Friday, May 3, 2024

A Rather Sad and Small Man

Mussolini's widow, Rachele, in an interview a year after his death:
“My husband appeared to be a lion, but instead he was a rather sad and small man.”
Lord protect us from sad, small men.

Autocrats are 100% image. A pose. It's always cosplay by odd dweebs.

The most penetrating low-down on fascists comes not from Hannah Arendt, but from L. Frank Baum. The mighty Wizard of Oz turning out to be a curious little dude in a booth behind a curtain with a loud microphone and transparently cheesy graphics is as apt an image as can possibly be contrived.

They're always laughed at before they take over. They're always transparently doofy. So how do they do it? Because myriad sad small men identify and join the cosplay. It's their time to shine.

Similarly, many people live and breathe for a sport team's outcomes, though their "heroes" chase balls around a field for a living. Those rabid fans are hooked not only on absurd glory, but on second-hand absurd glory! Substance has nothing to do with it. 

Secure people are not grandiose. They feel no need to preen or pose. Fascism is Revenge of the Weaklings, and it's every bit as shallow and vapid as it sounds. Not to say such societal cosplay can't thrust multitudes into death or suffering. A pack of rabid dogs can do plenty of damage.

"The True Believer" (get it from Internet Archive), written by a self-taught longshoreman, is a beautifully written little book with a highly original take (at the time) on the sort of person who joins mass movements.

I would posit that Dear Leader, who in all instances raises projection to a high art form, is the same empty shnooky type. It's all mirrors-in-mirrors-in-mirrors, and both leader and follower draw tighter in their mutual satisfaction at staring into the reflection of the reflection of the reflection.

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