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Archive for the ‘President Trump’ Category

I.

Вся власть советам! -Bolshevik Slogan, 1917.

If you are a political junkie like me, you will be able to trace a map through many different shades and denominations of political thought.

You will be able to grimace at the naivete of Brutalist phases. You will understand how the path through “Smash the State” anarchism lead to Art, not Statescraft. You will struggle with macro v. micro bummer sticker slogans. There will be hard landings into soft realities. And, ultimately, you will completely fail to grasp the mathematics of Economic drivers.

Yeah. If you are like me, you will be horrified hearing yourself defending the “Intelligence” community, placing all your money on the ineffectuality of careerist bureaucrats, and worrying about the dismantling of the State.

On a nearly hourly basis, the Trump Presidency turns the world upside down. The frantic pace is the only consistency anymore. All ideology is stripped of moral pretense making hypocrisy meaningless. Finally, the cynicism of the System is paramount as we are constantly assured by politicians, pundits, and our fellow citizens that Nothing Matters Anymore.

As such, I am constantly confuzzled [reference: Winnie the Pooh] and often dislocated along my personal political spectrum. The radical ideas I hold dear are nearly fulfilled in Trump (though in some upsidedown world sorta way). The more liberal agenda I subscribe to seems woefully ineffectual or unwilling to confront the threat of Trump head on. And the Brutalist in me is an unforgiving prick that does want to watch the racist, uneducated masses burn themselves to cinders in the fire of their own ignorant fuckery.

II.

The Angel of History

We are no longer dealing with a safe Paul Klee painting, but a Hunter Thompson Hell’s Angel, cranked out of his mind, head careening back, his beard tipped in flashing red and white, the siren is progress chasing him into a cul-de-sac future, trapped in a prefabricated development.

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needWe are all familiar with those horrible late night reality shows and the “afternoon judges” programs that litter the cable schedule. Shows like Cheaters, Blind Date and Judge Matthis / Judy / People’s Divorce Court. They are defined by the shoestring budgets, failed catalog model casting, and incomprehensible story lines.

These shows are cynically designed to appeal to drunk insomniacs, unemployed high school dropouts, and low IQ trailer park idiots. The main appeals of these shows are bright colors and flashing graphics scrolling over the casts’ humiliation parade.

These shows are time killers. They are meant to be constantly droning on in the background – their perfect audience is distracted, sleepy, high on drugs, woofing down junk food in the middle of the night. To the tv stations that broadcast them they are schedule stuffers, cheap revenue generators/band aids. They keep the station on the air and bring an audience to the low rent bail bondsmen and local ambulance chasers and for profit degree mills who cannot to advertise during peak hours. They are trash shows deigned to bring an distracted audience of idiot losers to the garbage advertisers.

The Trump Reality Show Presidency entered its late night syndication phase a few weeks ago. His administration moved beyond any sort of narrative structure. Not that they were ever that concerned with consistency of message, in fact, they seemed to thrive on the reactive outrage of their policy-less actions.

BUT. Now the Trump Reality Show is blatantly just serving the needs of its bottom line – the Presidency’s whole purpose now is to make Trump Inc. money. The ultimate gangster, Trump, is levying the Office to grease the wheels of his meager business ventures. The examples are amazing and varied. HERE HERE AND HERE.
So. It is not original nor new to say that Trump is profiting from the Presidency. What I am arguing is for a new way to understand just what is going on and how to better oppose it. Since we’ve entered the “syndication” (inclusive of the mafia syndicate implications) phase of the Reality Show Presidency,  we can assume certain expectations.

First, in true syndication re-run fashion – we’ve seen everything Trump has to offer. We’ve seen all the episodes many times before and know what joke is coming next. While there is some comforting entertainment value to tuning in every night, Trump is not going to deviate from the already broadcast script.

Second, Trump’s antics, if there is any design to them anymore, are a being used to generate revenue for his family. While the news nation focuses on the next “insult or outrage,” Trump is barely concealing using the influence of Office of the President to grease the wheels of international business deals.

