Numero Six-o: Why are the Angry White Men classified as reactionary when the small towns of the South and Midwest have been shown to be overwhelmingly in favor of the two largest socialist programs in the history of the country—Social Security and Medicare? Their opinion of unemployment checks is mixed—they dislike the concept, but accept it in practice when their family members get laid off. Most of them are not crazy about the Tea Party or the more extreme wing of the evangelical movement, but they’re not bothered by it. Like climate change, it’s just not a priority. Obnoxious things that Donald Trump said in 2005 on a Hollywood movie set are not a priority. These people are neither Republicans nor Democrats, liberals nor conservatives—they’re “leave me alone and do your job” voters. A lot of times these people are demonized for just not caring about something you’re supposed to care about. It’s assumed they hate things that they just don’t ever allow into their family circles in the first place.
So if we’re gonna use the word “angry” as an epithet, let’s use it where it’s most appropriate. Let’s use it for the intelligentsia, the media pundits, the various movie stars who feel an urgent need to tweet their political opinions. I’ve previously talked about the New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who has apparently become so twisted with rage that he can’t write about anything except Trump. Recent columns include “No, Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along,” “Trump: Making America White Again,” “Trump’s Agents of Idiocracy,” “Patriotic Opposition to Donald Trump,” and “Trump: Madman of the Year.” The first few columns he wrote, back in May, were fairly cogent, but now the man is out of control. Charles’ friends need to do an intervention and suggest he do a column on, say, farm policy, lest his monomaniacal fixation lead to a clinical condition, the way guys who start a bodybuilding program get strung out on protein powder and PowerBars.
Charles is an Angry Black Man, but David Remnick, the very white editor of The New Yorker, also went berserk in print, calling the election a “sickening event” and a “tragedy for the American republic” that was caused by “xenophobia” and “white supremacy,” “a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.” Normally a master of the subtle nuance, Remnick went full-tilt apocalyptic with his postelection analysis, including the Angry White Men of Europe alongside the ones in this country. And he did it for a reason. “This is surely,” he said, “the way fascism can begin.”
For those of you who aren’t keeping up, The New Yorker was founded in the ’20s as a humor magazine but hasn’t said anything humorous for at least twenty years now. Still, even by its own standards of moral seriousness, the Remnick outburst was evidence of the angriest white man I’ve encountered in a while—and I’ve been in some Deep South dive bars.
Toni Morrison, winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for her novels, went so far as to say that the election was motivated entirely by white men who are fearful of black people and immigrants, tying Trump voters directly to lynch mobs and psychotic racist terrorists. “On Election Day,” she wrote, “how eagerly so many white voters—both the poorly educated and the well educated—embraced the shame and fear sowed by Donald Trump.” In other words, they voted for Trump as a way to disguise their true motives—getting rid of minorities and foreigners.
They are not democrats in any sense of the word. They are geniocrats. They believe the world should be run by intellectuals and artists. The fact that it’s not has made them tone-deaf, like Hillary, and very, very angry.
Now, that's angry.