A Pulitzer Prize finalist sparked controversy on social media this weekend after she said that people who wear “any kind of red baseball cap” are guilty of engendering fear among the populace.
Novelist Rebecca Makkai, 41, is best known for her award-winning fiction. But on Saturday, she drew the attention – and enmity – of commenters on social media for a political take regarding supporters of President Donald Trump and the iconic red “Make America Great Again” hats closely associated with his name.
Also, for the love of God: The clever folks wearing "Make America Read Again" or whatever caps — NO. You're making everyone scared. Don't do it.
— Rebecca Makkai (@rebeccamakkai) September 1, 2019
“Is anyone else made really uncomfortable these days by anyone wearing any kind of red baseball cap? Like, I see one and my heart does weird shit and then I finally realize it only says Titleist or whatever,” she tweeted on Saturday, before exhorting “normal people” to stop wearing red hats.
“Also, for the love of God: The clever folks wearing ‘Make America Read Again’ or whatever caps — NO. You’re making everyone scared. Don’t do it,” she said in another tweet.
Makkai followed up her two initial tweets by comparing the debate over the wearing of MAGA hats to “western Hindus choosing not to use the swastika symbol in public despite it being sacred to their faith because it would offend/frighten people.”
According to the LA Times Book Prize winner, the “red hat has become a symbol of hate bc of how its wearers act.”
Makkai answered the many critics who took issue with her condemnation of MAGA hats by suggesting that people who wear them are not “normal people.”
It’s also interesting (I mean that sincerely) that ppl will take a tweet w a “maybe” and two question marks (by someone with no real sway) as policing, bullying, censoring. Is that their idea of oppression? (And no, dumbass, a red hat is not my idea of oppression, don’t try.)
— Rebecca Makkai (@rebeccamakkai) September 2, 2019
Several commenters slammed Makkai by suggesting that her denunciation of red hats was misguided and hysterical.
Maybe I'm the problem? NO, it's everyone else who should change!
— Jake Brocklebank (@jakebrock31) September 2, 2019
And even some Twitter users who appeared to share her disdain for the president disagreed with her stance on red caps.
But the red hats ARE harming people in mysterious, amorphous, undefined ways that are infinitely scarier!
— Dr Guardian Stone, Q.E.D. (@StoneyGuardian) September 2, 2019
“I refuse to let Donald Trump ruin all red baseball caps,” tweeted one commenter.
Trump derangement syndrome, MAGA hat edition
Last year, therapists indicated a rise in what they unofficially diagnosed as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.”
In a 2017 essay, clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning – who is credited with originally coining the term – described the symptoms of “Trump Anxiety disorder” as worrying about the state of the country, feeling helpless and out of control, and spending too much time on social media.