No hoax, this one.
Smollett has shown that the most absurd narratives imaginable will continue to gain credence because they fill a deep psychological, cultural—and, yes, careerist—need for millions in the country to believe that hate crimes are epidemic, that they are the currency of the Right, and that they can only be addressed by more government scrutiny of a particular class of victimizers such as the Duke Lacrosse team, the Covington kids, or Smollett’s mythic red-hatted Trump racists.
(A cynic might have advised Smollett to have first checked that the anticipated surveillance cameras under which he staged the attack were pointing in the right direction, and that he should have ensured his “Empire”hirelings did not buy their sundry assault gear—masks, hats, etc.—all at the same store or at least not on film, and that Smollett himself should have not written them a traceable check for their services, and that he should have written into his script antifreeze dousing instead of household bleach that freezes at about 5 degrees.)
In 2019 America, the number of those likely victimized far outnumbers the shrinking pool of likely victimizers. The rewards and publicity for being a concocted victim of a frenzied Trump supporter far outweigh the possible downside of fabricating the entire incident. As we saw with the Kavanaugh and Covington fiascoes, if a crime could or should be true, then it more or less is.
His farce is yet another example that it is now largely permissible to slur and smear millions of purported Trump supporters, as either defined by their stereotyped race and gender or their red hats (with or without a logo). As pundits and talking heads nearly wept on screen in their worries about future potential hate crimes that might now not be taken seriously, they abjectly ignored the real hate crime that had just occurred. In truth, Smollett had done his best to ignite some sort of popular racially driven vendetta against conservative white male voters, previously known as “clingers,” “crazies,” “deplorables,” and “irredeemables” who, our elites warn, smell up Walmart, gross America out with toothless smiles, and should be swapped out for new immigrants.
Given that the Smollett myth followed so closely after the Covington kids fiction, we can surmise that Smollett counted on two popular reactions: the left-wing public was still thirsty for more “proof” of MAGA white hatred, even if poorly scripted and logically implausible; and, second, Smollett was not much worried about any serious consequences if he should be caught once again in a made-up hate crime.
To paraphrase CNN anchorwoman Brooke Baldwin, who in careerist fashion immediately sought to gin up popular outrage over the Smollett “hate crime” attack: “This is America, 2019.”
The sad part is, even though nobody talks about it much anymore, “fake but accurate” is still a going thing, it seems. The sadder part is, she’s right: this IS America, 2019. But not in the way she thinks.