Psychopolitics, Part 8

Neoliberal psychopolitics seduces the soul; it preempts in lieu of opposing.

Totalitarian regimes coerced people into ratting out their friends and colleagues by creating the environment of terror. There is a powerful scene in Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle where a graduate student is being terrorized by the secret police to become an informant against the professors and the other women in her dorm. She doesn’t want to narc on her friends, but she’s completely terrified of saying no because she knows she’ll end up in a concentration camp if she does.

Now contrast this with our current situation where nobody forces hordes of angry students to hound anybody who doesn’t toe the ideological line. They have not been terrorized but, rather, seduced into this role by the promise of a cool, shiny identity that will enhance the value of their personal brand.

Activism is a marketing strategy. And the product on offer is the neoliberal self.

Of course, the reading of the book goes slowly if I read one sentence and it leads me all the way to what you just read.

The Unusual Challenge, Day 3

Today’s unusual activity is very normal for most of you, but I’ve never done this before. I’ve come to the DMV to renew my license. This is the first time I’m renewing it, so it’s a new experience.

The unusual stuff started happening the moment I arrived. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a woman pull out in an SUV. She was holding am infant in her lap as she drove, and there was a toddler of Klara’s age in the passenger seat next to her. That was definitely weird. The DMV is pretty much the last place where you want to be caught doing something like this.