Triggerwave

a safe space by mike crumplar

2016: The Year in Review

pepeSetting: Civic-theme Georgetown design well-connected well-to-do family, they knew the Kennedys, Georgetown design George Washington portrait on cream field dark brown furniture quoting Hamilton. Kissinger’s “On China” on the table. This is both a safe space and the Kali Yuga.

Being is in crisis—a significant threat to national security. NATOPS. SEINOPS.

America is already great. But we need to invade Annexia for intersectional Lebensraum. We have called our Israeli allies to drop rainbow bombs from their breast cancer awareness fighter jets. Mossad and John Oliver en route to EVISCERATE antisemite misogynist Bernie Sanders right now. #WITHHEROPS

The Absurd is the progressive negation? MAGA/PBUH/YHWH Let us return to the eternal unclimatechanging Earth.™ I’ve descended from my cave in the mountains, where I composed problematic broetry, to fight in the Ragnarok against the cucks and their algorithms.

When they go low we get high.

The memelord sets fungal ambrosia upon a peanut butter sandwich ever so daintily.

That was a million dialectical sublations ago. The moral arc of history is very long and bends, the moral arc bends, the moral bends, bends, breaks. Is Kojeve a wonk? Philosophers as mystical titan wizards, casting spells and performing deep intrigues with high stakes/stocks—Betrayal! Kojeve’s magic? But Brexit was just one dialectical sublation ago!

BROOKLYN: It’s time to admit that Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician. She is Moses in Star Wars. What does the data say? They’re analyzing it in her HQ in trendy BROOKLYN. Even her algorithms are feminist. Took the Acela back to DC. Had to leave the quiet car to make a quick call to Brock. He wants a left Breitbart. Needs young blood. BrockOPS. PodestaCOM. Young blood. Liberal policy bro. Wonk. Words for @vox and @vice. Such filthy rich DC children can get away with anything. Crazy girl dating him, he’s the feminist gaslighter rapist type, she sighs out over cigarette smoke. Still in love, he’s a charmer. Took me on a date to Comet Ping Pong, he did. Call BROOKLYN later, to check in.

NEAR-FUTURISTIC MANHATTAN: Litany of cucks lining up at the great demonic tower to grovel to their new God. But not Glenn Beck—he doubled down on Ted Cruz fulfilling the Mormon prophecy of the (((priesthood rising))).

Nigel Farage, quoting Lenin: “Often there are decades in which very little happens, and occasionally, there are years in which decades happen.” He and Kanye West, Barad-Dur VIPs, get to cut the long line.

Donald Trump doesn’t read books. Socrates. TRUMPCOM. Meet the dapper racists in die Trumpenturmgesellschaft.

Žižek goes on the Alex Jones show to tell him he is more real than reality itself.

A million dialectical sublations ago they cheered the fall of the Third Republic. The Donald gazes down at the Tomb of Napoleon. In it, the vortex of all world history, manifest in a phantasmagoria of tweets and memes. Look closely, you will see some rare ones: the Traumatized-by-industrial-killing-at-the-Somme Pepe, the Mythic-return-to-the-question-of-Being Pepe, Mistah-Kurtz-he-dead Pepe, Wilhelm-Meister Pepe, Cubist Pepe, Moon Man crooning Dionysian dithyrambs.

Ezra Klein clears his throat. “You may think this is some kind of reactionary avant-garde, but actually, it’s a Russian psyop,” he says, pointing to Panslavist Dostoevsky Pepe.

Policy-dry fiction sold as truths—Just the Facts!™ Esoterica of politics, parasitic boredom and lifelessness smug tweeter factchecker WONK reaching consensus the Washington Consensus by researching the policy statements of dastardly Donald, around him swirling vicious whirlpool swirling around those hateful nerd eyes, you bastard you ironyyour shirts you. He dies of an epileptic seizure from the gif of a deplorable troll, planted terroristically in his mentions.

The President may not read books but he is well-versed in the forgotten wisdom of the ancients.

“πάντα ῥεῖ …” whispers the primordial Donald in the quivering ears of Mittens over a plate of frog legs, “We shall destroy all of the calculations. τὰ ὄντα ἰέναι τε πάντα καὶ μένειν οὐδέν.”

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Bannondozing

steve bannon was an executive producer of julie taymor’s 1999 film adaptation of titus andronicus…. in itself not a bad film, unlike the absolutely unwatchable disney-beatles “across the universe” she made later… bannon, trump, titus andronicus, sex/rape politics, fascism… anthony hopkins feeding jessica lange her own children in a pie after it is revealed they raped and mutilated his daughter… trump almost certainly lusts after his own daughter, the only person it seems who is able/willing to articulate a feminine side of his entire faction, making her such a puzzling figure, and a substitute for his current wife, who, like lavinia in titus andronicus, is unable to really speak (i imagine her confessing her deepest thoughts about her husbands campaign in her native language, to a fellow countryman, perhaps zizek)…. chicago native and coincidental obama lookalike harry lennix plays aaron the moor, the scheming villain whose “soul is black like [his] face”…. the whole movie mixes 30s fascism and ancient roman motifs… according to bannon’s wikipedia page he had a messy divorce and domestic violence charges (that were later dropped)… this frog avatar guy i follow on twitter is saying that trump is the completion of the german idealist system, kinda like how caesar’s coronation completes ovid’s metamorphoses…. ovid, whose epic poem is the source for the myth of philomela, which inspires the mutilated lavinia to point out her rapists in shakespeare’s play… i cant believe how little about the world the data people like ezra klein actually know, the people who should be telling how to see/interpret the world should be those who have a MYTHIC not “data” understanding… everything flows, as heraclitus said… only a god can save us now…

Vacations of the Pretentious

An unfinished sketch that I like enough to want to share, but not enough to complete. Was written in summer 2015. Original plan was a story about a lazy trippy vacation dreamscape where these absurdist characters struggle to communicate the most simple of things because of the cacophony of the “Mind at Large” à la Aldous Huxley. Was meant to culminate in an epic trip to the closest Taco Bell.

