Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Playing the Field: A Critique of the DiMaggio Paradigm

Playing the Field: A Critique of the DiMaggio Paradigm

Jim Kavanagh

Anthony DiMaggio, in his recent polemic on Counterpunch, Rise of the Right: How the Vaudeville Left Fuels White Supremacy, asserts that

there is a heavily corporatized, nominally left segment of the punditry…who are mainstreaming and popularizing Republican talking points…mainstream[ing] the idea of a left-right political alliance in the U.S… populariz[ing] noxious reactionary propaganda… and normalizing rightwing views, bigotry, and neofascistic politics. These are not individuals that any thoughtful leftist – whether one who advocates for liberal reform, progressive transformation, or socialism – should entertain. 

DiMaggio’s “vaudeville” lineup includes “Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Joe Rogan, Caitlin Johnstone, and Krystal Ball, among others.” (I’ll call them the Left-Fielders, because it will economize words, and I like cute analogies, too, and they’re way out there.) According to DiMaggio all these players have, “for all intents and purposes, thrown their lot in” with the “neofascistic Trumpian movement.” They have "driven Democratic voters toward the Republican Party," they "send Democratic voters to the right in general elections," and they are, DiMaggio constantly asserts, “normalizing white supremacy and the right’s neofascistic politics.” 

Whew! Hell of an indictment. 

I reject it. I reject the idea that any thoughtful leftist and socialist (as I consider myself) should accept the charge that these pundits are responsible for “normalizing” the “neofascistic Trumpian movement.” Frankly, I think it’s ridiculous, and can’t survive any fair-minded perusal of the entirety of their work. 

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