Thursday, 30 April 2009

Very timely.....

The Vital Systems Security collaboration examines how, today, security is being constituted as an object of knowledge, intervention, and political reflection. It proposes that the security of “vital systems” – such as energy, transportation, communication and health – is one norm in relationship to which security is being reproblematized. A central goal of the collaboration is to examine these issues through collective, conceptually driven inquiry that addresses rapidly developing contemporary problems.

On this site you can read more about the VSS collaboration, find out about current projects, check out our papers and other publications, or go to our blog.

What’s New:

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Sexual Politics of Meat? Identificatory community, becoming animal, electronic music

I just happened to be looking back through this blog's archives the other day, and was surprised to see Roger Griffin had left 2 comments in response to my posting on palingenesis, electronic music, fascism. I contacted him, and was happy to receive in response 4 articles that helped flesh out some of the concerns I'd raised in my post. Time permitting, which is a big IF in my case (as I am hopefully about to go through a transitional phase in my life involving a major shake up of how I am living/working as an editor of academic journal articles), I might be able to post a more detailed response in the near future.

For the moment then, I'll note that Griffin and I seemed to be in some agreement about the explanatory significance of Durkheim's theory of collective effervescence. I can't see that Roger could object to me reproducing part of our private correspondence, as my hope in so doing is that it will encourage others to investigate his work. That said, Griffin goes on to explain:

"certainly Durkheim's concept of collective effervescence as a way of transcending anomie relates to both fascism and rave communities, but I think in a way illuminated by the distinction between integrative (rave) and identificatory (fascist rally) communities. You can see the full scale conceptual framework I have erected to explain the compulsive need for the creation of a new transcendent nomos under the conditions of modernity in my Modernism and Fascism (just Google). Meanwhile here is the article on apolietic music as well, as well as my article on fascism's temporal revolution which ends with an allusion to Okenfold." 

Basically, I think Griffin's terms are apiece with my own distinction between contingency and seriality respectively. I think the recent discussions of representations of the "alien" in rave culture over at the dancecult website (listed on Acheron's blogroll) also fits nicely into the ideal of a "unity in dissensus" presumed by the "integrative" pole. So what else can be said about the "identificatory" in relation to electronic music more generally? (i.e. electronic music outside of rave culture) What I'm starting to wonder, by way of a response, is whether "the animal" necessarily functions as a substitute for the "alien"? In Nazi Germany, for example, this would typically take 2 forms: certain humans are relegated to the level of vermin or beasts of burden, while simultaneously other animals were elevated at the expense of the "subhuman".  The subhuman was recognisably an "alien" by virtue of the fact that their physiognomy was a reflection of their country of origin (so their very presence in the Fatherland was a violation of "natural" borders). Further details on these biopolitical [identificatory] dimensions of fascism can be found by revisiting an earlier post on this blog, "After the Downfall: A German reading of The Lord of the Rings".

If this strategy is discernible in the form of identificatory effervescence created in other electronic music cultures, then I feel it is probably of a different order than my previous musings on the trope of "becoming animal" (which incidentally cited some musical precedents, such as Jim Morrision's alter ego, The Lizard King). To be sure, I was initially intrigued by news of Iggy Pop's recent collaboration with a nihilistic kindred spirit, Michel Houellebecq, an album called Preliminaires
Afterall, nihilism is indissociable from anomie, sometimes in turn fostering "active" effervescent solutions [sic]. In the promotional clip Iggy heaps praise upon Houellebecq's novel, The Possibility of an Island, and seems to imply that the existence of a dog is superior to not only that of the kind of artificial human made dystopia in the book specifically, but to humanity in general. Iggy's career is  littered with comparable intimations, featuring, as it does, song titles such as I Wanna Be Your Dog and Dog Food. He also hints at the appeal of a kind of atavistic primordialism on his album Instinct, which the listener senses is in part a response to an urban landscape forged in Cold Metal (a song on Instinct). 

Be this as it may, my feeling is that Iggy never really consciously plotted a strategy of sonic attack throughout the course of his career that is somehow tainted by "fascist" aesthetics (remember, Preliminaires pays tribute to Jelly Roll Morton!!), notwithstanding Greil Marcus's description of Iggy urging the audiences in his concerts to vote for Reagan during the 1980s, or the excesses of earlier performances with The Stooges, such as this for example:  

It's also obviously the case that his music is not electronic. There is, however, one shared attribute worth considering in relation to the genre of electronic music known as "power electronics", namely, the emphasis on volume (at least with respect to what Iggy had earlier called Raw Power). Now I haven't read Jacque Attali's Noise: The Political Economy of Music, but I'm intrigued by the following quotation, which hints at the ritualistic aspect intended to generate effervescence, and how violence functions in such a context:

"Noise is violence, i.e., murder. Music is a channelization of noise and a simulacrum of sacrifice, a sublimation to create order and political integration. Therefore music is ritual murder". 

