Something quite disturbing is happening on the world stage. A truly grotesque spectacle is unveiling itself. One by one, all of the world actors are being replaced with literal actors and jesters. The line between the fictive and factual is vanishing. The stage is an ontological abyss creeping towards the audience, in this theater of cruelty, wherein the spectator becomes an unwilling participant in his own theatrical experience.
”The spectacle will be extended, by elimination of the stage, to the entire hall of the theater and will scale the walls from the ground up on light catwalks, will physically envelop the spectator and immerse him in a constant bath of light, images, movements, and noises.” (Artaud, 1958: p. 125)
Many have asked, “Is Biden’s new disinformation czarina qualified?”, few have queried “Is she even human?” This is the question we will endeavor to answer.
Most public facing surfaces of academia will readily allow that “all theater is political”, but they will rarely cross the etiology and say that “all politics is theatrical.” Even though the concept of politically constructed reality has been prosecuted in the terms of a puppet theatre since at least the time of Plato, it seems that to draw out any inferences is strictly forbidden, except in very specific terms. Machiavelli took it a step further, discussing in detail the theatrical and symbolic qualities of political violence. Debord (1995) treats spectacle as a fundamental organizing principle of modern society. It is a simple task for academics to examine the theatrical aspects of the 3rd Reich or delve into the political performances of terrorists, almost never mentioning state-terrorism of course. Baudrillard pushes beyond the “order of sorcery”, for him there is no longer a “man behind the curtain”, we are in the cave beneath Plato’s cave—
“The reality of simulation is unbearable - crueler than Artaud's Theater of Cruelty, which was still an attempt to create a dramaturgy of life, the last gasp of an ideality of the body, of blood, of violence in a system that was already taking it away, toward a reabsorption of all the stakes without a trace of blood. For us the trick has been played. All dramaturgy, and even all real writing of cruelty has disappeared. Simulation is the master, and we only have a right to the retro, to the phantom, parodic rehabilitation of all lost referentials. Everything still unfolds around us, in the cold light of deterrence (including Artaud, who has the right like everything else to his revival, to a second existence as the referential of cruelty).”
Baudrillard perhaps comes closest to prophesying our modern prodigios, the abominations that we call “Theater Kids”, as the “signs that dissimulate that there is nothing”. In the past, portents in the sky signaled the appearance of these changing images of man, unrecognized by God. Now the stars are obscured, comets are contained, and the signal that mutates comes from the screen.