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Framing the Trickster [Dec. 12th, 2016|09:40 am]

Yesterday, an invited speaker gave a message at meeting that moved me deeply. It was very steeped in biblical tradition and the prophets, and with much reference to the political times.

I found myself thinking of the Flyting of Loki. In years past when i read the poem, i chose to believe that Loki was telling the dark truths of all the other assembled Æsir. My suspicion about recorded Norse myths is that there is an overlay of interpretation and framing that is alien to the original stories, and thus disentangling the two sources and the wisdom of the original is a challenge. This morning, i've been reading a little (here, mostly) about Loki: one thought, unbidden and not particularly wanted comes. Can i understand the desires of those who supported Trump as desires for a trickster to take on Washington, a hope that out of disorder and chaos something better will come? That the absence of the trickster -- am i right to not see tricksters in American dominant culture**? -- has made it harder to interpret Trump? Instead, media thought of him as a jester or fool, and thus were stuck in the amusement frame? And because we lack a shared cultural frame of the trickster, this lack, this gap, leaves us so disorientated?

** Not that there aren't amusements that include tricksters, eg Bugs Bunny, but it seems that the fool/jester functionality is more what is brought forward in current culture, not the sharp edge of the trickster that Loki brings forward.


[User Picture]From: seawasp
2016-12-12 03:39 pm (UTC)
I dunno. Most "tricksters" I see given that title appear to be not what *I* would call trickster, but more what I would call "Total Assholes", and I admit I don't see those as positive players in American culture -- at least until recently. Sure, sometimes Loki helps people, but this is also the guy who not only carefully arranges for one living thing (mistletoe) to refuse to promise not to harm Balder, he also sets up a BLIND MAN to shoot Balder dead and start the end of the world. Not invited to a party, he crashes it, insults everyone present AFTER leaning on his blood-brother's oath to get him admitted, and then has the gall to play the offended party after all this.

Coyote has a more ambiguous nature -- sometimes he's on one side, sometimes another -- but he can be pretty dickish too. For that matter, so can Bugs Bunny; he's a total asshole more than once.

The modern-day incarnations of these guys are more like those idiots who set up genuinely dangerous or scary pranks, and then seem startled and offended when called on their BS.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2016-12-13 07:54 pm (UTC)
Well I have to admit, I voted for Ross Perot, not for the trickster aspect but in hopes of breaking the default paradigm. I wouldn't have if I thought he had any chance of winning, though. I hoped he'd make a strong showing and maybe even win a state - maybe even two.

It was a naive thought.

I think some folks may have voted for Trump to disrupt the paradigm, not as trickster but as "wildly different". I don't think they realized that the Presidency is Really Important - but that might be a lie I tell myself.
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[User Picture]From: cymrullewes
2016-12-14 04:14 am (UTC)
I think many people think that the Congress and Supreme Court will be leashes on the President so things can't go too badly.

I think they're wrong and the world is in for a rough time. But the world has had rough times before and better things have come in the wake of rough times.
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