idk much about foucault but he flexed on chomsky in that debate


neckwattle posted:

okay I'm finally reading foucault and you guys need to redpill me on why he's bad because to me so far he's really good.

i read a bunch of foucault in a past life as a student of critical theory and got a lot out of it at the time. i think he does make a lot of useful observations about power generally and his hermeneutic studies of western history are really illuminating, i think his work on madness is vital for example. his weaknesses are clear from a marxist perspective - his approach is only haphazardly materialist, and he is so busy trying to problematise his subjects that he is often ideologically incoherent. but i think as with anything he should be read critically and it would be silly to throw the baby out with the postmodernist bathwater.

A lot of Marxists don't like Foucault because in Les mots et les choses, whose title in English translation is The Order of Things for some reason, Foucault called Marx's legacy "probably of little importance" and "no more than storms in a children’s paddling pool", and says Marx's work "exists in nineteenth century thought like a fish in water: that is, it is unable to breathe anywhere else". He also went back and tried to George Lucas all the Marxism out of new editions of his doctoral thesis. The cartoon version of the story is that none of the Communist papers in France cared about Madness and Civilization despite its celebrity endorsements, so Foucault got mad and stopped being a Marxist, but I doubt that's true. I think his reading of Capital in Les mots et les choses is pretty bad anyway but then again, I like reading Foucault, so maybe I'm looking for an excuse.

babyhueypnewton is probably the guy on this forum to ask about this stuff though, mostly because he's a filthy apologist for the guy just like me.
John Dolan's Amazon reviews:
I like those. The Borovik book is good. Dolan gave five stars to the Odom book on the collapse of the Soviet military which is really interesting to me. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Odom in the 1980s by the way spent a lot of time demolishing Samuel P. Huntington's "The Soldier and the State" (1957) which was about why the military should be "professionalized" and kept apart from civilian policymaking and never the twain shall meet. The military focuses on murking people to the best of its ability while the politicians only give general directions as to the people to be murked. Huntington claimed this comes from Clausewitz where war is an extension of politics by other means, and Huntington blew ass on this before he shifted to writing books about America's destiny to crush the barbarian hordes abroad while carrying out anti-Catholic pogroms at home.

Huntington got his wish though and the military was professionalized, and as a consequence it became a self-licking ice cream cone of generals and their retired friends at the boards of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman who have all kinds of tricks to keep troops and their own budgets where they want them regardless of what the president or Congress says. This also flipped Clausewitz around: the generals and arms companies now sustain war and the political side of the house follows along while voters get mushy at F-16 flyovers at football games. The military becomes a political constituency. Soviet generals by contrast (and as Odom knew), under the leadership of the vanguard party of the proletariat, functioned as generals should: as obedient executives who knew their place in the bureaucracy and not as would-be Bonapartes.

Anyways, Odom was Reagan's second-term NSA director and also developed a strategy for waging "limited nuclear war" as an advisor to Zbigniew Brzezinski during the Carter administration. This shifted U.S. strategy from all-out "spasm war" to keeping the nuking below a certain threshold, focusing on military targets first of all, with the front-line stuff all getting nuked and then weeks and months going by with both sides hiding, scanning and then nuking whatever popped up on their radars. Another target would be the Soviet "political control system" -- although this raised the problem of who you'd talk with to turn the "limited" nuke war off once you've gone and blown them up. Dude died in 2008 but I find these nuke warrior guys scary as shit. I want to read his book though.

Edited by trakfactri ()

Less Than Zero:

Now, would all those who raised their hands please disqualify themselves from further literary judgments. Less than Zero is less than bad. It's tenth-generation derivative California noir by a silly trust-fund amateur with great connections and no talent. In many cases, critics can disagree and still respect each other; but if you liked this book, you're hopeless. From the clumsy allegory of its first line, "Nobody knows how to merge in LA" to its slow, formulaic visits to the most predictable sites of rich-boy decadence (snuff movies! cocaine! Whooooo, scary stuff!), it's Didion writ dumb, Chandler without corpses--unless you count the readers.

