I see a desire for violence as catharsis in many protesters on the
Left and Right today.
March on the Pentagon, 1967. Photo by Warren K Leffler /
Library of Congress / Flickr.
By Mike Giglio | The Rag Blog | Sept. 16, 2021
This article was first published by The Intercept on September 9, 2021, and was cross-posted to The Rag Blog.
Listen to Thorne Dreyer‘s Rag Radio interview with Mike Giglio on Friday, September 17, 2021, from 2-3 p.m. (CDT) on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin or stream it here. Listen to the podcast of the show anytime here.
I was driving home from a militia muster in the Virginia mountains last summer — after another day immersed in preelection talk of civil war — when I found myself reflecting, as I often have in the year since, on Norman Mailer’s The Armies of the Night.
The book is about the 1967 anti-war protest at the Pentagon and, more broadly, the factionalizing unrest of that period and how Vietnam fueled it. It also explores how the quiet or mostly quiet acquiescence to horrors abroad, horrors carried out by U.S. troops in the name of an entire democratic nation, degrades a society. At one point, the narrator imagines himself encountering “Grandmother, the church-goer, orange hair burning bright” at a slot machine in Las Vegas. “Madame, we are burning children in Vietnam,” he tells her. “Boy, you just go get yourself lost,” she replies. “Grandma’s about ready for a kiss from the jackpot.”