In the immediate wake of Donald Trump’s horrific TV ad today, which juxtaposes footage of Luis Bracamontes, an illegal immigrant completely unrepentant for murdering two policemen, with the so-called “migrant caravan,” I thought of this quote by Anne Frank:

“The war isn’t even over, and already there’s dissension and Jews are regarded as lesser beings. Oh, it’s sad, very sad that the old adage has been confirmed for the umpteenth time: "What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does reflects on all Jews."

[rebelmouse-image 19397721 dam="1" original_size="760x768" caption="Anne Frank" expand=1]Anne Frank

I would advise anyone even remotely persuaded by Trump’s propaganda to play a game of Mad Libs: Bigotry Edition.

How to play: Take this quote, written by a victim of the Holocaust, replace the word “Jew” with “Illegal Immigrant,” and then ask yourself: is this ad participating in the same line of thinking that facilitated the murder of six million people?


Because that’s what Trump is doing, here. He shows one illegal immigrant—a glee-filled sociopath—and immediately cuts to a crowd. The camera follows the crowd at a distance, from behind, so the viewer sees only the backs of heads. No one has a face. These are not individuals with their own unique histories, differences, and inner worlds, but herd animals, an insect swarm, the zombie horde: they exist en masse. The behavior of one, is the behavior of all.

In film, special effects editors create enormous crowd scenes through a technique called “crowd duplication,” in which they film a handful of extras, and essentially “cut and paste” until the few transform to multitudes, filling the frame.

It’s an apt metaphor for what Trump attempts here—the camera gives us a lingering close-up of one terrifying person, and then quickly cuts to a raucous crowd, leaving the viewer to reflexively “cut-and-paste” the one face we are given—Luis Bracamontes, conveniently adorned with a devil’s goatee—over and over.

What’s more, the crowd appears to be a happy one—we hear cheerful hollers, the repeated blast of an air horn. But this comes right on the heels of Bracamontes, smiling unrelentingly as he brags about his crimes—in this context, their glee reads as menace. Clearly, their joy and Bracamontes’s are meant to share the same source: a psychotic pride in their capacity for evil. And just to add an extra layer of xenophobic flavor, their cheers are mingled with the sound of tribal drums.

What one illegal immigrant does, this ad tells us, reflects on all illegal immigrants.

How does Trump square “honoring” 11 people who died at the hands of an antisemite, with an ad that capitalizes on the same kind of thinking?

In the mind of their murderer, Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger were not individuals. They were “Jews.” Interchangeable figures in a faceless crowd. A bogeyman he cut-and-paste and cut-and-paste until they filled the screen.

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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All photos by the Ambulance Wish Foundation, used with permission.

She wanted to see "my favorite painting one last time."

This article originally appeared on 09.30.15


Before 54-year-old Mario passed away, he had one special goodbye he needed to say ... to his favorite giraffe.

Mario had worked as a maintenance man at the Rotterdam zoo in the Netherlands for over 25 years. After his shifts, he loved to visit and help care for the animals, including the giraffes.

As Mario's fight against terminal brain cancer came to an end, all he wanted to do was visit the zoo one last time. He wanted to say goodbye to his colleagues — and maybe share a final moment with some of his furry friends.

Thanks to one incredible organization, Mario got his wish.

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This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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