American Psycho:

What would you do if you were an empty-headed rich boy facing the second-book dilemma? Why, you'd do what Brett Easton Ellis did: pour two tons of fake blood all over the manuscript so nobody could tell that you never had an ounce of talent and could not write your way out of the proverbial paper bag, even with a big bloody knife in hand.
Just as failed pop musicians migrate to C & W, where dim audiences are pleased by devices grown dull in the faster world, so Brett has taken the cliches of mall gore back to the slowed-down world of the East-Coast publishing world, where the serial-killer schtick, an object of fifth-generation parody for the hip kids at the multiplexes, actually seems "searing" and new. A strange twist on the provincial/urbane distinction: the provinces are now the cutting edge, and the Manhattanites the easily-awed suckers.
Ellis has now written two wholly derivative, inept novels and attained fame. As an entrepreneur he is not without skill. As a novelist....he's just not.

Bret Easton Ellis (age: 55) now has a book coming out complaining about political correctness as embodied in MY MILLENNIAL SOCIALIST BOYFRIEND. Did you know he's my boyfriend? And a millennial? And he whines a lot? But he's, like, really young and really good looking. Try getting a reservation at Dorsia without one you stupid fucking bastards!

in an inadvertent act of self-parody i am reading liu shaoqi
his (ellis') recent interview with the new yorker was wild

You guys talk a big talk about Bret Easton Ellis, but don't you know about Sri Lanka?

About how like the Sikhs are like killing a bunch of Israelis over there?

kinch posted:

his (ellis') recent interview with the new yorker was wild

It's funnier to read it in the voice of Christian Bale playing Patrick Bateman because that's pretty much who Ellis is. He would form his political opinions by ingesting something from cable T.V. which he watched for five minutes in the morning and say "We may not like Trump, but we need to grapple with how he speaks for the white working class" with a lot of intensity.

I think what happened this week, with Joe Biden, has really alienated my boyfriend from his party, in a way. My boyfriend was extremely upset about how the media was treating Joe Biden and how they were putting that under the umbrella of #MeToo. That can happen, and I think we can all agree on that.

i wanted to crawl away and drink tea in a zoo, where creatures of all sizes and origins know the inescapable burden of western fascism, which brings a lump to my throat, because its total truth, like bringing a giraffe to central park so little kids can throw rocks at it from the observation deck

kinch posted:

his (ellis') recent interview with the new yorker was wild

i let talktotransformer finish the interview:

You are a novelist. You write about the human condition. Do you worry about the self-harm of people who see things like child separation and have no emotional response?

I think I am an absurdist. I think politics are ridiculous.

Maybe don’t write a book about it. Would that be the solution?

I think the problem is that I don’t necessarily see this as interesting as fiction.

Yeah, I could tell.

I mean, I think the things you talk about are going to happen now.

Well, yes, but they aren’t right now. And’they aren’ not inevitable.

And I think that there could be things happening that were not going to occur any other time until recently. Like, people are not going to be born right on time. People aren't going to be born perfect right on time. And it would not even have occurred to us that such a thing would occur.

You say you want our ideas of our history to be better understood. Can you explain why you think that is?

This may be a little controversial. It's hard to talk about it without some form of historical explanation. But it's hard to tell anything new about history without a lot of historical work being done before it starts happening.

I have a pretty strong, instinctual sense for the self‪, and I just couldn‪t give it a chance, as an author‪, to go the distance. I love self-harm—‬or even the occasional suicide‬,‬ but I also love thinking about it in a philosophical way‪. I've read books that make this self-harm as self-interested as murder. It's not as absurd–‬but it's still silly, and it feels weird. I like thinking, "This is stupid, where would they do this in a real world?"

I recently wrote the suicide of a guy who couldn't stop hitting on his friend, and it seems to me that the book's subject is the same thing.

I am an absurdist. I’ve seen a lot of books about suicide, and I haven’t done anything to try to change my own mind. What I try to do is take a look at what my world has done.

I write fiction about how people can feel very vulnerable on a daily basis in a lot of different areas. But my main concern is about the self-harm. I don’t want people to end up hurting themselves or people in general. I don’t want you to go around hurting yourself – a lot of men, a lot of women have problems with their voices, their voices hurt. Some of them have severe problems with their voices too.

What do you think are the best and worst ways for someone to get help? How does a professional make them understand?

I have a friend who is very difficult and does not have friends and the rest of her life – at this point, I know her – I hope no one has actually touched her.

