And Look At The Frightening Beautiful World
They tried to make me go to rehab but I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no
The ghost of electricity
Howls in the bones of their fac
How harshly the mode of production has treated them!
With their businesslike anger and their bloodhounds that kneel
If they needs a third eye they just grow it
I have merited the universal hatred of the society of my time, and I would have been annoyed to have any other merits in the eyes of such a society
From an interview with Will Self:
I did an English S level – this is back in the seventies obviously – and [Jacques Derrida’s concept of] deconstruction was just coming in and I started getting acquainted with things like that when I was in my teens, and thought ‘woo, no’ for all sorts of reasons. Partly because critical theory is just a sort of refuge for philosophy rather than being anything in its own right, and particularly with deconstruction. But also because it’s deadly for your perception of literature I think, if you’re a creative writer. Every field now has its spurious professionalism, and in the last ten years we’ve got double the number of university students in this country than there were previously, and double the amount of graduate unemployment [laughs]. But there’s always been this sort of attitude. I remember when I first started publishing, and it occasionally resurfaces, there’s this idea that you can’t be a proper writer if you haven’t got a degree in English Literature. Its like you’re a plumber or something and you haven’t got your Corgi Gas Installation Qualification [laughs].
Will Self talks about deconstruction as an opposite of creativity in literature. I like to see it more as a parallel. It’s the mimetic language that survives in a time of objectivity’s common flow. Maybe this is clear when I quote these paragraphs from The Society of the Spectacle:
Critical theory must be communicated in its own language. It is the language of contradiction, which must be dialectical in form as it is in content. It is critique of the totality and historical critique. It is not “the nadir of writing” but its inversion. It is not a negation of style, but the style of negation.
In its very style. the exposition of dialectical theory is a scandal and an abomination in terms of the rules and the corresponding tastes of the dominant language, because when it uses existing concrete concepts it is simultaneously aware of their rediscovered fluidity, their necessary destruction.
But I could also have mentioned a much earlier paragraph, number 2:
The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished.
Bruno Latour and the relationship between science and religion
“I heard ‘Hard Rain’—and wept. Because it seemed that the torch had been passed to another generation, from earlier bohemian, and Beat illumination.”
I don’t see that Latour has come up with a better (more acceptable/useful) model in his recent ventures into speculative theologizing.
Well, that’s their own stupidity, I should have been there. Well, darkness is the absence of light, and the stupidity in that instance was the absence of me…
“Now when all of the bandits that you turned your other cheek to
All lay down their bandanas and complain
And you want somebody you don’t have to speak to
Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane ?
Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane ?”
“My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding…”
Song of Solomon 2,14
I’m blogsick, I wish I’d never write you, my fading picture
letters and pixels
If you are a fan of Don DeLillo’s work you’ve probably already seen that his 1997 novel Underworld has a cover that resembles the press photos of 9/11 four years later. But, and there is a but, have you noticed the way he also foresees the deconstructive nature of digital mass media in the epilogue of the book? It’s so beautiful to read, almost like a section from Of Grammatology was to be crossed with Memories.
and you try to imagine the word on the screen becoming a thing in the world, taking all its meanings, its sense of serenities and contentments out into the streets somehow,
its whisper of reconciliation, a word extending itself ever outward, the tone of
agreement or treaty, the tone of repose, the sense of mollifying silence, the tone of
hail and farewell, a word that carries the sunlit ardor of an object deep in
drenching noon, the argument of binding touch, but it’s only a sequence of pulses
on a dullish screen and all it can do is make you pensive—a word that spreads a
longing through the raw sprawl of the city and out across the dreaming bourns and
orchards to the solitary hills.
I had this debate with a friend on objectivity in science. She had read about it and didn’t believe in it. I argued with Husserl’s geometry but she didn’t care for it, arguing for a weakness in my opinion, stressing that maths is something else. I didn’t know what to say and couldn’t think of it before afterwards, when she was gone, that we were talking about two different things; theory of science versus phenomenology.
Anyway, I have come to this: one can’t have deconstruction without situationism. This is Debord:
The two sides of the end of culture–in all the aspects of knowledge as well as in all the aspects of perceptible representations exist in a unified manner in what used to be art in the most general sense. In the case of knowledge, the accumulation of branches of fragmentary knowledge, which become unusable because the approval of existing conditions must finally renounce knowledge of itself, confronts the theory of praxis which alone holds the truth of them all since it alone holds the secret of their use. In the case of representations, the critical self-destruction of society’s former common language confronts its artificial recomposition in the commodity spectacle, the illusory representation of the non-lived.
And maybe not without the fun of american contra-spectacular movements.
If I should fall from grace with God
Where no doctor can relieve me
I’m gonna go to sleep
Let this wash all over me
May pretty horses
Come to you
As you sleep