Tag Archives: Politics

In A Word It’s Madness!*

“We have to start with what has happened in the past week, which is that the President of the United States of America in the service of the conspiracy theory that he has been peddling since the election and for years, he whipped up a frenzied mob and directed them to the US Capitol and enrage them to attack not just the legislative branch but his own Vice President, which where I come from s an act of insurrection – sedition. And, the house is at this moment voting on whether to impeach him – which is needed and necessary. And we are watching the Republican Party splinter on live television.” So begins my conversation with author and political commentator, Jared Yates Sexton. We both took one hour out from staring at our monitors in disbelief to talk about exactly what had happened and try to figure out why. Jared continued, “Certain parts of the GOP want to protect their corporate donor base, others want to distance themselves from Trump for their future political careers, and then we have another group who are performing for the very people who broke into the Capitol in order to be their chosen representatives in the future – in a word it’s madness!”* In the sixty minutes we chatted, Sexton shared his well-considered thoughts on not just the recent events that led to the 2nd impeachment of Trump but also his take on the state of the nation, dropping quotable observations along the way – “The promises Trump made in 2016 were just catchy slogans” or “Trump knew how to pluck the strings of manipulation, he became a faux-populist President” and “If it wasn’t possible he will be arrested and held accountable, the post-Presidency would be the ideal job for Trump”. Jared Yates Sexton is an associate professor in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University, his most recent book is American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed Its People. 

I thought some contemplative music would be welcome, to take you to the closing credits, Possible from the EP Snowmelt, by Zoë Keating out of Burlington, Vermont who describes herself as a one-woman cello orchestra. 

Show 407

Who Stormed The Capitol Building?

When the results for the 2020 Presidential election were finally announced we here at Life Elsewhere were relieved yet hesitant to announce that Donald John Trump would not feature in yet another of our shows. For well over four years we have interviewed many authors, discussed with professors, experts, and pundits the phenomena of Trump. Back in 2015, we asked the question “Could a caricature become President?” Since then, day-by-day, week-by-week, and year-by-year the 45th President proved again and again that the bar for the absurdity of incompetence could and would get lower and lower. The late-night talk shows no longer satirically-mocked him, instead, they became some of the most serious and loudest voices of condemnation. So, the unforgivable outrageous events of January 6, 2021, happened. We are all in shock, anxiously hoping to get through the next few days until the inauguration of Joe Biden without further tragedy. I use the word “we” sparingly because there are those who refuse to accept that Trump lost the election. They unabashedly hang on to the falsehood of voter-fraud or somesuch other screwball reason to stage an insurrection. At this point, we are exhausted from even attempting to comprehend the raison d’être of Trump. There is though, an urgency to unravel who are the individuals who stormed the United States Capitol building last Wednesday. To that end, we return to our interview with David Neiwert in May 2018.                   

Norman B, January 9, 2021

Donald Trump’s victorious campaign for the US presidency shocked the world, the seemingly sudden national prominence of white supremacists, xenophobes, militia leaders, and mysterious “alt-right” figures mystify many. But the American extreme right has been growing steadily in number and influence since the 1990s with the rise of patriot militias. Following 9/11, conspiracy theorists found fresh life; and in virulent reaction to the first black US president, militant racists have come out of the woodwork. Nurtured by a powerful right-wing media sector in radio, TV, and online, the far-right, Tea Party movement conservatives and Republican activists found common ground. Figures such as Stephen Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Alex Jones, once rightly dismissed as cranks, now haunt the reports of mainstream journalism. Investigative reporter David Neiwert has been tracking extremists for more than two decades. In his latest book, Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of TrumpNeiwert provides a deeply researched and authoritative report on the growth of fascism and far-right terrorism, the violence of which in the last decade has surpassed anything inspired by Islamist or other ideologies in the United States. David Neiwert joins Norman B for the next edition of Life Elsewhere to talk about his years of reportage, including the most in-depth investigation of Trump’s ties to the far right.

Also in the program, new music from Copenhagen-based singer-songwriter, Ellis May. About her song, Father she says this, “Father is the most personal work I have done. It’s about loss. It’s about carrying on. It’s about acceptance, and about how accepting things will move you forward, and get you through hard times and push you onto your own path.” 

