Debate Number Three


by Adam Staley Groves

It’s only debate number three, so the recent lefting by candidates is familiar babble, with a slight disquiet. In a recent video, pressing back against the press, Speaker Nancy had “fuck” fall out of her mouth 1:35-1:42: “We are on our path, where it takes us, is where the fuck—we will follow the facts.”[i] This is great. The press pissed her off. I think she wanted to say “why the fuck don’t you talk to Mitch McConnell?” Or, “that’s where the fuck it will take us!” That’s the backdrop, anyway.

Must it come down to the word? Yes. At the expense of its effect, of its open secret. It must drive politicians crazy to have to perceive themselves as objects on a screen. Note that Beto made sure to declare ARs and AKs will be ‘taken away’. And, Beto bets, he pulls a rhetorical trigger with “fuck” and “hell.” Something of a punk rock politics. He liked Fugazi in high school: “do you fucken get it?” Nancy gets no mention.

Joey B. said social workers (read: state agents) will intervene in your domestic life strife; to help the helpless. To help these kids listen to “record players” at night before they go to bed. That’s telling. Empedocles—did he leap, stumble, or was he pushed into the volcano? Where’s the love, Julian—why hate on Joe like that? Pushed Empedocles while asking him to his face, if he needs a nap.

Falls a suited sophist into the orange lake of liquid rocks. His last quip before the moisture of his body explodes into a brilliant fireball: Are voters really children?

Should voters be thought as child-like? It’s a compliment and also a challenge. Schiller said children had the closest proximity to the holy object. I am being vague. Children are not objects any more than antiques. The elderly may sway childlike, reason is a shifting sun, it reveals adumbrations, which experience and memory spasm more than usual.

When children are scolded what do they learn? Definitely not what you said, but how. Children are more form than the content of experience. They inherently lack pretense. A child’s free form is a susurrus in the brittle fields of information: eyes before a clear acrylic, green and black silicone landscape of wires and solder points. Mind without genetic instruction and algorithm; the child’s most rare resource.

What could they learn from the scolding or when Beto says: “fuck!” Beto’s kidding himself. And the coming playground war that the general election will be, that fight at the bike rack—how do you suppose Mr. Orange will wax or wane?

The object is possible but never certain. If the goal is to have the nation’s inner child on display, if that’s what it takes to redeem the American project, to keep our top spot on Imperial Mountain, then so be it. Conversely there’s Bernie and Elizabeth. Bern and Liz, I wish you’d start a cool college. It was said again that Bernie “yells.” He’s so right he’s punked-up—“it’s in my eye, in my eye!” One of these days I expect him to dress-up as GG Allin. The news says Warren gains in likability. Then it says socialism is what Republicans hope to run against. It says a lot of stuff.

Hello America—these are the Democrats. A party which will take your guns and manage your family for you. Note to Demos—the police kill black people, and then people (on my read list, Revolutionary Suicide). Note—mom/dad gotta work four jobs; why stick the Gov in the home—are there not enough cameras watching the children already in their phones? Latch key kids, so Gen Y.

This is not a clear progressive thinking by Democrats, yet. It’s a buffet based on necromancy. ‘As if’ to be ‘left’ means to summon a left behind idée—no longer form, only contents or fingerprints of a crime. An idea once vital, both idle and moving. A once emancipatory politics looks to the ocean full of plastic, the atmosphere, particles. As if only particulars matter, not for the whole planet, yet. Naomi Klein says “climate barbarism.”

What are candidates in such a state, a buffet? Self-consuming zombies? Some are. I have to consult Vico, who comments on the vulgar in “Poetic Logic” from Scienza Nuova; something clime-worthy:

Thus the mythologies, as their name indicates, must have been the proper languages of the fables; the fables being imaginative class-concepts, as we have shown, the mythologies must have been the allegories corresponding to them. Allegory, as observed in the Axioms, is defined as diversiloquium insofar as, by identity not of proportion but (to speak scholastically) of predictability, allegories signify the diverse species or the diverse individuals comprised under these genera.

Yes Democratic candidates are about a “diversiloquium” or simply are living signification. Naomi Klein responds

“In a North American context, it’s the greatest taboo of all to actually admit that there are going to be limits. You see that in the way Fox News has gone after the Green New Deal – they are coming after your hamburgers! It cuts to the heart of the American dream – every generation gets more than the last, there is always a new frontier to expand to, the whole idea of settler colonial nations like ours.”[ii]

My holy object—my burger.

Says Klein, under extreme diversiloquium: It’s not only the Baby Boomers one shall blame? Where there was the most, wanted was more. We had “Occupy” which Chris Hedges called ‘conservative’. People just wanted meaningful jobs.

Nature shows itself in a new way perpetually. Adjusting the rug upon which human nature plays out in the hands of a massive, faceless child. If in nature the object is true and unknown, because that is true (abductive logic, my license) then perception is already a series of banal grammatical operations set up for us. Thought is reduced ever and only to rhetorical performance expressed in advance—not the thought which sits behind the wall or the screen. Or why Beto hangs his mouth open further than Biden on a ‘fast’ day.

This North American, vulgar culture realizes nature by confusing our understanding of human nature. It is the thinking of our rhetorical exercise we find in disarray. Or why we cry immanently into a prewritten future without a feeling for it; crying writing it. A circling logic. Enters Andrew Yang—progressive by virtue of a thousand dollars a month, basic income, with an understanding of technology, and social change is necessary. Yet his Presidential Seal may well feature an eagle with two wings on either side, but not both. The global economy is comprised of states dependent upon the redundancies and replications of a North American sovereign reign. North American vulgarity. A child we await, nearly born.

The world still cannot imagine itself without itself. Illusion and escapism prevail? The allergen is allegory. We keep sneezing, stopped walking.

Shall we come to something new? Note—politics is to thinking what W.S. said sentimentality was to feeling. Weak and blank. Rhetoric fades into a diversity of hue. The pencil tip is not the result of the eraser, vice versa. Beto’s fuck and hell yessing won’t do much to win him office. Perhaps we are seeing idle nervousness. Twirling the pencil in one’s hand is a slightly deft skill. Spinning in circles, it generates illusions in its spin. Are we responsible enough, or simply crying for a better robot? For every turn of the pencil, will the marks made be erased? If we glance back to what’s behind us, indeed a forming picture, much like the future won’t be left over. How we got here, in general, is soon becoming a mystery.


[i] Pelosi faces tough questions from reporters on impeachment


About the Author:

Adam Staley Groves’s research focuses on the “theory of poetry” of Wallace Stevens and other modernist poets. He is a teaching fellow at Tembusu College, National University of Singapore.

Image by Flabber DeGaskey via Flickr (cc).