“The great contemporary terror is anonymity”

The current Leader of the Free World probably fears anonymity more than most.  So he expresses his ‘look at me, I’m a spoiled brat having a tantrum’ shtick in a manner perhaps proportionate to that terror. 

Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Chris Hedges, in his book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009), quotes the critic William Deresiewitz:

The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge—broadband tipping the Web from text to image; social-networking sites spreading the mash of interconnection ever wider—the two cultures betray a common impulse. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. … This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves—by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity.

Interestingly, though the great — many say greatest — Leader of the Free World may be the least anonymous person on the planet, evidently this in no way dispels his terror. 

5 thoughts on ““The great contemporary terror is anonymity””

  1. Insecurities of various stripes currently rool, OK!

    “In Asian capitals and Washington, officials and analysts say… China’s refusal to back down on external disputes large and small stems from a sense of political insecurity and economic pressure at home, and the need to display strength in line with the image Xi has crafted for China and for himself — a mirror image, in some ways, of an American president who has railed against China on the campaign trail while struggling to contain the coronavirus and unemployment at home.”


  2. You’ve nailed it. And the big question is, will there be anything left when TGLOTFW leaves his exalted orifice.

    • Good question, Brad. His tantrums promise to ramp up, becoming more and more dangerous in direct relation to his growing fear of the coming election results.

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