Orlando, Trump, and Orwell’s Ghost

Micro totalitarianism and sexual persecution are the terms that come to mind for me as I struggle to absorb the slaughter in Orlando. The first is best represented by Donald Trump’s Brummagem—his tweet of self-congratulation announcing his brand of Islamophobia has been proven correct. The branding of hatred, commodifying it, blurting it, as if it’s face cream or Viagra is how micro totalitarianism is spread and sexual persecution is just one of its targets. Islamophobia and homophobia are equally salable in the United States, almost as easy to sell as assault weapons. From a disability studies perspective one sees that the baseline narrative of micro “t” is, among liberals, mental illness—a convenient class, abstract, ridden to death by endless episodes of Law & Order, let’s blame them for violence. Micro totalitarianism depends on persecution and it’s practitioners will cherry pick their victims according to what sells.

The shooter in Orlando may or may not have been mentally ill. He may have been warm to Islamic extremism, but at this juncture, given his apparent declaration that he supported Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and ISIL—(which is like saying you support Stalinism, Trotsky, and Thomas Dewey) he seems more a figure of confusion, and perhaps someone with a persecution complex. He was, therefore, the perfect buyer, the proper customer for assault weaponry. Racial persecution, sexual persecution, disability persecution, religious persecution, all have in common the branding of hatred. Everyone in America is supposed to head straight over to the gun store.