If I offend all of the parties involved, I can only suggest
that I may have done my job well. Too much has been lost and too much hangs in the balance to try to gain place by pleasing one faction at the expense of the others. The action-plan I advance in the end, then, is offered to all for all it is likely to be accepted by few. But those few are vitally important. Those who face up to the implications of our technologies and our popular and political culture will have a far better chance to build personal, financial and community resources to overcome the daunting challenges that lie ahead.--Gilbert Wesley Purdy
Gilbert Wesley Purdy is the Review Editor of the online journal Eclectica Magazine. He has published poetry, prose and translation (from Italian, Spanish and Latin) in many journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine, Poetry International (San Diego State University), The Georgia Review (University of Georgia), Grand Street, SLANT (University of Central Arkansas), The Evansville Review (University of Evansville), Consciousness Literature and the Arts (University of Wales, Aberystwyth), Orbis (UK), and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His work in online journalism has been cited by Newsweek.UK and Huffington Post.
I fell in awe to the author, as I met him as a book reviewer, knowing that, here, I had just become friends with a true professional reviewer, who speaks with words fluid, eloquent--so beautifully written that he shares the book mentioned in a small, yet compelling way that reaches out to the reader...the review, itself, a work of art...
How very lovely to have found his latest review in Eclectica Magazine as I was getting ready to review his latest book! I am already thinking about reaching out to find some of his poetry as well!
But now, he has written a book of extreme importance that I would immediately recommend as a Must-Read...
I asked about the title before I got the book. While the election time period does begin the book, Purdy has gone back much further to provide the foundation of how America reached the point through and after the election...
Of the election, he says:
The Election. When people have asked me, over the years, why I do not watch the Olympic Games I have been in the habit of replying that Presidential election years were my Olympics. I study the rule books, the records and personalities involved in each “event,” keep track of when each is scheduled to occur, admire a well-organized competitive team.
By shortly after the 2016 party conventions this cycle, however, I could not bear to watch any longer. The very few people who were asking for my observations must already have realized that I was struggling somehow. My attention had become spotty at best. I did not want to talk about the election — a thing almost unheard of. It wasn’t the pandering, although the practice was more than usually shameless. It wasn’t that the competition “got dirty.” Such is always the case at the fringes of the congressional and presidential races. It wasn’t due to the boring repetition of the same carefully crafted talking points. It wasn’t due to some bit of blatant opportunism. Elections are always affected by national and world events. Part of what a hard fought election shows us is that the candidates are able to quickly rally their forces and deal with the unexpected crisis.
No, the problem was that the presidential election of 2016 was not an election at all. It was a travesty of an election. Donald Trump had one signature policy (keeping out black and brown immigrants — and, by clear implication, reducing black and brown citizens’ societal gains). The candidate openly instructed his followers to beat up people of color who got uppity. In the “old days,” he cried, real citizens would just beat them up and they would learn to behave properly. As for attending to other issues, he continually altered his positions to fit the prevailing circumstances.
The Trump “spin-meisters” (a.k.a. Trump surrogates) did not take their craft to the limits and maybe a little beyond. They repeatedly lied, replied with blatantly false equivalencies, etc. Their trademark was a supreme confidence that there was nothing anyone could do about it and only political gain to come from it.
Their analysis was correct. Lies reached millions of viewers at the speed of light. Fact checks arrived days later to be read by mere thousands who might care about such boring stuff. By vast majorities, people wanted to be told what they wanted to hear. It is an old meta-truth that the Trump campaign was the first to adopt without conscience. Old ideas of “truth” were boring. The truth people wanted to hear was the “truth” that justified them in their hatreds; dramatic “truths,” perhaps, that made the election seem less boring than past affairs. The presidential election had been transformed into a reality television show.
One of the candidates was a reality television personality who knew how to play to the camera. Policies were pathetic attempts at plot development and were largely cast aside. They were ignored in favor of confused, emotionally charged rants and conspiracy theories. Emotional connection was not the most important thing: it was everything. The candidate played to the pit and the sweeping emotion of angry cries and thunderous applause was so affecting that those in the cheap seats took it up as well. His opponent was a “weak character.” No one was even sure why she was on the show except to be a foil. Scores of fact-free fan-sites were required in order even to turn her into a serviceable evil, demonic character that the audience could hate enough to keep the emotion building up. Without those sites she would only have been the greatest of television disasters: boring...
