"What matter who's speaking, someone said, what matter who's speaking."
More or less everything you need to know to make sense of the world is available as freely downloadable content on the internet: and it's not pre-digested for you by your teachers, parents, priests, imams.
Absolutely, there is a tremendous amount of information available to anyone with an internet connection...it does seem, though, that Western media outlets have in many ways far over-hyped the importance of the internet and social networking programs re: Egypt. The changes in Egypt surely have more to do with the abuses of a totalitarian government than with how Facebook and Twitter work. By talking about how important the internet is to social movements, we--i.e. Europe, America--can take vicarious credit for the revolt: when we have in fact supported a ghastly regime, and enjoyed this regime's willingness to "render" people we didn't like, for our own self interest for far too long.
thanks pink - yes indeedy the social networks as communications instrument is vastly overrated. finally, occupying a virtual square would accomplish nothing. there is the spectacle's mythology there, debunked now. but i meant to point out the simplicity of the world and its availability for understanding, it availability for grasping as totality. this goes alongsiude a frenzied propaganda effort to make thre world seem terrible complex and vulnerable to contingency - the models being say Burn After Reading, Syrianna, Iraq wms story, the official 911 and anthrax caper stories, some work of fredric jameson lately...all this is desperately trying to give the impression that the world has just gotten too complex to comprehend. But really its gotten simple, there has been a simplifyiong (and perhaps one attraction of the hardt negri thesis of potestas and potentia is this adknowldgement of simplicification, despite all other problems and silliness). The global system probably peaked in complexity - in the sense of there existing simultaneously a lot of agents weilding considerably power independently, in competition with one another and not coordinating, doing different types of things ith different agendas, dsiverse and varied players including monarchs and communist parties and populations of peasants - in the early 20th century. We have pretty widely available everything necessary for the workings of the world to be understood as well as would be necessary for any global socialist movement's purposes. there are some ideological problems - stories. narratives. and these are important in a small but influential niche of the global population. but the big problems aren't ideological, intellectual, theoretical...
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lt asks today why did this movement in egypt take this course?obviously there is a combination of factors, but one can't help emphasising the utter total complete lack of legitimacy of the mubarak regime. like duuvalier, like carmona, "prez" of the reversed coup regime in venezuela, like apartheid in SA. this in contrast to recent popular revolts in iran or mexico, where the whole regime and gov is not utterly and totally destitute of all legitimacy. Legitimacy is obviously not the only factor or even the biggest one, but its an element worth pondering. Especially since there seemed to be a period when it really was a suspended question almost globally, it seemed. And there have been these flagrant cases, in Latin America, of the US and its clients disposing of legitimate democratically elected governments and then staging inventive theatrics to give their despotism an appearance of intelligibility and narrative potency (in Haiti in 2004 apres coup there was this spectacle of a "council of elders" for the US population, to conjure ideas of grass huts and spear carrying "tribal chieftans", etc.. as the imprimatur of tradition, the resort when all was a "vacuum", a "chaos" of "prowling gangs", the lawless jungle.)
the US attempted at first upon invading iraq to do without legitimacy entirely, but then had to backtrack, both domestically - they had to get a legit recognised iraqi government before selling off the national assets, etc - and internationally - they felt they needed (or in any case, they got) the UN's approva, after the fact.if the masses still do have all the real power in the last instance, then this question of legitimacy of ruling classes and the fundamental structures of the social order remains key.
i don't mean to say the iraqi gov is really legit; but there had to be this appearance, this minimal appearance. we only know when its adequate if it proves adequate. but we saw they couldn't just shirk the obligation to establish legitimacy for rule, property, control. or they didn't judge they could. in kosovo maybe they have show they can, in a very limited sphere. but even for this there was international institutional involvement.
