- Professor of Media Studies at New York University
- Characterizes conservatives as “shameless” because of what he calls “their firm belief that God approves of everything they do.”
- Claims that conservatives “want to take us back to an imaginary Manichean age when you were either with us or against us, which means you either are us, or we’ll exterminate you, because we can only tolerate ourselves, we can only tolerate those who share our values.”
Born on November 6, 1949, Mark Crispin Miller earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1971, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1973, and a Ph,D. in English, also from JHU, in 1977. After launching his teaching career as director of JHU’s Film Studies Department, Miller in 1997 was hired by New York University, where he continues to serve as a professor of Media, Culture and Communication. He directed NYU’s now-defunct Project on Media Ownership, whose objective was to “inform the nation of the oligopolistic sway of just a few giant players over television news, book publishing, popular music and cable TV.”
Miller gained particular notoriety as an outspoken critic of President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. In November 2002 he described Bush as “a very skilled manipulator” whose “sociopathic personality” and “inordinate sense of his own entitlement” made him “incapable of empathy.” According to Miller, Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was “weirdly reminiscent) of past totalitarian movements” that were “impelled by people who believed that they were at risk, that they were being persecuted, that they faced annihilation.” Miller averred that just as “Hitler actually believed that ‘world Jewry’ threatened Germany,” and “al-Qaeda‘s people universally regard the Jews and Christians as plotting to wipe out Islam,” “the Christo-fascist types now in control of the United States believe that they’re the victims of non-Christians.”
Asserting) that “the [Bush] regime represents some dark old strains in U.S. history” – namely “nativism, white supremacism, [and] theocratic tyranny” – Miller in July 2004 accused “Bush & Company” of having “junked” America’s “mainstream political traditions,” “hijacked the U.S. ship of state,” and set it “on a suicidal course.” Bush and his comrades, said Miller, were a veritable cabal of “neo-Calvinists … working toward the imposition of theocracy on the … the whole world.” Striking a similar theme, also in 2004, Miller wrote and performed in A Patriot Act, a theater production that depicted the Bush administration as part of “a movement that is dedicated to the transformation of the United States into a [Christian] theocracy.”
Miller was one of 100 “prominent Americans” who signed an October 26, 2004 statement circulated by 911Truth.org, calling for “immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current [Bush] administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”
Characterizing Republicans as unrestrained gunslingers who prefer to annihilate rather than negotiate, Miller claimed that “when Bush and Company look at their adversaries, they don’t see human beings. They see creatures of an entirely different order. What they see is demons – hateful demons.”
By Miller’s telling, conservatives in general, in an effort “to reconfirm the fact that they are not evil themselves,… have to have some object for their projection, some object whom they can blame for everything they hate in themselves.” Thus, he said in 2004, the foreign policy of President Bush, “our Projector-in-Chief,” was entirely “based on projectivity.” “Everything Bush says about Saddam Hussein,” Miller continued, “is true of him [Bush]. He’s talking about himself.”
Portraying conservatives as “shameless” in “their firm belief that God approves of everything they do,” Miller described conservatism as “a movement full of rage against the other, because the other is filled with rage”; “a movement of bloodlust, eager to wipe out the bloodthirsty other, kind of a mirror image of Osama bin Laden.” Similarly, Miller charged that conservatives “want to go back before the Emancipation Proclamation to the days of slavery … back to a moment prior to the Enlightenment … back to a moment when faith registered more than reason … back to an imaginary Manichean age when you were either with us or against us, which means you either are us, or we’ll exterminate you, because we can only tolerate ourselves [and] those who share our values.”
Miller claimed that by invading Iraq and declaring a war against terrorism, President Bush had launched a modern-day crusade against Islam. “George sees this as a religious war,” said the professor. “… His view of this is that they [Muslims] are trying to kill the Christians. And we the Christians will strike back with more force and more ferocity than they will ever know.”
Miller accused) Bush of advocating a “maverick theological movement” called “Christian Reconstructionism,” whose aim was to transform all nations into theocratic “Christian republics.” “This,” Miller elaborated, “means replacing the Constitution with the Pentateuch — the first five books of the Old Testament. It is an anti-pluralist movement, which would entail the disenfranchisement all non-Christians, and the establishment of a common law based on Leviticus.” “The world envisioned” by Christian Reconstructionists, Miller held, “seems to be more punitive that the global caliphate imagined by al Qaeda.” “These Christian nations,” he said on another occasion, “would be just as tolerant and democratic as Iran under Khomeini, or Afghanistan under the Taliban. Non-Christians would be disenfranchised, if not executed or enslaved … while those acceptable as citizens would be forever subject to a penal code far harsher than shari’a law.”
Miller said that many of President Bush’s admirers “enjoy [his] short temper, his intransigence, his swaggering, because it makes them feel vicariously powerful.” “It’s all about the rage,” the professor elaborated. “Millions … of our fellow citizens admire in this president precisely those qualities that terrify the rest of the world…. They feel themselves somehow empowered by the fantasy of kicking ass along with the big guy. It explains the appeal of most action heroes, this is what the Germans liked about Hitler.”
In 2006 Miller depicted the Bush administration as “fundamentally un-American — an order wholly alien to the spirit of our founding documents.”
In addition to his professorial duties, Miller currently administers a blog called News From Underground, and serves as the editor of Icons of America, a book series published by Yale University Press.
For additional information on Mark Crispin Miller, click here.