“I believe that the action in film must become—will become—more and more interior.” Robert Bresson (Ideas and Men,Radio-télévision française, 1950) "On average, it took 58 days for the president to sign off on a target, one slide indicates. At that point, U.S. forces had 60 days to carry out the strike. The documents include two case studies that are partially based on information detailed on baseball cards. The system for creating baseball cards and targeting packages, according to the source, depends largely on intelligence intercepts and a multi-layered system of fallible, human interpretation. “It isn’t a surefire method,” he said. “You’re relying on the fact that you do have all … [Read more...]

Homo Economicus or Life in the Magic Kingdom

"The desired outcomes in the case of the generic Disney narrative include: brand loyalty; return to point of origin (ideal/americanized childhood); return to point of sale, serial selling (the integration syntactically of thematically linked products: films, soundtracks, merchandizing, vacations, etc.). At a more abstract level, those outcomes extend to the suburbanization of the global imaginary, the Taylorization of leisure, compliance with the overall mission (e.g. internalization of the performance goals and obsequious behavioral norms of a hyperconformist service economy) and something close to ‘disenstrangement’ – the domestication of all otherness, the subtraction of risk from … [Read more...]

A Solution Without a Solution

"Ultima ratio regum. (The final argument of kings)" Inscription on french cannons, on order of Louis XIV “The language of Enlightenment has been hijacked in the name of corporate greed, the police state, a politically compromised science, and a permanent war economy.” Terry Eagleton (Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate) "Capital wants a situation where command resides within the subject him- or herself, and within the communicative process. The worker is to be responsible for his or her own control and motivation within the work group without a foreman needing to intervene, and the foreman's role is redefined into that of a facilitator." Maurizzio Lazzarato … [Read more...]

Fascist Baby Talk

"The magnetic power exerted by patently threadbare ideologies is to be explained, beyond psychology, by the objectively determined decay of logical evidence as such. Things have come to a pass where lying sounds like truth, truth like lying. Each statement, each piece of news, each thought has been preformed by the centres of the culture industry.Whatever lacks the familiar trace of such pre-formation lacks credibility,the more so because the institutions of public opinion accompany what they send forth by a thousand factual proofs and all the plausibility that total power can lay hands on. " Theodor Adorno (Minima Moralia) "For socially ordained sacrifice is indeed so universal as to be … [Read more...]

Two Waltzing Mice

"It seems that Americans are in the midst of a raging epidemic of mental illness...the tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007—from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling—a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children, well ahead of physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome." Marcia Angell (The Epidemic of Mental Illness, Why?; NYRB 2011) "Drugs were around a long time … [Read more...]

Reading What Was Never Written

"Historical materialism wishes to retain that image of the past which unexpectedly appears to man singled out by history at a moment of danger. The danger affects both the content of the tradition and its receivers. The same threat hangs over both: that of becoming a tool of the ruling classes." Walter Benjamin (On the Philosophy of History) “The motion which took shape in creation can also be interpreted as linguistic motion." Gershom Scholem (The Name of God and the Linguistic Theory of the Kabbalah) "It simply goes without saying that the falling of a human hair must matter more to the devil than to God, since the devil really loses that hair and God does not." Frank Kafka (The … [Read more...]

What is the Experiment, again?

“Up until 1909, Freud, to speak broadly, had been fascinated with the dynamics of desire. He wanted to know how the unconscious, the seat and source of desire, worked and in particular how it expressed itself in neuroses and dreams and in works of art. It was during this period that Freud was inclined to see erotic urges—and also, less consequentially, aggressive drives—at the root of human behavior. But as time went on, Freud became more and more preoccupied with the issue of authority, and with the agency that he thought of as the center of authority in the human psyche, the superego, or over-I.” Mark Edmundson (The Death of Sigmund Freud) “Impressionism depended for its force on … [Read more...]

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

"I was impressed by the fact that even an advanced schizophrenic process had proved to be reversible or capable of being favorably influenced by a human contact. These were quite unusual notions at the time. I thought that perhaps methods could be devised by which I could help the patient maintain, increase, strengthen the achieved amelioration, even outside of the hospital environment. But of course I had no idea of how to do it. I had nevertheless learned that whatever benefit the patient could receive, had to come from his bonds with at least another human being." Sylvano Arieti (Interpretation of Schizophrenia) "Think neither of the good nor bad, but tell me what is your original … [Read more...]