Saturday, March 18, 2017

When We Lose Our Memories

Henry Giroux writes that, if we are looking for a way to explain the rise of Donald Trump, we should look to our memories -- which Giroux believes we have lost:

Trump is the fascist shadow that has been lurking in the dark since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Authoritarianism has now become viral in America, pursuing new avenues to spread its toxic ideology of bigotry, cruelty, and greed into every facet of society. Its legions of “alt-right” racists, misogynists, and xenophobic hate-mongers now expose themselves publicly, without apology, knowing full well that they no longer have to use code for their hatred of all those who do not fit into their white-supremacist and ultra-nationalist script.

Trump’s victory makes clear that the economic crisis and the misery it has spurred has not been matched by an ideological crisis– a crisis of ideas, education, and values. Critical analysis and historical memory have given way to a culture of spectacles, sensationalism, and immediacy. Dangerous memories are now buried in a mass bombardment of advertisements, state sanctioned lies, and a political theater of endless spectacles. The mainstream media is now largely an adjunct of the entertainment industries and big corporations. Within the last 40 years training has taken the place of critical education, and the call for job skills has largely replaced critical thinking. Without an informed public, there is no resistance in the name of democracy and justice; nor is there a model of individual and collective agency rising to such an occasion.

There was a time when the memory of Fascism in Europe was still fresh. But it's been seventy years since the end of the Second World War. We are three generations away from that event. And those who lived through it are dying off. Giroux writes that a memory is a terrible thing to waste, because once it is gone, what is left in its wake is ignorance. And those who assume power compound the problem by manufacturing ignorance:

Manufactured ignorance erases histories of repression, exploitation, and revolts. What is left is a space of fabricated absences that makes it easy, if not convenient, to forget that Trump is not some eccentric clown offered up to the American polity through the deadening influence of celebrity and consumer culture. State and corporate sponsored ignorance produced primarily through the disimagination machines of the mainstream media and public relations industries in diverse forms now function chiefly to erase selected elements of history, disdain critical thought, reduce dissent to a species of fake news, and undermine the social imagination. How else to explain the recent Arkansas legislator who is pushing legislation to ban the works of the late historian Howard Zinn? How else to explain a culture awash in game shows and Realty TV programs? How else to explain the aggressive attack by extremists in both political parties on public and higher education? Whitewashing history is an urgent matter, especially for the Trump administration, which has brought a number of white supremacists to the center of power in the United States. 

It is abundantly apparent that Donald Trump is a profoundly ignorant man. And those who elected him are equally ignorant of the world in which they live.


the salamander said...

.. 'losing our memories' - brilliant article.. could have been titled National Dementia ..
.. dementia is nothing to joke about of course
no more than diabetes, mood disorders, cancer, poverty, trauma ..

the salamanders have no standing aside from residing in North America
specifically Canada .. and our backyards & front doors & privacy & jobs
are where our hearts beats fastest..

But Fukushima, Trump, Global Warming, Harper Rump, North Korea,
Trudeau, Chernobyl, The Great Barrier Reef, Fracking, Tar Sands, Racism etc
are also looming large on our radar screen.. the same screen Stephen Harper denied

Political Parties have become controlling cesspools.. parasitic breeding grounds
Oh the odd well intended citizen may surface.. or be choked off
but it may be best to look upon political parties
as low brow partisan organized crime.. black mould, ptomain poison fests

Trying to find shreds of intelligence, independance, wisdom or common sense
in the increasing noise level of snouty sellouts is almost impossible

Its very important to look upon Liberals & Conservatives.. NDP .. Green
for neo-liberal tendency.. faux policy stance, lip service to Democracy.. or truth
or even worse wrapping themselves in the flag or First Nation icons
(Christy Clark wardrobe, J Trudeau tattoo.. Harper Senate appointee Brazeau)

The populace and media (Indy & Mainstream)
must demand better.. insist.. enforce .. shout, march.. howl..

The heartbeat and soul of Canada is the First Nations
the skeleton and musculature of Canada are all the immigrant generations
The skin is our Environment & Species..
The skin is one of the most critical organs..
our 1st line of defense against pathogens, infection, parasites...

When political parasites attack our skin... ?

Owen Gray said...

Not only have we lost our memories, salamander. We have lost our understanding of shared responsibility. The only person who counts now is ME.

Anonymous said...

More melodrama and conspiracy theories from the fake-left fake-news. From the perspective of many, you people are just making fools of yourselves working yourselves up into such a frenzy – with a lot of help from your friends in the corporate media.

