Summation 1

Between the approx. 60+ blog posts here, and the references to my book,”see my book” I think the issues herein have been given a clear and thorough examination. Thus it seems to me it is a time to wrap these topics up and conclude this particular blog. A new theme for the future is in order. But to wind this theme up, I would like to write this one final post on the issues themselves, and then use the next five to ten posts to do a summation of the threads we have examined here.

This last post on the idea of life as theater and all that surrounds are scripts by others, could not be complete without observing this most recent example.

Donald Trump was in San Diego on Friday May 27. His tour of speaking engagements have been haunted by demonstrators and some mayhem. The local San Diego paper, the Union Tribune, wrote this front page headline on that day. “SOME ARRESTS AT RALLIES MAY BE SCRIPTED” Then the article that follows begins, “If arrests are made at today’s Donald Trump rally, watch carefully. What looks like chaos may be choreography. Getting arrested can be a powerful demonstration of commitment….some are the results of advance negotiations. Police and protestors often confer before marches and rallies, discussing everything from the time and location of the protest to….how and when people will be arrested. They come to us and say, “These individuals are going to do this, and we understand when they do this you are going to arrest them”, said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “A lot of times, they designate a person or persons to be arrested.”

Life as Theater, dear readers. Scripted events for television digestion. As we already know, many if not most of these demonstrators are paid. They are “actors” for hire. Street Theater as political advertisements. There are “aggregators” who will hire and perform a demonstration of your desired object complete with posters from either side of the political spectrum.

The regular readers of this blog can see and understand the simulacrum, the reality that isn’t, at work here. We can see the script. We know the reasons why. That is why I think it time to move to some concluding blogs. The lessons are learned. The readers educated. But I couldn’t help but post this one last narrative that so aptly demonstrates what we have been talking of for these now many months in these now many postings. Thank you for reading.

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Bernie’s Illusional Gift to the Young

Bernie Sanders galvanizes the young. This seems amazing to many. I will explore one thread here that may make his appeal clearer.

I share one biographical fact to help persuade on the point I make. I taught for many years and at one point in a major university. I was rather shocked in my first year there to find that many of the faculty and the authors of various textbooks were admitted Marxists. We generally accept that the faculties of most colleges and universities are liberal and left leaning in their politics. But living within that environment, attending department meetings and university inspired colloquiums, it soon became apparent that the left leaning was commonly at the very far left of the spectrum.

These are the cadres that have educated your young.

Now back to Bernie. He inspires the young with his antagonism to the wealthy and powerful, and his promise to breach that citadel and level the playing field making opportunity and wealth equally shared by all. His brand of socialism is not far off from communism. This is the same kind of social promise that was sold to the oppressed innocents in the 1900’s.

Back to the professors. Communism under the theories of Marx and Engels began as a promise to end class distinctions and warfare. It got a bad name under Stalin and the Cold War. After it crumbled, it was resurrected under the name Marxism to purge it of its awful realities in the Soviet Union and other oppressive regimes around the world. This Utopian version was once again taught in the universities as the new dream. Our young, our recent grads were taught Marxism and Socialism as the dream solution the same way that energized the disenfranchised when first proffered by Marx and Lenin. At that time no one conceived of the oppressive version, the version that simply didn’t work and couldn’t deliver the promises in the history that was about to unfold.

Bernie sells this same dreamy version of socialism/communism to the young who by virtue of their education by Marxist professors are ready-made for the moment. They’re too young to have lived through and seen the vicious tyrannical days of Communism…..the purges, the genocides, the millions of dead sacrificed to an idea that didn’t work. They equally don’t seem to notice that the great socialistic experiment in most European countries is no longer working there either.

That doesn’t stop Bernie. The American Great Recession plus all of the above has made our young population a ready embracer of the utopian dream that the older crowd knows doesn’t work. Bernie thrives on this innocence. Bernie thrives on this learned naiveté.

The sins of greed and capitalism were all too revealed in the mortgage crisis of 2008. That is a history the young lived. They deserve some slack for their revolutionary love of the Sanders’ solution. Subtleties do not prevail in presidential campaigns.

Marxist Socialism was sold as a dream in the early 1900’s. It is being sold again as a utopian dream to the young today. We must all work to bring the naiveté of the young up to a more mature currency. We must continue their education beyond their professors. This upcoming election is a chance to do just that.

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Legacy Scripts

As readers of this blog and my book,”see my book“, you know that narratives and scripts are the lynchpins of both. Watching someone create their own narrative should be instructive. To that end I encourage you, with your critical insights, to watch President Obama write his legacy script during his last year in office.

He has already begun. At this point, he is more interested in cementing his legacy than he is in legislation or international diplomacy. His primary avenue will be the granted “interview”. Although this will seem forthright and unrehearsed, it will be delicately crafted and controlled. What may seem spontaneous and sincere questions, are most certainly pre-written and imposed upon the interviewer. His thoughtful and almost agonized answer is a portrait in fine acting.

His speeches equally will seem spontaneous and unrehearsed in the “off the cuff” portions. But there too it is carefully planned and rehearsed. He only has a few months to control his narrative, and surprising events across the world will intervene this careful narrative.

