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The relevance of "The Buried Giant"

Originally posted at Clio's Psyche, Oct. 30)

In Ishiguro's "The Buried Giant," collective memory that has been suppressed, suddenly comes back full bloom. All memory of victimization, is suddenly remembered by all. Ishiguro presents it as, in one sense, quite necessary, but also as fully regrettable as it gives incontrovertible righteous fodder for the war-intending.

With what's coming out of Hollywood and Washington now, his novel really resonates. For while it seems only good that we are now becoming knowledgeable of the sheer number of predators in both places, and that victims who had felt kowtowed and shamed for years are now feeling some sense of resolve and self-pride again, it is also true that both of these places are seeming more the cesspools of the corrupt of rightwing populist lore.

It is possible that as we see these many reveals and long-delayed takedowns occur and realize, as it makes the previous tendency of both of these high-density, democrat-voting locals to attack "everyday Americans" as the seat of everything that is foul in the world an actual inversion of truth, that it is the rightwing rather than feminism that is best taking advantage of it, we may find ourselves regretting that we are now duty-bound (absolute fidelity with the victimized) to follow this to the end.

Lloyd deMause once talked about social institutions as delegate groups that "act out ambivalent feelings common to all members of the larger group but which the rest of the group wish to deny."  He referred to "the Church as a group-fantasy of dependency, the Army as a group-fantasy of birth, the Government as a group-fantasy of nurturance, Capitalism as a group-fantasy of control, Revolution as a group-fantasy of counterdependency, the Class System as a group-fantasy of obeisance, The School as a group-fantasy of humiliation." DeMause thus provides liberals with a means of understanding why these locations of such absolute resolved faith in voting Democratic, in supporting governments that are progressive and improve the lot of wo/mankind, can also be places where predatory behaviours run rampant. Powerful people working there are cued by the public at large to act out specific group fantasy needs -- to make unknowns suddenly famous, but also the horrible inverse: to act out punishments upon them for their egoistic desire to have it all; to live out the American dream.

Without deMause's help, where will be left but to agree that these places that were such leaders in keeping democracy afloat have been revealed to be, in fact, the very cesspools the rightwing have always declared them to be and are in deep need of supervision and reform... an aroused movement lead by those currently becoming the recognized holders of virtue, those loyal to "the forgotten American man and woman," namely, nativists, nationalists, whether right or left.


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