Inventing the Enemy uses stories of personal relationships to explore the behavior of ordinary people during Stalin's terror. Communist Party leaders targeted specific groups for arrest, but also strongly encouraged ordinary citizens and party members to “unmask the hidden enemy.” People responded by flooding the secret police and local authorities with accusations. . . . every work place was convulsed by hyper-vigilance, intense suspicion, and the hunt for hidden enemies. Spouses, coworkers, friends, and relatives disavowed and denounced each other. People confronted hideous dilemmas. Forced to lie to protect loved ones, they struggled to reconcile political imperatives and personal loyalties. Work places were turned into snake pits. The strategies that people used to protect themselves – naming names, preemptive denunciations, and shifting blame – all helped to spread the terror. Inventing the Enemy , a history of the terror in five Moscow factories, explores personal relationships and individual behavior within a pervasive political culture of “enemy hunting.” intro to Inventing the Enemy by Wendy Z. Goldman 2011“I denounce because though implicated and partially responsible, I have been hurt to the point of abysmal pain, hurt to the point of invisibility. And I defend because in spite of all I find that I love. In order to get some of it down I have to love... too much of your life will be lost, its meaning lost, unless you approach it as much through love as through hate.”Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
"Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs." George Orwell
The Muhammad Ali of the canon of African American writers is Ralph Ellison; never the less, Black writers from James Baldwin and Leroi Jones to the second raters of our day detested Ellison as one who would not play group think. Artificial outrages couldn't make Ralph Holler.
I love it when Progressive voices begin to rise to the level that only mutts can hear. That is almost a daily event.
Yesterday, some writer named Stephen Gossett wrote an Old Timey Joe Stalin Amalgamated Textile and Cash Register Workers DEE-NUN-SEE-Ay-SHUN of Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass. Citing no less authoritative voices as Wonkette,
Stephen Gossett does total Battle of the Cowshed on Mr. Kass:
"John Kass' lodestar is provocation—and that has taken the Tribune columnist into some pretty ugly, even quasi-racist territory. But his latest incitement represents a new low.
First off, here's how Kass chose to introduce the column, titled "Murder numbers don't tell the story in Chicago. Shootings do," and published Thursday morning . . .
"The feral boys of #Chicago with their death sticks, a direct product of the #Democratic welfare state." Just let that rattle around for a second, then try to compose yourself.
As former Chicagoist editor Marcus Gilmer* pointed out, "feral" has become a preferred epithet for the alt-right, along the lines of "thug." And "boy," well, that sad, racist history precedes itself. This is, of course, the Trump-ian mode of public communication, borrowing "nationalistic" language and turning the dog whistle into a megaphone. But its familiarity makes it no less virulent.
The piece itself begins right away with more reprehensible language, particularly after mentioning Chicago's undoubtedly awful murder statistics"
Reprehensible language like this, " nihilistic feral boys, brandishing their guns in cars, waving their death sticks in rap videos, young African-American men who believe they have no future, waiting to die."
Nihilistic is dog whistle language for someone or some people with nothing to guide them - like a lodestar, or good Old Polaris, Stephen Gossett, but to be too provocative,myself.
Brandishing guns and waving death sticks is dog whistle language for props used in Face Book selfies by nihilistic feral boys.
You see, friends and neighbors, words matter.
When people are blocked from using the words in our language and culture by prissy little pundits with precious little to offer in the way of talent or impact, as if a word's very existence caused genocide, famine and Skittles on the sidewalk, we end up with Hillary v. Trump.
The denunciation is a journalistic form of shunning. It can be effective, especially when the readers have limited scope in their reading and experience, or are just dopes. It is especially effective when pleonastic sesquipedalians toss out them big words and studied up facts/
Post-factual race-baiting has been made the new normal in 2016; and now Kass seems all too content to join the worst of the fray. That's the true feral nihilism. And it's especially loathsome when its delivered by a messenger parachuting from the outer suburbs. Notice the location stamp on his tweet: the hard front lines of Berwyn.
Post-factual race-baiting has been the new normal in 2016 - hundreds of thousands of people have said so, during the global warming/climate change costume change and red carpet show. Hey, Stephen Gossett, I read Variety, as well as Salon.
Well John Kass has been denounced as a writer of the English Language and as a suburbanite. I know Joe Epstein lives in Evanston, but I do not think that Joe knows, or has read Stephen Gossett.
You are denounced John Kass. You and John Dos Passos, Camille Paglia, Ralph Ellison, Mark Twain. Saul Bellow,John Steinbeck, H.L. Mencken, Russell Kirk, Joseph Epstein, Walker Percy, John Kennedy Toole, P.J. O' Rourke, . . .**
* ??????????Marcus Gilmer - related to Jimmy Gilmer?
** Denunciation Alumni