Don’t ask what Putin can do for you, ask what you can do for Putin – D. Trump

was originally published on Meandering home

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Trompsky #4

Welcome back professor Trompsky, how was your month, I think it has been a month since we have seen each other?
– How was yours? [chuckles and murmurs]
To be honest with you, sir, it has been terrible. I was terrified by all the suspicious packages addressed to the president’s opponents, the horrendous rhetoric of Bolsonaro in Brazil, the shooting in Pittsburgh?
– What we experience is the continuation of a process that has been set in motion, really, by the election of this current president. As a scholar I think the Bolsonaro election could be something of a final blow to global democracy, at least to the spirit of global democracy. That spirit is now in decline and, uhm, against ultra-nationalism we will have to fight an uphill battle.
Do you think the world will see more terror in 2019?
– I prefer not to engage in that kind of speculation, hope you understand. What I do see is a general shift in administration. From the nineties to the early 2010s the world has been governed by comparably capable people (remember how almost everybody currently sees George W. Bush in a favorable light), and now we are shifting to, uhm, the type of rulers that appear to be the lesser hypocrites. Yes, it is a politics of appearance, what we see in Brazil for example. Bolsonaro knows, using fake news, how to appear a tough crime fighter, how to appear the equal of the ‘normal man on the street’, how to appear an outsider of the elite, which clearly he is not. Appearance trumps political expertise and experience, we have seen this in 2016 in the US [chuckles].
Do you think leaders with a similar media strategy, a similar strongman style, will come to power in Europe and the rest of the world?
– Oh yes. This is to some extent a trial-and-error process. The few mistakes Bolsanaro has made, will not be repeated by the next Orbán or Duterte.
What is the proper leftist answer to this? Should they engage in, and could they win the battle of appearances?
– I don’t know. [shakes his head]. I think it will be very hard. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or also Andrew Yang are very authentic politicians. But the left is divided and for proper idealists it is, and I think this is an important point, it is much harder to appear the lesser hypocrite. Wasn’t the media reporting about Sanders’ tax report? It is the absurd paradox of the politics of appearance that Donald Trump, with all his blatant lies, appears as the lesser hypocrite.
And the same goes for Bolsonaro?
– Yes. Brazil is in a way what awaits the US in ten, twenty years. The people are looking for an alternative and this man is filling the empty space on the right. In the case of Bolsanoara, he doesn’t lie directly but his supporters claim that what he says about gays, blacks, activists, women, minorities, it shouldn’t be taken seriously. And the riddle is why that makes him appear to the electorate as the lesser hypocrite.
We thank you for your time, Mr. Trompsky.
– My pleasure. Please do come back.
If democracy hasn’t died in darkness.
– Yes, ahum [chuckles]

Trompsky #4 was originally published on Meandering home

Professor Trompsky #3

Professor Trompsky, welcome. I guess you are a regular on our show now.
– Yes you could say that [chuckles]
Just  before this interview, you said you had a mediocre ephiphany. Care to elaborate?
– Yes. Consider thissimple question. Would you increase your happiness at the cost of another’s happiness?
I guess not.
– But isn’t this what the market allows us to do?
You mean the exploitation? The slaves of the modern age who produce our clothes and cell phones?
– Precisely. Consider what is going on in places like Bangladesh [fashion industry, red.] or the coltan mines of the Congo.
Is it not a bit cynical to reduce the function of the market to that?
– Isn’t cynicism the only correct position to occupy these days?
Occupy? Nobody talks about occupy anymore.
– That’s because the movement was never design to last. It was a little steam vent for the neoliberal machinery is what it was. [Huffs and puffs]
Would you like some water, professor Trompsky?
– Yes, please, thank you. But I want you and our listeners to think about my mediocre epiphany. What if [systemically, red.] the function of the market is to make invisible the decrease of other people’s happiness, so we can perceive our own increased happiness as the surplus of capitalism. It allows us to ignore the fact that, to a large extent, the economy is still a zero sum game.
Isn’t that indeed a very trivial observation?
– Surely my darling. But I ain’t getting any younger. Allow me my trivialities.
We thank you for this candid conversation, Mr. Trompsky.
– Thank you. [hums and chuckles]

 

Professor Trompsky #3 was originally published on Meandering home

Professor Trompsky #2

Welcome back professor Trompsky, glad you took your time to talk about the controversial Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
– Thank you. These are very serious matters yes. I think he is the least capable person in America today to become a Supreme Court Justice. Every which way you look at it, this nomination is a catastrophe for our country and should be aborted at all costs.
So you are calling for abortion of his nomination. Could you elaborate?
– If we carry this nomination to term, we will have bred a monster. Brett Kavanaugh is a religious fanatic of the sort that would put the church above the constitution. The High Court will turn into a Medusa whose sole purpose it is to protect the powers of the president.
When you say we must prevent Supreme Justice Kavanaugh from happening, what exactly do you have in mind? Polonium?
– This is not the time for flippancy. I personally think there are more civilized ways than radioactive chemicals.
Such as?
– We just keep repeating the sins he committed as a young adult. Did you know that FFFF means “Find ’em, finger ’em, fuck ’em, forget ’em”? And that boofing is anal ingestion of alcoholic beverages?
This is common knowledge, yes.
– I don’t see how this man still has time for serious legal scholarship, let alone the position of highest judge in the country.
I understand your point professor Trompsky. What do you suggest as a means of last resort, to avoid this twit to ascend to the throne of the American judiciary?
– [shrugs] I don’t know. Maybe burn down the court house.

Professor Trompsky #2 was originally published on Meandering home

Professor Trompsky #1

Professor Trompsky, welcome to our studio. At 87, do you have any plans for retirement?

Listen, the burden of the world rests on my shoulders. I can’t just give up because the fragility that is slowly but certainly shutting down my body. My responsibilities are grand, and with grandure I shall go to the grave. Can we talk about something less morbid now, provided such a topic exists in the current state of the world? [chuckles]

Yes we can. How would you analyze the current state of political discourse?

It is the fundamental unwillingness to learn from the other side, as people refer to political opponents, that strikes me as dangerous. I don’t see a humorous and convivial back and forth of well-stated arguments, but a general retreat from eloquence and the joy of seeking out a worthy opponent. Believe me, there have been better times for political debate.

What do you suggest as a solution, professor?

Well, there is no panacea. We have to carefully prepare the public for more sophisticated discourse. Right now, they seem to accept very low intellectual standards. We should welcome contrarians at our institutions of higher learning. We should let no student graduate who takes one particular standpoint without seriously questioning it, before their third year in college. Universities should teach students how to be your own best critic, not how to be your own best proselytiser.

Thank you for your clear suggestion. Do you think it has any change of success?

Of course not. I am just saying these things because I owe it to my stature as an intellectual giant. I am playing the character people expect me to play.

Do you never lose hope?

What do you want me to say? Professor Trompsky never lose hope.

Professor Trompsky #1 was originally published on Meandering home