In weirdly synchronous news, last weekend I actually found time to catch up on some recent Gary Lachman lectures I’d been meaning to get to and found myself massively enjoying myself as usual. Then I came into work and found him blowing up a bit because of a recent Salon interview. It’s funny that he and I essentially talk about the exact same sort of shit, but from completely different angles. He writes about people who channeled daemons 100 years ago, I write about how utterly strange it is to do this shit in the year 2018 while living in a culture thoroughly convinced that the spirit realm doesn’t exist. Yet, I make no claims of being any sort of scholar, which is where Gary runs laps around a stoner guitar playing space cadet like myself. Either way, both of us talk about the hidden potential of the human imagination and how this has been actively repressed culturally, which has lead us to the state of profound spiritual retardation we currently exist in. He likes the left brain right/brain metaphor, I like the Yin/Yang metaphor.
Anyway, if for some reason you still don’t know, now you know. I personally enjoyed this chat with Reality Sandwich and former Disinfo contributor Jeremy Johnson:
That one covers the Alt Right stuff (ugh, the alt right stuff? I’m sorry), but I also checked this podcast about his prior book The Secret Teachers of the Western World, totally worth it.
Then of course I came into work yesterday and this Salon piece had just dropped (from Salon and yes, I’m sorry I just reblogged Salon twice in one day):
“Almost two years after Donald Trump’s once-unthinkable election victory, social scientists and other researchers have reached some clear conclusions about how and why it happened. Racism, sexism, nativism and social-dominance behavior were key factors in Trump’s support among white voters. Christian nationalism, along with the fear that white people will soon lose demographic power and control in America was also an variable. The claim that “economic anxiety” among the “white working class” was a primary motivation of Trump’s voters has repeatedly been shown to be incorrect.
As Trump meets alone with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki this week, the influence of Russia in undermining the 2016 presidential election with the goal of installing Trump in the White House cannot be discounted.
But for all the excellent analysis of the 2016 presidential election, there is too little focus on the role of emotions, symbols and mass psychology in how Trump was able to defeat Hillary Clinton. Trump can be said to lead a kind of political cult, and most analysts and commentators are still struggling to explain his almost unbreakable power over his voters and others supporters.
Drawing on his expertise in the occult and other esoteric knowledge, historian and cultural critic Gary Lachman makes an unusual argument in his provocative new book “Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump.” He suggests that Trump and his followers and supporters on the racist far right are actually master manipulators of human emotion, storytelling, collective psychology, symbolism and memes, with a remarkable ability to create chaos.”
We should also probably remember that Gary put out the classic Turn off Your Mind for Disinfo back in the day:
Okay, so Gary and I, and Mitch Horowitz have actually engaged in a bit of social media shit talking lately in regards to the merits of one Jordan B. Peterson. Just want to reiterate guys, love ya’. Not trying to be an asshole. I’ve now chatted with a lot of very smart people who seemingly have zero clue how embarrassing the guy gets on right wing media outlets. Publicly supporting the dude is not going to age well. It’s some Rush devoting an album to Ayn Rand shit. Just trying to help out there. Anywho, I haven’t had time to read his new book Dark Star Rising yet, but it talks about how Vladislav Surkov birthed the exact sort of Russian propaganda that ran through Disinfo for years, so it’s probably important.