Tag Archives: trump

What I’m reading 31 May 2017 through 9 Jun 2017

tufte, illusions, trump

Tufte writes about attention and misdirection.

To create illusions is to engage in disinformation design….

In conjuring, strategies of disguise and attention control work to regulate the optical information available to the spectator. As we have seen for the backpalm and the copper-silver coin exchange, a common technique is to disguise smaller motions by means of larger motions; the fingers craftily manipulate while the hand grandly waves. The attention-attracting but resolution-reducing character of motion is described by Henning Nelms:

“Although movement attracts attention, it also diminishes visibility. When a thread is used to support a light object, it can be seen from a surprising distance even when its color matches the background. However, the slightest movement makes it disappear. A large movement can be used to conceal a small one. For example, the weak spot in The Strong Man’s Secret [a trick based on a cut-and-restored storing] is the action of cutting the loop. The technique . . . can be made more deceptive if you keep the knife still and force the string against it by a sudden movement of the left hand. . . . The large movement of the left hand and the string draws every eye away from the kmf’e so that no one can observe the unnatural way in which the string is cut.”

And in detective stories, the small clue that solves the mystery may be similarly disguised: “It is Agatha Christie, too, who regularly contrives that just as the clue is dropped a distracting m‘cident occurs. Here we are close to the art of the stage conjurer.” As well as close to the arts of propaganda, strategic Intelligence, and politics — although for magic, at least, the targets of the deception are aware and pleased that they are being deceived. Tufte, Visual Explanations, 64.

The position of facts in the simulacrum

Is any given bombing in Italy the work of leftist extremists, or extreme-right provocation, or a centrist mise-en-scène to discredit all extreme terrorists and to shore up its own failing power, or again, is it a police-inspired scenario and a form of blackmail to public security? All of this is simultaneously true, and the search for proof, indeed the objectivity of the facts does not put an end to this vertigo of interpretation. That is, we are in a logic of simulation, which no longer has anything to do with a logic of facts and an order of reason. Simulation is characterized by a precession of the model, of all the models based on the merest fact – the models come first, their circulation, orbital like that of the bomb, constitutes the genuine magnetic field of the event. The facts no longer have a specific trajectory, they are born at the intersection of models, a single fact can be engendered by all the models at once. This anticipation, this precession, this short circuit, this confusion of the fact with its model (no more divergence of meaning, no more dialectical polarity, no more negative electricity, implosion of antagonistic poles), is what allows each time for all possible interpretations, even the most contradictory – all true, in the sense that their truth is to be exchanged, in the image of the models from which they derive, in a generalized cycle. 
Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulations, 13. 

What I’m reading 16 May 2017 through 23 May 2017

What I’m reading 25 Apr 2017 through 8 May 2017

What I’m reading 1 Apr 2017 through 9 Apr 2017

What I’m reading 21 Mar 2017 through 24 Mar 2017

  • Donald Trump’s dizzying Time magazine interview was ‘Trumpspeak’ on display | Douglas Lawrence | Opinion | The Guardian – and an anaysis of the mad – (none)
  • Donald Trump: TIME Interview on Truth and Falsehoods | Time.com – transcript of the mad – (none)
  • Trump’s Comey tweet was one of his most terrifying lies yet. – I watch the Cuban Missile Crisis unfold on The News. I watched the Watergate investigation live on network tv. I watched the nightly reports wth death tolls from Viet Nam. I even saw Oswald shot live on a b&w tv. This is scarier because it's Trump going nihilist.

    > It’s difficult to describe the feeling of seeing the president of the United States lie, in the moment, about ongoing events and testimony.
    > …

    >This, in the end, is what’s so disturbing about his Monday afternoon tweet. It’s another sign of Trump’s basic contempt for the idea of an independent, observable reality that stands as a baseline for his actions. That reality is how you hold politicians accountable; it’s why the press is vital to a free and healthy democracy. But Trump sees no advantage in accountability, no reason to honor the truth or even gesture toward its existence. Both he and his White House have made a conscious decision to destabilize public discourse, to fracture and undermine common understanding. President Trump isn’t just lying to the American people; he’s saying, almost openly, that the truth just doesn’t matter either way. – (rhetoric trump )

What I’m reading 2 Mar 2017 through 17 Mar 2017

  • Trump Embraces One Of Russia’s Favorite Propaganda Tactics — Whataboutism : NPR – Rhetoric is *always* about policy.

