5/05/2017

Taibbi on Bannon (at the very least)

Matt Taibbi


If you're sending a child away to college, Bannon is pretty much the worst-case scenario of what might come back – someone who will spend a lifetime inspired by literature to get more in touch with his inner troglodyte.

Bannon is said to have spent much of his adult life reading books that contain some combination of the following elements: violent collapses of Western civilization, invading hordes of dirty foreigners, elitist plots, murder and revolution. Jean Raspail's The Camp of the Saints, a book so dumb it makes The Turner Diaries seem like Huck Finn, is a favorite; the novel is a grimy fantasy about Europe overrun by brown immigrants who have les bras décharnés de Gandhi ("bare, fleshless Gandhi arms") and whose children are "all wormy inside." He is also said to be a fan of Italian fascist Julius Evola, and of The Fourth Turning, a book that insists America goes to hell once every four generations. He has also said he likes Trump's books, a seeming impossibility for a college graduate – about the only Trump-Hitler comparison one can safely make without trampling on Godwin's law is that it is impossible to say which of the two demagogues is the worse writer...



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...History is filled with whisperers behind the throne: Machiavelli, Richelieu, even Thomas Cromwell, to whom Bannon once compared himself. Most of these were smart enough to stay in the background. Bannon went the opposite route. He burnished his Rasputinite legend at every turn, making himself the subject of a Time cover ("The Great Manipulator") and pumping up his brand by dressing like a Banana Republic version of Charles Bukowski. The bloated and tieless Bannon's permanent 10-o'clock-shadow look, which any man knows takes more time and narcissistic grooming to maintain than a clean face, stood out in a Trump inner circle made up of men in square suits and power ties.

Bannon embraced the role of the evil Svengali in a way no one in recent American history had, at least not since Joe McCarthy's henchman Roy Cohn – coincidentally, one of Trump's first mentors. "Darkness is good," Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter, with Cohn-ian verve, in the weeks after Trump's electoral win. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power."

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