He gazed out onto Hannaker Lake below which glimmered in the fading daylight. Ah yes, an extended Bacchanalia: surely that will inspire his book in the works. This vacation was the perfect sort of utility of creative energy—the spacious estate of Sheldon Roscoe doubling as a home for privileged post-grad artists of all kinds, the seemingly endless sense of shifting community, that flowed like water itself with people’s ins and outs, arrivals and departures, happening on and off, bringings and takings, and so on, all part of the overarching theme of “oscillations,” that beautiful and romantic life-governing quality of mind. Surely later he would swim in the lake, but he chuckled to himself as he thought of the idea of already being swimming in the lake—suddenly the image of a sweaty and excited Zizek sprung out to him exclaiming with arms raised expressively: “I’m swimming in the lake of ideology!” And so he burst out into a great laughter at the thought of this silly old Slovenian man, not necessarily at what the message was, as of course we are always swimming in ideology as it were, no doubt about that, but rather the presentation of the thought, how it seemed to spring out of the very notion of swimming, as if swimming itself contained a latent metaphor of ideological saturation that inherently leads to the image of a sweaty and energetic Marxist philosopher pointing it out. Thus his laughter subsided leaving just a geeked smile as his mind trailed off towards other trajectories of lakelikeness, other aspects of the representations of the lake that appeared immediately before him, was actively “set forth” or rather “brought forth,” to frame the thought process auf Deutsch, from which the Slovenian sprung into, but not just Zizzy, but also some ridiculous thoughts about whales and leviathans inhabiting the lake (more laughter breaks out—a sudden mindflash of some goofy tentacles grossly tentacling something pervy) to the yearning to surf something, not necessarily the admittedly tiny waves on the shore but a mental surfing, that which he was actually already doing at this very moment, the kind of surfing of a great wave of mind and language like the infamous Finnegan’s wake, which happened to be the term applied to the wave left by the great psychedelic speedboat the “Finnegan” which Sheldon also owned and used as both a base for transporting drugs around the lake as well as impressing his many, ever fluctuating guests who’d rail lines of mystery white powder, drunk off kisses, before dunking their heads into the sacred sober water like planets in collision. But there were many of other images latent in that same lake, some pertaining to swimming as act and others not, namely the consideration of the body of water as something of sheer mass and volume, the product of an almost disinterested contemplation of the, so-to-say, “leviathanliness” of the water, and the whoa-saying to whatever the number of gallons it contains is. But the leviathanliness is not merely quantitative but also a matter of specific qualities, so that if the world is not some sort of bottomless chaos and utterly ontologically anarchic, and well, that’s a pretty damn big if, then this lake could be said to embody some sort of perfection in its gargantuan form, that it reflects a harmony of the world of idea with the same dainty blue clarity with which it reflected the sky to the detail of the little birds flying around, carelessly, like in some renaissance painting heralding the coming of Christ. Like the whale, the birds too trace a sort of primordial ancestry in the dinosaur, so that these little flittering creatures are the heirs of velociraptors and the tyrannosaurs, but now the tyranny has changed to the humans who now have the privilege of leaving their assorted crap all over the world, so that future species of alien paleo-archaeologists may uncover the remains of Hannaker Estate and puzzle over the strange types of trash and the arrangement of the rooms, attempting, likely in vain, to make sense of either sorts of thing, and instead (assuming they even have the sense to view them as relics or texts of an “intelligent” sort of culture) come up with peculiar inferences to the uses and meanings of the various patterns of language and geometry. Thus one can only imagine how puzzling the ruins of various cities of the world, although it is perhaps wrong to suppose that anything will truly survive the great extinction of the humans and remain to dominate the earth over geological eons aside from noble mounds of styrofoam and plastic, floating endlessly and mysteriously, in the oceans and buried snugly between blankets of rock—these great relics are the last silent remains of the great human civilization, relics that shall live much longer than the clever apes who brought them forth. Thus, the assorted trash by the banks and in the nearby woods around Hannaker Lake acquired a sort of charm, their own sort of timelessness, frozen objects of chemical associations that could only be assembled together with the loving touch of human activity and intention, which, in the course of millennia, would lose their original messages such as “Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Kills the Most Germs” and instead be interesting merely for their composition from chemical structures that could not likely be brought forth naturally anywhere else in the universe, and as such our age, our little line in the ever-shifting layers of rock, will be remembered as the age in which these curious chemical structures compose of an unfathomably great, seemingly infinite number of mysterious objects that literally litter the planet. The nature of memory and the act of remembrance are so limitlessly puzzling, he thought, so overwhelmingly immense once he imagined the depth of meaning of a single being, let alone the ever shifting meaning of an infinity of objects in the endless procession of time, time, which is just so goddamn relentless, carving and eroding, like glaciers, or rivers, or… or frankly anything that changes anything, beyond the control of human activity. Suddenly the metaphor in his mind grew too large and unfathomable, he figured that his thoughts on the admittedly bulky and confusing subject of time were unwieldy to the extent where he could no longer remember what he was trying to think in the first place, and that instead of truly thinking about the nature of memory his mind had been most peculiarly deceiving itself, and through this had constructed an artifice of these ideas of memory with the imagery of geology, of the motions of the earth, such that he couldn’t tell what he was thinking about anymore, either a geology of the mind or a psychology of the earth, or both or neither, trailing off into a multidisciplinary mush that hurt his head. But these mental acrobatics were soon forgotten as his gaze was directed once more to the lake, which was becoming gradually more and more rich with wine-reds in the shallows and purples too, with the setting sun against the deep green of the lush vegetation, and he thought of how, in the course of this long day, he had seen a full succession of various color schemes of this exact scene from this exact window, this transcendent sense of constant ‘becoming’ by which Hannaker Lake and the surrounding hills had become his own personal version of Monet’s haystacks, and it was at this point, this day in the late summer, at this very hour, the view had reached its daily climax, its visual crescendo that holds in the time before the sun, in its constant unconscious motion, retreats behind the hills towards California and the Pacific and beyond, until its ultimate return and the reawakening of the scene, perhaps the only thing that was sure beyond any doubt in the world, until the Final Judgement or Global Communism, or whatever it was that people expected him to be expecting in the eschatological sense these days. “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” Of course, such divine light and blessedness is really only crudely understood with reference to the Bible alone, subject to the vulgar interpretations of so-called Christians and their villainous Hebrew-priestly-caste exploitation of the sad passions, to such a point that the meaningful potency of the transcendent, apocalyptic light, he thought, is far better and more clearly articulated in the almost pagan, joyous sense of Novalis’ universal Poesie, and the third kind of knowledge of Spinoza, and then best associated with immortal life at the end of Ovid’s Metamorphoses: in spirit the poet will be borne up to soar beyond the stars, leaving behind an immortal name wherever American governance extends and the already-apotheosized Bush family presides over the subject nations of the world—the words of Melville and Pound (oh god, hopefully not whoever we read in high school) will be upon people’s lips, with fame eternal should that metamorphic prophecy remain true. “Hang it all, Robert Browning! There can be but the one Sordello!” he suddenly burst out, with the shakespearean madness of a resurrected Ahab—after all hemp killed him and hemp brought him back (winks)—performed with the emotive excess of a high school play, and then turning histrionically to face the other side of an imagined audience, lowering his tone to the still dramatic tone of a telenovela, tearing up with the joy of a Latina mother at the bedside of a Lazarus-child: “But Sordello, and my Sordello?” After his own mini-soliloquy he just started laughing as uncontrollably at himself, at everything, and at nothing in particular.

