Lewis Hyde, _Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art_ (1998)
“Hyde writes (p. 193) about Jesse Helms leading the charge against NEA funding in the 1990s: “The politicians who attacked the National Endowment for the Arts using Serrano [“Piss Christ” etc] as one of their wedges, were not really interested in their relationship with God [as Serrano was]”
Of Senator Helms: “Like any demagogue, he knows how to translate a complicated problem into a simple fear, how to stir up racial animosity and how to set his constituents at each other’s throats.”
Hyde was arguing that the problem with Helms (and our then culture in general) was an inability to undertake “dirt work,” the systematic carnivalesque action that opens systems to creativity – trickster as transformer, in other words.
The problem we’ve now got, I would say, in the Big Orange (and scary) Clown is a trickster who is in his way and for his purposes, masterful at dirt work – filthy and/or transgressive speech, inversions of perceived reality, etc.- the carnivalesque in fact – and doing so, masking deeply conservative, reactionary values (white male supremacy) as creative dirt work (speaking truth to entrenched power)
and so he promises innovation, renovation when what is really afoot is a con that will deny benefits to many of those who think they (and their ethical vision) are being well served.
The Art of the Deal is the Art of the Con – but remember that Coyote’s tricks that seemed totally self-promoting did in myth at least result in the reformulation of world order in a way beneficial to humanity – though not by his intention. “~ Margaret Mills