The Postcard from Aruba

"In the truth content (of art), or in its absence, aesthetic and social critique are one." Theodor Adorno (Introduction to the Sociology of Music) "Nowadays, if we can boast of having at our disposal scientific knowledge and technology that used to exist only in the phantasies of magicians, we must allow that, since the Renaissance, our capacity to work directly with our own phantasms, if not with those of others, has diminished. The relationship between the conscious and the unconscious has been deeply altered and our ability to control our own processes of imagination reduced to nothing." Ioan P. Couliano (Eros and Magic in the Renaissance) "The electric light escapes attention as … [Read more...]

Christmas 2021, Here’s What We Know

"The erasure of the personality is the fatal accompaniment to an existence which is concretely submissive to the spectacle’s rules, ever more removed from the possibility of authentic experience and thus from the discovery of individual preferences." Guy Debord (Comments on the Society of the Spectacle) "The story goes that Fermi was having lunch with some colleagues back in 1950 (notice how both the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox are very old concepts, which does not exactly mark SETI as a field burgeoning with theoretical innovation).The conversation veered to how many intelligent forms of life there might be in the galaxy, apparently with most participants taking for granted … [Read more...]

The Happiest Place on Earth

“It’s the century of the Jew, the union cutthroat, the fag, and the whore!” Walt Disney (quoted in Leonard Mosley's Disney's World) "...machinery in itself shortens the hours of labor, but when employed by capital it lengthens them; in itself it lightens labor, but when employed by capital it heightens its intensity; in itself it is a victory of man over the forces of nature but in the hands of capital it makes man the slave of those forces; in itself it increases the wealth of the producers, but in the hands of capital it makes them into paupers." Karl Marx (Capital, vol 1) “White people go around, it seems to me, with a very carefully suppressed terror of Black people—a … [Read more...]

Doomed to Succeed, or Downsizing Subjectivity

"The problem with simulations is that they are doomed to succeed.’ So runs a common criticism of simulations—that they can be used to ‘prove’ anything and are thus of little or no scientific value." Patrick Grim, et al (Why Simulations Fail) "He reminds us that information means something deeper now: “It connotes a cosmic principle of organization and order, and it provides an exact measure of that.” The gene has its cultural analog, too: the meme. In cultural evolution, a meme is a replicator and propagator—an idea, a fashion, a chain letter, or a conspiracy theory. On a bad day, a meme is a virus." James Gleick (The Information) “Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment … [Read more...]


“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...]