Why does the establishment hate Trump? Because he's a racist? One would have to be completely ignorant of history to draw this conclusion. They recently created a militant police force of racist thugs to prey on inner-cities. (Which they might consider 'training exercises.') Hillary Clinton was de facto spokesperson for the private prison industry calling for a police crackdown on these "super predators." (Imagine how hysterical the rhetoric-driven fake left would act if Trump said something like that?)

They hate Trump primarily because he stands in the way of their globalization outsourcing looting schemes.

Now why is Trump actually in this? He's been saying for years that the American economy is a train wreck. Economic theologians have been saying the same thing. Except they call it 'secular stagnation'. Trump sees America as another 'Wollman Rink.' A problem that can be fixed with some business ingenuity and the 'Art of the Deal.'

Since Trump is a businessman, it's in his interest to know economics. (He knew enough to Big Short the housing bubble.) It's painfully obvious to many who have some knowledge of economics that free-trade globalization is a gaping wound in the American economy. It is hemorrhaging jobs and wealth in massive structural trade deficits, driving up debt (public and private,) driving down real incomes, killing demand, bankrupting government and fueling rampant inequality growth (which leads to corruption of democratic institutions from money influence in a vicious cycle.)

Trump is smart enough to know that you have to plug the gaping wound in the body economic before you can have any hope of nursing it back to health. The lampreys, on the other hand, who caused this and other gaping wounds with all their obvious leeching schemes, believe there is an infinite amount of flesh that can be torn out of the body.

So I'll take Trump over the lampreys as an obvious lesser evil. (Of course, I'm waiting on the real thing: a New Deal revival.)

BTW, Americans don't want a ban on Muslims from dangerous countries because they are racists or fascists. It's because it only takes a few jihadists to sneak in and wreak a lot of havoc. Why should they stick their necks out for that?

They are not racist for wanting to eliminate immigration anarchy along the Mexican border, either. (Canadians are such hypocrites given how they handled the MV Sun Sea incident: charging the crew with human smuggling to prevent other ships from arriving with more refugees.) Rhetoric does not equal truth. Displays of virtue do not equal virtue.


Owen Gray said...

You've drunk the Kool Aide, MAGA.

Dana said...

Owen, why do you post this idiot's rantings? Would you invite him into your home and then allow him to sit in your living room and go on like this?

the salamander said...

.. maga astonishes ..

That's not just the Koolaid..
its sniffing battery acid
chipping anti freeze ..
& all chased with bathroom sink LSD ..
Bizzaro interpretation of reality..

Owen Gray said...

MAGA is Anonymous but he does meet the requirement I set for comments, Dana. I don't expect commenters to agree with me. But I do agree with you that he's getting tiresome.

Owen Gray said...

MAGA is very much a Trump supporter, salamander, and he underscores why Trump is so dangerous.

Dana said...

He soils your otherwise excellent blog in my opinion.

Owen Gray said...

He's certainly long winded, Dana.

Anonymous said...

The koolaid drinker is the one with the fanciful cultural interpretation of reality. E.g.:

Person A: we really should have proper border security so millions of illegals are not crossing our porous border.


I would say that Person B is in a koolaid-drinking cult (whose members are conditioned by an obviously suspect source of journalism owned by corporations not shy about propagating upper-class-interest memes and messaging.)

Also cult members have a fierce and hateful paranoia of anyone outside of the cult. To a Christian fundamentalist, an agnostic is a Satan worshiper. E.g.:

Person A: "So I'll take Trump over the lampreys as an obvious lesser evil. (Of course, I'm waiting on the real thing: a New Deal revival.)"

Person B: "Person A is very much a Trump supporter."

Cult members tend to be dittoheads who regurgitate cult establishment talking points. If someone presents them with a rational argument, they have no recourse but to resort to arbitrary ad hominem crap throwing.


Owen Gray said...

Do you deny that you are very much a Trump supporter, MAGA?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Trump supporter at all. I support a return to post-war centrist Keynesian Big Government which was killed by neocons and neoliberals (i.e., fake conservatives and fake liberals.)

Trump's idea that businessmen can save the world is pretty far from a New Deal mixed-market government and economy founded on striking a balance between business and workers.

I, do, however, support a democratically-elected president's right to govern. And I will give credit where credit is due.

Trump deserves credit for killing free-trade outsourcing looting and the Cold War revival with Russia the MIC was hot for.

I will also give credit to all other presidents after LBJ (the last New Deal president) where it is due:

Bush Sr. raised taxes after promising not to because circumstances warranted it; he practically begged Saddam to get out of Kuwait before proceeding with the Gulf War.

The rest: a big fat nothing.

So who do you think is the most progressive president of the neocon/neoliberal era? Bush Sr. or Donald J. Trump? (One could say Bush Sr. was the only adult president. The rest were buffoons and bribe-taking grifters.)


Owen Gray said...

Cluttered thinking, MAGA.