Why and What’s the Reason For?

The "Batman Massacre" is going to have media traction because its a compelling narrative. It's also something that happens on US soil to US citizens. Drone killing is far away, happens to "others" and is surpressed as a narrative by US corporate media. These are random stories, although they don't feel so random. The Penn State scandal. The janitor who saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower. Didn't want to cross Paterno...because, as he said, that would be like going up against the President of the US. The worker has no protection in the US. The janitor *would* have been fired. Penn State football was big business in an economically depressed part of the country (there are a lot of … [Read more...]

120 Days of Sodom, or How to Read a Can of Coke

A recent talk here on We Are Many (with China Mieville) touches on topics I think worth discussing. http://wearemany.org/a/2012/06/guilty-pleasures-art-and-politics Now, a good deal of this is very good. In fact it echoes a lot of what I've written myself over the years. It's also expressed through this mummified lens of the Trotskyest party in the UK. There is one area in all this which I want to focus on, and this is the idea of art as commodity. The fact that one pays to, say, see a film -- doesn't preclude an analysis that extends beyond its commodity form. In the end, there is importance in distinguishing the difference even among commodities. There are, if we push it a … [Read more...]

Pathology of Everyday Life/ part one

"Within the credit relationship, it is not the case that money is transcended in man, but that man himself is turned into money, or money is incorporated in him. Human individuality, human morality itself, has become both an object of commerce and the material in which money exists. Instead of money, or paper, it is my own personal existence, my flesh and blood, my social virtue and importance, which constitutes the material, corporeal form of the spirit of money. Credit no longer resolves the value of money into money but into human flesh and the human heart. Such is the extent to which all progress and all inconsistencies within a false system are extreme retrogression and the extreme … [Read more...]

Dialogue 3 / with Guy Zimmerman, Theatre & Tragedy

http://john-steppling.com/dialogue-3-with-guy-zimmerman-theatre/ … [Read more...]

Dialogue 3 / with Guy Zimmerman, Theatre

John, one of the things I’ve been thinking about is the temporal inversion that happens in theater -- how plays seem to make their way forward, paradoxically, to the past. This uncanny retrograde temporality is clearest in post-war modernist tragedies like Endgame or Pinter’s The Homecoming, (or Albee’s Three Tall Women, or Churchill’s Far Away etc) which I think were really about that odd feature of our situatedness in time, but I think it’s interesting also to look back at the history of tragic drama through that lens. In Strindberg, Ibsen and Chekhov this temporal inversion seems very strong – whatever is happening via the forward motion of the plot, the affective structures of the play … [Read more...]

Cultural Novocaine

This is going to be very brief today. I was searching for writing on theatre, and theatre blogs. I found this.... http://createquity.com/2012/07/arts-policy-library-cultural-engagement-in-californias-inland-regions.html Sociology achieved real traction in the US in the mid 20th century. Its the perfect discipline for bureaucracies. These studies are a sort of constant, a cottage industry for the large foundations that parse out money to whoever will agree to be obedient and artistically opaque. The study refers to findings and concludes, "the home is a favorite location for arts activities..." I've no idea what that means exactly. Another favorite location is the internet. … [Read more...]

Protect and Serve

A short entry today following on this piece by Glenn Ford at BAR. http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/stop-and-frisk-goes-frisco The police are there to protect property. Their second mission is to exercise control on the poor. What that means in large measure, is to control black and brown skinned people...the racial dimension cannot be overlooked. Statistics bear this out if one looks at exactly 'who' is in prison. There is another trend at work in the US (and to a lesser degree in parts of Europe) and that is the blurring of the military with the police. The third trend is the privitization of both the police, the military, and the prison industry. In the 1960's the … [Read more...]

The Master Puppet Theatre

" “any alliance between the left and global capital ends up favoring the populist right.” Fabio Vighi The narratives of the Spectacle. What you see today on the corporate news front is a reliance on the most reductive of discourses. What's interesting is how this reduced bit of story-line, scenario creation, is filled up with a sort of ventriloquists performance. Or its like an old crystal ball mind reading act (cue: Screening of Nightmare Alley). There is a processing of narrative that demands the simplest sort of assumed psychological foundations. By which I mean, the perceptions of the political spectacle often seem to include personalized mind reading on the part of the viewer. "Oh, … [Read more...]