The current series of Elsewhere (3) requires quite a bit of research. I begin these pieces, usually, about two weeks in advance, spending probably more time than I should, considering many of the other priorities of my life (not the least of which is the book I have been writing, filled with nearly daily interviews and research on an entirely different topic, as well as, of course, the endless obligations of being a husband and father), studying and identifying patterns of existence between all of us, everywhere, throughout the history of time, it is inevitable that I would need a day or two to catch up. And so today and tomorrow I will reprint some pieces I wrote somewhat recently on issues that are either still, or even more relevant to the current social and political discussions (mostly in America–hey! I have spent quite some time on ‘elsewhere’ in the world, and will continue to do so but, of course, sometimes we just want to stay home for the night). Elsewhere Series 3 will return on Monday, 4/15/2019, with a piece on Indonesia, and continue through a fragmented week (my children are on Spring Break next week), throughout Africa, before roving through Europe, more of Asia, South America, and more unaffiliated, colonial island nations and places like Greenland and Iceland. This current Elsewhere series (and there will be more and more with different focuses as time moves on and I finally get up off my ass and resume visiting elsewhere in the world) will continue on Monday through Friday (with likely several more days off in between) until early May. As I stated in the prologue to series 3, I was thinking about a larger Recording Editorial History: Elsewhere project (which would be the second book I can cull from this site, with the required massive edits and narrative changes and additions so you motherfuckers can’t get all this shit for free; the other is Recording Presidential History, which has a number of early versions of articles published here as well), and that is now shoved onto my rather dense professional schedule, behind the biography, behind the US history survey, and behind a trilogy of novels, another novel, in addition to short stories and reviews (regardless of how one views a professional writer, I am extremely right now!)
Recording Editorial History, which I guess I don’t really need to promote if you are already reading this, has proven to be a Rosetta stone for my literary ambitions, as well as a great learning experience about the nature of belief, ideas and differences in the world. If I were to calculate the number of pages this site has to this point produced, based upon word count, as well as the space taken up through pictures and quotes, this is pretty close to 2,000 pages. I did not realize this until yesterday–never even thought about it. I could additionally go back to 1993 when I began this idea, scribbling comments on what people were saying in marble notebooks that also have notes from college on intermittent pages, and provide a body of work that should make me more proud than it actually does. Ultimately, I realize, no matter whatever else I do in this brutal, competitive, violently petty and subjective world of literary gamesmanship, this specific thing, this ‘blog’ that I finally undertook so many years and after so many pages worth of dense and often humiliating personal study, Recording Editorial History is the one thing that keeps me sane. This is not like a diary bemoaning my flaws and faults and anxieties (and do not point out my hypocrisy in this introduction to a reprint, please), but a very real concept of understanding not just myself, but the much larger world in which you and I live, and hoping I can offer something you may never have heard before, evading political sensitivity, avoiding sentiment and even bias. All this was ever meant to be was a record of different versions of the truth, no matter how questionable that very statement might be. It is belief, it is what we believe. What I think, finally, as well as what any of you as individuals believe, is finally meaningless on the larger stage. And I am here to record it, a fly on the wall (this also makes me a pretty good biographer, as I hope you will see upon publication of my main project right now, which has a title I am not presently willing to submit publicly based upon legal matters and NDAs and publication negotiations and all sorts of other business-related bullshit.) Being a historian, or a truth teller, ultimately requires one to sublimate themselves into a larger meaning. We abandon ourselves in order to understand just what it is that other people obsess over. What I think (even though I get to guide the narrative), is not the central focus of what is said. And so . . . so . . . here is a recent piece I wrote in horror and outrage, avoiding those emotions I felt in the construction of the narrative in order to point out, with extreme bias, just how horrible a single person is. Please enjoy this review, now, considering a handful of political changes in these United States, perhaps more relevant than ever:
“Stephen Miller: A Very American Disease”
Check this out:
Stephen Miller was in high-school in the above clip and, lest we forgive him for being young and obnoxious, here he is recently, in his current role as one of President Donald Trump’s senior policy advisers:
Listening to any of President Trump’s speeches to the nation, one cannot help but recognize the ghastly cynicism of this spoiled, 33-year ghoul. Or at least most people recognize it. The President either didn’t, or simply does not care, which seems to be in line with his own character. In fact, Donald Trump and Stephen Miller seems to have quite a bit in common.
Coming from a wealthy Santa Monica, California Jewish family, Miller grew up a spoiled brat, told he could do no wrong; that, in fact, everyone who did not agree with him was not only wrong, but incredibly stupid. One of the first revisions to his personal history involves him claiming his had some sort of epiphany, that the light of God came into his head and transformed him into the cynically far-right wing creep he presents himself as today. He claims that the gospel that impacted him so deeply was Guns. Crime, and Freedom, by current National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=9780895264770&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-used). The reason this story is a lie is not because the book didn’t influence him–I am sure that it did. But it is simply because he claims that this vision made him somehow born again. He was already a professional provocateur (he hosted a controversial right-wing radio talk show in high school, often whining and complaining that he was being censored because he could not have famous guests on his show based upon what he was told were ‘budgetary concerns.) He organized protests, like the one against cleaning up after yourself in the opening video, and was constantly roaming around smugly to inspire anger, seemingly the only thing in life that brought him any joy.
