sabato 6 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: Mass psychopathology and fascist lyricism (Pt. VI - The Birth of Digital Populism)

Mass psychopathology and fascist lyricism

The social and cultural context in which the magician’s actions occur is the second aspect to be examined. György Lukács has correctly emphasized the novelty of the powerful scenery that was outlined by Thomas Mann in Mario and the magician; in the book mass psychology intertwines with fierce charisma, hypnotic suggestions and an electric social atmosphere that is polluted by nationalist mythologies. The piercing power of the magician Cipolla evokes those affective powers of grotesque and uncontrollable behaviours, which can provoke animal-like reactions, as well as hysterical subjugation of the masses. The specificity of Mann’s depiction of the 1920’s Italian landscape is more successful in highlighting the collective psychological dynamics of allegiance and akrasia than in describing the historical-military characteristics of fascism, such as the ‘deterrent action’ of militant squads and Fasci of combat. Nor did Mann describe – in ann environment that was already lyrically fascist- the economic, reactionary and classist coming together of the agrarian, capitalist and bourgeois classes against the revolutionary multitude of Gramscian doctrine. At the end Cipolla forces a mesmerized audience to perform a delirious and obscene dance, showing how the compulsive and disturbed conduct of this epicurean crowd emerges from a wish to impose and deprive; a wish that acts through hypnosis, imitation and a playful-grotesque entertainment. (...)

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