Re: the will to make the world seem more complex and contingent.I expect that's a result of academic (and related) careerism. The need to make a thesis idiosyncratic, and noticed. As with any number of pseudo-philosophical blogs, journals etc. To stand out in an increasingly jaded market.It's no coincidence that there's so many sub-Altman movies about interelated complexity now. Except when he just used a defined social grouping, they now want to cover whole continents or even the globe. This rom-com idea of minor experiences having huge repercussions upon all concerned.It's the result of capitalism (and its means of communication) selling the idea of infinite, quantuum choice, despite the fact that most people are painfully aware of its increasing limits. Not least in telecommunications and academia.
well it's also that there's something I'd call not false consciousness, but irrelevant consciousness, and this expands to fill all available time for those who find thinking about their own social reproduction to be too depressing, until that zone, too, finds it cannot be an escape or a replacement for politics.what religion was in prussia in the 1820s, 30s, 40s...what modern art was in europe and the americas in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s...what music was in the u.s. and in europe in 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s...these were all replacements for politics as such.the debates and battles in these realms weren't exactly false, but they weren't always relevant, and as a realm of contest, perhaps necessary, but far from sufficient.and then you get the moments that break through the pretensions of the distractions and reveal what has built up in the meantime.
Re:"...occupying a virtual square would accomplish nothing...."Exactly. Every accomplishment has been made by those who are brave enought to enter a very real square. To say that Facebook or Twitter "created" the possibilty of the revolt in Egypt is as dumb as saying the ubiquity of the AK-47has been the "source" of...oh,...fill in the blanks....
"It's no coincidence that there's so many sub-Altman movies about interelated complexity now. Except when he just used a defined social grouping, they now want to cover whole continents or even the globe. This rom-com idea of minor experiences having huge repercussions upon all concerned."an inverted consciousness of participation in the maintenance of an icnreasingly illegitimate status quo of property and power perhaps?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS2M53AKP8Ehttp://tinyurl.com/lkbro3Rivka Galchen and Fiona Maazel ...they're asked why are there thesse big movers in their novels -the weather, a plague - instead of just the ordinary emotions of the characters (typical of the form of realism that seems to attract them and they've adapted to genre gimmicks)? Their answers are no good, but one could wonder whether what's driving their books here is an inability to confront the real big mover that is too obvious after all (the global systeml of property and power) in which (haven't read Maazel) Galchen's privileged bourgeois protag is implicated. Galchen says, he's grandiose, he needs to feel he's part of something big; this seems to be some kind of dream-contorted version of her semiconscious understanding of the opposite - the bourgeoisie, the "decent" ones, are in denial about bering part of something big. The opposite of grandiose but not humble - they're individualists (its fasho, how they think of their insertion in world really). They are striving to believe they are isolated individuals tending their own gardens, they don't want to see their entanglement in something big and their utter dependence on it; they want to beleive in their own achievements and personal gifts and powers; they also want to believe in their benevolence or harmlessness, even though every day they take their little actions which carry out the class war...gentrification is carried out usually not by mercenary army with uzis like big headline cases of ethnic cleasing but by a vast "networked" but not hierarchised civilian clothes army of individuals trying to tend their own gardens, etc.. Galchen transforms the bourgeois condition into one of halluinating, paranoid conspiracy theory as the form this hunch of the class war takes. (She's a very good writer, but its strangely obvious repression;and the video is interesting also for how it shows these women's manners and miens, childish, deferential, apologetic, "don't beat me" postures, "don't fear me" tones of voice, from the backllash against feminism I think and also a general infantilisation (interviewer asks, was writing like "joining the circus"? are you a fake? like there are no adults anymore, nobody capable of writing literary novels, just those dreamers who will fake it.))
dot... what religion was in prussia in the 1820s, 30s, 40s...what modern art was in europe and the americas in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s...what music was in the u.s. and in europe in 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s...these were all replacements for politics as such. yes; relevance/irrelevance though...cocaculture is reactionary and cocaculture conquered popular and high culture, but only relatively recently. art (fine art, gallery, performance) and theatre really wasn't always irrelevant and ersatz politics; gallery/theatre was a politicised sphere, entwined in politics, and its specific product was notably successful at "theorising" work and value production. It was not always really divorced from politics. This is linked to gentrification and financialisation: this realm of culture production was seperated and domesticated by the cocaculture (80s) and its discourse/understanding was cannibalised by academic theory, de-materialised, idealised, abstractified, misconstrued, jargonized. At the same time, the lowest dumbest crap became the privileged objects of consumption for a brain damaged population. The result is a bit lit packaged ramen instant noodles - there was a meal, Ukeles' work lets say, or in another form say Caryl Churchill, Amiri Baraka, or André Gregory or Wallace Shaws, that was a materialist praxis. And now there is the little package of instant theory, powdered "concepts" in the silver packet, to pour on the noodles of shitty derivative television dramedy. Except maybe the instant powdered concpets have some poison in them too, the other packet of stuff you're not supposed to eat got mixed up in it.
