I Can’t Remember

"Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil. Let them be desolate as a reward for their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha." Psalm 40, 14-15 King James translation. "The growing centrality of organized science to the modern industrial state, largely unrecognized until the First World War, made the scientist ‘as much a salaried official as the average civil servant and business executive’. As such, the scientist, like any worker, must choose between job security, personal fulfillment and more lucrative, but riskier, opportunities: ‘no longer, if ever he was, a free agent’, the … [Read more...]

The Morbid Voice

"America is about to choose a president from the two most unpopular politicians in modern history. The Democrats have chided the Left and the ‘Bernie or Bust’ crowd for still not being ‘with her’ in the existential struggle against fascism. But it is worth considering how liberalism’s anti-fascism covers a libidinal lack. That is, an inability to define or, in Lacanian terms, ‘enjoy’ their political identity but through this fascist threat. Liberals are clearly not principled anti-fascists, the geopolitical compromises are too numerous to count, and there is an obvious cynical PR/fundraising logic to the fascist threat: ‘Can you spare $5 to defeat fascism?’ However, liberals are emotionally … [Read more...]

Flight from Desire

"There is always at least one more thing claiming to bring a consumer happiness, and since, of course, this is a psychological obsession, the chain of alienations and frustrations increases continually, which makes the consumer more submissive to the addictive system of consumption. Commercials have one major message for their obsessed subjects: this new item in particular is the key to your lost happiness; this item is unlike anything we have offered you before. Commercialism and commodity fetishism turn the mass individual into an apolitical individual who serves the system of advanced capitalism even in his or her “free time”." Saladdin Said Ahmed "Extremism and scapegoating … [Read more...]

But I Remember Where the Spots Formerly Were

"Terrorism is the marketing of the fear commodity." Geoffrey R. Skoll "Even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins." Walter Benjamin "I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against any uncivilized tribes..."" Winston Churchill 1920, speech in Parliament Max Forte, in an essay on the New Victorianism, noted the intellectual developments that began in this era (1837 - 1901)... "Racial theories, “scientific racism”; Photographic realism (Hewitt, 2006, p. 412); A “Victorian New World Order” (Young, 2009), compressing representations of the imperial-dominated globe in events such as the Great … [Read more...]

Back to the Future

"The literature of terror is born precisely out of the terror of a split society and out of the desire to heal it. It is for just this reason that Dracula and Frankenstein, with rare exceptions, do not appear together. The threat would be too great, and this literature, having produced terror, must also erase it and restore peace. It must restore the broken equilibrium -- giving the illusion of being able to stop history -- because the monster expresses the anxiety that the future will be monstrous. His antagonist -- the enemy of the monster -- will always be, by contrast, a representative of the present, a distillation of complacent nineteenth-century mediocrity: nationalistic, stupid, … [Read more...]

Imitation of Life

"Benjamin sees Germany – then in the midst of the Weimar period, before the Nazis took power – as caught up in a kind of regressive collectivism born of capitalism." Andrew Robinson "In a sense, the pervasiveness of neoliberal ways of talking has the effect of turning people into calculators of advantages. There is this book, Everything I learned about love I learned in business school, and it’s about ‘cutting your losses’, about having a ‘mission statement’, about ‘measuring performance’… In a curious way, in terms of classical political economy, Hobbes thought we needed a state to restrain our appetites, and it may be that the neoliberal state has so colonized our way of … [Read more...]

Administered Opinion

"Lacan said that there was surely something ironic about Christ’s injunction to love thy neighbour as thyself – because actually, of course, people hate themselves." Adam Phillips “The absolute is from the outset in and for itself beside us and wants to be beside us.” Hegel Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit “Paranoia is part of the concern that drives the formation of slave patrols and part of the reason why you’d hear so many stories of revolts..{ } The seemingly unrestricted brutality of patrols would find its mirror image during Reconstruction in the extralegal activities of vigilante groups that operated outside virtually all social restrictions...White Southerners … [Read more...]

Dreaming of Pirates, part 2 (or Capitalism and Fun)

"Death is especially awkward for modern intellectuals who are likely to find themselves swept over by traditions they fought and measured themselves against." Michael Taussig "The barbarism of the present was already germinating in that period, whose concept of beauty showed the same devotion to the licked-clean which the carnivore displays toward his prey. With the advent of National Socialism, a bright light is cast on the second half of the nineteenth century." Walter Benjamin "Imperialism gripped the world as totality - a total market and completely exploitable productive source. Imperialism was unifying the world through trade routes and commodity exchange or plunder." Esther … [Read more...]