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C. DiDiodato
Canada (Ontario)
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Jodi, you might be interested in this. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/stormy-skies-canadas-middle-class-151419160.html
Jodi, relatives of Canadians killed on September 11 feel the same way (except for the self-aggrandizing bit you've inserted about using it "as an opening" to a new "post-terrorism". I wish academics would drop this silly name-game). I'll be relieved when the war on terror is finally over. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/father-cdn-9-11-victim-calls-bin-ladens-143737210.html
Toggle Commented May 2, 2011 on post-terrorism at I cite
Nicholas, wasn't Lenin a big fan of Taylorism and didn't Mao adopt Western capitalist modes of production? And China today: capitalist or communist? Does it really matter what to call it? When communist regimes got it right, wasn't it after some (if culturally-politically modified) form of the U.S.-dictated "disciplinary model" (from Hardt and Negri's "Empire")? I do recall,however, the distinguished literary critic George Steiner praising (in a tv lecture in Canada) the Communist model because, as he said, the Soviets put their best teachers not in the universities but in elementary grades. He also used to go about how the future Nobel prize winners would always come from cafes in Eastern Europe: a shot at the more Westernized 'creative writing classes' or MFA models. I'm not entirely averse to those purer sorts of "communist" educational practices. By impure I mean indoctrination, of course.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2011 on What do you mean, "doesn't work"? at I cite
Jodi, the poet's work in bringing about revolutionary change is often undervalued (hardly ever mentioned, in fact). Poetry can be a vital part of tactical media (as in the case of Egypt). Thanks for posting Berardi's poem.
Jodi, "The communism fail meme has got to go. It's a myth". No, it's not a myth: it's a fact. The travelling "intellegentsia" with safe ideology for the masses have to learn to separate myth from reality, for once!Your cry to oppose captalism in the commons, on Wall St,in the textbooks, etc ring hollow compared to the real Tunisian Bouazizi-type street revolutions happening all around you, spurred and developed by a real media activism. It was the Internet that began and threatens to complete the overthrow of history's last vestiges of brutal nation-state ideology: it was the "outraged" poet heart of a street vendor that brought real revolution to Tunisia, and set the path of overthrow of dictatorial regimes in Egypt, Libya. The cry of revolution must work (as even Marx fully understood) within the already growing networks of global capital and exchange. When will you understand that? There's no standing 'outside' the loop; you're in it and your job is to work through it in a more just, equitable and ultimately globally responsible manner. The old school Marxist tirades you hurl daily are comically unresisting and unchanging,even in the face of globalization. Maybe you should listen to the "young" audiences out there, for once: rather than talking more "theory" at them and offering revisionist apologies for failed communist dictatorships("The Soviet experiment succeeded", indeed!Even Zizek won't say that without a lot of qualification) "outraged" and "unleashed" powers don't come from academics reading comfortably at their podiums, addressing captive audiences of undergraduates: they originate in real people caught daily in the 'globalization' squeeze.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2011 on What do you mean, "doesn't work"? at I cite
I just read McKibben's "Eaarth". Best book out there on the environmental crisis (imo), with really sound alternatives to peak oil consumption, agribusiness, etc etc
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2011 on Bill McKibben - My life as a communist at I cite
The Mathmos, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned poetry in a predominantly political discussion. The pettiness of academics has done a real job on poetry in Canada (and the article was about poetry, MFA, etc) My apologies for mentioning it. And my previous comments were a sort of Derridean reflection on what I felt was Jodie's romantic (almost gothic)characterization of the evil Goldman Sachs of the world to whom the world's most egregious cynicism is always to be attributed. I just thought it a suspicious good-evil 'binary'. I hope this clears up some of your confusion.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2011 on Pettiness at I cite
Great article, David! Academics have killed poetry (they certainly have in 'subsidized Arts' Canada): when MFAs start churning out Pulitzers, you know the machinery's stopped a long time ago.
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2011 on Pettiness at I cite
By "the oppressed" you mean presumably students,workers,homeowners, bloggers, etc etc. It's like trying to be definitive about "virtue", as I said, in ethical theory: a term that's notoriously unstable(By "oppressed" I mean the starving, disenfranchised, physically/sexually abused & exploited Third World, in which I wouldn't be writing this post. If you have talked about third world oppression, I've missed it) You romanticize a class of people (mostly North American and European) who've got to assume some responsibility for the mess. Žižek's good that way. Derrida was right: it's a case of conflicting logics. Analyses of 'capital' such as yours are always open to question because they're mired in the (say)anti-capital ruses you try to unearth. The hierarchical oppositions in your writings reveal suspicious ideological impositions of your own that make opposing viewpoints seem too untenable to consider. The hierarchies are good in one crucial sense, Jodi, because do they make argument possible. I can't wait to look at Jameson's new book "Representing Capital".
