“Decoding the Demagogues: Reading as Disobedience.” Litro Magazine, March 2016.

25485978382_d05e3260e5_b.jpgThese are times of a politics of the either – or. Either you’re with Donald Trump, reveling in the epiphany that, once all complexities of 21st century reality are glossed over and ethical scruples are forgotten, you can swim with the most wonderful wave of certainty and unity – or you’re not a protestor, but a “professional agitator” to be blamed for any acts of violence committed against you. Resisting these politics therefore entails a work of decoding. The aestheticization of politics into a luring spectacle plays into the hands of the likes of Donald Trump, yet a political aesthetic of critical reading, in turn, can help break through this sheen of rhetorical gesture.  This is a challenge, because it becomes necessary to resist the tantalizing simplicity of these worldviews.  It raises the question of how can we speak from a position of crisis in the face of a world in upheaval, without losing anchorage.

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