ROB URIE—Since 2016, race activists have faced the political paradox of affirming the restorationist’s ‘America was already great’ thesis by 1) claiming great difference between then and now that isn’t supported by the evidence and 2) promoting the circular theory that racists are self-generated. To the latter point: if racism causes racists, then what causes racism? Necessarily, racists cause racism. This isn’t an empty logical point. It illustrates the closed (metaphysical) nature of the concept of race being used. One more time now, if dog whistles don’t appeal to ‘real’ racists, to whom do they appeal?
CULTURE & HISTORY
- AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN STUDIESCULTURE & HISTORY
ED CURTIN—How, I wondered, would this Dylan documentary “story” fashioned by Martin Scorsese, whose own work is marked by themes of guilt and redemption, affect an audience that might never have taken the roads less traveled of their youthful dreams but “fell” into the conformist and oppressive American neo-liberal way of life? Would this film, in Dylan’s words, get the audience wondering “if I ever became what you wanted me to be/Did I miss the mark or overstep the line/That only you could see?” Would nostalgia for their youth be a liberating or mystifying force, now that forty plus years have transformed American society into a conservative, postmodern, shopper’s paradise where commodity capitalism has reified all aspects of life, including art objects and artists such a Dylan, imbuing them with magical powers to redeem those who buy their products, which include songs and celebrity “auras”?
Agincourt, the legendary battle in the 100 Years’ War, upset all calculations, and ended the primacy of knights, while exposing the uselessness of the old chivalric code when confronted by new more modern tactics.
- AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN STUDIESCAPITALIST SICKNESSCULTURE & HISTORY
GREGORY HOOD—The lords of Westeros laugh off democracy, comparing the commoners to dogs and horses. Yet reframing power in terms of narrative control, instead of lineage, tradition, or military strength, critiques democracy in a different way. Bran is the Westerosi equivalent of Big Tech. If you control the story, you also control the choice, thus rendering “democracy” meaningless. This is the world we live in today, where traits like heroism, intelligence, or integrity are secondary to control over the Narrative. Do we have any more power over our current political or economic system than dogs or horses?