February 10, 2017

I just came across this in Zizek’s “Metastases of Enjoyment.” I think we have a similar situation now with Trump:

…the totalitarian situation gave rise to a series of phenomena attested by numerous chronicles of everyday life in the Socialist East: in reaction to totalitarian ideological domination, there was no only a cynicized escape into the ‘good life’ of private pleasures, but also an extraordinary flourishing of authentic friendship, of paying visits, of shared dinners, of passionate intellectual conversations in closed societies […] The problem, of course, is that there is no way to draw a clear-cut line of separation between the two sides: they are the heads and tails of the same coin, which is why, with the advent of democracy, the both get lost. […] the spirit of ‘Middle Europe’, of authentic friendship and intellectual sociability, survived only in Bohemia, Hungary and Poland, as a form of resistance to the totalitarian ideological domination.

Trump wrecking the traditional protocols and ideologies of the American politics has caused an identity crisis of sorts. The sense of helplessness the Democrats are feeling now is probably as close as it gets to being under a totalitarian regime.

Normally, after Election Day, politics gradually fades away from our everyday conversations. This time, it is continuing to intensify. Most people are not used to having “passionate intellectual conversations” on a regular basis, but I now see them happening all around me.