I read this in Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House, which has been sitting on my Kindle since its publication. Opening it was prompted by the recent visit to our shores of the man himself and his subsequent ‘summit’ with Putin.
Who is he? What motivates him? Is there a real political ideology at the root of his rhetoric? Or is he, as I have long suspected, a kind of alt-right situationist: “It is not enough that thought should strive to realize itself; reality itself must strive toward thought.” That’s Marx by the way. But it is also Dadism and it’s also punk.
I doubt whether Trump will have any idea what I’m talking about. But I bet that Steve Bannon does.
Bannon is by some distance the most interesting character in the book, a bizarre combination of Lenin and Rasputin. It is his finger on the pulse of the electorate, his popularizing of the ideology, his instincts and his ability to pander to Trump’s political ingenuousness.
We already know much of the stuff that Wolff records. It's all on Youtube or in the newspapers. What's interesting is the detailed story of how Bannon loses out to the family. Or rather, how he loses out to daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. ‘Jarvanka’, as he calls them and their supporters did not, as did Bannon, give long interviews to Wolff, but it is clear that they are the enemy. Not least because they are part of the political elite which has always been the main target of Trumpism-Bannonism; and also because, when a President is likely to go with those who had the last word with him, the family will always triumph.
But the last words in the book are Bannon’s: “It’s going to be wild as shit” he says.
Those are the words of an instinctive situationist. Those are the words of someone who looks to create and exploit social disorder and cultural divergence. Those are the words of a man who relishes fire and fury and knows how to sieze the opportunities it creates.
That is why Bannon is now embarking on his alt-right world tour. His theory is that Trump’s election is not the realization of Trumpism, merely the start of it.
And the only man who can see the project through to its conclusion is not Trump, but Bannon himself.
It’s going to be wild as shit. And the rest of us are right in it.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Yesterday afternoon I shoe-horned myself into a crowded pub in Upton-upon-Severn to see the first Swaps gig of the year. Despite the temperatures, around 30C, they gave us a great two-hour set, including a superb new song called Gravity. So today, I have all their albums on shuffle. Welcome back James, Beth, Adam, Dave and Tomo. And thanks.