Charles Brian Orner
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The Sostenuto Blog

The Great Sorting


Ladies and Gentlemen, Inauguration Day is here! Thanks for showing up for what promises to be a star-studded, spectacular show. We’re just hours away from making America great again, and I know you’re all as excited as we are to take this country back from the ivory towers and the deserving poor. But first, a little housekeeping is in order. We all want things to move along without resistance, and so we’re asking each of you to help us out by sorting yourselves into like-minded gaggles so that we can fine-tune our fake news with a little finesse. You’ve all heard of The Great Sorting? Well, here it is! Welcome!

We’ve identified five fundamental archetypes from which to chose — each with it’s own cordoned queue and colorful signage. A few fine citizens from the local constabulary have volunteered to hand out flyers to help you decide where to flock to. Just look for the folks with brown shirts and sidearms and a stack of cheat sheets. Most of you will identify with more than one group, but find the faction that fits you best, and then fall into line.

First up is The Fool. A descendant of middle-age carnival culture, The Fool is the bread and butter of the Trump phenomenon. A respecter of no socioeconomic or cultural boundaries, The Fool specializes in the consumption of fact-free propaganda from reliable sources like the foxes at Fool News and Bright Bart Simpson. The Fool knows many things that others do not. He knows that Obama is actually a socialist Kenyan with a fake birth certificate, because Donald Trump said so for years before he blamed it on Hillary Clinton, who is obviously at fault for everything. He knows that Al Gore and 98% of the world’s scientists secretly formed a tightly-knit cabal to falsify 11,000 years of climate data so as to scare the bejesus out of gullible liberals and the hard hats at Halliburton. The Fool believes that everything in this Christian nation except the reality-based community is the result of intelligent design, and face it, things like the laryngeal nerve and the fossil record and David Brooks were just put there to test our faith. He’s partial to reality television, the slots at The Bellagio, and traditional marriage — followed shortly thereafter by traditional divorce. The Fool doesn’t read much, but if he did, he’d definitely read Ayn Rand. Other indicators include believing that Tucker Carlson is clever, Megan Kelly is fair and balanced, and Ted Nugent actually knows the difference between shit and shinola.

Next up is The Brigand. You know the type. You are the type. The Brigand is a Capitalist Tool Fool; a one-percenter with economic voodoo trickling down whatever is up his sleeve. He’s an entirely self-made man who despises taxation and every single social safety net where the word “welfare” contains seven letters. The Brigand is a job creator, too; he hires accountants and attorneys and confidence men to skinny down the word “welfare” to four letters when it is preceded by the word “corporate” because, well, that’s fare. He’s a gambler who knows how to minimize risk by privatizing profits and socializing losses, plus everybody knows that snake eyes in Delhi trumps a full house in Queens. The Brigand can sell anything. A specialist in the culture of conspicuous consumption, he’ll actually use climate change to sell ice to the eskimos. On the other hand, those North Dakota natives can go screw themselves with a Standing Rock. Other clues include the conviction that Alan Greenspan is innocent, Ayn Rand is a poet, and the serendipitous fact that there’s a sucker born every minute. (That’s sixty high-frequency trading sucker seconds.)

Our next category is The Hypocrite, except when it isn’t. Unlike The Brigand, The Hypocrite is frequently unaware of his category, so here are a few tips to help. The Hypocrite is most often a member of the religious right, which has as much in common with Donald Trump as a requiem does with a rock. He despises marital infidelity — in Democrats. He’s a situational ethics type who believes in family values for all the white reasons. He loves his God and his geisha and his little girls, of course, but everybody knows that locker room talk is just one of those things. Uh-huh. He’s a woman, which you gotta admit is totally contradictory, or a Latino, or anybody named Kellyanne Conway. The Hypocrite passionately believes in Donald Trump’s policies, no matter what they are at the moment. He knows racism and misogyny and sexism when he sees it, except he never sees it, and really, Trump wasn’t serious, he just said that stuff to get elected. The Hypocrite’s favorite authors are Ayn Rand and anybody who writes books about Hillary Clinton. He’s never actually read Ayn Rand, of course, because nobody reads Ayn Rand, but hey — it’s the principle of the thing. So come on down, Hypocrites! Out the door, one cross each, line on the left.

Next we have The Misanthrope. Unlike The Hypocrite, The Misanthrope knows whereof he speaks, because this shit is obvious. Sociopathy is his stock in trade, and hatred is his currency. The Hypocrite hates blacks, and women, and immigrants of all stripes. He hates foreign cars, and foreign words, and forensic science. He hates liberals, and losers, and the principle of postsecondary education. He hates Paul Krugman, and Paul Klee, and Paul Keene, because organic farming is just a load of shit. More than anyone, though, The Misanthrope hates himself, because who wouldn’t? He understands Trump’s behavior because he recognizes it, and what we really need in the White House is somebody like us. Unlike The Fool, The Misanthrope reads an awful lot of shit, because you can do that solo with a browser and a Twitter feed and a healthy hatred for the mainstream media. Naturally, he has concluded that the greatest author in the English language is…Ayn Rand. I shit thee not.

Finally, we have The Fascist. The Fascist knows that people don’t much like that word, so he favors phrases like “corporate personhood” instead. The fascist believes that government should be run like a business, trust-busters should defer to dirigisme, and Vladimir Putin is proof positive of a profitable prescription for pusillanimous realpolitik. He wants to privatize public parks and eliminate environmental exigency, because free markets rock. Like a requiem. The Fascist wants to weaponize the Bill of Rights, vouchsafe vouchers, and make good on God’s eternal promise that a rising tide lifts all yachts. He’s big on big box business, big on buxom babes with beers, and and big on anything that’s military and industrial and complex. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and Ayn Rand is better than The Bard.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Fools, Brigands, Hypocrites, Misanthropes, Fascists. Look for the color-coded signs with the appropriate symbol: F, B, H, M, and a Swastika. NRA types can choose any category they like (be nice!) but remember that shit always happens at a Ted Nugent concert, and Hypocrites are useless to us if they’re dead. If you don’t find a category that fits, you’re probably a liberal or a scientist or a journalist or a Jew, and it’s obvious that you can’t handle the truth. That sort is just not welcome here.

So off you go. We’ll be back in a few hours with plenty of red hats and telescreens and doublethink cue cards. A final word to the wise: anyone caught wearing a blue hat will shot on sight. So say it loud and say it proud, America: Better Red than Dead! Thank you!

(Better Red than Dead!…Better Red than Dead!…Better Red than Dead!…)

- B.

Brian Orner