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Trumpian disinterest: stock gains will 'disintegrate and disappear' under Biden (whatever's left)

5 min read

Trump claims a Joe Biden presidency would cause stock gains to ‘disintegrate and disappear‘. We’re already there, no thanks to an incompetent pandemic policy, or lack of one. #TrumpHasNoPlan Where’s that health plan he promised he’d sign by today.

Ultimately Trump doesn’t care, and in some ways it expresses the kind of aesthetic disinterest that believes in gold-plating everything. Or pretending he never heard his briefings, or read them. He will do anything to stay in power because it’s the only way he can stay out of prison.

In the electoral context, Trump is perfectly fine with Russia attacking U.S. democracy if it benefits him. This is of course not to say Trump is fine with Russian bounties on U.S. troops. He very well might sincerely believe it isn’t happening.
Rather, the point is that Trump has reasons for generally not wanting to probe too deeply into stories that might expose Russian intentions toward the U.S. in a particularly malign light when he may be hoping to gain from more Russian undermining of U.S. democracy. Those reasons prioritize self-interest over the national interest. That’s key context for explaining his sheer disinterest in getting to the bottom of the bounties.
Trump’s excuses reveal a twisted worldview. Swan noted that John Nicholson, the former top commander in Afghanistan, has also said Russia is supplying weapons to the Taliban, then asked Trump if this alone warranted challenging Putin over the bounties.
Trump brushed off the question, saying the U.S. similarly armed groups during Russia’s Afghanistan war: “We did that too.”
This has been a pattern. Asked if the Saudis should be held accountable for the butchery of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump said that “maybe the world should be held accountable” because it’s a “very vicious place.”
And when an interviewer told Trump that Putin is “a killer,” Trump replied: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent?”
Yes, of course the United States has its own horrifying history and the world is full of viciousness. But Trump’s real point is not to seriously lament these things. It’s that accountability and a better world are not ideals we should strive for, particularly when it means operating against his own perceived interests.
This is especially the case, apparently, when it comes to Putin — and of course Trump himself.

Authoritarian tendencies never truly go away. Art at the edges will always be a risk, in that it presents back to us everything we are in a mediated form, good and bad. At times, conservative values have threatened art; at others, like now, the left seems in the ascendency, finding offence everywhere, and finding delight in censoring and oppressing.

But under repressive regimes of all kinds, art is vital when it is underground and oppositional: think of the work of Serbian director, Dušan Makavejev, critical of Soviet communism, Yugoslav socialism as well as American imperialism; of punk’s refusal of a temporality that only appeared to embrace conservative values; of feminist art’s repositioning of desire and pleasure.


It is art that reveals to us, as if in a flash, the absurdity of the status quo, the mechanisms of domination, how we find ourselves caught in webs of unfreedom of all kinds, even, or especially those, that purport to be ‘on our side’.

Ask yourself what you would do, and who you would be, if you were truly free. Only with an image of freedom in mind can you begin to trust your judgement, aesthetically and politically. The mechanisms of censorship are often insidious and come today, for example, shrouded in the language of kindness, compassion and the pain of the other. Censorship is frequently pre-emptively internalised – we do not always need platforms to punish us when we say the ‘wrong’ thing; sometimes we know in advance what it is we should or should not say. But art, like life, is often very difficult: It is not up to others to tell us how we should interpret either. We can, and should, trust ourselves (and each other) to deal with the potentially devastating aspects of both.…


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