#fanon => Pictured above. 20th Century Philosophy’s anti-hero. Rereading him always unearths some new take on resistance. Few knew / understood the underside of modernity as thoroughly (read: tragically) as he.
#ideainterrogation => My fundamental discursive strategy. Otherwise known as intellectual virtue. Stresses clarification of ideas, concepts, arguments, and portraying opposing views in the best possible light. Propaganda, hype, bad conjecture, conspiracy theory, and general bullshit are the nails for this hammer. So is any assumption that claims to be self-justifying (“this is the way things are”) just because someone says it is, which is one of several different ways to understand “ideology.”
#networks => The individual vs. the collective distinction still has a powerful grip on the western imagination (particularly mine, existentialist / libertarian / Nietzschean / ironist / anarcho-whatever that I lean toward), yet shows signs of wearing thin. Mostly because once you commit to one perspective, it’s difficult to see possible solutions to real problems in terms of the other. Essentially a translation problem. But suppose there were a key. What would it look like? I suggest that it would look like a certain kind of network. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s rhizome is a compelling metaphor for such a network. Thinking more in terms of connections than nodes may be an evolutionary step that will help us solve problems that the old paradigm may not even see as problems.
#theblockchain => Speaking of networks, the blockchain is about so much more than Bitcoin. At the heart of the idea is a fundamental threat to middlemen, gatekeepers, hierarchies, opacity, “monopolies of code” – any structure that tries to harvest value (therefore profit) from access – because it distributes “value” from nodes to connections. That makes it a model for so much more than money and transactions. It could eventually replace foundationalist epistemology as the dominant way that philosophers think about knowledge and justification. That’s the big idea that keeps me up at night.
#comics => 1) A visual/textual storytelling medium in which anything that can be imagined can be represented. 2) Our moment’s most culturally significant repository of modern myth. Thousands of years from now, our descendants or conquerors (human or otherwise) will study The Flash as we study Hermes. 3) One of the subjects of this blog. 4) I hope we’re at or at least close to “peak superhero,” so that comics can eventually go back to being comics, as opposed to source material (or worse, brands) for tv and movies.
#thefilterbubble => How I think of my aggregation of interesting stories, articles, posts, think pieces, etc. recently found on the net, along with some commentary. Sometimes I’ll highlight several posts when I detect a theme that needs a deeper dive.
#ideology => Filter bubbles writ large enough that we no longer are aware of the bubble. Or see the filter. (See above)
#neoliberalism => 1) Not so much a system, or even an ideology. More an ethos, a way of doing things, a logic. Primarily an adaptation to the end of a period that began in 1945 and ended at some point in the 70s. (See below.) 2) The operating system for globalization and “the end of history,” which itself may be at an end. 3) What happens when politicians give up on governance as a way of solving problems and settle for mere politics as a simulation of governance. 4) I think of Liberalism as a solid (J. S. Mill), liberalism as a liquid (John Rawls), and neoliberalism (Gary Becker, Jeffery Sachs) as a gas.
#thecipher => The embodiment of neoliberal subjectivity. If you don’t see ciphers in your daily comings and goings, you may be one. And that’s OK.
#doomsday => On the one hand, nothing lasts forever. It all has to end someday. On the other hand, humanity has been predicting its own end since its beginning, every prediction, up to now, dead wrong. Somewhere between these two extremes there must be something substantive to say about the very idea of doomsday, the very act of “doomsdaying,” and what predicting the death of everything says about how we value the life of anything.
#the70s => No culture has ever told its own story in a more compelling, downright kick-ass way than AMERICA!!!!! Think Reagan’s shining city on a hill and you know the story I’m talking about. Much of what we think we can and should do as a nation / people depends on a lot of us believing the AMERICA!!!!! story and acting as if it could not be false. However, right now a counter-narrative called “The 70s” is our most compelling story because it explains a lot about how we got to where we are now – which is exactly why it’s hardly ever told.
#life => Is tragic.
#drones => In the hands of the citizen, the drone exists and functions at / as the intersection of the 1st and 2nd amendment. (I’m currently wondering if “the drone” collapses the difference between the two.) The simultaneous suspicion of citizen drones and end-to-end encryption on the part of intelligence communities and various media elements is not surprising. Very bluntly – both “speak truth to power” in such a way that the “speech” itself is the greatest challenge, not necessarily the “truth.” On a different note, drone video (like this one) is thoroughly hypnotic. I could watch it for hours.
#tv => 1) As much as I wish it were the novel, the dominant narrative medium of the industrial age. 2) As an idea of where I’m coming from, a short list of some of TV’s best shows ever includes: The Wire, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, GITS SAC, Utopia (the British one), Carnivale, Deadwood, Seinfeld, Charlie Jade, The Shield, Thief (Andre Brauer), The Tick, Black Mirror, Community, The Boondocks, The Dave Chapelle Show. Current that I’m currently loving: The Leftovers, Daredevil, Person of Interest, Rubicon. 3) Still deeply ambivalent about Sense8. 4) Dan Harmon is the new Larry David, and if you’re not watching Rick and Morty, you should be. Watch Rick & Morty.
#film => Just finished the Director’s Cut of Brazil and decided that I’m going to talk about film, too. Shit, someone needs to say something worthwhile about “Upstream Color” and “Coherence.”
#simulation => Neoliberalism is a strategy. Simulation is a tactic.
#banality => Is it possible to embrace a sense of the banal that is not nihilistic at bottom and devoid of value(s)? I began thinking about this when I realized that I like taking pictures. More to the point, I like taking pictures with Google Camera and managing the image files with Google Photos. Words and text are the coin of my realm, so photography for me is largely writing by means other than a pen or a keyboard. An exercise in exchange value. To me, a word is worth a thousand pictures without even trying hard. This makes my own photos necessarily banal, and the digital manipulating I subject them to even more so, since there’s no sense of expertise that I pretend to have or aspire to. As for selfies, I think that we are most present in our photographs when we take photos of things other than ourselves. So, no selfies. Besides, I feel too old for that.
#theratrace => The great, encompassing distraction. Intimately connected with debt.
#baltimore => Born and raised! If I died in Charm City I wouldn’t be surprised, but would be disappointed that I didn’t die in an orbiting space station. That said, since The Riot I’ve come to see Baltimore as the neoliberal city par excellence. Thus I’ve taken to calling my home “Dismaland,” after Banksy’s recent art display. Here in Baltimore, there actually is a Dismaland. It’s called Old Town Mall.
#linux => Linux for life!
#links => A post like this should have tons of them. But then this intro would actually be a link respository and not the continuous reading experience I’ve wanted it to be. That said, as more posts are added, I think I’ll keep coming back to this first post to “fill in the links.” Heh.
#theory => Our age privileges action over theory. This is to be expected. When action fails to achieve its goal, believers in the cause appreciate the good fight. Meanwhile, ideas get old but never really die. So, as they accumulate, they seem to lose value. In response to that, I see theories as tools and doing theory akin to plumbing. Not everyone needs to be a plumber, but if you want to keep shit where it should be, you’ll keep someone like me on speed-dial. Project (De)X is here to plunge your mind. And mine.