Caitlin Johnstone

When Batman Met Nazis: America’s Insipid Culture War

I think it’s safe to say that the costumed, albeit violent, Berkeley protest represents the culture war in the U.S. Confused, shallow, and vain.


Okay, that’s it. That’s as far as the American culture war can possibly be taken. When you’ve got people dressed as superheroes brawling with people dressed as ninjas over who’s got the better warmongering neocon politicians in Washington, you’ve taken this idiotic game to its most ridiculous possible extreme.

These Berkeley demonstrations where right-wingers (who think America is one “COEXIST” bumper sticker away from full-fledged Marxism) gather to have fistfights with lefties (who see Adolph Hitler’s face on every mammal without a Tumblr account) have taken the artificial dichotomy created and promulgated by America’s ruling elites and made it so cartoonishly exaggerated that it has lost all shape and meaning outside of “Hey, look at me!” social media vanity politics.

If you haven’t been following (and I would not blame you if you have not), there was yet another pro-Trump demonstration in the ultra-liberal city of Berkeley, California, which was once again met with counter protests from masked “antifascists” and which once again turned violent. This happened because people who voted for Trump last year are tired of being painted as racist Nazis by the people who voted for Clinton, so some of them have been staging the conservative equivalent of a gay pride parade to let everyone know that they’re out and they’re not ashamed. The people who voted for Clinton, meanwhile, have been brainwashed by corporate media into believing that their nation is being taken over by fascist bigots, so when they saw what they were being told was a rally for white nationalists and neo-Nazis assembling in their neighborhood, they came itching for a fight. Tempers flared and fists flew.

I’m not calling for this behavior to stop, for the record; if a bunch of bored Internet denizens want to get together and break their hand bones on each other’s skulls with poorly-thrown punches in order to feel something, that’s fine by me. I just think it’s worth drawing attention to how ridiculous this whole thing is getting. Because some rich people and their politicians figured out that rural Americans have different fears than urban Americans and that these fears can be used to keep voters fighting each other instead of demanding a just and equitable society, you’ve now got guys dressing up like Captain America running around breaking sticks over the heads of dread-locked black bloc liberal arts majors in one of the most expensive parts of the wealthiest nation on earth.

Neither side understands the other. The protesters decry the hypocrisy of the “tolerant left” under the erroneous belief that unconditional tolerance has ever been a value espoused in theory or in practice by the political left, while the counter-protesters say they’re there “to make Nazis afraid,” like that’s even a thing. The deliberately-constructed echo chambers they inhabit have thick walls to insulate them from ever gleaning any insight into the actual worldview behind the face they’re punching, but they take every minute of it so very, very seriously. And meanwhile the sociopathic oligarchs who own both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are marching us toward a potential world war with a nuclear superpower.

“Well, we can talk a little bit later about what’s happened to the Trump administration and this fascinating process that we have been seeing about how many days does it take for the security sector to digest a president. Something like 75 appears to be the answer.”

Julian Assange made the above tragically under-appreciated remark during his interview with Democracy Now. How many days does it take for the security sector to digest a president? How long does it take the military industrial complex and its cronies to make a president stop resisting its agendas and bow to its will? About 75 days. That’s good info.

Assange was of course referring to how quickly Trump has been made to reverse his position on key foreign policy issues like Russia and intervening against the Syrian government and fall in line with the U.S. deep state’s agendas against those nations, which has already outraged much of Trump’s base. What’s interesting about this development is that if it continues along its current trajectory it’s going to unite the anti-establishment right with the anti-establishment left. There was a brief window last year where Greens and Bernie-or-Busters united with the Trumpsters in the media war against the Clinton propaganda machine and together were able to do enough damage to cost the Anointed Queen her crown, but then, when their guy won, we lefties were left out in the cold on our own while they went on to celebrate and pretend that Trump is going to Make America Great Again.

If Trump takes one more step in the direction of Syrian regime change, we will see this start to shift as the battle lines are redrawn once more. Not all of his supporters will abandon him for going full neocon, but a very sizable percentage have indicated so. And then maybe this stupid culture war will finally end. Maybe we’ll see two sides of this insipid debate stop antagonizing and stagnating one another over a few wedge issues the deep state doesn’t even care about and finally turn and face the real enemy together, the superheroes with their sticks and the ninjas with their nun-chucks.


Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, please consider helping me out by sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or even tossing me some money on Patreon so I can keep this gig up.




Related posts