Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The différance of Reality in Trump World, My World, the USA and the Political Reality of Trump's Future Presidency in the Actual World
I have gotten about halfway through “Mr. Popular,” an article in this past Sunday New York Times Magazine, and have had to stop reading, as I am too disturbed to continue. The Article is about Andy Cohen creator of Real Housewives and Watch What Happens reality shows empire, and the sub text in the article, the relationship reality TV has to our current reality show election, president elect, Donald Trump and the presidency to come. I must ask why I’m so disturbed in order to understand my own participation in “The Donald Runs for President Show,” and the “Trump President Elect Show” as they have been performed on the stage of world politics. The most difficult part of all this – I must try to understand how I will perform in The “Trumpty Dumpty Presidency Reality Show,” about to begin.
The most telling moment in “Mr. Popular” happens at the beginning when a stagehand on Cohen’s set for season seven of the Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion show says when asked if a fireplace on the TV set is a working fireplace, “It’s not, not a fireplace,” That statement indicates the “actuality” of reality TV, because just like the entire set, the fireplace isn’t a fake fireplace. It is a fake, fake fireplace and It just looks like a fake or a real fireplace. So, the set for the production is removed two steps, that is differed from reality as is the nasty rhetoric of the mean spirited argumentative women orchestrated by Cohen.*2 Later, in a conversation between the article’s author and one of the women in the show we are told that she actually feels “like [she is] walking to the electric chair” though she is participating in a television show performance, and knows that it is a performance directed by Cohen whom she also sees as being like “Jesus,” in that she can ask for things to be a certain way, but he may or may not grant that request.
Unfortunately, in the actual world of US politics all this orchestrated mean spiritedness does affect the position of our culture, society and country in the real world. I find myself reacting to the bizarre concatenation of events surrounding Trumps run for president - his performance as president elect, vituperous tweets, choice of associates, and now cabinet - in unsettling ways. I am angry and have been performing that anger in mean spirited ways on Facebook and in this Blog, Trumpageddon 101. In fact, the name I’ve coined, “Trumpty Dumpty” is directly related to Donald Trump’s use of diminutive terms to denigrate political opponents, though I would hardly place myself on the same playing field as, Donald Trump in that regard. However, I, Donald Trump, and we as a nation are performing a complicated and mean spirited game with world players for whom this is no political game. We have effectively removed (differed) ourselves from actuality, playing our parts on an actual world stage with actual consequences in world politics, We are all playing with fire.
Brodesser-Akner, Taffy, “Mr. Popular,” New York Times Magazine, Sunday, January 15, 2017 (35-39).
*1 Fleck, Ludwig. The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1981. I am using the word, “actuality” in the way it was used by Ludwig, Fleck in The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. In that text, Fleck uses “actuality” to denote the world in which facts matter, as opposed to the reality of diurnal performance on the stage of scientific discourse.
*2 Derrida, Jacques, Writing and Difference, University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition, February 15, 1978. I am using (differed) here in the sense of différance as used by Derrida, as distance in understanding and placement of reality.
Krasner, David, Saltz, David Z., Editors, Staging Philosophy: Intersections of Theater, Performance and Philosophy, University of Michigan Press (2010),