Thursday, April 11, 2019

On the road with Steve Bannon

Known for his right-wing nationalism, Stephen K. Bannon remains a controversial figure who enjoys his role as a provocateur for his ideas about what constitutes patriotism. Director Alison Klayman tags along with Brannon as he travels the US and Europe, either trying to create support for his movement or offering his support to those who already espouse his nationalist cause. In The Brink, Bannon wears his trademark two shirts, living up to his reputation for a slovenly appearance as Klayman charts some of the ups and downs of Bannon’s recent career. He may have lost his White House job and his traditional stomping ground, Breitbart News, but his zeal for his cause remains undiminished. Bannon hopes to save America from elites who think only of themselves. Bannon claims to champion ordinary people with his a neo-populist assault on the status quo. Bigotry? Not him, he suggests. Bannon's cause is open to anyone — regardless of race, religion or gender — so long as they are willing to join the America-first chorus. Tellingly, Bannon says that Trump taught him that there’s no such thing as bad media coverage. He clearly delights in the media glare and doesn’t seem to hold grudges against journalists who push him or who obviously disagree with him. Klayman spent a year filming Bannon and she seems to have gotten the exposure she wanted. But back to where I started: If you’re not a Bannon fan, you probably already have an opinion about his views and his personality. If you are a fan, you already know what Bannon thinks. I couldn't help wondering why a filmmaker would want to provide Bannon with something he really seems to prize: More attention.

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