[KB] Footnote: Re: Burkean identification and Trump

wessr at oregonstate.edu wessr at oregonstate.edu
Thu Oct 27 14:23:08 EDT 2016


At the end of the paragraph on Trump's stand on trade, change  
"helping" to "happening."

Quoting wessr at oregonstate.edu:

> Ed,
>
> Regarding the current "frame of acceptance" (ATH) and whether, as  
> you say, "A `breaking of a frame' of reference might be in the  
> offing," a few comments:
>
> In my view, Reagan put this "frame" in place and it has two  
> cornerstones: (1) "supply-side economics" (as they called it in the  
> 1980s), which consists of lowering taxes for "job creators" and  
> removing as many regulations as possible; (2) so-called "free  
> trade," which led to the trade agreements, beginning in Bill  
> Clinton's first year. By themselves, these two were not enough to  
> win elections, so they were clustered (a la Burkean clustering) with  
> other motives. In Reagan's day, this started with a war against  
> welfare (i.e., blacks). Other motives were added to the cluster over  
> time.
>
> That's the "frame." What has Trump done to it?
>
> If anything, he has "mainstreamed" the motives clustered with (1)  
> and (2). This is a large part of his appeal but the mainstreaming  
> may weaken this cluster insofar as it works better sub rosa.  
> Republicans may reevalutate their dependency on it.
>
> Trump reinforces (1). His tax plan is the one thing he has presented  
> in detail consistently from the beginning. He also pledges to  
> eliminate as many regulations as possible. These are things I'm sure  
> he would do. He strengthens this part of the frame insofar as he  
> persuades people that business is more trustworthy than government.
>
> His talk about trade shakes up (2) but about that he has no details.  
> The closest thing to a detail I can recall is the idea of having  
> trade deals with individual countries. This is part of his appeal  
> but the question is whether it is simply a ploy to get votes. If he  
> were convincing on this point he would be attracting supporters of  
> Sanders, which doesn't seem to be helping.
>
> In sum, the "frame" seems far from breaking.
>
> Sanders is the only one who convincingly attacks (1) and (2). He may  
> be able to use his new leverage to advantage. He could help Clinton  
> with her tax plan, which would put a kink in (1).
>
> All in all, though, I don't see the "frame" going away anytime soon.
>
> Bob
>
> Quoting Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>:
>
>> Burkophiles,
>>
>>
>>           If weconcentrate too heavily on Trump?s personality  
>> defects, as evidenced in hisnarcissism and rhetorical tics (yes, he  
>> compulsively dwells on any slight ortangential criticism, puts his  
>> ?dominance ritual? front and center, before allelse), we may miss  
>> the larger Burkean import on what?s happening thispresidential  
>> cycle. We?re very much in the midst of a ?breaking of a frame,? asI  
>> see it, and as Burke articulates and anatomizes such a political  
>> rending in ATH. I?m attaching an outline of apossible study of  
>> Trump?s generic tokens, particularly as displayed in  
>> hisprimary-season discourse.
>>
>>
>>          Trump?spredictable, sectarian burlesque (that?s the ?frame  
>> amplification? that goeswith the political dislocations we?re now  
>> witnessing, Burke and ?New? social-movementtheorists say) has  
>> turned darker in the general campaign. Some stages ofTrump?s  
>> fevered drama now manifest tragic dimensions, as in Burke?s notion  
>> of ?factionaltragedy? (see the long footnote on pp. 188-90). When a  
>> candidate twice hints atthe possible desirability that his opponent  
>> be assassinated, and incessantlycalls for her imprisonment (Trump  
>> made the threat to Clinton?s face in thedebates), the discourse has  
>> gotten beyond the public division/privatereconciliation that can  
>> transpire in Buckley-style burlesque. If I were to givesuch a study  
>> a title, I might call it ?Burlesque, Tragedy, and a  
>> (Potentially)?Yuuuge? Breaking of a Frame: Trump?s Rhetoric as  
>> ?Early Warning.??
>>
>>
>>           The?Early Warning? motif comes from ?All the Rage:  
>> Sanders and Trump Represent TwoDifferent Sides of American  
>> Populism---And the Uprising They Sparked CouldTopple the  
>> Established Political Order,? by John Judis, New Republic (Judis?  
