The Collapse of the Real and the Imaginary

“There is no real, there is no imaginary except at a certain distance. What happens when this distance, including that between the real and the imaginary, tends to abolish itself.” – Jean Baudrillard

It all seemed like a dream, at that moment, January 20, 2017, 12 noon, when Donald TRUMP took the oath of office through his allegiance to the Constitution. It was also at that moment that we entered into a phantasmagoria, a surreal chapter in the annals of American history, in which we have seen the collapse between the real and the imaginary.

Made-for-Media Moments

What is going on in this picture? On the surface, it appears to be a fairly innocuous photograph of TRUMP and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the golf course during a pristine day in the Florida sunshine. All is casual, all is relaxed, as both leaders signal a friendly high-5 in their golfing getups. On the right appear to be the caddies, no secret service in this picture, really, it’s just an ordinary Saturday golf game that could be any country club in America where the 1% go about their leisure.

The Attack of the Real

“The Ministry of Love oversees torture and brainwashing, the Ministry of Plenty oversees shortage and rationing, the Ministry of Peace oversees war and atrocity, and the Ministry of Truth oversees propaganda and historical revisionism.” – George Orwell, 1984

Who could have imagined that the apocalypse might come about with the collapse of the real. Well, George Orwell did just that about 70 years ago. As it turns out, 1984 might have been called 2017, the year that alternative facts were injected like cyanide into the body politic.

One Million Acts of Mediation

As we descend into a heart of darkness, the inauguration of an ominous cloud hovering over the nation’s capital, a million hopeful souls converged to lift us, at least momentarily, out of the gloom. We have seen already, in previous times of crisis, the resilience of the human spirit to overcome political adversity. Over and over and over in our turbulent history, America has been confronted with disruption, violence, war, and tyranny, but somehow, as if by some kind of divine intervention (no I am not going religious here), the people of this country have been able to muster whatever forces they can to step back from the edge of the abyss.

We Must Now Become a Media Weapon of Disinformation

Heaven help us: the world is spinning and imploding at the speed of light. We thought the post-9/11, Bush-Cheney, Season in Hell of disinformation & eternal war & economic apocalypse would be our demise. But oh no, we somehow managed to pull back from the edge of the abyss without a moment to spare.

Requiem for Truth

In a world swirling with threats, from climate change to nuclear armageddon to terrorism, there is no doubt that the greatest threat of all, with the looming TRUMP presidency, is the annihilation of truth. Throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign came an implosion of disinformation, propagated by a candidate with absolutely no regard for facts, a candidate who scripted his “Make America Great Again” pseudo-campaign as a new chapter in an unfolding reality serial drama. TRUMP’s rise to power was ALL SHOW, a total performance, a sleight-of-hand, and a masterful execution of the suspension of disbelief, which (in part) secured the election by hypnotizing and seducing the forlorn and the forgotten. And now we prepare ourselves, just six days before the DAY, for a somber gathering on the National Mall as TRUMP leads a Requiem Mass for democracy.