In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s dreadful TV ad today, which juxtaposes footage of Luis Bracamontes, an illegal immigrant entirely unrepentant for murdering two policemen, with the so-called”migrant caravan,” I thought of this quote by Anne Frank:
“The war is not over, and there’s dissension and Jews are considered as lesser beings.
I’d advise anyone even remotely persuaded by Trump’s propaganda to play a game of Mad Libs: Bigotry Edition.
How to play: Take this quotation, written by a sufferer of the Holocaust, substitute the word”Jew” with”Illegal Immigrant,” and then ask yourself: is this ad participating in the same line of thinking that facilitated the murder of six million people?Because that is what Trump is doing, here. Nobody has a face. The behavior of a single, is the behavior of all.
In movie, special effects editors produce enormous crowd scenes via a technique called”crowd duplication,” where they film a small number of extras, and essentially”cut and paste” before the few change to multitudes, filling the frame.
It is an apt metaphor for that which Trump tries here–the camera gives us a lingering close-up of a single terrifying individual, and then immediately cuts to a raucous crowd, leaving the viewer to reflexively”cut-and-paste” the 1 face we are given–Luis Bracamontes, handily adorned with a devil’s goatee–over and over.What is more, the audience seems to be a happy one–we hear cheerful hollers, the replicated blast of an air horn. However, this comes directly on the heels of Bracamontes, grinning unrelentingly as he brags about his crimes–in this context, their glee reads as menace. Certainly, their joy and Bracamontes’s are intended to share the same source: a psychotic pride within their own capacity for evil. And simply to add an extra layer of xenophobic taste, their cheers are mingled with the sound of drums. How does Trump square”honoring” 11 individuals who died at the hands of an antisemite, using an advertisement that capitalizes on exactly the same sort of thinking? They had been”Jews.” Interchangeable characters in a faceless audience. A bogeyman that he cut-and-paste and cut-and-paste till they filled the screen.