To repair the world is not just a normative injunction. I would advocate for a levinasian understanding, an affective stance, a feeling for the world, to heal it, to love, to open the heart and take good care of things. And to refuse its ugliness, to rise up against its tyrannies, to adamantly militate against its injustices, all of them. This is to feel for justice as the condition of seeking or doing justice. These things are relational and anchored in some kind of empathetic reality, or if not they are empty postures, tithing against the odds of comeuppance, or only for the ostensible good of selected people. Everyone, not being welcome.
This, among other things is a key motif or maybe raison d’être of the film Crimes and Misdemeanors. Where a craven, lying, adulterous murderer takes solace and self exoneration from his acts of observance, while his sister passionately exhorts the familial dinner table to remember history, to be obliged to justice, and to be worldly, not exceptionalist in one’s self regard and evaluation. I’ve never been able to forget this film for this reason. Despite my disquiet about its director.
Watching the film of Evita again. For all its flaws a persuasive spectacle of the persuasions of dictators and populists. Ignorance and entitlement elevated, the fourth estate destroyed. The worse than empty lotteries of circuses, to distract from the absence of bread, or the depredations by elites in the self aggrandising rhetorics of reinstated nationalism.
In one of the youtube clips i watched yesterday, someone pointing out that no one asked trump what he actually thought was great about america, to at least fill out what he wanted ‘again’ about it. And there were Hilary, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders continually stating exactly that — America is already great and this is why…
I think about these things. But there is also the constant hacking cough. No one can say why. Maybe cancer pressing on a vital structure. If so, no treatment for that. I am still dreadfully ill following radiotherapy, though admittedly it comes and goes. And I get on with work during the hiatuses from nausea and fatigue. But my voice is gone again and typing is more arduous as my hands continue to degenerate. Some people are staying in contact. But it is harder to reach back. I realise it is time to be making last lists.
Watching the staged violence, thinking of the smallest of margins between now and tomorrow. The Assads, and Putins and Trumps. Some people get behind them. Yesterday in a youtube clip, I watched John Stewart counsel against thinking of Trump supporters as a monolith. I am not persuaded. The upshot — that nice people voted for Trump. So what? The vote itself was an endorsement. What is the point of being nice, if that is what you are prepared to do? Nice people followed Mussolini, and Hitler. Nice people got behind Thatcher’s destruction of industries, of Unions. Nice people support UKIP. Nice people. Nice is defeated by all of these propositions.
In the film, armies on horseback beat crowds with truncheons. Tomorrow, ‘good guys with guns’, with their right to carry, will intimidate at will and there could be slaughter. There already has been, before it got its current figure head.
I am catastrophising. I am engaging in hyperbole. It is maudlin and overwrought. I can’t think my way to alternatives as everything I watch for pleasure is suddenly tainted, or ominous, or out of date, or even horribly prophetic. Like the episode of Law and Order G and I watched last evening, with its focus on the fringe right, in a time where fringes were the only place in the public imaginary for groups like that.