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The Culture of Inculture - Donald Trump and the Virus, by Thomas Snégaroff

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Faced with the coronavirus and the containment it causes, Gallimard publishes one or two " Crisis leaflets "signed by the great feathers of the House such as Erik Orsenna, Sylvain Tesson, Cynthia Fleury, Régis Debray or Danièle Sallenave, in order to reflect on the questions raised by the epidemic and to keep the link with the reader. 56 titles have been published to date. UP' has chosen to offer you each day an extract from a selected text and author.

"The decision will be made based on a lot of facts and a lot of instinct too. Whether you like it or not, there's an element of instinct in this," says Donald Trump on the show. Justice with Judge Jeanine " on Fox News on Saturday, April 11th, about the recovery of the American economy in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.
Don't laugh, worry instead, Donald Trump is serious. The U.S. economy will recover when he feels it. "The facts," of course, will help him make his decision. He'll listen, maybe to epidemiologists, maybe to Dr. Fauci. Maybe he will. But he'll listen even more to his "gut." The one that has been pushing him for weeks to boast about hydroxychloroquine, "short-circuiting the scientific process to the instinct, in a viral way," according to Jeffrey Flier, former dean of Harvard Medical School. Ihere is a desire to reassure the sacrosanct markets whose health concerns him at least as much as those of the Americans. But there is more. A rejection of reality in the name of another, immanent truth. A sacralization of the presidential corps. A reliance on one man's instincts rather than the knowledge of others. Our rationality challenged.

Trump's not at his trial run. In October 2018, when asked about climate change, he said: "My uncle was a great professor at MIT for years. Dr. John Trump. And I haven't discussed this particular topic with him, but I have a natural instinct for science. "And in another area, geopolitics, in May of that year, before meeting Kim Jong-Un, he knew that he would be able to ascertain the seriousness of the North Korean leader, "from the very first minute, I will know. That's my personal touch, my thing. That's what I do. Since taking over the White House in January 2017, the Republican president has been using his instincts as his main asset to make the right decisions. As early as March, Trump had announced the color in a long and rambling interview with Time Magazine: "I'm very instinctive. And my instincts happen to prove me right. "The man who led him to the top in politics and business (or so he says loud and clear).

Donald Trump is the lonely man, guided by his infallible instincts, he's John Wayne as sheriff in Rio Bravo following only his instincts against the whole city, who advise him to give in to rich thugs. Trump had been so proud to be backed by the actor's eldest daughter in the 2016 Republican Party primary. The candidate said, "I'm a big fan. She was an exceptional person. We need strength in this country. Because right now, there is none. "Obama, an intellectual faggot, in love with his own voice, a lesson-giver, who takes the time to think before he acts!

By force and instinct, the two values work together. For it is the body that is at stake. The body of America, masculine, outdoors, driven by common sense, which pushes back all boundaries.

Hide those books that you must not be able to read or write. From Theodore Roosevelt, the author of some twenty books and a delicate lover of poetry, only the cowboy crushing trunks and hunting elephants and bears was to remain. Donald Trump, for his part, did not have to pretend not to be intellectual. On this point, at least, he is unquestionably sincere.

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Virile presidencies, mostly embodied by Republican presidents, do not bother with the quibbles of intellectuals, those who, according to Dwight Eisenhower in 1954, "use more words than necessary to say what they know. That same Eisenhower had made a mockery of poor Adlai Stevenson, an intellectual whom Republicans had mocked: "egghead! ». The anti-intellectualism that the Eisenhower Administration had declared as a virtue was soon smashed on a spacecraft sent by the Soviets. Sputnik caused a salutary shock. Suddenly, teachers' salaries had been upgraded, researchers had found funding, and Harvard graduates had seen the doors of the White House open. Anti-intellectualism had led to America's backwardness. Instinct, strength and, I forgot, common sense, the populist holy trinity had shattered the wall of reality. Could Covid-19 be to Trump's America what Sputnik had been to Eisenhower's America? The coronavirus is a powerful crash test for inculture.

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Thomas Snégaroff, "Crisis leaflets" n° 50 - Gallimard, April 17, 2020, 10am

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