Mike Stuchbery💀🍷 @MikeStuchbery_ Journalist, Commentator & Historian // Various at @BylineTimes // History at @TheLocalEurope // DMs open // Sub on @Patreon: patreon.com/mikestuchbery_ Dec. 05, 2018 3 min read

Right, here's another angry thread - let's talk about the rhetoric of disgust. It's a technique back in the spotlight with the migrant caravan. Talking heads across the Right are seizing upon it. THREAD /1

Let's define this technique from the outset - since the dawn of the nation state governments have used the imagery of disease, sickness, parasites and filth to dehumanise and scapegoat their opponents.

The Nazi regime is only the most recognized in doing so. /2

Some of the first 'migration crises' that arose following the rise of mass media (in the form of newspapers) were the Chinese migrations to the US & Australia during the Gold Rush.

Opponents presented them in cartoons as bringing disease, or as literal vermin. /3

The rise in the belief in eugenics, and advances in medical science meant that many believed in a misguided idea of 'racial hygiene' long before the horrors of Nazi Germany.

It posited the idea that races could be kept free of disease or defect by managing breeding. /4

When Hitler began his ascent to power in the 1920s, he frequently used the imagery of disease & sickness in portraying the Jews, a calculated move to inspire revulsion in a populace that was, in a way, obsessed with cleanliness & health. /5

Contrast with how the Nazi regime portrayed the disabled, and agitated for sterilisation & later euthanizing (during the early years of WW2).

The disabled were mostly couched in terms of their economic cost, whereas the Jewish population were made the subject of revulsion. /6

The nadir of Nazi propaganda that utilised the rhetoric of disgust was the 1940 propaganda film, 'Der Ewige Jude', a so-called 'documentary' claiming to depict the Jewish way of life.

It's no coincidence that this film was released as the Nazis began their ethnic cleansing. /7

Most of 'Der Ewige Jude' comprises still images and simples images.

One of the most memorable sequences in the film describes the Jews as rats infesting Europe.

The idea of the Jews as a 'plague' is continuously evoked. /8

The only footage made especially for 'Der Ewige Jude' (which, by the way, translates as 'The Eternal Jew') came from ghettos, such as Lodz and Krakow, showing squalor.

Squalor, of course, that the Nazis had created with the building of the ghettos. /9

Indeed, as the Nazis occupied other nations, propaganda was created for occupied people's, that directly linked Jews with disease and vermin.

Signs were even posted by ghettos in the early days, warning of the threat of disease to the non-Jewish population. /10

Despite what we understand about propaganda, and the horrors unleashed during the '30s and '40s, it seems like many seem perfectly happy to utilise the rhetoric of disgust to turn the public against those seeking asylum. /11

Hell, we don't seem to have learned here in Britain either.

The rhetoric of disgust, used to dehumanise the vulnerable, is given a free pass, despite the outcry of those who know where it leads. /12

One trusted means of stirring migrant hatreds are the proliferation of fake news sites such as 'InfoWars' & 'Voice of Europe' running stories on supposed diseases carried by migrants.

These stories are getting hundreds of thousands of shares & are cited by the Far Right. /13

This is despite the fact that across the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, one of the greatest threats to public health isn't disease carried by migrants, but clustered outbreaks of deadly diseases caused by those not vaccinating their children. /14

It seems that the use of the imagery of illness and disease - the rhetoric of disgust - isn't going anywhere soon.

What we can do, however, is challenge those that would rob their fellow man of the humanity and dignity by likening them to asickness or parasite. /15


You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.



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