September 13, 2006

Even when he tells the truth, it looks like a lie...


Ah, back in the cool embrace of cyberspace. Broadband link finally established in new base camp...

Ahead of the promised rash of big posts, I must just say something about Gordon Brown's television interview last Sunday.

The whole Brown-Blair soap opera perfectly illustrates that the concept of the big Other is indispensable for understanding the current mode of the capitalist-parliamentarian Spectacle. (Let's be clear, this is a soap opera; when the Tory party imploded a decade and a half ago, it was over issues of policy - Labour's current disintegration is down to personalities and ambition.) Only the notion that there is a big Other who remains ignorant can account for why both Blair and Brown refuse to publicly acknowledge what everyone knows; that they are bitter rivals who despise each other.

The interview revealed the extent to which Brown is Nixon to Blair's Kennedy. It is as impossible to imagine bare-faced Messiah Blair enduring private doubts as it is imagine the brooding Brown looking confident in public. When Blair is telling a lie, he looks as if he believes it, and believes it with every fibre of his thespian being. But even when Brown is telling the truth he looks shifty and mendacious. The would-be personable grin his image consultants have told him to adopt comes off as creepy and menacing; it exudes the Bond-villain fake bonhomie of a man who knows that his goons will break the legs of anyone who crosses him.

Brown's performance was so extraordinarily, uncomfortably bad that it prompted the Times to suggest that the interview might turn out to be 'the moment when the leadership began drifting ineluctably out of his grasp'. Such proclamations have a hypersitional efficacy, of course. The very fact that it is now possible to entertain the possiblity that Brown might not become P.M. makes that contingency more likely. Up until recently, Brown has had hypersitional magic on his side - he would 'inevitably' succeed Blair. But now it increasingly looks as if we are about to witness, once again, something 'inevitable' not happening... (But don't worry - Retcon will smooth over any anomalies, it always does...)


Jameson's excellent piece on Zizek's The Parallax View is on the LRB site (but the illustrated version at Subject Barred is more alluring...)

As a contribution to the discussion of Le Carre and Spooks over at the Pillbox, here's something I prepared earlier....

Posted by mark at September 13, 2006 10:58 PM | TrackBack