We Interrupt this Blogcast

We interrupt this blogcast to bring you the following public service link to Patrick Blanchfield in the Baffler on the New Praetorianism.

“But the New Praetorianism runs even deeper, and is baked into bipartisan dogma of American exceptionalism. It manifests in David Brooks’s arguing for America as the fulfillment of human destiny and freedom like a half-pint Hegel praising Hohenzollern Prussia as God’s gift to man. But it is also revealed in ugly statements that, formally speaking, leave ostensibly #woke liberals looking indistinguishable from unreconstructed reactionary racists. Gasbag-at-large Keith Olbermann rails that “the military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum who are beholden to scum, Russian scum,” “anti-racist educator” Tim Wise pronounces that “when your contribution to the world is Faberge eggs, autocracy and pogroms, no one should much care what you think,” and MSNBC’s Joy Reid invokes the threat of “Comrade Vladimir” and marvels that “for most Americans it’s shocking to see an American presidential candidate openly touting authoritarian, communist Russia” a word-salad, history-free composite of scary ideologies as coherent as any Tea Partier’s jeremiad against “Islamo-Fascism.” If such idiocy is meant to steer us away from Trump’s supposed threat to international peace, we might as well just throw a switch and go to DEFCON 1 already. After all, CNN breathlessly reports, there is a Russian ship “lurking” off the coast of Connecticut right now.

Here’s the hard truth: There is a fundamental synergy between Democratic chauvinist exceptionalism, GOP clash-of-civilizations dogma, and Trump’s grotesque strongman antics. The Democrats may prefer a reboot of Cold War apocalypticism; Trump, for his part, looks eager to tear up global treaties, toss international law aside, and throw American weight around in building a new twenty-first century order of Great Powers. Maybe he will get his way, maybe he won’t. Maybe one of the parties will produce a more telegenic, more reasonable, and more “moderate” leader down the line. Any of these scenarios, though, skirts ever closer to disaster, and all take as unspoken that the essential business of the American state is a fundamental orientation toward war.

This is something other than some enigmatic ancient prophecy. It is an all-too-modern self-fulfilling one. We have already crossed the river with Croesus, and though we may refuse to admit it, our empire is already lost. The question is only whether or how we will burn.”

That’s a summary I’m in whole-hearted agreement with. If the people on both sides, Republican and Democrat, don’t pull back from the political correctness simplifications of complex problems on one side and simplistic authoritarian fascism on the other we’ll go right over the cliff, perhaps taking the entire world down with us.

It’s no joke. It’s no laughing matter. This isn’t late-night comedy and it isn’t reality TV. This and the final destruction of the planet’s resources in a gluttony of corporate avarice in the service of consumer avarice in all countries face us with near certain extinction without a sharp change of course.

That’s the way it is. The entire Neoliberal structure has to come down and we need to enter a new era with an entirely new set of values. Survival of the planet as opposed to survivial of the fittest. Because the fittest in the Neoliberal model are total sociopaths along with the corporations they run.

My prediction is that those who believe in a Deus ex machina that saves us (as we are brought to our senses by the Second Coming or ET and his enlightened alien buddies) are in for a big surprise and the joke is going to be on all of us if, on the single individual level we don’t take some kind of action, any kind at action in whatever way possible, that is in every way counter to all this anger and rage and power lust driving us all to destruction.

As I see it from my lone outpost here we’re either all going to hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately, to quote the words of Ben Franklin.


About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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3 Responses to We Interrupt this Blogcast

  1. rhastings2004gmailcom says:

    Thank you for the site. I see eye to eye with you politically. Artistically, I’ve learned things from you. The parallels between S Clay Wilson and Durer are great, and when Crumb did Genesis, I was roundly criticized on Amazon for comparing him to Blake. Frank Zappa and Edgar Varese, Estonia, Juri Arrak, Avro Part – cool. Have you seen the e-Estonian citizenship ideas (New Scientist)? It may be possible to decouple citizenship from geography – like Bitcoin decouples money from government.

    Here the most important thing: I’m in chronic pain. Your site educates and entertains me, and I have enough common ground that it’s not all new, but sure don’t know a lot of what you write on. It’s cool discovery, like the early internet. So, if you ever have a dark moment, and wonder why you’re doing this, or if you’ve done something good for someone,
    I am here to tell you that you make my life better and transport me for a bit.
    Please keep doing what you’re doing!

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Hi R. Please tell me a bit more about your chronic pain, if you would like to share. I’ve been dealing with that on and off for many years and I might be able to share some information about it that would be of help. On the other hand your condition might be beyond anything I could have advice on. But I hope you’ll chat as I’d sincerely like to help.

    For me the personal matters between each of us as human beings completely transcend all these artistic and political issues that are impossible to solve. But I do think that some headway can be made in being supportive and helpful toward each other as artists and others, regardless of whatever our difference are on the less important things.

    My opinions on almost everything are deeply idiosyncratic and I don’t consider myself an expert on art or anything else. I have a deep, deep background of both practice and research. But art is too big a mystery to ever be fathomed to the point that I would consider myself an authority.

    I do like Crumb and Wilson’s work, but I don’t put it on the same level with Durer and Blake. However you should not have been criticized because it’s quite obvious they bear comparison as we see with Crumb Biblical subject matter. Durer and Wilson both work graphically in black and white and so to compare them would be perfectly appropriate. The differences are also great and for me, the most significant is that Durer and Blake are deeply spiritual and visionary. While Crumb and Wilson are both visionary but have no spiritual framework for their visions. And for me, I think their visionary powers pale before the older artists as most (if not all) of ours do although some are much closer to the earlier centuries than others.

    As for criticism, I try to brush that off as ignorant people trying to bully others around because they are too afraid of having to contemplate any opinion that differs from their own. It’s insecurity and lack of faith in what they believe themselves. That’s why so many people look for approval and most also go along with whatever the crowd thinks. The crowd is almost always wrong. We can see that all through this century quite easily without having to go back in time to see it.

    I do feel that practicing with the simplest tools, like pen and ink, oil paint or watercolor in simple ways is what bring us all closer to the deeper visions. There’s a good video of Zappa talking about the old guys who were his inspiration… not rock, not blues, … but deeper and it’s the old guys. it’s a video on his deathbed. I’ll see if I can locate it. Truly and deeply moving.

    Anyway, so good to hear from you, R. And I hope we can see how to approach this chronic pain, which believe me I know from experience is really disabling. Thanks so much for the kind message, my friend.

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