The Jury Talks Back


Former Kavanaugh Clerk Zina Bash Flashes Alt Right Symbol, Twice, to Own the Libs or Something

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:59 am

So a couple of days ago, a former Kavanaugh clerk named Zina Bash was attending his confirmation hearing, and had her hand resting on her arm in a way that suggested to the Resistance that she was throwing a white power sign. (It’s more like an alt right symbol than a pure white power sign. See discussion at the end of this post.)

Zina Bash 1

The Resistance went nuts, accusing her of being the female Richard Spencer. Her husband angrily refuted the allegation on Twitter:

Pretty convincing. That seemed like it was that. Most of us were willing to chalk up the “controversy” to #ResistanceMania.

Then she did it again, the next day. Quite deliberately:

This is being touted by many as a masterful example of trolling. Why, they falsely accused her yesterday, and look what she did to them today! Ha ha!

I have a different take. First, this raises the question of whether the initial use of the symbol was “trolling” as well. After all, trolling is part of the symbol’s history (see discussion below). Someone came up with video of the first time she made her hand do that, and it seems to happen after she is looking at her phone, seemingly quite deliberately. It’s not proof that she did it right after someone suggested it, but watch the video. It does not look accidental to me:

But here’s the thing. Regardless of whether it was an accident the first time or not, and regardless of whether she was unfairly attacked on Day One, doing this on Day Two is absurd.

It is, at a minimum, extraordinarily immature, and disrespectful to Kavanaugh — who is, by all accounts, a decent man and a great judge, and who does not deserve this distraction. By Day Two she knows that much of the country sees this symbol, in this context, as an alt right symbol at a minimum, if not a white power symbol. So she sits behind her former employer and deliberately flashes the symbol … to troll the libs??

If I were Kavanaugh, I would be appalled. And I would ask her not to come back on Day Three.

POSTSCRIPT RE THE OK SYMBOL: In the past couple of days, a lot of media folks have straightforwardly described this as a “white power” symbol. They discredit themselves by presenting it that starkly, just as they discredit themselves by describing Steve Bannon as a “white nationalist.” Bannon is a major alt right figure, and much of the alt right is white nationalist. But Bannon is not, in my judgment, a white nationalist. He coddles them, but he is not one of them. Similarly, with the OK symbol, it’s not quite as simple as “OK sign = white power” — and any such contention it makes it easy for people to seem to refute the argument by citing stories of its origins in 4chan threads where idiots talked about trolling people.

But the truth is that the sign, like Pepe the frog, has become a symbol of the alt right, and thus at least flirts with white nationalism. Yes, it’s still a prank of sorts, but its constant use by actual white nationalists and neo-Nazis tends to undercut the arguments that “it’s just an OK sign!” or “it’s just a prank!” I wrote about this extensively after that yutz Jim Hoft was seeing throwing the sign at the White House podium, but a couple of images make the connection between the sign, Pepe the frog, white nationalism, and neo-Nazis clearer than 1000 words could.

Hoft Pepe Retweet

Pepe at Dachau

And Trump’s most crazed fans on the alt right use it all the time.

Cernovich OK 1

Milo OK 1

Milo OK 2

Roger Stone OK

If you argue it’s just an OK symbol, you’re either being dishonest or a dupe.

And I know there is going to be a heaping helping of “why are we talking so much about this woman and her hand signs?” The Trump superfans asking the question will never understand, but to the normals it’s pretty obvious: it’s news when a former law clerk of a Supreme Court nominee, sitting behind him at a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, deliberately flashes a hand sign symbolic of the alt right with overtones of white supremacy. Even if she’s doing it to own the libs, she’s still doing it.


  1. Amazing. She clearly craves a White House job. She has the credentials:

    Ivy League education. Check.

    Hot. Check.

    Willing to do anything. Check.

