Watching the incredible bias of how the US media covers this presidential election assures the world of two things:
1. The largest divide in the United States is not urban/rural, White/Black, sexual, nor the male/female divide recently brought to the fore by #MeToo. It is not even a Democrat/Republican divide, because every outsider sees that these two groups are fundamentally united on so very many issues when accurately placed on the global (not merely domestic) political spectrum. The most obvious chasm is between nation’s leader class (political, media, economic, and cultural) and the nation’s masses.
The US “leader class” - those who control the decision-making process or the preparatory opinion-making process - obviously lead lives completely divorced from the grinding, exhausting, time-clock punching, economically-precarious life of the masses. 2020 has laid this even more bare.
Because America is an evangelistic, missionary culture which has now given the cyber-means of mass communication to the masses - and this is something Lenin could never foresee, though maybe Andy Warhol did - we should also affix to this classical “leader class” a smaller subset of a “self-appointed leader class”.
This new class are exemplified by a housewife who has never punched a timeclock but who sees herself as the moral-socioeconomic-intellectual guardian of her local community. But the key here is that the Boomers’ community-shaping PTA (Parents-Teachers Association) has moved online and into sweatpants from basements: I am describing the proactive, energetic and opinionated “influencers” on social media.
These people can perhaps fairly be described as “half-informed”, because if they were fully “informed” they would likely be tapped for the “leader” class. These people also differ from the “leader class” in that - even though they get no pay at all for doing so - they post, and comment, and do much unpaid work online, just as no one got paid at the PTA or other community organisations.
This subset should be accounted for because this class is seemingly within the masses, but in thought, culture and desire they want to join the leader class. When divorced from the basics of socialism (class awareness, anti-imperialism, government guidance of the economy in non-Pentagon forms), those from this class are - at best - stagnation inducing, and at worst chaos-inducing. They know just enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes.
They should be accounted for in any analysis of the US because it is not the 1950s: the majority of Americans appear to get their “news” from Facebook in 2020. Therefore we cannot ignore the people who desire to be in the “leader class” but who settle for being the “self-appointed leader class” of their own little Facebook group - these people are shaping America greatly today, no?
However, the problem is that these loud, self-asserted leaders (housewives, internet tough guys, doctoral students who have more mouth & attitude than learned or even useful skills, seniors who think American realities are the same now as they were in 1980 that they are routinely told “Ok, Boomer….”) are so mentally evangelical (not in the Christian sense of the word but as compulsive proselitizers of their fussy ideology) that their socio-political-cultural aims have become as remote from daily, grinding, political-economic realities as the classical “leader” class in capitalist-imperialist America.
Both leader classes care about (I would say primarily with defending their limited zone of prestige and privilege, as this is a capitalist-individualist culture) things which the masses generally do not care about, therefore, these two formal and informal leader-classes must goad and intimidate the masses into sharing the narrow, often useless concerns of the two leader classes.
Thus the huge divide, which - given the economic and cultural catastrophe of the coronavirus hysteria - has never been wider nor more obvious.
2. The United States spends so much time in combating the ultimately pernicious influence of both the leader and self-appointed leader classes that whichever candidate wins… this country has exhausted all of its resources (which includes the allotted amount of preparatory time before these bills come due/the world turns/opportunities are over/possibilities are forever lost) to somehow dramatically rejuvenate itself post-Trump, post-coronavirus hysteria, post-Great Lockdown and post-The Enormous Fundamental Problems Which Actually Existed Prior to 2016. This latter collection of problems is something which is hysterically denied by the leader & self-appointed leader classes via distraction and duplicity, and which creates a blind spot that reduces their field of vision to the size of seemingly only a tiny keyhole.
So what I am referring to is a definite declaration of irreversible American decline: there must be a decline, because the 2020 Covid-fighting success of China (entirely due to their socialist-inspired structures, which allows the blunting of economic and social catastrophes) shows a superpower in undecline; a superpower with the ability to fight off decline.
