Springtime For You Know Whom (Branding Trump)


Cousin ZC is a rationalist. He doesn’t believe in political name calling. But in politics, one has to brand. Comedians understand this as a basic part of their art.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
This entry was posted in uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Springtime For You Know Whom (Branding Trump)

  1. Zvi Cohen says:

    Zach, You know it’s specifically the Nazi name-calling I reject: the fact that it both offends history and truth when it trivializes the Nazi crimes, and that it inoculates your political opponents to criticism they might actually need to face (by hurling the worst possible allegation when it’s demonstrably unsubstantiated to anyone that doesn’t already share your precise political perspective). Your commentaries are generally not satire (as far as I can tell) and not meant to be read as comedy. I have no problem with naming, calliing out and shaming Neo-Nazis who identify themselves as such (with calls of Zig Hail and with Nazi salutes, for instance), or naming others Eliminationist Antisemites (in the West, those typically to be found on the left in recent times). I do not lump others with them, based on who they vote for (in a country where there are only two viable candidates), only then to label these others collaborators or enablers – I don’t see my vote for Hillary as collaboration with or enabling the eliminationist antisemites who also voted for her. I don’t see how the two are different, except that you say “but THEY really ARE Nazis”. And I don’t see how pointing out such fellow-traveling works as a tool of political persuasion. In short: the more outrageous and far-fetched your rhetoric, the less you’ll be taken seriously (unless you’re Trump, apparently, but is he your role-model) and be effective, and when the shock-rhetoric is Nazi/Holocaust related, you’re also demeaning our history/memories that may still have a real role to play.

    • zjb says:

      But you miss the point. Usually I would agree with you about the Nazi usage. In this case, however, now we’re looking at actual Nazis on the alt-right. This is no longer about the Holocaust. This is something new. About fellow-travelling, one is responsible. You could vote for Clinton in good conscience because she has a proven record as a friend of the Jews and there being no evidence that she has supported that eliminationist anti-Zionist wing of the radical left, or that she empowered them as a way to gin up her base. If there was any evidence of such you would not have voted for her, and would have been right to do so. At any rate, this is an intra-Jewish polemic. I don’t expect to be taken seriously by Sheldon Adelsons, and I don’t think I can persuade people with strong convictions. But I do think calling out this connection and the language of “making common cause with Nazis” is pretty effective in establishing red lines and putting people on notice. In actual practice, I’d play this Nazi-collaboration card lightly. You can even use softer language if you want to make the same connections between Trump and the way he drummed up the racist KKK and Nazi right in this country. But I think it’s important to have it on hand. Yes, this is Holocaust related, no doubt. But I’m only pointing out some uncomfortable truths about current political constellations. This is radically new here in the U.S. with David Duke and others of his ilk now more visible and in public view than at anytime since the 1960s. I’ve never used this language before, and you know that. The language suddenly fits, which I’m actually sorty to say

  2. Astorix says:

    I agree that this alt right phenomenon should never be normalized. This is not a case of crying wolf. Stuff got real this November 9

Leave a Reply