Donald Trump’s reprehensible insistence on the truth of his false memory of American Muslim celebrations over 9/11 has been roundly contested.  Politifact’s is here.  This is a very dangerous and disappointing turn.  Its implications will be explored by others, but I want to make a brief comment about the mediation of it all.

The years since 9/11 have actually been a time of remarkable restraint on the part of whatever American impulses toward Islamophobia might lurk beneath the surface.  Trump has succeeded in calling them forth, tapping sentiments that can easily constitute some very dark stresses and impulses in American domestic and foreign policy.

This is how the media imaginary works.  It is a “cultural forum” through which things that might not make sense in practical terms can make sense in imagined normative spaces that can exist unmoored from reality.  And, rhetorics such as Trump’s must at the same time refer to media and mediation for “evidence.”  Did Trump see what he says he saw?  He would have to have seen it on television. Yet, no evidence, no tape, no reporting, no cultural memory exists.  And yet a cultural memory does exist, or rather can be fabricated and can take on vivid reality because it “..just makes sense…” to the manichean worldview Trump inhabits.

And it is calling this fabricated memory into being for his followers, too, according to this Morning’s NPR coverage of the issue.

And it is Trump’s confidence, in the face of truth or reality, that is his most endearing quality, apparently.  Being confident about something that makes cultural sense is a dangerous quality in political affairs.

Advertisements