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2011 on Pettiness at I cite
Between us cynics. You uncritically privilege the "oppressed" (a term that has about the same universal strength as the word "virtue" in ethical theory): it's been my experience that the Goldman Sachs of the world win because everyone else is (though not as successfully) in essentially the same business. There's with you always this annoying equating of the 'proles' with virtue, untainted integrity, etc etc. It just ain't so.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2011 on Pettiness at I cite
Here's another version of the future but without the remainders: the youth of Gaza, sick and tired of the politics of savagery in their region, write their Manifesto. At last! Please pass this on. http://www.pierrejoris.com/blog/?p=5628
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on Remainders of a future at I cite
I'm beginning to think Zizek's right about all the anti-global capital demonstrations, protests, etc. It's as if they're allowed to be staged as theatre (like the more recent new age atheism)for the masses. The visuals are great, and don't they always look like a good commercial anyways?
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2010 on we are over nine thousand at I cite
Here's an Irishman's take on the "Zombies" (bankers) who win, particularly in his part of the Celtic world. I discovered this priceless YouTube video at Joseph Hutchison's "Perpetual Bird" site. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=koY6kXhQDQo
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2010 on When Zombies Win at I cite
"Professor Henry Brubaker, director of the Institute for Studies and a long time campaigner for the abolition of universities, said: "Hospitals can train doctors, law firms can train lawyers, journalists can be trained by children and sociologists can train themselves by watching television for six hours a day" I like this guy! Keeping it real.
Check out this interesting WikiLeaks manifesto http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/geert/2010/12/07/twelve-theses-on-wikileaks-with-patrice-riemens/
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2010 on Wikileaks at I cite
Wikileaks is perhaps an interesting case for taking back the 'commons'. http://nplusonemag.com/in-praise-of-wikileaks?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nplusonemag_main+%28n%2B1+magazine%29
This back-and-fortth between Obama's post-Keynesianism and GOP tax cuts for the rich is a symptom of the way late-capitalism no longer can represent itself (see Zizek, in "In Defense of Lost Causes",398). Communists might see this inability of capitialism to hide its "excesses" and faulty "representational frames" (and desire to engage in some shifty post-industrial "self-revolutionizing" of its own) as an ideal time for political emancipatory action. Capitalism has always appropriated the rhetoric of marginalization and protest. Interesting possibility: since the traditional capitalist constraints have been loosened at a cost of 27 million job losses (and emancipatory "street-level" activism is more flexible by nature anyways), why not generate creative ways to force an Event at last? Without the presence of the Other (in either ideological direction: Keynesianism or unfettered capitalism)to counteract, why not now step "into the breach"?
Toggle Commented Dec 4, 2010 on 27 million hit by US jobs crisis at I cite
Ted Striphas has recently posted some interesting discussion, links in regards to the topic of the Humanities http://www.diffandrep.org/2010/11/24/debate-on-the-future-of-higher-ed/
I found this picture at the "Zeitgeist Spam" blog. Thought it was apropos here. http://www.johnbr.com/zeitgeist_spam/2010/11/great-photo.html
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2010 on Conquer and divide at I cite
Well, I still don't quite get how blog settings, say, can be one example (among many)of the "decline of symbolic efficiency", unless you're reverting yourself to a golden age of the critique of "enchainments of meaning" in any political, ethical, medical, etc discourse, the old bête noire in Foucauldian 'structuralism'. The big Other still continues to be conspicuous by his wily absence (See Žižek's own characterization of the big Other,as a "silent witness to a mute presence that endorses the subject's 'jouissance'by way of emitting a silent acknowledgement, a "Yes!" to drive", in his Forward to "The Abyss of Freedom/Ages of the World".A straw man' argument at its very finest. It's easy (in this way of talking)to inject even "capitalism" into communications theory as if the only critical approach to the rise of "vanishing mediators" like the blog must go the route of the good old rhetoric of capitalist exploitation of the means of production (now primarily digitalized). Are you purposely problematizing the "Yes!" to blog theory in order to score Žižekian or Lacanian points only? You can't seem to get beyond them. Where's the original 'critical' thinking here? I see, as you've admitted yourself, only indebtedness to Žižek who himself seems stuck in a rhetoric of Lacanian 'drive theory'without which the great thinker would really have little to say about the world (at least from the 6 or 7 books of his I've read so far). Talk about "entrapment or capture"! You (and Žižek ) give affect and intersubjectivity too short shrift: or can't see a way around avoiding the need to always give a psychoanalytic twist to a discussion of politics and language when discussing a phenomenon (such as computer literacy)that's (in my view)justly celebrated as the expression of a purely liberatory drive for flexibility and creativity. Why not try separating politics from language? Your politics are pretty evident. But have you considered the rise of new 'multimedia' language theory as it applies to digital poetics :the new video or visual poetry work being done online by people like Robert Kendall, Jim Rosenberg,Deena Larsen. Their Code is not political nor any sort of vanishing (or returning)"symbolic efficiency" but the very materiality of language itself.