“What’s so funny?” a voice broke the yawning thoughts and suddenly he became aware of himself, where he was standing, so that he was no longer inside the lake ontologically but back in his body standing apart from it, that he was being spoken to, and the fact that he was a subject in a world of other subjectivities, to whom he must somehow often recognize and answer to, in an ongoing yet fractured process of mutual understanding by which questions are asked. But he entirely lacked the answer to the question of whatever was funny, as it would require the recounting of a series of specifically tangentially related things, which, while it would be theoretically possible, still seemed an impossibly daunting task, even if he had been able to remember and articulate each of the subterranean connections as well as the sort of lightness that made the existence of these connections themselves comical, and not just as moodless notions. In any case, the particular path of connections on whatever he was thinking was already lost in the surf, and he suddenly felt as if he was trapped in a state of anxiety—before the question there was no demand on his free association of thoughts, but once something was asked of it, that he needed to explain, to make a logical, rationalistic explanation that can be communicated between two perfectly logical minds, souls, if you will, suddenly he felt a specific terror, as if he had been asked a simple question in a foreign language he was supposed to know but had no idea what to say. By the time he had come to some sense and began to think of how to construct a sentence, everything he thought he could answer to the question “What’s so funny?” seemed horrifically abstract to the point of being utterly meaningless, as if there was originally some kind of meaning but it is entirely annihilated in the movement from thought into language, as one would try to adequately describe a color, the passage of time, or an orgasm—all of which are, in their own ways, perceptible and vivid enough that one could try to explain it, before realizing that they are so hopelessly subjective of experiences that it is language itself—aha! Something finally came to mind—“Uh uh just pretty much like language and,” he said, having found a seemingly satisfying answer, but once it was uttered, was just as hopelessly vague as anything else he could have said, so that he was rushing through his mind to try to remember how to better clarify the connection between the fundamental problem of language with whatever it was he was thinking about, but then, upon realizing that every passing moment that the dreaded Other stood there, waiting for some clarification (Ugh! Why?) felt like awkward eternities, he then happened to find salvation once again in his gaze out the window, “The lake,” which was an honest enough answer, and did indeed encompass much of what was funny, although it still didn’t do justice to precisely what was interesting or indeed notable about it. In fact, it would seem like the only way to adequately describe it would be somehow encyclopedic and entail the idea of the lake in a sort of increasing, productive, and unending fullness, and anything other than “the lake” in its meaningful saturation, which essentially is its essence and the wide trajectories of its possible ontology, would completely miss the joke. “Everything… about the lake” was all he could therefore add.

But he said nothing. He laughed. Confused at first, the Other quickly joined in. This time the laughter was somehow different, changed as if through a grammatical declension. He laughed at the Other and he laughed at himself and his laughter saved him from the seductive, sinister tendrils of his own winding thoughts.

The Lamentable Tragedy of the House of Trump: A dramatic fragment

Scene – Trump winery. On the wall is an enormous portrait of the late Donald in the style of high alt-right romanticism. Through enormous windows, we see the almost Mediterranean hills of summer Charlottesville, now the American Salò, and the war headquarters of the Trump regime, exiled from the war-torn capital.

