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Editor’s note: While preparing for this week’s podcast (“Carefully entering the hall of mirrors created by the ‘God Made Trump’ video”) I emailed a former GetReligionista who is way smarter than me about the Byzantine Beltway world. That would be “Mark — Mark Hemingway.” If you get that reference, you know that @Heminator knows a few things about mass-media satire. Here is his response, with slight editing.

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I haven’t seen anything that establishes it’s satire; but it’s so over the top I also can’t imagine anyone took it seriously.

I would only note that there’s a very, very fine line for the “meme magic” online right between satire and stuff calculated to “trigger the libs.” Basically, if the left is outraged by something, the idea is that they’re going to lean so hard into it so as to make the issue pervasive enough that the criticism for doing what is unacceptable loses its sting.

Why? Because the left holds tremendous cultural power in setting the boundaries for what is acceptable and unacceptable discourse. That was always a power that the left abused by applying double standards and political correctness to their advantage; but it was mostly done around the margins because of a general consensus on the First Amendment as an important value. 

However, in the last decade or so with critical theory/wokism/cancel culture finally obtaining some sort of critical mass in among institutional leadership that the First Amendment consensus is really no more, at least among a lot of cultural gatekeepers, and they’ve just been moving the goalposts randomly as it suits their purposes.

The peak was probably mainstream concerns over “cultural appropriation,” there was an actual moment there where white kids were being attacked on campuses for wearing dreadlocks (ancient Greeks and Vikings often had dreads, so yeah that’s a valid expression of white Europeans) or chefs being dragged for daring to write cookbooks about foreign cuisines. A lot of that has been beaten back in basic discourse, but they succeeded on a lot of fronts. It’s now basically impossible to play gay/handicapped/protected ethnicity if you’re not officially one of those things and hold the right views.

But the thing is they’ve tightened the ratchet so far that for everyone who exists outside of the influence of these elite gatekeeping institutions (or at least is outside that influence in their off hours as an Internet anon) that there’s real power in heightening the contradictions, exposing the hypocrisy and generally tweaking a whole class of people whose success precariously depends on the hardline enforcement of these absurd new norms around DEI etc. (See Gay, Claudine.)  

Now that’s the flipside to this “God Made Trump” bit, because they don’t just use enforcing PC norms as shield — they also are rather disingenuously using this stuff as a sword. If there remain powerful institutions that serve as a refuge and centers of power from wokism (which it must be said is less a set of actual beliefs, and more a thin veneer of moral justifications being used to pretend what’s happening isn’t a political program designed to undermine America’s founding rights/classical liberal consensus and consolidate power for 21st century Montagnards) trying to pressure these institutions and impose these norms on them is also part of the plan.

Hence the coordinated attack on evangelicalism/SBC/traditional forms of Christianity et al. That’s what we’re seeing right now. Of course, Joe Biden just held a rally in a church in Atlanta that ended with people in pews yelling “four more years” but tell me more about this “Christian Nationalism” on the right.

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