Donald Trump

Racing round the ‘sphere at the moment is Richard Cooke’s "Notes on Some Artefacts", a dispatch from the US for his Tired of Winning series in The Monthly. And a very good piece it is too. Cooke speaks of the notion of contemporary life throwing up what he calls "artefacts", by which he seems to mean conjunctions of political, media and social phenomena -- creating an event, a thing -- which have no internal rational core whatsoever.

This, I think he is arguing, is a departure from the pseudo-event identified by Daniel Boorstin as arising from the 1960s -- the happenings, etc, co-opted into mass media -- or even the "simulacrum", as named by Jean Baudrillard in the '80s, for a representation that has no actual thing or event that it represents. Even a simulacrum -- the 1990 Gulf War was one example, a 90-hour "war", with no opposition -- imitated earlier rational events.