Monthly Archives: October 2005

Paganopoulos on Keith Hart

When Weber Met Durkheim: The Visions of Keith Hart for a ‘New World Society’ as Prophecy of a New Order’

By Michelangelo Paganopoulos

“…Hart’s above reading of ‘anthropology’ as a moral, and therefore, religious force has been severely criticized in the past as ‘imperialist’, allegedly following the political neo-liberal agenda of the only dominant power, the US. Hutnyk has repeatedly underlined the problem of representation in anthropology (1996, 2004) in a humorous and bitter way. Anthropology is based on travelling, and Hutnyk has highlighted the violence caused on a local level from colonialism to tourism:

“Asking if the violence of slavery was TRAVEL does at least raise questions about the violences underlying all travel, including that which enables ethnographic projects, such as the colonial power that makes the world safe for ethnographers and tourists” (Hutnyk, 2004: 23).

For Hart, the above bitter but honest readings of anthropology as a discipline point to the “crisis of the intellectuals” (Hart, 2004:14-7)…”

Why I love Spivak

Yet another reason anyway… Not only is “Critique of Postcolonial Reason” a great book (for teaching, for method, for insight), but Gayatri is generous and committed, and she liked my rumour book:

A case in point would be John Hutnyk’s brilliant book “The Rumour of Calcutta”…’

in Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty “Harlem” Social Text – 81 (Volume 22, Number 4), Winter 2004, pp. 113-139 Duke University Press
you need Athens access to get the whole thing..

Tragic – the Goldsmiths elephant is dead.

It is with sadness that I report the demise of the Goldsmiths Elephant. Tuskers generally have a hard time in New Cross these days, and alas, this one too has gone the way of many of our wonderous local wild life.

By Gum – another mad saatchism.

By Gum – another Saatchism from the Tory propagandists – everyone should sign up to this just to see how mad it might be. Global intelligence?? Who makes this stuff up? Its gotta be a prank…

GUM; Saatchi & Saatchi’s latest brainchild, is preparing to launch CULT-GEISTT – its global intelligence network. At GUM we match brands & talent to create entertainment-based properties targeted towards reaching urban youth.

CULT-GEISTT is GUM’s Global Intelligence Network; a critical building block that allows us to credibly understand global/youth culture.

We’re now looking to recruit ‘CULT-GEISTERS’ into our network – those who know what’s going on and who are passionate about culture and their local scene. CULT-GEISTERS build cultural maps to add significance and credence to GUM’s strategic solutions and entertainment-based brand embedded properties.

You essentially become one of our CULT-GEISTT ethnographers and we look to you to be responsible for gathering audio/visual documentation about any given topic.

We are now at the beginning phases of CULT-GEISTT and have grand plans for it to become its own cultural entity and eventually its own business.

If you are interested in getting involved with CULT-GEIST or wish to receive further information about what we do here at GUM, please

Jackie Ratcliffe:



London Saturday 29th October 2005.
Assemble 1pm at Trafalgar Square for a march and demonstration to Downing Street

The United Families & Friends Campaign – the national coalition of death in custody family campaigns – today announced its seventh annual remembrance procession. The event will see hundreds of family members of those that have died in state custody gather to remember their loved one. This years march will also demand an end to the current ‘shoot to kill ‘ policy. A letter to this effect will be handed in to the Prime Minister.In a statement the campaign has said: “Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by armed police inside Stockwell Tube station on 22 July. His execution brought world-wide attention to a shoot to kill policy that the Prime Minster and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner say is here to stay. We say ‘NO SHOOT TO KILL’ and demand an end to this brutal policy.

Jean Charles was not the first victim of police shootings – Derek Bennett, Azelle Rodney, Harry Stanley and James Ashley are just some of the other people that have been shot dead on the streets of Britain. Their families continue to fight for justice. If you want to support these families. If you want to see those responsible for these killings prosecuted. If you want to defend human rights in the UK then support this procession.”Brenda Weinberg, Chair of UFFC says: “We are gathering for those we have lost at the hands of those designated to protect and serve. The continual denial of justice is another form of human rights abuse practised by this government.”

1. The United Families and Friends Campaign is a coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed in secure psychiatric hospitals. It includes the families of Roger Sylvester, Leon Patterson, Rocky Bennett, Alton Manning, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Aseta Simms, Paul Jemmott, Harry Stanley Mikey Powell, Paul Coker and Glenn Howard, to name but a few. Together we are building a network for collective action to end deaths in custody.

2. Aims of UFFC are:
no Deaths in police custody must be investigated by a body that is genuinely independent of the police.
no Prison deaths must be subject to a system of properly funded investigation that is completely independent of the Prison Service.
no Officers involved in custody deaths be suspended until investigations are completed.
no Prosecutions should automatically follow \’unlawful killing\’ verdicts at inquests.
no Police forces are made accountable to the communities that they serve.
no Legal Aid and full disclosure of information be made to the relatives of the victims.
no Officers responsible for deaths should face criminal charges, even if retired.