Third, Trump’s re-run content is actually overshadowing the first-run original content that is being crammed in-between commercials. For instance, the Health Care Act that was just passed in the House should be the headline, but instead, we are bludgeoned with the idiocy of Trump returning to the fact that he won the election.

In the end, there is very little that Trump, himself, can do anymore that is new. We’ve seen his carnival sideshow act before. So just like Elminadate or a re-run of Major Dad, we should tune in only when sports are on. Otherwise, the first run shows are far more dangerous, right now.

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bomb throwing bunnyIn the reality show landscape of our current political state, all news is punditry and all punditry is news, the “fake news” cry is legitimized by the ahistorical zeal of combative (and escalating outrageous) opinion.

And Trump is the embodiment of this ahistorical, opinionated, “knownothing” specialist. His mastery is outrage and inflated self-promotion. His appeal is that he is boring, predictable, and completely without mastery or insight.

He sounds like the undereducated, “common sense” every person, the common schlub, who’s deepest thinking is religious or trades’ based (mechanic hobbyists or overweight outdoor’s men).

Trump has the platform to shout these banalities to the world, so when he angrily opines about chicken buckets or celebrity weight gain, he reifies the basic thoughts of the distracted masses. He appeals to the hopeless, economically trapped middle class, since he broadcasts their specific grievances – grievances based in the crisp unfairness of the world, in all its full, escalating anger.

But the distracted mass is most concerned with the poverty of their daily life overwhelmed by the inoperability of systems they are financially and physically constrained by – debt, underemployment, constant barrage of status affirming materialism. They are literally starving in their bloated bodies poisoned by the chemical additives disguised as affordable food. Their lives are angry and inflamed and they lash out with provocations meant to quell the waves of empathy they refuse to feel for those most like themselves.

Their patience disappears into a long, frustrated sigh of resignation. In order to distract themselves from personal injustices (real or perceived), their anger jumps from micro to macro in half of a step. And then, across a national stage, populated by beautiful people with perfect smiles talking about things that barely touch any of our lived experiences, comes the blistering voice of Trump.

His limited vocabulary offering up the limited solutions that most people conclude on their own without a second thought. Trump is not a refreshing gush of honesty. In fact, Trump is the most dishonest mockery of the common sense solutions.

Trump pulls from the drama of reality tv narratives, as we’ve seen, but adds to it the selective coherence of conspiracy theories and “refreshing” acknowledgement that the world is unfairly screwed to fuck “us.”

And it is all based in an fake relationship with reality – bad faith, lies, distortion, and ruthless public relations spin. Trump’s ability to plant stories or seed the news with stories about himself are well documented. He understands the cult of fame is based in endless propaganda, so he became a bumbling, lying thug of publicity.

All the outrageousness and terrible misinformation Trump spews aside, his real resonant message remains – “See how unfairly I am treated? ME? Donald Trump? I understand how fucked the System is for YOU, since it is screwing me too!”

Even though that is complete and utter bullshit, total crap-mouth shit-talk, it resonates with the distracted middle class, who feel the same way about all their bad decisions and inability to wiggle out of the economic snares trapping them.

Trump is America’s temper tantrum made flesh.

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Taking a cue from the famous-ish essays in Jean Baudrillard’s The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Donald Trump Is Not The President.

This seems like a stupid, counterfactual thing to say and it may be a stupid thing to say. BUT. Donald Trump does not exist.

At least not in the way, you and I exist.

all seeing trumpDonald Trump is a hysterical projection of a modern capitalism machine. Donald Trump is not even a hysteric for that would imply too much agency on his part.

No.

Instead, Donald Trump is an illusion cast on billowing puffs of smoke, churned out by a machine designed to maximize exposure (buzz) of image and brand.

We’ve seen how Trump is NOT a business man, but rather the appearance of a public ideal of what and how businessmen look and act.

We’ve seen it proven that Trump is NOT that rich but rather glitters in a way a poor person believes expensive things glitter.

