Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014
Our professional politicians are doing the same thing, in the UK, Australia, the US. Servants of a market they neither can nor will attempt to rein in, confident that they speak for the bigotry and avarice they ascribe to us citizens, the only difference from post-Weimar fascism is that they no longer believe in progress.
Benjamin warns that we will have to change our customary thinking if it is not to play into the hands of these servile politicians. He saw the need for socialists to abandon the idea of progress tainted by its association with inter-war European fascism. Today however, there can no longer be any doubt that both the market and our polity embrace the catastrophic consequences of neo-liberalism as their own; and that therefore radical thought must abandon its own love affair with the spectacle of catastrophe – its enchantment with eco-apocalypse and the collapse of community.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
the wildly overrated work of Hitchcock, whose manipulative tendencies took the total film to new heights of totalitarianism in The Birds, Vertigo, Marnie and Psycho. Hitch is cinema's Judas: he makes his films out of virtuoso playing on the cinematic apparatus, but on themes of profound misanthropy which come to their peak in the vile Frenzy, perhaps one of the first films to revel in its own irrationalism at the expense of humanity. Even the adulation would not matter, were it not that Hitchcock's Olympian style, his Nietzschean-aristocratic ethics of entitlement, in its haughty disdain for audience, producers and actors alike, seems to define what cinema can do as autonomous machine, and to do so falsely. In this way, Hitchcock's carreer follows with more precision than anyone else's the loss of innocence that overcame the cinema at the end of the 1940s. His English films of the 20s and 30s, given their dark subtexts, are nonetheless charming, at times erudite, at times frothy, frequently experimental. As his first American film, Rebecca not so much loses innocence as mocks it. That cynicism may be a legitimate response to the then-new triumph of the consumer commodity, but in its absolute claims for itself as the purest mode of film, it sells out the cinema at the moment in which the money-lenders most needed to be removed from the temple, and a rare moment in which that might have been possible.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
JFK's war on poverty was such a success that Reagan decided to wage a war on drugs. When that was such a huge success, Bush declared a war on terror. Today it seems the US is ready to declare war on war. God help us all.
Friday, August 16, 2013
The public that threatened in the early 20th century to become mass became instead the lonely crowd, and the lonely crowd in turn has become a circuit of managed desires no longer adding up to individuals. When Laclau (2005) describes the unit of populist politics as demands, he approaches an understanding of this new condition, where the units are neither social nor individual but desires in movement, unanchored from biography and mobilised in currents through the tides of quotidian human affairs. The process by which communities and extended families were reduced to the nuclear family of the classic consumer society of Keynesianism continued in the Bretton Woods era to produce as unit of consumption the atomised individual. Neo-liberalism, coinciding with personal computing, internet and mobile media, encouraged the break-up of the individual, just as the previous regime encouraged the break-up of the nuclear family in an epidemic of divorce. Now only unanchored desires function as sub-individual social particles. We have moved from the molecular family to the atomic individual and thence to the quantum dynamic of desire, at which point the art of managing desires takes over from politics as the conduct of public life.