Show 406

 

Reactions To Election 2020

For the last four years on his nightly MSNBC show, Brian Williams has counted down the days of the Trump presidency. As November 3, 2020, drew closer, the polls and the pundits were giddy with excitement as they predicted a blue wave. Of course, true to form as in any soap opera or reality TV show, things never go as you expected. The producers make sure there is a dastardly twist at the last minute to keep you attached to the screen for yet another episode. In this scenario, the wicked villain had already telegraphed that he would make sure that there wasn’t going to be a ball unless he could be crowned princess and accompanied by his ugly sisters. (Ok, that’s a reference to traditional British pantomimes, but the concept is the same – the bad guy messes things up and has a tantrum). By around 2.20 am Eastern Time on November 4, when Trump slouched forward to the podium in the White House he assured the world he follow through on crying foul when not a single chicken had crossed the road. So it was with many votes still to be counted across numerous counties in a number of states, we asked a panel of guests to share their immediate reactions to Election 2020.

Our panel of guests, each with an abundance of acclaim in their chosen fields are:

Jared Yates Sexton Author and political commentator. He is an associate professor in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University. Latest book: American Rule – How A Nation Conquered The World But Failed Its People

Dr. Jennifer Mercieca Historian of American political rhetoric. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M. Latest book: Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump.

Dave Hill Comedian, actor, musician, radio host, and author. Latest book: Parking the Moose: One American’s Epic Quest to Uncover His Incredible Canadian Roots

Steve Brodner Caricaturist, illustrator, educator & political commentator

Dr. Binoy Kampmark Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne. Author & commentator

Mark Haskell Smith Author, fiction & non-fiction, including, Blown, Naked At Lunch, Raw, Moist, Delicious, Salty & Heart Of Dankness. Educator and cultural observer

Show 397

Graphic Design In The Age Of Unrest – Redux

As the Midterm Election Day progressed social media was very much alive and well with almost everyone it seemed rushing to let the rest of us know what they had been doing mere moments before by posting selfies with “I Voted!” stickers, front and center. If you were not already sure how our world has changed in the age of Trump, then the cacophony of “I Voted!” stickers should have convinced you. The omnipresent stickers came in never-ending varieties, from the generic to the overtly partisan and the downright ornery, “I Voted – Have You?” No matter if we accept or not, that all of these tiny, little graphic messages were designed. Someone somewhere produced artwork that had to be sent to a printer. A perfect example of graphic design being used to make a point, to get a message across. Which is exactly what graphic design is meant to do. These miniature statements in mostly red, white and blue may not be the pinnacle of brilliant graphic design but they initiated a discussion on graphic design in times of unrest.  Acclaimed New York-based creative director, Robert Newman suggests the anonymously-designed “I Voted!” stickers are not too far removed from the bold, unforgettable graphics of Emory Douglas for Black Panthers in the ’60s. He adds, “In times of unrest, graphic designers always shine.”

Robert Newman discusses graphic design in the age of unrest on our next edition. Below are links to many of the graphics we mention in the show and illustrated above.

Edsel Rodriguez

Black Lives Matter

Home Made Graphics

Act Up

Gun Control

Feminist Graphic Design

Afropunk

Pink Pussy Hat

Trump Magazine Covers

Show #338 Vs 2

Graphic Design In The Age Of Unrest

As the Midterm Election Day progressed social media was very much alive and well with almost everyone it seemed rushing to let the rest of us know what they had been doing mere moments before by posting selfies with “I Voted!” stickers, front and center. If you were not already sure how our world has changed in the age of Trump, then the cacophony of “I Voted!” stickers should have convinced you. The omnipresent stickers came in never-ending varieties, from the generic to the overtly partisan and the downright ornery, “I Voted – Have You?” No matter if we accept or not, that all of these tiny, little graphic messages were designed. Someone, somewhere produced artwork that had to be sent to a printer. A perfect example of graphic design being used to make a point, to get a message across. Which is exactly what graphic design is meant to do. These miniature statements in mostly red, white and blue may not be the pinnacle of brilliant graphic design but they initiated a discussion on graphic design in times of unrest.  Acclaimed New York-based creative director, Robert Newman suggests the anonymously-designed “I Voted!” stickers are not too far removed from the bold, unforgettable graphics of Emory Douglas for Black Panthers in the 60’s. He adds, “In times of unrest, graphic designers always shine.”

Robert Newman discusses graphic design in the age of unrest on our next edition. Below are links to many of the graphics we mention in the show and illustrated above.

Edsel Rodriguez

Black Lives Matter

Home Made Graphics

Act Up

Gun Control

Feminist Graphic Design

Afropunk

Pink Pussy Hat

Trump Magazine Covers

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Show #298

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