge, etc.

          Seriously, scriptwriters, this storyline sucks. Please let the Marco Rubio character pull off a surprise today so we can stop focusing so much on the comic relief.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Autolukos
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            says:

            The storyline only sucks if you aren’t watching the moneymen waste oodles of money because they’re too stupid to realize that Jeb! is not going to win (note: Jeb also too stupid to realize he’s not going to win. needed to be told five times) … and then betting the house on Rubio, of all people.

            If you look at it like that, it’s proper lulzy.

            Moral: When the trolls are better than the rest of the politicos, hire better politicos.Report

  9. Avatar Roland Dodds
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    says:

    “They also used the paint to make several pictures of penises.”

    Some things never go out of style.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird
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    If someone said that these two guys were obviously anti-Trumpists who were doing a false flag op, I’d suspect that their conclusion was a bit hasty.

    So also for someone who looks and sees pro-Trumpists.Report

    • Avatar gingergene in reply to Jaybird
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      Well, you’ve got a range of disrespect here- everything from the ever timeless penises (as @roland-dodds points out) running through ethnic and gay slurs, then to defacing photos of Muslims, and finally right on into full-Godwin Nazi symbols.

      Question is, where is “Trump” on that spectrum? Is he simply the political candidate equivalent of a penis, is he a potentially genocidal fascist, or is he something in between?

      ETA: I don’t think this was an overt political statement, but I do think there’s at least a little “there” there in that they chose a particular presidential candidate’s name to accompany the destruction. Were this a one-off incident, I’d dismiss it. But as a part of the whole, it fits an emerging and disturbing pattern.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to gingergene
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        says:

        Agreed. Trying to determine intent or motive from the mess of desecration is a bit like reading tea leaves: you can see what you want to. And the inclusion of the word “Trump” is just one of the leaves.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gingergene
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        says:

        The only details that seem to be coming out are confusing and equally likely to lead to hasty conclusions.

        According to this, one of the kids is Matthew Kafker, “is the son of the chief justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court”.

        Is he obviously in thrall to the political views of his father *OR* is he obviously rebelling against his father’s political views?

        The other kid is Anthony Morales. Is he doing what he’s doing because he’s anti-immigrant? Anti-Trump? We don’t really know much about him except that his mother was in the courtroom crying.Report

  11. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    Trump came off the line talking about a Wall to keep out Mexico’s worst people – rapists and murderers – implying that all latino illegals are social deviants. (Followed up by his claim that he LOVES latinos, he employs THOUSANDS of latinos, they’re tremendous people…) And we all talked extensively about that here at OT at the time. We also talked extensively about the reoreactionary movements support of Trump, and the support for Trump expressed by admitted racists and bigots. So I’m not sure why you, Tod, think you’re educating anyone about the disturbing motivations which comprise the Rise of Trump. Hell, the dominant explanation for his appeal from the beginning is, and continues to be, racism, xenophobia, bigotry, etc etc. What (some) people push against is the view that the whole movement reduces to those things, a reduction which strikes me as not only inaccurate but a dangerous misinterpretation as well. Given the evidence from Nor’wester, explaining what these kids did as Trumpism in a nutshell seems like the exact same mistake: it fits the facts to a simplistic theory.

    One thing I will say in support of your narrative is that Trump’s actions over the last few days have acted to confirm some of the worst beliefs about his campaign. It’s scary to realize that a person who advocates physical violence at his political rallies could very well end up in the White House. And almost everyone who’s not a current Trumpista finds that genuinely horrifying. So the prevailing narrative of Trump-as-fascist is gaining traction. In horse-race terms: that narrative is now the front-runner.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      You do know that we already have a wall on the border yes? Go to Naco Az. You can stand right next to it and get your picture taken while the border patrol watches.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon
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        says:

        Interesting.

        How is it relevant to anything I said up there, tho?Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          Indeed. My comment wasn’t to suggest it WORKED, just that there was a wall, at least on part, on the border. Parts were built by Boeing, IIRC, and it was a spectacular failure-cost over runs, etc. and didn’t keep people out. This is why @stillwater my comment is relevant. “Oh Trump wants to build a wall”. Err we already tried building a wall, so this drama about trump calling for a wall on the border strikes me as a bit silly.

