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Friday, January 12, 2018

Excusing Trump's racism: Tucker Carlson is not as stupid as he looks

A most hypocritical complaint:
"We've gotten to a place where nobody can be honest about anything."
                                                             -Tucker Carlson @ 03:19
Tucker Carlson began his Thursday evening Fox News show with a full-throated defense of President Donald Trump and his labeling of Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African countries "shitholes."

He had Jose Parra, the "Latino communications director for Barack Obama's 2012 campaign," on as a guest. Carlson couldn't understand why anybody thought Trump's comment was racist. As usual, he acted as if it was just beyond the understanding of an intelligent white guy like himself and he called upon Parra to explain. He also called upon Parra to defend Haiti.

Carlson: President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with. An awful lot of immigrants come to this country from other places that aren't very nice. Those places are dangerous. They're dirty. They're corrupt. They're poor, and that's the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here, and you would too if you lived there. President Trump asked why America doesn't receive more immigrants from places you might want to visit on vacation. Why aren't we getting more people from Norway, he said, which by almost any measure including the UN's measures is the most developed and richest country in the world. While saying this Trump used an expletive, and that's not surprising either since he uses them all the time and was speaking privately and yet for some reason virtually everyone in Washington, New York, and LA considered this a major major event. @00:11
Carlson's generalizations of various third world countries as dangerous, dirty, and corrupt is, of course, a racist stereotype that tells us more about the workings of his own mind than it does about Haiti, El Salvador or Africa. All around the world, you will find big cities that are "dirty" or have "dirty" parts depending on how you define "dirt" [see yesterday's blog], and dangerous and corrupt, make me think of Putin's Russia first, although there are a host of contenders. And while Norway may be a great place to vacation, it might not be for everyone. Business Insider ranked it the third most expensive place in Europe to vacation, at $183.76 per night, more expensive than Rome ($153.84), London ($151.40), or Paris ($145.89). Carlson probably also isn't a fan of Norway's 27% corporate income tax rate.

Carlson is sidetracking the discussion to avoid the main issue, which is that Trump didn't just swear, he used a word that raises very potent primeval images because it speaks darkly to the unconscious mind of the racist. The main tactic he uses to sidetrack the discussion is to set up a straw comparison so he can complain about "dishonesty," as through he honestly can't see why people say Donald Trump is a racist:
Carlson: I think we're kind of having that debate but what bothers me about the explosion this afternoon is the dishonesty in it, and I'll just give you one example: Joan Walsh over at MSNBC, an analyst over there, was asked just a minute ago would you rather live in Haiti or Norway, and she said with a straight face "I can't say." Now that's lying! If we've gotten to a point where we all have to pretend that every country is exactly as nice as every other country then we're being dishonest.
Even a billionaire like Haiti's Gregory Brandt above can't do this on most days in Norway.
While Carlson is clearly striving to equate Norway with "good" and Haiti with "bad," the question of which place an individual might prefer to live in is not as clear cut as Tucker would like us to believe. It really is a question of personal preference, and Carlson is forgetting at least two important facts: 1) The rich live well everywhere, and 2) Norway is cold no matter how rich you are. Also 8 hours of sunlight is the longest day, 18°C (64°F) is about the hottest, and cold is a whole nother story, so it certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea.
Carlson: We know he said these countries are crummy places, okay? They're holes or whatever profanity, but the people who left those countries, some of them rode trains all way through Mexico or hid in a wheel well of a plane to leave, they would agree with that. So why the outrage? Is it you have to lie, and pretend as Joan Walsh does "I don't know if I'd live in Norway or Haiti." Like we've gotten to a place where nobody can be honest about anything.
Carlson most conveniently forgets that Haiti was wrecked by an earthquake exactly eight years ago today,  3 million people were affected and as many as 316,000 lost their lives, and El Salvador was been ravished by civil war that led to 40,000 political murders and other manmade problems, and with regards to those, the United States has a lot to answer for:
Carlson: I mean one is the richest country in the world [ed note: Qatar ($124,930) > Norway ($70,590) per capita] , the other is one of the poorest countries in the world. You think it's immoral to point that out? It's a statement of values? I'm asking you a very simple question: If Haiti isn't such a bad place why don't we say to the people who are here temporarily in refuge from Haiti go back? It's great! We don't say that because it's not great actually. It's everything the president said. It was not an attack on Haitians. It's an acknowledgement that their country is not as nice as other countries, and if you can't even say that out loud without being called a racist by people like you, and the morons over on MSNBC...I'm saying anybody who says that's a racist statement should explain how it is.
The whole point of the segment was to defend Trump's "shithole countries" statement by claiming that it wasn't a racist slur. The denigration of Haiti and Joan Walsh was just fill, and Tucker Carlson managed to talk his way through the segment without mentioning "shit" by that or one of its many other names. He acted as though he was ignorant of what it was about Trump's comment that made it so incendiary, and thoroughly racist to the core. I would point him to yesterday's blog, How Trump's "shithole" comment reveals the psychology of his racism for an education, but he has already made it clear in at least one past show that he clearly understands even his own infantile obsession with feces and how it is intertwined with the mythology of racism.

Tucker Carlson used the feces fantasy to condemn Roma people, which he called "gypsies" moving to Pennsylvania. Anna Merlan wrote about it in Jezebel, 18 July 2017:
[O]n Monday, he invited a Roma filmmaker named George Eli on his program and demanded to know why his people can’t use toilets:

Eli gently suggested that both the townspeople and the new arrivals “are suffering from a little bit of culture shock.” But Carlson had poop on his mind, and could not be swayed.

“I have heard a lot of people mention, I hate to say it, public defecation,” Carlson told Eli. “There are a lot of news stories about this going back a long time in the UK and here.” He mentioned pooping on “playgrounds and sidewalks and front steps... That seems to me to be a hostile act.”

Eli chuckled but kept it together, telling Tucker that while he didn’t know exactly what was going on in Pennsylvania, “I’ve been Roma all my life and my family’s been Roma all my life and we use bathrooms... I can’t respond to something I’ve never seen as a Roma person.”

Tucker could not be swayed. He wanted to talk about the poop. “What’s that about?” he inquired. “It’s not something you need to do. So you have to assume it’s a statement.”

Eli did his best here, pointing out that some Roma people are from rural areas without great sanitation, while also clearly thinking to himself, “Why does this guy want to talk about poop so bad?”
Tucker Carlson wanted to associate the Roma people with poop for the same reason Donald Trump has taken to calling poor countries populated by people of color "shithole countries."  This infantile association is one of the strongest fortifications white supremacy has built into western culture and in times when white hegemony is being threatened, they feel the need to rev it up.

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