Narcissistic, still?!?

Never a wrong time to take a selfie.

In the 21st century today, narcissism appears to be much less about the correlation between our self-importance and our own personal relationships than it is with the number of followers on Twitter or Facebook friends. Indeed, social networking is, at worst, a platform to cultivate one’s narcissism and indulge where it hasn’t metastasized. Continue reading Narcissistic, still?!?

Plato on Trump

According to Plato, political regimes evolved consistently, from oligarchy to democracy to tyranny. When the elites become self-indulgent, lazy or promiscuous, and develop interests apart from the masses, they fall, oligarchies give way to democracies. And in turn, when mob passion overpowers political wisdom and a populist despot seizes the moment, democracies yield to tyranny. However, the despot is not quite a tyrant just yet. In a democracy, the would-be tyrant always offers himself as the champion of the masses. He simplifies everything, and make everything whole again.

In Donald Trump, this evolution is pretty straightforward: a vulgar right-wing populism coalesces in the midst of an anti-establishment hysteria and a strongman fascist declares that he will stick it to the elites and make the country great again, and presents a familiar scapegoat, an alien Other the masses can redirect their poisonous resentment. For a fragmented and bitter populace, this is rhetorical palliative, and just like Plato predicted, the very sort of thing that pushes a country over the edge. Continue reading Plato on Trump

Tracing Cynical Reason in 20th Century America

In this blog I trace cynical reason of 20th century American history as a phenomenon in two aspects: in the sphere of economics and in the sphere of cultural arts. Instead of complaining about the so-called poverty of contemporary politics or whining about the decline of contemporary morality, I insist on cynical reason as a dominant sentiment of the post-Fordist capitalist existence. In this respect, cynical reason extends further than the emotional or psychological response to the contemporary existence, and closer to a sociological analysis. Continue reading Tracing Cynical Reason in 20th Century America

Pseudo-modernism

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Is postmodernism really dead, finally, after a thousand articles and books arrogantly, yet prematurely announced its death? Or perhaps tomorrow belongs to it because postmodernism is born post-humously? Kirby made a strong case in his article, Death of Postmodernism and Beyond (2006), in which he claims that the Internet is essentially proof that the zeitgeist has lurched from the text back to the reader — now an active participant in the creation of text. Continue reading Pseudo-modernism

Old Empire/Post-Empire: labelling the cultural zeitgeist

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Bret Easton Ellis has been running with this distinction over the past year on twitter, and this week, he finally found his avatar to channel this latest label of the zeitgeist. Continue reading Old Empire/Post-Empire: labelling the cultural zeitgeist