What do you do if you feel suicidal? How do you deal with that?

I think the first thing is to accept.

[account deactivated]

Fayafi posted:

made me fall down a rabbit hole of his pando articles. have never related to anything more than his accounts of being in canada lol. riding around in ambulances like a moron, underestimating how predatory and cold (i dont mean weather) the people can be

apparently he has a book on this, Canada was a Cakewalk. I've been interested in it for a while

and you're right, the people in this country tend to be total bastards hiding behind a thin veil of aloof politeness

John Dolan really has a way with words. He’s a good speaker too, I’m honestly jealous how well he can craft a sentence on the fly, irl I feel like I have verbal constipation sometimes.
I'm gonna get his audiobook of pleasant hell and listen to it in bed

dimashq posted:

John Dolan really has a way with words. He’s a good speaker too, I’m honestly jealous how well he can craft a sentence on the fly, irl I feel like I have verbal constipation sometimes.

Yeah what keeps me coming back to Dolan is that even if what he's writing about bores me, he never runs out of lessons to learn by osmosis about writing effectively. Not a lot of people in his line of work started out as professional poets, and not a lot of professional poets nowadays don't come from true booj money.

i'm reading the Don quixote, again.
hi so a long time ago I promised everyone an interview with john Smith with some very good questions. In a word, he never got back to me, although like 4 months after I initially sent him the questions he wrote me something (which wasn't useful enough to post), but that was a year ago at this point I think. Things are moving very fast in the world so I think it's not too big of a deal and I'm sure he's a busy man. Just wanted to let anyone know who was looking forward to that at some point in the past

I'm moving to Germany in the Fall, and at some point I'm going to translate German stuff to English for you all. I'm bad at foreign language and ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch, aber it'd give my life some sort of meaning so that will be done one day if my brain works and my girlfriend doesn't insist on absorbing all my time.

Currently reading Hegel's Encyclopedia Science of Logic with my friends. The Marxist in me has strong feelings on the critique of the Kantian critique of knowledge but I don't think I have the intelligence and will power to not fall victim to agnosticism. I'll probably go back to the Greeks after this

From a professor who's retiring I picked up some free copies of Locke, Smith, Vico, Spinoza, Hobbes, Althusser and Terry Eagleton which was cool. I also found a first edition of JS Mill's Principles of Political Economy, which could be a good critical essay one day when I get around to studying classical political Economy (I never read Ricardo!)
What helped me care about Kant was a self-described Marxist Lacanian professor point out that all the postmodern thinkers are basically Kantian and this was a good thing. The Kantian revolution was two-fold: changing the object of philosophy from the world to the condition of possibility for knowledge of the world; traversing the newly discovered (or rather newly discoverable as the result of capitalism rationalizing the world in the form of philosophy's critique of religion) through the "as-if" of the categorical imperative, or philosophy without external guarantee*

Marx's critique was of course Kantian, in the sense that he not only showed the conditions of possibility for Kantian philosophy (capitalism, the enlightenment, the underdevelopment of Germany in everything but philosophy) but that the conditions for all philosophy lie in political economy, an innovation of Hegel's which he ran from (Marxism at its most radical in fact points out that this running away is also symptomatic, hence the concept of ideology replacing philosophy or rational thought). Marx in this sense flips Kant on his head by bringing the transcendental categories back to Earth. As for the second aspect of Kant, Marx discovers praxis, or unity of action and thought in dialectical tension without one being prior to or constututive of the other. A possible reading of the 11th thesis on Feuerbach is that thought and action themselves are mere partial abstractions of praxis, praxis itself being ontological and constitutive of both thought and action, a being-in-the-world (Dasein) of praxis which is akin to Being.

