By Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2021 – Thomas Adcock
NORTH CHATHAM, New York—U.S.A.
Meet Michael James Lindell of Mankato, Minnesota—pillow factory magnate, blustery messenger of anti-vaccine lunacy, and mustachioed mouthpiece for the entire menu of Republican Party screwball theory. His qualifications for this work include years of experience as a crack addict and Las Vegas card sharp who will tell you, at the drop of a hat, how he trod the road to Damascus and found salvation in Jesus Christ and Donald Trump.
Born again, so it is said by the flock, Mike Lindell is on a mission from God: to proliferate the Big Lie of our time, à la the strategic deceptions of Joseph Goebbels in Hitler’s day. Yea verily, Mr. Lindell taps the wellspring of bunk that now floods the United States in a sea of mendacity. I speak, of course, of Donald Trump’s claim that last year’s presidential election was “rigged” against him, and that the Supreme Court will surely (somehow) return him to his rightful place in the White House.
We shall have some fun with the buffoons Lindell and Trump. But later herein, let us consider the damage to a society that tolerates political buffoonery for too long. As the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81) warned us, “Tolerance will reach such a level that intelligent people will be banned from thinking so as not to offend the imbeciles.”
The Big Lie told by a yellow-haired loser and his cult of admirers and miscreants is the fundament of a delusionary American zeitgeist. Tens of millions of us elevate idiocy over wisdom, including those who know better. Charlatans, simpletons, and scammers populate Washington as never before. Ethical journalists are slandered as “enemies of the people” trading in “fake news.” Facts are forsaken, truth is trashed.
Through it all, the ousted potentate stomps throughout the land as the star attraction of modern-day tent revivals reminiscent of the Nazi Party’s Nuremberg propaganda rallies of the 1920s and ‘30s. As at Nuremberg, those usually suspected of unpatriotic perfidy are liberals, communists, socialists, swarthy immigrants, “globalists” and “inner city” types. (Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more.)
Notwithstanding an ongoing bipartisan Congressional investigation into the seditious acts of those responsible for organizing, financing, and fomenting January’s insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, Mr. Trump refuses to shut his mouth about the election of November 2020. Midway into a ninety-minute harangue at a recent Nuremberg-style jamboree, this one in the state of Arizona, he employed his trademark psychological projection in declaring of a post-election insurrection in his name, “The facts are coming out! The truth is being uncovered and the crime of the century is being exposed!”
Surely this thrilled Mike Lindell.
Never mind that not a scintilla of Mr. Lindell’s supposed evidence was presented in the dozens of court challenges mounted by Republicans to suggest that anyone anywhere in America cast a fraudulent vote for the winning Democratic Party nominee—now President Joseph R. Biden—who whipped the Republican nominee Trump by more than seven million ballots. Further, Mr. Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security affirmed the election as “the most secure in American history.”
Which is not to say the election was entirely innocent. A certain Mr. Bruce Bartman of rural Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to felony charges of voter fraud, by way of his attempt to secure an absentee ballot for his dead mother, with intent to plump the Trump count. Of Pennsylvania’s 6,835,903 overall votes for president, Mother Bartman’s forged choice would have been the single impropriety. In an apology to the judge, her son admitted, “I listened to too much propaganda and made a stupid mistake.”
Now comes Mike Lindell with bombshell news:
Mr. Trump shall be “reinstated” as president during this very month of August 2021. On Friday the 13th, to be precise, which according to the Gregorian calendar marks the crucifixion and resurrection of Mr. Christ in the year 33 A.D., followed by religious veneration.
“It will be the talk of the world,” said Mr. Lindell in a recent interview with The Independent of London.
He disclosed no jurisprudential path to reinstatement. Details, details. Mike Lindell is on a mission. As if a farmer back in his native Midwest, he propagates codicils to the Big Lie with the rhetorical equivalent of cowplops spread over a soybean field.
Fortified by eye droppers of oleandrin—a sugary extract of toxic Nerium oleander he squirts under his tongue multiple times daily, this being the latest thing in quack preventatives and cures for coronavirus—the Minnesota cowplopper additionally claims:
• In the run-up to Mr. Trump’s own lordly resurrection, Lindell and company will conduct a three-day “cyber symposium” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At such time, evidence heretofore unseen will prove, incontrovertibly, that election evils thwarted the dubious majesty of a second Trump White House.
• Although off-limits to the general public, the symposium will happily admit ersatz journalists pledged to educating the gullible to the “fact” that Donald Trump trounced Joe Biden last November “by a lot,” per the Big Blond Loser’s assertion.
• The televised symposium will yield a billion-plus audience, eclipsing the late Elvis Presley’s “Aloha from Hawaii” pay-per-view TV spectacle of 1973. Those tuning in to the “Howdy from South Dakota” spectacle of 2021—Mr. Lindell may thank me for the title—will be moved to demand that the U.S. Supreme Court “right the wrong.”
• Anyone with resounding proof that symposium “evidence” is not kosher shall collect a reward of $5,000,000 (€4,250,000), paid personally by Mike Lindell, so says he.
Among even the modestly informed, there is skepticism as to Mr. Lindell’s boasts and predictions—and certainly his coronavirus nostrums. But what is plainly ludicrous on Earth One may be wholly credible to the people of Earth Two. Professor Tom Nichols of Harvard University, a refugee from a Republican Party he describes as “in need of fumigation,” worries about the conundrum and its consequences. In his book, “The Death of Expertise,” the professor despairs: “Never have so many people had access to so much knowledge, and yet been so resistant to learning anything.”
To which I might add: Truth does not mind being questioned, a lie does not like being challenged. In part, this may explain the mentality of those prone to Donald Trump’s incitements.
