Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump's Constant Lying Is a Power Game Called "Fuckery," and He's Winning At It


Amy Winehouse, live, 2010

by Gaius Publius

Yes, Virginia, that man said "fuckery." It's a lovely word with a lovely place in hip-hop culture. And it's exactly the word we need to understand Trump's (and really, all Republicans') outrageous lies and shenanigans, and also how to deal with them effectively.

Bottom line: Donald Trump isn't just lying, he's "fucking with us" and challenging us to call him on it. This is exactly the "Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?" problem. And here as there, it's not about the lies; it's a naked show of power. It's about whether one person can impose his will on another person and make him publicly ignore the truth. This interaction is especially true of Trump and the national media, which Trump needs to bring to heel in order to rule for the next four years.

Cheating husband to spouse: "I can make you say you didn't see what you saw. Now, are you going to leave me? Thought not."

Trump to the media: "I can say whatever I want and make you swallow it. I can make you "fact-check" my language instead of laughing in my face for lying straight to yours. Watch me do it ... again."

Fuckery is a power game, and pretending it isn't a power game — pretending its a game about truth instead — is what losers do. Fact-checking someone who's fucking with you is like correcting the grammar on a death threat. Once you do that, once you play the game that way, it's over. Your side just lost. 

The Fuckery of Donald Trump

Here's more on Trump and his fuckery from Shawn Hamilton, writing at the Huffington Post (bolded emphasis mine):
The Birth Of F**kery: How To Think About Donald Trump's Lies

Yes, [Trump] lies ― constantly, badly and ridiculously ― but the assembled lies create a whole that is greater and more awe-inspiring than the parts....

“Lies” doesn’t quite capture the distance between these statements and truth. Staid, boring, newspaper language has gotten editors tied up in knots. What do you call a lie that causes you to pause and rewind? What do you call a claim that is so patently and verifiably false that you feel insulted for even being expected to debate it? What do you call a sudden shift in position that demands that you ignore both your “lying eyes” and the official record? “Brazen dishonesty” does not quite do it. Neither does saying that he goes “beyond lying.” It’s not even “bullshit,” which is a lie thrown off carelessly, with no power dynamic at play.

Hip-hop has a better word for it: fuckery.
Fuckery is telling a lie so big it messes with the people hearing it — which is its goal. 
Fuckery is ascendant in our time, and while Trump is not its inventor, he is its most effective practitioner at the moment. The urban dictionary defines fuckery as “absolute bullshit; utter nonsense; something rather suspicious that can bring forth uneasy, angry and irritated feelings.” It’s a lie that is told, not just to achieve an objective, but to demonstrate the power of the person telling the lie relative to those affected by it. Fuckery creates a wall between the person or group telling the lie and the people hearing it. Fuckery throws down a gauntlet: It is too big to ignore, yet so absurd that it promises to debase anybody who grapples with it. It makes a mockery of the very idea of truth.
Fuckery isn't just words, it can be deeds as well. And it isn't just part of Trump's domain.

Fuckery & the Constitutional Coup

Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republicans are "fucking with us" over Obama's Supreme Court nomination: "Consider Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) obstruction of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland. For McConnell and other Republicans to completely block the confirmation process was outrageous. McConnell’s claim that he obstructed so that the “American people have a voice” is ridiculous. But for McConnell to say that the American people won’t tolerate Democrats obstructing Trump while he is currently obstructing Obama is pure fuckery."

I would argue that McConnell's so-called obstruction was fuckery too, a naked power play. As soon as we call it "obstruction" — as the press has constantly done — and not outright theft — which it certainly was — we and the media accept his premise, and thus we lose. We're "fact-checking" instead of making a concerted effort to steal what was stolen. Calling McConnell's theft act an "obstruction" allows it, forgives it, normalizes it, and guarantees it will happen again. The right response is to treat it as a power play and respond with a power play of equal force and magnitude. That didn't happen.

What McConnell did was actually a kind of coup, a constitutional coup, but a coup nonetheless. He used the Constitution to achieve a goal opposite to what the Constitution intends to occur. In the same way, the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore was a constitutional coup as well.

Did anyone in the mainstream or "liberal" press call Bush v. Gore a coup? No, they disbelieved the evidence of their eyes, regardless of what they privately thought, and publicly said they "saw nothing." This is the way fuckery always wins.

So What Do We Do? (How Hip-Hop Treats Fuckery)

Hamilton continues: "Fuckery is a capital offense in hip-hop. Artists, labels and hangers-on get away with all kinds of things they shouldn’t, but there is no spectacle large enough, no “establishment” legitimate enough, and no fan important enough to defend fuckery once it’s been identified." He offers two examples:
An artist that transforms into a gangster overnight like Hammer in 1994 or Ray J in 2011 is mocked and dismissed unless they can provide some extraordinary evidence to support their extraordinary claims.
[W]hen Ray Benzino’s group Made Men received an extraordinarily coveted 4.5 mics rating from The Source for their debut album, putting it on par with Biggie Small’s “Ready to Die” and higher than Jay Z’s “Reasonable Doubt,” fans immediately called bullshit. But it was more than bullshit. It was fuckery, because Benzino was known to have close ties to the magazine, which explained why the album received the rating. Fans trusted their “lying eyes” ― or ears ― and The Source’s credibility took a hit. Standards remained high. Made Men was not normalized. And fans that defend wack music are still judged accordingly. We need to take the same approach to voters.

The Source took a hit because it committed a mockable offense ― and was mocked. It was not, however, “fact checked.” That would have given Made Men’s 4.5 mic rating an air of legitimacy.
 What hip-hop culture can do, we can do.

