Tuesday, September 20, 2016

“This Parrot is no More”: The 2016 Presidential Election Did Not Take Place

from The Peace and Justice Center
Rene Magritte, "The Treachery of Images"

The French sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote a book in 1991 entitled The Gulf War did not Take Place .

In the same way, the 2016 presidential election did not take place.

Baudrillard did not mean to say, of course, that no war was prosecuted by the US and its allies, positioned in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, against the Iraqi occupation army in Kuwait, eventuating in the expulsion of the Iraqi tank corps.

He did think that for Western audiences, the war was a staged television conflict, an imitation of reality or simulacrum–a phony copy of reality. The weeks of US bombing of Iraqi lines that kicked off the war beginning in mid-January left behind black carbon dust. Iraqi soldiers, many of them poor Shiite conscripts, might have wanted to surrender. But they weren’t allowed to raise a white flag to the F-16s pulverizing them from 30,000 feet. That isn’t a war, that is shooting fish in a barrel. When the land war did begin, it was clear that the war directors connived at having the handful of Egyptian troops drive into Kuwait City first, for the cameras, so that Kuwait was liberated by the Arab League, not by 600,000 Western troops.

In some ways Baudrillard’s point goes back to an insight of the early twentieth century Belgian painter, René Magritte, who adhered to the surrealist school. His 1928-29 painting, “The Treachery of Images”shows a pipe, but then underneath it Magritte wrote in French, “This is not a pipe.” Of course it is not a pipe. It is just an imaginary copy of a pipe. It now hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

If the Gulf War was a television spectacle, the 2016 election is much more of one, with the added phony copies of reality flying around on social media. Not only did the election not take place, Donald Trump did not run. He has virtually no campaign machine, few functioning district offices. He holds rallies, which are dutifully televised by the cable “news” networks– they actually just turn their airtime over to him on a regular basis (while not doing any such thing for Hillary Clinton). His campaign is his staged rallies, which then are piped out to millions gratis. Trump is given free airtime because he is a creature of television, a reality show star, famous for being famous (i.e. for no particular reason; lots of real estate magnates are not famous, e.g.) He is given air time because viewership rises when he is on tv, and networks can charge advertisers more if they have more viewers.

Trump, in other words, functions for cable news in the same way as the ghostly Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 did for CNN in particular. Apparently hundreds of thousands of Americans were riveted by 6 months of rank speculation as to whether the airliner had landed in Tibet’s Shangrila or been kidnapped by Vladimir Putin’s air force.
We are told that

“From 10pm-12am, [CNN’s] All Business: The Essential Donald Trump ranked #1 among adults 25-54 with 448k, beating the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC. Fox News averaged 193k. MSNBC trailed with 101k.

Let’s repeat that. A quick and dirty basic cable documentary on Trump outdrew both Fox and MSNBC live magazine news shows among the target demographic (the elderly, from a marketing point of view, do not actually exist). The non-Trump, the copy of Trump over at CNN, overshadowed Greta van Susteren and Lawrence O’Donnell’s news shows, which faded into unreality in comparison. Van Susteren demonstrated her own inability to grasp reality when she doubted that Fox poobah Roger Ailes had been a serial sex harasser; but then as reality sank in, she began to flicker and after a while, when she had accepted the non-televised non-Fox reality, she could no longer be found on the airwaves herself. Not only is there no election, but those who acknowledge the hard facts obscured by the 24 hour “news cycle” also come not to exist.

Did the press demand that Trump, the oldest person ever to have the prospect of taking office as president for a first term, reveal his physician’s health report?

Trump has an eccentric doctor write up a very brief one-pager, and then Trump shows it to Dr. Oz, Oprah’s physician, on afternoon television. Done. The health report is “public” because televised. No matter that it was a skeleton report, and raised questions about weight and cholesterol. There was no real health report of the sort the reporters had in mind, and which past candidates had released. There was only a phony copy of such a report in the form of a t.v. broadcast with a t.v. quack, half of whose statements about medicine and treatment appear to be ungrounded in reality.

As with a scripted reality show, Trump creates and keeps tension in his story line. His character is the grumpy anti-immigrant who shouts, “You furriners get off my lawn!” But if he does that consistently there is no tension. So in late August he asked the audience at a “town hall” (a phony t.v. town hall) whether he should “soften” his stance. He created a frenzy. Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter, bit players in the reality show, are stricken, in tears, angry and betrayed. Donald, you were our great white hope– how could you do this to us. Serious journalists were made to sit in televised roundtables (phony t.v. substitutes for actual reportage) and discuss ad nauseam whether Trump was “softening.” Or the serious journalists were switched out for campaign “surrogates” like Corey Lewandowski, hired by CNN to parrot Trump even though he was still on Trump’s payroll. Cable news journalism made its own journalism disappear. “This is not a journalist,” the ticker underneath should read.