The point is that Heidegger and his followers rejected the possibility of returning to Being and the fundamental impossibility of praxis being unified with action or thought. This is an abstract way of saying they rejected the possibility that human sensuous activity could either predict the future or change it as knowledge is always partial and prestructured by the (Kantian) categories of thought which are really ideological or linguistic "prisons." Derrida is largely indifferent to the Real, he only claims that it is innacessible through language while Lacan claims a very similar thing since the unconscious is beyond space and time-the most basic Kantian categories-and exists precisely at the point when language breaks down and psychoanalysis is no longer possible. Politically, this is a rejection of Lenin and revolutionary politics as scientific, and has some disturbing fascist presumptions (to reject Marx and return to Kant, as Heidegger does in practice, is to reject the French revolution as the actual origin of Leninism and sometimes the Reformation, the former being precisely the limit of bourgeois philosophy after which it became reactionary while the latter being a touchy subject for German reactionaries). See for example Achille Mbembe's influential essay Necropolitics which expands the post-colonial critique in clear terms

But nowhere is the conflation of reason and terror so manifest as during the French Revolution. 25 During the French Revolution, terror is construed as an almost necessary part of politics. An absolute transparency is claimed to exist between the state and the people. As a political category, "the people" is gradually displaced from concrete reality to rhetorical figure. As David Bates has shown, the theorists of terror believe it possible to distinguish between authentic expressions of sovereignty and the actions of the enemy. They also believe it possible to distinguish between the "error" of the citizen and the "crime" of the counterrevolutionary in the political sphere. Terror thus becomes a way of marking aberration in the body politic, and politics is read both as the mobile force of reason and as the errant attempt at creating a space where "error" would be reduced, truth enhanced, and the enemy disposed of. 26

Finally, terror is not linked solely to the utopian belief in the unfettered power of human reason. It is also clearly related to various narratives of mastery and emancipation, most of which are underpinned by Enlightenment understandings of truth and error, the "real" and the symbolic. Marx, for example, conflates labor (the endless cycle of production and consumption required for the maintenance of human life) with work (the creation of lasting artifacts that add to the world of things). Labor is viewed as the vehicle for the historical self-creation of humankind. The historical self-creation of humankind is itself a life-and-death conflict, that is, a conflict over what paths should lead to the truth of history: the overcoming of capitalism and the commodity form and the contradictions associated with both. According to Marx, with the advent of communism and the abolition of exchange relations, things will appear as they really are; the "real" will present itself as it actually is, and the distinction between subject and object or being and consciousness will be transcended. 27 But by making human emancipation dependent upon the abolition of commodity production, Marx blurs the all-important divisions among the man-made realm of freedom, the nature-determined realm of necessity, and the contingent in history.

The commitment to the abolition of commodity production and the dream of direct and unmediated access to the "real" make these processes—the fulfillment of the so-called logic of history and the fabrication of humankind—almost necessarily violent processes. As shown by Stephen Louw, the central tenets of classical Marxism leave no choice but to "try to introduce communism by administrative fiat, which, in practice, means that social relations must be decommodified forcefully." 28 Historically, these attempts have taken such forms as labor militarization, the collapse of the distinction between state and society, and revolutionary terror. 29 It may be argued that they aimed at the eradication of the basic human condition of plurality. Indeed, the overcoming of class divisions, the withering away of the state, the flowering of a truly general will presuppose a view of human plurality as the chief obstacle to the eventual realization of a predetermined telos of history. In other words, the subject of Marxian modernity is, fundamentally, a subject who is intent on proving his or her sovereignty through the staging of a fight to the death. Just as with Hegel, the narrative of mastery and emancipation here is clearly linked to a narrative of truth and death. Terror and killing become the means of realizing the already known telos of history.

Some or all of this may be obvious to you but I like pointing out not only that Marx's defense of the French revolution against the reactionary politics of Kant and Hegel is the starting point in history of this dispute in philosophy between idealism and materialism but that Marxism-Leninism and the "Eastern Marxism" (this is a reference to Losurdo's schematic but useful terminology**) of the Stalin era USSR remains the dividing point between reactionaries and revolutionaries. The strange thing is that reactionaries on the left have attempted to construct out of Heidegger's fascist critique of Hegel (standing in for Marx) a left wing anarchist critique of everything good and progressive in capitalism through a partial reading of the anti-colonial critique of the presumptions of the Enlightenment. I don't like Zizek anymore but he makes the correct argument here


Fuck You Walter Mignolo*
“Okay, fuck you, who are these bloody much more interesting intellectuals…? Let’s say I was not overly impressed.”
*The trolling of Slavoj Zizek is not representative of our views here at Critical-Theory.