    No judgment. Double Check.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/7/2018 @ 9:28 am

  2. Losing more readers as the result of my effrontery in speaking my mind.

    Comment by Patterico — 9/7/2018 @ 1:40 pm

  3. Maybe I’ve been watching too much politics but she looks better than most people attending the Kavanaugh hearing.

    As for your readers, the Instapundit/Ace/PowerLine folks are identifying themselves. It’s surprising but I never thought those bloggers would travel that path, either. I’m glad you aren’t giving up.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/7/2018 @ 2:59 pm

  4. The Republicans helping Trump will do anything to make the Woodward story go away, and I think that may even include SCOTUS nominee handlers.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/7/2018 @ 3:02 pm

  5. Patterico, this is where you lose me.
    Watching the video in the embedded tweet makes it look like she was reacting to something she saw on her phone. Furthermore, to the extent that it looks like a gesture, it looks like a generic sign of approval. If you like, you can insist that I’m “either being dishonest or a dupe”, which I guess is fine since I’m not going to subject myself to your assertions after today.
    I’m well aware that I’m not neurotypical, so perhaps my experiences are exotic enough that I shouldn’t base other people’s actions on them. However, I know I can’t stop habitual fidgets in a day. I also know that I occasionally make that gesture as a reaction to something I find enjoyable. I know that I did so before I’d ever heard the term “alt-right” (I believe I picked it up from my grandfather).
    I realize that the alt-right “at least flirts with white nationalism”, and I’ll take your word for it that the gesture is common among them. Can you admit that it’s not common exclusively among them — in fact, it’s quite common? Failing that, can you at least describe the space of hand positions that do and do not look enough like alt-right symbols that a person mindlessly moving their hands can settle in that space without goatfucking? Can you admit that if you have a habit of making a gesture due to some emotion, dropping that habit in less than 48 hours isn’t an easy thing — especially when the people insisting you drop that habit are doing so for blatantly dishonest reasons? Finally, have you noticed that the space of things that are alt-right symbols includes the number 17, and so avoiding them entirely is quite restrictive?
    The sad thing is, Trump is a liar who makes casual racial slurs. I would love it if America had a political movement that opposed government control of the economy while still denying him power. However, if I have to choose between someone who is going to execute innocent humans for having certain physiological features, and someone who accepts people of all races… unless you move your hands in a certain way for a second, or use the wrong number, or don’t have enough friends with other physiological features, or argues against government subsidies for health insurance, or doesn’t tithe their spices, or… In that case, my reaction is “They’re both totalitarians, but one of them hasn’t yet announced their plans to kill me.”
    You even have the rare position where you could establish that the list of persecutions I just gave is overblown; you’ve triumphed against the lawfare of at least one convicted domestic terrorist, and most of the persecutions so far have occurred as a result of lawfare. It’s just that you’re more worried about people calling you a “goatfucker” than you are about tenuous accusations of racism restricting acceptable discourse.

    Comment by CayleyGraph — 9/7/2018 @ 3:34 pm

  6. This young lady was the target of abuse because she made this sign two days before, and we know she is aware of it because her husband issued an strong and emotional defense of his wife.

    If there is one person in America who knows what this sign means now — and would want to avoid it to protect herself and her mentor, Judge Kavanaugh, from unwarranted attacks — that one person is Zina Bash. So what does she do two days later? The same sign. That makes no sense except in Trumplandia, where Acting Out is what people do.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/7/2018 @ 3:56 pm

  7. In that case, my reaction is “They’re both totalitarians, but one of them hasn’t yet announced their plans to kill me.”

    Embarrassing. I can’t believe you wrote that.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/7/2018 @ 3:58 pm

  8. Watching the video in the embedded tweet makes it look like she was reacting to something she saw on her phone. Furthermore, to the extent that it looks like a gesture, it looks like a generic sign of approval. If you like, you can insist that I’m “either being dishonest or a dupe”, which I guess is fine since I’m not going to subject myself to your assertions after today.

    Oh. I started reading your comment intending to have a discussion with you but if you’re going to stomp off in a huff why should I bother?

    Anyway, you badly misunderstood the argument in that first paragraph that I did read. It is not that anyone who uses an OK sign in the normal way it is intended to be used is a white nationalist. It is that someone intending to convey that message is. And those who look at someone engaged in the latter activity who insist that ANYONE who uses it — even the alt righters — is doing nothing wrong is a dupe or a deceiver. I never accused you of that, or anyone who thinks she did it innocently. If you think otherwise, you didn’t understand the post.

    If she did it innocently, then OK, she’s clueless. But I can’t come up with a plausible explanation for why she did it on Day Two other than that she is trolling, which is immature and disrespectful.

    Maybe you addressed some of this after your first paragraph. I don’t know. The second you said you were leaving after today, I stopped reading your comment. If you want to take that back, after many years of being a sensible commenter, I’ll consider the rest of your comment.

    Comment by Patterico — 9/7/2018 @ 6:33 pm

  9. UPDATE: Zina Bash was innocent after all.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/8/2018 @ 1:32 pm

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