The great derangement in this society is precisely the manner in which a culture falls apart. And this is why there is no easy fix. It’s like we’re approaching a socioeconomic event horizon. In physics, the event horizon is the zone where time and space and reality are warped beyond all recognition as one enters into a black hole. We’re in the middle of this process sociologically, approaching the singularity of capitalism, entering the final acceleration where the fabric of this social reality will become more and more insane, reality turned upside-down, where the earth really does seem flat and fascist, in-real-life social reality molded by Facebook algorithms. Where we see all the paranoid tropes and fears and desires whiz by faster and faster so that we can never keep up with the 500 television shows we can’t seem to turn off vying for our ever shorter attentions, where our deranged reality becomes spaghetti-fied and ripped apart at the seams.
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.
There is a strange seduction about a mystery, the lure into the unknown. When we have a part of a story, there is an innate temptation to fill in the picture. It has been said […]
When I was taking life science in middle school, there seemed to be an overwhelming concern with the ecosystem in all the chapters of the textbook and in most of the lectures we were presented. It […]
I think that to watch this (O.J.) documentary, you can get a harbinger, a microcosmic impression through a media-circus kaleidoscope, of a country that is preparing for a phenomena like President Trump. The social forces at work in letting Simpson off the hook are the same ones – if the racial vectors are switched from black to white – that elected Donald Trump. So that Trump too is a story of all of those same things – celebrity, domestic violence, race, tv, a media circus, money, a brain damaged sociopath, cities ravaged by racial profiling and corruption and a public that was fed up with it all.
The Frankfurt School philosopher Theodor Adorno is perhaps most famous for this astonishing quote, “Fascism is psychoanalysis in reverse.” In addition to being a witty, if cynical, nutshell of his philosophy in The Dialectic […]
There has been a lot of talk lately about virtual reality. I don’t mean people who wear headsets or Google Glass, but that reality itself as a field of experience is somehow in doubt. The […]