Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I kind of want to recast myself in The Viking's terminology

Interactions like the following are what give me hope for Satan’s chatbox not truly being Satan’s chatbox.
Me: I DO WHAT I WANT! #firstworldproblems #manifesto (17 minutes ago)

The Viking: @Icarus so, does that make you, uhm, the skinny-academic-east coast version of Eric Cartman? (13 minutes ago)

The Animus: [implied @Icarus] RT To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. (14 minutes ago)

The Animus: [implied @Icarus] RT The only opinion of you that matters is your opinion of you. (13 minutes ago)
In other news, I need to remember that no matter how sexy and form-fitting this new Lucky brand sweatshirt is, it’s still a grey sweatshirt and needs to have an undershirt.

Pit stains. Pit stains of doom.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Meme, The Retweet, and the Destruction of the Human Soul

Retweet (verb) [ri-twit'] - to promulgate the same message as has already been said. The equivalent of saying I want to say the same thing as that person has said.

It is also the most dastardly thing that Satan's Chatbox could have done to humanity.

Let's consider the genre of the meme, for a second. For the uninitiated, the meme is that phenomenon where a blogger, Fb user, tweeter, etc. etc. fills in forms of a survey or answers specific questions. The prompt - the meme - is generated, but the answers are user-specified and -specific. The meme is the Talmud of social media, the illuminated manuscript: the basic text and format must remain the same, but the marginalia will be exciting and different.

The retweet is the mindless, bastardized version of that process, the listless bureaucrat against whom Gogol' characterizes Akakii Akakievich. It is the reason why Ayn Rand has already failed:
[Ellsworth Toohey to his niece, Catherine] “…All growth demands destruction. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You must be willing to suffer, to be cruel, to be dishonest, to be unclean- anything, my dear, anything to kill the most stubborn of roots, the ego. And only when it is dead, when you care no longer, when you have lost your identity and forgotten the name of your soul – only then will you know the kind of happiness I spoke about, and the gates of spiritual grandeur will fall open before you.”

“But, Uncle Ellsworth,” she whispered, “when the gates fall open, who is it that’s going to enter?”

He laughed aloud, crisply. It sounded like a laugh of appreciation. “My dear,” he said, “I never thought you could surprise me.”
It is the reason why Orwell's fears of Big Brother will never come to pass: there are not enough independent thoughts left to necessitate a watchdog system.

But, Icarus, they'll ask, Where is this rage coming from? Your existence is an amalgamation of quotes and references. Isn't that part of the Neurogia you and Briullov espouse?

Yes and no (a typical response). Yes, because I must admit to my own brand of mindlessness. No, because I would flatter myself that there is something different to using oblique references metaphorically, to forcing the reader to contemplate in what way the quote fits, as opposed to this shallow, one-to-one repetition. If I intentionally repeat something that's been said before, I do not mean, literally, that I want to contemplate what dark secrets I've spoken to the night, the dark bower closing in around me. I mean to create resonances, allusions, to "play the game" of intellectual creation and referentialism.

The retweet function of Satan's chatbox, and this overall, quasi-plagiarist practice of using exactly the words someone else has used to crow about your new toy, your new car, your home, your day, your love, your soul -- that's unfortunately from the same field of culture that inspired beautiful artifacts like the Talmud and the illuminated manuscript. That phenomenon is driven by that field's same impetus to destroy.

I want to say the same thing as that person has said is not the correct definition for a retweet, because it allows for humans actually to be thinking and participating in an activity that is the summary denigration of all human thought and agency. It is wanted in this context to show that this body-construct can reify the same thing that's already been promulgated by other body-constructs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This is before I comforted myself with Deleuze's "Anti-Oedipus."

The Mentor nodded. "I really like that you're trying to avoid ever using 'Speaking Bolshevik.' Sometimes someone finds the right way to phrase a phenomenon, and it's great, but then everyone feels like they need to give him credit, and...well. The unfortunate thing is that it is wholly imbued with hegemonic ideas of power.

"You know, he was given that project by Michel Foucault. I was unfortunately in Russia, then, when Foucault - we always called him that, just Foucault - when Foucault came to Berkeley. He told me about the encounter when I got back.

"They were in a bathroom together -- Foucault was shaving his head -- and Foucault said to him: 'Go to Russia, and find a location where a community was built from nothing. You'll find, there, the most distinctive expression of Soviet political imagination.'"