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January 03, 2010


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Ted Bagley

Nice points. Miles Davis saying the meaning of his music is in the gaps kinda rings true.

Bob Allen

This is the terrain of schizophrenia, the very language of it, except the schizo hasn't the insight to be able to see that there are no gaps, and have the lack be registered as meaningful. Yes someone is always there, though seldom anybody worth communicating with (I'm thinking of Facebook now, since I've been struggling with that) and it seems as if it would have some use on the terrain of Left politics. Yet I can't help but think I am too sophisticated for this trap: it is a class thing in a sense, I might as well say it seems to be a festival of pseudo friends, morons, boss loving narcs, and worse. Apart from the "cute kitten" stuff,( or maybe masked by it),Facebook is the face of fascism for me. I can't be who I really am on Facebook because I have all these coworkers and others who can actually impact my livelihood in meatspace, which puts a chill on political speech or even "art", although the overlords of the system want you to cleverly hide your "info" yadda yadda so's you'll feel "safe", just like the gas nozzles were supposed to be merely shower heads at Auschwitz...
When I say "too sophisticated", I think what I mean is I am a real communications oriented person, that is I am a talented writer, prize winning poet, etc. Yet these supposedly liberating new communication methods seem stultifying, they truncate everything (Twitter?), they suppress me, and expose me to dangers to boot (maybe reflection of ideology itself?). Interesting that Jodi sees a sort of fake "democracy" of ostensibly active spectators, while I see something more sinister: What I "face" with Facebook is that working class people are to be concerned with cute kittens only, and politics and art are for another class unconcerned with the discipline of everyday life as workers...


thanks for the comment, Bob. So, just so I get, the exposure on FB puts you/one in a weak position vis a vis coworkers. So, the risks on line are maybe even greater than the risks of political/artistic expression f2f? and, this real risk to your/one's livelihood means that the best you/one can do on FB is some pathetic kitty stuff, so that the very medium that was supposed to be equalizing in fact produces another level of hierarchy, exclusion? (did I understood you correctly? your comment resonates with some stuff I've been reading from Ranciere lately that I hope to post here, it involves the equality/inequality of worker/intellectual, ignoramous/professor, spectator/actor).

Bob Allen

Thanks for bearing with my rambling comment Jodi. The answer is yes to both questions though I hadn't thought of "exclusion", but did think of a sharpening of garden variety alienation in the Marxian sense which is close enough for me. Example, I am an antiwar protester, and I work for a top military employer. I see no conflict, as we all have to work somewhere and God knows the employers are all connected. But because I have been outspoken to say the least, I am not allowed to be "discourteous" to my fellow employees for at least a year. Note how totalizing that sentence was. As if being fired was tantamount to death itself,and in this economy, well we all know about it. So when I post things on FB of a political nature, or even something slightly edgy like a GG Allin video, I always have to wonder if somebody will be offended and get me fired....so I'm off FB more than on. And it is weird because I am such a product of the Midwest, these farm boys and hillbillies are me, and I am them--I too am a veteran, but there is a right wing ethos, a poisonous ether in the country that really lends itself to sticking to the cute kitten thing,.. hope that explains.

Dan Davis

Jodi, I work with Bob. They are out to get him. We make white collar wages for doing a blue collar job. To go without an income would be more trouble than it's worth. There are a number of people in middle management that don't need to know any more about him than they already do. They suspended him without pay for 3 months for something that if not said/done on company time/property would have been covered by the 1st amendment. It wasn't. Our union steward told him he was lucky to get back at all (and this union steward in question is one of the most effective I've ever dealt with). Some of us don't get to stay on message all of the time.


Great comments, Jodi. I mostly lurk, but really enjoy the blog.

Avery Gordon's *Ghostly Matters* touches upon the same issues, what she calls "hypervisibility," the fact that there is no mystery, no absence that isn't filled in by a virtual presence, no 3-D distance between the 2-D icons on our desktop.

In electronic music, glitches have become the basis for a new form of music, a music that uses the glitch, the digital blemish, *systematically*, as the repetitive basis for a new wholeness. I'm not sure whether that renders the gap newly emergent, or simply reframes the gap under the logic of gaplessness. (If that makes any sense at all.)

But it's like you said: the things that were formerly the flies in the ointment, the blemish or stain that belied the integrity of the object, are now always being swiftly reappropriated as new objects of fascination.

Bob Allen

Dan, they are out to get all of us all the time; this gap finding stuff isn't for the faint of heart, and I submit that the expansion of work filling the gaps, where once you had the First Amendment freedoms outside the factory gate but not in, are blurring and erasing even that gap and soon it will be a distant memory...could it be that finding the gap and excising it from the Spectacle, is politics today? Should stains and blemishes fight for the right to be what they are? and not allow capitalism to let them be reimagined , reappropriated as Dale said ,into new spectacles which dissipate revolutionary power, reifying the status quo?


Bob and Dan--first, the situation you are in is awful. Bob, your twist in the final comment brings home a new kind of totalitarianism, one that impacts folks differently (the pressure not to be 'discourteous' is crazy, particularly in the way it is used in Bob's case as a way to silence and control).

Dale--thanks for the kind words and for the cites/resources; those are really helpful. I'm not familiar with glitch music or Gordon's work, so these are definitely places I will look

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