Trump's fatal mistake was saying that he wanted to get along with Russia, that Putin was a good leader, and that he wanted to end the war against Syria and pull the U.S. back from foreign wars. This was verboten. And when he said nuclear war was absurd and would only result in nuclear conflagration, he had crossed the Rubicon. That sealed his fate. Misogyny, racism, support for Republican conservative positions on a host of issues - all fine. Opposing foreign wars, especially with Russia - not fine.
Now we have a reality-TV president and a reality-TV coup d'etat in prime time. Hidden in plain sight, the deep-state has gone shallow. What was once covert is now overt. Once it was necessary to blame a coup on a secretive "crazy lone assassin," Lee Harvey Oswald. But in this "post-modern" society of the spectacle, the manifest is latent; the obvious, non-obvious; what you see you don't see. Everyone knows those reality-TV shows aren't real, right? It may seem like it is a coup against Trump in plain sight, but these shows are tricky, aren't they? He's the TV guy. He runs the show. He's the sorcerer's apprentice. He wants you to believe in the illusion of the obvious. He's the master media manipulator. You see it but don't believe it because you are so astute, while he is so blatant. He's brought it upon himself. He's bringing himself down. Everyone who knows, knows that.
I am reminded of being in a movie theatre in 1998, watching The Truman Show, about a guy who slowly "discovers" that he has been living in the bubble of a television show his whole life. At the end of the film he makes his "escape" through a door in the constructed dome that is the studio set. The liberal audience in a very liberal town stood up and applauded Truman's dash to freedom. I was startled since I had never before heard an audience applaud in a movie theatre - and a standing ovation at that. I wondered what they were applauding. I quickly realized they were applauding themselves, their knowingness, their insider astuteness that Truman had finally caught on to what they already thought they knew. Now he would be free like they were. They couldn't be taken in; now he couldn't. Except, of course, they were applauding an illusion, a film about being trapped in a reality-TV world, a world in which they stood in that theatre - their world, their frame. Frames within frames. Truman escapes from one fake frame into another - the movie. The joke was on them. The film had done its magic as its obvious content concealed its deeper truth: the spectator and the spectacle were wed. McLuhan was here right: the medium was the message.
This is what George Trow in 1980 called "the context of no context". Candor as concealment, truth as lies, knowingness as stupidity. Making reality unreal in the service of an agenda that is so obvious it isn't, even as the cognoscenti applaud themselves for being so smart and in the know.
The more we hear about "the deep state" and begin to grasp its definition, the more we will have descended down the rabbit hole. Soon this "deep state" will be offering courses on what it is, how it operates, and why it must stay hidden while it "exposes" itself.
Right-wing pundit Bill Krystal tweets: "Obviously [I] prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, [I] prefer the deep state to Trump state."
Liberal CIA critic and JFK-assassination researcher, Jefferson Morley, after defining the deep state, writes, "With a docile Republican majority in Congress and a demoralized Democratic Party in opposition, the leaders of the Deep State are the most - perhaps the only - credible check in Washington on what Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls Trump's "wrecking ball presidency."
These are men who ostensibly share different ideologies, yet agree, and state it publicly, that the "deep state" should take out Trump. Both believe, without evidence, that the Russians intervened to try to get Trump elected. Therefore, both no doubt feel justified in openly espousing a coup d'etat. They match Trump's blatancy with their own. Nothing deep about this.
Liberals and conservatives are now publicly allied in demonizing Putin and Russia, and supporting a very dangerous military confrontation initiated by Obama and championed by the defeated Hillary Clinton. In the past these opposed political factions accepted that they would rotate their titular leaders into and out of the White House, and whenever the need arose to depose one or the other, that business would be left to deep-state forces to effect in secret and everyone would play dumb.
Now the game has changed. It's all "obvious." The deep state has seemingly gone shallow. Its supporters say so. All the smart people can see what's happening. Even when what's happening isn't really happening.
"Only the shallow know themselves," said Oscar Wilde.
(Article changed on October 9, 2019 at 09:53)