The Clare Spark Blog

December 21, 2015

“Debates” as pseudo-events with pseudo-moderators

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:42 pm
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gladiatorsI find the recent debates in both parties infuriating. Why are they called debates, when they are nothing but pseudo-events and have nothing to do with the traditional meaning of a debate, which is a disciplined, precise, and detailed back and forth on a narrowly focused policy topic?

In US history, the debates between opposing individuals running for office, or, earlier, ratification of the Constitution, were (at times) occasions for public education, as were religious sermons in colonial New England. But in the age of the Great Dumbing Down, these much commented-upon current circuses/boxing matches offer nothing new to cogitate upon, or even to refine the details of a proposed social policy.

Nor are these “debates” even competently moderated. The candidates interrupt each other and take charge of the discourse, the bloodier the better. One might compare our political debates with gladiatorial combat, often egged on by “moderators” with an agenda more directed to obfuscation, the drawing of blood, and slogans than to public enlightenment. Is anyone paying attention to the time limits, supposedly agreed upon by the participants? To me, as observer, this creates anxiety, as the press (including cable  news) elevate these performances as some kind of revelation of character, and as examples of rational discourse in the interest of public appreciation of the fine points of public policy. Who are the performers—candidates and moderators are all acting.

No wonder many Americans are disgusted by political and media establishments, and are mobbishly attracted to populist demagogues. Those social theorists who have deplored the rise of the “spectacle” are correct. (https://clarespark.com/2012/09/10/index-to-blogs-on-populist-demagoguery/)

Thumbs down on our contemporary political combat.

bread-and-circuses

 

 

 

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November 8, 2012

The Magical power of “Negroes” and other Beautiful People

Viola Davis as magical

One Facebook friend reports polls concluding that Romney voters focused on the economy, while Obama voters responded to his “caring” persona. This is valuable intel, for it reminds us of the Magical Negro archetype described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro. As Wiki tells it, this archetype is a throwback to the “noble savage” who emerges in the European age of expansion.

(This one of those “back to basics” blogs, basic tactics for political support that are cross-cultural and universal in their efficacy.)

But more, we should reflect upon the power of the Beautiful People, and the mass appeal they exercise. Why? Is it simply that “beauty” is a supremely rare quality that mesmerizes us in all times and places? Or is it something more primal, which returns us back to the emotions of early childhood and our dependency on mothers and fathers for care and protection?  After all, Mitt Romney projected a “caring” persona, as Anne Romney emphasized in her RNC account of their marriage, noting her husband’s constant attentions to needy neighbors and even strangers. But all the demonstrated compassion in the world is not enough to compensate for the image constructed by Democrats that Romney was the (uncaring) tool of Wall Street and the Big Money.

In prior blogs, I have written much about populism and its embedded antisemitism, how many ideologues continue to blame Hollywood “Jews” for corrupting the masses and either converting them to the Democratic Party and to the Left in general, or conversely, fastening the “mass” psyche to the material goodies promised by capitalist economies. Both claims are nonsensical, for such “Jewish” titans as Laemmle, Mayer, Goldwyn, or the Warner brothers adapted themselves to immigrant tastes and prejudices. The history of the Hollywood film is replete with bloodsucking bankers and other capitalist villains, valiantly opposed by the muscular Common Man. (For the femme fatale as a repudiation of the idea of progress, see https://clarespark.com/2011/04/27/james-m-cains-gorgon-gals-2/, retitled “Film Noir, decoded.”)

All tyrants use visual images (including architecture) to consolidate support and to divert mass rage away from themselves; pictures are deployed to evoke parental imagos.  The tyrant’s friends are beautiful—as lovely as the nursing Mother to her clamorous infant, or as her glittering earrings are to her toddler who pulls on them, while enemies are as repulsive as the angry father wielding a cane or whip (think of the omnipresent Big Brother) or old crones—women who no longer expect to please men, and who have nothing to lose by stirring the pot.

Female Chartist

And so, fed by a diet of idealized/demonized images, we continue the process that psychoanalysts describe as “splitting.” Our love objects, whether politician or other celebrity, can switch with alarming frequency from ministering angel to terrifying demon. Don’t look to popular culture for “integration, “ i.e., a less distorted view of The Loved/Hated One.

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