I’m spending the weekend in Breckenridge, a Colorado ski town, and yesterday we watched a classic bit of oddball Americana: a parade down Main Street of Bernese Mountain Dogs and their owners, all of them — dogs and humans — decked out in various kinds of holiday costumes.
There were hundreds of dogs, which is surely a tribute to some person’s or peoples’ ability to combine an obsession with Bernese Mountain Dogs with formidable organizational and public relation skills.
The shop we were standing in front of sold t-shirts, and two caught my eye.
First we have this:
This is a nice example of how the right wing’s invention of the concept of “political correctness” has, for almost 30 years now, been at the center of an enormously successful propaganda campaign.
That campaign equates patriotism with right wing virtue signaling, and defines any political dissent from right wing orthodoxy as un-American. For example I did a quick search, and there are literally dozens of different t-shirts for sale on the internet specifically attacking NFL players for having the temerity to kneel during the national anthem. Here’s a typical example, which mixes up right wing displays of patriotic fervor with displays of Christian identity. (You might even call this sort of thing the sartorial performance of a kind of identity politics, although I don’t want to give Mark Lilla a heart attack or anything).
A big part of Trumpism is that Donald Trump has a nose for exploiting the grievance politics of conservative white people, which is what most complaints about political correctness are actually about.
The other t-shirt was something that would make an excellent Christmas gift for a certain LGM poster, although I’m not naming any names.