The Normalization of the Abnormal
"Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long,
fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?"
By Ray Cunneff
January 18, 2018
It always seems more than a little egocentric when you start quoting yourself. It's right up there with Trump referring to himself in the third person.
"Trump talking about himself in the third person reflects his perception of himself as being a larger-than-life character in the world stage."
But every now and again, I write something that comes out so organically and spontaneously that it's only later that I realize that I may have stumbled into saying something insightful, possibly even important.
Earlier today, on my "Another Step Toward Tyranny" article from yesterday, I added this as a comment:
"The problem for all of us is the normalization of the abnormal, the daily, hourly, drip-drip-drip of lies and disinformation that begins to make truth irrelevant, ethics passe, democracy inconvenient and reality itself relative."
That's not too bad.
It's a cliche by now, as is often the case when something is self-evidently true, how we gradually adjust to new conditions that we would react to very differently if they were to happen all at once.
It's that frog in the boiling water story: You drop a frog in boiling water and it will immediately jump out. You put a frog in water and gradually raise the temperature to a boil, the frog boils to death.
But that's exactly the risk we face in dealing with the day-to-day madness of Donald Trump and his regime of sycophant enablers.
The Washington Post recently calculated that the president surpassed 2,000 misleading statements and outright lies before his first year in office was completed. The repeated revelations of sexual misconduct, whether with porn stars, aspiring actresses or friend's wives, soon become mind-numbing. Something that in any other plane of existence would be outrageous headline news gets lost in the constant onslaught of offensive speech and behavior. An example:
For the past week, the media has been obsessed with Trump's "offensive language" at a supposedly bipartisan meeting on immigration policy, whether he called Haiti, El Salvador and 54 African nations "shitholes", or "shithouses" or "hellholes", while paying little attention to the clearly racist sentiments beneath the words.
And while we're obsessed with semantics, a story behind them goes largely unreported. Trump has today doubled-down on his Haiti slurs, banning immigrants from Haiti from applying for temporary work visas that allowed low-skilled workers to operate in the United States.
The rationale from DHS is “high levels of fraud and abuse,” and that Haitians have a supposed tendency to overstay their visas. There is no evidence to support that claim relative to other countries, but it's meant to reinforce Trump's narrative and help justify his racist comments.
But if we're paying attention, it actually underscores the president's utter ignorance on the subject of immigration and the reasons why people have historically sought refuge, freedom and opportunity in America.
The big "tell" was when some White House spokeshole, attempting to clarify the criteria for immigration policy actually said, "Nobody goes on vacation to Haiti".
We cannot allow ourselves to get accustomed to the aberration of "creeping meatballism".*
* Jean Shepherd first introduced the term in a 1957 issue of Mad Magazine as shorthand for postwar conformity.