MAGAture: Anti-Trump hoaxes as a new literary genre

By Siegfried Johnson

Historiographers, I predict, are on the verge of recognizing a new literary genre – collections of anti-Trump hoaxes fashioned by creatively blending history and fiction into a malicious mix of truth and lies.

This emerging literary genre, I suggest, should be called MAGAture (Make America Great Again Literature).

The primary stream contributing to this novel literary classification flows from legacy media. Purporting to write fact-based history, progressive journalists, instead, are pioneering a new category of historical fiction.

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While not yet fully recognized, MAGAture is already 9 years old, born on June 16, 2015, at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Historiographers will easily identify the Golden Escalator genesis of this groundbreaking form of literature, that day ushering in the Era of the Anti-Trump Hoax.

Recognition of hoaxes belonging to the MAGAture classification has already begun. The Charlottesville “Very fine people” hoax serves as a prime example of how media, with an alluring blend of history and fiction, can create a long-lasting falsehood.

On June 20, however, a laser beam of truth cut through the tightly interwoven fact-and-fiction of the Charlottesville hoax when the leftist-leaning fact-checking site, Snopes, headlined, “No, Trump did not call neo-Nazis and White Supremacists ‘Very Fine People.'”

Biden has repeated that hoax for years, proudly identifying it as the catalyst for his 2020 presidential run. He even repeated the story on the debate stage, seven days after Snopes had confirmed the hoax-status of the claim.

The Charlottesville story was never more than historical fiction, therefore deserving to be included in the burgeoning body of work I’m calling MAGAture, a literature sharply focused on demonizing Trump and his supporters.

Thirty-nine years ago, I began my graduate work in Ann Arbor, studying the Semitic literature of the Hebrews, Babylonians and Canaanites. This week, I pulled from my shelf one of the classic historiographical works of that era, “In Search of History,” the 1983 monograph of the University of North Carolina’s John Van Seters, who writes: “Not all literary forms having to do with past events can be classified as histories; greater precision is needed than simply regarding all reference to the past as history.”

“Greater precision,” indeed! When, at long last after seven years, Snopes applied “greater precision,” to the media hoax of Charlottesville, they concluded that the “very fine people” story is NOT history at all, but an artful blend of history and fiction.

Two recent entries into the literature of MAGAture are the “Dictator from Day One” hoax and the “Bloodbath” hoax. Any honest person listening to Trump’s actual comments in those two interviews recognized immediately that the erupting media frenzy was fake news, a submission of new hoaxes for the mushrooming genre of MAGAture.

When recognized as a distinct literary classification, MAGAture hoaxes can be read as art. Seeing clips of Rachel Maddow or Morning Joe waxing eloquent in the spreading of such hoaxes, one is justified in regarding them as no more historical than Johnny Horton’s, “The Battle of New Orleans.” No one imagines that they are learning history when they hear:

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

Yeah, they ran through the briers and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Creative? Yes.

Fun to sing? Absolutely!

Historical? Well … yes, but only barely.

Likewise, the anti-Trump hoaxes of MAGAture, I predict, will one day come to be read as a trailblazing literary genre, no more to be taken seriously than “The Battle of New Orleans.”

Here’s the dangerous difference, though, between MAGAture and classic historical fiction. In historical fiction, the writer weaves history into story without attempting to hide fictitious elements. My own novel, “Dancing with David,” blends the biblical history of King David with my own 1988 experience as an M. Div. student at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, that hallowed place on Poplar Avenue where I was introduced to, and fell in love with, Semitic literature.

MAGAture, though, is dangerously different than historical fiction. With MAGAture, fictional elements are cunningly concealed so that, sadly, most viewers of progressive news sites believe such absurdities as that Trump urged people to inject bleach into their veins, or that he called military heroes “suckers and losers.”

One would think that professional journalists are intelligent enough to recognize their reports as historical fiction. Of course, they do. Why should they apologize, though, for three years of rancid anti-Trump reporting of Russian collusion, when historical accuracy was never the point of MAGAture to begin with? The goal was, will always be, to shape a damaging narrative.

Van Seters called attention to this feature in Semitic histories: “History writing is not primarily the accurate reporting of past events. It also considers the reason for recalling the past and the significance given to past events.”

Replacing Van Seters’ term “history writing” with my own, “MAGAture,” the sentence perfectly describes my identification of a new genre of history: “MAGAture is not primarily the accurate reporting of past events. It also considers the reason for recalling the past and the significance given to past events.”

MAGAture, born in the Era of Anti-Trump Hoaxes, deserves recognition as a separate literary genre, the dishonest use of historical events to fortify anti-Trump mania.

While this article has dealt only with hoaxes misconstruing the words of Trump, as with any genre of literature, sub-classifications emerge.

The literature of MAGAture must also include hoaxes emerging from the outer reaches of the MAGA orbit. Perhaps most famously included in this category would be the feverish clips from progressive journalists salivating over Jussie Smollett’s ridiculously orchestrated Chicago MAGA mugging, or the equally comical journalistic dearth of integrity in the case of the Covington Kids, unfairly demonizing Nicholas Sandmann. Surely the kid deserved it, wearing that red MAGA hat!

Trump Derangement Syndrome, of course, is the lifeblood of MAGAture. When the late, great Charles Krauthammer coined the term, Trump Derangement Syndrome, I suppose he could never have imagined that what he was observing was the preface to a new literary genre.

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