Believe Your Eyes and Say So: "He's Not Lying, He's Fucking With Us"

Trump is committing a "mockable offense" when he lies as he does, and the media lays down for him, normalizes him, and "ignores their lying eyes" every time they don't treat him as something fundamentally different than everyone else who's held the office he holds.

Not that everyone in that office has been a decent person — very far from it. But Trump and the rest of the Republicans have taken manipulation of the press to a brand new low. He fucks with them to their face and dares them to take it. So far, they do.

After all, do even the mighty hosts of MSNBC call out these lies as "lies," or do they use words like "counter-factual," again and again and again? Do they call out the constant lying as "pathological" — which it certainly is if it's not fuckery? Not in my hearing, but maybe my ears are lying to me too.


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At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

40 years ago it was called horseshit -- bullshit with evil intent.

If we "call" the racist fascists on this, don't we also have to call the less racist fascists on it too?

And since "we" (media, congresspeople, public...) have never called anyone on it ever, if we start now, do "we" not prove ourselves guilty of being fucking imbeciles?

The media has NEVER called anyone on this since Woodward and Bernstein (special exception for SNL, Daily show - Jon Stewart; Trevor N. not so much). MSNBC had Keith Olbermann who would occasionally find time to tell the truth about Democraps, but he got fired and nobody since had the temerity to say dick about all that the obamanation admin did wrong (and failed to even try to do even as they told us they would).

Yeah, we should tell der fuhrer and his Baghdad Bob pos and his designated liar to the talk shows kelliarann conman all to go fuck themselves every time they open their gaping maws. But the proper question is why haven't we been doing this since 1972? 1968 even. "We" let Nixon's treason and most of his lied go. "We" let Reagan's treason and his "voodoo economics" go unchallenged. "We" let the staged performances that justified Iraq 1 go unchallenged. "We" let Ds/Clinton's $hillarycare, NAFTA, WTO, GLBA, CFMA, telecom dereg and welfare evisceration go unchallenged. "We" let cheney/rice and their yellowcake and mushroom cloud and torture go; Rumsfeld's "we know where the wmd are" and all the resultant carnage go unchallenged. "We" didn't say dick about ACA with no PO; drone murders; no prosecutions of bankers even as they admitted to millions of felonies resulting in billions in fines; nothing about austerity done and more offered; TPP salesmanship and a lot more.

And "We" are the media, elected whores and the public. Even when Jon Stewart showed us something was seriously fucked up, we did nothing. And Jon couldn't cover all of it. Nobody else did either. Not that we'd have given a flying fuck even if someone had.

So yeah, we should. But if we did would anyone care?

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a child, I watched Dorothy struggle through the field of poppies the Wicked Witch had thrown at her, and pondered what I would do later in life, if this happened. For that is how my mind works. And still the best idea I've been able to come up with is, "Stay awake!"



At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray Benzino(???)

If fuckery is the topic then FOX "News" must be part of the discussion.

And if failure to challenge fuckery is the topic, then the TWO, fuckery validating, appearances of a president of the "Democratic" Party on the FOX "News" segment of the previous king of national fuckery, must be mentioned.

Corporate PR and ad campaigns are the essence of fuckery and their control of the major media outlets has made fuckery the dominant mode of political discourse.

The newly crowned king of national fuckery was made possible only by acceptance of the unchallenged creeping fuckery of decades.

John Puma

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Richard Feit said...

It's important to understand that Trump and his cabinet see this country as being precisely the same as a corporation. In such a worldview, a citizenry simply does not exist. We are seen, and will be treated, as nothing more than a vast sea of employees. I don't mean this as hyperbole. Having never performed a moment of service, let alone pubic service, Trump sees the world only from this core orientation: he the head of corporate power, his cabinet the board of directors, we the minions. All things will flow from this worldview - the control of "message," the insistence on adherence to brand loyalty, the utter intolerance of dissent - just like the crappy company you never want to work for. He, and they, cannot see it any other way; it has been the foundation of their lives. Here's the true extent of the corporate takeover of our country: not only corporate influence, but the virtual, conceptual, transformation of the republic and civil society itself into a corporatocracy. It's about the country itself being understood by its leadership as a corporation.

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Wow, great piece! Fuckery is a superb way of describing what is and has been going on for a long time. Yes, the press should call it out loud and clear and not hassle only with fact checking. The latter misses the big picture of fuckery and makes it boring and niggling about details, important as they may be.

Jon Stewart certainly retired and left the scene way too early. Perhaps if more young people, who got their news from his show, had voted maybe we would not be in the midst of this Trump fiasco. We could really use Stewart now. Olbermann continues to be great on his new show.

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, if Comedy Central had aired the show opposite the "network news", maybe they'd have gotten a much larger audience. As it is, on CS at 11:00pm, they did phenomenally well... but the time was designed to restrict audiences. think about it. What the fuck else was CS airing at 6pm? Same with Colbert. put him on after Stewart opposite the networks. Just try it for a month.

But they never did.

So... who owns CS anyway??? It's complicated, but Sumner Redstone owns NA, inc which holds controlling shares in Viacom which owns CS. NA, inc/Sumner Redstone also holds controlling interest in CBS.
maybe CS was under orders to not compete with CBS "news". just my tin foil hat thinking out loud.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger DocP said...

Is Fuckery confined to speech acts? It seems that actions like nominating Rick Perry for secretary of energy and Betsy DeVos to education secretary are examples of fuckery, too. These are certainly mockable offenses. They function to display Trump's disdain for and contempt of legitimate functions of government. Instead of wasting time on "proving" how unqualified each nominee is for the post, we should respond to the nominations the offenses they actually are.


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