Perhaps an overly timely piece, Jon Ronson’s The Elephant in the Room dives into a political microcosm that is, I say perhaps when what I mean is hopefully, entirely alien to most of us. Yes, it is the Trump campaign, but more than that, it is its inner workings, the minds milking and selling a political brand/revolution/cataclysm/con on a precipice once thought so far off the precipice ‘fringe’ didn’t even fully encapsulate it. I am of course talking about Alex Jones, who Ronson legitimately claims as friend with a stranger and kinder heart than I thought humanly possible, and Roger Stone, a man with as sordid a political history as one is like to find in any part of the political spectrum.
The essay itself is excellent, it is revealing, it is humorous, and it is one that I have recommended to numerous people who are unfamiliar with Ronson and others who may have simply missed it. However, it is written in a way that leaves the entire thing feeling trapped in the mode of ‘foregone conclusion’ that so many felt comfort in during the months preceding the election. Ronson’s humor isn’t disparaging, it’s wry and observational in a way that is uniquely his own, but the terror when it happens feels more like “My god, can you imagine?”.
Which I suppose dates or forever immortalizes this piece, that brief moment in history where some new what was happening and perhaps didn’t take it as seriously as they should have.
Time will tell, I suppose.
“The alt-right’s small gains in popularity will not be enough to win Trump the election. This is not Germany in the 1930s. All that’s changed is that one of Alex’s fans — one of those grumpy looking middle-aged men sitting in David Icke’s audience — is now the Republican nominee. But if some disaster unfolds — if Hillary’s health declines further, or she grows ever more off-puttingly secretive — and Trump gets elected, he could bring Alex and the others with him. The idea of Donald Trump and Alex Jones and Roger Stone and Stephen Bannon having power over us — that is terrifying. – Jon Ronson, The Elephant in the Room