Barron (contemplating a glass of Trump Cabernet Sauvignon)
Was it not Heine, who saw the
surging microcosmos of world history,
flowing and intoxicating, sloshing roundabout
at the bottom of a wine glass in
the Ratskeller of Bremen?
All the progress of man, swishing
and swooshing on this tiny crimson sea,
groundless, Jerusalem, Athens, Rome,
Constantinople, Paris, New York—
the palm trees of Beth-El and Hollywood,
the myrrh of Hebron. All the collective striving
and dreaming, the human spirit of hope and
the heartbreak of a thousand,
nay! a million holocausts.
All flowing chaotically toward one great purpose
(he swallows the wine)
To be drunken by me!

Enter Ivanka.

Ivanka
Barron, our army has been defeated at Manassas,
the rebels will march on our new capital unopposed!

Barron
Impossible! Our soldiers are the finest and most ruthless
in the world! Give me the head and testicles of
whoever conjured such a lie! Or was it you, jewess?

Ivanka
I would never do such a thing! You know my loyalty to
you and our father is boundless.

Barron
Bah! Our father?! You know that his destiny
is mine! I see your envious tricks!
Begone! Your guise of liberal charity
doesn’t faze me! Get thee to a nunnery!
The seduction that worked on our father
will no longer work likewise on me! You were
beautiful once, Ivanka, but now you are old,
wheras I am young and handsome.
It is my time to rule, and I’ll not
surrender my rightful inheritance
for the whole world, and if it must be so,
then I will let the whole world be consumed
and pissed out, like this wine!
And now I see you for the the scheming wretch
you are. Begone, you wretched Lady
Macbeth, you Tamora, Queen of Goths.
Jewess of the Trump House, begone!

Ivanka
Barron, my darling brother, surely you mean none of that!

Barron
I mean every word! All around me
is treason and traitors. I’ll trust no one until my rightful
place in the White House is restored.

Ivanka
Alas! Barron, you must act! The enemies are at the gates!

Barron
Begone!

Ivanka
Then I bid you adieu.
(aside)
Methinks my child brother doth squander his
noble inheritance on wine, muttering to himself,
raving mad from before noon until
the wee hours of the next morning.
But is he truly a brother in this twisted family? Nay,
moreso a nephew, or perhaps a cousin.
A cousin, born of the same father, noble
Trump and strumpet just a few years my elder—
the bedrock of a broken promise made
in an incestuous bed, noble Trump, my father,
and my king, and I, he said, I he said,
his princess, his queen. A promise consummated
in incestuous bed, a promise for which two truer
brothers perished, a promise broken by the
birth of a darling new babe. Little boy Trump,
a puny brat, all for nothing other than locker room
talk, he said, but what is locker room talk to
bedroom talk? Just guffaws and cuckaws,
cockcrest strutting. Oh! What is a kingdom to
a woman! To handle the affairs of home,
of state, to be domestic with a smile,
to suffer the crudest vulgarities and be
rewarded with half the praise of rulership;
and so Barron, the president, in the image
of his father, his job to “preside,” to pose
by virtue of no more than a chode.
(an artillery shell suddenly explodes nearby)
Oh the rebels come! I shall have my comeuppance
before the cock caws in the morn!

Exit Ivanka

Barron
(returning to the contemplation of the wine, ignoring the distant sounds of artillery shells)
Oh joyous wine, joyous Trump Cabernet,
your vibrant black cherry aroma fills
my nostrils with memories of father,
who, though himself a Pearly Baker,
after all—preferring Diet Coke,
an acid that polishes jewels,
drew his power from the Rausch
that moves the world, stone sober,
the world’s turning, not around him, but
somehow expressed in him,
he sat in Madison Square Garden as
Bacchantes brought forth Crooked Hillary
and tore her limb from limb, consumed
her flesh on live TV, as her blood spilled onto
the gold leaf stage, gold stained by bloodsour
wine, the end of history, the fulfillment of destiny
was our bath salts. And the camera
zoomed in on the golden face of my father
as if he were a classical bust, gold
spray on marble, glitzy sparkle Vegas
Caesar Germanicus, stern face father
over the blood orgy, a promise
of return to the greatness of the classical
age fulfilled, consecrated in fratdrunk
Eucharist initiation of his SS. And so
Crooked Hillary, writhing in agony
turned into the lowest of birds,
the pidgeon, and flew from the arena,
to be condemned to forever eat garbage
in Hauptstadt Americania, the refuse of shit
and bile-drenched filth—though only before
the great purge, like the wholesome purge
of a blossoming virgin starlet, after which
Trump Avenue was no longer a feast for rats—
and so she flew to Brooklyn.
And my father sat on his Manhattan throne,
overseeing the great metamorphoses
of history into poetry, for his
final coronation in the stars, was yet
to be finished.

(he pours himself another glass)

Enter Generals with Retinue.

First General
My lord, the rebel army is on the march,
they have our troops scrambling. And to
make matters worse, an unprecedented
number of vile deserters have left our ranks,
shrugging the defense of the women
and children of our beloved nation.

Barron
Deserters! Impossible!

Second General
There are hundreds, wandering the countryside
in aimless packs, or alone, always slowly,
as if totally uninterested in the fate of the world.

Barron
Well what is the problem then? All the easier
to round them up and have them shot for their
treason! Send our toughest team from the front
to summarily execute any deserter!
Have them shot, nay! Hanged! Or better yet
have them drawn and quartered, have them
crushed under the feet of an elephant,
as was the Lakhmid king Na’aman
when he refused to allow his daughter into the harem
of a Zoroastrian, and have others
thrown into a vat of boiling water, have their
heads bored through with a slow drip of acid
and have them hanged with a boner, so
that they ejaculate and shit themselves
simultaneously, as did the mugwumps
of Naked Lunch to their sex slaves. Bring
about their deaths! And do so spectacularly!
Do so, bigly, as befitting a Trump!
We must send a message to motivate our forces
in preparation for our final counteroffensive
that breaks the back of the rebels once and for all!