Press Contact details:n07770 432 439 n07956 629 889 n0845 330 7927


Tampopo (1985) Directed by Juzo Itami
Screening – 6pm, Cinema, Goldsmiths, Tuesday 25th October.
All welcome. No charge.
(+ visit to noodle shop in Elephant and Castle after the film).

I don’t know how to describe the film. Many rave about it:
9 out of 10 people found the following comment useful:
-My All-Time Favorite Movie!, 25 July 2002
Author: underpussy from San Francisco, CA:
“I just keep watching this movie over and over again. Why? It’s hard to say exactly. Sure, the acting is great and the story is terrific, but what makes “Tampopo” so special is harder to define. I like to think of it as optimism; the belief that people in this world still do nice things for other people. Or maybe that romance can strike when you least expect it. Sure, this is a movie about food, you’ve heard all about that, but more importantly it’s a movie about people. People working together, eating together, striving together, and accomplishing together.
The script is flawless. Every scene blends into the next, and takes you someplace new. The narrative sidetracks away from the main story from time to time, leading to the most conceptual and entertining scenes. Tampopo is an adventure on a very small and personal scale. It’s a charming movie, unlike any other I’ve seen, well worth a look”. Was the above comment useful to you? …umm, don’t bother to answer this, I just ripped it off from a DVD sales site – just come to the film… .

‘War of the Worlds’

On watching sci-mentat Tom Cruise bomb in ‘War of the Worlds’. Its impossible not to read the film as one big panic about terrorists attacking America. The hero (Cruise) just wants to protect his kids and the pregnant mum in her perfect home (even if its not quite perfect). He is prepared to reluctantly sacrifice his teenage rebel son to the war effort, and kill a red neck type (the only citizen willing to fight back). The heroic soldiers still organise disciplined effort amidst chaos (only the army can save us). Sure, the special effects include great visceral sonic shocks, but its so much like a close up view of 100 crashes of the World Trade Towers that I can only celebrate the fact that people will reject the film for the tired scaremongering pap that it is. Grrr. [bring back Orsen]
[pic is of Michael Ashkin's work, as seen in NY in May]

New Cross and Rotherhithe

Bob from Brockley writes:
“New Cross and Rotherhithe
From Goldsmiths blogger, John Hutnyk, a nice post on Prangsta in New Cross.From one of the most beautiful blogs on the web, a good place for a cup of tea and a think, a post on H’s Cafe, Neptune Street. (If you like this, check out sibling blog eggbaconchipsandbeans.)
posted by bob at 4:04 PM
[JH - clearly this is a reciprocal cross referencing love in. Check out Bob's comments on the 'cold' Chomsky (inc.). Ha, rattle the cages of the captive Gods (you know where all that MIT funding comes from don't you Noam?)]

The Seven Year Itch

The film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, (dir. Howard Hawks – came out in the US the same year as the Kinsey Report – 1953. First Playboy out then too). It is famous for many reasons, but for me most importantly because it made movie stars into export commodities. This kind of export – crucially, like the arms trade, one of the few with a US surplus relative to imports – refers not just to the face of Garbo as make-up vehicle, as discussed in the now equally commodified Roland Barthes essay; but rather, with this film, the image of Marilyn also commodifies all women (see the Marilyn Reader, and Luara Mulvey’s essays). It makes a cosmetic America the standard model for women in Europe, bereft of menfolk, seduced by G.Is with nylons and looking for alternatives to war.

Cinematic commodification of woman has a long history. The possibly apocryphal story that Griffith invented the close up, of an anonymous leading lady. All the way to: Your Look Hits My Face – Barbara Kruger’s street billboards and The Face, the airbrushed, streamlined mass commodity, glamour puss into todays rent a face model scene (and leave Kate Moss alone, arrest Robbie instead).

So Jane Mansfield and Marylin Monroe belong to those who brought glamour and relief to post war Europe, and did so in the interests of retail. The Monroe thing is not sex, its commerce. Dancing for the Marshall Plan. As Lily Marlene did ideological work for NSAP Germany, Garbo was sold back to them by Hollywood, so now, Monroe becomes the white supremacist’s dream date – but the dumb blonde swaps sex/Love for money/diamonds routine is stale, and it didn’t take Madonna’s tribute to Marylin to let us know she was the Materialist Girl or to emphasize the economic investment of the Marshall Plan and the Cold War.

In the last interview she did for ‘Life’ magazine, Monroe said: ‘That’s the trouble, a sex symbol becomes a thing and I just hate to be a thing. But if I’m going to be a symbol of something, I would rather have it sex’. But it wasn’t to be – Sex transubstitutes for dollars.