We’ve seen how Trump’s ideology is NOT political but rather an ideology of consumption – mainly of more Trump.

Given this context, Donald Trump does not exist, but is rather a crude accumulation of hysterical operations.

Since Donald Trump does not exist, he cannot actually be President of the United States.

So who or what IS it that was elected and holds office?

A Leviathan in the purest sense of the word. An undulating, cadaverous, gigantic monstrosity of stitched together tendrils of every shit taking, puffed up, treasonous, racist incoherence possible. Its a swirling turd filled vortex of a toilet flush that refuses to go down the drain.

This awful, simmering bullshit collation plays grab-hand peek-a-boo from behind the intermittent trickery of the projection from the Donald Trump Machine.

The Donald Trump Machine produces multilevels of meaningless and in that meaninglessness rests all its power and violence. For it is hidden, delayed, and virtual – happening off screen at a speed we cannot track with human faculties.

As such, we cannot oppose the Donald Trump Machine. The industrial process explained above is unassailable.

Its lies cannot be countered by truth. Its decoys cannot be exposed as fakes. Its inconsistencies cannot be made consistent. Language and reality are indelibly altered by and for the Donald Trump Machine and its system cannot be challenged by its own system.

Nor is the Donald Trump Machine threatened by an objective reality outside of itself, for any otherness is neither acknowledged nor understood. The Donald Trump Machine is a closed system in the purest, most hateful sense of a closed system.

So where does this leave us? Nowhere good.

And with little opportunities for resistance that will change the functioning mechanisms we could resist against.

No.

Our best option is to band together to acknowledge and keep alive the floating bits of reality and truth – to recognize and celebrate the gritty insolubility of this virtual, unreal, not-happening-in-reality Presidency.

Here I am reminded of an E.M. Cioran quote “Whether or not there exists a solution to problems troubles only a minority; that the emotions have no outcome, lead to nothing, vanish into themselves – that is the great unconscious drama, the affective insolubility everyone suffers without even thinking about it.” ALL GALL IS DIVIDED p.31.

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kicking cripples

Everyone on the planet knows Trump is ratings obsessed. Numbers, even inflated imaginary numbers, are his bread and butter – quantifiable proof of success.

Ratings are the results of direct competition. A ranking of winners and losers. One of the supposed driving forces in Trump’s life remains his father’s conception that one was either a Killer / King or you were a weakling/loser.

Ratings, and by extension poll numbers, are unlike any wealth he’s ever collected. Since ratings are based on pure dominance. Audience size is the only metric of success. TV ratings are a corporate popularity contest. More personal than real estate with his name on it. More satisfying than any bank account accumulation.

But why.

Sure, it appears to be pure textbook narcissism. It is all grandiosity. Ratings satisfy Trump’s driving need for admiration. And ratings validate the mountain of lies designed to prop up a fantasy image of self.

BUT.

If Trump is just personality disordered, then, we would not be in such a predicament. The predicament is one of chaotic meaninglessness. Trump has crashed through the “fourth wall” of our 24 hour news cycle.

Trump refuses to adhere to the banality of talking points designed to bore and demotivate the audience. Trump as stolen the metrics of entertainment and applied them to our politics. So we are dislocated and confused.

BUT should we be confounded by the success of Trump at redefining the political dialogue? No. Because his message is based in how we consume our entertainment now. Where we are shocked is that such a “serious” sphere as national politics could be so easily adapted into a ratings generating machine.

As long as Trump’s message is simply stated, summarily repetitious, and designed to amp up emotional response / drama, he will continue to dictate and dominate our political discourse – unchallenged.

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donald-trump-short-fingered-vulgarian-fingers-bruce-handy-ss09Trump could not have happened, or risen to power, without the ideology of reality show competitions becoming the aspirational fairy tale of our culture. Reality show competitions combine the banality of traditional game shows with the simplicity of soap opera melodrama.