Elitism and the Election
Of Donald Trump
By Gilbert Wesley Purdy
I needed to read this book. First let me explain...I'm not an involved political person like our author. I've watched the evolution of America through many years and have abhorred what I saw, felt what was happening. My family is Republican; I clearly leaned differently... So, the election this year became of interest to me purely because of one person--Donald Trump. I am afraid of what he is and what he is doing to America... But, for me, he was the icing on the cake as I saw it...
One of the most important things confirmed for me is that what is happening is outside of the individual in the presidency... For so many years I have tried to express my opinion that it is not the specific president elected that "caused" or "will change"
what has already been evolving in our culture... However, with the emotional trauma created by Trump this year, it appears that that the volcano has finally erupted... And it seems that I am one of those who care and have accepted wholeheartedly what Purdy has declared in his book...
The destruction of the electoral process, as was seen this year, "had been destroyed..." Specifically, Purdy wrote his thoughts,By this point, I was barely following. I had already realized that I was watching the destruction of the U.S. electoral process. It was almost certainly irreversible no matter who won. I had hoped against hope that I would never see the day...
Punditry, providing analysis or opinion to the media, together with the material on lying was almost sickening for me... We all saw the blatancy of it in November...but this was only the "big show." Lying through, for instance, deceiving advertising, in order to slowly allow the bottom line to become the decision-making priority, has been building slowly over the years so that truth...well, Purdy notes it really doesn't exist any more... Or... it is defined by those who are speaking... Yikes!
Purdy elaborated that Fake News became the norm during the election, illustrating how everybody believes that what they hear...and...accept...is the truth while fake news is what those who are out to deceive or promote their own agenda, the opposite viewpoint of their own, is fake, false, a deliberate lie. Fortunately, I had no vested interest in the election--I didn't support either candidate--so perhaps that is why I was easily able to read and understand Purdy was speaking "Truth..." I was thankful to see this learned expert agreed with most of what I'd thought about...and presented so much more as documentation...
Fake News Within several days the spotlight began to settle on the matter of the “fake news sites” (referred to as “citizen journalism sites,” by those who benefit from them, and which I have referred to as “fact-free fan-sites” to this point) which had become so prevalent.
There could be little doubt over recent years that these sites were proliferating. By the time the elections got underway, their number was legion. They were generally aligned with the Alt-Right (the moniker designating white nationalists and their mercenary “allies”) and Activist-Left/ Anti-Alt-Right (now more often and tellingly referred to as the “Ctrl-Left”). Some were single issue news sites created to cover LGBT issues, abortion issues, etc. The Alt-Right sites were far more prevalent. Circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that they were more popular in inverse proportion to their concern for fact. Their audience was facing demographic absorption into a pluralistic society. The numbers sorted more against them with each election cycle. They were angry and desperate. This was political war and all was fair in war.
There are many other issues included; however, I want to move ahead to the chapter related to the word, Elitism, which is part of the title. Purdy begins:
Those without power are being placated or worse.
They are only receiving that much in order
to avoid economic disruption.
I'm willing to share that I defined the Elite as those with financial power, but I discovered that this really didn't work...for all people! And frankly I saw the Elitism of Trump as he rented space in his property to the government, for just one example. But that is MY truth! What is yours?
One of the things that has bothered me for many years is explained by the phrase "Dumbing of America..." I've not read the book that probably created the phrase, and really don't want to... I've see it in action over and over... We know that education has been underfunded and is projected to be even more so... Yet those who don't have higher education credentials are finding it harder and harder to live in today's culture, while the cost continues to be prohibitive for many... What lies ahead for the majority of Americans?
Value education above all things. Don’t accept substitutions.
Do everything in your power to assure that your children attend schools
that stress math, science and language skills
and teach out of a valid, up to date Western Canon.
I began my comments by saying that I needed to read this book. I needed to have somebody speak about the topics that concern me and I needed to be able to accept or reject them based upon my own experience and knowledge. I realized my feelings were more intuitive than based upon study, which has always been geared toward business management issues.
This man has "Played" the Election game as most others watch the Olympic games...people have known this and respected him for his opinions. It's exactly the book I needed to read given the daily situations we learn about... It's not the easiest book because of his expertise, but then, I used it as a textbook and made sure I understood what was being said before I moved forward...That means to me that everybody can do the same.
Want to read a fresh perspective of life in America and where our culture has changed and may be headed? Again, read this book...it truly is a Must-Read if you care about America and its future...and how you may be able to learn to adjust... Isn't it time you give up on choices created by some false basis that you may even have historically accepted routinely, and think through what is reality, happening now, right now? Let me know what you think after you read the book!