Monroe starred in the Seven Year Itch (dir. Billy Wilder, 1955). The movie starts with a mock documentary voice over explaining that 500 years earlier in Manhattan Indian males packed their squaws off to the hills for the hot summer months.

I am not trying to be funny here, but the obvious sexual readings apply where Marilyn stands above the grate over the subway enjoying the rush of air as the train passes underneath. Curiously though, in this scene she does not look at her co-star Tom Ewell at all, but is rather absorbed in her own pleasure. Tom, publisher of 25c paperbacks, is the hapless male onlooker immediately after they come out of a screening – the film hoarding lit up behind them informs us – of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Poor dim Tom. Laura Mulvey draws attention to women’s pleasure in her essay … here its possible to discern that pleasure again in the somewhat unusual pacing of the subsequent sequence. Marilyn seems to be waiting for more, but not from her leading man. She is looking slightly off camera, as if at an audience, and though on the pavement outside a screening of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, there should be no audience, there clearly is (in the film documentary Norma Jean and Marilyn such an audience cheers as if at a football game).

Marilyn has explained to Ewell that she will be on television and after a discussion about the chances the ‘Creature’ has for being loved and wanted – a close-up of Marylin then Ewell is seen fixated on her ankles. She looks away.

He says – and I think this is crucial – ‘you sound like a commercial’. There is a kiss, in fact doubled, then a cut to Marilyn walking through the door to her apartment block waving Ewell’s hat as if that previous scene was way too steamy. The apartment upstairs, which we have already learnt is filled with African sculpture, is also hot like a ‘Turkish bath’. Ewell manages to get Marilyn into his apartment with the promise of air-conditioning in every room – heavy innuendo.

He is about to become a duck, a Freudian, an orator and a prude, trying to justify his seduction with psychoanalysis. After all the savagery in the film starting with Manhattan Indians, Turkish Baths, African statuary, he then wonders what he will talk about with Marilyn and speculates aloud about Freud and the human predicament: ‘what shall we talk about … psychoanalysis’ which leads him to speculate that ‘under this veneer of civilization we are all savages’. Marilyn meanwhile, in a syncopated monologue, is thinking of shopping, sleep, being cool, sleeping downstairs… Ewell responds to her not so innocent suggestion with ‘there are savages and savages, but that could be too savage’.

They are interrupted, of course, by the representative of working class uncouth lust, not far removed from the routines of Ewell, who, just as he dithers over the impending sex act ‘there’s such a thing as society you know’ [improbably anticipating Margaret Thatcher’s famous line in reverse]. He answers the door to the janitor – there is a scene in which Marilyn’s legs are iconically registered, and she is described, by the janitor, as a ‘living doll’. Of course the resolution involves Ewell’s return to his wife, after denying the ludicrous idea that he might have Marilyn Monroe in his kitchen. She’s there.

An aside for the publisher. The Ewell character is considering bringing out a book on psychoanalysis by a typically stereotyped German professor. Similarly, in The Big Sleep (dir. Howard Hawks) Humphrey Bogart investigates the death of Geiger, an antique books proprietor, or an underworld figure. In neither case is the book trade interesting enough to carry the plot. Though there is an incomparably great literary exchange with Lauren Bacall:
Bacall: ‘I thought you worked in bed like Marcel Proust’
Bogart: ‘Who’s he?
Bacall: ‘French writer, you wouldn’t know him’
Bogart: ‘Well, come into my boudoir’.

Of course the best scene between Bacall and Bogart has Bacall explaining to Bogart how to reach her: ‘you remember how to whistle Steve, don’t you? Just put your lips together and blow’. No-one can condemn Bogart for having no possible comeback to that line.
Some Like it Hot – another great film, this time with amazing scenes of the gaze, but cross dressing galore, and an ending that even today most film production houses cannot come close to.

Odd Obsession

Film Screening – all welcome (please distribute widely).

Goldsmiths College, Cinema, Tuesday 18th October. 6PM

Kon, Ichikawa’s

“Odd Obsession”

[1960 Colour, 107 Mins, Eng Subtitles.]
stars Machiko Kyo, Ganjiro Nakamura, Junko Kano, Ichiro Sugai…
“Aging… desire… jealosy… comic tragedy” – from the video blurb.

All welcome.

why film students babble on about Orson Welles

‘I still wonder why film students babble on about Orson Welles … Even the worst films of Russ Meyer are infinitely more interesting than Citizen Kane’ (Waters 2005:12)

I still believe we can learn a lot about the world as it appears to us today from an old movie from another time – Citizen Kane. The search for meaning is key in Kane, Welles tells us at the start there should be ‘no trespassing’ on the childhood drama that motivates Kane, yet the film of course does so trespass, tells us about Kane’s childhood, shows that not all can be explained by the sled.