He proceeds to go on an extended spiel about his debate with Walter Mignolo, who he respectfully characterized with the quote “Does he sound this stupid in real life?” Mignolo responded to an article on Zizek in Al Jazeera by Santiago Zabala with the challenge that not only was Zizek Eurocentric, but that non-European thought was more valuable in response to the decolonial struggles which are the center of today’s discussion, in Mignolo’s opinion. While he acknowledges the value of Zizek’s Communism, he argues that his philosophical perspective is not relevant to these struggles. Rather, what we should embrace is a multiplicity of local solutions to capitalism rather than treating the communist struggle as an abstract and universal one, which tends to recreate oppression.

He uses his invocation of Franz Fanon as the launching point for continuing his discussion of this topic, particularly Mignolo’s paragraph:

“When one says Eurocentrism, every self-respecting decolonial intellectual has not as violent a reaction as Joseph Goebbels had to culture – to reach for a gun, hurling accusations of proto-fascist Eurocentrist cultural imperialism.

A self-respecting decolonial intellectual will reach instead to Frantz Fanon: “Now, comrades, now is the time to decide to change sides. We must shake off the great mantle of night, which has enveloped us, and reach, for the light. The new day, which is dawning, must find us determined, enlightened and resolute. So, my brothers, how could we fail to understand that we have better things to do than follow that Europe’s footstep?”

Zizek then responds to the valorization of these new thinkers.

“Okay, fuck you, who are these bloody much more interesting intellectuals…? Let’s say I was not overly impressed. “My good friend Wang Hui”, I wouldn’t exactly quote him as a model of non-European authentic tradition because he, I’m on very good terms with him, he recently sent me a text on China and Modernization where he does an operation I find deeply problematic. He tries to be, I am not kidding, what I would have called, who was the bad guy who did free-market economy, Milton Freidman…left Friedman. What he tries to do is oppose real just market exchange and its capitalist distortion through monopoly and so on. There is a true honest market exchange. He explicitly positively quotes Friedman. And then there are distortions which he, in a typical non-Marxist way, he sees the causes of these distortions not in economic relations themselves but in social pathologies.”

Wang Hui, one of the decolonial intellectuals Mignolo specifically valorizes, responds to modernization in China in a way which betrays a social focus which belies the systemic problems of capitalism. Hui defines the problem of capitalism not as a fundamentally exploitative system, but rather a good system perverted by monopolistic activities. This, for Zizek, exemplifies the problematic approach of Mignolo, which, in fragmenting the solution, fragments the problem. Rather, what we require, for Zizek, to respond to Capitalism is an understanding of its universality. He then brings in his own reading of Fanon to demonstrate this point, which is that Fanon embraced the necessary, material violence to engage in the practice of decolonization, using a Lacanian and Hegelian basis for thought, which goes a long way to endear him to Zizek.

“Now let’s go back to Mignolo, what Mignolo proposes is thus a version of Baudrillard’s battle cry…”Forget Foucault”….Forget Europe we have better things to do than deal with European philosophy, better things than endlessly deconstructing. He explicitly includes deconstruction. This is endless narcissistic self-probing, we should simply step out. The irony here is that this battle cry did not hold for Fanon himself, who dealt intensively and was proud of it. The first obscenity seems to me how dare he to quote Fanon! Fanon is my hero, that’s why I defend him against soft guys like Homi Bhabha, who wrote long texts trying to neutralize, normalize Fanon. No, he didn’t really mean it, with killing and violence; he meant some sublime gesture where there is no blood and nobody is really hurt and so on. Let’s face it, Fanon dealt extensively with Hegel, psychoanalysis, Sartre, even Lacan. My third reaction would have been: When I read lines like Mignolo’s, I reach not for the gun but for Fanon.”

He proceeds to then quote Fanon as concluding in favor of reaching towards a European-based philosophical perspective as the basis for universalized action, and leaving behind a specifically African (or decolonial) obligation.

“I am a man and what I have to recapture is the whole past of the world, I am not responsible only for the slavery involved in Santo Domingo, every time man has contributed to the victory of the dignity of the spirit, every time a man has said no to an attempt to subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity with his act. In no way does my basic vocation have to be drawn from the past of peoples of color. In no way do I have to dedicate myself to reviving some black civilization unjustly ignored. I will not make myself the man of any past. My black skin is not a repository for specific values. Haven’t I got better things to do on this earth than avenge the blacks of the 17th century?

