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Michael Stuart Kelly

The Tragic Hero Hanson Style

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The Tragic Hero Hanson Style

Is a tragic hero a tool of persuasion?

I never used to think so until I read Victor Davis Hanson's characterization of President Trump. In fact, I don't think he thinks this archetype is a persuasion tool. But it just might be.

I want to explore this idea throughout this thread since it happens enough in the culture to see a pattern. 

First the archetype. Note, Hanson's view of tragic hero is not what is typically understood in the culture. Macbeth, for instance, is a tragic hero in normal understanding and is taught as such in schools. However, Macbeth was a power-grabbing scumbag more like the dark protagonists of modern TV series like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and so on than what Hanson wrote about.

Hanson's archetype is a force of massive social change.

btw - Hanson's book on President Trump is mentioned in the quote below, but promoting Trump is not what this is about. That book is where Hanson wrote about the tragic hero and used Trump as an example based on the events Hanson saw unfold before him.

Here is his characterization of the tragic hero archetype:

On 4/20/2019 at 10:40 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I have read Hanson's book, The Case for Trump, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

. . .

The tragic hero in Hanson's view is the loner who comes into town, cleans it up and throws out the human rot, then moves on (or is even crucified) because decent people--who now have their problem solved--don't want to live next to him. Think of the ancient Greeks, Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax or Antigone, or the good-guy gunslinger in the old west like Shane or Sheriff Will Kane in High Noon, who was there, but had to show his outsider dark side to clean up the bad guys.

The archetype as persuasion idea will be probed in more depth later in this thread for no other reason than I haven't fully thought it through yet. It does seem, though, that when a large group of people in society get to the end of their patience and tired of oppressive suffering, they flock behind a tragic hero figure. Some call this a strong man figure, but it can be a trickster like Milo.

In fact, this became clear to min in the video below of a recent conversation between Jordan Peterson and Milo. Think about it. Milo is a Hanson Tragic Hero almost to a tee--even the aftermath. He helped Trump win the election by mobilizing and stirring up controversy in a large youth segment that was inaccessible to normal Republicans. After the election happened, he was shunned by decent people. The circle was complete.

The reason Milo was thrown out of decent society was over some of his public statements about pedophilia and what happened to him as a child. In that respect, the above video is valuable because you can listen to what he says under objective questioning from Jordan Peterson rather than go by media propaganda or hearsay. As always, come to your own conclusion.

At any rate, Steve Bannon used Milo as a persuasion weapon to help elect Trump. And it worked. I wonder if Bannon had this final stage, expulsion of Milo, in mind when he did. If he didn't, I am pretty sure some of the people who used Milo as a weapon knew full well they would make him move on after the election.

To that extent, Milo seemed bitter in the video when he proclaimed that, based on how he was treated, he now thinks conservatives are cowards, so he won't be defending them like he used to. While there definitely is some cowardice by some individuals involved, the archetype--the ancient pattern--speaks louder to me as a cause.

With this thread, let' me invite you to help look for other examples of Hanson Tragic Heroes in our culture (all sides and all issues). If you are interested, let's see if we can make a list of them, then see which ones were weapons of persuasion and how. At least, that is what I will be doing. I hope you join me in that purpose rather than bash or praise Trump or discuss the evils of pedophilia.

Those issues are important and have their place, but the Hanson Tragic Hero as a culture-shaping force and persuasion element is important enough for a separate probe.

I'm already fascinated...



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