The past ten days...
At first entirely chilly, detached: the election as shock, a worse shock than Brexit of course, but similarly a stupid move towards danger and chaos engendered by incoherent desperation and an extraordinary amount of sheer lying.
The US is on the other side of the ocean, and I don't live there... I have a passport of course. (Why would I have dual citizenship in the two countries that are intent on toppling their own stability, power and wealth in favour of a ludicrous national vanity, a pathetic desire to return to their past as confident playground bullies? Which so ridiculously, so blindly ignores the fact that everything has changed since those pasts were presents....)
Well: I refuse to – entirely – care.
In classical Marxism, of course, that makes me the blindly selfish bourgeois, the coward who cannot face the revolution. Ah well... there may be an element of truth there, but there is also a basic problem with that analysis – it is grounded in a dedicated militarism: everyone must be a soldier, everyone must fight for the utopia of the proletariat. We are cannon fodder for a great theory.
Since that militarism only works when you go for the ridiculous tail-end of Marxism: the certainty that the revolution of the proletariat, and the dazzlingly wonderful world that results from it, is inevitable...
Two weeks ago I taught a lecture on Walter Benjamin – including the first of the Theses on History: the dwarf in the fake automaton, the one who reveals the religious we'll-all-go-to-heaven-when-we-die fantasy at the heart of Marxism.
Or it's like the pseudo-wise psychotic nonsense of Maoism – since everything tends to a glorious future, and we know that because Marx says so, if only everyone goes on the long march, lets their babies die valiantly, and puts the insufficiently rigorous people of Cambodia into killing fields, then that is really a great thing, because it will lead to that pure, transcendent future....
Okay, the worst thing about a Trump presidency isn't the mess of blowhard policies – he really isn't Hitler, obviously: he's much more fragmented, inconsistent, chaotic – it's a shell-like narcissism, not a paranoid obsession with enemies; and yes of course many of the people he's hiring are more paranoid and dangerously coherent than he is; but the whole thing will tend to undergo constant instability at the core. So it's not the hyper-focused madness of German fascism, it's just the chaotic narcissism of Italian fascism.
But of course the difference is that the nuclear option exists this time around, which makes all these games much bigger....
Yes, well, maybe that's the answer to the Fermi paradox.
But, from this side of the Atlantic, there's not much point in talking about that, or Putin or North Korea or a mess of journalists who don't know how to manage their constantly elided, unstable power...
A good class today; I'd been feeling a bit unhappy about teaching Derrida and deconstruction after the election.
I mean, yes of course you can use deconstruction politically, but it doesn't really feel quite like that... especially in the admittedly rather abstract way that I teach it.
So... I told the class, I was unhappy with the election, and Brexit, and wasn't sure what to teach: we discussed it for half an hour, and they said okay, do next week's lecture – Deleuze and Guattari: yes, also weirdly intellectual, but with much more political impact, more ways to get us out of the paranoid traps of our culture, into the open air...
And it went well – they liked it – argued over paranoid and schizoid, were alert and disoriented and put up with my explanation of Balinese erotic practices...
(I always worry I'll get fired at that point in the lecture - if I were in some parts of the US I'm sure I would be.)
So: it felt like a good thing, like a productive thing...
But otherwise I feel fairly disengaged.
A phone conversation with David M. – we only speak every few years; He went into an extended post-election rant, I let him go for a minute or two, then stopped him cold: I was quite clear, I just didn't want to hear any of it. However, I found myself honestly offering him a place to stay here. A bit silly perhaps... but it comes naturally out of that image of Rick's nightclub in Casablanca, and the sense that we may be making those kinds of decisions, those kinds of flights.
And if I move to Barcelona there are always those classic Eixample apartments: the long ones with several rooms along a corridor. Perfect not only for several bookcases in each room, but also for guests who have fled from other countries. House rules... who's buying the food... No crying at dinnertime, that's one of the house rules.
My students are worried, but relatively abstractly so – they aren't after all living in America.
The days are cold but sunny; in other circumstances they would be pleasant if bracing.
My patients were also anxious after the election, but again in a rather distanced way.
My health has improved greatly in the past month; R.'s advice on food and supplements is really working.
Russia, North Korea, Trump, Penn, Congress, Supreme Court.
Remember the fairy tales that centre on a magician who removes his heart and puts it into a casket, puts the casket into the highest room of a castle, and the castle is on top of a high mountain, the mountain beyond a great ocean, and it can all be reached only by the most powerful of eagles? Or it is guarded by a basilisk, or other such stuff?
I don't worry about America. I'll watch the British arguments over Brexit, but with a certain detachment. I'll keep both citizenships while looking for others – is Barcelona still possible? Of course the Nordic countries are always more stable... not sure I'm interested in the weather, though.
I don't care, really.
I refuse to.