I as a man of color do not have the right to hope that in the white man there will be a crystallization of guilt towards the past of my race. I as a man of color do not have the right of stamping down the pride of my former master. I have neither the right nor the duty to demand reparations for my subjugated ancestors. There is no black mission. There is no white burden. I do not want to be victim to the rules of a black world. Am I going to ask this white man to answer for the slave traders of the 17th century? Am I going to try by every means available to cause guilt to burgeon in their souls? I am not a slave to slavery that dehumanized my ancestors. It would be of enormous interest to discover a black literature or architecture from the 3rd century B.C, we would be overjoyed to learn of the existence of a correspondence between some black philosopher and Plato, but we can absolutely not see how this fact would change the lives of 8 year old kids working the cane fields of Martinique or Guadeloupe. I find myself in the world and I recognize I have one right alone: of demanding human behavior from the other.”

Walter Mignolo is a typical example of this, the only thing notable is I've been told he and the other liberals at Duke have completely isolated Fredric Jameson at Duke who is super old anyway, and once he dies Marxism will die at that university as well. Anyway, Zizek has no courage but we are able to point out what is impossible for third world comprador bourgeois philosophers: the anti-colonial revolution was Marxist-Leninist, led by communist parties and its critique of Stalin and the comintern was a comradely one and had nothing to do with the "totalitarianism" of praxis's presumption to affect the Real. Mao's attitude towards Stalin is the same as Marx's attitude towards Hegel:


The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a “dead dog.” I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him.

As should be our attitude towards both. Finally, we can critique Kant who was totally opposed to the French revolution without embracing Hegel, who supported Napoleon as a Bonapartist class compromise, the famous world spirit on a white horse. By that I mean to return to the very first thing I said, which is that Lacan is different than the other poststructuralists because he begins from Hegel's critique of Kant which is why Zizek is a "neo-Hegelian." This is also why Jameson wrote his article on Lacan, because he believes that his explanation of poststructuralism's "prison house of language"is correct except in its analysis of Lacan and the idealist dialectic. That's for another post but here's the essay if you're interested, it's nearly impossible to understand though without a bunch of prior knowledge.


I also like Marx here where he discusses many of these issues


*I like Jameson's comment that existentialism was a progressive reaction to the third world becoming "subjects of history" rather than an undifferentiated mass (undifferentiated refers to the capitalist division of labor) something which can easily be applied to Kant himself and his many comments on colonialism which brings the global proletariat to the center of the capitalist world system reflected in philosophy without falling prey to the partial and local existentialisms of comprador post-colonialism.


Edited by babyhueypnewton ()


babyhueypnewton posted:

Marx in this sense flips Kant on his head by bringing the transcendental categories back to Earth

It's worth adding that Hegel, following Spinoza who sees thought as a verb and not a noun, criticizes Kant for separating the conditions of the possibility of knowledge from the process of cognition itself

Heidegger of course is an irrationalist who can't get past the opening of the Logic because if pure indeterminate being is the same as Nothingness then how do you get Being from Nothingness and it seems to me that is basically the same misundersting as, to use a metaphor like yourself, those who react to the failure of perfect competition with a theory of imperfect competition

Edited by marlax78 ()


marlax78 posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:

Marx in this sense flips Kant on his head by bringing the transcendental categories back to Earth

It's worth adding that Hegel, following Spinoza who sees thought as a verb and not a noun, criticizes Kant for separating the conditions of the possibility of knowledge from the process of cognition itself

Heidegger of course is an irrationalist who can't get past the opening of the Logic because if pure indeterminate being is the same as Nothingness then how do you get Being from Nothingness and it seems to me that is basically the same misundersting as, to use a metaphor like yourself, those who react to the failure of perfect competition with a theory of imperfect competition

Right, one of the most radical parts of Marx's philosophy is that his object of investigation is not an object at all but a social relation. The logic of the capitalism mode of production has a very different ontological status than the subjective desires of an individual (the inadequacy of the latter even on its own logical terms shows the bankrupcy of analytic philosophy in general which simply takes the existence of the Real outside the prison house of language as given but therefore irrelevant to the internal logical structure of abstract language - I would be happy in that prison house as well if I had a tenured position writing the equivalent of word puzzles) and has only a symptomatic empirical existence: price never exactly expresses price of production which never exactly expresses total surplus value which never exactly reaches the average organic composition and this radical indeterminacy (the social totality of profit and the compulsion of individual capitalists towards profit mirrors in political economy the problem of totality and phenomenology in philosophy and the latter in Kant is precisely the symptom of the former) is itself the motor force of history. Thinking about this in terms of physics or biology you can see how backwards bourgeois philosophy has become with its linear causation and hyper-empiricism (which gets reflected in the "left" reaction of hyper-skepticism and deconstruction of the former's language games).