          Alligators wouldn’t survive the conditions there. What we need are velociraptors in a ditch!Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon
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            says:

            You don’t need a wall to keep people out. Just have a terminal with security lines a mile long, leading to groping and a strip-search, and once they’re through those keep delaying the departures for random amounts of time, occasionally announcing that now they’ll be leaving a mile away from their previous assigned spot. They’ll give up and go home. I’d expect Boeing of all people to know that.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon
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            says:

            This is why my comment is relevant. “Oh Trump wants to build a wall”. Err we already tried building a wall, so this drama about trump calling for a wall on the border strikes me as a bit silly.

            Hmmm. So the primary reason people support Trump, the fundamental signal of his administrative goals if elected Preznit, is “silly” because – from your point of view – “we already tried building a wall”?

            Seems to me the conclusion of that argument is that Trump is silly, and his supporters are silly, too (which actually isn’t relevant to the topic being discussed). Whether he’s silly or not, he’s quite likely the GOP nominee and one election away from the White House. Which isn’t silly.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              My point is that one of the main examples of why trump is “bad for america” is that he said he wants to build a wall. All the attendant hand wringing and name calling that it’s all racist and stuff strikes me as silly when we already built that wall. So was it racist when we built that last section around Naco back then? Don’t recall that and I was around. Oh, I’m sure you could find someone to say it was, but it wasn’t a the EOTHAWKI, which is how it’s being portrayed now, which means it’s just plain old politics.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Damon,

                Well, “plain old politics” can include racism, bigotry, advocacy of violence, etc etc. So in that sense, we agree. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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                says:

                building a wall to fix a problem that doesn’t exist is just bloody stupid.

                Do you know how much trouble 2009 caused? My friend lost all his agents in Phoenix, because they headed back to Mexico along with all the jobs! (Phoenix was a bit bubbly back then, if you recall).Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
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                says:

                I wouldn’t say “no problem exists”. We do not have effective border control, and it’s not wise to have a generous welfare state and a lack of border control. Pick one.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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                says:

                As you might have realized by now, I’m all for a considerably less generous welfare state in Mexico. House the kids there, and keep the standard of living at “livable”.

                The rates of Mexican immigration aren’t at 1990’s levels, ya know?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
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                says:

                The rates are irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Kim
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                says:

                In fact, it’s been argued that we’re actually leaking Mexican nationals, and that the second derivative is positive (or is it negative if the first derivative is negative?). In any case, that the numbers emigrating are higher than the numbers immigrating, and that the rate of change seems to be increasing as well.

                If Pew’s numbers are right, just keeping current policies in place suggests we might not only not have an illegal immigration problem in a few years, we won’t have an illegal immigrant problem either. Or maybe a problem for the industries that currently depend on them for labor that no one else is willing to provide.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to El Muneco
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                says:

                Second derivative is negative (the curve is concave down).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Which is why “Piss Christ” was destroyed by vandals

                Damon:
                I wouldn’t say “no problem exists”.We do not have effective border control, and it’s not wise to have a generous welfare state and a lack of border control.Pick one.

                Expensive non-solutions to real problems are not a notable improvement over expensive non-solutions to non-problems.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                A border wall is not a ‘non-solution’ It is component of a solution. It is opposed by people who do not want any solution.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                to be fair, the wall is also opposed by people who think that the wall is an ineffective and also staggeringly expensive solution (look, another F-35!) to a problem that can be addressed far more effectively by imposing severe employer / independent contractor sanctions and funding the deployment of immigration agents into those areas of commerce which appear to rely heavily on undocumented aliens (hotel maids, meat cutters, ag workers, etc.)

                For the most part, over the last 60+ years Americans have not wanted to pay minimum wages to ag workers. Hence the bracero program and the blind eye turned to cross-border migrant labor. It’ll be very interesting to see if a coalition can form in the next Congress to change that.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Francis
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                says:

