“The dispossessed set out early in the mornings. They were the outsiders, the scorned, the voiceless. But weekend after weekend—unbowed and undeterred—they rallied together. They didn’t have much going for them in their great battle against the privileged elite, but they did have one thing—their yachts.
During the summer and fall of 2020, a series of boat parades—Trumptillas—cruised American waters in support of Donald Trump. The participants gathered rowdily in great clusters. They festooned their boats with flags—American flags, but also message flags: don’t tread on me, no more bullshit, images of Trump as Rambo.
The women stood on the foredecks in their red, white, and blue bikinis, raising their Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys to salute the patriots in nearby boats. The men stood on the control decks projecting the sort of manly toughness you associate with steelworkers, even though these men were more likely to be real-estate agents. They represent a new social phenomenon: the populist regatta. They are doing pretty well but see themselves as the common people, the regular Joes, the overlooked. They didn’t go to fancy colleges, and they detest the mainstream media. “It’s so encouraging to see so many people just coming together in a spontaneous parade of patriotism,” Bobi Kreumberg, who attended a Trumptilla in Palm Beach, Florida, told a reporter from WPTV.
You can see this phenomenon outside the United States too. In France, the anthropologist Nicolas Chemla calls this social type the “boubours,” the boorish bourgeoisie. If the elite bourgeois bohemians—the bobos—tend to have progressive values and metropolitan tastes, the boubours go out of their way to shock them with nativism, nationalism, and a willful lack of tact. Boubour leaders span the Western world: Trump in the U.S., Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom, Marine Le Pen in France, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy.” Brooks
Comment: I knew Brooks slightly. Larry Johnson was his neighbor in Maryland. Brooks accused me of anti-Semitism in the makeup room of the “News Hour.” I see that he has learned a lot. Professor Paul Fussell sat across a long table from me at a conference in New York. One of those long-winded things about the future of warfare. Fussell focused on me, ignoring the clutch of generals at the other end of the table which included the four star chief of staff of the air force. “You are the real deal. You remind me of my regimental commander in the Vosges mountains. He was Regular Army, like my platoon sergeant who was killed by an air burst while begging me to get down from a large rock where the Germans could see us. I was wounded. The colonel came upon me in the process of evacuation.” “A damned fool, you cost me a good man, a real soldier.” Fussell had a good eye. He is dead now. pl