was, indeed, a Trumpquake. And the sequel was a given; the whole world,
transfixed, in real time, 24/7, hanging on every word, tirade, feeding
frenzy oozing from the swamp and its various flesh-eating monsters and
manmade pathogens, deep state-related or otherwise.
Trump presidency is the ultimate larger-than-life – for many the only –
show on earth. It's open to debate whether the vicious civil war
currently in effect between Team Trump and powerful deep state factions
enmeshed with the neocon/neoliberalcon galaxy is just shadowplay; or whether this is the real deal underlining the eventual crash and burn of the American Empire.
all too predictable, when a reality TV star becomes president. When
"post-truth" pseudo and/or non-events on screen 24/7 make a mockery of
"reality." When the screen determines the perception of truth; if an
"event" is not on show, it never happened.
"post-truth" battle happens – where else – on a vortex of digital
screens. And that's why US corporate media is freaking out. Because now
there are no limits to how much it can suppress/repress/digress; what
ideas are "appropriate" to be discussed; and what taboos cannot be
broken, as debating the pernicious effects of neoliberalism, globalism
or the industrial-military- intelligence-security complex.
And what a pity that the neo-Gibbon who could track this Decline and Fall to perfection – in fact did it, decades in advance, died 10 years ago, on March 6, 2007.
What to do after the orgy?
Since 1970, when he published The Consumer Society,
the West's Deconstructor-in-Chief Jean Baudrillard had been nothing
but consistent. After he identified marketing as the supreme ideology
and shopping as the new moral standard/modern concept of happiness, we
have come to understand ourselves primarily as reified prisoners in The System of Objects (another one of his classics), duly alienated by a non-stop demented deluge of merchandise.
In 1990, in The Transparency of Evil,
Baudrillard went one up, stressing how after the 1970s, everything had
been liberated: "It was a total orgy of the real, the rational, the
sexual, the critical." So, he asked with a pure dadaist/surrealist sense
of humor, what is to be done "after the orgy"?
was like a drunken Nietzsche figuring out the death of God – all
over again. Our only way forward was to "simulate" non-stop, to repeat
every instance of "liberation" over and over again, a pallid, vacuous
redundancy empty of meaning. T. S. Eliot's Hollow Men marching to a Kraftwerk beat.
when vacuous neo-Hegelians announced the "end of history" after the
wrap-up of the USSR, heralding the Forever Rule of Western liberal
democracy, he smashed the dream as a mere "illusion of the end."
the go-go 1980s, everyone, from the incipient anti-globalization Left
to slightly anarchist alter-globalizers, from soft John Stuart Mill
progressives to dejected neo-Marxists had to resort to their portable
Baudrillard to understand the tentacles of the ego-driven, ego-corroded
consumer medusa, spreading a toxic virus that kills any possibility
of empathy and communitarian spirit.
By the time he published America,
in 1986, Baudrillard was already deep into conceptualizing the ultimate
game of post-modernity; Total Sign, Total Image, Total Media, Total
Culture Industry all enmeshed in a "hyper-real" web of "real simulacra."
He coined the concept of reality TV even before reality TV existed. In
the process, alongside Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida and Lyotard, he became
a Guns n Roses-level intellectual superstar across elite US
From David Cronenberg's Videodrome to the Matrix trilogy, and all the way to Westworld,
here's to our Baudrillardian world under complete control,
simultaneously transparent (everything is so glitteringly visible) and
totally opaque (everything that matters is veiled), where what's on show
is never what it seems (or, to quote Twin Peaks, a totally Baudrillard series, "the owls are not what they seem").
before the Obama era, Baudrillard could not have possibly deconstructed
Obama's "invisible" kill list or the pathological demonization
of Russia and Iran. But he did have imperial sideways encounters
with both Daddy Bush and Dubya.
the 1991 Gulf War, he wrote it never happened: no battles; no dead
bodies; "asexual, chirurgical"; a "no-war"; just videogame-style
abstract scenes (it would have been another story had he had access to
"highway of death" footage, the US Army engaged in target practice
on thousands of fleeing, unarmed Iraqi soldiers).
On 9/11, he wrote a landmark essay, The Spirit of Terrorism (which
I read, startled, in Peshawar) not justifying it, but demonstrating how
maximum power had to eventually elicit maximum destructive, although
asymmetrical, counter-power. 9/11 was the ultimate Total Screen event.
Baudrillard would have been mightily intrigued by reality TV master Trump – as well as the current post-truth civil war.
would have analyzed how Trump went over virtually the whole Beltway
establishment, corporate media included, to get elected, using his
trademark version of Total Screen. He would have seen that Trump is far
from an American Macbeth sowing Hobbesian chaos. And he would have
reveled in a vicious sociopolitical American war played in real time
on the Total Screen.
What to do after the orgy? Revel in the Baudrillard index, put together by the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (IJBS), and welcome to the Total Simulacrum Trump era.
views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
ROLAND SAN JUAN was a researcher, management consultant, inventor, a part time radio broadcaster and a publishing director. He died last November 25, 2008 after suffering a stroke. His staff will continue his unfinished work to inform the world of the untold truths. Please read Erick San Juan's articles at: ericksanjuan.blogspot.com This blog is dedicated to the late Max Soliven, a FILIPINO PATRIOT.
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