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What I’m reading 26 Jun 2017 through 6 Jul 2017

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What I’m reading 14 Jun 2017 through 25 Jun 2017

  • Trump 2020 Is No Joke – NYTimes.com – > Trumpism is a form of collective gaslighting at Twitter speed. It is founded on the principle that velocity trumps veracity.

    > All of this is serious. But it’s not as serious as the seeping, constant attempt — one sacred value at a time — to disorient Americans to the point they accept the unacceptable, cede to the grotesque, acquiesce to total arbitrariness as a governing principle. On one side the Constitution; on the other the rabbit hole that leads to the Trump International Hotel. – (politics rhetoric trump )

  • Forget Julius Caesar – Trump is more like Richard III, Shakespeare’s satanic joker | US news | The Guardian – > Sponsorship, a British director once told me, is implicit censorship. … . A spokesperson for one of the sponsors said the portrayal of Caesar was clearly designed “to provoke and offend”, which some of us thought was one of theatre’s basic functions.

    Why else would business put money behind art? Or a brand on a hockey rink? Or their name on an endowed chair? – (politics )

  • In Trump’s America, a thick-headed man’s incredibly thin skin is threatening free speech | Opinion | The Guardian – Thick head, thin skin is no reason. But the point is that censorship is here. Political correctness now comes from the right.

    > That large corporations are punishing creative expression because it is critical of Trump is worrying. Even more worrying, however, is the insidious but understandable creep of self-censorship among everyday Americans. This week provides yet another example that, when it comes to Trump, exercising your right to free speech – that dearest of American values – can prove an expensive endeavour. – (polemic politics censorship trump )

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

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Design General

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.

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Commonplace Book

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. 

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

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

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

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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 )

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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 )