On the morning of January 6, an army of “fascist traitors,” as Congressman Jamie Raskin called it, stormed the Capitol at Mr. Trump’s behest—the seat of American democracy where Mr. Raskin and his colleagues met to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory. The Trumpian hordes set loose included 56-year-old Saundra Kiczenski, a Wal-Mart clerk from the state of Michigan.
Ms. Kiczenski was chatty with journalists covering the siege, cheerfully steadfast in devotion to the Big Lie repeated by the Big Loser himself moments before she and her fellow travelers left a parkside “Save America” rally and advanced toward deadly assault on the Capitol. Seconding Mr. Trump at the pre-insurrection rally was Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, who wore concealed bullet-proof Kevlar body armor beneath his mustard-colored jacket while urging the rabble to “take names and kick ass.”
Zealously convinced of Mr. Trump’s fictive reëlection, Ms. Kiczenski told reporters that Joe Biden’s win meant that the country had fallen victim to “a takeover by the communist devils.” Ergo, Trump loyalists must invade the Capitol and kick ass.
“We weren’t there to steal things, we weren’t there to do damage,” Ms. Kiczenski said of an invasion resulting in five deaths, debilitating injuries to one hundred and forty police officers, theft of government documents, wanton vandalism, and marbled corridors despoiled by urine and excrement.
She added, “We were just there to overthrow the government.”
Just as it is an easy thing to exploit racist hatred and general stupidity, the exploitation of reasonable medical trepidation is simplicity itself. Both are time-stained methods of social control, both are lucrative.
- ITEM : Donald Trump’s “Save America” entity is officially a PAC (Political Action Committee) protected by U.S. tax law as a nonprofit entity for the collection of donations for distribution to candidates for public office. Abuse of tax law, as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office alleges in its ongoing investigation into his corporate finances, is a particular Trumpian talent. To that end, Mr. Trump’s PAC has raised $75 million so far this year (€63.12 million)—with virtually all given over to underwrite the personal expenses of Guess Who.
- ITEM: Ginned-up fear of inoculation against the dread Covid-19 pandemic is an effective tool for grifters peddling not only Mr. Lindell’s oleandrin concoction, but a host of other highly profitable nonsense cures and prophylactics. Among the quackery are hydroxychloroquine, used to treat malaria; ivermectin, used by veterinarians for the treatment of intestinal worms in dogs; massive intakes of Vitamin D; hydrogen peroxide, mushrooms, and horse milk. (Mr. Trump famously prescribed the drinking of bleach.)
Aided by Republican politicians and right-wing media, merchants of fear have roughly half the country in a state of hysteria about effective vaccines developed and tested by bona fide scientists. False concern includes such preposterous notions as:
- Vaccines contain aborted human fetal tissue, and microchips that invite government snooping.
- Vaccines in development at Oxford University in England will turn people into monkeys.
- Coronavirus mutates so rapidly that no vaccine will ever be effective.
- The Pfizer vaccine contains a protein identified as syncytin-1, which results in female sterilization.
- Vaccines are neither halal nor kosher because they contain pork.
- Pregnant women in close proximity to anyone inoculated with covid vaccine risk miscarriage.
- Vaccinated people have become magnetized, “proven” by keys that stick to their perspiring skin.
- A nurse in the state of Tennessee named Tiffany Dover dropped dead after receiving a covid vaccine injection broadcast on television as it happened on. (Truth alert: the very much alive Ms. Dover fainted, which she explained as a common occurrence due to her history of overactive nerve response to slight pain. “If I stub my toe,” she said, “I can just pass out.”)
I could go on with the catalogue of crazy. But unlike followers of QAnon my interest in remembering the hit parade of anti-vaxxer absurdity is limited, as is my capacity to manufacture new and ever more lurid codswallop.
I could attempt reminding the people of Earth Two that legitimate covid vaccines are administered free of charge to all citizens, whereas miracle elixirs sold by con artist are as expensive as they are dubious. But attempting reason with the unreasonable is foolish; refuting conspiracies in our irresponsible age of social media is equally so.
No one knows this truism better than professional purveyors of disinformation, our modern descendants of Herr Goebbels. Topping the profession are the “Disinformation Dozen,” identified by the international Center for Countering Digital Hate as twelve individuals responsible for two-thirds of anti-vaccine propaganda found on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The top two pushers among the Disinformation Dozen are—
- Joseph Mercola, a Florida osteopath with tens of millions of social media followers who amassed a multi-million-dollar fortune with his line of so-called natural potions and dietary supplements.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr., scion of American political royalty who in the late 1990s largely abandoned his work as an environmental lawyer to direct a conspiracy about vaccines causing food allergies in children. He is now banned on Instagram. According to an Instagram spokesman, “We removed [Kennedy’s] account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.” Mr. Kennedy’s family members have distanced themselves from him.
The late Jack Avrett, maven of the New York advertising universe and a friend of mine, once told me the source of his great wealth lay in “how easy it is to sell Americans anything.” I am perversely pleased that that his good life was not long enough to witness two events based on the successful sale of big lies—the insurrection of January 6, and an anti-vax madness that is literally killing us.
—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag
Additional Photo Credits
Mike Lindell — comicsands.com
Bruce Bartman — lawandcrime.com
Fyodor Dovtoevsky — theconversation.com
Bruce Bartman — lawandcrime.com
Tom Nichols — harvardmagazine.com
Mo Brooks — cnn.com
Saundra Koczenski — facebook
Joseph Mercola — deezer.com
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — sacbee.com
Thomas Adcock — Jürgen Bürger