"I expect that's a result of academic (and related) careerism."This definitely is a convenience, its fitting in to the "ever new", but it's all up and down the cocaculture, from big budget movies to paranormal novellas for e-publishers.people are passing around this translation of some comments Badiou made about Tunisia. They seem just rambling and vague (everyone praises them but nobody is able to describe, summarize or paraphrase them), and there is this gestre to "new forms" - the Tunisians have show there are "new forms of organisation". Jeez. It's like as kenoma said the obnsession with the deleuzian Tsahal, with it's "new forms" taken by the occupation when in fact the form is seige, one of the oldest forms in warfare.Inventing new forms. As you say Pink and Edge, that's the capitalist class' thing, our existing in the perpetual fluctuation of endless possibilities... It's not just fashion. We are beiong actively harrangued, actively deluded into believing we should drop tgactics that work, forget what we know, be hatchlings born anew every minute without wisdom or methods, forget and discard the ways that bring victories, be seduced by matrix fantasies and the spectacle into surrendering the control of the real world to the appropriator- proprietors.
I mean we have to connect this mantra "we need something new" "we need to start again from scratch" that the brevetted "left" theoretical product says and ioncites and the shock doctrine, the fact that the ruling class discovered it was good to put people in that state of disorientation, that the stronger, who was ready, could always take advantage of instability, that is, "the new". Bourgeois dissident ideological product has been really successful in selliong an infliuentual sector on its own dispossession, perpetual propertylessness and alienation as "liberation", glammy label "subjective destitution" and "the radical imagination" for the shocked into the blank state, regressed, helpless, disoriented of torturers and tyrants. Capitalism dispossessed and enslaves humanity but its narrative is that it liberates individuals from humanity and nature and world as "shackles".But not the ruling class; the ruling class is delightedly shackled to the world its property.
no, I didn't mean that everything in these realms has been apolitical or irrelevant or idealist confusion, just that arguments about the v-effekt or continous revelation or anti-corporate systems of distribution were inherently limited ways of addressing questions of political economy: you can walk away from these "squares" and go back to your bourgeois life if it gets too scary, and think "well, it's only theatre / well, who really knows about god / well, it's about enjoying some damn music and a night out, give me a break" and it's not like tahrir, it's not like they might kill you, because you aren't a real threat.I think the reason the situationists succeeded to the extent they have is because they emerged in a cold war context of a middle class that had a strategic advantage in its ability to play around with the world and not get killed for trying, and they took that condition as the foundation for a set of tactics. so they were the "newness" that succeeded and became the appropriators.meanwhile, with the same set of conditions, the global working class used tried and tested tactics and rolled back legal racism, direct colonial rule, and legal sexism.and today's crop of people who claims that new conditions require new tactics refuse to deal with the charge that they are actively part of the backlash against the hardwon but partial victories the working class managed to achieve during the latter half of the 20th century. and they refuse to acknowledge that reticence to participate in their "newness" might be based on some solid strategic and tactical analysis of its timing and composition.
" just that arguments about the v-effekt or continous revelation or anti-corporate systems of distribution"yeah, there was this kind of basic immoveable idealism of the Hegelian/young-Hegelian kind, still very popular,perhaps this mistaking politicised art for politics was a way of destroying both - as the art would always fail to be insurrection too, then it would be failed insurrection, not successful cultural production. And then what wins is the mass culture, the ersatz culture, the addictive violent, antihuman, superficial, distracting, fragmenting, brain-frying entertainments.
you could stand to be somewhat more informed about fan cultures and whole lot less ableist about brain damage, you know.
yes you're right about fan culturesi mean brain damage quite literally though and don't think it's a good thing; i'm not sure we should have an atrtitude toward the brain damage caused by culture commodities that is less appalled than toward the liver and lung damage caused by other consumer goods.
