Gesellschaft am Ende
The universal look for today’s wannabe male despot has calcified into a fixed style. Keep the suit long and the trousers loose. Make sure you combine an extra long tie with a non-descript white shirt. Ensure that the tie is either red or blue. Black and shiny shoes peeping shyly from droopy hems. It’s a roomy look that allows for a swift point or wave and never hinders arrival on stage. When did this become the de ned choice for many of those determined to disrupt and contain democracy and the illusion of freedom? From the South China Sea to the Hungarian lakes and the aircraft hangers of America, the look is same. In these stressful times I am often lured back to the online version of a particularly insidious right wing newspaper. It constantly updates what has become known as the “sidebar of shame”. This is a scroll of small photos with a snippet of text that appears to the right of the main body of the newspaper. Here can be found a form of mass gas-lighting that is continually updated. The same person can be praised in breathless tones and then degraded for their appearance in the same twenty-four-hour period. This process can continue for months implicating the guilty reader in a collective belittling. One thing about the sidebar of shame, of course, is that it keeps its most frothy prose and cutting putdowns for women. For this article I want to turn my full attention to the new hard men of politics instead and apply the same breathless tone of wonder to their solid consistency. Let’s hope they don’t get their comeuppance tomorrow by getting caught on a coffee run in their yoga pants.