Anamnesis


Anamnesis (an’-am-nee’-sis): Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author [apparently] from memory. Anamnesis helps to establish ethos [credibility], since it conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received wisdom from the past.


Takashi Miike, the Japanese film director, tells us he is “attracted to bad people because they are very human.”

As I continue my quest to understand why people are attracted to Donald Trump, maybe Miike has the answer, maybe not. There’s no doubt that Trump is bad, but I’m sort of at a loss as to see how this makes him “very human” and how being very human, in turn, makes him attractive.

Maybe it’s like “Rebel Without a Cause” or “Leader of the Pack” or Billy the Kid or “White Heat.” It’s the shifting sands of good and evil, and the room evil’s project opens for love’s avowal—love of a certain kind—for what may be bad—loving OxyContin, loving cigars, loving driving fast: there is an endless array of “loves” that are about the gut’s “guilty pleasures” and it’s waiving of the consideration of the full range of consequences in pursuing pleasures, or consuming what is pleasurable.

“Bad” Trump brings pleasures and their affections to life in people who’ve opted into an orgiastic ethic that builds a wall between the present and the future, dwelling on the “taste” of Trump as if he were an ice cream sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a cold beer on a hot summer day, not a moral man with a moral purpose. He is unwilling or unable to pursue the Christian call to affect “faith, hope, and charity.” His faith is a bizarre tangle of selfishness. His hopes are bad hopes: blocking immigrants, ignoring environmental concerns, chipping away at Transgender rights, etc. His charity is directed toward pardoning bad people and promoting other bad people, like Roger Stone or Kelly Conway.

Oh well. If you want to understand Trump’s attractiveness, think of him as an ice cream sandwich, a cannoli, a martini, a fast car, or a giant creme brûlée. He is a guilty pleasure partaken by people whose tongues trump their brains in the battle for their wills.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Gorgias has inserted the bracketed words [apparently] and [credibility].

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