    > But whataboutism extends beyond rhetoric, said Dmitry Dubrovsky, a professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. "It's not only a narrative practice; it's real policy," he said. "For example, the Russians installed a special institute to cover the violation of human rights in the United States." – (epistemology politics rhetoric trump )

  • Trump knows the feds are closing in on him – Today's poli-rhetorical lesson from Business Insider. – (none)
  • Trump’s Speech to Congress Was Not “Normal” – The New Yorker – > Yet these were superficialities. On closer inspection, Tuesday’s speech was not that normal at all—at least, not in light of what the President and his aides have spent the past few weeks doing and saying. Trump’s sudden distaste for “the wedge of disunity”—a wedge he has used with such abandon that he could just as well brand it, gild it, and have his sons sell it—was so obviously at odds with his public persona that it provoked, on the Democratic side of the aisle, bitter laughter. But the starkest contradiction the speech contained was the one between the President, who promised “a new program of national rebuilding,” and the words of his senior adviser, Stephen Bannon, who announced, only five days earlier, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Washington, that the Administration had begun a project of “deconstruction.” So which is it: Is the federal government in the construction business, as Trump insists, or the deconstruction business, as Bannon has put it? Can it possibly be in both? – (rhetoric )

What I’m reading 9 Feb 2017 through 19 Feb 2017

  • Donald Trump and the Enemies of the American People – The New Yorker – How to define the enemy as anyone who challenges power

    > an old-fashioned autocrat wielding a very familiar rhetorical strategy.

    > all follow a general pattern. They attack and threaten the press with deliberate and ominous intensity; the press, in turn, adopts a more oppositional tone and role. “And then that paves the way for the autocrat’s next move,” Simon told me. “Popular support for the media dwindles and the leader starts instituting restrictions. It’s an old strategy.” Simon pointed to Trump’s lack of originality, recalling that both Néstor Kirchner, of Argentina, and Tabaré Ramón Vázquez, of Uruguay, referred to the press as the “unelected political opposition.” And, as Simon has written, it was the late Hugo Chávez who first mastered Twitter as a way of bypassing the media and providing his supporters with alternative facts. – (rhetoric politics trump )

  • Donald Trump Will Leave You Numb – The New York Times – I can't recall the rhetorical figure of "repeat until exhausted." Too tired. But this is also about kairos: "Not by accident did he put on that 77-minute performance for the media — hurling insults, flinging lies, marinating in self-pity, luxuriating in self-love — just three days after the resignation of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and amid intensifying questions about collusion between Team Trump and the Russians.
    "He was cluttering the landscape. Overwhelming the senses. Betting that a surfeit of clangorous music would obscure any particularly galling note. That wager got him all the way to the White House, though he has no place being there, and so he sticks with it. The news conference was a case study in such orchestrated chaos." – (rhetoric rhetorical_velocity kairos exhaustion simuations analysis )
  • Understanding Trump « George Lakoff – – (none)

What I’m reading 29 Jan 2017 through 6 Feb 2017

  • Vie and deWinter – Disrupting Intellectual Property, from Wikis in Composition – For teachers mainly. > By challenging the authority of the single authorial voice, wikis also call into question traditional notions of intellectual property as a market commodity. These notions propagate the argument that ideas are a unique product of individual labor and can thus “belong” to a single person. It may be precisely because wikis challenge these established notions that some student users resist their use in the classroom. In keeping with this general theme, the questions that guide our research are as follows: What is the currency of intellectual property in the university setting? Do wikis, in fact, disrupt established, dominant notions of intellectual property? – (wiki en3177 collaboration collaborativewriting copyright )
  • The Peek-a-Boo World of a Global Villager – The Hawk’s Roost – Connects Blood, Rettberg, and McLuhan in the social media village:

    > Does the disciplined approach, which blogging in its intended form is described as possessing, offer the solution to legitimizing the discussions we as a society are having. Am I wrong in sensing that social media has become plagued with a lack of ethical discourse, where important social issues are overwhelmed with copious amounts of misinformation. Where the atmosphere is clouded with an overall lack of informational credibility? – (weblogs )

  • Trump’s America, where even park employees have become enemies of the state | Sarah Kendzior | Opinion | The Guardian – A consideration of Trump's alternative facts and their rhetorical use.

    > What Americans have learned is that our system of checks and balances is so weak that even parks employees can become enemies of the state. They are learning their rights as they lose them, grieving for what they once took for granted. Fear is matched by incredulity that hundreds of years of imperfect democracy could cede into autocracy with such ease. Trump’s win was followed by debate over what it means to live in a “post-facts” world. This was a fatuous debate: if facts did not matter, then Trump and his team, whose threats of punishment and litigation long preceded his official lock on power, would not work so hard to suppress them. The idea of a fact always mattered – it simply had to be the Trump administration’s facts that counted. Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway, made this blatant last weekend when she stated that the administration would proffer “alternative facts” that justified its political aims. – (politics rhetoric trump )