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Weaponizing Absurdity

Raunchy Russian Cadets Set Off Wave of Political Solidarity

If you don’t see life in a declining America as absurd, you’re not paying attention; or you haven’t read enough Kafka, Heller or Vonnegut. For cultural subversion to go viral in any culture -- it was the case with the air cadet video -- it has to be spontaneous and audacious. Just do it, rather than planning it. Pussy Riot and the dry-humping air cadets got under the Russian government’s skin; in the air cadet's case, a viral solidarity movement arose to protect them. Roth tells us that Dario Fo “scrambles the relationships among history, religion, and everyday experience so that the truths to be learned from them can be set free from the preconceptions in which they have been enshrined. ... He unleashes a spirit of carnival revolt that encourages audiences to stand up for themselves." Fo put it this way: "The public is my co-conspirator.”

NFL players facing traumatic brain injury as cattle and rich team owners as ranchers? It’s right out of Blazing Saddles. A President controlled by a right-wing general and a right-wingnut nobody named Steve Miller stirs up his know-nothing political base by inducing confusion and chaos using Twitter? Alec Baldwin has mastered that dangerous doofus. The possibilities for subversive humor are rich. Righteous outrage emphasizing the right's hateful politics and excess won’t break this logjam. This preposterous President is often caricatured as a monstrous, whining infant, which no doubt has been done by puppeteers somewhere as a huge paper-mache diaper baby with orange hair and an i-phone. It’s sad to think that a reality-TV-star-as-president is what our exceptionalist culture deserves, an end-of-the-line reality show with the subtext that things could get even worse. Maybe, in this sense, Donald Trump is what we need. Maybe he's a walking, talking, tweeting subversive reality-satire manifested in front of us every night on TV, where we learn what he said today that contradicts what he said the day before and what he'll say to contradict that tomorrow. There's a good reason Alec Baldwin is so much fun to watch: The guy is having so much fun subverting with laughter -- helping to solidify a resistance as he does it.

As they say, you can’t make this stuff up. Well, we don’t have to. The inspiration for a nation’s creativity is right there in front of us.

“Push me. And then just touch me.”

story | by Dr. Radut