In his latest dispatch from the frontline of the US election campaign, George Blecher watches as the candidates unearth the dirt in each other’s pasts. Policy he asks, what’s that? Forget it.
George Blecher is a former professor at the City University of New York. He is a writer, journalist and translator. His articles appear in, among others, the New York Times, Eurozine, New Republic, Christian Science Monitor, as well as Visegrád Insight and the Danish daily Information. He is a member of the Eurozine Advisory Board.
Duck and dodge, wheel and deal, lies, lies and precious few facts or statistics. In the second of his Battle Dispatches covering the US elections, George Blecher explains how lying – or what he calls ‘evasive rhetoric’ – has become the campaign’s central issue on both sides.
It’s about to get rough and with all still to play for, in the first of his US election ‘Battle Dispatches’, George Blecher challenges Hillary to come out fighting.
The recent US presidential primaries may have appeared to be a cross between a circus and a caricature of a reality show, but don’t be misled, says George Blecher, the real show has yet to take place. The campaign between the two most unpopular candidates ever to stand for President will be brutal and the result will leave swathes of Americans disenchanted with the democracy of which they were once so proud.
Much as the media like to call Barack Obama a “lame duck President”, he’s begun to look pretty agile of late. So says George Blecher. A portrait of Obama, the most consistent US president in decades, dispatched from inside the land of the free.
The Boston bombing and why you can't become completely American
George Blecher pinpoints exactly what it is that confuses Americans about the actions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who, prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon, may not have been far off from becoming an ideal American. But then becoming completely American always was a fiction.
He pointed a way for American fiction out of the doldrums of postmodernism, writes George Blecher. For a culture troubled by the corrosive commercial media and closed-end systems underpinned by modern technology, David Foster Wallace’s influence remains a force to be reckoned with.
Choreography replaces vision in a leaden US election campaign, writes George Blecher. No amount of media hype can disguise voters’ sense that neither candidate is offering a significant variation on the status quo.
Europe’s leaders need to take a hard look across the Atlantic before they start dismantling the Union, writes George Blecher. Emulating the US would risk forfeiting all the things that make Europe the best of all worlds.
Could Obama have let the US default? Given that the debt ceiling compromise merely postpones the political conflict, providing a stopgap rather than a solution, the unthinkable might not have been so bad an option, conjectures George Blecher.
Genuine knowledge or intellectual bullshit? Reformed bullshitter George Blecher recalls the moment he learned the difference…
Email, text messaging and social networks have revolutionized the way we communicate. Yet as the magic of instantaneity fades, George Blecher begins to miss some good old-fashioned penmanship.
Spend and save? This was the contradiction that defined Obama’s State of the Union speech. Yet the US president’s efforts at conciliation can do little to halt the growing wave of bankruptcy, where the public sector is the hardest hit, writes George Blecher.
Once wildly popular, President Obama is now under fire from all directions. Is it because his thinking is too complicated for an age of sound bites, asks George Blecher, or does he lack the kind of passion that the American electorate thrives on?
The much anticipated US finance regulatory bill, passed at the end of last month, is a compromise between government regulators and Wall Street, writes George Blecher. As for solving the even more pressing problems of the US economy, the bill offers no new solutions.
Tough materialism and existential frankness, an awareness of one’s mortality balanced by the refusal to talk bullshit: George Blecher selects three works of fiction that sum up the New York attitude.