Professor Says the ‘Current Thing’ is a Form of Tyranny
“Because the Current Thing deserves our total attention and deference, anyone who disputes the existence or the urgency of the Current Thing is a problem.”
Adam Ellwanger teaches English at the University of Houston-Downtown. In a recent piece at The American Conservative, he talks about how the ‘current thing’ is having a negative effect on our discourse:
The Tyranny of the ‘Current Thing’
There is no better evidence of the managed nature of what passes as “democratic deliberation” than the recent development of “Current Thingism.” Even if you aren’t familiar with the term, you know the phenomenon well. There are many crises unfolding in contemporary America, and the “Current Thing” is whichever one our elites insist should be the focus of our attention at the present moment.
For a while, the Current Thing was #MeToo. From 2016 until 2018, the Current Thing was Russian collusion. After that scheme unraveled, we moved through a series of Current Things, each of which was said to compound the grave threat Trump supposedly posed to Our Democracy: in March 2020, it was Covid-19; for a few months that summer, it was systemic racism; then, it was the Delta variant; finally, for a stretch of early 2021, it was the January 6th “insurrection.” And when Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukraine became the Current Thing. You knew it was the new Current Thing because all the smart people suddenly changed how they spelled and pronounced “Kiev.”
So, you know what the Current Thing is. What, then, is “Current Thingism”? Current Thingism is the default mindset of a certain segment of the American population: typically, the professional, liberal, educated, urban caste of society. Current Thingism is an enduring assumption that whatever the Current Thing happens to be, it should, in fact, be the Current Thing—the issue among issues.
Current Thingism also enables some judgment on the part of the Current Thingist. Because the Current Thing deserves our total attention and deference, anyone who disputes the existence or the urgency of the Current Thing is a problem. The person who does not concede the urgency of the Current Thing is dumb, dangerous, or both. Remember the treatment of those who doubted the efficacy of masks? Those who were reluctant about mRNA vaccines? Those who doubted the wisdom of sending billions of dollars to fund Ukraine’s defense? Such is the fate of those who don’t get in line with the Current Thing.
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This is intellectual illiteracy at its worst on display
I am torn between bread and circuses and the likely misdirection by the left.
They are not mutually exclusive….
“You know… the Current Thing!”
/as opposed to Currant Thing. My local bakery has them on Tuesdays
To my knowledge, I’ve never tried them. May need to find some currant jam or something next trip to the grocery store.
It depends what kind of currant you mean. “Currant” has two completely distinct meanings. It can mean a small raisin. Or it can mean a species of berry that comes in red, white, or black. Blackcurrant juice is lovely, but it’s packed with sugar; I think more than 50% sugar! If you’re talking jam it’s the berries, but currants in baked goods are more likely to be the raisins.
The Hartford Courant is a most distasteful newspaper though….
Anyone who hasn’t seen the “current thing” meme (dates from right about the Ukraine invasion)…
And here’s the operating manual.
B”H” Explaining the details; the disorienting, deracinating mechanism and workings of the cassette insert process
Chomsky Chutes are the various means by which current events are dumped into the memory hole, never to be remembered again. Intentional forgetting noamchomsky-11is an art. We used distraction, misdirection – massive, minimal and everything in-between, truth-in-lie-embedding, lie-in-truth-embedding, bogus fronts and false organizations (physical, simulated, live and on the Net). We created events wholesale (which some call short-term memory crowding, a species of buffer overflow), generated fads, fashions and movements sustained by concepts that changed the context of debate. Over in the entertainment wing, the most potent wing of the military-industrial-educational-entertainment complex, we invented false people, characters with made-up life stories in simulated communities more real to the Hump than family or friends. We revised historical antecedents or replaced them entirely with narratives you could track through several centuries of buried made-up clues. We sponsored scholars to pursue those clues and published their works and turned them into minipics. Some won Nobel Prizes. We invented Net discussion groups and took all sides, injecting half-true details into the discourse, just enough to bend the light. We excelled in the parallax view. We perfected the Gary Webb Gambit, using attacks by respectable media giants on independent dissenters, taking issue with things they never said, thus changing the terms of the argument and destroying their credibility. We created dummy dupes, substitute generals and politicians and dictators that looked like the originals in videos, newscasts, on the Net, in covertly distributed underground snaps, many of them pornographic. We created simulated humans and sent them out to play among their more real cousins. We used holographic projections, multispectral camouflage, simulated environments and many other stratagems. The toolbox of deception is bottomless and if anyone challenged us, we called them a conspiracy theorist and leaked details of their personal lives. It’s pretty tough to be taken seriously when your words are juxtaposed with a picture of you sucking some prostitute’s toes. Through all this we supported and often invented opposition groups because discordant voices, woven like a counterpoint into a fugue, showed the world that democracy worked. Meanwhile we used those groups to gather names, filling cells first in databases, then in Guantanamo camps.
Chomsky Chutes worked well when the management of perception was at top-level, the level of concepts. They worked perfectly before chemicals, genetic-enhancements and bodymods had become ubiquitous. Then the balance tipped toward chemicals (both ingested and inside-engineered) and we saw that macro strategies that addressed only the conceptual level let too many percepts slip inside. Those percepts swim around like sperm and pattern into memories; when memories are spread through peer-to-peer nets, the effect can be devastating. It counters everything we do at the macro level and creates a subjective field of interpretation that resists socialization, a cognitively dissonant realm that’s like an itch you can’t scratch, a shadow world where “truths” as they call them are exchanged on the Black Market. Those truths can be woven together to create alternative realities. The only alternative realities we want out there are ones we create ourselves.
B”H” 20 years ago, that which devolved into the Current Thing was inter alia discussed w/i a broader framework by acerbic English Prof (and not a conservative by any stretch) Curtis White “The Middle Mind”
“The Middle Mind is pragmatic, plainspoken, populist, contemptuous of the right’s narrowness and incredulous before the left’s convulsions. It is adventuresome, eclectic, spiritual, and in general agreement with liberal political assumptions about race, gender, and class.”
One of my fave books, still today.
The mini skirts, the current thing, uh huh
Teenybopper is our newborn king, uh huh
Thank you, Sonny and Cher.