The Shock Doctrine

Gouache on A3 paper. H/t MC for the tattoo design and concept that inspired this art: A beautiful art deco piece symbolizing both rising sun and atomic bomb explosion. Needed change may only come from disastrously great exogenous shock, the sun-bomb suggests. Of course, so too may such shocks bring disastrous change… 

Can and should the left learn to exploit the politics of chaos like Naomi Klein suggested in The Shock Doctrine ten years ago the right had learned to do? Or is exploiting the shock doctrine morally and practically wrong? How can we prepare for the Trump Administration’s efforts to exploit crisis (like a major domestic terror attack) for radical change? Does measuring the speed and intensity of exogenous shocks matter for ordinary people (e.g., to learn how to make better attention resource allocation choices in a faster and faster-moving information environment)? Or does prioritizing agenda-setting at a remove from that speed and intensity make more sense for helping people understand and act on their political interests?

Gouache and acrylic on A3 paper. 

“The Shock Doctrine”

The shock
is not
what got
the block,
but how
the flock,
—or not—
looks on
and on now.
We feel
the coming
blow, but
steel as if
No. What?
This can’t be,
—isn’t yet—
When it comes,
shock still numbs.
Power’s spree
collects the debt
of our disbelief
that evil can be
as bad/
and as glad
for evil
as it seems.

Gouache and paper on A3 paper.