Intellectual Celebrityhood – As Such

The revolutionary critique of all existing conditions does not, to be sure, have a monopoly on intelligence; it only has a monopoly on its use. In the present cultural and social crisis, those who do not know how to use their intelligence have in fact no discernable intelligence of any kind. Stop talking to us about unused intelligence and you’ll make us happy. Poor Heidegger! Poor Lukács! Poor Sartre! Poor Barthes! Poor Lefebvre! Poor Cardan! Tics, tics, and tics.  And Now the SI

Some might argue that Michel Foucault was a cut above the average quality of current thinkers. After all, he didn’t engage in the kind of out-and-out intellectual fraud of an Alain Badiou, who peddles mathematics to philosophers, calculating in a parallel fashion to Debord’s conman who hopes that “Someone who knows his wine may often understand nothing about the rules of the nuclear industry…”.

Now, the case of Foucault is hardly reassuring given his willingness to use his considerable prestige to offer what was effectively material support to Ayatollah Khomeini. The main thing, however, is that the situation is not really a matter of the goodness, the quality, the skill, etc of the intellectual. The question is whether they are on our side or on the side of spectacular capitalism. In saying that, we should outline the conditions of the present order, conditions that nearly everyone is aware of but which most attempt to various degrees to blot out of their awareness. That is; the world, just for one, is dominated by lies and not simply by a static set of lies but by a constant battle between lies and their liars. This situation is itself part of a perhaps larger situation that the relationship of wage labor, commodity production and capital prevail everywhere. The majority sell their labor power, their creativity and other ability, to buy back survival on a pure quantitative scale. In this situation of dispossession, the elite intellectual laborer still competes like a prole, having nothing to sell but his or her wits. We reach the level of spectacle when the domination of these capitalist relations reaches such a level that they suppress any language for describing the situation. At this level, the intellectual elite competes even harder but it competes on the level of surface, on the level of attaching to single grand gesture that is the spectacle. That is, a wide variety of interesting and even insightful ideas are produced by present day intellectual celebrities but they fall-back from describing the overall conditions of a society, a society which forms more and more of a single, integrated system; Slavoj Žižek flirts with revealing the universality of ideological deception but then deflates his critique by suddenly selling some especially commercial product like perfume or Stalinism. Žižek’s admirers are morons not because Žižek has no insight but because they give up the potential for a full critique of present when they broadcast insight mixed with bullshit as the ideal of revolutionary theory. And so it goes.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

[XXX] is a [YYY] issue. “‘We’ need to ‘talk’ about [XXX]”

X is an oppression, Y is an identity. The call to “talk” is the pseudo-dialogue rhetoric that specialists in one or another identities use. There will be more no dialogue, just propaganda.
This is kind of a reaction to phrases like “We need to talk about masculinity in America”. America has no “we”, the population doesn’t go to weekly meetings where they engage in dialogue, so there can be no “we should talk” as in dialogue. Only when a structure that allows honest dialogue comes into existence will such rhetoric have any truth to it. At present, it is just like a statement “we’ll be putting out some propaganda on Y soon”

 “We’ve found that if you promote a service aimed at MEN, in a manner that fits with their lifestyle and expectations, they will ask for help. ”
Suicide is a gender issue that can no longer be ignored

Indeed, identity specialists of all sorts are invited to descend on this issue, in the fashion of kites and crows. Let the feeding begin

 

“Don’t Call Yourself A Revolutionary”

Talking about this blog post, one Facebook friend commented that it was a bit absolutist and another liked how it called out certain bad behaviors.

My comment was:

It would be nice to have tools to change [this]. I’ve been on the outskirts of political scenes for quite a while. Their sexism has been called out numerous times but the basic formations pretty [much] stay the same.

My theory is that the constant is power/prestige dynamics. “Big swinging dick” types certainly, absolutely are a part of this and they are fucked up. But so is the general ruthless struggle for power in the milieu. And these absolutist statements, “if you are *accused* of this you must do that”, seem like they dovetail *into* such power struggles, dovetail into a milieu where everyone is seeking some kind of “cover”. And “cover” here means some moral pose that lets you accuse other people of shit. The idea that there are grey area problems and people working on them doesn’t fit into this kind of posturing and makes the milieu generally kind of poisonous.