Earlier I expressed awe at the power of the digital crowd - the phenomenon of assembly and disassembly, of unification and fracture - the power of the crowd to come together and to unleash itself for good or ill.
We've reached the point where a seemingly evolved culture has embraced an era of derangement so that politics no longer functions at the level of rational discourse. In publishing and news media a previous emphasis on fact-finding and accuracy has been usurped by free-floating opinion. Truthfulness has been upended by demonstrative but empty rhetoric, puffed-up histrionics, emotion, spin and lies. You could say truth has been trumped.
It is amazing to me how ubiquitous is today's news and how everyone is a publisher.
The theorist Jean Baudrillard suggested decades ago that “we live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning."
Our shortened attention span and addiction to the novelty of the next digital stimulus leaves us open to master manipulators who exploit the fissures of division between groups. Such a millieu provides a more than sufficient opportunity for disinformation: "You are FAKE NEWS!"
It also opens the door for any opinion to hold sway, no matter how poorly formed. Everyone can find their personal truths reflected in the iridescent patina of the web. The internet is a filter bubble. It is an echo chamber. It's is a personalized algorithm that feeds on itself and we are seduced by the glitter of our own digitized universe.
This disruption and exploitation was articulated by the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci who said in his prison diaries: "The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."
From a distance, it's tempting to look away and try to not watch. But like witnesses to a tragic car accident we cannot avert our gaze. It's like that cavity in our tooth. It pains us when we stick our tongue in there. But we cannot refrain from sticking our tongue in there. And what are we to make of this new power figure who emerges from this constellation of disease? Watching him, my unqualified diagnosis would be narcissistic personality disorder triggered by low self-esteem. This can be measured by micrometer - you can gauge the thinness of the skin. That's because for the narcissist, like the Sultan of Delhi, there is no real communion with others.
Elias Canetti describes the ascendancy of the manipulative power icon in his book Crowds and Power, as well as the psychosis itself: "Names collect their own crowds ... The crowd which the seeker after fame envisages consists of shadows, that is, of creatures who do not even have to be alive as long as they are capable of one thing, which is to repeat his name."
Friends, it is a horses ass no matter which way you look at it. The wild ride has begun. Hence, we are keeping the internet domain name Trump.Rodeo which has been put on a loop to here until another utility unfolds.
(Image - After Amano - Digitized watercolour and ink on paper - David Roberts)