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Todd Suomela
  • One is: A Good Account of a Problem Predicts Absolutely Nothing About the Value of a Solution.

     

    I am a professor. I have read three decades of essays that set up problems beautifully and then fall apart in the what is to be done section. Sanders and Trump inflamed their audiences with searing critiques of Capitalism’s unfairness. Then what? Then Trump’s response to what he has genuinely seen is, analytically speaking, word salad. Trump is sound and fury and garble. Yet — and this is key — the noise in his message increases the apparent value of what’s clear about it. The ways he’s right seem more powerful, somehow, in relief against the ways he’s blabbing. Plus, apart from rebooting capitalism, nobody in mainstream politics is that visionary about what to do, because everyone has to be patriotic toward capitalism, since that’s come to stand for freedom.

     

    Two: the second thing about Trump is that Trump is free.

     

    You watch him calculating, yet not seeming to care about the consequences of what he says, and you listen to his supporters enjoying the feel of his freedom. See the brilliant interviews on Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal, where RNC conventioneers say, over and over: We’re for Trump because he’s not politically correct, PC has harmed America, and you think, people feel so unfree.

  • To summarize: where the mainstream is concerned, all politics is emotional because all politics is sentimental, attaching people to dreams of a better good life through the law’s good heart. The nation was supposed to deliver justice but that’s not working out too well, so we switched to “the nation saves hope, without hope there’s no hope, etc.” Donald Trump foments hope in the exercise of his emotional freedom. The Democratic party fomented hope at its convention by borrowing from the maternalist playbook of the 19th century (my mother! my daughter! our children!) and the liberation theology of universal love with a policy obligation that we identify with a defanged version of Dr. Martin Luther King. Donald Trump loves too, you know: he says it all the time. I think he means it, if love means mutual idealization. The Democrats under Clinton have hope and love: not fairness. The reboot of the New Deal lost, this time, to Google Democracy: try to do no evil, and protect the profits.

     

    Anyway, one party’s message is radical and incoherent, and the other’s, the Democrat’s, is moderate-conservative and traditional. All the messages are emotional.

Todd Suomela
  • One of the few political theorists to really get the Trump phenomenon when it was still a popular summertime joke for Slate columnists and Washington Post hacks was Lauren Berlant. “People would like to feel free […] Donald Trump foments hope in the exercise of his emotional freedom.” But while the “Trump Emotion Machine” takes in some valid inputs (inequality, inequity, deterioration), it spits out both nonsense and obscene outputs. It is not wrong because it is rageful; it is rageful at the wrong things. The DOOM Emotion Machine pushes you to move beyond mere expression of rage, not just inchoate, unfathomable rage, not just rage at any old thing or the nearest narratively acceptable target, but to feel free to rage at the people who brought you here, rage at their apologists, rage at the idiocy of HR, rage at the plodding stupidity of looking for one more source of “dead labor” — human, demon, or other carbon-based lifeforms — “that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.” Rage at Hell but rage at who brought you to Hell and why any of this is necessary at all.

     

    [Doomguy] sees nothing permanent. But for this very reason he sees ways everywhere. Where others encounter walls or mountains, there, too, he sees a way. But because he sees a way everywhere, he has to clear things from it everywhere. Not always by brute force; sometimes by the most refined. Because he sees ways everywhere, he always positions himself at crossroads. No moment can know what the next will bring. What exists he reduces to rubble, not for the sake of the rubble, but for that of the way leading through it.

  • And yet DOOM wants to roll the dice on you. DOOM thinks you will learn to love rage again, to experience its visceral pleasure. DOOM wants you to unlearn all those lessons in civility, in comportment, in tone, in the “benefit of the doubt.” DOOM wants you to consider that when “they go low,” you will scrape the pits of Inferno to go ever lower. DOOM wants you to feel more. But — and perhaps this is sheer, irrational hope on my part, a shard of redemption in a game of bleak glee — DOOM wants you to remember that it is all so stupid. That all of this is instrumental, that the only way out is through, but that this is brutalizing to the world and to yourself. In my most hopeful moment, I think DOOM has old Spinoza on the mind: learn to feel joy in the world again and yes, learn to feel joy in the pain of enemies but remember that it is just — in a measure of mere magnitude — a lesser joy than in the flourishing of friends.
  • DOOM ends with the last remaining representative of the UAC, taking some kind of poorly explained “key to Hell” away from you, to preserve the “positive” aspects of the energy project while doomguy is relegated back to storied legend. You are inert in this; there is no gameplay. Fifteen hours of the carefully conducted and orchestrated flow of rage is suddenly bottled up as you realize what every human being on Earth should have realized when Bush pushed through the first bailout, when Obama appointed Geithner, when Schäuble wouldn’t give one inch to Greece, with the half-baked Paris accords, with Nigel Farage and his stupid grin, with the orchestrated failure of the Arab Spring, with the rapid acceleration of climate change, with the gig economy, with unfettered policing, with prisons and migrant camps, and with Donald Trump perched in his gold-plated playroom atop his cold black tower: they are just going to keep doing this, come Hell or high water. DOOM is going to teach you to love rage. This machine kills demons.
Todd Suomela
  • Many writers now are more interested in exploring the self. Power might be present in their books but it’s usually not the abiding preoccupation. And look: to borrow a phrase from one of Sontag’s speeches, I would never ask a writer to be a jukebox. But there is a kind of looking away going on by a lot of writers who should know better, I’m saying. And I’m troubled by it.
Todd Suomela

Home | International Cloud Atlas

"Welcome to the official site of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) International Cloud Atlas. This Atlas describes the classification system for clouds and meteorological phenomena used by all WMO Members. The classifications also describe meteorological meteors other than clouds – hydrometeors, lithometeors, photometeors, and electrometeors."

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Todd Suomela
  • Conservatives once warned that Obamacare would produce the Democratic Waterloo. Their inability to accept the principle of universal coverage has, instead, led to their own defeat.
  • In that third week in March in 2010, America committed itself for the first time to the principle of universal (or near universal) health-care coverage. That principle has had seven years to work its way into American life and into the public sense of right and wrong. It’s not yet unanimously accepted. But it’s accepted by enough voters—and especially by enough Republican voters—to render impossible the seven-year Republican vision of removing that coverage from those who have gained it under the Affordable Care Act. Paul Ryan still upholds the right of Americans to “choose” to go uninsured if they cannot afford to pay the cost of their insurance on their own. His country no longer agrees.
  • Conservatives have a crucial role to play in shaping the future American health-care system to enhance and support enterprise, innovation, individual responsibility—to resist open-ended spending, state planning, and the risk that social insurance will penalize effort and success. It’s past time to accept reality, quit promising the impossible, and do the work that a democracy that seeks both equity and efficiency should expect from its more conservative-minded thinkers and politicians.
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