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March 27, 2006


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It's all in the "without a clue as to what the future will hold". All of it.

Still haven't seen the movie so I skipped over most of the post to avoid the disapointment of knowing beforehand.

Amish Lovelock

Please do not give the credit to the Wachowski brothers. Alan Moore, who hated the script, is the one to be praised. Read the comic.

Amish Lovelock

p.s. this is Adam's "Zizek's Benjaminian Turn" again, right?

Anthony Paul Smith

I think that something like "sainthood" or "icons" is a better tool for actual revolutionary acts. In fictions the messianic is a fine tool, so it is fine that Jesus died for our sings opening up our way to deification. But what is really interesting is those saints who find ways of doing this deification without first being God (Christ had an easy in). In politics there is something radically unhelpful about attributing to a person or movement messianic qualities. Hugo Chavez is not the son-of-God, nor is Marcos. They do, however, "pray for us". They help us to believe that actually doing something within the current state of affairs is not only possible, but actual. In a paper I described a politic driven by apocalyptic piety as looking like the Zapatista's - a masked politic, as if an icon forever reflecting the glory and poverty of the poor, from the eternal to the to-come, in their suffering. We need less false messiahs and more saints (without instituted sainthood). I think, in part, that's what I loved about the masks in V for Vendetta. They must wear the mask until the day the can finally construct their own subjectivity (Parliment is blown up and they all take off the common face, for the whole field has become the common). At the same time, this very act challenged death (we see those who we've seen die, we know they are dead and yet they live the common life as the eternal upon which this moment stands).

I'm re-reading Negri's essay "Karios, Alma Venus, Multitudo" and it's beautiful affirmations make me want to forgive his constant negating of "mysticism" (though I know what he means). Have you read it? It really is quite interesting for this discussion.


Films, plays, literature of all sorts--regardless of how eloquent, meaningful, or profound they might seem, they are not statements of truth. Shakespeare teaches lies--ancient monarchist lies at that. But that's what actors do: they specialize in deception. And of course religious people always look for metaphors, allegories, myths to support their own theological myths. Humanities departments work in effect for theology, since neither theology or most literature (leftist-realist or conservative-monarchist) can stand up to any sort of rational scrutiny. The real filosophe takes on not only the entertainment business and culture indsutry (not necessarily following Adorno's lead), but the so-called masterpieces of western literature as well.


bizz, it is interesting that you discuss art and popular cultural commodities in terms of 'statements of truth'.
Is it a true statement you desire or an authority that makes statements as such the truth? You realise that Foucault explained his project in terms of discovering the forms of rationality that underpin particular relations (object-subject, infra-subject). His method was precisely to unstich the social fabric (or one layer or network) by discovering which statements were held to be 'true'.
This distinction is directly mentioned in the film: Evey: "My father once told me that artists use lies to show the truth, while politicians use lies to cover it." Have you seen the appended 'simulacra' chapter to the English translation of Deleuze's Logic of Sense?


You folks need to read some more about the Judaic messianic tradition - such as the essays in Levinas's "Difficult Freedom". Your discussion of messianism is far too Christian - you seem to understand messianism as the expectation of a singular imminent messiah (a second coming, or a Godot, if you like) but what Levinas brings is far more diffuse, complex and immanent [note the spelling].


hi Jodi,

I didn't read this before because I don't know the film. I just read it again and I have to say, I don't like the implied valorization within 'subjective destitution' - brutality makes the act possible, so, in a sense, there's a value to that brutality.

Also, it seems to me there's no way to know that endurance of becoming-object - complete breaking down at the hands of another - is a precondition for people or a people to act. This type of claim seems to me to have a lingering legislative moment, ruling on who is and is not capable (authorized) to act in what ways. This also seems to me to be the philosophy of bootcamp, at least from what little I know about it ('break you down to build you back up again' as the cliche goes).

You reference Ranciere, at least in what I've read of him and how I read it, I don't take him as a theorist of deliberate or constructive self-effacement, but rather one of self-declaration. (In what I've read of Nights of Labor he valorizes workers using bourgeois terms.)

take care,


Sorry for the Trackback spamming, Jodi -- I think there must be something wrong with my blogging client's pinging method.

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