Attali also makes me think here of those passages in Bataille wherein the shattering of selfhood instigated by the infliction of violence is paradoxically represented as "liberating" for its victim, as it opens them up to an "outside". Bataille even strains credibility, to put it mildly, by referring to the sexual assault of a woman in such terms. Attali must be closer to the truth of the matter insofar as he intimates that such receptiveness in effect can mean reduction to the status of a sacrificial animal intended to buttress identificatory solidarity. Hence the victim is emptied of their autonomy so they can then be made subject to someone else's domination.This is the sense I get whenever I listen to a power electronics album, such as Whitehouse's Great White Death. William Bennett & co. continually draw on transgressive, misogynistic tropes, all wrapped in a shattering wall of noise. I've read enough interviews with him to know that nihilism is a primary concern in Whitehouse's aesthetic. Rhythm is not permissible because it is not "pure" enough; unlike nihilism, it simply dates too quickly, thus explaining Bennett's complaint that the "serious" music press, such as The Wire: Adventures in Modern Music, ignore Whitehouse because they refuse to make the dance music that so entrances cultural journalists (in his words, The Wire is strictly "revisionist", when it comes to electronic  music). 

But the real clincher, the thing that spurred my reflections following the exchange with Griffin, was reading Bennett's comments on his blog regarding the status of animals. I was struck by how his strident defence of their dignity has never been matched by anything I've ever heard him sing, say, or write, about homosap. Please keep in mind that I'm only thinking aloud here, so these are tentative conclusions at best. I have to guiltily admit though that I actually enjoy Bennett's blog, even as some of its more sinister ramifications are crystallizing in my mind while reading him. Irrespective of whether you agree with him or not, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that William Bennett is a very clever contrarian (and perhaps more of a reflexive ironist than he is usually given credit for), who has succeeded in producing some of the most intense and scary music of all time. Don't believe me? Try listening to Great White Death along with Big Black's thematically similar Songs About Fucking, then wait and see which album burns a bigger hole in your brain....I'll wager that Whitehouse will be conferred with this dubious honour each and every time.

I also do not want to be misconstrued as arguing that it is wrong in principle to defend the dignity of animals: I simply wish to avoid its occurrence at the expense of our collective humanity. A necessary correlate of this view is that animals must be protected from simply becoming "animal capital" (see my previous post of the same title). Some shocking juxtapositions of the kind of sacrificial economy "animal capital" requires can be seen in Georges Franju's little seen documentaryLe Sang des betes (aka Blood of the Beasts). I was about to say that all the film is missing is an updated Whitehouse score, but then the horrible thought occurred to me that it is probably closer to the mark to nominate the films of Walerian Borowczyk. I've posted on his Marceline before, so I admit his works are more open to interpretation than suggested by my association of him with William Bennett. But I can't help thinking of the nightmarish visions of "identificatory community" such a collaboration might (perhaps unwittingly) entail, especially when watching the trailer for this Borowczyk film:

Monday, 20 April 2009

J.G. Ballard

The occasion of Ballard's passing is clearly not the most opportune time to attempt any critical appraisal of his legacy; that would be churlish, bad taste. Although each of us on this blog have been reading him for over 20 years, it must also be acknowledged that this is considerably less time than many of his most hardcore fans.

So rather than attempt to compare and contrast him with any sociological paradigms (say the Glasgow Media Group's position regarding media "effects" research, Raymond Williams on mobility, the "shrinking island" of British modernism etc), I'll take the opportunity instead to highlight a piece that successfully downplays the more common "postmodern" association of Ballard's work with Jean Baudrillard. There may also be scope within said piece to qualify to some extent Burling's Marxist evaluation of Ballard as representative of the first generation of "new wave" sci fi.

In so doing, however, I mean no disrespect to Bill Burling, who was obviously a wonderful teacher and an astute critic. I recommend following this link to investigate Burling's legacy, which includes a close association with Kim Stanley Robinson, leading to this upcoming title.

