Fake president: Telemorphosis and the performance of grotesque power

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter situates the rise and fall of the Trump presidency within the polymorphous technologies of truth and fakery associated with reality TV and social media: experimentation, verification, spectacularization, affect, and performativity. Drawing from but also complicating Baudrillard’s late diagnosis of the total telemorphosis of social life, I parse the contradictions of “post-truth” media culture, and show how the staging of governance as a reality show in which we are all compelled to play a part activates new mechanisms for contesting Trump’s presidential performance. Recalling Foucault’s notion of grotesque sovereignty as a manifestation of political power that operates in spite of its discrediting as “odious, despicable, or ridiculous”, I ask what bearing Trump’s declining ratings might have on the structural violence of racism, misogyny and market neoliberalism in the United States today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPost-Truth and the Mediation of Reality
Subtitle of host publicationNew Conjunctures
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030256708
ISBN (Print)9783030256692
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019. All rights reserved.


  • Baudrillard
  • Media studies
  • Neoliberalism
  • Sovereignty


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