Sunday, 21 July 2019

Deplorable Words.

Victory, But Not Ours: Trump uses his deplorable words in exactly the same way as C.S. Lewis' wicked queen, Jadis, used her single 'Deplorable Word'. To win – no matter what the cost. He knows the power of words. He understands the damage they can do. The bitter divisions they can open up. The fear they can inspire. The lust to inflict harm which they can trigger. But, like Queen Jadis, he doesn’t care. America must he his – even if he’s the only person left standing who doesn’t feel duped and sullied and robbed of everything they held dear.

BEFORE NARNIA THERE was Charn. Mighty Charn, which fell at last because Jadis, its final Queen, was willing to utter the “Deplorable Word”. C.S. Lewis describes the scene in his “prequel” to The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThe Magician’s Nephew.

“The last great battle”, said the Queen, “raged for three days here in Charn itself. For three days I looked down upon it from this very spot. I did not use my power till the last of my soldiers had fallen, and the accursed woman, my sister, at the head of her rebels was halfway up those great stairs that lead up from the city to the terrace. Then I waited till we were so close that we could see one another’s faces. She flashed her horrible, wicked eyes upon me and said, ‘Victory.’ ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘Victory, but not yours.’ Then I spoke the Deplorable Word. A moment later I was the only living thing beneath the sun.”

Written in 1955, as the Cold War was fast freezing the world into a seemingly permanent balance of terror, Lewis’ Deplorable Word did not require too much in the way of effort to decode. What else could he be thinking of but the growing global stockpile of nuclear weapons? Clearly, Lewis was convinced that even if a war between the superpowers began with conventional weapons, it would inevitably be ended by their doomsday devices. Whichever side found itself facing inevitable defeat would, like Queen Jadis, insist on having the last word – even at the cost of all life on Earth.

Now, in 2019, with the Cold War a distant memory, it is possible to read another meaning into Lewis’ Deplorable Word. Before making the attempt, however, lets hear some more about it from the mouth of the evil Queen:

“That was the secret of secrets,” said the Queen Jadis. “It had long been known that there was a word which, if spoken with the proper ceremonies, would destroy all living things except the one who spoke it. But the ancient kings were weak and soft-hearted and bound themselves and all who should come after them with great oaths never even to seek after the knowledge of that word. But I learned it in a secret place and paid a terrible price to learn it.

Those weak and soft-hearted kings of Charn did not want to die, but, being wise, they knew that, in the end, Death comes to us all. Of much more importance to them was their posterity. Charn was a mighty empire: the crowning achievement of their world. Keep it alive, and with it all the many and mighty accomplishments of its living people. That was all that mattered. That was why they did all they could to prevent the Deplorable Word from ever being spoken.

Though he is very far from resembling the beautiful and terrible Queen of Charn, the present President of the United States, Donald Trump, shares her pathological hunger for recognition and power – even at the cost of the American republic’s utter destruction.

The difference between the President and the Queen, however, is that he is not content with just one deplorable word. Trump has made himself the master of many, many deplorable words. Hundreds of them. Thousands. As many as it takes to kill all the living institutions out of which the democratic spirit of America was fashioned. As many as it takes to destroy decency and dignity and public decorum. As many as it takes to overwhelm all the traditions and values that made America truly great. Words so deplorable that they snuff-out the living light of American liberty and justice – even as they kindle the roaring bonfires of American rage and hate.

Trump uses these words in exactly the same way as Jadis used her single word. To win – no matter what the cost. He knows the power of words. He understands the damage they can do. The bitter divisions they can open up. The fear they can inspire. The lust to inflict harm which they can trigger. But, like Queen Jadis, he doesn’t care. America must he his – even if he’s the only person left standing who doesn’t feel duped and sullied and robbed of everything they held dear.

The terrible magic he has unleashed on the four congresswomen of colour is proof of just what a powerful political wizard he has become. First he singles out the women as enemies of America, and then, when their Democratic Party comrades hasten to their defence, he turns their gestures of solidarity into evidence of treason. See how far the stain of “radical socialism” has spread, he tells his baying supporters. “Throw them out!” they chant. “Throw them out!”

The American presidents who came before Trump knew the power of these deplorable words, which is why they foreswore them. Such fastidiousness strikes Trump, just as it struck Queen Jadis, as “weak and soft-hearted”. If the only object of the game of power is to rule, then what does it matter if everything of value in the republic you have made your own has been destroyed?

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 19 July 2019.

13 comments:

David said...

I'm not sure Trump does really know the power of words. The man is a total buffoon, IMO. He tweets and says inanities.

Ironically, it was Hillary who used the word "deplorables" to describe many of the people supporting Trump. Ironic, because these blue-collar workers from the rust-belt states were once a core electorate of the Democrats, who seem today to be the party of the elitist of the white NE/media/celebrity elites, tragically out of touch with what used to be called Main St USA.

I wonder how many votes Hillary lost by her use of that word.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Interesting.
Donald Trump doesn't believe that the four Congresswoman should have freedom of speech. He thinks they should leave instead.
He inspires violence against the press so they have to think twice about whether they attend his rallies. That's great for freedom of speech.
He says he doesn't think the mainstream media is entitled to free speech.
He wants to toughen up the libel laws after someone wrote a nasty book about him.
He endorses attacks on protesters, which is great for freedom of speech.
He makes everyone in his administration sign a non-disclosure contract
And funnily enough, a Canadian cartoonist was fired for creating a cartoon that offended him.
Yet in this country, all you conservatives get your knickers in a twist about some boofhead Australian rugby player who brings the game into disrepute and quite possibly violates his contract.
Like I said – interesting.

Nick J said...

