He begins to sense the walls closing in, his options limited, his power constrained. He wants to fly in his own jet and discovers that after January 20, that just isn’t going to happen. How can he be expected to fly in an airplane where his bathroom doesn’t have gold fixtures? He is no longer important; his office lends him what importance he has. It’s a different kettle of foie gras…
let's say you define the future of your political party, and are attempting to articulate the political future of the nation, by demographics. you will appeal to 'women and minorities,' breaking off those demos as we become majority-minority. thus, total domination is our destiny! others think this is a sad approach because it involves technologies for exacerbating differences extremely, or relentlessly treating each person as being identified primarily by their position in gender and race hierarchies. ok, perhaps disastrous for our society, but strategically sensible?
but one insane aspect of this structure is that though it looks like it just sorts individuals into groups, the demographic lines you're drawing run through individuals. like can you really have missed this? so here's the approximate distribution: the population is about 60% white, so about 60% of women are white, and about 30% of americans are white women. about 40% of the population is minority, and about 50% of the minority population is male, so about 20% of the population of the country is minority male. so 50% of the population is white and female or minority and male. for each person in half the population, in other words, the 'women and minorities' distinctions run through them, not around them. your conceptuality splits each member of half the population internally, and yet you act as though are describing distinct demographic segments or distinct populations. but you aren't.
this actually amounted to a possibly election-deciding confusion: white women didn't turn out for hillary as predicted, and voted more heavily for trump than predicted. that was...predictable as a result of this grotesquely incoherent strategy.
nothing, nothing could be more obvious! how in the world can you have missed this? there is no future in it, because the situation will persist in precisely the same form in a majority-minority america. alright? for god's sake sit there and think for a few minutes.
'identity politics' basically treats individual identities by place in a demographic taxonomy or grid: race, gender, income level, region, educational level, and so on. but now the situation is just internal chaos for almost everyone as everyone occupies many boxes. and most of them occupy boxes that both sides are dedicated to annexing. their basic political strategy is literally logically incoherent: it cannot be construed in a way that makes it conceptually consistent. there is no possible world - i mean this seriously - where a real population can vote in the patterns suggested by the strategies.
i think that this piece by roger cohen is one of the most irresponsible op-ed columns i have ever read: a symptom of the fact that trump has made people like cohen into evil idiots, or sort of images of himself. really look at that thing: it makes trump a racial suprematist gearing up for ethnic cleansing, a nazi. it predicts the apocalypse: like a ridiculous, insane panic, a crazy series of macarthyite libels with no evidence: just a real cognitive and moral and journalistic failure. i would never have someone of that calibre on my opinion page. and also, if y'all keep jacking up the hysteria, not bothering with any evidence etc, you'll help bring the brewing civil war.
If you're not familiar with Masha Gessen and you're interested in Russia and how autocracy works, you should be. She's a great writer and journalist. A Russian Jew and dual American citizen, she's lived much of her life in Russia, working as as journalist through the fall of the Soviet Union through Yeltsin and the rise of Putin and the Oligarachs. Her work appears in the Times, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the Daily Beat, the Atlantic and any place intelligent people argue about exactly how the world is ending, fire or water. She's written about Putin based on both her journalistic reporting and one hell of scaring paternalistic intervention into her career; about Pussy Riot and the band's meaning; about the Boston Bombing and aftermath; and a recent book about a well-meaning Stalinist attempt to resettle Jews in Siberia. She's a talented, brave and uncompromising talent and spokesperson.
1.Believe the Autocrat. A more elegant writer than I, she doesn't put it this way but -- No matter how completely the statement uttered as policy is illiterate, ill considered, at odds with the facts on the ground and the general laws of god, nature, physics, mathematics and aesthetics, doesn't mean the rabid wombat who has taken control doesn't fully intend to do it. Think Mao deciding to make everybody build small blast furnaces in the courtyards of their buildings and thus triple the output of steel overnight...or Stalin, deciding to imprison or execute everybody in the senior ranks of the Army because he had a bad dream and figured he'd let the dialectic sort out the sheep from the goats. Or Trump saying he doesn't want to live in the White House...Fifth Avenue is going to never be the same. I'm not sure where Trump is going to rank on the lunatic-sociopath-psychopath-schizophrenic-bi-polar autocrat scale. I'm thinking of equating him with God in the theory that God is 80% malevolent but only 20% effective.
