The National guitarist got caught up in a case of mistaken identity that led to him awakening to hundreds of threats
Last week, Alive ran a feature on Nathan Caraway, the 32-year-old Columbus native whose appearance in an 18-second protest video filmed in the Short North led to him being named "a person of interest" by the Columbus Division of Police and, eventually, to an appearance in a tweet pushed out by President Donald Trump.
Among the many surreal angles to the tale is the involvement of National guitarist Aaron Dessner, who internet sleuths wrongly pegged as Caraway when the initial clip first started circulating in far-right circles. As a result, Dessner awoke to hundreds of threats, even though he hadn't visited Ohio since June 2019.
Dessner discussed experience in a new Stereogum interview,
"To wake up to just thousands of people threatening your life and your family and harassing you for doing absolutely nothing… it was very frightening," he said. "What it made me realize is it’s just emblematic of the problem with our society and the way these hateful feelings and racism — and, also, the recklessness of Donald Trump — can be weaponized. Instead of focusing on the actual issue, which is systemic racism, these people were looking for any way to distract from that. So it’s like, “Oh it might’ve been that guy, let’s threaten his life for a week.”
In the interview, Dessner also discussed teaming with former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe for new Big Red Machine song "No Time for Love Like Now," which you can listen to below when you ponder how the internet age has broken us.