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

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Mon Mar 13 03:42:52 AEDT 2017

Dear Maria, Alan, Simon, Patrick  and all, 
There seems to be two very distinct conversations going on here that I’m wondering if we should tease out a bit.  It’s a tension I think that has been at the heart of our listserv for a very long time, that between theory and practice.  Issues can be theorized, politicized, philosophized on an intellectual level in pretty memorable and sophisticated ways to help us intellectually appease our inner anxieties or at least try to put them into some kind of perspective.  In this discussion there is also the affective, emotive, local one where individual lives are being dramatically affected.  In fact both Maria and Patrick most recently highlighted those issues that affected them more personally.  

How do we make a difference?  How much do we write, discuss, intellectualize?  How much do we emote?  How often do we take action?  How do we strike a balance that remains sustainable over the next several years.  Where can the local, regional, and  private prove to have global affects? 

Patrick what kinds of changes are you seeing?  How has your news shifted?  Do you have US students?  So many questions today on Sunday but Maria’s post reminded me how often on our listserv there is a  tension between theory and practice.  

Maria perhaps you are a writer or an artist but are your personal experiences coming through in your work? 

Looking forward to another week and thanks to Alan for leading us this month. 

Renate Ferro
Visiting Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Art
Tjaden Hall 306
rferro at cornell.edu

On 3/10/17, 7:11 PM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of Maria Damon" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of damon001 at umn.edu> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>Like everyone here, I've been laid low by the unexpected turn in US 
>politics. I'm grateful for some of the raw confessionalism of the recent 
>posts on this cerebral-tending list, and am still trying to figure out 
>if and how best I can make a contribution here. So far clarity eludes 
>me. I'm doing my best to survive, but paradoxically I feel a bit guilty 
>about doing the things I know would be best for me: seeking solace in 
>nature, "getting away for a few days," seeking spiritual clarity, etc. 
>Like, how dare I try to feel good when others are being seized and 
>deported, losing their health care, losing what little enfranchisement 
>they've been able to maintain after decades (centuries) of struggle, and 
>so forth. And yet I know this is the kind of toxic thinking that lets 
>the administration win. It's the vortex of paralytic depression that 
>they count on making it hard for us to resist from a source of strength 
>and optimism. I hate my own defeatism, but it has a seductive quality as 
>"realism" and "solidarity." Ugh ugh ugh.
>On 3/9/17 8:43 PM, simon wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> 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: 
>> http://zero-books.net/blogs/zero/zero-squared-95-zizek-and-the-double-blackmail/)
>> 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?
>> Best,
>> Simon Taylor
>> http://squarewhiteworld.com/
>> PS: 
>> https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/20/roy-cohn-donald-trump-joseph-mccarthy-rosenberg-trial
>> 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
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

More information about the empyre mailing list