Fascism and the pleasures of joining in

From Richard Seymour’s wonderful Patreon blog:

It was in this context that what Evans calls “communal listening”, in which the Führer’s speeches were broadcast to workplaces and schools each week, worked. They were, yes, propaganda. But they were also a form of entertainment, organising a grotesquely celebrified relationship between leader and followers. They were glamorous, erotic events. By being simultaneously broadcast across the nation, they enabled a new and advanced form of group pleasure. As James Smith and Alfie Bown point out, reactionaries are always attentive to the specific pleasure of ‘joining in’. The Republican crowds chanting “send her back” about Ilhan Omar, weren’t just making a political statement. They were participating in a form of open air mass entertainment. Hitler’s radio broadcasts, however, stimulated a communal pleasure more akin to watching the television than attending a mass rally. A pleasure that is both massified and individualised, organised by what Raymond Williams would call “mobile privatisation”. It is the communal pleasure of private, law-abiding, non-political citizens.

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