Third General
A counteroffensive would be impossible!
And sending our finest unit from the front
to kill our own, is wasteful in these crucial final hours!

Barron
Treasonous words! Desertion at even
the highest of ranks! You must be the commander
who speaks for the traitors, with your
lack of conviction most poisonous, likely the source
of this strategy of retreat. Well has that strategy failed us!
We must cull the weak and motivate our troops
to ceaselessly and mercilessly attack! And first
and foremost, for change starts at the top,
I’ll have this Archdeserter shot!
(Barron gestures and the troops immediately carry out the execution of Third General)

Exit Generals and their Retinue.

Barron (returning to the wine)
Joyous wine! Oh you joyous wine, how profoundly
you stir the passions of men, turning hags into
models, turning broken republics into
great empires! Joyous wine, you fulfiller of promises!
How you turn me, a timid mouse, who
found only solace in his pet frog, and sucking
the voluptuous teet of his busty mother, all
around a shy boy, loathful of others, frightened of females
into a lion worthy of my father. You saved me
from languishing martyrdom, driving down
the taunting suburban boulevards of
Santa Barbara, cursing perky asses
of blonde bimbos bouncing in the
sunset light under the arms of brutes,
that sunset: in those final colorful twilight moments
the warm embrace of the sun embers kisses
a promise of the events of the mysterious night,
something heavenly, but forever absent,
like the dead god of a passionless church,
forever hidden by treacherous conspiracy.
You spared me that suburban fate that
killed lesser men, that suburban fate
of unrequited desire, dangling teasing
symbols, symbols! Empty symbols,
just out of reach, but vivid. I am ever stronger,
born of ruthless New York, immune to
California neuroses. Oh what hell!
Los Angeles, uncentered haze,
ungrounded simulation, tease of a city,
how it could use a big, thick tower!
I shall destroy it and remake it in my image.
But alas, joy! Wine! You fulfiller of promises, you
againmaker of greatness, you
had me staring from the heights of
my father’s own great tower, out at the rising sun
over Queens, congratulating me with a morning
kiss for the divine ritual of the night, lost in the
formless bliss, experience indeterminate
between wet dream and waking life,
whereby I would fall so deep into and out
of my body, I would forget my own name,
“Donald,” she would say, “you’re amazing”
and I would dive back into the ancestral
indulgences, completing the circle
in my return to the loving walls of the womb—
Oh joyous walls! Oh heavenly walls!
Hungover from cosmic warmth, I’d rub
my eyes when the brilliant radiance
of the sun intruded on the primal scene,
rub them so hard I could’ve
gouged my eyes out, because no
other sight could rival the
sublime unveiling of night.
(he finishes the glass of wine and chugs the rest straight from the bottle)
All this cosmic dreaming leaves me,
of exhausting exciting memories,
yearning for the real kind. Noon, yes,
noon is a good time for a nap—for a
king! A noon nap, a sweet siesta
in that foul speech. There is no better
time for a good rest than now!

Exit Barron. The sound of the artillery grows louder, closer.

End Scene.

Why the Brexit, like Trump, must be absurd

boris-johnson-zip-wire

It should come as no surprise that the faces of opposition to international neoliberal consensus are those of the likes of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and Donald Trump. They are ridiculous, goonish, bombastic, offensive, and thrive by riffing on some of the darkest, most chaotic human impulses.

These absurd goons stand in opposition to a far less colorful and conspicuous adversary, so faceless and ubiquitous that it is hardly a single person or institution but rather a globe-spanning process, or an amorphous body of knowledge, or perhaps even an attitude. It is called different things from right and left (with varying degrees of paranoia), be it global capital, neoliberalism, globalization, the “new world order,” and so on.

Whatever this adversary is called, it is sober, proper, and secretive. It is well-educated and eloquent in its own language, but also sterile and impenetrable. Its effects are visible in virtually all modern life, but its causes and its direction are concealed. Is it guided or is it spontaneous? Am I better off with it or without it? Am I inside it? Where does it end and my self begin? What is it that I am even talking about?

Such is the relationship of the modern subject to the world of finance that governs, well, ultimately everything. The Trump voter, that ever-fascinating species proper anthropologists can’t quite grasp, is a subset of this modern subject, and the same goes for the UKIP voter. They defy good manners with reactionary zeal in the ostensibly outdated, unfashionable nation-state. As such, they often echo the familiar racism and now-abhorrent ideologies on which these identifications rest.

The Brexit does not need to be about racism, but the utter inability of the European Commission to act on the migrant crisis makes race tensions a potent, lasting symbol of the absurd contradictions of the European neoliberal project. Racism is what is visible, and what arouses more virulent passions. By contrast, the hidden machinations of bankers and bureaucrats in Brussels, as in Washington, are hardly so vivid and spectacular. But those very bankers, so-called “experts”—humorless wizards conjuring apocalyptic swirls of debt out of aether—are just as preposterously clueless with the economics as they are with managing the migration crisis.

And so the origin of the politics of austerity are so obscure and hidden behind the dismal science, so terribly unreadable and unfathomable, that it conceals its very nature as an arbitrary and undemocratic power structure. Big words hide the fact that calculations of the IMF and European Central Bank possess embarrassingly little connection to real, lived, immediate experience—Life! And ironically in both Europe and the United States, this neoliberal structure faces its most serious challenges not from the left—the seeming defenders of working class interests—but from the right, under the guise of vulgar nationalism.

Somehow, this nationalism has emerged the only comprehensible response to the ubiquity of global capital. Globalization has rendered the working classes so fractured and disempowered that the international Left has no real viable alternative to its illusory progress within the very system it purports to fight. In Britain, Labour endorses “Remain” with the excuse that it can push for progressive EU reform. In America, the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton for president so that drone pilots can check their privilege and ignore her vested interests in the TPP and TTIP.