Then the scripted reality character grumpy Trump comes out and gives a fiery speech denouncing immigrants, resolving the tension he had artificially created.

The one-week “softening crisis” never actually took place. There was no softening. Just as there is no election.


The unreality of the election is easily demonstrated. The controversies broadcast both on television and radio and on social media do not refer back to any verified, reasoned facts. More dramatic tension was introduced just yesterday when the Trump campaign (which doesn’t really exist) announced that Barack Obama was not actually born in Kenya. But the star, Trump, is sulking and won’t say that, won’t allow the concrete reality of the hospital in Hawaii in 1961 to seep into the televised rally, the holodeck of Trump’s spaceship.

The controversies are not about farm policy or who will be appointed to the Treasury, as in the actual elections of the past. They are over whether Hillary Clinton has a brain tumor, or whether her cough indicates she might expire any moment, like Monty Python’s parrot(which the pet shop owner insisted was alive, insofar as it was only a television simulacrum of a parrot, sort of like Magritte’s non-pipe).
The controversies are over whether Trump is a Manchurian candidate being run by Russian President Vladimir Putin or whether Hillary Clinton deliberately endangered national security with classified emails (not marked classified) that would inevitably fall into Putin’s hands.

The figure of Putin as the eminence grise of the non-election underscores its unreality, since Putin has nothing to do with the “election.” Aside from a few ineffectual sanctions over Crimea (increasingly resisted by the Europeans), the Washington power elite has acquiesced in eastern Ukraine as a Russian sphere of influence, and increasingly in Syria as a Russian sphere of influence. Trump and Clinton may talk a different game around these realities, but neither of them is likely to depart dramatically from Obama’s current course. Putin is irrelevant to domestic politics But in the un-election of 2016, he is elevated to a spectral presence standing behind everything from Trump’s hotel deals to Clinton’s fiendish email ploy.

Likewise with climate change, which Trump and most of the Republicans insist is a mirage, just as the pet store owner insists that the parrot is alive. Although Hillary Clinton says she believes in the reality of climate change, she has given no indication at all of wanting to move dramatically to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. When she gave conditions under which she would now not support fracking, she did not bring up its CO2 emissions! She seemed to want localities to make the decision (but many Red states are forbidding localities to make the decision). Hydraulic fracturing is the single biggest threat to climate change amelioration, but that doesn’t cause her simply to call for it to be banned. What is the difference between denying that human beings are altering the climate with their emissions and acknowledging it but doing nothing significant about it?

In short, friends, this is not a pipe. As for the parrot, it “is no more”, “has ceased to be”, is “bereft of life”, and “this is an ex-parrot.”

14 comments:

FreeThinke said...

The following is neither a pipe, nor a parrot, but a simple, concise, clearly-stated parable in homely verse that illustrates a timeless truth that cuts through all the quasi-erudite, pseudo-ingtellectual rhetoric with which leftists (mostly) tries to sugar coat unpalatable evidence proving that the world is not the eminently perfectible entity they want us to believe it is.


__________ Take Me In __________

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along the lake
A tender hearted woman
saw a poor, half-frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been
all frosted with the dew
"Oh dear!" she cried, "I'll take you in
and I'll take care of you"

"Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in, O tender woman, "
sighed the snake.

She wrapped him up all cozy
in a curvature of silk
Then laid him by the fireside
with some honey and some milk
She hurried home from work that night
as soon as she arrived
She found the snake she'd taken in
was happily revived

"Take me in, O tender woman,
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in, O tender woman, "
sighed the snake.

Now she clutched him to her bosom,
"You're so beautiful," she cried
"But if I hadn't brought you in by now
you surely would have died"

Now she stroked his pretty skin and then
she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks,
the snake gave her a vicious bite.

"Take me in, O tender woman.
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in, O tender woman, "
sighed the snake.

"I saved you," cried the woman
"And you've bitten me now, why?
You know your bite is poisonous
and now I'm going to die."

"Oh shut up, you silly woman,"
said the reptile with a grin.
"You knew damn well I was a snake
before you took me in.


~ Al Wilson

In case you missed it the point of this clever little fable is that Allowing Followers of Mohammed into OUR society is a Modern Day Equivalent of the tragedy engendered by the TROJAN HORSE of myth and legend.

I refuse to do the politicly-correct thing and try to differentiate between Good Moslems and Bad Moslems.

Why?

Because it's a physical impossibility to determine which is which –– and in case you've never noticed the "Good Ones" never seem to want to rat out the "Bad Ones," –– I would insist we must place ALL Moslems under Surveillance, and prepare ourselves to become ruthless in DETAINING, then DEPORTING all who exhibit behavior WE deem the slightest but suspicious.

