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February 18, 2008


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McKenzie Wark

Hence the new strategy of the vectoral class. No more 'culture industry'. Just control the infrastructure and the metadata.

patrick j. mullins

Attraction to such things reminds me, ultimately, of what the attraction to Zizek is. The trends are always made more exaggerated than they are at the current moment, which then feeds them and helps develop them, as in certain aspects of 'whatever being', certain aspects or 'all of my old friends are traitors', etc., with the occasional 'Et Tu Zizek'.

What can this mean? The 'old friends are idiots, assholes and traitors' is probably just a whim and reflects the joy of saying it more than believing it, because it is certainly true that if ALL of them are these things, then the new friends are likely no better, and are probably purely dependent on certain artificial buttressings to even be able to refer to them as 'friends'. How different this from 'friending' on MySpace? Why would not anyone consider it a 'character flaw' if it is, in fact, the truth? Such addenda have the effect of a kind of disclaimer and a warning to refrain from arguing about something 'so personal.'

Nobody said it was EASY to remain substantial in the face of some of these changes, but embrace of it will surely get one nowhere faster than can be imagined. Zizek himself does this all the time, by writing articles that, when put all together over a period of 7 years or so, amount to an attempt to be provocative about this or that--much more important than what the subject about which one was provocative (he's forgotten the older ones as predictably as economic predictions which weren't proven to mature on time are quickly scuttled away; Krugman does a bit of this, so why not let Zizek be seen as essentially a Glorified Op-Ed Writer, let him be hired as such, maybe even weekly like William Kristol? The real reason may be not that he is more special than the 'official' op-ed writers, but that he is not as adept at op-ed writing as some of the others--yet.) What, when time has passed enough for proper digestion, does it then really matter what Zizek said guiltily (or not) about 'inclusion of slum peoples' or whatever kind of thing was or was not supposed to be bothered with or not with caring about whether slum people could define themselves by not being included in the privileged classes or the definitions thereof? One needs a hero or idol, not necessarily to tell the truth, but just to seem like an idol. He's not worth emulating in his strictly parvenu project.

A 'foolish consistency' is, of course, not advisable, but it is not the only kind of consistency. This desire for sensation sometimes seems a sophisticated, upmarket version of the sci-fi thrill that is noticeably prevalent among younger theorists--this is one of the reasons why they must cling to such personages as Badiou, because their own desires to hold onto tradition seem to be limited to experiencing it vicariously through some heavyweight-seeming European or other. It just doesn't play with this much inconsistency, and becomes, rather, a demonstration of inconsistency and how far one will be able to take it. These are flirtations with various evolutions of transgression, many times removed from the days when 'sin' was the powerful term, then evolved into all sorts of 'humanistic morals' without religion, finally failing to do anything but put a signpost on whatever new seeming phenomenon in media is tantalizing enough to cynically appropriate into some sort of 'work.' So that the only practical use of the devouring aspects of such ideas as 'whatever being' can be that they expose very quickly the infections they are spreading--and don't always give the right directions to the Inoculation and Immunization Centers. It's sort of a swinging version and continuation of 'you're on your own in New York', etc., where there are no supposed strictures on things, at least by comparison to what one left behind--until the new strictures reveal themselves to be quite there; and many of them are not even discernibly different in any de facto way from the old imprisonments.

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