How We Got Here:

Melville Plus Nietzsche Divided by the Square Root of (Allan) Bloom Times Žižek (Squared) Equals Bannon by David Shields

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Pub Date 24 Sep 2024 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2024
Douglas Lain | Sublation Press

Description

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Q-Anon, Fox News, etc., etc., etc. have kidnapped the last century of intellectual thought and philosophical investigation: poststructuralism, quantum physics, deconstruction, the current "crisis" in "nonfiction"-journalism- media-"truthiness." If the perceiver, by his very presence, alters what's perceived, Steve Bannon, Vladimir Putin, Vladislav Surkov (performance-artist-turned-Putin-strategist), et al. have quite consciously created—are all still quite consciously creating on a day-by-day basis—a universe in which nothing is true and therefore public discourse is, in effect, over. Dominion Voting Systems was founded to rig elections for Hugo Chavez; Italian space lasers modified voting machine data; the FBI staged the January 6 attack: this is a strategy that goes back at least as far as Dostoevsky's underground man. God is dead, so everything is permitted. Or is it? How We Got Here – provocative, accessible, persuasive, and addictive – is a crucial intervention in which David Shields argues that Melville plus Nietzsche divided by the square root of (Allan) Bloom times Žižek (squared) equals Bannon. 

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Q-Anon, Fox News, etc., etc., etc. have kidnapped the last century of intellectual thought and philosophical investigation: poststructuralism, quantum...


Advance Praise

“David Shields’s genius for deploying the words of others to create wholly original essays is on brilliant display. The connective tissue of his comments is key, guiding us as we jump from Socrates to Luther to Melville to Nietzsche, all the way to Tucker Carlson and Trump. Both erudite and accessible, classical and pop, How We Got Here stitches together the threads of thought that have landed us in the nihilistic abyss of today. Illuminating.’—Michael Greenberg

“I'm grateful for this brilliant book, which sagely counterposes the massive irony of twentieth-century philosophy with the way it's been put to use. Now that we know we're here, the next question is how we get out of here."—Charles Baxter

“David Shields has written another sneakily essential book. This one is a murder mystery. Truth is dead, and Shields is the forensic detective on the case. He's got a notebook full of clues and no end of suspects. The question is, can he get a conviction?”—Nicholas Carr

“A diagram of the origins and direction of our current intellectual quagmire. Kafka wanted to read only books that were on axe to break the frozen sea within us. Shields's book is an axe for the frozen sea that surrounds us."—Stephen Marche

"I love this provocative, unsettling book, which is both prose poem and polemic. In the originality of its form, it enacts the very anxiety about language, and how it's deployed, that it takes as its subject."—Vauhini Vara

"I'm a sucker for sexy metaphysical arguments, none hotter—and more relevant—than the ancient one: 'What is truth?' What's needed now is not another dreary pundit tussle over Fox News but someone like David Shields, who conjures up mad, aphoristic wisdom from Greek philosophers to the great Continental (and American) thinkers of the past two centuries. Shields has created a cacophony of voices that make us think more deeply than we believed possible about the question of truth. Can we define it, can we find it, can we fake it? Once I began How We Got Here, I couldn't stop reading."—Ron Rosenbaum

"Shields's arguments — via his inspired annotations and brilliant literary assemblages — are always seductive, propulsive to read. In the electric and terrific How We Got Here, he goes full velocity into this demented American moment, and he nails it."—Dana Spiotta

“David Shields’s genius for deploying the words of others to create wholly original essays is on brilliant display. The connective tissue of his comments is key, guiding us as we jump from Socrates...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9798990159136
PRICE US$17.99 (USD)
PAGES 152

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