In any case, here is the passage from Burling's text which really captured my attention:

British SF over the past four decades often engages with socialist and even Marxist thematics, which may be said to begin with Michael Moorcock’s assumption of the editorship of the magazine New Worlds in 1964. Encouraging the pursuit of experimental and radical social critique in SF, Moorcock published what would in due course become an impressive generation of Left SF authors and their followers, including Brian Aldiss and J. G. Ballard. Taking William Burroughs as their literary inspiration, the first “new wave” SF evinced a latent Left position, that is, one advocating Left views of consciousness but not highlighting the requisite socio-economic components. A second wave was, however, depicted manifestly Left extrapolations: Iain Banks’ “Culture” novels, such as Consider Phlebas (1987) offer an extended post-scarcity, left socio-techno vision; Ken Macleod actively engages Marxist ideas in the “Fall Revolution” series, as in The Star Fraction (1995); and China Miéville’s remarkable and generically innovative “Bas-Lag” series incorporates an extended meditation on Left political and social issues, most clearly in Iron Council (2004).

Of special and final note is the work of two recent women authors. Tricia Sullivan’s Maul (2003) vigorously interrogates social and political issues in her depiction of a near future, but non-utopian, world administered solely by women. Also important is Gwyneth Jones’ Bold as Love (2001), winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the ensuing namesake series: Castles made of Sand (2002), Midnight Lamp (2003), Band of Gypsies (2004), and Rainbow Bridge (2005). Jones near-future depiction of the U.K., originally sketched out in a short story in 1992, grapples with gender, political, economic, social, and environmental issues emerging from the breakdown of the capitalist status quo and the resulting revolutionary possibilities. The novel sequence aggressively challenges the reactionary dystopian bent of much SF by presenting a plausible utopian vision grounded on Left-based values emphasizing shared resources and decision-making. Jones’ work thus stands as one of the most important contemporary works of Left SF.

Even this short and admittedly selective survey demonstrates the essential interconnection between SF’s representations of the production and consumption of technology and the resulting implications as theorized by Marx and later Left thinkers. While only a few SF works have manifestly engaged the concomitant and irrepressible social, political, and economic issues inherent in their alternative worlds, every SF story, film, or television show bears the latent burden of ideological commitment.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Charmed Circle of Ideology: A Critique of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Zizek

Is this book's critique of contemporary Continental philosophy comparable to some of my posts? I like the targeting of "idealism", but the only way I can find out for sure is to download the book for free:


Set against the collapse of social theory into a theory of ideological discourse, Geoff Boucher sets to work a rigorous mapping of the contemporary field, targeting the relativist implications of this new form of philosophical idealism. Offering a detailed and immanent critique Boucher concentrates his critical attention on the ‘postmarxism’ of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Žižek. Combining close reading and careful exposition with polemical intent, Boucher links the relativism exemplified in these contemporary theoretical trends to unresolved philosophical problems of modernity. In conclusion Boucher points to ‘intersubjectivity’ as an exit from postmarxist theory’s charmed circle of ideology.


1. Introduction: The Postmarxian Field
2. New Times: The Emergence of Postmarxism
3. Crop Circles in the Postmarxian Field: Laclau and Mouffe
4. The Antinomies of Slavoj Žižek
5. The Politics of Performativity
6. Conclusion: The Charmed Circle of Ideology

Animal Capital

Book Description
The juxtaposition of biopolitical critique and animal studies—two subjects seldom theorized together—signals the double-edged intervention of Animal Capital. Nicole Shukin pursues a resolutely materialist engagement with the “question of the animal,” challenging the philosophical idealism that has dogged the question by tracing how the politics of capital and of animal life impinge upon one another in market cultures of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Shukin argues that an analysis of capital’s incarnations in animal figures and flesh is pivotal to extending the examination of biopower beyond its effects on humans. “Rendering” refers simultaneously to cultural technologies and economies of mimesis and to the carnal business of boiling down and recycling animal remains. Rendering’s accommodation of these discrepant logics, she contends, suggests a rubric for the critical task of tracking the biopolitical conditions and contradictions of animal capital across the spaces of culture and economy.

From the animal capital of abattoirs and automobiles, films and mobile phones, to pandemic fear of species-leaping diseases such as avian influenza and mad cow, Shukin makes startling linkages between visceral and virtual currencies in animal life, illuminating entanglements of species, race, and labor in the conditions of capitalism. In reckoning with the violent histories and intensifying contradictions of animal rendering, Animal Capital raises provocative and pressing questions about the cultural politics of nature.
Subject Animals -- Symbolic aspects. Animals -- Economic aspects. Animals -- Political aspects. Human-animal relationships. Wildlife utilization.

