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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

NOW WE REALLY ARE IN 1984

The Trump government has released a transcript and video of the joint press conference Trump and Putin held immediately after their Helsinki meeting.  As you will no doubt recall, it was televised live.  During that press conference, an American reporter asked Putin whether he had wanted Trump to be elected President, and Putin said [or the interpreter represented him as saying] "yes."

In the transcript just released by the White House, this exchange is missing.  On the video, it has been excised.

I do not think we need speculate anymore about whether Trump desires to be an authoritarian dictator on the Orwellian model.  The only question remaining is whether he will succeed.

12 comments:

Lounger said...


Also begs the question: "What else was excised?"
~Joe Childers

David Auerbach said...

'raises' not 'begs'

Dean said...

https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1022148223618695170

Truly, as much as I distrust blowhard government officials, I am far warier of technology and its vagaries.

LFC said...

David Auerbach said what I was going to say.

Why don't people like to use the phrase "raises the question" any more? It's a perfectly good English expression. (And of course "begs the question" means something different.)

Anonymous said...

Enough with the cable news conspiracy theories. Indeed, there is no need to watch MSNBC or CNN. You're not a fool, so let's please move on to something more interesting.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/07/25/no-the-white-house-didnt-intentionally-edit-a-question-to-putin-out-of-a-video

Howard Berman said...

Trump doesn't own all the computers in town, so I'm kinda worried.
Let's hope the NSA doesn't directly come to report to the man

s. wallerstein said...

In what sense does Trump plan to become a dictator in the Orwellian sense? I changed the verb "desire" to "plan" because none of us are psychoanalysts and we have no access to Trump's secret desires. In fact, maybe all of us "desire" to be dictators on some level.

An Orwellian dictatorship (1984) involves a one-party state, state control of the economy, no elections, no non-state media, no congress, death penalty (without trial) for "thought" crimes, etc.

I don't see that as Trump's plan at all. He may well plan to become an authoritarian populist, lying to the voters, fixing elections, only giving interviews to "friendly" media, packing the Supreme Court with his pals, giving governments contracts to his family and buddies, but that is not what occurs in 1984.

Trump is a disaster, to be sure, but we are not going to be able to deal with him as long as we don't analyze what he is doing instead of recurring to fictional works, even great ones such as 1984, written 70 years ago or so.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

Dealing requires analysis, but often times, possibly always, analysis comes down to having a good metaphor. I think of the Transcendental Deduction of the first Critique, although there are well known Kant scholars who have disputed this. In any case, if the metaphor comes from 1984, so be it.

Jerry Fresia said...

off topic: as a person who seems to be infatuated with words, this might interested you:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/27/10-of-the-best-words-in-the-world-that-dont-translate-into-english

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Jerry, this is delightful. Thank you.

Jerry Fresia said...

I couldn't think of the right word. Not "infatuated," rather "fascinated."

In any case, reading through these various rule-governed concepts, the notion of ordinary language and Wittgenstein comes to mind. What might be American concepts that don't translate well? An Italian once asked what "kick ass" meant. That might be one. Americans seem to be big on "kicking ass."

s. wallerstein said...

"American" (we're Americans here in Chile too) concepts which don't translate well.

For a start:

"cool"
"hip"
"good clean fun"

there are a lot in every culture.