                Somehow, we managed to build 38,000 miles of Interstate Highways, but a 2,000 mile long wall is ‘staggeringly expensive’. Somehow, we manage to put 1.4 million people in uniform, but 20,000 border sentries is beyond our capacity to employ. For some reason, 300,000 people who tramp across the border each year to avoid the risk and impediments of other means of entry will all just switch gears and do something else as if it were costless (or, maybe you think they’ll all develop the moxie and dexterity of high-rise construction workers).Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                To be clear, you’re ok with raising taxes, then, to cover the cost of a project. Or cut defense spending by an equal amount.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      Defending Our Tod’s post: ye shall know them by the company they keep. These sophomoric vandals didn’t write “Sanders” or “Cruz.” It’s a tiny stretch of the imagination to visualize these two dunderheads kickin’ it seeing some Trump speech on the TV and saying “F[ish]in’ A, man!” And there are some harmonics between the substance of the graffiti and Trump’s bungling of the David Duke-KKK thing.*

      With that said, no, nothing Trump has done or said can be called a proximate cause of this petty, mean-spirited, inane, and ugly crime. If there hadn’t been a Donald Trump campaign, they’d have done this anyway, because they’re just plain a-holes. So I don’t think this story gives us all that much insight into what the Trump candidacy is all about.

      * Seriously. “David Duke? What a loser. Look, I can’t control him, he gets to vote for who he wants, but I can win without him. I don’t need his endorsement. I don’t particularly want it. But you know whose votes I do want to reach out for? Black voters. I’m inspired by their church-centered communities. Really a beautiful thing. It’s what America is all about, right? I want to reach out to them and say, ‘Check me out. I want your votes. I can help get the government out of your way, so you can build your wealth and pass it on to your children.’ I want to tell them, ‘I want to make your communities safe!’ And that’s not just for black voters, you know. That’s for everyone. Every American. That’s what this campaign is all about. That’s the kind of President I’m going to be. Vote for me!” Would that have been so hard?Report

  12. Avatar Alan Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    Art Deco: Here’s a suggestion: these guys are punks. Haut bourgeois punks, rude punks, unfunny punks, but punks. Let the JP courts smack ’em good and hard. It doesn’t have much larger significance.

    Here’s the thing: Punks are allowed to vote.

    Several people on this thread are scrutinizing the actions and motives of these guys. Hey, maybe they’re not racist trump supporters. Maybe they’re just pretending. But who gives a shit. They’re acting like assholes.

    The people scrubbing “n****r” off their wall don’t care about the nuances of why the perpetrators wrote it there in the first place. People who are racist, and people who pretend to be racist, can both achieve that by being cruel to people of color. From the standpoint of the people of color, though, people are being cruel to them either way. Pretend racism is just another flavor of racism that they’re forced to endure.

    Will wrote about Jacksonian Trumpists and Wallacean Trumpists, but I don’t think that’s right. The people voting for George Wallace didn’t consider themselves racist, even if their views about society were influenced by their horrible views about race. They didn’t think of themselves as the villains. They were just fighting for their way of life. I’m sure trump has voters like that, but there’s nothing to particularly distance themselves from the Jacksonian Trumpists in that regard–after all, of those two candidates, Wallace wasn’t the one responsible for a genocide.

    Trump is doing really really well with a particular set of Blue State voters that are racist assholes and revel in the fact that they are racist assholes. Maybe they are pretend racist assholes, but that doesn’t matter. Because the reality is, they’re contrarian assholes. There political positions derive from their determination to offend the status quo. If they’d grown up in a deeply conservative part of the country, they’d be democrats and would be writing “hail Satan” in the church they drew penises in instead of racial expletives.

    For all of that though, they’re still racist Trump supporters. Because for all that you can pretend that the trollish aspect of their racism somehow makes them not count, at the end of the day, the same asshole motive that makes them spray-paint Trump’s name on a wall will make them check the box by his name come November.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Alan Scott
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      says:

      “From the standpoint of the people of color, though, people are being cruel to them either way.”

      But if you punish “assholes bein’ assholes” with the corrective action for “American society is inherently racist and we must fight this dark strain by any means necessary, even to the point of fundamentally altering our concept of freedom” then you might not like how that turns out.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to DensityDuck
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        says:

        But assholes bein’ assholes are part of how American society is inherently racist, and I think it’s generally appropriate that a corrective targeted at reducing racism is used to punish acts of racism. I reserve the right to change my mind if these kids are put in jail for three years. But the likely outcome is that instead of paying a five hundred dollar fine and spend a night in jail, they pay a thousand dollar fine and spend a few nights in jail, and I’m absolutely unpersuaded that such an outcome is an assault on our notions of freedom.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Alan Scott
          Ignored
          says:

          “American society is inherently racist”

          I disagree, so I guess we’re done here.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Alan Scott
          Ignored
          says:

          But assholes bein’ assholes are part of how American society is inherently racist,

          I have news for you, Alan. “Assholes bein’ assholes’ is part of the human condition. There are greater or lesser degrees of public order and greater or lesser standards regarding manners in public places (as well as varying configurations of manners). The law is something of a claw hammer, and that puts some limits on its utility.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Alan Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      Here’s the thing: Punks are allowed to vote.

