The Geist, the specter, of Tyler Durden, fueled by the restless spirit of the office park dystopia, is a force personifying much of the malcontents in this age of anger. It’s interesting to place Fight Club not as fiction, but as prophetic documentary evidence of a time and place, a metaphor of the historical present, a world trapped between McWorld and Jihad, between globalism and it’s blowback.
In Pentagon language, the grotesqueries are obviated, decisions of violence taking on an official bureaucratic banalities steeped in Orwellian doublespeak. Likewise, the construction of the myth/ideology of the clean and righteous precision kill continues in the Pentagon’s construction of the narrative of war.
We now live in a kind of ironic time, struggling with the antiquated structure of America with another progressive history of reform – ending slavery, fighting for worker’s rights, women’s rights, civil rights – a legacy of protracted progress of inclusion and living democracy that challenges American democracy – not a a relic of the past but as a projection into the future. It’s worthwhile to remember that every bit of progress of inclusion, equality and fairness has required an enormous overcoming against the violent, reactive and entrenched forces of the managerial class. It comes from the disobedient, from those who fight to help fulfill the promise of self-governance.
The heel is the antagonist who breaks the rules, cheats, sabotages, and nastily takes advantage of his opponents outside the ring. In lucha libre wrestling, heels (rudo) are brawlers fighting with brute forces, often dressing up like devils or tricksters. Trump wears the same suite and tie every day, like portraying this character he invented. And he gets his crowd to boo, hiss, cheer and jeer, to chant “build the wall!” or “lock her up!” and carries on about “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary,” he turns his political opponents into wrestling characters, and brings what might have been reasoned debate to the level of vulgar theater. His opponents were caught flat footed while he stirred the nationalist id. They either never understood what was going on or were not prepared to meet him on the mat.
More important than the mere act of pathologizing Trump is to understand the social psychology that prepares a culture for Trumpism. This move not only sidesteps the Goldwater Rule, but points us toward a more interesting project of a systematic critical social and psychological introspection in a world of increasing shallowness and hateful reactivity. Wherever there is a post-truth president, there shall we find the post-truth world.
More and more, both arm chair diagnosticians and mental health professionals alike are questioning the mental stability of President Trump. They’re asking what’s the matter what this guy? What’s his malfunction? What the hell is […]
Given this context, Fearless Girl has an even more insidious, surreal quality. It’s like when Mercedes Benz appropriated Che Guevara at an auto show to promote their new cars as revolutionary. Or like when the Washington DC Martin Luther King Memorial is unveiled as a white statue. This is a function of capitalism as a political ideology, however, to absorb all dissent, to obfuscate criticism, sanitize history and flatten social space with a halo of social and political amnesia.
In Steve Bannon’s world, we are at the end of an age, the end of a forth turning of American history, completing a cycle that began during the Great Depression and World War Two. He saw this “Greatest Generation” of heroes lead to a Golden Age of Capitalism of the 1950s, only to be spoiled by liberal baby boomers of the 1960s leading to Civil Rights Movement, war protesters, feminism, and the moral decay of the narcissistic Woodstock generation. While Reagan saved America from Communism, these Woodstock degenerates would help destroy America with their hedonism, selfishness, multiculturalism and godlessness. They are basically the New Democrats. Bannon, politically awakened after the 2008 crash, which he saw as the fault of Wall Street’s managerial class of libertines, got a hold of a book called “The Forth Turning,” and bought into a prophetic vision that the millennial generation was given the short end of the stick economically and culturally. Left with a gutted economy in the heartland, unattainable and expensive education, and the moral decay of Hollywood libertinism, drugs, secularism and multiculturalism, had no opportunity. Bannon’s prescription is to save the Millennial Generation from the pernicious effects of globalization which opened the doors to these sins. Bannon’s therapy prescription is to close the borders, return the nation to economic isolationist integrity, boom the economy, and rally the nation to a Judeo-Christian crusade against Islam, and possibly against North Korea and the conflict zone in the South China Sea.
The trouble with this theory is basically it’s a political ideology that bears little resemblance to the real world and is replete with laughable factual errors.