Against this semiotic wasteland of global finance we have the postmodern poetry of Farage, Johnson, and Trump. Through this bizarre appeal to nationalism (in particular) and madness (in general) can an alternative to this all-consuming vortex of capital growth be articulated. And so many think: Who cares if it’s strangely Hitlerlike at every turn?

Arnaut Daniel

Imagine Arnaut Daniel
under palm trees and grayblue sky
that dry air of genius
longboard queeblo down
Abbot Kinney he
flees forlorn lovers
flowing flaxen locks
shirtless belly of
ambrosia burgers our
naïve God falls
and is
dismembered by
irony.

City Pantheism

It shows itself as immanent
in the city skyline. The glittering lights
of Manhattan from the Williamsburg Bridge
—there must be as many of them as
there are Wikipedia pages—
are cells of discrete desire. It is, they are—
the result of endless self-transformation
of raw Earth, picked up by its own bootstraps.
You, too, are included. You may not think so
but you are just as at home in New York
as anywhere. Your gaze is none other than
its own soul-searching. You are rolling tonight;
material reactions close a spiritual gap.
Weltgeist to brick and mortar (and all the rest)—
—to reflected light and to the optical nerves—
straight to the pineal gland.
You are merged with it to maximize efficiency
like it was a part of a cosmic corporate takeover.
You, you spectacular cell, are strolling
down the electric synapses of a Great Brain.

Hyperreal Trump renders House of Cards unwatchable

Although it may seem like a show like House of Cards would be more relevant and exciting when released during a volatile election season, the popular Netflix show appears bland and stilted compared with the political entertainment of real life. I’ve seen all the previous seasons of House of Cards and enjoyed them, which is why it’s a shame I can’t get past like three episodes of this season because now it feels so goddamn boring and irrelevant. Sad! Even Canadian Ted Cruz’s performance of a southern accent now seems more authentic than Kevin Spacey’s. Simply put, the real world is just too absurd, and even with the most wild plot devices, a conventional political narrative can’t keep up.

House of Cards seems to rest on certain popular fantasies about power and the people that hold power in modern society. Policy in America is decided by the intrigues of a network of cynical, self-interested people making bold moves on a sleek sexy chessboard, a board checkered in a clean, dark palette of deep navies and crimsons—America’s colors, but edgier, darker. Conversations are curt and cool; they scheme quietly. These characters contemplate paintings, they think about ominous symbols and they brood profoundly over the sinister consequences of their ambitions.

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Wow, it’s like the blood is symbolic or something!

How boring! How low energy! Absolutely unbelievable. Can an understanding of “the political life” be any more out of touch? Just like the RNC and Nate Silver and whatever other seemingly serious soothsayers of this election cycle, House of Cards is caught hopelessly off guard by what is perhaps the greatest mind-bending, reality-warping spectacle in contemporary politics, Donald fucking Trump.

I presume the political insiders, whoever they really are, and the myriad politico-yuppie commuter class debutantes who live in Arlington like to think of themselves as aspiring to peddle influence in the hallowed halls of our republic in the pseudo-profound manner of Frank Underwood. Just like the horrendous Baz Luhrmann Gatsby adaption ironically inspired so many frat parties, the mythos of House of Cards gets all those Reese-Witherspoon-in-Election­ types hot and bothered for steamy affairs and wicked betrayals featuring lobbyists and Super PAC organizers. Sure, its fiction, and sure, we’re supposed to think that the Underwoods are immoral or something, and sure, whatever dramas govern actual politics can’t be so perfectly truncated for Netflix, but surely there remains something real here! I mean, how do you explain Nixon? In the same way, the RNC hup-hupped around stroking their cleanshaven chins farting about how Rubio would be the inevitable GOP nominee. Because Rubio has experience in politics proper, the real politics of powerbrokers giving fat donations in smoke filled rooms with presidential portraits on the walls, plotting, plotting, ever so coyly—whereas Trump is bound to implode because he’s not a politician, just a reality TV personality. As if there is a difference!

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“You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.”

In the aftermath of Little Marco getting absolutely pounded in his home state by the Centipede, a veil is lifted—one that was important for keeping coherent our fantasies about power. These fantasies hold  that power is negotiated and slyly calculated by the “establishment” experts or whoever behind the scenes, and that the “behind the scenes” world—of course kept secret from all but those in-the-know—is the true world of politics. These behind-the-scenes puppeteers are not affected by their environments, but rather they set the environments around them: they are absolutely in control. This veil therefore supported  the common pundit notion that somehow the true powerbrokers would grow tired of the Trump nuisance and scheme with their infinite connections to quash him. Or so many hoped. This obviously has not happened, and won’t happen either, barring a bold coup by Republicans at the Convention to affect a distinctly un-democratic establishment restoration.

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“Into the trap!”

So the veil is lifted and the GOP establishment’s bluff is called, everyone all around is exposed as a hack except those with the foresight to max out on Trump YES on PredictIt immediately after the Iowa caucus. All the predictions, all the bloviating pundits with serious, furrowed brows and those awful faux-authoritative voices, the thinkpieces, the smug tweets, the righteous indignation of those properly racist Republicans, the righteous indignation of those triggered SJWs, those stupid Wall Street Journal head-pictures next to lazy provocations of headlines. And so on. They laughed at Trump’s preposterous Zarathustrian descent down the escalator amongst the gleaming gold of his great tower—but little did they know that it heralded an extended avant-garde mockery of everything they believed was true and real. They were the butt of the joke and they were that which kept it running for so long. He was everything they could have ever wanted: “I give them great ratings,” Trump boasts, aware of this mutually enabling feedback loop as only someone from the entertainment industry would be. Likewise, I’m optimistic that this post will get me more traffic than any I have made before.