      You want to disfranchise people for misdemeanors for how long?

      Yes, punks over 18 are allowed to vote depending on a number of unspecified ifs in state election law. As are serial adulterers, sexual perverts, stupid people, cruel people, professional class snotnoses, strange men who fancy they’re women, rude DMV employees, and 32 year old women who put their husbands out on the curb for no very distinct or specific reason. The reason they’re allowed to vote is that crafting and administering consensual criteria for removing from the electoral roll people guilty of moral turpitude is a hopeless task given anticipated benefits.Report

      • Avatar Zac in reply to Art Deco
        Ignored
        says:

        Art Deco: and 32 year old women who put their husbands out on the curb for no very distinct or specific reason.

        Well, now, that sounds awfully specific. Suddenly it’s becoming more apparent why you’ve reappeared.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Art Deco
        Ignored
        says:

        Art Deco: You want to disfranchise people for misdemeanors for how long?

        Er, zero days? And If you’re willing to stick around for a bit, I could talk your ear off about how I’d also like it if we stopped disenfranchising people found guilty of felonies.

        I think you are missing the thought I was trying to communicate with that. Specifically, that these two people are participants in our political system, just like everyone else. That nothing about their motives for behaving in the way they did changes that. Their support of Trump is still support of Trump, even if they’re doing it because of shock value instead of appreciation for his healthcare policy.

        I was leaning toward O’Malley because I liked the fact that O’Malley was a War of 1812 Geek. My Boyfriend’s mom liked Ben Carson because he was a devout Christian and worked in pediatrics. Is there a special box where we put our ballots so the state parties know not to count them? Of course not. And there isn’t going to be one for these jokers either. So why the objection to analyzing their opinions and actions alongside those of everyone else?Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Alan Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      From the standpoint of the people of color, though, people are being cruel to them either way. Pretend racism is just another flavor of racism that they’re forced to endure.

      Someone you’ve never met paints racial slurs on a building you’ve never visited. Most people can endure that sort of cruelty without working up a sweat. It’s disgusting to read about, but I think you’d have to troll the South Side for a loooooong time to find too many people made anxious by a pair of Northwestern University students with a can of spray paint.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Alan Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      after all, of those two candidates, Wallace wasn’t the one responsible for a genocide.

      Jackson wasn’t responsible for a genocide, either, the tropes favored by red haze twits notwithstanding.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Alan Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      Trump is doing really really well with a particular set of Blue State voters that are racist assholes and revel in the fact that they are racist assholes.

      And what social research did you consult to instruct you of that? (And, while we’re at it, how do you define your terms?).Report

  13. Avatar j r
    Ignored
    says:

    I see a lot of comments that fall into the category of “it doesn’t matter what the specific motivation was; these two used Trump’s name and that tells us what we need to know.” That’s fine. I won’t try to push back on that.

    What I do want to know is how committed you are to that way of thinking? What about incidents where someone wrote racist/sexist/homophobic graffiti or Facebook messages or whatever and then it tunred out that the person who did it was actually trying to make some kind of anti-racist/feminist/LGBT rights statement. Is that the SJW crowd in a nutshell?Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to j r
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      says:

      Sorry, I should have been clearer. I think it would matter quite a lot (in terms of what it means about Trump) if this were a false flag operation by someone who actually supported one of Trump’s opponents. I think that’s very unlikely, and I think the regularity with which racist graffiti and similar is suggested to be a hoax says more about the people doing the suggesting than it does about the actual existence of such hoaxes. On the off chance it is a hoax, though, well then the hoaxer has become the monster they’re trying to fight, and I’m not going to view their actions with much charity. At the end of the day, someone’s still going to feel threatened, someone’s still going to feel harassed, and someone’s still going to have to spend an afternoon cleaning that shit up.

