Here is an excerpt from a super post on music archiving from Marginal Utility at Pop Matters. The post extends and develops a gloss I posted here yesterday of a concept from Nina Power's excellent One Dimensional Woman. Read the whole post here.
The fantasies about authentic listening and real experience are not just reflections of the will-to-distinction; they are also counter-fantasies to the dominant consumerist dream of achieving the complete archive, of having the most direct access to every possible option, of even being able to at once hold all those possibilities, if not in our heads, then in some other tangible way. We oscillate between seeking the uncollectible, ineffable and thus “real” experience that can’t be repeated or precisely commodified, that seems to elude reification; and seeking to collect everything, to taxonomize so as to seem to have a handle on every possible future we could choose for ourselves—assuming the future is (as consumerist ideology tells us) merely a matter of what we choose to consume. Dean argues that
In a just-in-time culture, a culture of preemption, where connectedness has taken the place of planning, the archive serves as a kind of fortress of planning, a backup plan, a reserve army of the not yet desired but could be. We store up for the future, presuming we can access these stores rather than just add to them.
But that future never comes; the future is always now, and the storing up is the mode of consumption, not a kind of savings, not a deferral. The archive eases the fear of commitment, of having to choose and thereby forgo other pleasures. We collect the options on possible experiences, possible possessions, and as with financial derivatives, the notional total of these grows exponentially, far beyond the limits imposed by real attention scarcity, allowing us the illusion of transcending the constraints of time. That is what it means, I think, to consume the archive, to take pleasure in the metadata, in the metaexperience, in the theoretical possibility of future enjoyment—this allows us to compress many experiences and goods into a smaller space in time. Of course, that means capitalism can overcome yet another barrier to endless consumer-demand growth and more profit can be squeezed out of ever-shorter circulation cycles, which now have become quantum.
Lawrence O'Donnell featured this mash-up of Boehner and Will.i.am's "Yes we can" last night. I love it. Boeher is the Bull Connor of healthcare. He is so vicious, you can almost smell his desperation, a desperation that comes from being on the wrong side of history, from fighting a battle he is losing, and for fighting this battle without principle or cause. There is no defense for inequality. Boehner is so much the white man, a distinct embodiment of the privilege of not just ignoring but actively oppressing anyone not like him, and doing so out of an entitlement he does not question even as it crumbles around him.
The "Yes we can" is strong, strong and cool, relentless, disciplined. It's the alternative to Bartleby's "I would prefer not to" or a politics of a refusal. It suggests a forward thrust that cannot be stopped, one that when blocked grows stronger and more determined, but neither frantic nor desperate.The openness--yes we can what?--indicates a politics without limit, a politics that spreads with each expenditure, that exceeds any atttempt to bound it. This is not a politics of a part of no part (Ranciere) but rather one that says There is Nothing That We Are Not Already A Part Of (a version of the Lacanian feminine formula of sexuation). It's a politics that affirms the count and being counted, assured that this is a counting and an accounting that cannot stop, cannot be finished, cannot be closed off. It's a counting we want to join, adding to it as we include ourselves. Far from the objects of someone else's count, we count ourselves. Yes we can.
As I watched MSNBC last night, disgusted by the harassing phone messages and death threats and petty vandalism of the far right, thinking of the brown shirts (as we all have for over a decade now), I started to have a better sense of why Zizek sometimes speaks of violence as acting out, as a refusal (or inability) to go to the end. Were left wing violence to mimic the sleazy antics of these fascists, I could not admire it. It would seem an attempt to avoid or circumvent the forward march, the affirmation, the onward push of the people. It would short circuit the steady aggregation and discipline necessary to become a new people, a people who make sure everyone has enough before some have too much, a people who have stopped asking what's in it for me and instead ask does anyone need anything (the initial level of hospitality).