By Nick Hennessy
If Trump was the face of a movement, you were its asshole—hidden from the light of day, generating shit behind closed doors. For a while, you remained an enigma. Bannon? What Bannon? But soon enough, you became our bogeyman.
Steve, the shadow-master, the blob holding the remote control, the brains behind a brainless operation.
“Darkness is good,” you told the Hollywood Reporter (of all fucking journals.) “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” You spewed the names of your predecessors as you would spew any bile, and in so doing, you showcased a rare self-awareness. You were a proud supervillain. An “economic nationalist” leaving behind a trail of slime and openly voiced racism in your slow crawl away from Goldman Sachs and Breitbart. So what happened, Steve? How did you fall so fast?
Like all supervillains, your fatal flaw was hubris. There was the Time Magazine cover labeling you the “Great Manipulator.” The “President Bannon” memes. For a devil operating from the shadows, we saw an awful lot of your (sweaty) face. And then there was, of course, that fateful phone call with a journalist. You should’ve learned by now that nothing in your life will be “off record.”
We are well versed in your personal history. The destructive romances, the empty properties you owned across the country, the hot tub scarred by acid (who did you try to melt, Steve?) And what about College Steve, the liberal-minded student, the loyal Deadhead? Did you strangle that past self as you strangled your own legend, slowly choking the air out of his lungs, watching his face (and loyalties) turn from blue to red? Or did you kill him swiftly, like the bird of prey you are?
And do you actually know what a “Leninist” is, or did you just identify yourself as such because you liked the way it rolled off your chameleon’s tongue?
We will continue to loathe you, even after you make your exit. More importantly, we will continue to identify the Bannons in our lives. The young liberal who turns conservative once his gut starts to sag. The dad who yanks his kid out of public school because there are too many Hanukah books in the library. The abusive husband who masks his brutality in half-remembered lines from Mao and Machiavelli. Everyone has a Bannon. Trump will have other Bannons, and we will all suffer as a result. But you, for now, have done your damage.
I hope the door hits you in the ass on your way out. Or maybe that’s your face it’s hitting. I honestly can’t tell the difference, and neither, I suspect, can you. Shalom aleichem, motherfucker.