Archives for October 2013

A Short Aside on Sports

"Sports always recapitulates society, in terms of its character, dynamics, and the structure of human relations... We are already in a situation where we are expecting children to play games that they cannot afford to watch." Harry Edwards "To the extent that necessity is socially dreamed, the dream becomes necessary. The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep." Guy Debord Somtimes sports is a great metaphor, though usually less great than a lot believe. Still, I was reminded of something Tim Green once said in a radio interview. Green was a former NFL defensive … [Read more...]

Reptile Brain

Today's audience for mass culture deserves some observations. At least a brief historical perspective. It is most interesting, perhaps, to start with a few thoughts about the bourgeois, the evolution of this class, at least as it effects culture and narrative. If the remote beginnings are traced to the 11th century, the more conventional idea of the bourgeois class dates to probably the 17th. But already by Victorian times, there was, as Moretti points out, a sense of compromise. Already there is a sense of fatigue with the institutions of power, and already the bourgeois resist the use of the designation. In the United States, without a traditional nobility, the economic reality still … [Read more...]


I recently mentioned and referenced Ruth Fowler's sharp and amusing take on the Sindead O Connor open letter to Miley Cyrus. Now, over at Counterpunch, Jeff St.Clair has redacted the, apparently, offending sentence or two and issued an apology. A fawning apology. It strikes me that as the society becomes ever more violent and toxic, the language must become ever more pure and chaste. This is coupled, again, to the idea of hurt feelings. Jesus fucking god, is everyone just offended all the time about everything? I hated the racism in Captain Phillips, the Hanks vehicle and ode to commercial shipping, but Im not "offended" by it. Every time I see Joe Lieberman I might be queasy but my … [Read more...]

Sex Nullification

"You see, control can never be a means to any practical end....It can never be a means to anything but more control....Like junk...." William Burroughs "However when we observe the sexual proclivities of persons placed in positions of power and control over other human beings, we can see these principles at work. Priests and altar-boys, heads of state and their dalliances with prostitutes and subordinates, and the insistence within the neo-feudal theocratic movements of complete domination of females by males both in society and marriage, are but a few ugly signs of the sexual nature of authoritarianism." Dan Mage There feels like there are several cultural trends going on at once … [Read more...]


Political theatre seems to be on the uptick. Or rather it is being foregrounded by media puppets. Take the government shut down as example one. Or the debt ceiling, which is just part of the same show. Or better, take the raids on Somalia and Libya. These really are the stuff of kitsch TV and film. From Raialyoum... "A US official told CNN television that the Libyan Government had been informed in advance of the raid carried out by u.s. special forces in broad daylight, but Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan denied this, saying he had demanded an explanation from Washington and stressing that Libya was, ‘Keen on prosecuting any Libyan citizen inside Libya’. However, his keenness … [Read more...]

Fun Fun Fun

I wanted to follow up on the last post. And I want to discuss in a sense why Tragedy seems to impossible today. I recently found myself in long debates about two popular cultural products, The Avengers and Breaking Bad. I realized that this sort of discussion is problematic, in the same way Obamacare arguments are problematic. It is problematic because government shutdown is just bad theatre. Just a bad movie. But to explain that to, even, a lot of leftists, requires a long and often tedious discussion. Same with having to discuss The Avengers. Someone had gotten very upset at the idea that I called, what was clearly a favorite film, "fascist". But this raises the question of what I began … [Read more...]