The Violence Inherent in the Mainstream Narrative

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Here’s a little story, from Brian Amaral in the Providence Journal, that oughtn’t be lost in the shuffle of day-to-day news:

A group of juveniles [apparently 15 years old and younger] holding “Trump flags” outside the Brown University bookstore on Thayer Street Friday told police a man accosted them and choked two of them.

According to a police report provided by Commander Thomas Verdi, the five juveniles flagged down police at about 8 p.m. to report the incident in front of the bookstore at 244 Thayer St. They told police they were holding the two flags when they were approached by the man, believed to be in his 20s. The man began to stare at them, then asked what they were doing, they told police.

This is a consequence of the prevalent attitude in much of the mainstream of the political and media classes that Americans with certain points of view are evil and therefore have no rights.  When the narrative flows from “punch a Nazi” to “Trump is a Nazi,” a dangerous atmosphere develops.  In this narrative, somebody “Trump flags” (whatever those might be) is trying to usher in a new fascism.

Sure, the 20-something guy walking down the street who decides to take it upon himself to do something violent about this incipient fascism probably has something wrong with him, but this isn’t an isolated incident.  Let’s not forget the mass hysteria over the viral video of the Covington Catholic students in Washington, D.C., after the latest March for Life.

 

Featured image: A screenshot from the viral Covington Catholic video.



  • Rhett Hardwick

    While I know few people of the “Progressive” persuasion, and speaking of this with them is like walking on broken glass; I am surprised at responses. While they would not admit to committing such violence, they do seem to admire, and understand, it.
    I am reminded, “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.” ― Samuel Johnson

    I am old enough to have a semi-adult recollection of Watergate. My chief “take away” was not the gravity of the crime. Rather it is an image of Woodward & Bernstein patting each other on the back and shouting “We brought down the President”, met with resounding cheers. The Fourth Estate supreme.

  • Merle The Monster

    When the narrative flows from “punch a Nazi” to “Trump is a Nazi.”

    Councilman,
    Where exactly in the Providence Journal article about the alleged assaults of a group of juveniles is there any reference to Nazi or fascism. I didn’t read anything that should indite the reporter as anything but a reporter of facts. I don’t understand how or why you would make up what is not there. Also troubling is your expression is incomplete and incoherent. The sentence you began quoted above is not a sentence at all . Do you wish to finish it now? The next sentence although it is a sentence is clumsy and confusing. Where did you get this from? I read the very short article by Brian Amaral and read about a reference to Trump flags but nothing about fascism. Because you asked I’ll tell you that a Trump flag is most likely a cloth banner with the President’s name displayed on it. If I were a resident of Tiverton I would be concerned that one of the town’s council members makes up politically divisive accusations out of whole cloth and distorts the work of journalists

    • ShannonEntropy

      You are right about one thing: it’s not Trump that’s the Nazi… that dishonor falls to the Never-Trump / Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd

      As Rhett notes, Hitler’s party was the NSDAP… Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
      [ National Socialist German Workers’ Party ]

      The Nazis in fact were socialists. Hitler admired FDR and sent him effusive letters [ even tho the Democrats racial purity “one drop” rule was too racist even for Adolph ]

      For much more on this, see Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary Death of a Nation

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8564902/videoplayer/vi3374365465?ref_=nv_sr_1_v_1e

      • Merle The Monster

        Wrong. The cowardly Councilperson Katz wrote about Nazis not me. Go back and read his post and the Providence Journal article.

    • Justin Katz

      Nobody said this article referred to Nazis. The reference is to “the prevalent attitude in much of the mainstream of the political and media classes.”

      • Merle The Monster

        Thanks for your response Councilperson and you managed to answer with complete sentences.

    • ShannonEntropy

      Also troubling is your expression is incomplete and incoherent. The sentence you began quoted above is not a sentence at all

      Whattsa matter, bagi ?? You never heard of anapodoton ?? or anacoluthon ??

      I think what we have here, Justin, is another public school failure in action. I learned about both of those rhetorical devises — and many others — in a Catholic high school, prolly while bagi was out smoking weed in the parking lot

  • ShannonEntropy

    Remember me saying that if you walked across Brown’s campus in a MAGA hat you stood at least a 50% chance of being physically assaulted ??

    NOW do all you guys believe me ??

    [signed] A retired Brown STEM-field faculty member

    • Rhett Hardwick

      I agree, displaying a Trump Flag on Thayer Street will definitely draw attention.

    • Merle The Monster

      But obviously you are a full time pantywaist

      • ShannonEntropy

        Ad hominem is the best you can do ??

  • bagida’wewinini

    You write that you believe a consequence of media and political class attitudes that you describe as mainstream is violence . So do you think the same is true of the attitudes and expression of the media and political classes that you would describe as outside the mainstream. Do those who call abortion “murder” have any responsibility for violence against abortion providers? Do those that incite anger and derision against immigrants with words have culpability for violence or threatening actions of others? Does traditional conservative expression put LBGT people at risk?

    • Justin Katz

      We should always weigh our words carefully. However, there is a critical difference between mainstream and non-mainstream. The mainstream, by definition, does more to set the expectation for what beliefs are reasonable. It also tends to be more coordinated, such as to drive specific behavior.

      • bagida’wewinini

        I’m not sure there’s coordination between rival companies but I do recognize that there is a tendency for humans to seek a safe haven of acceptance of a larger group. Could you share your specific classification of news companies in terms of mainstream and non mainstream? For instance is Fox News mainstream? National Review?

        • Justin Katz

          For some purposes, Fox and NR are mainstream, although they’re notable in the group mainly for the qualities that make them distinct from the rest of the group.

          Of particular note in this context, though, is how your question illustrates the point. Editors of NR, for example, were among those going after the Covington Catholic kids in the early days of the mania. Even they, in other words, were sharing in that mainstream narrative, which is what gives it the force to inspire violence.

          • bagida’wewinini

            I agree with your earlier statement about the need for choosing one’s words with care so I would caution you about your use of the word violence. The Catholic kids on the mall were maligned but not injured physically. That was wrong but not criminal. The kids on Thayer St were allegedly assaulted but according to the projo not seriously injured. That pales next to real acts of violence that are carried out with some political objectives such as the killing of a pedestrian in Virginia last year and the more recent attack and murder of people at the mosque in New Zealand.

          • Justin Katz

            Or the shooting of GOP members of Congress at a softball practice.

            As for the New Zealand shooting, I think you oversimplify. It seems to me that we’ve gotten to a place that such people are taking into account the mainstream narrative and attempting to manipulate it for their own agendas.

          • bagida’wewinini

            I’ll agree with you that the shooting of Republicans be included but we are back to square one. Are these acts of violence inspired by hateful rhetoric? Does hateful rhetoric lead to violence?” I don’t understand your second point though.

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