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[Xmca-l] Re: fact and fake

Just on record, David, a rejection of your parenthetical: "(People who actually live here should correct me if I am wrong.)"
You are wrong but correcting you is far down on the list of "should" actions, so far down that simply saying it is sufficient.
-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 9:31 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: fact and fake

Andy and Alfredo:

I'm in the USA right now, my first visit in three years. I don't want to understate the depth of the ideological changes: there has clearly been a remarkable coarsening and vulgarization of the national discussion, and there is undoubtedly a normalization of racism well underway. But when we speak of the new regime as a significant source of material, real suffering for working people, I can't think of any assault on the livelihood of workers that wasn't first pioneered by the "pragmatic progressives" of the previous administration. In other words, at least so far, the changes seem more at the level of faith, and the facts point to continuity. (People who actually live here should correct me if I am wrong.)

Take for example the two issues Andy raises. First of all, "Last Night in Sweden" appears to simply be another instance of the president's watching late night television and confusing a report on crime in Sweden with an actual terror attack occurring in real time. When you look at the transcript of what he says, it is quite possible that the confusion is not in his mind but only in his language: he actually MEANT to say "if you look at the what WAS happening in the report I watched last night in Sweden" and the syntax was too much for him. This is the kind of poor language that happens all the time in everyday discourse, including that of the head of state; it's just that thanks to a combination of poor impulse control and new technology, we now get all this confused and confusing language in an unedited form. This is a semiotic change indeed, but it's not a material one in the sense that nobody has yet died over it, either in Sweden or in the USA.

Secondly, Obamacare seem to be as far as ever from being repealed; there is a basic contradiction between the ideological commitment of the government to ensuring the speedy death of those who cannot afford treatment and stability in the insurance markets. The latter is still very much predominant, just as it predominated over the (weak) ideological commitment of the previous regime to expanding health care to include everyone. What the current head of state actually SAYS about health care has, at times, gone well beyond that weak commitment: "GREAT healthcare for EVERYBODY".
For a while, Republicans in the Senate were trying to interpret that statement as "potential access" to everybody who can pay for it, but this was dropped when the insurance markets responded negatively.

I think that this basic factual continuity combined with constant breaches of faith is the source of the tension and excitement that Alfredo mentions.
The previous regime liked to speak of being workmanlike and practical, with an emphasis on getting things done, and if anything the regime was actually rather proud of its inability to communicate the wonky facts of their supposed accomplishments to working people. The argument was that good policy would eventually make for good politics, and if it didn't, then it was better to have the former than the latter. But the argument for human equality is an argument of good faith, except in the trivial sense that we all have more or less the same physiological hardware: the argument for human equality must now be made on emotional grounds and not in the language of "facts".

Precisely because the Obama regime was, at bottom, so right wing, opposition to Obama was increasingly focused on the "fact" of his race alone. And precisely because the current regime is so outspokenly white and at the same time so amateurish, incompetent and utterly incoherent, it is able to convey the bankruptcy of white supremacy to white people in direct, emotionally accessible ways that were impossible for Obama. This is not progress towards a de facto equality, but it seems to me to be the harbinger of a giant leap of faith.

No matter lies, and all lies matter.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University


On Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 12:16 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>

> Totally relevant, Andy. As you say, it's so interesting to follow how 
> issues of faith and truth will be unfolding and changing in all 
> sectors of society. This has been going on for quite long time, I 
> think, not only about Trump but more generally with regard to 
> socioscientific issues such as climate change. But, perhaps 
> fortunately, it seems this is turning into crisis (and hence change), 
> with those same features becoming more exacerbated. It's scary and exciting at the same time.
> I've been (as many of you) following the multiple testimonies and 
> analyses that are emerging in the media, intended and unintended, lots 
> of working-over in the form of analysis. It's amazing how much 
> material for analysis and how many actual analyses are being produced. 
> Is as if as history was shaking, so too was consciousness shaking, 
> producing more and more.
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu 
> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Andy Blunden 
> <ablunden@mira.net>
> Sent: 21 February 2017 02:43
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l]  fact and fake
> The Washington Post has a series of interviews with people attending 
> Trump's rally where they were the first to learn of the Swedish 
> terrorist attack in Trump's imagination, planted there by FOX News. 
> The faith of these Trump loyalists seems unshakeable, though the 
> resignation of Flynn was causing a little difficulty, but I wouldn't 
> put it more strongly. It was still the fault of the "mainstream 
> media".
> Is there no point beyond which Trump can step where fact and fake can 
> be distinguished from trust and favour? In the discussion we had 
> around his Inauguration Day speech I suggested it would be people 
> getting ill and discovering that they had lost the coverage they had 
> under ObamaCare.
> I would be interested in hearing early anecdotes of people who are 
> Trumpistas up till now but who change their mind and what it is which 
> does the trick. It seems almost like we have to discover a hole in 
> political space-time to escape this black hole!
> Andy
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> http://home.mira.net/~andy
> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making