When he was sixteen years old Miller wrote a letter to the local Santa Monica newspaper declaring that his elite high school, after September 11, was in favor of the attacks and that “Osama bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School.” He showed enormous talent at dividing people over ideological issues even before he arrived at Duke University, where he got very close with conservative activist David Horowitz.
Miller even raced to the top in order to become the President of Duke’s Student’s For Academic Freedom, a wannabe national organization founded by Horowitz, whose main goals seem to be dishonest attacks and hysterical exaggerations not so much on the far left, but any opposition to their radical right-wing theocracy, as well as painting all Muslims as terrorists. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled this college organization as a “far-right anti-Muslim hate group.” They denounce political correctness with their own form of moral demands (let’s call it ‘patriotic correctness), condemn all minorities for not having the same opportunities as rich white people, calling it their own fault, and even going so far as to state that anyone who agrees that the organization is a hate group has “joined the Muslim Brotherhood.”
This group even co-sponsored the notorious Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest of 2015 in Garland, Texas, an intentionally and cruelly blasphemous display that, much to the founder’s joy, provoked the sort of psychopathic violence it was hoping for, the killing of two offended Muslims. This was deemed to prove the point that all Muslims are terrorists, because those two guys had intended to be. I have no idea why Horowitz was not charged as complicate to an act of terrorism.
Anyway, Stephen Miller got famous when the case of several wrongly accused of rape Duke lacrosse players were being attacked throughout the nation by people entirely ignorant of the facts. Miller became a public spokesperson for the students, and managed to land of television denouncing everyone and everything, wrongly blaming the media, attacking Muslims for some reason and, more than anything, condemning women whom he claimed “Lie ninety-nine percent of the time about sexual assault.” He declared that sexual discrimination was not, and never had been a problem. It has even been claimed that in private Miller told people that “women need to learn their place in America,” while denouncing Sharia Law.
This divisive issue, and the justness of the cause (regardless of the choice of promotion), garnered Miller the sort of attention he had always sought, this time on a national stage. One of his major successes, prior to being hired by far right wing Congressman Michelle Bachmann and Congressman John Shadegg as press secretary, was the co-organization with Richard Spencer
the well-known neo-Nazi and founder of the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia white-nationalist march the promotion of a fundraising debate supporting new anti-immigration policies, particularly targeting Mexico and Central America.
Stephen Miller, a man still in his early thirties (did you earn the responsibility he has been granted simply for being a hard-line asshole at such a young age?) has garnered enormous power. His influence on American policy is unquestionable. I just wonder . . . I am forced to wonder, how can someone achieve such heights while not actually believing in anything? This might be argued, sure, seeing the passionate rage spittling out of his slash of a mouth, but the fact remains that he is only against things, not in favor of anything at all.
(the first picture is earlier than the second, just for clarity of the off-colored spray on his scalp)
Stephen Miller is a text book example of the sort of person I have been talking about for a while: the right-wing radical who mirrors the tactics of shrill 1960s and 70s left-wing protesters, using every call to emotional blackmail they can exploit. Miller, sarcastically, has brought this same sort of language, which was properly laughed off regarding the howling bunch of pussies once called ‘liberals,’ and he is somehow using this to justify crass, crude, bigoted, and benighted policies with ‘a call to the heart.’ The laughing tone of this is perhaps what is most offensive.
Think about the times you may have seen someone taunt another, mocking their interests, calling boys ‘girlish’ and girls ‘boys,’ making individual taste into a limited, gender-based ideology. You can just hear the soulless cruelty–‘ohhh. Playin’ wiv a widdle dollie?’ or ‘girls can’t play football!’ This is the depth of Stephen Miller’s childish character. Because, at one time or another, people he has disagreed with have successfully taken advantage of a social atmosphere surrounding him by crying into the wind about whatever momentarily offended them. Miller has decided that this tactic can work for anything–even being offended by people offended by your prejudices.
Stephen Miller is a very American disease, the spoiled, selfish, ground zero representation of everything everyone everywhere hates about America. He is, in his own right, our worst generalization come true.
The youngest a person can be to get elected President of the United States is 35. Miller will never be elected president, being too much of an immoral, hyper-emotional snowflake to generate confidence in anyone other than members of his mutually lost and cynical fraternity (besides being such a hyper-sensitive target of the unscrupulous professionals even in what this anarchist refers to nominally as his party) But he has been outrageously successful being an asshole throughout his rather brief life. I am sure that he is already very wealthy, and has only greater good fortune to look forward to. But it does not change the fact that Stephen Miller is the definition of a very American disease. Stephen Miller is the result of being spoiled rotten.
©2019 Lance Polin