I mean we really can't hesitate to notice that a majority of a population saturated with the same mass media believed Sadam Hussein had dubyaemdee and was afraid. This is mass mental dysfunction - it would be objectionably ableist to call these people playground names traditionally used for developmentally challenged people but its not ableist to recognise the damage to the mental function that is undoubtedly accomplished by attacking the brain with certain types of audiovisual stimuli. Because in that case we have something more than just a case of successful war propaganda, we have the seduction, wholle emptional and irrational, by cues to which this population was trained by the cocaculture's entertainments to respond. It can't be that we just have to validate these beliefs and this suadability/credulity to avoid insulting the millions of people affected.
word. but analyzing and counter-acting and empowering people to do their own analyzing and counter-acting is what's needed.(and it doesn't set up a dynamic of competence and exclusion. I know for sure that I've been deluded and brain damaged by cultural scripts and stimuli I've been the recipient of and I know I've helped to pass some of these on further...doesn't make me forever incapable of thinking critically about our situation or my role in it.)
yes you are right of coursebut we addicts can't nourish illusions. one can remain an addict but its no good to say "crack is full of revolution and vitamin c and that's why i smoke it"one can have a refined taste in wine and whiskey and still be an alcoholic of course, but the uncritical devotion, the disabling of critical capacities, is the political problem.notices kids now in the US whose critical faculties survive the assauult of the screens are more and more aggressively drugged, to try to induce in them this fanfic producer type state, ignoring all that doesn't spark their uncritical devotion, obedience, intense committment and endless productivity. this state also creates tribes, which become more and more of an influence on those in and also those outside them.one frets about sounding (and not just sounding, being) like some stuffy reactionary/conservative bewailing a "decline of culture" or decadence. But then again, fast food really is deplorable and inequality is really getting worse and the environment really is being destroyed. So we can't react to this idea of a cultural infantilisation and pejoration like fans of the kind of ultrarad hip stance that excludes and frowns on such remarks and observations. That is, can't reject the problem because it doesn't go with our other outfits and ideas.
which is not to say its simply one of those "one can't deny" things like islamoscariness and the failure of multiculturalism.
for real truth, but I think we are talking about the same thing: the world is increasingly accessible to comprehension, but we've become so used to displacing our power (including of production and perception) into addictive realms that are constructed to try to remain a space outside political economy, that the realization that no all these structures and dynamics matter for real and not just as a narrative pleasure or ludic exchange of symbols totally threatens people, because it asks them to act, to take it seriously.
social mediaugc"twitter revolutions"why is claire bishop so angry at artists for their pr about mini "democratic" utopias? its OBVIOUSLY justified - that's what Marx' theory of value is all about. Humanity is value. Humanity's capacities answer humanity's desires and needs. Some art just "renders" that which inserts itself (property) in this cycle of creating and consuming in order to exploit and accumulate: this art renders property and manipulates it, explores it, tests it, to show how it is this wedge creating the possibility of alienating humanity from itself (alienating our capacities and their products from our needs and enjoyments/satisfactions).the hostility- an intense hostility - to this kind of culture product that comes from the regions of television "audience", from the ranks of cocaculture's fans - is pretty spikey. But it reveals a preference for that which disguises and justifies property, naturalises it and pays homage to it, as well as facilitates its accumulation. The happy playborers are increasingly furious about these sceptics, however marginalised they are; always ready to denounce them as parasites, living on grants from foundations, pretentious elitists secluding themselves in high fartsy institutions, etc..the fury is all about the difficulty of exploitation and capitalisation here. but it veils itself in a defence (naturally!) of aesthetics, of art per se, of the propriety of criteria and judgement and ranking. bishop speaks a highbrow language but to advance an obsession with the consumer posture of aspy fandom...the expertise in criteria dictated by the objects themselves, sensed deeply due to abject devotion, allowing for all kinds of classifications, rankings, evaluations. collaborative art work is condemned for resisting "good better best", advanced as important independent of ownership. bishop is about allowing the operations tied to valuation to escape, notionally, as if they could impose themselves independently - and obviously they can't, thus the fury, the real rage, that leads bishop to imply a collusion and analogy between this art and nasty multiculturalist cultural relativism. and she errupts in the same barely disguised racist idiom, dripping contempt, used to denounce "multicutluralism":I am not suggesting that relational artworks needs to develop a greater social conscious [sic] - by making pinboard works about international terrorism, for example, or giving free curries to refugees.This is the idiom of the "we" formed by the fandom of cocaculture's ersatz, commodity counterculture. like the anti-multiculture kvetching victims of the political correctness gestapo, she complains of ethics taking over where qaesthetics should reign, as if modern and pomo formalisms were anything other than the scarcely veiled morality of finance capital.