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“We’re gonna be so Brechtian it’ll make your heads spin!”

There never was any effective substance supporting Rubio or Jeb!—they had money and nominal influence and so on, but they both fatally underestimated Trump because they failed to understand that they were always fundamentally playing on his terms. Politics is no more than show business at its worst! And so they were always a few steps behind, and whenever they thought they had some real zinger to derail the Trump Train, it would materialize into nothing more than half-baked reactions to Trump’s more skillfully vulgar moves. At the worst, as with the Rubio small-hands/small-dick insinuation, the jabs would linger uncomfortably, unwelcome like stale farts. It was worth a shot, since their PAC-stocked pockets proved to be powerless.

Those who control the means of mass communication have lost control of its consequences. Once it became clear that Trump could not be stopped without great concerted effort by the whole cabal of the Media, a blitzkrieg of negative ads, myriad endorsements, the #NeverTrump hashtag, etc. They trot out Mitt Romney, a total fuckin’ square, still probably stuck in Plato’s cave—and even he is so indecisive he can’t even name a candidate he’d endorse as a Trump alternative. How stiff and artificial he looks! Might as well sum him up with one word since that’s what language is for: “Loser!” And with that the urgency of the endorsement is lost into its own ridicule, because honestly who cares what Mittens thinks anyway? After all, his mind is filled with thoughts about things like how Michigan’s trees are the “right height.” (We can only assume that The Donald’s mind has normal people thoughts, like fantasizing about having sex with eastern European models and wiping that shit-eating grin off Rosie O’Donnell’s fat fucking face.) Trump’s campaign is hardly about white working class resentment under late capitalism, or xenophobia, or a backlash against Obama, or whatever other endless reasons fleshed out in the endless thinkpieces. It is about the pretensions of political discourse and decorum imploding under their own absurdities, as if the heaping pile of shit and nonsense became self-aware and donned a wig speechifying some slogans: “Now we stage a play! Something by Genet!”

trumpenfuhrer

“It’s a true image, born of a false spectacle.”

It’s telling that Trump is described as someone who is more “real” than the other candidates, that he is “honest” and “tells it like it is.” Meanwhile the snakelike “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz says he prefers country music to rock because of the different ways they “collectively responded to 9/11”, officially making him sound like some kind of sleeper-cell Manchurian candidate who can only interpret American-ness in a manner reminiscent of The Thing. A guy with billions of dollars suddenly seems much more relatable just because his own bizarre simulation of American-ness is more joyously tacky. But if there is any lesson we can learn from this election, it’s that no words actually have stable meanings and pretty much any word can simultaneously mean its own opposite. We’ve always been in it, but perhaps we’re starting to realize that we’re in the Différance Zone. We all ask: Do we even know if Trump means anything he is saying? Does he really have all these hateful views? Will he actually make Mexico pay for “The Wall”? Are any of these actually real policy proposals? Who knows? But this sort of chaotic anti-meaning, paradoxical non-meaning, absolute ambiguity is a much better exercise in postmodernity than plenty of contemporary art projects, judging from the fact that it has already motivated millions of people to get off their asses and vote for someone who retweets Mussolini quotes. We can’t even determine if Trump tells lies or the truth because his whole campaign is an annihilation of the very possibility of these truths.

So if Trump is real politics, what the hell is House of Cards supposed to be? A fictional show about a hollow rendering of power in a democracy that romanticizes everything we now see as impotent delusions? Thus is House of Cards too fake—it demands we pretend that our political leaders are clever calculators and our pundits astute observers as opposed to screeching demagogues of various degrees of self-awareness. After all, on what planet can South Carolinian Frank Underwood get elected without shamelessly spewing tons of racist shit and exploiting the inevitable xenophobia of his constituents? And House of Cards demands that we believe that these “candidate-contestants” have any shame—that they don’t is perhaps the closest to an eternal truth as we can get. The writers of House of Cards propagate the delusion that the country is governed by narratives that resemble Shakespeare rather than a cross between Caryl Churchill and Brad Neely. If we need any more evidence that we’re living in the up-is-down, right-is-left doublethink dystopia, it’s that the people who make TV shows treat politics with more dignity than the politicians themselves. Frank Underwood is a real person and Hillary Clinton is merely playing his part.

The Life of Pablo: Flux After Death

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The release of a Kanye West album is a fun time to be alive and on the internet because its popularity invites everyone to weigh in on it as a work of art. As Briana Younger writes, Kanye “creates #moments” which serve as points of collective critique from the very nature of its spectacle. Much has been said already: The Life of Pablo is a patchwork, not as conceptually focused as the previous albums, it’s long and meandering—feeling “unfinished” or, better yet, like it’s a product in an eternal state of unfinished-ness.

Yeezus was completely edited, stripped down to its abrasive core, primal anxious willing, mechanical willing. The Life of Pablo is that feeling reawakened, redeemed, re-whatever (it has to be re- something because above all else it is the Post-Yeezus album). I read somewhere that Pablo is in “flux” …. that sounds poetic enough for me. This sort of fluctuating sound also brings to mind the “old Kanye”/“new Kanye” distinction, which this album plays on. TLOP has the plodding, heavy buildup beats of Yeezus, the album with which it converses the most, but they are slightly more organic; TLOP relates to Yeezus like house relates to techno. And like the relationship between house and techno, the relationship between the old and new Kanye is hazy, confused, and ultimately indeterminate. The “life” of Pablo/Kanye is a fluctuation between the old tendencies and the new—the “traditionalism” of the gospel soul harmonies, the perfect sample, and so on versus the ominous post-industrial constructions of trap and drill. In Yeezus the latter triumphs, but The Life of Pablo throws both back into conflict and leaves it unresolved.

