Trump and the Commodity of Self

Do you sometimes feel like a fractured being?  That you live as a person, but function as a thing?  That your body and your brain are at war with each other?  And that the self-as-commodity part is ever-encroaching on more humane aspects of your existence?  The sad truth is that it’s getting harder and harder to do – or be — anything outside the marketplace.

This inherent tendency is getting worse under Donald Trump’s presidency.  Guy Debord opens his 1967 manifesto, The Society of the Spectacle, with these memorable line: “In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles.”  He follows, warning, “Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”  America’s 45th president is a living commodity, a terrifyingly-powerful humanized representation.

Trump relaunched the culture war, one that involves ever-intensifying moralistic repression and reducing all social relations to relations between things.  His warped vision is being enforced by a reactionary Vice President, Cabinet and Republican-controlled Congress.  However, he controls state power during a period of profound geo-political instability and social transformation, one involving the nation as well as the world order.  Trump’s self-promotion identity, the living embodiment of self-as-a-commodity, is in crisis.  Faced with deepening social stagnation, the old cons of post-WW-II…

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