Most Presidents come into office as egos in pursuit of history. To endure the punishment of running for offices over the decades and then the most severe of all campaigns is to show the deep determination it entails. To that extent, the final year is crucial to securing the ego part in history.

As an aside, I might suggest that our greatest Presidents in history, might well be those that were forced into office by circumstance. I think of Harry Truman. Forced into office in the midst of a world war and its aftermath, he had no wish for it, and no time to ponder his place in history. He found in himself capacities and wisdom he knew not he had. His post presidential life would confirm his ego-less humility. Humility generally does not get you elected to the highest office in the land.

Obama came into the Presidency fully afloat on his persona. He had no experience. He had no resume. A first term senator, a community organizer, an acolyte of Alinsky, he had a narrow vocal range within which to sing.

He could have learned on the job better than he did. Instead, he lingered in his ego. His Armani suit and Air Force One were VERY important to him. With so little history of his own, the trappings were critically important to his narrative. I do believe he never got outside his skin in this job. And still being so, completing and sharpening his exit narrative is more important to Obama than it has been to most Presidents before him. That is why the composition of his final narrative will prove so instructive to us as we watch his exit narrative co-exist with the other eight aspiring narratives that evolve in those who now seek his vacating office.

Postscript: Equally here, we have studied scripts and narratives for their authenticity and their opposite, the dreaded simulacrum. Because he has so lived within himself during his Presidency, I think it likely, that Obama’s exit narrative will be false and inflated and in denial of much of his actual Presidential history and events. To that extent, it will be in-authentic and a delusional simulacrum that he hopes will stand the test of time and history. With Ego, in-authenticity and the simulacrum as the three legs of his stool, I think it will not, in fact, bear the weight of time and history.

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politics as theater

Let’s return to the original premise of this blog: Life as theater. There is one vast component of our lives that is entirely theater. That is politics. There is no there there. It is entirely theater. “see my book” Everything is composed. Every utterance is written and rehearsed. Only an open mike captures the occasional rice kernel of reality. Once you accept this premise….then…and only then…will you understand politics. Once you believe that nothing political is real, then you will have the mindset to truly understand what is going on. Those professional reporters who cover politics and politicians have achieved this mindset, and have learned to parse and translate the theater of politics into knowledge. That is why we listen to them and read them.

From the smallest self-serving news interview, to legislation itself…..all is theater. Individually and collectively they all conspire to compose the moment and compose the broad narrative. To the professional long serving incumbents, the style of composing theater and saying nothing real has become second nature. Playwriting flows from their tongues. All substance is translated into voodoo. Nothing said can be held accountable. Everything said can be resaid or recanted without contradiction. All that is said or transpires in the hallowed halls of state and federal legislatures is carefully composed, staged and planned. Even what looks spontaneous isn’t. It follows then that all that is said is nothing said.

For centuries and decades, politicians got away with this ruse. But in the last few decades, media and its immediacy has betrayed some of these efforts at theater. The politicians have not stopped trying, but I believe that much of the disillusionment of the public with their legislatures has been the result of the new media betraying them. Composing theater is not as easy as it used to be. The low information voter generally is still taken in by political theater. But the informed voters, the public that reads and assesses has seen through this habit and has simply grown to abhor all politicians and their assemblages. As we speak, almost everything in Washington is theater. The deep distrust and division between the parties is primarily due to their adhesion to their mounting of contrasting “plays” rather than giving that up and legislating through compromise. Currently, in Washington, theater is everything! That is why nothing of substance transpires. Like the characters in an Ionesco play of the absurd, the characters believe the play is reality. It is all “sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

When cast in a long running play, the lines become rote and the drama stale. The audience loses the magic of disbelief. They head for the exits. They don’t come back. But don’t be too sanguine about new politics being any closer to reality. South American and African countries, new, old or reconfigured still persist in theater. China, Japan and the other Asian countries are equally married to political theater. Even the new entities seeking recognition, i.e., terrorist nations or terrorist groups engage in political theater. Their photos, their videos, their dialogue, their actions….though more provocative and frightening….are still political theater seeking effect. Everyone and every group is on some form of media all the time 24/7. We are always composing dialogue and vamping for the camera. All politics…wild, new, old or institutional are composing, singing, dancing, vamping, creating pageantry, creating signage, gesturing, howling, grimacing, posturing, dressing in garb that threatens or dignifies, choosing backgrounds of either destruction, ruins, or book cases and imperious Greek colonnades. Not a component is overlooked. The handlers, the directors are the Leni Riefenstahls of our time. Obama reportedly has members of his election committees and his staff writers as part of his foreign policy staff. Putin, too, is a carefully crafted image. Though the process is a little crude and obvious, cf., the silly photos ops of him shirtless on horseback and fishing, etc.

Political theater is an international phenomena. They all do it. You’d think they’d see its uselessness. They are too steeped….too habituated. They have to give it up or die. The newly elected have to find the direct connections to their constituency. Or we the public have to find a way to go around these avatars. What is the sequel to the Wizard of Oz after we see his hysteric fumbling behind the curtain? He is too old to learn new tricks. What do we do after we have seen the Wizards for what they are? “Fool me once…shame on you. Fool me twice…shame on me.” Never has a Wizard been so unmasked as Obama in these recent months. What will the electorate do this Fall? What will they do in 2016? Will we demand an end to theater?

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