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Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott launched another one of his Trump-dystopia jeremiads on Friday, turning the temporary outrage of a CNN crew filming the Minneapolis riots getting arrested into some sort of grand metaphor of George Orwell’s 1984. The headline was "Through the lens of a CNN camera on the ground, a view of American disintegration." When George Orwell distilled his chilling vision of totalitarianism into a single imIIage, he imagined this: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” The last word is critical — forever. It implies a choice, a small measure of hope. As long as the picture of a boot on a face is intolerable, there is hope for political self-determination, a meaningful public sphere and democracy. When it becomes tolerable, when it is normalized and visions like the one America witnessed Friday morning are commonplace, then the authoritarian longings latent in every democracy become totalitarian reality, and there is no escape from what Orwell called the “intoxication” of brute power. CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was somehow Winston Smith in this scenario. It wasn’t long before Kennicott somehow turned this into a Trump thing: That he, a journalist of color, was arrested by cops whose pale arms suggest that many of them are white, and that CNN, which has been a consistent object of President Trump’s puerile and corrosive abuse, was the target raises deeply disturbing questions . Among them: How many police in America are loyal not to the public but to a racist brand of populism that has found in the president its vigorous avatar? This is a little puzzling, since the CNN crew was arrested by the state police, and Minnesota’s governor — the man who apologized for the CNN arrests […]


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