Sunday, September 26, 2004

structurally incompetent

A New York Times article on Kerry's management style causes me to recall this passage from Specters of Marx:

If there is a tendency in all Western democracies no longer to respect the professional politician or even the party member as such, it is no longer only because of some scandal that can now be more widely known, amplified, and in fact often produced, if not premeditated by the power of the media. Rather, it is because polititians become more and more, or even solely characters in the media's respresentation at the very moment when the transformation of the public space, precisely by the media, causes them to lose the essential part of the power and even of the competence they were granted before by the structures of parliamentary representaion, by the party apparatuses that were linked to it, and so forth. However competent they may personally be, preofessional politicians who conform to the old model tend today to become structurally incompetent. The same media accuses, produces, and amplifies at the same time this incompetence of traditional politicians: on the onehand, it takes away from them the legitimate power they held in the former political space (party, parliament, and so forth), but, on the other hand, it obliges them to become mere silhouettes, if not marionettes, on the stage of televisual rhetoric. They were thought to be actors of politics, they now often risk, as everyone knows, being no more than TV actors....Let us name with a single trait that which could risk making the euphoria of liberal-democrat capitalism resemble the blindest and most delirious of hallucinations, or even an increasingly glaring hypocrisy in its formal or juridicist rhetoric of human rights...

-Derrida, 80

Remembering the debate in Congress exactly two years ago (a debate at moments quite fierce, by USian standards - recall that our legislative branch has no two-drink minimum), the epic figure known as Robert C. Byrd comes to mind as well. Are there really any politicians still living who effectively bridge these worlds - the "traditional" and the "televisual?"
In any case, at least these guys have some style. Meanwhile, is still outfoxing things with various rockstars, and for the moment Michael Moore continues to do John Edward's job for him. Even better, Harper's Revision Thing: A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies. And, lastly, (I swear) further in lieu of the upcoming joint press conferen, er, "debates," here's the original Carole Coleman interview, or, for those especially desiring narcissistic revenge: the parody follow-up version. Or you could just skip the "debate" entirely and read this.
And so hence truly bleh, absofuckinglutely no more linkfesting for quite a while. It is an important event and should probably be watched. For he who's ego, in an otherwise near-total void of spontaneity and substance, betrays itself in a manner of vaguely less snoot, and perhaps even with an unchoreographed flick of the wrist flings a drop of genuine human sweat at the lens, upon which our "democracy" can pounce, snarl and attempt to shred its teeth. For the love of money, Kerry, while talking of yourself in the third person, do not make the dumbest President in history look agile, subtle and witty. Laugh incredulous but do not sigh twice.

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