E63: Rhetoric and Violence at the Capitol (re:visited)
Manage episode 316794631 series 2460300
One year ago this week, a large crowd of Trump supporters disrupted what ought to have been boring and bureaucratic work: Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory over then-President Trump. Instead, a massive melee ensued, resulting in five people dead and over a hundred wounded–mostly Capitol and Metropolitan Police Officers. Loyal re:verb listeners will recall our episode from shortly thereafter, in which we provided our initial spit-takes on the events themselves as well as Twitter’s related banning of Trump’s official account.
On today’s show, Calvin, Alex, and Sophie return with our most up-to-date thoughts on the meaning and significance of the Jan. 6 attack. We consider questions like: How much emotional energy did and does this incident warrant? Aren’t there more systemic issues that dwarf this by comparison? Or, is it actually misguided to dissociate Jan. 6 from larger problems plaguing the U.S. political system and the world? Meanwhile, one year into Joe Biden’s neoliberal presidency, how can we draw clear lines between the governance offered by the two parties? If we can’t, is it rational to be concerned about one party attempting (and failing) to subvert a victory by the other? And if they are distinguishable, what areas of policy reveal the sharpest distinctions? We air our nuanced disagreements on these topics, as well as our much clearer agreement on the horror of far-right violence and bipartisan failures to address climate change.
One twist on last year’s discussion, though, is that we offer a close reading this time – specifically, we analyze Tucker Carlson’s recent Patriot Purge documentary for FOX Nation, which provided the definitive far-right revisionist narrative of what happened on Jan 6. We unpack the documentary’s many bizarre arguments by analogy, such as Carlson’s comparison of the post-Jan 6 plight of Trump supporters to the post-9/11 plights of Muslim and Arab Americans. Carlson also equates one faulty media story about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick with the many, many examples of world-historically harmful propaganda disseminated by the mainstream media in the run-up to the Iraq War, and he later analogizes the “movement” that protested on Jan. 6 to the Black Lives Matter movement. The documentary culminates in a direct assertion that Jan. 6 was an inside job by the FBI, which we debunk from multiple angles before elaborating on the broader significance of Carlson’s rhetorical strategies: the coalitions that they may or may not promise between right and left, and the tactical and theoretical value of analyzing propaganda in terms of political imaginaries and aesthetics.