Archives for category: In a Nutshell

Regarding this previous post, see also http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/07/is-modern-music-boring.html, on the homogenization (or evolution?) of pop music.

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Link, the response is on their comment board, jump over to see the words wherein I reiterate old motifs (hipsterrunoff, authenticity, capitalism) and iterate new ones (virtualization, buzz, media-capital). Was that an appropriate use of “iterate”?

Astute readers may recall my previous post on ‘Culture Wars‘ wherein I dabbled in 9/11 truthing, communism 2.0, and wrote this:

However, we also live in a time that loves to leap to conclusions. As a result, as a culture we thrive on jumping the shark before there was even a golden achievement in place. Think of the so-called ‘enthusiasm gap,’ following Barack Obama. His momentous victory, his Nobel Peace prize, all before he had delivered anything but face-melting rhetoric solos.

Or think of the recent Odd Future phenomenon, the way a band was able to generate so much hype through a finely tuned, internet driven, buzz machine, that they blew up and had a career almost overnight; and now they are looking to publish a book about their lifestyle.

Likewise, Justin Bieber gathered ‘Beliebers’ with astonishing speed, achieving a career and a retrospective movie in almost the same instant that the masses first heard of him. Both of these artists are talented, but lets turn to 60′s media theorist Marshall McLuhan who coined such phrases as ‘the global village,’ and ‘the medium is the message.’

The message from Odd Future and Justin Bieber is only partially about their music, the real message is the self-perpetuating hype that they generate. Justin Bieber is popular and notorious because he is popular and notorious. At a certain tipping point, Odd Future generated buzz about the amount of buzz that they generated. We have hit a critical feedback loop in the media machine.

In my reply to the post on Cyborgology (link again) I revisit this “critical feedback loop in the media machine” as media-capital, which I construe as analogous to financial capital. While financial capital invests money for the sake of earning more money, media capital invests advertising for the sake of generating more advertising (in the form of blogs, tweets, etc.)  My point is that speech is the currency of the day.

I am also indebted to David Harvey for my current understanding of capital as an investment cycle, which he outlines in his reading of Marx’s Capital.  I can’t offer a specific quote, if you’re interested you will have to wade through his lectures, which are available free online.

In the Next Galaxy

by Ruth Stone

Things will be different.

No one will lose their sight,

their hearing, their gallbladder.

It will be all Catskills with brand-

new wraparound verandas.

The idea of Hitler will not

have vibrated yet.

While back here,

they are cleaning out

pockets of wrinkled

Nazis hiding in Argentina.

But in the next galaxy,

certain planets will have true

blue skies and drinking water.

” “

What is ego talk?

It can be expressly defined as the chatter of self-identification and false consciousness that serves to elide the trauma of the Real.

When people ask for the specific demands of #ows, are they not attempting to regress to ego talk? They wish to define and ensnare the #ows movement in the Symbolic. “#ows, know your place!” this is what they effectively say. However, #ows is vital precisely because it is hysteric, those participating have rejected their “proper place.” Also this.

As I have said before, the sublime aspect of #ows is that it places dissent before consent. It lacks positive content because it is a true “leap of faith”. What has been affirmed are not dogmatic tenets, but Sacred solidarity and hope.

That is, a “leap of faith” is not an affirmation of a belief, but a way of being in the world. For #ows, the leap is the existential commitment to physically occupy a space.

¨Capitalism Hits The Fan¨ is a 2008 video-lecture by UMass economist Richard Wolff at the New School in NYC. It’s a very clear summary of the history of capitalism that provides an excellent context for understanding and responding to today’s crisis.