Reading Michiko Kakutani’s ‘Deconstrution industry: Issues with truth in modern American’ ‘. American Writer comments

Reading Ms. Kakutani’s essay/fable titled ‘Deconstrution industry: Issues with truth in modern American’ in the July 27, 2018 print issue  and ‘Trump and the truth: Michiko Kakutani explores the issues with truth in modern America’ in the online version,of the TLS demonstrates the folly of both condensing a book into an excerpt, and pointing to the guilt of Paul de Man and his Post- Modern fellow travelers, as precursors to Trump.

And using: ‘As David Lehman recounted in his astute book Signs of the Times (1991)’ I purchased Mr. Lehman’s book through The Readers Subscription many years ago and read it, until I discovered through reading it, that it didn’t qualify as a book that was worth my time and attention. Call this book worthy of publication in a newspaper, except that the topic could have never qualify as ‘general interest’ and Mr. Lehman’s writing, considered retrospectively,  shares with Ms. Kakutani an American intellectual provincialism. Post-Modernism as the other of American Rationalism.

Some quotes from her condensation are worthy of quotation and comment:

Leaders like Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr and Barack Obama viewed America as a work in progress – a country in the process of perfecting itself.

The Trump campaign depicted itself as an insurgent, revolutionary force, battling on behalf of its marginalized constituency and disingenuously using language which strangely echoed that used by radicals in the 1960s. “We’re trying to disrupt the collusion between the wealthy donors, the large corporations, and the media executives”, Trump declared at one rally. And in another he called for replacing this “failed and corrupt political establishment”. The Trump campaign depicted itself as an insurgent, revolutionary force, battling on behalf of its marginalized constituency and disingenuously using language which strangely echoed that used by radicals in the 1960s. “We’re trying to disrupt the collusion between the wealthy donors, the large corporations, and the media executives”, Trump declared at one rally. And in another he called for replacing this “failed and corrupt political establishment”. More ironic still is the populist Right’s appropri­ation of postmodernist arguments and its embrace of the philosophical repudiation of objectivity – schools of thought affiliated for decades with the Left and with the very elite academic circles that Trump and Co. scorn.

Ms. Kakutani attributes to Trump, and his minions, an intellectual sophistication that does not exist. While ignoring the verifiable fact that Trump was the protege of  the Right-Wing guttersnipe Roy Cohen. Lying was the metier of Mr. Cohen, not to speak of hysterical propagandizing, that renders Ms. Kakutani’s claim null: ‘More ironic still is the populist Right’s appropri­ation of postmodernist arguments and its embrace of the philosophical repudiation of objectivity – schools of thought affiliated for decades with the Left and with the very elite academic circles that Trump and Co. scorn.’

Trump and Trumpism is about the practice of a kind of  Cold War American Know-Nothing Politics, renewed and practiced by the nihilist/opportunist Trump, not about Post-Modernist thinkers and their attack on ‘Truth’. In this Ms. Kakutani echoes the Canadian political charlatan Jordan Peterson Anti-Post-Modern hysterics. But this whole argument and its presentation is not just beyond the interest, but beyond the ken of Trump and his minions.

A simpler explanation for Trump might begin its narrative with Ronald Reagan, and his embrace of the Free Market Myth,  that began with Margaret Thatcher’s enthusiasm for Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom’. In 1992 the New Democrats were about the Neo-Liberal agenda, as the road to power as they jettisoned The New Deal in favor of Reaganism Lite. The passage of Grammy-Leach-Blilely in 1999, was the crowing moment of Reaganism, enacted by a Pseudo-Democrat. The Depression of 2008, and its dismal aftermath, and the failure of the central myth of Neo-Liberalism, the Self-Correcting Market to manifest itself: allied to the fact that both Republicans and New Democrats were/are still in the thrall of this failed belief system, are the more likely reasons for Trump that Ms. Kakutani’s essay doesn’t even broach. Not to forget what the Neo-Liberal Obama contributed to this, first in the appointment of the incompetent hack Larry Summers, and then the dismal Simpson and Boles!

Ms. Kakutani’s knowledge of  Post Modernism, as revealed by this essay, is not just inadequate but more pointedly inexcusable, as is her lack of knowledge of American political history. These books offer a more historically informative point of view on Post -Modernism: ‘French Theory’ by Francois Cusset, ‘The Origins of Postmodernity’ by Perry Anderson, ‘French Philosophy of the Sixties’ by Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut. And I will recommend  Daniel T. Rodgers’ ‘Age of Fracture’ with the caveat that the Epilogue of his book doesn’t do justice to its preceding chapters, which has many insights to offer- the want of courage of Professor Rodgers, to speak boldly and candidly about how the political actor might conduct herself in this Age of Fracture is what is absent from this very good book, whose writer lacks the courage to  be what an Emeritus Professor can be: a true philosopher!

American Writer

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/trump-truth-michiko-kakutani/

 

 

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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