November 3, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on November 2, 2018

The point – or at least a point – is to kick something loose when I write here. Sometimes (perhaps often), however, I come in with a thought already formed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s not like we’re blank slates. Often it then lets me start, and then riff, and then kick something loose.

Sometimes, on the other hand, the thought already has a weight – or perhaps a momentum, like a projectile, a bullet, a rock thrown – which zooms past anything that may become loose; before it can come loose. Velocity kills (“speed kills,” ha), but then again, so does standing still (because that means you’re actually going backward).

The thought today goes something like this: I’m amazed by the things I can learn on, say, Twitter which aren’t the main “product” (the intended product) of the tweet, but a side product that turns out to be super-interesting from a psychological angle. So, for example, Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) tweeted about the Donna Brazile story, and wondered how long it would take for the commentariat to raise the specter of Russia. Sure enough, tweets galore are now showing up, asking whether Brazile was paid by Russia to write her article. It’s disgusting and stupid, of course, but @caitoz also characterizes it as narcissistic. And I hadn’t considered that.

It is narcissism to make something always about oneself, and in this case the Russia-collusion narrative has become such a strong component of identity that it’s a narcissistic imperative to insist on its centrality to every new political (or social) development.

Along similar lines, we could ask to what degree an “Islamic” identity (e.g., Ali Rizvi’s take, regarding Islamic-identity-in-the-West versus religion-in-Muslim-majority-countries) becomes pathological when it tips into narcissism. We can’t forget that narcissism is, if not the actual currency, then definitely at least the FOREX, the transmuter and translator – sanctioned, allowed, respected even – of all our social modes of being. At least here, in the West, the media-saturated one.

Another thing regarding the Brazile story and commentary on it: it’s astonishing to me to see tweets pop up asking with concern (and sometimes camp) whether Brazile will now be assassinated in a murder-made-to-look-like-an-accident. Yes, incredibly, those tweets are up, too. To me, they kind of underscore the un-nuanced, binary “on-off” quality of life many people think is normal. Either narcissism or annihilation.

Moving forward too fast, …or backward into oblivion.

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