I am not a negative person and I embrace a multipolar and especially multilateral world, but I ask on behalf of Americans who are obsessed with not just status but US dominance: where is the collective energy and will for rejuvenation in the US which is necessarily required to re-surpass China? (Not a desirable goal, by the way, unless US leaders change their values 180 degrees, which is highly unlikely. )
This analysis is based upon the theory that certain regions do excel & thrive at certain points in history - for various reasons - more than others. Iran in 1965 was totally unworthy of note - in 2020 it just outlasted and outpointed the US and Israel and their “don’t give Iranians the ability to defend themselves from our war” arms embargo. In 2007 this was a unipolar world, but the past decade has seen China soar to the point that the IMF just conceded it has the biggest economy in the word.
How can this not be obvious, and how can the United States’ inability to stop this decline not be more obvious?
The Joker laughs at you, but he also often tries to commit suicide from depression
This obviousness is something which was first hinted at more than a decade ago by the first class-based slogan to gain popular traction in many decades in the US: the various iterations of “we are the 99%” or “they are the 1%”. But points #1 and #2 are forcefully supported by reality when we consider just how hard the leader and self-appointed leadership classes work to suppress the sociopolitical and cultural analyses which find spontaneous, widespread support among the nation’s masses.
One will never hear Wolf Blitzer, or Paul Krugman, or Joe Biden, or Donald Trump carry into battle a banner with this popular slogan, making it their own cornerstone for their daily behavior and decisions.
Of course, modern Western culture has always viewed the world linearly and not cyclically - they especially do not want to revisit or re-examine history but instead to live constantly in the memory-annihilating present. Therefore, they falsely assume a slogan from a mere 10 years ago is already obsolete, as is the most popular movie of 2019. (This is the only excellent review of Joker I have ever seen: The leftist review of Joker which you’ve been waiting for).
Take, for example, the 2019 movie Joker: We must remember how very resonant and beloved this movie was in the US and yet how intellectually assassinated it was by the US leader and self-appointed leader classes. Critics called it all sorts of absurd names - White Supremacist and “incel”-encouraging were foisted despite their absurdity. Again, the leader and self-appointed leader classes had to goad and intimidate the masses into accepting phony concerns as legitimate: I bet only 1% of readers knew what an “incel” was prior to Joker, so how could it be such a huge, worrying issue?
If we do not allow ourselves to forget the incredible resonance of this movie among the masses - if we resist changing the channel from a movie from just last year to something new, like the latest news in the US election circus - we can be reminded of how this hugely-resonating movie, which we all saw, was also incredibly depressing, alienated, tense and (in that quintessential American imperialist-capitalist fashion) homicidal.
We don’t need Slavoj Zizek to tell us that this vital culture artifact and barometer buttresses the assertion that the US has no capacity for rejuvenation anymore because: The masses are exhausted. The characteristics of Joker, which I just listed, reflect exactly that - exhaustion, not inspiration.
Joker - a critical view of modern American society, but one which had to be absurdly dressed-up as the origin story to a superhero villain, as America is so in need of fantasy that they can only be attracted to the movie theatres by childish superhero nonsense - is not notable two weeks before the presidential election because it presaged the 2020 chaos but because it correctly described the alienation and desperation of US society in 2019.
It’s certainly far worse now in 2020 no? Again - there is no capacity for rejuvenation in a culture which was already down and depressed and then embarked on a hysterical Great Lockdown without the democratic and economic safeguards which socialist-inspired, revolutionary nations have.
Therefore, no matter how much makeup is put on the pigs on TV who lead or who dream of leading, rejuvenation cannot occur without wholesale changes to American society (assuming any major changes could actually be agreed up on in America, which appears to be a big LOL). But, crucially, the resonance and popularity of Joker reminds us that the masses who must provide the backbone for implementing such changes - their wherewithal, the mines of their energies, the hours in the day they have available to spend on non-survival activities, etc. - were already depleted in 2019.
An America in 2019 - with China already scrambling up the back of the US to stand on its shoulders - they were especially unready and too depleted for a Great Lockdown to keep a leader’s necessary pace. Too bad America’s leaders and self-appointed leader class did not recognise this in spring.
The two writers behind Joker grasped this in 2019, and it’s worth noting that they are both Jewish, proof that this is a class-consciousness/intellectual issue above all: one of the writers also wrote perhaps the last “White Trash” movie before Joker which was both excellent and broadly popular with the masses, 8 Mile, the story of the rapper Eminem.
