September 15th, 2021

(no subject)

I do not understand political language.

In a conversation with Yuval Harari, Michael Sandel describes Trump with the words "authoritarian populist".
He also speaks of authoritarian populism as of something on the rise; so presumably Bush-junior or Obama were not authoritarian populists. And — I am going out on a limb here — neither is Biden. But Trump was. Why; what are the distinctive characteristics assigned to this term?



(I am still having trouble with the substantive difference in the opposition of populism vs democracy — other than something "bad" vs something "good")

(no subject)

Harari: One of the other things that strikes me about the rise of populists is that they are not nationalists. They are not really patriotic at all. If you think that patriotism is hating foreigners, then yes, they are great patriots; but if you think that nationalism is loving the other people in your country, they are the opposite of patriots. They are trying to break the nation, on purpose, into hostile tribes. You see it with Trump in the US, with Bolsonaro in Brazil, with Netanyahu in Israel — so many places — that they are tribal leaders, not nationalist leaders. The main project of the nation ... is ... to get fifty million people ... with different languages and religions and social class to nevertheless feel connected; that's the big project of nationalism; and people like Trump, and Bolsonaro, and Netanyahu they are working against this project. (link)

The way he keeps putting Trump into his sentences is so unaccountably petty. People have been at each other's throats before Trump, and are still at it after. The divisive rhetoric driving the wedge between people of different colors, ethnicities, sexes, what have you, is coming primarily from the camp that hated Trump's guts, and is amplified by the powers that replaced him. That Harari is so focused on Trump, to the complete exclusion of the rest, is... incredible.

Oh, well, looking at the date of the video, he said it in late 2020, and I think I recognize the motifs that he had put on paper in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century; so maybe he just wasn't caught up with the times.

(no subject)

I was sure the Latin cunnus and the English cunt were related; but John McWhorter, in Nine Nasty Words, points out that they can't be. Because Grimm's law. Which dictates that English, as a Germanic language, would have /h/ where the Latin cognate has /k/; like canis vs hound. Of course.