[Marxism] on being Trumped

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 16 17:16:53 MDT 2016

Yesterday, piqued by my increasing (from a low base, mind you) interest in
the US presidential elections, I decided to break a deep sworn vow and went
on youtube in search of Trump in his reality tv mode. I loathe reality tv
and have sworn to go to my grave with the boast that I have never watched a
Big Brother show, Master Chef, Australia's Got Talent or a 60 Minutes

But I yielded to temptation and searched for Trump and "you're fired". I
came across a 7 minute compilation of the "best" of Donald Trump.  Alas,
words fail me here like they did when I tried so hard as a young man to
become a poet and a novelist.

I had always imagined that Narcissus would be a pretty boy like in those
old classical paintings,  kneeling by the water side and languidly
contemplating his own beauty.  But no, here he was - ugly, red faced, bug
eyed and it all topped with that hair-do.

This Narcissus was not drunk on beauty but on the the grossest  and most
arbitrary displays of his own power. "You're fired" he would snarl and
almost without exception they would whimper, apologize and slink out of the
throne room. There were two exceptions. One of the contestants glared in
deep hatred but said nothing.  A young woman defied the Emperor and tried
to defend her leader who was about to be fired. Trump's wrath was almost

Icarus plunged to earth when he got too near the sun, but these poor souls
had gone down into Hades to become victims of the wrinkled lip and sneer of
cold command.

I tried to work out what viewing the tape meant to me other than fill me
with despair at the sad search for 13 minutes of fame that has so many in
thrall. This post is, I suppose, part of that working out. As a teenager I
remember being deeply puzzled and depressed by the Marabar Caves episode in
Foster's *Passage to India*. Mrs Moore goes into the caves and experiences
some kind of nervous breakdown when the echo in the cave seems to say to
her, 'Everything exists, nothing has value'. Mrs Moore leaves India,
decides not to write to her children and she then proceeds to die. Thank
you Mr Foster!     Watching the youtube tape I wondered if this would
become my Marabar Caves moment?

I have, though, since read Vasant A. Shahane's Zen Buddhist reading of the
Marabar Caves incident. For him, Mrs Moore encounters the Void and comes to
understand the essential meaningless of life.  BTW I am not absolutely
convinced by Shahane's insistence that his reading is an optimistic one.

I can accept the proposition that all that Trump stands for - his wealth
and power and vulgarity contain nothing of value. I can understand that for
him to be strutting the airways is a sign of the almost absolute decay and
decomposition of late capitalism. But I feel that what Trump represents
must be actively resisted. It is necessary to be horrified at the spectacle
of him doing dirt on life, but it is not sufficient.  Instead of quietism
and acceptance, we must stoke the fires of revolutionary resistance.  it is
necessary to say once more
*encore un effort.*



Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 31, No. 2/3, E. M. Forster Issue (Summer
- Autumn, 1985), pp. 279-286

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