>> book on the matter is to be published thismonth). On the timeliness  
>> of Trump as potent restorationist leader, see, also,William  
>> Greider?s prescient article in TheNation, ?My Post-Debate Blues  
>> [first one], or, How a Rude Egomaniac HasEffectively Channeled  
>> Working Class Anger?; ?Trump?s Rhetoric of WhiteNostalgia,? by  
>> Ronald Brownstein in TheAtlantic; ?The Anti-Establishment Surge  
>> Won?t Disappear after theElection,? by Robert Reich, syndicate  
>> column in my local newspaper; ?How theRhetoric of Donald Trump Is  
>> (Sort of) Changing American Politics,? by EricFershtman, Seneca  
>> Review; ?What Fuelsthe Backlash on Trade,? by Peter S. Goodman,  
>> NYTimes.com; and, in particular, the Politico-Harvard poll that  
>> shows that 85 percent of Republican (!)voters say that free trade  
>> has hurt their communities, and ?GOP SenatorsSuccumb to Trump?s War  
>> on Trade,? by Seung Min Kim, Politico.com. Note, of course, also,  
>> the chagrin of establishmentRepublicans at the hijacking of their  
>> party by the Trumpster.
>>
>>
>>           The?frame? it is a-breakin?. The great lacuna and  
>> weakness in Clinton?s candidacyis her vulnerability on the likes of  
>> NAFTA and the admission of China into theworld trade organization,  
>> and her retreat from the ?inequality? theme thathighlighted her  
>> pre-primary rhetoric. Her big break is, she?s running againstan  
>> opponent whose personality, personal history, and patent  
>> unsuitability forsuch high office overmatch her deficits.
>>
>>
>>           JohnJudis? ?Early Warning? has been sounded, as per  
>> political theory. It has beenamplified by the genre (or genres) of  
>> Trump?s rhetoric that has taken hold.
>>
>>
>>           Beduly warned.
>>
>>
>>
>>  
>>           Ed
>>
>>           P. S. I'll attach in a subsequent post.   
>>
>>
>>
>>    On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:43 AM, Jim Moore  
>> <jimmijcat at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>> #yiv5309112385 #yiv5309112385 -- .yiv5309112385EmailQuote  
>> {margin-left:1pt;padding-left:4pt;border-left:#800000 2px  
>> solid;}#yiv5309112385 #yiv5309112385 #yiv5309112385 --p  
>> {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}#yiv5309112385 All,
>> I'm no expert, but didn't Burke articulate this conceptwith the  
>> notion of DIVISION being the always presentcorollary of  
>> IDENTIFICATION.  When I say, "I'm aCanadian, eh," I'm also saying,  
>> "I'm not Guatemalan,or Russian or Czech or a U.S. citizen . . ." or  
>> any numberof possibly contraries.  Similarly, if one says "I'm  
>> notfor Trump" it doesn't necessarily say, "I'm with HRC,"but it  
>> might say, in the context of this election, "Mydivision from Trump  
>> is greater than my divisionfrom HRC," whose initials are bound to  
>> go do in historylike JFK's and FDR's, by the way.
>> Peace and tear down walls,
>> Jim From: KB <kb-bounces at kbjournal.org> on behalf of  
>> wessr at oregonstate.edu <wessr at oregonstate.edu>
>> Sent: October 24, 2016 6:47:05 PM
>> To: Phillip Tompkins; kb at kbjournal.org
>> Subject: Re: [KB] Burkean identification and Trump Phil, thanks for  
>> your examples. They provide an interesting contrast.
>>
>> While tribal identifications with teams can produce oppositions 
>> leading to hostility, they can also coexist with an identification at 
>> the level of good sportsmanship that transcends such opposition. Win 
>> or lose, you can shake hands with your opponent, the way hockey 
>> players do when they line up at the end of a playoff series, each 
>> player on each team shaking the hand of every player on the other team.
>>
>> Such coexistence of two levels is not possible for the Nazi, who can't 
>> transcend to a level cutting across the opposition without giving up 
>> his Nazi identification. An interesting text to explore from this 
>> Burkean standpoint is Irvin Yalom's THE SPINOZA PROBLEM. As you may 
>> know, this is a historical novel about a real Nazi who loved Goethe, 
>> then was dismayed to discover that Goethe loved Spinoza, which 
>> prompted this Nazi to explore what was for him a great mystery: how 
>> could Goethe love a Jew?
