The Origin of the Spectacle

From merriam webster: “Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin spectaculum, from spectareto watch, frequentative of specere to look, look at — more at spy

First Known Use: 14th century”
“Guy Debord’s situations of the historical beginnings of the spectacle — he made at least two of them — are quite different than T.J. Clark’s attempt. Significantly, Debord’s situations are much closer to our own time. In The Society of the Spectacle (1967), Debord identifies the Russian Revolution of 1917 as the spectacle’s beginnings; in Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (1988), he identifies the start of World War II as its beginnings. Taken together, Debord’s and Clark’s theories cover a very wide historical period, from the 1860s to the 1930s. “
«“Full frame of movie audience wearing special 3D glasses to view film Bwana Devil which was shot with new “natural vision” 3 dimensional technology.”»
More from merriam webster:
a :  something exhibited to view as unusual, notable, or entertaining;especially :  an eye-catching or dramatic public display

b :  an object of curiosity or contempt <made a spectacle of herself>

plural :  glasses
:  something (as natural markings on an animal) suggesting a pair of glasses

Ulysses, Lonn, Debord

I’ve started rereading James Joyce. Ulysses’s first chapter was more readable now than in 2007, when I first read it, at age 17. I find the beauty that an open attitude reveals to you when taking time, accepting that you can’t google every little thing you don’t understand. The spectacle’s “eternity of noisy insignificance” as Debord puts it in “Comments…” (1988) shouldn’t disturb a mind in search of poetry, God, philosophy, beauty in an ocean’s green jelly (“Ulysses” chapter 1). Then I maybe can find what the publisher of one of Oystein Lonn’s novels describes with these words: “Lonn impresses again with his deeply original art of novel writing. “According to Sophia” has been bought by the acclaimed french publishing company Gallimard”. That was also Debord’s publisher late in his life. Michele Bernstein said in an interview: “After the divorce he sent me only to letters. The first said “Thank you” for my help with some archive papers, the other one was before he went to Gallimard, he asked for my advice for a new publisher. I thought it was a joke.”

Remembering Guy Debord (december 1931-november 1994)

“Guy Debord will not be missed” somebody wrote short after his death in 1994. On this day it is 20 years ago since he put a bullet in his heart after suffering a painful alcohol-related disease. His last film I’ll put a link to under here. I found this beautiful necrology for him at from 1995. I quote from it here:

“Lingua Franca (March-April 1995) notes that most of Debord’s theories about what he termed the “spectacle”—that never-ending torrent of advertisements, media events, entertainment, and communication technologies that takes up all of our “free” time and separates us from the fruits of our labors, from one another, and even from ourselves—were worked out in “a demimonde of barflies, criminals, and utopian co-conspirators, a sizable number of whom had been incarcerated, at one time or another, in prisons and madhouses.” In choosing to spend his life with criminals and madmen, Debord may have been desperately seeking unmediated reality.”
(sounds a bit like Jesus to me)
“But if Debord wanted above all else not to be famous, why did he make films and write books in the first place? Surely not to please or fascinate; anyone who has actually seen Debord’s first film, Howlings in Favor of Sade (1952), a mostly black screen accompanied by a dull, repetitive soundtrack, or tried to read Society of the Spectacle, which is written with an ever-increasing opacity seemingly designed to push readers out, rather than drawing them in, will understand that Debord’s work was always profoundly anti-spectacle.”

“…but it’s more likely that Debord was just a bitter man who couldn’t stand the world he so accurately described or the fact that his theories were in the end of interest only to hipster intellectuals and had no effect whatsoever on the ever-increasing power of the society of the spectacle.”

Get Your Fast Ballooning Head out of Face, Gmail, Twitter etc

york gif #2 isou pic

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

Jigsaw Falling Into Place

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…



The Object As Representation

“I happen to be reading Updike at the moment. Here is his description of a young woman in an unfamiliar surrounding: “She is serious, a serious small-faced animal sniffing out her new lair.” We don’t just see her; we see into her. Here is Knausgaard’s description of a girl he liked at age 11, his first serious crush, as emotion-saturated an experience as one can imagine: “She wasn’t very tall and she was wearing a pink jacket, a light-blue skirt, and thin, white stockings. Her nose was  small, her mouth large, and she had a little cleft in her chin.” And that’s the first time that he catches sight of her, no less. I’m almost ready to fall in love myself.”

In our society a giant selfie can become a masterpiece and superficial descriptions becomes the deepest one seeks. This was from Wiliam Deresiewicz.

The Possibility of Criticism Under the Existing Conditions

Now and then I remember a debate about the possibilities for an independent critical avant-garde literature in our society because of the last words from one of the debaters: »If there is anyone out there (I know there is some) who wants to maintain a critical approach to his project, let’s hope this claim is not 100 pro cent true: if you let them (his opponent, my remark) publish you, the critical potential for your literature will be gone. For ever.

This has made me wonder weather I’m able to write critical literature that can maintain such a criticism under the existing conditions, or if, as Eric Hobsbawm puts it: »It is not surprising that in the 1950s, in the heartland of consumer democracy, the leading school of painters abdicated before image-makers so much more powerful than old-fashioned art. ‘Pop art’ (Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Oldenburg), spent its time reproducing, with as much accuracy and insensitivity as possible, the visual trappings of American commercialism: soup cans, flags, Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe.«

If religious sects are to religion what the avant-garde is to the spectacle, the difference between them is that the latter implodes into the mainstream dullness of commercial art and entertainment, while sects are able to maintain a resistance in a political-religious dominated society.