The Macktivist Paradox

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Macktivist is a great word that refers to a special kind of social justice warrior that contains both its most intense authenticity and artificiality. A portmanteau of “activist” and “to mack [on someone],” the macktivist represents the total inversion of pretty much everything about whatever liberating tendencies we have wrestled from this current wave of feminism. Basically, the macktivist, often appearing to be the model male ally, maliciously subverts and uses the language of social activism to have sex with people who would be into that sort of thing. It is the sort of character that would be perfect in Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno.

This Jezebel article describes the macktivists Hart Noecker, a vegan bike activist known in Portland anarchist circles, and Hugo Schwyzer, a gender studies professor from Pasadena. Both Hart Noecker and Hugo Schwyzer are serial sexual abusers who are well versed in the language-world of social activism, and perhaps most chillingly ironic, the particularities of feminist discourse. And both are archetypal “allies.” Noecker is described as using conversations about consent, setting boundaries, and being open about sexual practices as a means to pressure women into unwanted activities by essentially confusing them (known as “gaslighting”). Noecker’s outspoken role in the Portland vegan-bike-hipster-anarchist community, as classic “Portlandia” as it gets, apparently gave his purported feminism such credit that he was able to lure victims that otherwise would have been put off by some of his creepy actions. Schwyzer taught classes and blogged about women’s issues (both his own blog and sites like Jezebel) while he did things like “fuck porn stars [he] met through [his] classes” sleep with four students on a class trip he was chaperoning, and allegedly tried to kill himself and his wife in a murder-suicide. You can read Noecker’s blog here and some excerpts from a twitter meltdown of Schwyzer’s here. (Schwyzer’s twitter page was publicly accessible as recently as yesterday, although the “meltdown” tweets are surely long since deleted. The twitter page is currently protected.)

Anyway, the article is interesting and well written; you should read it and I shouldn’t repeat it all here. The main point I want to indicate is the connection between the sense of weakness and vulnerability of the “logophobia” ideology of the social activist feminist left, the sense of moral certainty and definite truth-ness that it develops in communities (the activist circle, the university, and so on) and how they work to paradoxically undermine the “safe spaces” they seek to create. In the logophobia-world of the activist left, one really can be included by paying lip service to the right struggles, being conscious and repentant about privilege just enough, by reciting just the right prayers and slogans. There is an orthodoxy that can be learned and navigated, and like any orthodoxy, it can always be performed “inauthentically” or “dishonestly.”

One, perhaps more common, or at least more easily imaginable way for logophobia to break down a safe space into something hostile or toxic is from factionalization—which could take form, for example, from a dispute over orthodoxy between the party’s true believers and heretics of whatever stripe. Within its own logical truth-schema, these sorts of breaks are necessary and inevitable; within the “Marxist Study Group” there are always the quaintest insults hurled around the room. Once the dissidents are shown to have offending views, so egregious as to cause physical harm through perpetuating “neocolonialism” or “heteropatriarchy,” revealed reactionary through a miserable misstep of words, they are cast out to form their own silly little band. This is never surprising, and it can go in any direction with any particular flavor for denouncing the apostates: “non-dialectical” or “non-Marxist” (a good way to dismiss those pesky Spinozists), “reactionary” or “fascist,” not to mention the litany associated with particular identities (one side of the coin: sexist, racist, and so on; on the other side: accusations of appropriation, inauthenticity). This practice reinforces its own truth-schema, along with the ideas that a) opposing views are literally toxic, in that they affect physical harm to the body, and b) there is a sense of belonging, trust, and solidarity with those who perform the agreed-upon canonical prayers. When this whole logophobic process is performed, we feel as if we are participating in the liberating struggle to cast off the yoke of oppression in language, and we access a narcotic, illusory respite from trauma. Therefore, it, and us with it, continues.

On the other hand, the case of the macktivist is almost meta-logophobic in that it breaks down its own internal logic and becomes its own opposite. Even once we have condemned the triggering spaces, denounced the abusers, found alternative inclusive vocabulary for the words in language that give us trauma—once we have formed our linguistic bubble, the “Portland” dialect as it were, the whole process of striving for relief from myriad traumas is itself subject to perhaps the most fundamental trauma it was trying to escape in the first place. It is as if we undertook the spiritual quest to climb the holy mountain and meet the all-liberating godhead and once his face is revealed behind the blinding light we see that it is none other than our rapist. The macktivist represents language returning to its state of original corruption as trauma seeps into the triggerwave slang. Now that “male feminists” can be and are commonly enough the literal embodiment of the oppression feminism struggles against, how can we save that concept from this new extension of trauma? What can we trust now if even a frank, ostensibly honest conversation about sexual consent can be weaponized?

Also worth bringing up is the similarity between this nexus of truth-schema/sexual coercion and recurring trope scandal of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. In both instances, the domination and abuse is concealed by a linguistic-institutional structure that enables its own contradictory relations of control. Noecker’s accusers were afraid to speak up against him because they were afraid that “no one would believe them” since he was seemingly more in touch with an activist community (an institution) that, among other things, claims to be feminist, since he knew how to articulate its language so well that his expert acrobatics could persuasively flip the distinctions between right and wrong, offender and victim. Of course we have seen this before. Beyond the largely aesthetic differences (the priest’s robe versus the feminist fist pin) what these situations of sexual coercion have in common is that they are founded upon and enabled by truth systems that purport to offer moral grounding and clarity that can be completely antithetical to their—ultimately traumatic—lived experiences.