The anti spectacle

The boredom of justice

The anti spectacle

Trump has been arraigned for conspiracy to overthrow the government, and I watched the coverage because I hate my life. God it was so boring.

The production of this boredom, however, seems like its an important part of the spectacle’s function. This is the rule of law—it is quotidian, tedious, business-as-usual. They could just as easily show footage of Jan 6, they could put together flashy bumpers and graphics or exciting infotainment about the nature of justice or reels of people celebrating Trump’s loss or scenes from his rallies. Hell they could even go down on the ground outside the courtroom and on-the-street interview protesting weirdos from either side.

They don’t. It’s just talking news host heads, plus live footage of the outside of a building. It is NOT ENTERTAINING, you should know, this is serious business. “The machinery of justice is as unsexy as it is inexorable.” The anti-spectacle of a tedious and too-long delayed moment, which is, after all, a simple formality, is meant to be reassuring, to be calming to the liberal mind.

But actual news came out of the arraignment: the first hearing will be on August 28th, and, as they underlined, a trial date will be set at that time. Trump’s counsel has already voluntarily waived their right to a speedy trial, which, if enforced, would mean the trial has to be held by December 2nd. If they can get the trial pushed to mid-March, which doesn’t seem implausible, then he can flee the country after Super Tuesday, March 5th, having mostly tied up the primary.

If the judge keep their eyes on the ball of the November election date, they might get to appear magnanimous and compromising but also victorious by getting him in for trial in the spring, while he can enjoy one last beautiful winter in Mar-a-Lago. But if they crack down and enforce a 2023 trial, then the situation accelerates dramatically.