Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump --- Sweden/Norway --- Henrick Ibsen --- “... Enemy of the People” --- AND --- According to the Washington Post, comparisons to “… HITLER” & “… STALIN”

Think about all that  ---  and if you think it’s something to do with a Scandinavian playwright or historically off-the charts bad foreign dictators   ---  you’re barking up the wrong tree (even if some of those things ARE in there) 

Among other things, President Donald Trump is making AMERICA look at itself and he is making it confront many of it’s false fronts  ---  recently, he has talked about  the threat and reach of terrorism, both here and abroad;  also Trump has pointed out how the so-called "free press" and the rest of the mainstream media in AMERICA are impeding his LEGITIMATE EFFORTS TO PROTECT AMERICANS and/or TO PUT AMERICANS FIRST as a class in America; and to that extent, Trump has made perhaps his most caustic description of the press and media, that they are "The enemy of the people"

Many political, social and literary observers have used the term and helped to define the meanings of "enemy of the people"; with Robespierre going so far as to tell us what needs to be done about those who are identified as >>> enemies of the people

Last week, President Trump said a few provocative things like he often does. 

In one of his more accurate descriptions, in one of his tweets he called the American mainstream media “…the enemy of the people…”   For the sake of historical accuracy here  is what he tweeted, his >>> words <<< are verbatim:
Donald J. Trump [Verified account]@realDonaldTrump….   The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!....   1:48 PM - 17 Feb 2017” [various Twitter items removed]  

The press and the rest of the MSM were not amused.  

Why, the Washington Post even quoted the New York Times near the top of one of it’s articles on the issue, as follows:   “….  The New York Times, which among others was called out specifically, labeled it ‘a striking escalation’ from a leader who ‘routinely castigates journalists.’…”  (See  Trump called the news media an ‘enemy of the American People.’ Here’s a history of the term”  by  []).   Oh,  and this gem of a quote by the WaPo writer:  “  Gabriel Sherman, national affairs editor at New York magazine,  described it as  “… ‘ full-on dictator speak.’…”   Trust me that WaPo piece got a lot worse;  but, more on that later.

In one of his more flubby-type moments Trump mentioned Sweden and the reach terrorism…..   It wasn’t  one of his best or clearest examples to prove his point  ---  Trump’s own media team cleaned it up a bit in post-production,  but not much.   

However,  the combination of the use of the term “Enemy of the People”  and  the mention of Sweden made me think of Henrick Ibsen (because I never can keep it straight that August Strindberg is the Swedish playwright and Ibsen is Norwegian)…..   I know that’s a bit screwed-up and backwards, but that’s how I think and THAT’S HOW I GOT THE IDEA TO ON AND ON ABOUT IBSEN AND HIS PLAY.   A little research showed me that the American media types were all over Trump’s use of the term   “…enemy of the people…”  and they also saw the tie-in to the Norwegian Henrick Ibsen and his 19th Century play,  “An Enemy of the People”…..   Even the WaPo article by Amanda Erickson integrated that connection   (of course, she would, after all her name is   “Erickson” isn’t it ! ! !). 


An even better Trump-Ibsen analysis is in the more recent article in “The Daily Beast” by Michael Tomasky  (See  “How Donald Trump Made a Norwegian Playwright The Most Important Man of the Moment”.by Michael Tomasky,  2/20/17,  The Daily Beast  []).   Spoiler alert  ---  Mr. Tomasky’s article is a snarky anti-Trump and pro-press take on the plot of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People”;  however, he shows that right up front with this sub-headline,   “…  Donald Trump likely has never heard of Henrik Ibsen, but the president just put journalists sticking up to him in excellent company….”

Even though Mr. Tomasky doesn’t go to the extremes that the WaPo’s Amanda Erickson does with her comparisons to Hitler and Stalin;  like most of the press- and media-oriented types,  Tomasky makes a mistake in immediately assuming that it is the press and media that wear the same mantle as Ibsen’s hero and necessarily that are sharing Ibsen’s POV.

You see, Ibsen’s hero,   Dr. Thomas Stockmann,  the enemy of the people in the title stands alone in pointing out the dangers that are really facing the people.   BTW, the first half of the movie “Jaws” broadly follows the plot line of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of The People” and the danger to bathers lurking in the local waters.   Doesn’t that sound more like Trump and his personal crusade against “The Swamp” than anything else ???


Never forget that Trump is first and foremost a  “POPULIST”  ---   and as such,  he is always in his element when he sides with “THE  PEOPLE”  against any and all perceived threats to their way of life and/or  personal well-being.   In this regard,  Trump is like some of Ibsens’s antagonists;  and all the naysayers opposing him are rightly called,   “The enemy of the people….”

Interestingly,  Michael Tomasky also noted that the term  “enemy of the people”  had earlier been  used by Robespierre.   Here’s how Tomasky put it:   “The phrase was used before Ibsen wrote his play in 1882. Notably, and unsurprisingly, Robespierre gave it a good work out (how’s that for company? Trump I’m sure has never heard of him, but certainly Steve Bannon would smile). To enemies of the people, the sea-green incorruptible once said, the state owes “nothing but death.”   Boy, that’s a lot to get one’s head around;   I think I need a rest…..


Anonymous said...

Trump, Sweden, Norway, who the f*** do you think you are the Washington Post?

Galewyn Massey said...



I cited an article from the Washington Post, I even quoted a small part of that piece; however, I also criticized the article and made some negative comparisons about it compared to another article and some other views of the issues presented..... So, why in the world would you ask, "... [W]ho [ ] do you think you are the Washington Post?"