I like to think Deleuze is different than the other poststructuralists and Jameson at least considers him somewhere between the Marxist problematic and the smuggled far-right anarchist critique I mentioned earlier. But I'm wary, not only because his followers are all reactionary liberals but that it's never clear at various times whether he's critiquing the philosophy of the French communist party, the Althusserian anti-revisionist critique, or Marxism itself, and his political economy is pretty useless. But this is the "rhizzone" so maybe it's worth giving him some benefit of the doubt. Writing this made me read this piece, I'll be back


Edited by babyhueypnewton ()

anyone read management of savagery by blumenthal? it's on my to-read list but i have a lot to get through rn.

would just like to echo the dolan love, too, and also as dimashq says his way with words is really...good. i like that whole eXile style really, the best articles would usually contain absolutely devastating critiques of US empire and war and whatnot but delivered in this colloquial, informal style that welcomes the reader in rather than trying to dazzle them with jargon. the lad on here, don/getfiscal, has a similar kind of style in the articles i've read of his. more left writing like this imo.
I like how Dolan and Ames are honest about how they thought about war as kids. I just listened to their episode about the Sino-Vietnamese War (with Carl Zha), with them mentioning how psyched they were when it happened because it was like, finally, a honest-to-God war with lines on the map! Not one of these piddling guerrilla "conflicts..." I think a lot of war writing and the attraction to it among its core audience of (male) nerds (who build little Meng- and Tamiya-brand model tanks and airplanes) is that it offers an escape from bland, suburban normality. People delude themselves into thinking war is kind of like a fantasy with a simple, straightforward story with a conflict, and everything makes sense and is going to come to a tidy little conclusion as the capital city falls to the Red Army.

Or worse, you convince yourself suburban life is the fake fantasy-world and the war-world is the reality (or the imaginary fantasy version you've constructed in your head is the reality) and to obtain the keys to open the door to the war-world is how you'll overcome your own existential boredom or whatever. To experience the war is to experience the real. This is how you get psychotic war junkies who enlist in armies or become war correspondents. Anyways, that's all bullshit and war is just politics, and it's just as real and "normal" as your sad suburban existence, and it's depraved in the usual ways that politics is depraved. Most people who experience war also don't have any choice in the matter -- it's something that happens to them.

Dolan wrote on this theme back when the (Oxford U. classics grad) photographer Tim Hetherington finished up his life in a spray of mortar shrapnel in Libya:

Hetherington didn’t just have an Oscar-nominated face, it was a real good-looking face too, which all the tributes to him seem to repeat over and over. Take this one from the editor of Vanity Fair, the magazine that sent him to Libya:

“Devilishly good-looking and impossibly brave, he was both a ladies’ man and a man’s man,” he said. “There were few like Tim, and there will be fewer like him.”

I know people are supposed to say dumb stuff when somebody dies, it’s part of the proof that you’re all discombobulated by the passing of the great one, but god damn, does it have to be THIS stupid? That last sentence is pure comedy, whether it wants to be or not: “There were few like Tim, and there will be fewer like him.”

Yeah, dude. One fewer, by my count. Tim minus Tim equals zero, according to my keyboard calculator here.

It’s kind of hard to get too choked up over killed combat photographers because they’re all like Tim, these dashing throwbacks to colonial-war heroes in the Victorian days.

Back then the cool, handsome Oxford grad would dash off to Waziristan to battle the wily Pashtun. Today they leave that to the working class, but that doesn’t mean they have to settle for dull civilian jobs. They came up with a solution that lets them soak up the blood and the cool of a war zone without getting any of it on their hands: they take pictures of it instead of getting dirty shooting people.

