Past the Post?: Screening Progress and Fascism's Return

David A Gerstner


The 2016 presidential election triggers many unanticipated responses. Emotions run high. Political activists discover newfound energy. One’s place in the world has been unfixed, troubled, and unsettled. Philosophers and artists, stunned, rethink the terms for their critical positions and the formal aesthetics that shape their work. The moment is thus rife with anxiety in search of a response. As a film scholar, I find myself driven to script a response. Ironically, as I write I feel paused in time and space. My unfixedness in the shadow of the election put in motion what can best be described as quivering stasis. From my troubled place, an intellectual processing unfolded. I conjured ideas and images that invariably failed to yield a satisfactory response to what had come to pass. What had I seen? Felt? My psychical and physical response to current events might be likened to what Adorno refers to as “the capacity to shudder, as if goose bumps were the first aesthetic image” (437).

It’s not a pretty picture. But we’ve known this all along.


Adorno, Situationists, Trump, Fascism

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