[-empyre-] Trump - Populism / Roy Cohn - McCarthyism

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Fri Mar 10 12:43:15 AEDT 2017

Dear <<empyreans>>,

As for the T-Effect, I wonder about the -ism accompanying it, which has 
been globally bruited: Populism.

Brexit, said a friend: overnight GB became Little England; he left NZ 30 
years ago, only to find himself, 30 years later, on another small 
parochial island.

What I wonder about Populism is what the Left can do with it. It really 
wants to do without it. But, without it, it plays to a niche market, 
plays its tune of Moral Truisms (not to be confused with T-isms), while 
trying to avoid giving off superior airs.

Zizek has of course commented on this. (hear: 

How strange are these reversals: the Reactionary and Moral Left! So much 
is hateful, should one reserve any for the de-politicisation of the Left 
that goes with Populism? The Left, can we afford to call the trinkets of 
its moralising kitsch? given the monolithic absurdity, surpassing 
miraculous (forget AI!), of an elected President with the emotional 
maturity of a six year-old?

Simon Taylor


On 09/03/17 09:06, Alan Sondheim wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Apologies for late entrance, under the weather; apologies for a 
> poorly- worded post as well -
> Like everyone, I've been following politics closely, and have been 
> involved in resisting. What I want to focus on here, however, is the 
> overall effect the election and events leading up to the election, has 
> had. I protested Vietnam here in Providence, and recently several 
> times again, I've stood on the same spot on the capitol steps, taking 
> roughly the same photograph. In the late 60s/early 70s, there was a 
> sense that 'we' had accomplished something; soon it was clear that 
> business as usual was returning with a vengeance. But we thought 
> things like the voter's rights act were here to stay. When T ran in 
> the primaries, I was sure from the beginning he would win - I've lived 
> in Luzerne County, PA, and West Virginia; I feel I understood his 
> racism and brutality from the beginning - his sarcasm was both typical 
> and unnerving, and his constant slurs meant that the 'older' news - 
> which requires a lag for analysis - would be off- guard constantly. T 
> used both the oldest - insulting, bullying - and newest - Virilian 
> timing - means to keep himself and his rhetoric in the news; at the 
> same time, there was no (and still is no) coherency in the rebuttals. 
> I don't think he planned this as a strategy; I think this is T to a T, 
> but that's irrelevant. The result, however, has been as brutal as he 
> is - the center and left (so to speak) suddenly involved in the 
> appearance of a new world where racism, not tolerance, has become the 
> norm for many. Not only have racists come out of the closet (to the 
> extent they were in one), but fledgling racists have been encouraged 
> to come forward. As a Jew for example, I watch, now, 
> verbal/phone/email attacks on Jewish institutions escalate as more 
> people join in the 'fun.' The worst of it is that so many groups and 
> classes have been written out of the republican discourse, except for 
> condemnation and tarnishing; this is clearly a white and 
> fundamental-christian world that not only dominates, but basically 
> refuses compromise, unless one or another 'ethical violation' forces 
> the issue.
> People I know are distraught; I heard from someone at CNN that 
> everyone there was crying election night; a psychologist I go to said 
> her patients have increased enormously as a result of the T-effect. 
> There are internal and external domains; we participate in actions of 
> all sorts on one hand, and try to handle our own and others' miseries 
> (as they do us) on the other. The external is clear: RESIST!; the 
> internal is more problematic, since many people's anger goes all the 
> way down, and eats them alive - as does the depression, anxiety, etc., 
> all brought on by what appears to be the suddenness of the change of 
> direction of what I keep calling Amerikkka - for lack of a better word 
> to describe a new landscape, what appears to be a new landscape. And 
> even in writing this initial email, I find myself holding back, 
> correcting, not wanting to offend, wanting to be politically correct, 
> unsure of myself. The result for many is a kind of inextricable 
> knot/not; even though we have the usual 100% hindsight, we were 
> unprepared. So the questions might be - how do we proceed, from here, 
> as human beings, as _persons,_ internally as well as externally? How 
> do we learn to sleep at nights, to remain calm, to continue what might 
> be considered a project of forbearance and empathy? I keep thinking of 
> other examples of resistance (Sartre's writings for example, however 
> his stance is read), going over Arendt's Totalitarianism, Frantz 
> Fanon, trying to make sense of a typical mashup of daily headlines: 
> GOP health care plan: Ryan downplays backlash as doctors express 
> opposition; Afghanistan: IS gunmen dressed as medics kill 30 at Kabul 
> military hospital; THE MEMO: Presidential code smashed under Trump; 
> Girl statue faces Wall Street bull to fight gender inequality; 
> International Women's Day: Strikes and protests around the world; Fire 
> at Guatemala Children's Shelter Kills Nearly 20; To fund border wall, 
> Trump administration weighs cuts to Coast Guard, airport security; Why 
> Hawaii says Trump's new travel ban is still unconstitutional; FBI 
> Director Says Encrypted Messaging "Shatters The Bargain" Of American 
> Liberty; Sen. Tim Kaine's son among several arrested after protesters 
> disrupt Trump rally in Minnesota; 21 times Donald Trump has assured us 
> he respects women; Senators ask FBI for evidence of Trump wiretap 
> claim; The Statue of Liberty went dark overnight; Steaks, wine and 
> stacks (and stacks) of paper: The Trump White House loves its props; 
> Why Trump's $1 trillion promise to deliver infrastructure jobs may not 
> happen this year; and Secret Marines group is still sharing nude 
> photos amid scandal.
> This is fast-forward news; our 'internal time consciousness' and our 
> minds literally can't keep up; if Facebook creates depression on a 
> 'normal' day of widely successful posting content - what is the result 
> of a constant bombardment of brutality - a bombardment which is also 
> necessary on a fundamental level? What is to be done?
> - Alan
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