Exhausted America admires Trump not for his promises anymore, but merely for his energy
It is for this very reason - that he can still visibly muster tremendously energetic resistance, which is so very foreign in 2020 in the US - that Trump is so popular with the masses. The self-appointed leader class still cannot explain this facet of Trump’s popularity - i.e. the charisma facet.
The leader class is energetically charged by the fact of their own success; the self-appointed leader class is energetically charged by classic American evangelical hysteria, as well as dreams of dominance - neither can understand the masses’ exhaustion.
One simply has to look at the recent “Town Hall” meeting, which was substituted for a 2nd debate due to Trump’s coronavirus contraction/the desire to hide Biden from the limelight’s scrutiny:
A morning show talk host - no doubt informed and prodded by the producers talking to her in her earpiece - absolutely grilled Trump on NBC. Her questions were all designed to avoid the serious structural issues which affect the masses’ daily life, and instead designed to denigrate Trump in their eyes. For example, QAnon - I have never heard any average American (who was not from the two leader classes) bring this up, but I have heard many in the masses about the Democratic stonewalling for a 2nd stimulus, which deserved far more examination and explanation to the average viewer.
Over on ABC, however, was a completely concocted love-fest for Joe Biden phonily titled: “The Vice-President and the People”. (The vice-president of the United States is, of course, named Mike Pence.) This program was designed to be a hypnotic, administered to soothe rabid, evangelical (not in the Christian sense, of course) Democrats, and to bore to death thinking, active minds into voter abstention and ceasing all resistance to the establishment.
Yet what the corporate media fails to realise is that back over on NBC Trump was absolutely compelling television, even though I hardly admire him and will not vote for him (full disclosure: I will vote for Gloria La Riva of Party for Socialism and Liberation): Trump had much in common with Iran’s view since 1979 - he resisted. He refused to submit to the unexpected grilling.
He didn’t give that classic 21st American faux-apology for anything, he gave plausible-sounding answers to the often absurd charges and nonsense, and he sweated as he worked all alone - how can a good chunk of the masses, who toil daily under similar (though more anonymous) conditions, thus not find him appealing? This is not exoneration, but mere journalistic explanation for those who still can’t figure out Trump’s appeal after all these years - he may not be one of the masses but he at least he is not one of them: an establishment politician.
Trump also displays the self-loving personal dynamism always required in capitalist-imperialist culture, but this energy is absent in the US: It is not the, “Isn’t it so very bully to be a White man” era of Teddy Roosevelt, nor the “Ours will be a thousand-year Reich” of 1950s America (China is the one feeling like a thousand-year Reich today, except for the fact that imperialism is totally, totally absent from China’s millennia of history) - this is an America which has continually sapped its own strength and is now literally paying to go on tours in New York City which tread the footsteps of the pitiful, downtrodden, suicidal Joker character.
The average American had already given up the ghost in 2019: they knew there is no energy - no capacity, no wherewithal - to self-correct, and thus they respect only the chaotic element: Trump, Joker, the comedian’s analyses, etc.
Even Trump’s fundamentally-dynamic “Make America Great Again” has ossified into “Keep America Great” - i.e., preserve the status quo. Trumpism has failed because it purported to be (fascistically) revolutionary, but Trump has not made enough serious changes to the point which we can say that America is either or changed or even re-invigorated.
Of course, the average American did not want a fascist (i.e. pro-corporate) revolution to begin with, but: I am getting bored with the number of PressTV reports I have done on the obstacles presented to third-parties by the duopoly-entrenching US Constitution.
The leader class, the new cyber self-appointed leader class and the masses are not at all in remote balance or in sync with what the major problems are, and the idea of a post-election reconciliation is hysterically baseless and unrealistic.
Thus, the world should bet on American stagnation in the short- and medium-term futures. Defying the leader and self-appointed leader class appears like the only way to achieve short-term domestic progress for Americans.
There are alternatives to investigate, but it does take a non-hysterical energy to implement them solidly.
^5000The mainstream imperialist media lie CONSTANTLY. Literally 24/7. And it's getting worse.
All of them do it: radio, tv, the newspapers, the movies. The internet. No exceptions.
The corporate Big Lie is pervasive and totalitarian. CBS does it. NBC does it. ABC does it.
CNN does it. FOX does it. NPR does it. And of course the NYTimes and WaPo do it.
Thousands of "diverse" voices telling you the same lies. Enough to convince anyone.
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