my splicetoday column today is a diagnosis of why trump's election has been so upsetting, or crypto-traumatic, for so many people. it's because they missed the fact that history has no direction or goal, a claim i purport to be able to vindicate against all comers. also i'm running all deep into the philosophy of history and shit.
one reason not to cry trauma now, rather confusing what you're seeing on television with your actual life, is that actual trauma for actual people - for example, immigrants - might well ensue. we may be called upon to try to do something about that.
i guess my breaking news commentary has shifted to twitter @crispinsartwell. you could feel it yesterday in pa. people really cared and really came. gf and i just drove from new orleans to gettysburg, and you could feel it all along. we spent the weekend in gatlinburg tn w/tens of thousands of people, license plates from every state in the continental. trump stuff everywhere, an almost jubilant mood already. y'all went to the wrong places, didn't you? watching the self-recriminating media is good this morning. and get these demographic pie-slicers out of my face, alright? all the money in the world couldn't make hillary a better candidate. the left voted straight oligarchy and lost anyway. show some fucking spine next time around.
about an hour wait to vote in latimore township, adams county pa. three different people as they arrived in line: 'i didn't think there were this many people in latimore township.' chair of the board of supervisors after a long historical rumination: 'heaviest turnout ever.' they were there overwhelmingly for trump, i believe. no sign of any sort of poll monitors etc either way.
ps as foreshadowed i did in fact cast my write-in vote for the next president of the united states: maya lin! one vote does make a difference!
i'd like to congratulate the washington post on this piece by jenna johnson, who followed trump around all year for them. i do not believe that the nytimes would have been able to do a story like that without sneering continually. i have not felt this in previous cycles, but i think the times's news coverage became profoundly slanted this year, which really discredits the whole operation. the moral urgency of defeating trump swamped their professionalism, their rationality, and their decency. but it is hard to escape the universal attitudes of one's demographic.
the new york times made it impossible for themselves to tell the story of this election, because they dehumanized trump supporters, treated them as monsters or animals or cretins. because the times couldn't tell their story, it couldn't tell the story. for the times, the distinction between the urban bourgeoisie and people living in rural or small-town america looms as a distinction between species. however, i'm not sure which is actually sub-human. but at any rate, one effect of this was to richly confirm exactly what trump was saying about the media, and what people like his supporters have said about the 'elite media' for many years. they became what trump said they were in their opposition to him.
and not only did they confirm that, they confirmed that there is half a nation that they find incomprehensible, or who must be controlled and fixed somehow (maybe the nea can help), or just superseded and excluded. that is, they confirmed the whole picture of the united states as depicted by, say, sarah palin: there is an elite, characterized by a perfect-sat style of mechanical pseudo-intellection, and they want to control us and fix us. and they are no better than us, actually. they certainly more than confirmed that last bit too.
i do know that the times's opinion operation this year was disgusting. i'd single out charles blow and timothy egan as the worst offenders: mechanical, repetitive, thoughtless, and manipulative. what's most pathetic is that the whole thing appeared to be a continual effort to convince times readers not to vote for trump. but times readers obviously were never going to vote for trump. they were talking about trump and his supporters, but only to themselves. they appeared to be arguing with opponents, but in fact the whole discourse was mere group formation and self-congratulation: an attempt to reinforce group cohesion by having a common enemy (=half the nation). like limbaugh or whomever: exactly like that. unlike limbaugh, they did it without flair, like the whole cohort was saying the same sentences in unison, none of which they wrote themselves.
this divide, i predict, is going to grow ever-more extreme, in part precisely because of the constellation of attitudes the times represents and codifies. i think it is likely to eventuate in various forms of violence as well as in a continually useless political system, because the vilification flowing both ways has reached hysterical proportions. the folks out here don't see how someone like timothy egan can be part of the same culture or nation as themselves, nor does timothy egan want to be. nor is he, really. this election was the end of the beginning, not the end, of the crazed partisanship that just might end the united states of america. we will not be coming together. the average guy out here in rural pa is a pretty good guy, actually, but he does not regard himself as belonging to the same nation as people like egan any more than the other way round. and honestly, while i don't share that pretty good guy's politics (well, any more than i do egan's), i'm sticking wherever people like egan, or indeed all the professors of america as well as the bankers, aren't.
i am tempted to wish trump on them; it is less than they deserve.