      My point was generally about the appeal of Trump to a certain type of asshole, and how the fact that Trump appeals that sort of asshole matters just as much as the fact that Trump appeals to any other Trump supporter. Trump is, by accident or design, the sort of candidate that appeals to those assholes, and his success rests just as much on one of those assholes as it does on any other given Trump supporter.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Alan Scott
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        says:

        I think that’s very unlikely, and I think the regularity with which racist graffiti and similar is suggested to be a hoax says more about the people doing the suggesting than it does about the actual existence of such hoaxes.

        That we’re actually paying attention? Prominent alleged hate crimes turn out to have been staged quite frequently. It’s gotten to the point where I legitimately don’t know whether it’s a dog-bites-man story or a man-bites-dog story.

        I don’t see any particular reason to think that this particular incident was a false-flag operation, but your snide insinuations aren’t justified. You know perfectly well that SJWs have given people very good reason to be skeptical of this kind of thing.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Brandon Berg
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, just like rape accusations end up being false instead of real – if you’re on Reddit, where every instance of false rape accusations get lots of attention while the actual rape accusations that are true get ignored because it gets in the way of the narrative on Reddit that there are all these evil SJW’s waiting to ruin your life forever with a false rape accusation.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Brandon Berg
          Ignored
          says:

          I remain unconvinced that this is a thing. I’ve seen the plenty of accusations coming from the manosphere, racist reddit, gamergate, etc, and I’ve seen other more reputable folks repeat those accusations without examining them, but the only hoaxes I’m aware of originate with the same fringe communities that are so obsessed with their existence. (Of course I’m sure there are SJWs in those communities who are just as obsessed with hoaxes and false flags as the anti-SJWs who dominate in those spaces.)Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Alan Scott
            Ignored
            says:

            Here are some examples: http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/

            Of course, this list is non-exhaustive, and obviously doesn’t include cases that were never definitively solved, like Madonna Constantine’s noose. We can be quite certain that just as the perpetrators of real hate crimes are not always caught, neither are the perpetrators of hoaxes.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg
              Ignored
              says:

              A good portion of those are people reporting hate crimes against *themselves*, either because they don’t want to admit what actually happened, or they’re just and attention seeking. Which isn’t what happened here.

              The other portion is, yes, people, assholes being assholes and just painting whatever they think is offensive. Which probably *is* what happened here.

              There is a really long history of assholes doing that.

              Especially swastikas. Guys, even 90% of actual, openly racist people shy away from those. Any time they show up without any *other* sort of neo-Nazi stuff going on, they’re probably ‘fake’.

              EDIT: And the penises are the real clue, duh.

              (I’m not sure I’d call them ‘fake’ hate crimes, they can still terrorize people. They just aren’t being committed *by* the people that people think are committing them.)Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Alan Scott
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            says:

            Nu. It’s not a hoax when you trick someone into being fucktarded.
            It’s also, potentially, really not what you think it is.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        My point was generally about the appeal of Trump to a certain type of asshole, and how the fact that Trump appeals that sort of asshole matters just as much as the fact that Trump appeals to any other Trump supporter.

        That only matters in a sociological inquiry. No one is obliged to cast their ballot in response to an academic question, and likely few do.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Art Deco
          Ignored
          says:

          That’s true. Now, If only there was some sort of website where amateurs like you and me who were interested in politics and culture could discuss such inquiries in an informal setting. Maybe one with a pennyfarthing bicycle in its logo, even.Report

  14. Avatar DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t understand why anyone would think these guys are Trump supporters. Yes, there are a bunch of racist assholes that are Trump supporters…but there are plenty of random racist assholes who do this sort of thing.

    I can’t quite figure out the motives for Trump supporters to do this. They painted *penises*, for God’s sake. That’ll show…penis-haters?

    Someone breaks into a non-denominational chapel, spray paints over some pictures of Muslim students, and when arrested, we learn they’re Trump supporters…I’d believe that.

    Someone breaks in, paints over Muslim students, draws *penises* and the *n-word*, and writes the name Trump on the wall? Uh, no. That’s almost cartoon villainy.Report

  15. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    As much of a punk as he seems to be, you have to have at least a little sympathy for a guy who has a hairline like that at 18.Report

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