Once Aryan Skynet Goes Live It Doesn't Matter Who Pulled The Switch
In May of last year, as the Trump Train was chugging to its upset victory that November, Joy-Ann Reid of The Daily Beast published an article titled “Mr. Trump’s All-White Nostalgia Movement”. Trump, she notes, “pulled GOP general election voters into the primaries by exciting white male voters like few candidates since Ronald Reagan” – and the Reagan comparison was of course courted by Trump, whose highly successful campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was an echo of Reagan’s “Let’s make America great again” (italics added), the inclusiveness of the “Let’s” replaced by the titanic and imperial capitalization of MAGA. Trump himself was little more than Reagan era tabloid residue before he reinvented himself for the Bush years as a reality TV star, and remains inextricably linked with the eighties, its themes, and the prosperity many Americans associate with that period. President Reagan, in turn, was, like Trump, a reminder of former glories – in his case, the straight-laced and even whiter nineteen-forties and fifties. “The exit polls from nearly two-dozen Republican primaries have yielded lots of data about who the Trump voters are, and the findings belie the myth that their anger is grounded in economic want,” writes Reid.
In fact, while they have lower incomes than Republicans who supported candidates like Marco Rubio or John Kasich, Trump voters are far from broke – their $72,000 average household income is well above the American average of […] $56,000.
They are, instead, more like the profile of Tea Party voters; mostly 45 years of age and older, middle class, and a mix of non-college and some-college educated men and a smaller number of women who believe the country is dangerously off track.
Robert P. Jones of the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute has done extensive research into the “why” of the Trump rebellion, and it turns out to have more to do with demographic panic than economic panic. […]
According to PRRI, a majority of Trump supporters agree with the statements that America was better off 50 years ago – when white, Christian men were culturally ascendant, before “women’s lib” and the big victories of the Civil Rights Movement, before busing and affirmative action and the liberalizing immigration actions of the federal government in 1965 and 1986.
Jones calls these voters, who are overwhelmingly white Protestant Christians, “nostalgia voters.” They are nostalgic for the America they believe existed before the tumult of the 1960s; when a white working class man could hold down a blue-collar job and take care of his family, with a secure job for life and a wife who stayed at home, kids who could go to an affordable college, and a retirement padded with a decent pension.
The implicit whiteness of the Trump vote was of course made explicit within the Alt-Right, with “Make America White Again” memes from friends and enemies alike getting across the idea that, indeed, America has ceased to be great to precisely the extent that it has ceased to be white. There is intermingled then within the Trump phenomenon both an unarticulated identitarianism and an impossible, arguably escapist yearning to reclaim a vanished romanticized past. The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber, characterizing Trump’s inauguration as “nostalgic” and “lulling”, suggests that it offered “the comfort of looking backwards.”
The slogan “Make America Great Again” has been subject to a lot of debate – when, exactly, are we to believe America was greater before? The Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial Thursday night offered a few answers. From the looks of it, America was great when Lee Greenwood wrote “Proud to Be an American” [i.e., “God Bless the U.S.A.”] in the Reagan ’80s, and maybe again when the song became a theme song for the first Gulf War, under George H.W. Bush. It was great under George W. Bush, too – both pre-9/11 when 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” soundtracked drives to the mall, and post-9/11 when the nation joined in vengeance to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”
It is intriguing to observe that the first self-consciously nostalgic phase of mass culture in the Anglo-American world coincided with the triumph of the counterculture – with, for instance, the psychedelic Beatles’ recordings of seemingly wholesome songs like “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Honey Pie”. Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake accelerated into a mania during the nineteen-seventies, with movies like The Last Picture Show (1971), American Graffiti (1973), The Sting (1973), The Great Gatsby (1974), Nickelodeon (1976), Animal House (1978), I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), and American Hot Wax (1978) transporting the public back to bygone days. This was a decade in which even Led Zeppelin album notes could ponder aloud, “Whatever happened to Rosie and the Originals?” Archie and Edith Bunker consoled their viewers for the loss of the days when “girls were girls and men were men” and the country “didn’t need no welfare state” because “everybody pulled his weight” – wistfulness which did exactly nothing to prevent the Jeffersons and their less presentable real-life counterparts from moving into the neighborhood.
Happy Days allowed its audience to visit the nineteen-fifties once a week from the comfort of their living rooms, while Elton John remembered “when rock was young” and before “Suzie went and left us for some foreign guy.” America, spending its long nights crying by the record machine, was dreaming of its Chevy and its old blue jeans – the “Old Days” hailed by Chicago. “Old Days” is instructive in the function of nostalgia, with the tension of its noisy, cacophonous opening evocative of frustration eventually smoothed and cheered by the upbeat trumpets and harmonious vocals. There existed a thriving market for music that, as Bob Seger puts it, “soothes the soul” – particularly as the average person’s situation worsened with the recession and the dysfunctional entrenchment of the “Great Society”.
Overdosing on nostalgia did nothing to halt the dysgenic reverses that these years witnessed. The revolutions informing and fueling a demoralized population’s anxieties had continued apace, even utilizing the very products with which the public chose to anaesthetize itself. Recent years have seen a spate of eighties remakes, with films like Fame (2009), The Karate Kid (2010), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Footloose (2011), Fright Night (2011), Red Dawn (2012), The A-Team (2012), 21 Jump Street (2012), RoboCop (2014), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Poltergeist (2015), Point Break (2015), and Ghostbusters (2016) evoking a cherished past’s mass culture while also distorting it demographically, peopling it with non-whites and reprehensible weirdoes of various stripes. The conditioning of the people to accept their dispossession is eased when the horror of the future assumes the deceptive guise of the familiar. Trump’s supporters vocally oppose these grotesques, but merely find themselves reflected on the other side of the same retro-deception. This is the mirrored cultural gameboard across which the president’s handlers make their moves; but, just as no number of such nostalgic movie remakes could ever succeed in magically resuscitating the eighties, so no intensity of Trumpian civic nationalism will ever succeed in making America great again – and certainly not white again.
The question of the usefulness of the power of nostalgia and its potential for weaponization depends entirely on whether or not it can be turned into a conscious yearning – not for another time or place, but for an organic cultural and political identity. “Even in 1992, I was nostalgic for 1983 white culture,” Alt-Left blogger Rabbit told Aryan Skynet in a 2015 interview.
The difference was that visibly apparent already. Moving to Los Angeles in the late 90s was the closest to a “Red pill” moment I ever had. It was a completely third world situation, with a few pockets of gentrified gay neighborhoods and ultra-wealthy show business enclaves. […]
I use a lot of nostalgic pop culture stuff, because I want to demonstrate to people that these things we cherish from our childhood are part of “white” or European American culture. Most people don’t associate shows like Hart to Hart and Charlie’s Angels with white identitarianism, but they should. I want to open people’s eyes [to the fact] that everything they love about their past, their childhood, their cultural identity, etc., is going away or in many cases is already gone. […] Even if we tend to over romanticize the past due to nostalgic biases, the stuff that is replacing our culture really is shit. Like shittier than the worst 80s cock rock music video.
But “look for the good times of the eighties to return under Donald Trump,” says conservative radio personality Mark Kaye. Failing good times’ return, however, expect nostalgia’s machinery to hum even louder to lull and dull the racially unconscious into submission.