In others words ALL Moslems must be put on PROBATION.

I, personally don't care whether they are "citizens" not. I would favor a policy that STRIPS ALL SUBVERSIVE ELEMENTS of their CITIZENSHIP, and places them under indefinite House Arrest at the very least.

Fly Over American said...

So why does it seem so surreal that the relocation of Islamic refugee's can be such a taboo subject this election cycle? Shouldn't it be debated publically?

Fly Over American said...

Does it jeopardize Microsoft's H-1B Visa Program?

Fly Over American said...

:p

FreeThinke said...

My impression of Bill Gates has always been that he was more of bullying manipulator than anything resembling a true creative genius. I've felt a visceral aversion to the man once I first became aware of him. He has aways seemed far more interesting in accruing power over others than in aiding the Bightest and Best innovators to reap a proper share of profit from their creativity and skills at entrepreneurship.

There is something inherently repugnant about multi-billionaires who benefit enormously from our still-relatively-free enterprise system, and then devote themselves to boosting the American Socialist Party (improperly labelled the Democratic Party).

I am no businessman, but I see that as a desire on the part of men like Gates to make every attempt to close off opportunities for others to emulate the kind of success he has enjoyed. And yes, you critics out there,I am well aware that Gates has made multimillionaires of many who have worked with him, but isn't that because they have functioned as "Satellites," and isn't that the best to be sure they REMAIN "satellites?"

Ultimately, it isn't about money, it's about POWER –– the power to push others around and bend them to your will, isn't it? That has always been the aim of the internationalists, hasn't it? [You may call them globalists, if you like, but I still prefer the original term, which I believe to be more specific in describing their nature. I doubt men of this sort are the least but interested in the planet as such. They strike me as far more concerned about finding ever greater ways to exploit and subjugate PEOPLE.

FreeThinke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FreeThinke said...

Of course the pressing issue of welcoming undesirables sure to aggravate and exacerbate our social and economic problems into our midst –– namely Muslims –– should be honestly and vigorously debated publicly. The trouble there would be that ALL we will EVER get from the Left [maybe it would better be called the Freedom Opposition Elements? ;-] is a superfluity of canned, doctrinaire, pseudo-ideealistic talking points dreamt up by academics, leftist think tanks, and the greedy, short-sighted opportunists who make up the de facto Oligarchy that in truth OWNS and OPERATES the lion's share of the world economy, and hopes one day to own it ALL.

It seems obvious to me that by deliberately destabilizing and deracinating established societies thus rendering them less productive, more dependent and eventually impotent would be of enormous potential benefit to the Power Whores and Would-be Tyrants who make up the Internationalist Elite.

FreeThinke said...

_____ Columbus Day, 2015 _____

Brave Columbus sailed three ships

_____ into The Great Unknown

__________ to test an untried theory

_______________ hoping to find a shorter route to India.


Instead, he discovered a far greater Treasure

_____ though he may never have known it.



He and his men suffered unimaginable hardship

_____ meeting challenges unlike any since Marco Polo

__________ made his overland trek to find Cathay.



Miraculously he returned to his patron, Queen Isabella.

___ Feted at first, he nevertheless, ended up 

__________ humiliated, disgraced and imprisoned.



Today, he is again reviled, defamed

_____ and made the victim of base ingratitude

__________ by Political Correctness ––

_______________ Brutal Tyranny's Latest Incarnation.



Brave men of honor and distinction

_____ subject at first to wooing

__________ seem forever destined just to win

_______________ no loving –– only screwing!



~ Santa Maria Ninapinta 
(translated from the original Spanish by FT )

Fly Over American said...

:p

FreeThinke said...

Were all the bloody sacrifices at Fort McHenry really worth it when you consider where we are today?


THE STATUTES of POVERTY


Give me your sick, your poor, 
unskilled, befuddled masses
yearning to get freebies.
Deposit wretched refuse 
on our teeming shores.
Ramp up the crying greed
to strip us of our gold
as you pass through 
our Open Door.


~ FreeThinke

__________ SEQUEL __________

The Statue of Liberty's creases

Have cracked, and she's now all in pieces,

'Cause her innate hypocrisy

Rejects aristocracy

So the nation got flooded with feces!


~ Anne Animus


PS: I've never heard an EPICENE version of The Star Spangled Banner sung by a CASTRATO before. It was novel, but hardly inspiring, and not at all worthy of the commentary preceding it.

Speedy G said...

Blech!

FreeThinke said...

You KNOW I'm right –– I hope! }:^)>

Fly Over American said...

I DO know the difference between good writing, and Grub Street writing.

-FJ said...

Case in point, Pierre Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro. It grossed 100,000 francs in its' 1st showing. ;)