The line in between basic appreciation and sleepwalking through civic fan fiction of your own production is specifically the point where you let this digital glamour prosper in obscuring its owner’s large power, where you discover yourself clamouring to be on their side instead of guaranteeing they’re on yours It’s the rhetorical heart of Donald Trump’s now-famous meme tweet, with an image of him pointing at the audience, surrounded by text stating “They’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m simply in the method.” There, Trump is actively attempting to marshal his fans’ overidentification with him, getting them to see his political bad luck– he had actually simply been impeached– as their own.
It’s nearly particular that, no matter what was stated online, Ginsburg made her own choice about her period on the Supreme Court; unlike Trump, she had the decency to not actively cultivate this fandom, either. The constituency of feminists who thought too busily in Notorious RBG were liquifying their own power to affect occasions by burnishing the folklore of Ginsburg’s. Much easier to think in the pureness of her privilege than to clamour for her to make a tactical choice that may have benefited millions. One is more beneficial to social media’s culture than the other.
Not every episode of civic fan fiction involves overidentification– numerous political fandoms rest on misconceptions of godlike strength and transcendent power; see for example Trump or Jeremy Corbyn. Often, however, the misconception that they’re “much like you” is one that’s utilized by effective individuals, instead of troubled them.
The folklore of Notorious RBG, well intentioned as it is, is rather comparable to investor Marc Andreessen’s perverse vision of himself. In the dream of Ginsburg held by some middle-class white feminists, among the most definitely effective females on the planet was truly simply a normal expert attorney, muddling through the day. Billionaire oligarch Andreessen is really a member of the “expert supervisory class,” or PMC.
In Andreessen’s numeration: “I am undoubtedly a member in excellent standing of the Professional-Managerial Class, James Burnham’s supervisory elite, Paul Fussell’s ‘Category X,’ David Brooks’ bourgeois bohemian ‘Bobos in Paradise’ … the laptop computer class.”
This rather odd folklore is an easy and all too reliable method of obscuring power. Let’s leave aside the unbearable smug bohemian self-regard of Fussell’s “ Category X,” which, if they ever looked it up, may provoke throwing up revulsion from his 4chan-addled fans. The point is to generate a perverse compassion from Andreessen’s audience, to get them to associate with him and see themselves in him so long as they sport a lanyard and operate in a cubicle. They have the exact same task and, most importantly, the very same orientation to power. Neglect the reality that he has actually shoveled 400 million dollars into the heater of Musk’s Twitter quote, the type of video game none people will ever have the ante to play.
Here Andreessen, who does not have a character cult of his own, is attempting to obtain from Musk’s glamour to obscure his own wealth and power. By arguing that Musk is not actually a member of “the elite,” he gives cover to himself, and for this video game he’s having fun with numerous billions of dollars. This is the nearly inconsistent relocation: appearing unthreatening by being relatable to the masses, while likewise appearing brave for doing things they might never ever do. Financial investment in the previous assists obscure the profane power needed to do the latter. This is possible by getting the online fans to utilize their civic fan fiction to over-empathize with figures like Musk, to make his battles their own, to envision that it might simply as quickly be them purchasing a significant tech business on an impulse. This is the bleak Bifrost in between the “everyman” image and the godly misconception.