Mutually assured destruction. It has been reinstated by Russia's new rocketry outflanking American attempts to be in a position to deliver a decisive first strike. Such is the thinking of the Hawks on both sides of their body politic.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" blue-collar workers from the rust-belt states were once a core electorate of the Democrats"
That hasn't been true for years. Republican organisations have been massaging these people for a long time, and the Democrats haven't. Democrats are now the party mostly of minorities, the brown the black. And given Trump's tax cuts which were skewed apparently towards property developers, the Republicans are the obvious representatives of the elites. Incidentally just as a matter of interest, isn't it about time that this blog site got some sort of update, so we can actually edit our comments may be, or post GIFs and the like? It's archaic.

Nick J said...

That word David defined the election. It said clear as crystal that the "Left" considered the mid West blue collars as surplus to requirement, as beneath contempt yet expected to vote for a corrupt plutocracy, allied to people whose gender classifications and demands left those working stiffs cold. They would have voted for literally anybody but the Dems and Hillary. This most tragic comedic event really confirmed the genius of the Left for self delusion, Trump was given credit for what was a huge own goal. For all we know he was talking to a Russian at the time.

Nick J said...

Yes GS, Trump is a very naughty boy. Just like every other dweller of the swamp. There are no innocents in there, the four women included. Heat and kitchens come to mind. Why do we all buy into this " good guy bad guy" nonsense? From a Left Right viewpoint there's no real Left in sight, the Dems represent the so called intelligentsia with all their victim oppressor narratives, and the one percenters and their middle class acolytes. Not a proletarian in sight. They voted for Trump.

That was sad, what is sadder is that people buy into this Trump versus sweetness and light bullshit. We are dealing with all the hobs of Hell on steroids. No angels here.

John Hurley said...

Roger Hicks
The Age-Old Strategy of Divide & Rule - Roger Hicks
DIVERSITY is now part of the West's age-old strategy of divide and rule (largely subconscious or obscured by Orwellian doublethink), whereby society is divided into a morally superior, now supposedly non-tribal, unprejudiced, "colour-blind" and xenophilic elite, on the one hand, and the morally inferior, naturally (evolved human nature being what it is) tribal, prejudiced, not colour-blind, but nativist and xenophobically-inclined masses, on the other, who must submit to the authority of and domination by their "moral superiors" (a moral animal like ourselves can be manipulated and controlled by a regime of moral rewards & intimidation as well as by one of material/physical rewards & intimidation).
It is, in effect, a modern, secular replacement for the power-political role of medieval church ideology. Original sin (disobedience of divine, i.e. priestly/state authority) has been replaced by "racial prejudice" (the natural human inclination -like original sin - to identity with members of one's own tribe, race or ethnic group, which was made responsible (wrongly) for the Holocaust and equated with the evils of Nazi racism), and which only submission to priestly/academic/state ideology and authority can save us from eternal damnation for, not as heathens and heretics, as in the past, but as bigots, xenophobes, nativists or racists.
State and society conflate and confound very different aspects of the original tribal environment in which human nature evolved, long before the first states and civilisations emerged from it, with the modern "nation state" now deceitfully posing as our tribe or nation (intra- and inter-tribal environment) itself, while at the same time facilitating society's SELF-exploitation (as an extra-tribal environment, on a par with the natural environment) to the personal advantage of its ruling elites and favoured (especially wealthy and academic/formerly priestly) clients, at the expense of society at large.
https://twitter.com/rogerahicks/status/1153044561717059584

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" Not a proletarian in sight. They voted for Trump."
No they didn't. The proletariat in America is heavily brown and black. They either didn't vote or voted for Clinton. What you call the proletariat is what the Americans call the middle-class. White manual workers who used to have good albeit maybe boring jobs on assembly lines, paid decent wages, and got medical insurance coverage through their companies. Black and brown people were largely bypassed here, because they weren't allowed in unions. These have now been proletarianised by the fact that most of them are now either out of work or part of the precariat and the rustbelt. Which they don't like. And they tend to be racist, so they voted for Trump. Even so, he lost by three million votes and only got the presidency through some archaic rules.

John Hurley said...

"A USA Today/Ipsos poll published on July 17 found that more than twice as many Americans believe that people who call others racists do so 'in bad faith' compared with those who do not believe it." NYT. Y'hear that Taika Iti and Oscar Knightly?

Nick J said...

So GS, if we use a Marxist definition of proletariat, using relationship to production these mid West white (and black and brown yellow pink etc)....do they own the means of production? And do they produce surplus value but not get paid for that?

And in Clintonesque terms are these people deplorables?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well Nick, they were a privileged class, whether they fit the Marxist definition of proletariat or not. And they were privileged because of their race. Now of course that privilege has been taken away from them largely, and they don't like it.
And Clinton in fact never said they were all deplorable, but given that many of them are racist as buggery then yes to that extent they are deplorable. And remember there is a distinct correlation between racism and voting for Trump.

Nick J said...

GS Try this Washington Post link re deplorables, appears Clinton said it. And yes she accused them of racism, homophobia and any number of crimes against her world view. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/09/09/clinton-half-of-trumps-supporters-fit-in-basket-of-deplorables/?utm_term=.21a635a97847

I'm sure you are right that these ex industrial workers were priveleged compared to black workers, as are those priveleged deplorables who occupy those white collar jobs in New York and Silicon Valley. I'm not so certain that being a Democrat voter who earns big dollars and has a job makes them any less racist by comparison. By labelling mid West workers as the racists you give the rest of America a free pass on what is a long history of institutionalized racism.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" And yes she accused them of racism, homophobia and any number of crimes against her world view"
I'm sorry, would you like to outline for me in what worldview racism and homophobia are okay? Just curious.