Trump in the Tank, July 20, 2017 and the End of Print Literacy in the United States
Trump as the Realization of the Deep Logic of GOP Praxis,
from the Southern Strategy to the Fascist Assault on the Capitol of January 6, 2021

h This is a close reading of chapter 9, "Shocking the Conscience," in A Very Stable Genius.  The graphic image below is the unavoidable context in which to situate the Trump performances.  This is because questions of violence and cognitive development must be addressed if we are to understand our current situation, for the most striking aspects of the Tank meeting are the primitive cognitive performativity of Trump in that meeting, his brutish behavior toward the Joint Chiefs, and the inability of the Joint Chiefs--and the inability of the authors--to undestand what was happenng in the Tank.  Only when we place that meeting, and the assault on the Capitol, in historical contxt, does the awful truth of our situation begin to emerge.

The right-hand column contains excerpts from the chapter.  The Page column refers to the PDF I made of that chapter.  The letter references (A, B, C, and D) are intended to facilitate a more focused discussion.  The Scholarship and Journalism column provides wide-ranging references of immediate relevance to the materials in the chapter.

Serious thought can only unfold if it avoids the gravitational pull of the semiotic regimes of the two-party system.  See the "Two-Party System": Semiotic Regimes



The meeting, taken as a whole, was a debacle.  An attempt to "educate" Trump "devolved quickly" (134 B), but debacle is not adequate word, and might even be considered a euphemism.

134 A and B: Mattis, Cohn and Tillerson had been concerned for six months prior to the meeting about Trump's cognitive performativity (that is, the entire first six months of his presidency--they new from the start).  They know something was wrong, but they were embedded in a discursive field that provided a profoundly inadequate framework within which to understand what they would face in the Tank.

"A lack of familiarity even with the map of the world" (131 A)--one must stop and pause (gasp!).

The Social Origins of Language develops a fundamental concept: biocultural niche.  The concept of semiotic regime and web of discourse that I use is similar, but much less complex.  The name associated with this focus on how language works is Foucault, but also Wittgenstein and Heidegger
.  MCT do not know how significant their concern with creating "a basic knowledge, a shared language" is.  This is why I ws compelled to construct the above graphic as the fundamental interpretive framework.  The very nature and even existence of language and cognition is in question.  Trump is the apotheosis of decognification.

Not only does Trump not read (132 B); he has not read any serious books that might be relevant to shaping the mind of one who would become President.  Enter Alexander Luria, Walter Ong, and the Mind on Paper.  At best, Trump's cognitive performtivity can be situated in the oral rather than prinit discursive and cogniotive modality.

But Trump is not merely a primitive, in the sense of a throw-back, an archaic form of culture (archaic from the standpoint of modern civilization).  He may be the iconic post-modern man, a product of the interaction of the institutional framework of post war society with our primate inheritance.

his rochocheting attenton span (133 B): "Fauci Says Trump's Attention Span Is a 'Minus Number,' Only Cares About Getting Re-elected": Woodward, Rage, from Newsweek 9-9-20

"This is all about leader vs. leader" says Trump (134 A)--this is the alpha male of a primate group--and what I think is fundamental to understanding patrimonialism (Weber, Adams, Collins).

Scholarship and Journalism
excerpts from A Very Stable Genius, pp. 130-139

130 A,B
Where the joint chiefs attempt "an intervention" re "gaping holes in president's knowledge": Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson "had grown alarmed over the first six months of the Trump administration by gaping holes in the president's knowledge."  These three men will henceforth be refered to as MCT.

131 A
a lack of familiarity with U.S. history, and even with the map of the world
Social Origins of Language
131 B
MCT had to create a basic knowledge, a shared language

131 C
the session was to be a gentle lesson

131 D
little boy Trump
Wolf, Atlantic article; Ong; Luria
132 B
would not read, had no patience for lectures

132 C
a complex web of trade deals, alliances, and bases across the globe

133 A
Basnnon on Trump: he couldn’t say ‘postwar rules-bsed international order’  . . . or hydroxychloroquine
Fauci comment
133 B
his rochocheting attenton span; (Faucci) the word “base” CLL

133 D
we should make money off of everything
alpha male; patrimonialism (Weber, Max)
134 A
"This is all about leader vs. leader"

134 B
now things were devolving quickly

135 B
several attendees thought they heard Bannon in Trump’s words

136 B
"You're all lossers.  You don't know how to win

137 A
They tried not to reveal the revulsion on their faces; draft dodger

137 C
Trump’s stream of venom had taken an emotional toll

re making money off troops: Tillerson: you’re totally wrong

138 B
"He’s a fucking moron." the plan by Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohen to train the president . . . had clearly backfired
Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn
138 C
"We need to change how he thinks about this, to course correct. . .  but they were dismayed and in shock when not only did it not have the intended effect, but he dug in his heels and pushed it even further on the spetrum, further soidifying hs views.

139 A
the tank meeting had so thoroughly shocked the conscience of military leaders that they tried to keep it a secret.  Aspen Forum 2 day later, the Joint Chiefs chairman misleadingly described the meeting, skipping over the fireworks.
the Big Lie (re. Warren Commission on JFK assasination)
139 B
He asked a lot of hard questions, abnd the one thing he does is question some fundamental assumptions that we make as military leaders—and he will come and question those.  It’s a pretty energetic and an interactive dialogue