Tuesday, February 14, 2006


*More groovy street theatre, albeit over there.

*A great interview with Lyotard and Deleuze scholar James Williams (what would we do without RSB...and why on earth isn't there any US equivalent? Yeah, maybe this guy is ok...):
MT: Has the internet changed the way that you read and write?

JW: I can’t remember a time before the internet. The latest surfing speeds and remote file and email access allow an academic to be almost anywhere in the world and ‘at work’. This ends the old dichotomy of, either, working on a single well-crafted piece next to a hot stove in slippers, or, sitting in a fusty university office teaching and administrating. My only worry with this passing is that it can increase a somewhat typical academic jealousy and paranoia (What are they doing? Why aren’t they reading me? Who is planning my downfall? Do I care?) Less in-the-flesh contact involves a loss of social skills and an increase in lonely self-analysis. It goes without saying that poststructuralists like me never ever suffer from this, and don’t you ever say the contrary, because I will find out.

*Courtesy of PTDR, I see that a new issue of New Left Review is out, including the excellent Tom Nairn giving a review of Tariq Ali's Rough Music; Julian Stallabrass on Retort (about which Chabert also has a few things to say):
The central claim of the book is that, with the attacks of 9-11, the us state was wounded at the level of the spectacle and cannot endure this ‘image death’ or ‘image defeat’. [14] The perpetrators were fully conscious of what they were about, were in fact Debordian in their thinking, reasoning that capitalism is dependent on the colonized social circuits that comprise spectacle—including confidence in the market and the state, and an identification with commodity culture—and that to disrupt spectacle may have great and unpredictable consequences. The attacks, Retort claim, were not atavistic pinpricks but modern politics, an assault above all on the ‘ghost sociality’ purveyed by the media. [15] The assault on spectacle, not on economic power or even people, was their main business, and in this sense they were for a short time remarkably successful.

Drawing their phrase from the mouth of Milton’s Satan, Retort argue that the attacks created ‘afflicted powers’: both those of the us state and the Left—the Empire wounded at its image heart, enraged and unable to heal itself, and the Left with no cogent plan to exploit that wound, or salve its own. [16] An indication of the depth of the Empire’s wound was the taboo set in place within days of the event on images of the planes colliding with the towers and of the towers falling. Since then, Retort claim, the silence of mass culture has been ‘deafening’. [17]

There is much that can be said to qualify this view...

And also one by that other guy on familiar enough themes: "The French exception is no more, the ‘French model’ collapsing before our eyes. But the French can reassure themselves that it is not just theirs but the whole Western model which is disintegrating"...etc.


Craig said...

James visited us once to give a lecture (on Levinas and Deleuze, I believe -- the faciality chapter). Anyway, he visited us a few weeks after Nik Rose had visited us. Aside from the marked difference in intelligence, they seemed -- to my eyes -- indistinguishable. Another resemblance: they both liked being beer. Nik, however, also bought snacks.

Matt said...

being beered?

Craig said...

I've learnt my lesson: no comment-making before noon. (It's still before noon; how quickly I forget!) While I'm sure there's an interesting article to be written, "Being/Becoming Beer", clearly I meant "buying"!