Friday, February 12, 2021

"If" 2.0

There's a lot of will-to-power among the Republican apparatus (as I noted yesterday), but among the rank and file, there's at least some real belief in the upside-down heroic version of Mafia Mulligan shown in this video, which was created for InfoWars and played on OAN.

The video uses Rudyard Kipling's poem "If," read dramatically by a male voice with an English accent over piano music, to create an alternate-reality world where Trump is an almost god-like figure who does everything right. As Media Matters puts it in the linked article above, the video uses "a poem about stoicism to honor the emotionally unstable ex-president."

I saw a short form of this alternate reality summed up in a Facebook comment by a relative who defended Mulligan with these words: "He's a very good man."

How anyone could have survived the past five years with this guy as president and still think he's "a very good man" — even if they still support him politically — is beyond me, aside from utter brainwashing, of the type created by the InfoWars propaganda film.

(Which reminds me of another propaganda film — the one shown at the January 6 Stop the Steal rally in Washington and at other StS rallies in November and December. I meant to mention it before now but forgot. It was thoroughly analyzed here for its fascist propaganda techniques by Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works.)

I'm not a fan of the colonizer-apologist Kipling generally. I managed to never see the movie The Jungle Book as a child, even, and I have only a passing familiarity with his poem "If." I have to admit I feel a bit of glee in seeing the "Whiteman's Burden" poet's words used this way. Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that Kipling would repudiate the use of his words to praise someone like Trump.

So here's the beginning of a new version of this version of "If."

If 2.0
[with more accurate Trump notations or images]

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
[Trump always blames everyone but himself]

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
[Well, he definitely trusts himself, but not for any good reasons]

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
[Don't deal in lies... OMG, he's the king of lies!]

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
[Don't give way to hating? He's the one who invented presidential name-calling]

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
[He's a man who doesn't appear to ever think, let alone read a book]
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;  
[He denies he's ever met disaster, though it has marked his business career]
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
[Using "Trump" and "truth" in the same sentence doesn't even make sense]

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
[He thinks he's a builder but he's a destroyer]

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
[His "winnings" are all debts, but yes, he's always risking on bad bets

And lose, and start again at your beginnings
[Beginnings with millions of daddy's money]
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
[Definitely always losing and starting again; not so much on the never complaining, though]

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
[Video of Trump riding in a golf cart, and golfing, golfing, golfing]
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
[Juxtapose with video of Trump's two-handed water-drinking — hold on!]

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
[Juxtapose with Trump imitating a disabled reporter in 2015]
    Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
[Juxtapose with the Saudi king / the glowing orb video from 2017]

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
[Images of the many people he fired or threw under the bus in four years]

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  
[Juxtapose with Trump going unsteadily down the ramp at West Point]

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!
[Trump behind the wheel of a semi on one of many "infrastructure weeks"]

I can't make a video, but here's a photo collage to suggest those images:

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