It is getting exponentially more difficult to maintain a positive attitude these days. As if the horror of the Haiti quake, COVID’s rampaging Delta variant and the climate screaming, “Told you so!” by way of fire and flood were not sufficiently disheartening, there is the last act of our 20-year calamity in Afghanistan to contend with. The corporate “news” networks are reveling in footage of Afghan civilians running for their lives while pundits gravely opine about nothing of depth or substance beyond the six opportunistic inches in front of their faces.
This, though, is verging deeply into last-straw territory: On Tuesday night, Fox News wretch Sean Hannity took a moment during his nightly show to offer a few words for the families of those Americans still trying to find a way out of the chaos in that country, just in case they were in a mood to do some shopping.
“How would you like to be in Kabul today, as an American, and you can’t get to the airport?” asked Hannity. “Where are you thinking your life is headed? If you’re one of those family members, I bet you’re not sleeping. I don’t even think My Pillow can do it. MyPillow.com. That’s where I go. I fall asleep faster, I stay asleep longer. These are going to be a lot of sleepless nights for so many of our fellow Americans. We’ve got to get them home.”
That happened, and on live television. With the deft touch of a lowered bulldozer blade, Hannity perfected the ruthless art of disaster capitalism. That he used the plight of those families to pitch a product, made by a guy running around the country barfing up dangerous 2020 election fictions, took another bad year and turned it positively surreal. It was as filthy as anything I have ever seen, which makes it about par for the current course.
Hannity’s execrable pillow peddling was reinforced one short night later by Fox’s vile potato monster Tucker Carlson, who stomped right through the gruesome aftermath of the U.S.’s 21st-century wars to offer yet another reason to target immigrants and love the GOP. There is concern within European governmental circles, you see, that the far right could capitalize politically on another refugee crisis arising from the Middle East, as they did in 2015. Carlson cottoned to this, and made for daylight like a rattlesnake in the corn.
“[W]e are now living through the biggest influx of American refugees in American history,” Carlson said on Wednesday night. “We are on pace for at least 2 million illegal immigrants arriving in America this year alone. That’s far more than the number of asylum applicants who arrived in Europe in 2015. That was over 1 million, just over 1 million, that totally changed Europe forever.”
Quick quiz: What do the 2015 refugee crisis and the current Afghanistan refugee crisis have in common? If you guessed “failed American wars,” go pick yourself out a prize. The calamity of Iraq — which spawned the war in Syria and the violent rise of ISIS just across the border — was the catalyst for the 2015 tide of humanity seeking to flee the carnage. The cause of the crisis unfolding today is, again, another U.S. war-making debacle. Can’t talk about that on Fox News, though, or any other major media outlet for that matter. Makes it harder to sell those pillows.
Two years ago to the day, Donald Trump told the press his administration was having “having very good discussions” with the Taliban about establishing a peace deal and ending the war. He was, as usual, half-assing his way toward a cheap talking point and a few minutes of positive TV coverage, as current events most vividly demonstrate. This was also the day Trump announced that the U.S. was interested in buying Greenland. “It’s something we talked about,” he said. “Denmark essentially owns it, we’re very good allies with Denmark.”
So it goes, I suppose, in the land of the free, or something. Hannity tries to sell fascist pillows to the families of Americans caught in a post-war zone of fear and uncertainty, while Carlson once again tried to spook the Fox-watching horses about refugees (the ones we caused to flee their homeland with 20 years of bombs and shooting) and immigrants, and all two years after the world heavyweight champion of shabby presidents told us all was so well that he was in the market for a large partially melting land mass.
You could write all this off as standard-issue Fox/Trump material, but that would be a dangerous mistake. Racism, war and shamelessly voracious capitalism are the nucleotide bases within the DNA of the business deal we call “The American Dream.” This is not new; it is, in fact, as old as the first European invasion of this land. The fact that it has its own dedicated TV network is only slightly more malevolent than the reality that the other networks are almost — but not quite — as bad.
Anyone want to buy a pillow? They’re great at soaking up tears.