.....autonomy, singularity, creativity

On the Human

I've made no secret of the fact that I try to avoid the noosphere type stuff, so what do I read online instead? Well, I think I've found a nice companion website to Telic Thoughts:

  • What's this about?

    On the Human focuses on persons and the quasi-persons who surround them. As persons are biological, psychological, historical and moral beings, contributors to this site employ modes of inquiry from both the sciences and the humanities. We explore issues in metaphysics and biology, ethics and neuroscience, experimental philosophy and evolutionary psychology.

    On the Human is a project of the National Humanities Center.

    On the Human is edited by Gary Comstock, Phillip Barron, and Parker Shipton.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Electronics in the world of tomorrow

Bionic paratroops & Bill Hicks

Probably the only place the two meet is on the Civil Radio 18 blog. There have been times when I've thought some of the most interesting blogs were the equivalent of those bands Greil Marcus talks about, who disappear quickly after leaving behind one or two incredible songs. I hope though that Civil Radio sticks around, unlike Infinite Frequencies etc. I particularly like its conceptual focus, as it is in some ways complementary to Acheron's interest in science fiction themes, without having yet hardened into a theoretical formalism. This is particularly remarkable in light of how the blog features the work of guys like Tuomas Rantanen (his "Bionic Paratroops" piece is featured on Mix 15: It's War), whose theoretical tastes also run to Martin Heidegger. In other words, Civil Radio hasn't succumbed to the noosphere tendencies I've complained about on many other occasions.

As for Rantanen's hardcore brand of techno, I haven't yet decided how listenable it would be, outside of the mix featured on Civil Radio 18, which contextualises it with reference to futuristic, militarised soundscapes. But monitoring its development still seems a worthwhile thing to do: i.e. what wider cultural meanings can be imputed to its dissemination? This question will remain compelling.

I also applaud Civil Radio's highlighting of Bill Hicks, and it seems we can look forward to a full length documentary on his legacy later this year: I like to think of him in terms of Gramsci's maxim, "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" (although it seems Bill struggled to maintain the latter aspect throughout his short life, he remained progressive).

On February 25, 2004, British MP Stephen Pound tabled an early day motion titled "Anniversary of the Death of Bill Hicks" (EDM 678 of the 2003-04 session), the text of which was as follows:

"That this House notes with sadness the 10th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks, on 26th February 1994, at the age of 32; recalls his assertion that his words would be a bullet in the heart of consumerism, capitalism and the American Dream; and mourns the passing of one of the few people who may be mentioned as being worthy of inclusion with Lenny Bruce and George Carlin in any list of unflinching and painfully honest political philosophers".

In the documentary Zeitgeist parts of Bill Hicks' Revelations are being played.

The Bill Hicks Foundation for Wildlife Rehabilitation, dedicated to Bill in tribute to his love of animals, rescues and rehabilitates injured wildlife in the Texas Hill Country.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Theory's Empire

Returning to the subject of my favourite critical essays, the choice is made more difficult in terms of what is readily available on the Internet. I don't want to start sounding like a broken record, so I will change up again soon the topics I'll be blogging on, but I couldn't resist putting up for consideration here Peter A. Jackson's treatise on method. It is more nuanced and compelling than the stark opposition between empiricism and Continental philosophy, which I referenced in my post commenting on Fisher's critiques of Terry Eagleton. I think it can also, read in tandem with Janet Wolff's piece [as featured in my previous post], offer the beginnings of an explanation for some of the things that have gone wrong, both in the academy and now in the blogosphere (or rather that segment of it I prefer to refer to as the "noosphere" dominated by the application of Continental philosophy in cultural analysis).

It is important to note particularly the corrosive effects of the formalism of such work. Jackson moves between epistemological and institutional issues with commensurate skill, in a manner that could characterise him as a social epistemologist. Remember, I've cited Steve Fuller's remarks elsewhere on this blog to the effect that social epistemology can legitimately "sometimes be deconstructive". So I wonder then if those academics and bloggers alike who utilize the formalist approach Jackson critiques in his piece, have ever followed up on a text cited by Jackson? i.e. Theory's Empire: An Anthology of Dissent (2005). Somehow I doubt it because formalism prevents reflexivity about one's chosen methods (it's easier to substitute Zizek quotations for arguments, right?). Here is one of the more telling quotes cited by Jackson:

Things could have been different [in the reception of critical theory in the American academy] if the English professors who were the first to welcome poststructuralism into the undergraduate curriculum had had some grasp of elementary philosophy, or some feeling for the philosophical tradition. They were, quite simply, poorly trained. The problem was not so much the works of Derrida, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan — each deserves a place in the undergraduate curriculum — but the way their various approaches soon emulsified, in less able hands, into the bossy credo we now call Theory.

