TWH – Now that the season has turned and we are nearing the end of the 2017, we look back, one last time, to review this historic year. What happened? What didn’t happen? What events shaped our thoughts and guided our actions? In our collective worlds, both big and small, what were the major discussions?
I have trouble watching Cabaret, the 1966 musical that choreographer Bob Fosse would direct in an Academy Award-winning film 1972. It’s a scary work of art. Cabaret is set in the Berlin of the Weimar Republic in 1931, a city and time at the height of a joie d’vivre during a wave of liberal attitudes; resplendent with what we might think of as libertine or even Pagan approach to life and sex. The film opens with the catchy song Wilkommen by the carnivalesque master of ceremonies singing:
Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!
This is not fake news. Over the past six months, there have been increasing concerns about the validity of news media content. A report might come out, for example, discrediting a politician or a government program. This article is then followed up by reports discrediting that report, which is then followed by reports discrediting the writers discrediting the original report. Then, a day later, another report comes out discrediting the media outlet that didn’t report on the discredited report, and so on and so forth, until president-elect Donald Trump takes to Twitter and types the words, “Fake News!”
Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs. – Guy Debord
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One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in France last summer is that battles were being waged on multiple fronts. There was the most obvious battle, the one that the media was covering, a nationwide uproar over a set of controversial labor reforms that were widely viewed as a betrayal of the working class on the part of a supposedly left-wing government. There was a secondary battle that was playing out alongside that uproar, a guerrilla battle against capitalism and international finance that was being waged by leftists and anarchists in the form of smashed bank windows and repeated violent confrontations with police. And then there was the battle for the imagination, the battle of dueling narratives that leftists and fascists alike were waging on every blank surface imaginable, from street poles to mailboxes to the walls of boarded-up buildings.