Aesthetic pleasure of the first order

“Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic.”

—Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Couldn’t help but think of the perennially-relevant Benjamin when I read Todd VanDerWerff’s analysis of Donald Trump’s mastery of reality TV and what it might mean for his candidacy.