‘They Absolutely Do Not Believe Their Own Bullshit, but It’s Useful for Them to Pretend They Do.’

Wonderful thread on Twitter by Lili Saintcrow, on her dealings with an old racist neighbor:

One afternoon, Gene mentioned whatever the current outrage du jour on Fox was. (This was well before Der Trumpenfuhrer’s reign, by the way.)

He fixed me with his baleful, watery stare, and said, “Obama was born in Kenya, you know.” […]

So I dead-eyed Gene and said, “You don’t really believe that. I know you don’t.”

I will never forget the look that crossed his face. Because it was familiar. It was the same shit-eating grin my racist stepfather used to wear when spouting Rush Limbaugh dittohead shit at the dinner table. It was the same wink-wink-nudge-nudge all the fucking white supremacists and Satanic Panic assholes give.

Gene absolutely, positively did not believe that Obama was born in Kenya. But he would continue to say he believed it, no matter who asked, to the end of his life. Because he thought saying he believed it absolved him of responsibility.

“You know that isn’t true” — I’m going to remember that reply. She also includes this Zen koan, which I don’t recall seeing before, but which I just love, and is perfectly apt for our moment: “You cannot wake someone up who is pretending to be asleep.”

Sunday, 10 January 2021