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.

 

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5 responses to “Trump The Movie”

  1. jessfinbear says :

    Really???

    This kind of bullshit is crap. You have really scrapped the bottom.

    No longer want to be on your email list.

  2. davidm58 says :

    I was just in a big box store, and saw the latest smart TVs with HDR, 4K, SU, and O(rganic)LEDs and Virtual Reality devices. As we descend into post-truth society, the corollary is to continue sedate and seduce the public with hi tech home entertainment. Virtual Reality provides much more satisfaction than worrying about and trying to decipher alternative facts. The two worlds are colliding and enmeshing. The internet has become the choice means of streaming entertainment, and a challenging means of sourcing what it originally promised – information and methodologies for personal growth and transformation. There should be a movie reflecting this scenario – any suggestions?

    And yet there is also a growing resistance…

    Peter Pogany’s concept of Global System 1 (free market capitalism), Global System 2 (regulated capitalism), and the coming Global System 3 (integral economic system, for lack of a better term) can also be correlated with the concept of Global Brain.and Gebser’s consciousness structures.

    jessifinbear, bullshit IS crap by definition; not sure what your point is, or what exactly you are reacting to that feels like scrapping the barrel.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    The films Total Recall (I’ve seen both the one with Schwarzenegger and the other with Colin Farrell) offer a pretty good analogy to what I’m trying to get at with the last two posts. Total Recall is based on a shortstory by Philip K. Dick entitled “We Can Remember It For Your Wholesale”. One of the strange things about Total Recall is that you never really know whether the protagonist is living out a fantasy or hallucination or a reality.

    There is some relation to “meme magic” (as the alt-right provocateurs call it) in all this too. The company called Rekall offers complete “memories” — of being a spy, or a cowboy, or world famous athlete and so on — heroic memes. Total Recall brings to mind Jensen’s “post-rational” Dream Society as well.

    Memes can be infectious — a good example might be the “earworm”, that snippet of a pop song that keeps looping through your head, even if you hate it. It might be like that repetitious organ melody that I remember from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. That approximates the meaning of a “meme”.

    Howard Bloom has some interesting (and suggestive and uncomfortable) things to say about memes and the hive mind of the bee colony in his book The Global Brain, too. I’m tempted to quote it here, but it’s quite lengthy.

    I don’t think the subject of Dick’s short story, or of the movie, are too far from present state of affairs — the confusion of the factive and the fictive.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    It is a sad situation Scott, when the fictive that has been forced upon us become our factive to the degree that as you put it one loses his ability to tell whether the protagonist he is seeing is living a fantasy or hullucination or reality. It is not entertaining to death any longer as put by Postman but entertainment to render you to be zombi without a distinguishing brain, a situation death will be a preferable option.

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