But this year it finally dawned on me what this bit of absurdist theatre most closely resembles — the average person's Facebook feed. Every third sentence uttered elicits a dog-whistle Standing O, hate-clapping, dramatic miens of perplexity, etc. One can only speculate as to what any of this achieves, but one fact is abundantly clear — as with your Facebook feed, the SOTU situates a near ideal triangulation of desire. More about this later, but first some links.
- Over at Medium, Umair Haque delivers his own SOTU: Why We're Underestimating American Collapse. Says Haque, "America has always been a pioneer — only today, it is host not just to problems rarely seen in healthy societies — it is pioneering novel social pathologies never seen in the modern world outside present-day America, period." He lists five, and makes a largely compelling case.
- "The bombardment of pseudo-realities begins to produce inauthentic humans very quickly." Did Philip K. Dick say everything? Or did Ivan Illich beat him to it? (Belated, but necessary: I am saddened to hear blogger John Winslow Verity has passed away. He steered me in helpful directions when I first encountered Illich.)
- "Those familiar with poststructuralist social theory will understand the shiver of alarm I felt on reading recent interviews in which the billionaire Facebook investor Peter Thiel celebrates the work of the philosopher Rene Girard." This is where the triangulation of desire comes in — Thiel evidently payed VERY close attention to Girard, and ran Girard's concepts in a direction that would have, I suspect, delighted and horrified the theorist in equal measure. Guy Zimmerman unpacks the unsettling significance of it all, here.
|"We're all Neo-Pagans now, Henry."|