The Trump campaign is a current example of emoting power. The strategy was practiced by many before, the most recent example being Berlusconi. Its aim, as shown by Putin among others, is a public emotional emergency that suppresses the remains of a political or open society in order to calm the senses of the body politic. The absurd desire to use the lessons of the American entertainment industry for a personal obsession to enter history and to increase riches in an age of devastating narcissism, calls for an emotional pool to reflect the image. It seems obvious that this pool can be found only on the right of the political spectrum. Here the waters reflect all the shades of a disillusioned people. The pool of the left, the progressives, holds no promise. The well has run dry like the water crisis the world faces, and the puddle that remains is guarded by the status quo so as not to let evaporate what remains.
Nor will the tears of the world replenish the protected source. Once the emotional pool is tapped by the Trump organization, all that has to be done is to change appearance continuously. This will empower the desperate to believe that their confusion is a work of art.
The emoting power once put into motion means dependence. It’s an addiction, an addiction corresponding with the deadly desire of the assassin. He is nourished by rage, vulnerability, and the adjustment of the image. (Hence video observation suggested as the antidote, the disappearance of the individual as the ultimate ratio of the status quo.) What is true for the addict is also true for the assassin. Both have to be nourished.
This constitutes the power and the simultaneous foreseeable collapse of the Trump campaign. Whether this individual and collective collapse is accompanied by the raw power of American economic and military might is up to the electorate. Yet substance-abuse supported by the technologically-induced information bomb remains a grand obstacle for preventing Trump’s self-distractive tendencies.
Two Architectural Follies
- The Bridge
One of Berlusconi’s offerings to the Italian public was a bridge to Messina. A span from the Italian mainland across the blue straits to the island of Sicily. These waters are some of the deepest in the Mediterranean. Years ago some mariners pulled two bronze sculptures out of the turquoise depths. Two millennia had they remained amongst the currents. Countless ferries had passed back and forth between the lands and above the glass-eyed beauties. When they appeared again in the bright stagelight of ancient summers, their sculptured veins still pumped blood from neck to genitals, their teeth white, their brows attentive and cunning.
Today you can confront these glamorously simple males at the Museum of Reggio Calabria. Fished from the salty waters, they rest on earthquake-proof pedestals. Their residence has climate control as an added luxury. The earth shakes violently in these parts that has provided the humans with unspeakable beauty since the beginning of time. The depth of the sea and the movement of the planet present two of the great riddles of modern engineering.
What is left of the bridge is an empty planning office and millions of dollars, provided by the people of Italy and beyond, disappeared from the known world into bank accounts of friends and associates.
For a moment this undoing of land and sea, this lofty ark, became the hope of Sicily’s nameless poor on the richest island in the Mediterranean.
- The Wall
A wall, of course, is a much less audacious project than a bridge. The historical precedence lends it some gravity no doubt. Yet it remains the most basic of architectural endeavors. It seems that Trump—compared to his high-flying predecessor in architectural imagination—has chosen a rather simplistic expression. Yes, there remain questions to be answered about the material that would be used for its construction and above all who the contractors would be and even more the workers employed to complete this project. Everybody interested in its construction should at least ask if migrant workers would be needed for its realization.
But the flight of imagination Trump is seeking to induce in his admirers is not the edifice itself, unlike the bridge. It is the question: What is in front of and beyond that wall?
Using the aesthetics of his wall-constructing business, sometimes referred to as “development,” one can assume that the side facing the USA will be very basic and of little aesthetical value. Like the well-groomed lawns of suburban homes and their meaningless perfection.
Thereby the wall becomes the borderline of nothing. Protecting nothing against the invasion of something. Strangely, it is referred to as a barrier that allows the citizens of the USA to reconstruct what is no longer there.
To understand the popular appeal of the wall, one has to look beyond it. Let’s imagine what it looks like behind the wall, on the other side. A collective fantasy, sold to American tourists by American travel agencies for decades.
It is as if the Mexican people are asked to pay for the luxury of the American colonial imagination. Let’s try to put it in words. Right behind the wall we encounter fields of dust, weeds—in short an unregulated wilderness. Followed by dwellings that know neither front nor back door, frequented by human beings as well as domesticated animals, garbage not disposed of, the smell of human sweat mixed with pungent spices and a constant noise pollution of various rhythmic and vocal expressions accompanied by strange brass sections playing devious chords.
And what lies beyond that? Two lane highways, run-down gas stations, high savannas, and dark green forests until one reaches the plateau of one of the most populous urban assemblies of all the Americas.
In the blazing sun and cool nights of the metropole, private limousines accompanied by bodyguards transport imaginary travelers to air conditioned luxury hotels where the concierge will point out folkloristic hotspots of nightlife without being touched by the smoldering million-eyed human mass.
Leaving the ancient capital of the Aztecs, sophisticated wall-builders themselves, we head south with Trump’s great American caravan of the other side and enter the jungles of lower Mexico.
Now we see the familiar sights, portrayed in endless high-resolution portfolios: the climb of the Mayan pyramids, heartrate-measuring devices attached to the wrists of human adventurers who scale the ancient objects of civilization. And the reward, the turquoise waters and beach chairs of the Caribbean’s sandy beaches. The service, as expected, is excellent.
We take to the skies to fly over the plantations of Central America. Or stumble through the dark corridor that connects the two Americas to the general store, Columbia, which provides quick fixes to the endless sufferings of the U.S. identity crisis. For what the electoral caravan of the U.S. parts on the way south are the killing fields of Central America. Never has the fear of the beyond been more rational and bleak. Millions rise from the graves of civil wars produced, financed, and outfitted by the North. Just now, just decades ago. Every civil engineering project has a secret: Trump’s Wall is built to keep out the victims of American greatness.
Let us now move on over the breathtaking green heights of the Andes, the foggy ports of Chile, and arrive at our destination: beyond the Wall. The endless bare wind-swept cold ice sheets of the Antarctic. This is the true purpose of the wall.
To protect us from the cold in our hearts.
Clear to every visitor to Washington, D.C., the architectural features of power are fashioned after the Roman republic and empire. One can agree that among many things, the Romans were great bricklayers and walkers. Their vast empire, conquered by foot and horse, was enclosed by a wall. Frequently, in times of great inequality, masses were aroused by populist orators, their language being the language of their listeners. The result of such upheaval, more often than not, led to strife and civil war. Inside the walls of the empire. The weapons being knives and sticks. Unlike today.
Every actor recognizes the terrible persona in the mirror. And we look for this affirmation in others.
Michele Battimiello is a painter and mail carrier who lives under Vesuvius, south of Naples, Italy. The theme of his work is the illumination of the mystical aspects of daily life.
Martin Mohacsek is a poet who lives in New York City and Napoli.