In America, where a union of bankers run a system promoting private initiative ahead of public interest, the president has adopted a ‘so say I’ approach to trade and worldly issues that would not be out of place in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. What can be observed in his approach as ‘leader of the free world’ . . . a very American delusion . . . is the mosaic of initiatives (tweets) he has set in motion to reboot the ‘American Greatness’ illusion. That the scales of justice are tilted against the human component in the ‘greatness’ narrative is irrelevant in the mind of yet another president adept in using superlatives fashioned within the confines of the deep-state for the purpose of calming the angst arising from the millions of poor who find themselves standing in the shallow waters of ‘Lake Equity.’
It would appear that 21st century American culture has entered a phase where the national psyche (genus) has morphed into sub-stratified layers (genres) by virtue of its technological ability to project imagery and text into every part of the system. Technology it seems, has succeeded in connecting the material world with the immaterial world in a culture that has fashioned its hopes around the concept of the American Dream, which hosts the idea that anyone, regardless of how humble his or her origins, can succeed in achieving the ‘good (middle class) life.’ Hence the art forms that came into being to reify the mechanisms that enable the puppet masters to impound the wealth of the nation continue to perform well.
And as American art is mainly genre art, the ‘can-do’ people have produced an electronic infrastructure that caters for all the realities within an extremely stratified society by promoting the rags-to-riches narrative which says that great wealth can be achieved by anyone . . . even by those who are semi-intelligent . . . if they are prepared to work for it. It is the electronic infrastructure that showcases materialism as the all purposeful end, while concealing the fact that the majority of wealth is in the hands of those who acquired it by birthright, leaving the ‘rest’ to be caught up in a dramatic scramble for a piece of the action; hence the raging 24/7 drama of genre arts on the ubiquitous screens there to inform the public about the nature of American culture . . . and if you know how to tweet, you’re off to a good start . . . it being the current passport into inclusiveness?
But mystery of mysteries, can Americans ever free themselves from the aggressive iterations that juxtapose macho mayhem alongside indifference to the consequence of the terror they have rained down on the world beyond their own borders; think of indifference to the merciless destruction of Muslim countries; think casino capitalism and its appetite for warfare; think of the hullabaloo that comes with laissez-faire economics; think of how stacked the game is against those of lesser means; think ‘lesser means’ as little time to think of anything but survival; think of an electronic infrastructure that continues to selectively pump-out inane mantras of hope into formulaic genres in lieu of something more socially cohesive . . . less fragmented.
That support for the system could survive the 2008 Wall Street crash beggars belief, suggesting that the public’s love of the capitalist system represents either blind faith or plain stupidity. There is a mountain of evidence to show how corrupt the system really is; the pecuniary activities of elites mired in deception sought relief when things went belly-up, leaving the public to pick up the tab. How extraordinary was that . . . considering the fact that so many of them were thrown under the bus in the first place, making it more the stuff of nightmares than dreams. Yet the dream lives on in the minds of those who believe salvation will come when they become part of the property owning class.
Therefore, one needs to ask, are genre formats merely fake art designed to appease public expectations? Does the term ‘great,’ as in Great Britain, or make America great (again) reveal to the public a measure of its own exceptionality when such terms are used? Is genre style art peculiar to a system that needs to forever re-commodify a dream that purports to work for everybody . . . as Hollywood has been shown to do since day one . . . in its own supercilious fashion.
Hollywood, and the media in general, had great success in projecting the image of Mr. Right as the good guy who was patently Anglo and white, honest, and lucky to be endowed with the skills required to merit hegemonic status in a world where Americans possess the role of leadership. It was this fable that became the genre coup of the 20th century.
That Mr. Right could connect with the chick with the big tits and blonde curls beckoning him into the rose tinted boudoir of happiness was a given. Seeing that the American dream was predicated on the belief that great things would come to those who had the savvy to achieve success in the material world, Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon and began to produce endless quasi-documentary-like-dramas depicting the aspirations at the core of the American dream; think Donald or Hillary or think what you will about America’s ability to manufacture a folk spirit in the absence of one that might have evolved over millennia.
