Quotes of the day: TrumpAscension™ auguries


We begin with a prediction from the former House Speaker who served divorce papers on his spouse while she was in the hospital, recovering from cancer surgery, via Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Gingrich, what can we expect during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency?

Gingrich: You can expect a great deal of action. Donald Trump is a very action-oriented person. I think in the first few weeks, you’re going to see a lot of executive orders repealed, peeling back the Obama legacy. You’re going to see steps moving forward across a broad range of fronts, and I think they are likely to be very successful opening weeks.

And from Vox, an exchange between reporter Sean Illing and Guardian cultural critic Stuart Jeffries, author of Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, a study of a group of German scholars, many of whom migrated to the U.S. during the Hitler years, who founded critical theory and studied — among other things — the way media impact society:

Sean Illing: Here’s the thing: If Trump’s rise represented an actual substantive rebellion, that at least would suggest a revolution in consciousness. But it’s not that serious. There’s no content behind it. Trump is just a symbol of negation, a big middle finger to the establishment. He’s a TV show for a country transfixed by spectacle.

And so in that sense, Trumpism is exactly what you’d expect a “revolution” in the age of mass media to look like.

Stuart Jeffries: Sadly, I agree. If you listen to Trump speak, it’s all stream-of-consciousness gibberish. There’s no real thought, no real intellectual process, no historical memory. It’s a rhetorical sham, but a kind of brilliant one when you think about it. He’s a projection of his supporters, and he knows it.

He won by capturing attention, and he captured attention by folding pop entertainment into politics, which is something the critical theorists anticipated.

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