Fascinating enough, to be sure, but the real killer blow is delivered by Gasche, and also cited by Jackson:

"Yet what does theory mean in this context [the humanities in the western academy; to which I would add now the noosphere] except the all too often naive and sometimes even, given its uncontrolled and unwanted side effects, ridiculous application of the results of philosophical debates to the literary field?"

Thanks in part to the Internet though, this method has now spread across the entire field of cultural criticism. So thank you Rodolphe, you've made my day.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Cultural Studies & the Sociology of Culture

This is one of my all time favourite critical essays. It has inspired me so much ever since I first read it. I know that the sociology of culture has had little, if any, penetration into the blogosphere, which quickly becomes obvious as soon as anyone looks into the predominant meeting of Continental philosophy and avant garde music (what I've elsewhere called "cultural journalism"). It is an interesting exercise to compare such work to some of the "musicological" examples Wolff takes to task, if memory serves correctly, in the introduction she coauthors with Andrew Goodwin to the volume edited by Elizabeth Long, From Sociology to Cultural Studies. That introduction is a marvelous companion piece to the essay I've linked to here. Afterall, criticism is fairly pointless unless it offers a constructive alternative.

I just figure, in the same spirit, that there should always be room for a few [more] contrarian bloggers. Given this blog's iconography of the mummified space jockey, it should be obvious that in principle I don't really have much of a problem with banishment to the outer limits. Maybe it is sometimes possible from this position to enjoy a greater latitude to be exploratory and critical than those constrained by the discourses Wolff describes.

Survival Horror and Its Remediations

Ewan Kirkland

Kingston University, London,

This article uses Bolter and Grusin's notion of remediation to explore analog media technologies—cinema, photography, cartography, television, and radio—in digital horror videogames. Such moments illustrate what Lister et al. term the "technological imaginary" of both old and new media technological imaginary of both old and new media. Old media technologies contribute a sense of the real perceived as lacking in digital media, yet central to a generically-significant impression of embodiment. Critical theorization of these forms within media studies illuminate their function within digital video game texts; such processes illustrating the cultural, institutional, and aesthetic meanings and mythologies of both analog and digital media, while continuing traditional use of media technologies within discourses of horror and the supernatural.

Key Words: analog • digital • film • horror • remediation

Be sure to check out the accompanying website for Lister et al's book. Worthy of comparison to the Matt Hanson piece previously featured on this blog. Note though that this blog has also featured extensive critique of the "mechanical bride" thesis, and from what I can see in the video produced by the authors, they are more willing than me to play along with that and other cognate "postmodern" work. There may still be some value in the book, but not having yet read it, I'm in no real position to compare it with masterpieces of the sort produced by Frank Webster or Judith Wajcman. So for now at least, I will have to keep my suspicions to myself....

Shaviro on Birbeck: "what happened to political economy?"

Derridata, in case you're still putting together a response to Mark Fisher, thought I'd mention this assessment of the conference by Steve Shaviro (not sure if you've already read it). This is one of those times when I find myself really enjoying Shaviro's work, as he proves again that he is one of those rare persons who knows the work of contemporary Continental philosophers really well, without needing to always throw in his lot with them (unlike the hermetic exegesis one often finds in the Continental blogosphere), letalone the positivism Fisher tried to identify as an inadequate alternative.

Reading Shaviro's report, it struck me that Badiou must really be digging himself into a hole when Ken Wark can call him out on a critical point, and sound convincing too!!! Kudos to Shaviro for such a balanced report of this event, and it's always refreshing too to see a bit of doubt expressed about Zizek. I still haven't recovered from that Eurocentric garbage Zizek wrote a few years back claiming that Taoism and Buddhism are emerging as the dominant ideologies of "virtual capitalism". Adopting his usual slapdash approach, which in this instance involved some off the cuff remarks about Star Wars, no appeal was made to any evidence taken from actual Buddhist scriptures or literature such as Amata (the subject of one of my previous posts). Therefore no rational person could read that book, or study the Thai public discourse surrounding it, and conclude [with Zizek] that Buddhist ethics merely encourages a withdrawal into the self as an escape from material reality. Anyone wanting to understand cultural exchanges between East and West, would be better served by studying civilizational complexes (Shmuel N. Eisenstadt), Robert Bellah, "multiple modernities", Aihwa Ong, please anything really, other than Zizek....