Perish the thought . . . are leaders like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton merely random caricatures connecting blunt narratives of self-righteous pap per medium of genres created to project expeditious events . . . expropriating something from somebody . . . because God meant that they should finish his work by profiting from their ability to make whoopee with the use of engineering skills that he gave them so they could turn military might into full spectrum dominance and show the rest of the world how exceptional they are . . . doesn’t the man with the orange hair, as his predecessors did, think so . . . as do the myths that originate from the media drawing boards of the wannabes do?
We in the West seem to have reached a plateau where aggression has become the norm. Sadly, the stultifying effects of American aggression have been to kill off the possibility of saner and more transformative way of interacting with our environment and trading partners in the developing world. To observe the president of America . . . a dinky-die dealer for sure . . . pirouetting atop the summits of old Europe and Russia, is to read him as someone who has learned a thing or two from John Cleese, upon observing how he goes about the business of launching his latest deal . . . Fawlty Towers a la Trump.
America First . . . or make America Great Again . . . are they false-flag narratives served up in nativist genres to repeatedly reinforce the American way of doing business by promoting the idea that American culture is exceptional and ought to be embraced globally; think Hollywood; think of the connection between American style patriotism and the mercenaries who do the heavy lifting; think of America’s preoccupation with things that go bump in the night; think America wanting to remain great because it needs to continue to implement its aggressive foreign policy in order to secure dominance for itself as hegemon in the global marketplace; think of the American public who imagine themselves to be a can-do people (or implementers) unquestioningly accepting their government’s bloody interferences in the affairs of countless sovereign states across the globe . . . particularly in the Middle East . . . and you may get the picture?
And the picture one gets is one of a big orange toupeed man-child crying wolf; crying fake news; crying, our allies need to pay 4% of their GDP so that NATO can continue to dictate the terms of the status quo; can support our ‘bigness’ (military) so that nothing can ‘out-bigness’ America; ‘out-business’ America; ‘outsmart’ America; outdo the propaganda war that implements American style genre thinking to do the job of imposing its very own form of aggressive interpretations in the geopolitical sphere so that truth becomes mere interpretation under the auspices of American ‘so-say-I-ness.’ In fact, everything that can be said to disguise the truth that America’s problems are within its own system . . . calibrated to the wellbeing of the wealthy few per medium of Wall Street three-card trickery.
It is American ‘so-say-I-ness’ that so riles much of the global community because it has become ever more apparent that the generality of its citizens have succumbed to delusions that lock them into an hermetic system where aggression has become the order of the day, and where media has become complicit in a game that accepts lying by omission as the price it must pay to stay in the swamp . And sadly, the most surefire way of pumping up a country that has no history of ‘folk,’ is to invent hubristic myths of the ‘look what’s in our armoury kind’ that suggest that America doesn’t need a past because it possesses the hardware to shape its own future and that of the rest of the world too.
So, judging from the shadows on the cave wall of contemporary America, it appears that a mixture of military might and bankers delight are the elements denoting the axiomatic aggression now pervading so many aspects of American culture; think American arts; think of money controlling the media; think of a public mired in feckless fixations that celebrate dumbass heroics that ignore the ignominy that arises from the consequences of American Foreign Policy . . . or Pax Americana . . . killing for killing’s sake!
Think of the genre forms; gangster; film noir; the western; stand-up; science fiction; horror; war films that expose the existential crucible that contain America’s hermetic hostility. To do so, is to be confronted by the intractable lamentations of a narrative suggesting that most of us are being set-upon by motherfuckers who get in our way as we attempt to acquire a position near the top of the pile in order to breathe more freely. And horror of horrors, the derogatory term ‘motherfucker,’ long since debuted into the male lexicon like nasty spermatozoon running amok to defile woman and the motherland leaves one questioning the verity of the stock, and its ability to communicate in any meaningful way. Thus does aggression confirms the fact that control . . . not unity . . . be the American way, so if you want to stay sane; think leading from behind?
Denis A. Conroy is a freelance writer residing in Australia.