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The Malignant controls, discourages, manipulates


The Reparative liberates, encourages, and grows


Attempt to escape as he may, the editor of BackChannels returns to his themes even while journeying out to Hollywood between the pages of a hardcover, i.e., celebrity Holly Madison’s Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny (New York: Harper Collins, Dey Street imprint, 2015).

As ladies men go, some peacocks appear to have an image both to create and maintain, and not infrequently that at high cost to the cheerleaders seduced into hanging on to their elbows.

Now how different is that from the global politics — and the themes attending those “leaders and their followers in a dangerous world” written about by Jerrold Post (2004)  — visited here by way of the pack of contemporary autocrats?


I have seen the term “state capitalism” applied to Putin’s medieval revanch in the creation of the post-Soviet neo-feudal Russia now wrapped around his own “vertical of power”.  The idea has its appeal (and many related posts break into a BackChannels’ category ne “21st Century Feudal“).

In the American Wildness, distributed business-borne capitalism, which in North America could not be otherwise, appears to produce in part feudal competitions and related private environs as part of the nature of power arrayed between chairmen and presidents, members of the board, and shareholders and other stakeholders.  The degree to which those at the top embrace their own “vertical of power” and effectively promote their own cultural fascism around and beneath them needs must vary, but overarched by democratic governance, such private feudal behaviors have only the boundaries of a few legal papers (noncompete and nondisclosure agreements, for a start), the discipline of their accounting departments (no workee, no checkee), and their doors for fending off equally private but solitary revolutions: employees belittled, degraded, demeaned, denigrated, enslaved by their environments can, do, will outgrow their my-way-or-the-highway keepers — and walk across the street or do that highway thing and move one big town, state, or country over.

It’s a big world, and life’s too short to tolerate a capricious and irrational subjugation forever.

Of course, with governments operated as private businesses for authoritarian elites, the same problems are much, much greater for those suffering — and not individually: en masse — beneath them.

Additional Reference

BackChannels.  “Malignant Narcissism”.

Odell, Amy.  “The 14 Worst Things About Hugh Hefner, as Revealed in Holly Madison’s New Book: From his incessant mansplaining to the constant infighting he created among girlfriends, Madison describes her life in the mansion as anything but happy.” Cosmopolitan, June 22, 2015. 

Wikipedia.  “Presidency of Vladimir Putin”: About the same time, Vladimir Ryzhkov pointed out that a bill Medvedev had sent to the State Duma in late January 2009, when signed into law, will allow Kremlin-friendly regional legislatures to remove opposition mayors who were elected by popular vote: “It is no coincidence that Medvedev has taken aim at the country’s mayors. Mayoral elections were the last bastion of direct elections after the Duma cancelled the popular vote for governors in 2005. Independent mayors were the only source of political competition against governors who were loyal to the Kremlin and United Russia. Now one of the few remaining checks and balances against the monopoly on executive power in the regions will be removed. After the law is signed by Medvedev, the power vertical will be extended one step further to reach every mayor in the country.

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