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Hillary: “The Hateful Harpy”

September 12, 2016

That’s the title that I’m giving the story that Republicans have fabricated during the last couple of days, in order to distract their voters (from Trump’s potentially fatal, foreign policy weakness, and from Hillary’s potentially winning domestic message), by lying to stir up hatred. SOP.

Story theme and main image: Hillary is an elitist harpy who swoops in and steals the food from hard working Americans who will vote for their provider, Trump, and while she’s at it, she shits all over the table. *

The actual mythology involving harpies evolved and is complex, but I thought of it because I vividly remember seeing, when I was a kid, an illustration in some book that showed a flock of these repulsively ugly, grotesque pests swooping into a banquet scene. I remember wondering whether my loving, emotionally nourishing, mother and grandmother could be these same creatures. In the culture that I grew up in, the harpy had become a projection by males of their repressed fear of females. As the sole legitimate providers, men feared losing the power accorded with that status, and at the same time, resented the consumption by women and children of so much of what they worked so hard to provide.

The Rs are not directly using the harpy image, but here’s my summary, based on their tweets etc, of the story that they are trying to make stick. Josh Marshall at his TPM has kindly gathered the three major versions of their tale, on one page. He puts his finger on the key point, the lie: They make no mention of either the “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic”  T supporters whom Hillary finds “deplorable” (as should they) or, even more important, of her convincingly sympathetic championing of the Americans whom they are most hoping will vote for Trump.

Here’s a summary of the story of Hillary that the Rs want their potential voters to believe. Alas, their story-telling style consists mostly of adjectives and scripted talking points.

Now we know the real Hillary, self-revealed when she ripped off her mask of caring about people, and exposed her contempt for them. She pretends to care about people but actually she is a bigot who hates most people because she considers them inferior no-accounts [my word, from my Midwestern roots]. She’s a Beltway-to-Hamptons elitist snob and a corrupt, self-serving, money-hungry liar. She is grotesque and disgraceful [lacking grace, as in irredeemable and clunky], pathetic, “unfit and incapable.” She should be ashamed of herself. She rejects us hard-working Americans who want to “make America great again.”

That’s the campaign story of Hillary that Rs will take every opportunity to fix in the minds of their potential voters.

The shaming, in Trump’s official response, is the most deplorable, as I’ve argued on another page, because shaming says that the shamed person should not exist—I believe that he also intends to suggest, to his supporters, that she thinks that should be ashamed of themselves; they are vulnerable to T’s suggestion because, in fact, they fear that they cannot provide; for instance, during the Great Depression, a problem that men had was that their wives stopped sleeping with them, or they could not stand to sleep with their wives, because they were so embarrassed about being unemployed.

Now I’ll tell a story of a Hoosier Republican: When Mike Pence says “from the bottom of my heart” he’s indulging in wishful thinking; his heart has been turned to stone by his religious self-righteousness and ideological rigor mortis. Ha! Otherwise, how could he stand to be the running mate of a Trump?  (He should not be ashamed of himself, he should repent and be washed clean.)

Read that Pence story three times. The image will stay with you, whether it’s true or not.

* Here’s a page of (mostly contemporary fantasy) images (the illustration that I remember was more like a Goya).

Surfing for a visual such as the one I remember from my childhood, I found—linked to “harpy”—this page aboutfood (in)security,” which I think helps understand the depth of the anxieties of many Trump supporters—it’s an archetypal pattern of our imagination.

This page says they “snatched” children and souls! They were, in other words, counter-feminine women.  (This drawing is more like the one i remember, except there were lots of them, with ugly, threatening faces, flying like a flock of hawks.)

Here’s a goofy and nasty account (and yesterday, when I found it, featured an ad with a very unflattering face of. . . Hillary!).

(Here’s a Trumpite overcompensation for fear of impotence; a picture is worth a thousand Brownshirts.  Thanks, Donald, Jr.)

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