It’s exactly the same pattern with the other shooting game these guys used to play, big-game hunting. A hundred years ago, if they were jilted by whatever horseface damsel they fancied they’d go off to the Rockies to shoot Grizzlies, or to the African savanna to slap lions around. Now they go to the same places, but it’s to coddle those Grizzlies, collar them and encourage them to breed, or back to the savanna to frown disapprovingly at the local farmers for shooting lions in an ungentlemanly fashion, with AK bursts.

If you’ve read Michael Herr’s Nam book Dispatches you know what these guys (and they’re almost all guys) are like. Herr has the same kind of man-crush on one of them, Sean Flynn, Errol Flynn’s son, as the Vanity Fair editor had on Tim.

By the way -- Sean Flynn disappeared in Cambodia in 1970.

There’s an article in that disgusting HuffPo where Steve Kettman, another starry-eyed reporter, talks about his crush on Sean even though Flynn’s kid had been a rotting corpse in the jungles of Cambodia before he ever heard of him.

He quotes Herr talking about Flynn in terms so ridiculous I just have to quote it:

“Sean Flynn could look more incredibly beautiful than even his father, Errol, had thirty years before as Captain Blood, but sometimes he looked more like Artaud coming out of some heavy heart-of-darkness trip, overloaded on the information, the input,” Herr writes. “The input! He’d give off a bad sweat and sit for hours, combing his mustache through with the saw blade of his Swiss Army knife.”

Tim Hetherington was the same breed, a “man’s man”—that’s pretty damn clear—“and a ladies’ man” in an age where most men are nobody’s man, just a scared Dilbert in a cubicle. You can decide that makes them heroes, like most people seem to, or decide they’re just decadent freaks, no-touch perverts who want to roll in the gore without getting dirty. Goddamn aristocrats.

Basically a lot of war writing is just male vanity. There are many millions of people in the world who have experienced warfare, and they still got up and went to work in the morning while it was going on around them. Grandma gets barbecued by a bomb while walking down the street -- what special insight into the workings of the universe do you gain from witnessing that in the flesh? There's nothing, really. It's the same world as the one the cubicle Dilberts are living in. But there are combat veterans walking around thinking they have special insight because they held a rifle and shot at people instead of merely being shot at like most people who have been at war but didn't get to decide whether to participate. And a lot of them didn't have the means, chance or ability to shoot back, either.

Since you mention Don I don't know if I agree with his pacifism in a philosophical way but I agree with a general anti-militarism if that makes sense, although I'll let him speak for himself on that. And I see Dolan's writing as about demystifying warfare and just writing about it as a sordid thing for perverts, like politics.

trakfactri posted:

And I see Dolan's writing as about demystifying warfare and just writing about it as a sordid thing for perverts, like politics.

lol yep, this is what i was trying to get at but you have said it much better.

is the prescription here to settle down and accept the bland, suburban normality?

kamelred posted:

is the prescription here to settle down and accept the bland, suburban normality?

it's to realise that becoming a journalist won't make your dick any bigger, it'll just make you a bigger dick


trakfactri posted:

a sordid thing for perverts, like politics.

long-dead memes itt


kamelred posted:

is the prescription here to settle down and accept the bland, suburban normality?

No it's to reject idealism

Uh I think

Petrol posted:



thirdplace posted:

also a couple months back I recommended The Stars Are Legion by K Hurley because it was really good,

Are you a big fan of Downton Abbey

is that a decaying bioengineered spaceship / Federician nightmare where opposing warlords fight over dwindling resources, the most important of which is the crew members whose uteruses which spontaneously and nonconsensually grow various spare parts?
No, I didn't realize you only liked a specific micro-subgenre of fiction. Never mind.
working through horkheimer's 'critique of instrumental reason'. really good read
pretty crazy how Bret Easton Ellis reflects all the vapid dumbass characters in American Psycho that make the book so entertaining to read.
i just got a collection of jack london's old socialist writings... maybe i'll re-post some of the better ones. in high school i was on school newspaper, and me and my buddies we'd take his deep-red polemic, but change some words around to fit whatever bullshit. i remember in one he was going on about how bourgeois blood would flow down gutters and we sanitized it to be about the wet winter weather lol. it got the three of us kicked off eventually oh well. after he bought some ranch land in california, he told his friends he'd 'lost all interest in the class struggle' but really he'd just switched sides.