The Final Solution: If It Quacks Like A Duck

If you're feeling a massive attack of stranger anxiety or a case of Brecht's Verfremdungseffekt taking place in non-artistic venues or perhaps the sense of the uncanny or Unheimlickeit that both Heidegger and Freud talked about, it may not be the result of some intrapsychic event--that only you are experiencing. This is one time when your neurotic self may have been trumped by something more powerful. You don't have to be paranoid to think someone is following you and if you're having a queer feeling that you can't put your finger on, it may derive from the fact that this may be the first time you're really living in a proto-fascist state. There are all the hallmarks, the great and veneered leader led into the spotlight by a mass revolt, say like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Honeker, Pol Pot, Chairman Mao. Perhaps the thugs at the rallies ring a bell or the orchestration of media with its historical reverberations? Mussolini was also a great performer and talk about reality television, Hitler had his own private film director in Leni Riefenstahl, famed for The Triumph of the Will (which might be a good soubriquet for upcoming inauguration). Of course our current president elect requires no direction, though one wonders if he had hadn't sought out some ancestor of Der Fuhrer's hairdresser in developing his signature look. He has set up a perfect stage in front of the elevator bank at Trump Tower even if the product doesn't attain the heights of l930s German propaganda (Steven Bannon is no match for Goebbels). But it's mostly the Mephistophelian bargain negotiated by the disenfranchised that's creating that odd feeling you can't pinpoint and that you're trying to blame on a early, mid or late life crisis. All of a sudden you're finding yourself surrounded by generals and corporate honchos (some with bad teeth and names like Rex) and you're wondering what will be next when the leader of the free world praises the war on drugs of a Philippine leader who leaves bodies of suspected drug users and dealers lying in the streets, "Duterte: During phone call, Trump praised my drug war as 'the right way,'" The Washington Post, 12/3/16, "Bodies pile up in Philippines street in Rodrigo Duterte bloody war against drugs," Yahoo News, 8/3/16.

photograph of Adolf Hitler (German Federal Archive)

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}