>>
>> Bob
>>
>> Quoting Phillip Tompkins <tompkinp at Colorado.EDU>:
>>
>>> I agree with this analysis.  I think of identification not only as a 
>>> rhetorical term but also as a value-free social scientific 
>>> construct.  Last night I watched the Chicago Cubs win the National 
>>> League title for the first time since 1945.  The people in Chicago 
>>> were out of their minds.  But there were also some Dodger fans.  Who 
>>> are the good guys?
>>>       No doubt the Nazi Party faithful had a powerful sense of 
>>> identification--with that component of superiority that allowed them 
>>> to kill off the lesser groups like the Jews, who in turn identified 
>>> with their religion, culture and customs.  Identifying against 
>>> someone or something, howerver, is powerful in our current election. 
>>>   We identify with the least offensive candidate.
>>> Phil Tompkins
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: KB [mailto:kb-bounces at kbjournal.org] On Behalf Of  
>>> wessr at oregonstate.edu
>>> Sent: Friday, October 21, 2016 4:01 PM
>>> To: Edward C Appel
>>> Cc: kb at kbjournal.org
>>> Subject: [KB] Burkean identification and Trump
>>>
>>> Burkeans,
>>>
>>> Burke's concept of identification may illuminate and be illuminated 
>>> by the Trump campaign. A few observations (no doubt there are others):
>>>
>>> It may be far easier to prevent identification from solidifying than 
>>> to break it once it occurs. Trump's core supporters now appear to 
>>> believe anything he says, no matter how outlandish.
>>>
>>> Late in the primaries, I saw a TV report of Cruz walking into a 
>>> small crowd of Trump supporters to try to change their minds. A few 
>>> of them starting chanting "lyin Ted," mimicking Trump. Such 
>>> mimicking says something about how identification could lead to 
>>> groups of "trump-shirts" roaming the streets to enforce Trump's will.
>>>
>>> Identification could be viewed as a good thing that can go bad, as 
>>> in Burke's recounting of a "bad filling of a good need" (PLF 218). 
>>> But maybe it would be better to view identification as an analytic 
>>> rather than an honorific concept to require always taking the extra 
>>> step to explain what makes an identification good or bad.
>>>
>>> Bob
>>>
>>> Quoting Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>:
>>>
>>>> All,
>>>>
>>>>        One of Burke?s examples of the ?unifying term? as deflector from
>>>> gross inequality of sacrifice, privilege, rewards, and motivations was
>>>> the WWII profiteer who would speak of how ?we?re all in this conflict
>>>> together.? The implicitly unifying identifier ?we? in that context so
>>>> strikingly illustrates the use of ?ambiguity? in rhetorical appeal. It
>>>> put executives at Ford and GM, and GIs being blown apart in Europe and
>>>> the Pacific, on the same footing.. Up to a point, necessarily vague
>>>> abstractions of a public-spirited cast legitimately serve to keep
>>>> societies and polities from coming apart at the seams. Up to a point.
>>>>
>>>>        What?s happened this political season is the result of a sharp
>>>> fraying or tarring of that social fabric.  The success of both Sanders
>>>> and Trump vouchsafes that disintegration. Forty years of globalization
>>>> of USAmerican jobs and once-middle-class incomes, to the conspicuous
>>>> advantage of wealthy owners and executives, who now manufacture more
>>>> cheaply and sell world-wide, and obvious disadvantage to working class
>>>> citizens, high school level or lower, has come home to roost. Trump
>>>> has become the mouthpiece for these ignored and neglected Americans,
>>>> their plight studiously finessed with the rhetoric of ?re-education?
>>>> for the new technologies, or assurances that ?Americans can compete
>>>> with anybody.? (True, of course, at one dollar an hour.) A wild man
>>>> like Donald Trump could not likely survive in a less volatile economic
>>>> situation. He is so cleverly exploiting this one: ?I will be your
>>>> voice!?
>>>>
>>>>        On our private Burkean discussion list, I said long ago  
>>>> that Trump is
>>>> functioning like a Rorschach Test. He?s the indistinct picture of rage
>>>> onto which people can project a multitude of grievances. He?s a
>>>> walking negative: Whatever it is we are doing now that?s taken away
>>>> our American Dream, ?Trump, thank heaven, isn?t that!? All those
>>>> Clinton adds with Trump spouting invectives?---who are they really
>>>> helping?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>        Ed
>>>>
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