Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Was ThinkProgress "Inspired" by My Essay on Donald Trump, Barthes, and Professional Wrestling?

Ideas are floating out here in the ether waiting to be summoned, channeled, and crystallized down into something comprehensible and communicable. There are few wholly original ideas. Where the writer, speaker, author, poet, or bard makes their mark is in how they choose to communicate those thoughts.

Ultimately, Plato's forms mock us as we try to make sense of them.

I am not one of the "essential" voices of the new "black digital intelligentsia" that Michael Dyson chose to include in his most recent essay for the New Republic.

(Those inclusions are intentional. The omissions are also intentional as well. The latter are not always done out of malice. More likely that debts are owed, praise is strategically given, and some of us have not yet registered on said pilot's radar. There are lots of folks who will be happy that they were mentioned by Dr. Dyson. There are many, many more who will be emailing and calling him with no small amount of grumpiness. Such hurt feelings and unintended slights are why, if ever given the opportunity to "name names", I would prefer to talk in generalities wherever possible. In academe, and likely the chattering classes more generally, people are so petty because the stakes are in many ways so low.)

I also do not necessarily expect a priori that Judd Legum, the writer of ThinkProgress's, "This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain The Donald Trump Phenomenon", has any idea that Chauncey DeVega exists or that he (and others) have been writing about Donald Trump and professional wrestling for several months.

(I actually "spoke" with Judd Legum via Twitter and he says he was unaware of my essay. I take him at his word because I have no reason to not do so.)

I do not possess such a high level of hubris. 

I also know that my Salon essay on Donald Trump and professional wrestling has been circulating about, Tweeted by some folks with quite a bit of reach, and perhaps even obliquely alluded to by Chris Hayes on his MSNBC show last week.

Yet, there is something about the tone and argument in Legum's essay that are needling me.

Am I wrong? Misreading Legum's work? Or is "This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain The Donald Trump Phenomenon" just the common overlap that comes when people are reaching out into the ether and trying to corral the metaphorical butterflies and hummingbirds?

This is likely all just background noise in my imagination as I reset myself post-birthday angst and life reflection. It can after all make one a bit agitated and crazy. No?

No comments: