Trump The Movie
… and a cast of millions.
I just wanted to briefly follow up on the last post on the Global Brain with a comment about Trump’s “style” — and megalomania – in terms of his seeing himself as the actor and director and star of his own movie or reality TV show. That was clearly evident in his referring to his cabinet appointments as “central casting”, and how he views himself as a star and “celebrity” that affords him certain exceptional entitlements, not least of which is “grabbing pussy”.
This is, I think, very much involved in the meaning of the term “hypernormalisation” and Rolf Jensen’s notions of “The Dream Society” as also “New Normal”.
Moments ago, I watched a brief video clip of an interview sponsored by the Columbia Journalism Review with New Yorker editor David Remnick, and it was about the dangers of “normalising” Trump. But it’s not just Mr. Trump, is it? The so-called “New Normal” has been in development for some years, and that greater historical context in which someone like Trump can arise is what should have been addressed by the mass media in the first place, and not merely the symptoms of it which Trump represents.
What Adam Curtis calls “hypernormalisation”, and what we today call “New Normal” as well, was, to my mind, already anticipated in Neal Gabler’s great work Life The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality. And it was probably anticipated in Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves To Death equally (although I haven’t read this yet). But I would suggest to you that Gabler’s Life the Movie is consistent with the meaning of the Anthropocene as “Global Brain”, and that Gabler’s book can help explain not only Trump, but “hypernormalisation” as well, as well as foreshadowing ideas like Rolf Jensen’s Brave New World of The Dream Society of fantasy existence (which brings to mind that movie Total Recall).
This is dangerous, and I suspect that what Mr. Trump shares in common with Mr. Putin is that they see themselves as the directors and stars of their own movie. It should be remembered that Hitler and Mussolini also saw themselves in such terms, and that Hitler especially saw himself as playing the role of the tragic heroic figure from Wagner’s operas, as the only real “personality” of his time, supported by a cast of millions.
Gabler’s Life the Movie, I suggest, should be considered as a counterpart to Bloom’s The Global Brain, (and perhaps also Henry Plotkin’s book The Imagined World Made Real as well as Debord’s Society of the Spectacle). They all converge in the image of the Anthropocene as objectified “Global Brain”. And Gabler’s Life the Movie also speaks to that objectification in a way that echoes Walter Benjamin’s remarks from “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicizing art.
All that is strange, surreal, chaotic, and bizarre about the present time is connected with this self-alienation in the Global Brain as the meaning of The Anthropocene which, at present, is the form of Blake’s deranged and demented Zoa named Urizen (and who is “The God of the Left-Hemisphere“). Urizen, though, is not the only Zoa who resides in the human brain.
The “bubble of perception”, upon whose surface we only see our own reflections in the play of images as “brands” or “brand personalities” and “brand identities”, is the Anthropocene as Global Brain, and we are as entranced by and intoxicated with the images as much as Narcissus was with his own reflection in the reflecting pool.
And that did not end well either.