Archive | June 2017

The Shock of the Real

I’m not sure who should be credited with the phrase “the shock of the real” (but it is, apparently, the American environmentalist Edward Abbey from his book Desert Solitaire). It’s a very good phrase. It’s basically the meaning of the word “apocalypse” and has been borrowed extensively by others too to describe the bursting of bubbles of all kinds. “Shock” has become something of a theme of Late Modernity or the post-modern condition — Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, or, indeed, “Shock and Awe”. Shock might even be said to be the essence of “the New Normal”.

The phrase “shock of the real” brings to mind the Tarot card called “The Fool”.

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“We’ll Always Have Paris”

If Mr. Trump thought that pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change would force the rest of the world to buckle and flock to his doorstep to renegotiate the agreement with him, he very badly miscalculated. Trump’s arrogance in that respect seems rooted in a long-standing fiction — at least since Madelaine Albright — that the United States is “the indispensible nation”. There are no “indispensible nations” in the grand historical view, and I think Mr. Trump has just definitively popped that bubble (and apparently, so do others).

Ironically, though (and what isn’t ironic these days) Mr. Trump, quite despite himself and his intentions, may have just made the US federal state and national government irrelevant anyway, and prepared the way for some form of “glocalism“,

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