This reference to Zizek reminds me of the felicity of the phrase Shaviro uses in a critical manner, "voluntarism". The danger here of course is that voluntarism cannot be corroborated, or "grounded", if you prefer, with the result that philosophy merely becomes a self legislating activity. So once again this conference provides much evidence of the "noosphere" tendencies I have earlier remarked upon on this blog, albeit presented in the guise of "radicalism".

Friday, 3 April 2009

A brief comment on Fisher's "A Return to Communism?"

Derridata, I've just read the piece on A Return to Communism which you passed on, and I look forward to an elaboration of your critiques of it. I was bemused by the reference to "Anglo Saxon empiricism" that was used to set up a simplistic opposition between the Continentals and [implicitly] sociology/social theory. I believe such oppositions are much too crude to do justice to the more interesting work that is willing to mediate its more avowedly theoretical modes with empirical observations. I'm sure you would concur by thinking of Jane Dark's critique of Badiou's theory of the state, Pheng Cheah's response to Derrida's work on the nation state, and Aihwa Ong's reservations about Hardt and Agamben, with reference to the plight of guest workers (also referred to by Cheah). Fisher even concedes that Balso correctly [i.e. empirically] notes the authoritarian measures immigrants are increasingly subjected to by the state, but I get no sense from his work of how consistently this could sit with his valorisation of the authors in question on account of their implicit downplaying of empirical considerations (i.e. Badiou et al).What would a treatise on method written by Fisher look like then?

Should this perhaps be a question of what kind of "empiricism" is really at stake? I feel Fisher uses Terry Eagleton to whitewash this important methodological problem. For starters, it's hardly any great revelation that there is a deliberate kind of "hamfistedness" in Eagleton's work. This point is convincingly driven home in The Continuum Encyclopedia of Modern Criticism and Theory. The irony is that Eagleton has taken it upon himself to be the spokesperson for Raymond Williams, one of the last British historical materialists capable of straddling the theory/empirical divide in a sophisticated manner. I wasn't at the conference Fisher refers to, but I'm guessing that this legacy was not [sufficiently, if at all] acknowledged by Eagleton, letalone Fisher's Continental brethren. So it seems this responsibility has to be taken up elsewhere by the likes of Gary Hall, who as we both know, is even willing to draw Williams into a discussion with the "wild realism" of Gilles Deleuze!

As for myself, I've never critiqued the "abstraction" of Continental philosophy from a simplistic empirical perspective. No, I wrote an entire thesis that attempted to justify a methodological prioritisation of a constructivist realism. This featured an extensive dialogue between Williams, Derrida, Luhmann, Wendy Wheeler et al.

I'm also unconvinced by Fisher's attempt to blame the commonsense of "Anglo Saxon empiricism" for the UK falling prey to the abstraction of finance capital. Afterall, how would his thesis explain the situation occurring in France itself, where commonsense dictates the opposite?: i.e. where the abstractions of French theory are the order of the day, the very ideal of what it means to be a public intellectual, and by extension, a member of the commentariat [sic]. Moreover, it takes a detailed empirical work such as The New Spirit of Capitalism to critically expose the elective affinities that manifested in a managerialist revolution that first took place in France. As demonstrated by Boltanski et al, this involved commodification of the [abstract] spirit of creativity itself; a spirit which Fisher appears to [solely] subsequently invest with emancipatory potential ("it will require nothing less than the construction of a new type of human being [sic]").

I am therefore suggesting that a critical reconstruction of the idea of creativity is required to prevent it from becoming a conceptual wildcard. This draws my attention towards work on "creative democracy". Suffice to say, I am having difficulties imagining how such work could ever prove conversant with Fisher's attentiveness to "capitalist realism" (the title of his forthcoming book).

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Burying the hatchet it seems....

Kind of busy lately, so just got time today to show my sense of humour is still intact, and that I'm still actively trying to monitor anything out there related to the iconography of this blog. These stills were produced by DDB New Zealand to promote a screening of Aliens vs Predators on SKY Television.
I apologise only for the [unintentionally] jarring juxtaposition here of something lighthearted with the subject of my previous post, but such is the nature of blogging as a content management system.