@nytimes Bret Stephen’s paranoid wet dream about the year 2025. Political Observer comments

Think of Stephens distopian view of the future,  as speculation in the political present, to unleash his penchant for fear mongering, garnished by comforting political kitsch. Think of that David Lynch’s classic Hollywood dreck ‘Blue Velvet’, as a bloated rhetorical example of the Sadism/Kitsch binary, that Stephens freely adapts, to make his point. But that point , to this reader, is about Neo-Conservative nihilism, or more aptly, its status as a modern day death cult! Look to the headline and sub-headline of essay: 

Headline: Covid-19: A Look Back From 2025

Sub-headline: In which the coronavirus has changed almost everything.

The usual fascination with collapse, decay and decadence of Conservatism, of the kind that Opus Dei and the politics of Francoism reflect, all tarted up via the mendacious re-write man of the History of Philosophy, Leo Strauss, and his coterie of hysterical defenders.  

Note that Mr. Stephens’ almost literary speculation is firmly anchored in our present moment of crisis, and that the political actors, in his precis, remain unchanged, even though five years have past. So view his brief sketch of his possible literary speculations, as his maladroit way of pronouncing, in his necessarily disingenuous way, on the actuality of our historical moment. Stephens, in his usual perverse way, demonstrates the value of hindsight as exercised in a pseudo-literary speculation ?  The Then/Now is muddied to Stephens political advantage?   

And like the Neo-Conservative he is, and remains, despite the respectable bourgeois cover of The New York Times, the Enemies of American are the same: Russia, China and Iran. The large cast of familiar names adds the necessary verisimilitude, to his political/literary miniature. An since this is The New York Times, the necessary balm of kitsch is supplied by this  homespun paragraph: 

Not everything was bleak. Adults read more books, paid closer attention to their spouses and children, called their aging parents more often, made more careful choices with their money, thought more deeply about what they really wanted in life. In time, that kind of spiritual deepening will surely pay its own dividends.

Political Observer

 

 

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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