This is simple and useful advice from one of the most famous political advertisers in Latin America. The whole video can be watched here.
In September 2015, the 7th American Meeting of Psychoanalysis of the Lacanian Orientation was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The theme of this meeting was precisely “The Empire of Images”, and it is interesting to look into this theme from the perspective of contemporary sociopolitical phenomena: What is the impact of the empire of images on the forms of political construction in electoral processes? Evidently, the video mentioned above gives us a clue.
We might consider that the fall of the big Other, which Jacques-Alain Miller and Eric Laurent interpreted in the seminar “The Other Who Does not Exist and His Ethical Committees” years ago, implies the weakening of authority to perform the function of political leadership. We can see that, instead, advertising, marketing strategies, and the manipulation of statistics try to conquer the electorate. In this perspective, the construction of the candidate’s image is essential —it has always been—, but in this case it is an image that intends to replace ideas, a flat image that intends to “be sold”. Ideas cause misunderstanding; they need other ideas, an S1-S2; they rely on that which we call “discourse”. If sufficiently pregnant, an image can fascinate and prevent us from thinking.
More than ever, in this context we can understand the words Jacques Lacan in “Radiofonía”, when he announces that we will all soon be Lacanian: “The ascent to the social zenith of the object I have called small ‘a’ would suffice (…) because, when one doesn’t know what saint to commend oneself to, (…) one buys anything”1.
Advertisers, experts in the manipulation of images, understood Lacan’s words before anybody else, and this understanding has given them true power in today’s society.
Indeed, in the “Empire of Images”, political discourse is displaced; its agent is no longer the old master, that who wants things to work, but the modern master, that who has a capitalist discourse: an agent who is regulated by no ethics and no politics other than that of the supply-and-demand circuit.
1 Lacan, Jacques. “Radiofonía”. Otros Escritos, p.436. Buenos Aires: Paidós, 2012.