to survive at all capitalist property, capital, has to be sacred. absolutely divine. and this is what the cocaculture and the elite brevetted culture is all about.
Some art just "renders" that which inserts itself (property) in this cycle of creating and consuming in order to exploit and accumulate: this art renders property and manipulates it, explores it, tests it, to show how it is this wedge creating the possibility of alienating humanity from itself (alienating our capacities and their products from our needs and enjoyments/satisfactions).How does Hirst's dimaond skull fit in? Recognition of what you describe? Or a symptom? Both?
i think it's very traditional actuallythough just with the concrete features and the title ("for the love of god") it presented itself as value, and an old fashioned form of -heavy, shiny - money with this built in real human skull, but with the mystery of expropriated labour still veiled and thus naturalized because in a way its just so brazenly discursivenot like worky works.but it was flattering the "paranoid" neo-Hegelian frankfurt school-y critics who look only for art to reveal some concealed/repressed violence, whom eve kosofsky sedgewick charged with assuming inexhaustible wells of naiveté in the consumers and also a strange mechanical educability..."The paranoid trust in exposure seemingly depends...on an infinite reservoir of naiveté in those who make up the audience for these unveilings. What is the basis for assuming that it will surprise or disturb, never mind motivate, anyone to learn that a given social manifestation is artificial, self-contradictory, imitative, phantasmatic or even violent?"(Kester quotes this to Bishop in his reply to her artforum piece)the fan cultures of which dot speaks have if nothing else undermined the dominance of this freudo-hegelian (often mislabelled marxist) notion that political/social virtues of art are confined to the ability to reveal purportedly concealed and repressed content - (the most degraded vendor of this is zizz of course with the unlimited supposedly hidden "contradictions" and "paradoxes" revealed by his "readings" of hollywood films). For the Love of God was very traditional in this way, it's there supposedly to expose what it pretends was a secret (the identity of wealth and death, the rapport of commerce and art or really the ruling class buyer and the ruling class artist).But it is posing and requiring collaboration of critics and institutions to pose as performing this trite gesture as equally trite psychoanalytic cure, this moral and medical procedure, which requires a widespread agreement to not know what everybody knows and to dream up an imaginary audience of impossibly innocent but curious, childlike rich nerds such as are often played by Austin Pendelton.
on the old blog we discussed it and it was most interesting to me that it set the critics all off into orientalist and white supremacist self-congratulation. it served as an occasion for the production of imperialist ideology, a cue, an irresistible prompt, much as the financial crisis has. the more the revered object of the mythology is exposed as risible, fraudulent, vicious, etc, the more the foil and adoring subordinate is needed. In reaction to this skull (which didn't sell finally i think?), the critics said oh at first glance it looks like some horrible thing a rich arab would own! but that is before you discover it is the work of great white mind, white genius, white intellect, an object of the white european artists' devising is never just an object, its an Idea, so ironised, the great white mind has redeemed its vulgar materiality, the abstraction has cured its concreteness, its stupidity and vulgarity is transformed into divine revelations and brilliant insights. Even that it's derivative doesn't matter, since Hirst is a superdood like Hegel.