Thursday, October 18, 2007

You're all my bitches, now

Lenin breaks it down:

The arrival of the 'barbarians' (the term widely used, without irony, after 9/11) not only gave masculinism a fresh lease of life against what are perceived as the decadent, feminising years of the Clinton administration; it gave a floundering Bush the chance to foster paternal projection by feeding us with baby talk, in the manner of Reagan. This is the significance of 'The Hug', the stage-managed encounter between Bush and Ashley Faulkner, photographed by her Republican father and sent to some people who rapidly dispersed it among 'close friends, whereupon it found its way through all the usual right-wing outlets and then the mainstream media. Bush, it transpired, was the Daddy of the nation, and his hugs would become legendary, even after he had presided over the contrived destruction by neglect (and then seige) of New Orleans. I have written before about how nationalism relies on familial (patriarchal) metaphors, and anyone who wants to understand the regressive tendencies of nationalism need only consult Peter Blickle and Uli Linke. American nationalism has emphasised these trends, despite the occasional nod to diversity. It is instructive to see Faludi's discussion of Bush going through his reassuringly fatherly routines: he discusses his favourite gun, stages photoshoots while swinging axes and chainsaws, catches big fat fish. "Protection fantasies," Faludi says, have become ubiquitous. Thus, Kerry repeatedly poses with a rifle (not unlike this man in a way), and photograghs of this are used on electioneering leaflets with the slogan 'Kerry Will Protect Ohio'. Pollsters and PR men seemed to decide that venturing into the wild and killing animals proved manhood: and Americans wanted nothing more than a big fat manhood hovering over them.

1 comment:

trumanwater said...


great title/post combination