Jodi, neoliberalism (as you've said in your discussion of "communicative capitalism" in "BLOG theory")like the terms 'cyberspace', 'multimedia', 'cloud computing', etc is a case of a "temporal take-over of theory" by a very real capitalist system actively exploiting emergent networked communications. It's not a revolution so much as an evolution: in the sense of the sort of fake "panic" and crisis-consciousness that the introduction of every new technology creates in the minds of consumers. Or rather it appears to be a crisis until you actually try it and wonder how you've managed to get along without it. I can relate to this on a personal level since I've always felt that my own poetry couldn't have really gotten as far as it has without cyberfora (like listserves, blogs), tools and online outlets for my work. Is that a case of exploitation? Has the poet's imagination been duped that easily? Isn't Web 2.0 a case of the Deleuzian "virtual past" (as discussed in Zizek's "In Praise of Lost Causes"), a kind of recognition of the inevitability of an emergent technology only when it's actually appeared? I'm beginning to think (or maybe I'm just getting old) that the odds always by nature work in favour of capitalist acquisition & control (as in the case of Microsoft) because of the way consumers eager for new "reflexive" outlets (such as myself)tend to set the conditions for anything as all-consuming as Web 2.0 "big Other". There's too much talk in your writings and Zizek's of "traps", suspicious acts of obeisance to the absent Other just when we thought we'd filled in the gaps left by his departure with some legitimate self-expression (for once). Uncertainty, & a little angst, "at the heart of reflexivity" is something poets (and artists) are all too familiar with. Perhaps it's this tragic loop, as well as the recurring sense of betrayal at the hands of literary ideals, the poet in me finds alluring.
The question whether the liberal arts are free enough seems to be a non-problem, reserved just for academic discussion. Of course, university Boards of Governors subserve a bottom line. There is such a thing as over-using the term 'neoliberal'. It's being used to refer to just about anything that's either potentially reactionary or just plain narrow-minded, a tendency that's sure to make it irrelevant and boring even withing our lifetime. The idea of secondary institutions as the neoliberal tool of a global capitalist agenda, obsessed with pragmatic ("commodification")approaches to problem-solving, creativity,etc is not revolutionary. I remember a form of this same boring("resisting corporate control") critique even in the early 70s & 80s when it was more fashionable to speak of the threat of commercialization by business interests. Academic-corporate partnerships are growing exponentially. What's at stake presumably still is scholarly independence and academic integrity but I believe that battle's been already lost.
"SAGE, one of the world’s leading social science publishers, and Goldsmiths’ Centre for the study of Global Media and Democracy bring together international and national experts..." Sort of strikes me as ironic that a gathering of people united in the effort to address the menace of rampant (and horrendously biased) media should resort to such self-aggrandizing language. Have any lay 'cultural workers/activists' without academic affiliations been invited to speak?
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2010 on Events, Goldsmiths, University of London at I cite
An interesting anti-government cuts viewpoint by academic Martin McQuillan is found in http://ranciere.blogspot.com/2010/10/privatization-of-humanities.html My favourite passage: "However, the fundamental reason to oppose tuition fees of any kind is that those who benefited from a free higher education [in the UK] as a democratic right should not when in government (as a result of that free higher education) tell future generations that they must now take on mortgage-sized debts to pay for the same privilege."
I seem to have the opposite problem: some of the conversations I'm being dragged into these days don't leave room for any polite gaps. Every pause filled to overflowing with ego,self-interest & some form of greed. And when I "let down the guard", what happens? Nothing of much consequence. They keep right on talking.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2010 on Avoiding the fragile at I cite