Earlier this month, NPR interviewed Tom Forman, a reality show producer who worked with Trump producing reality tv shows. Forman explained how Trump uses the reality show high drama/conflict driven narrative:

“You don’t want to get bogged down in an argument over facts when you make a reality television show. You don’t want to convey a ton of information, because people get bored or lost or change the channel… […] Trump tweets about withdrawing federal funding, and suddenly you’re impassioned and you have a point of view — and he’s hooked you. …he’s made it understandable, he’s made it personal, he’s added a conflict-driven narrative.”

I said during the second Presidential debate that all Trump had to do to win the election was look over at Secretary Clinton and say, “You are a lying bitch.” And America would explode with glee.

Some of that explosion would be outrage and despair over the crass and disgusting nature of such a profanity. And that reaction would be righteous, rational, and justified. It would be the only reasonable response.

Even those political fans who only followed this year’s political playoffs would be shocked, but it  would border on relief that, finally, someone was speaking plain, everyday English at one of these debates. Even if they were turned off by what was said.

Trump supporters, and everyone else for that matter, would delight at being able to finally have a nuanced and strong opinion on politics. Putting aside any “authentic” thought or reaction, the majority of America would embrace the conflict and drama of such an outrage. The majority would celebrate the “event” as something interesting to talk about.

And while Trump never, quite, said those exact words, he came damn close. And with almost everything he pronounce, he does it in such direct and simplistic terms that everyone, no matter how intelligent or “woke” they are, immediately has a impassioned opinion about it.

And this is the reality show genius of the Trump dialogic. He argues with reality, so we might argue with each other.

Is it simply distraction? Is it only distortion? Is it totally nefarious? I am not sure.

As my friend Stoopid Johnny said about the outrage at a cabinet appointee’s nomination –  “Another day, another government program I’ve never heard about.” It could be that Trump might be teaching us the most profound civic lesson ever?

But, probably not.

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reagan-burger-mcdonaldsRonald Reagan was many, many awful things that we’ve allowed our political culture to forget. The Reagan record is a direct attack on fact. There is a new dimension to the Reagan Myth, one that IS mentioned but without the appropriate weight of the strangeness. Reagan was first and forever a B Movie star. A handsome actor of medium acting talent.

As a movie star, Reagan was a successful failure. Yes, he starred in movies. But monkey movies. He was never going reach the “next level” as an actor and his movies, if remembered at all, would be remembered for Bonzo, not Reagan.

But as a B Movie star, Reagan embodied certain stereotypes that soothed the fears of voters facing a changing American society. Reagan looked like he smelled clean. He carried himself with the poise of a matinee idol playing the part of the unflappable American President. But at least Ronnie did some research for the role as an elected governor.

I say all that because the United States just elected our first reality TV star President. Arguably, reality tv shows are the b movies of current culture. Reality TV is full of absurd characters interacting in stupid, highly melodramatic situations. And most importantly, reality tv is incredibly cheap and quick to make.

It is incredibly well-documented that Trump is a shit business man. Without the protections of bankruptcy, tax law loopholes, and the non-stop self-affirming promotion, Trump wouldn’t register a blip on the business pages. He is only a success because he keeps telling us about his successes.

And it is that narrative, the unending litany of unsupported bullshit, that creates the appearance of a brilliant business person. All his credentials are noisy and garish. He surrounds himself with gaudy feedback loop, shiny baubles meant to awe us into envy at the lush life he lives.

But everything “Trump” is a set piece. Even taking Trump as a snickering joke, a clueless punchline to a “sad and mean” jab at his expense, further inflates his coffers.

Trump is not a phony. He is something beyond phony. Trump is curated. Trump is sculpted. Trump smashes through the Situationist idea of the Spectacle. He is a phantom limb. Trump is the embodiment of the Reality TV competition, the karaoke culture.

As such, Trump’s lies are edited, dramatic, and compelling. And no truth we counter with will ever be sharp enough to puncture the gauzy film he floats upon. We need to either enter the competition on his level – becoming another vapid contestant on his idiotic progroms. Or we can try to cancel the show.

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