Kane, and Welles himself probably, is fixated on childhood. So no doubt Freud should be called, but just in case he is busy we might look into that crystal ball, the snow dome, which Bazin describes: Kane ‘grasps this childish souvenir before dying, this toy that was spared during the destruction of he dolls room belonging to his wife Susan’ (Bazin 1972/191:65).


d – I’m not giving anything away here as from the start the journalists are seeking the meaning of this enigmatic last word. The journalists never find out what the audience get to know – the ‘truth’ remains undiscovered within the contrivance of the inner plot of the movie. We achieve, however, only what Kane achieves in the end in the contemplation of the snowdome – the grand overview of the complete collection with no central or final meaning. Within the contrivance of the investigative plot, the journalists amass much about Kane through interviews and records, but they do not discover Rosebud. Listing the trinkets collected by Kane or even narrating Kane’s life as a reverse sequence of scenes, would do little more than entertain. Without analysis we get little insight – iin the film the collection is on its way to destruction in the furnace. Kane dies lonely surrounded by the detritus of a decimated European culture, plundered as Europe was destroyed by self-hatred and fascism – Kane’s nostalgia a metaphor for isolationism.

Nostalgia – the sled, the snowdome, the trinket – the memory bubble the artificial world (Olaquagia). Trinketisation is one way to read Kane – the sled, marked by the haunting vibraphone music, is this inner plot of the movie an intended distraction, something to also throw the knowing viewers – as critics, after the event – off the scent? As, of course Kane himself, has missed the point. At the end the grand overview of the futility of the collection, the amazing final tracking shot into the fire in the failed fantasy jigsaw empire of xanadu, which leaves the media tycoon paralysed and immobile.

Rosebud, ultimately, is that insignificant icon of significance – the emblem of a lost past, the fantasy of another life. The immense power of Kane is shown as impotent because of this loss – indeed, ultimately ending up in a wheelchair, alone in his pleasure palace Xanadu – Kane confusedly mistakes loss of the past as the source of his errors.

There is much in the film worth noting, its innovations, authorship, controlling genius, lighting, shots, music, structure – the slow opening scene is interrupted by the crash of the racy newsreel, which some minutes later clutters to an end and is shown as the shadowy construction of journalists in a smoky room. Frames within frames. The film variously deals with New Deal cultural content, US hegemony ‘on the march’, the ‘battle between intervention and isolationism’ (Mulvey 1992:15). Isolation – the castle museum of European trinkets – in which Kane imprisons himself. Kane modelled on William Randolph Hearst, whose holiday playground in Guantanamo Bay is now a prison camp for Afghans and Saudis, funnily enough the lease for was due the same day grandaughter Patti got out of jail (Symbionese Liberation Army has faded into obscurity) and somehow the US failed to hand it back, Castro waits – it is a restricted area.

As is well known, Patti was kidnapped by, but later voluntarily participated in the activities of, the Symbionese Liberation Army. She was later to appear in John Waters’ films Serial Mom (1994), Cecil B, Demented (2000) and A Dirty Shame (2004).

Welles denied Hearst was the model for Kane, though curiously Hearst, who approvingly meets with Hitler in 1934 (as does Kane), owns newspapers and becomes a recluse (as does Kane), has a mistress (as does Kane) – and, though I will read no significance into this, Hearst’s secret name for his mistress Marion Davies’ genitalia was Rosebud (Leaning 1985:205). There is possibly reason to dispute this glorious piece of trivia: Pizzitola reports that Rosebud was the painter and family ‘friend’ Ocrin Peck’s nickname for Hearst’s mother (Pizzitola 2002:181).

There’s more to be said here… in the lecture…

The Akha heritage Foundation

“Today, I’d like to present excerpts from a
thought-provoking book by John Hutnyk, entitled ‘The
Rumour of Calcutta: tourism, charity and the poverty
of representation’. The book was already published in
1996, and some of you may remember that I mailed out a
summary at the time when tourism NGOs began to discuss
as to how to apply the ‘fair trade’ concept in
tourism. I’m now sharing this piece with you again
because I believe it is an excellent and highly
opportune contribution to the current debate on
tourism and poverty alleviation.

Yours truly,
Anita Pleumarom
Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team (tim-team)”

Bob from Brockley

Bob from Brockley writes: “On the topic of Left Curve, issue 23 carries a poem by the great poet Ken Smith, who has sadly since left this earth. I also recommend this interview with Agnes Heller and this enjoyably ultra-leftist attack by John Hutnyk on the happily now defunct band Kula Shaker .” Thanks Bob.

Steve Vise

Hello My Darling Patpong Road: This is a link to video footage of part of Steev’s set at the Big Sur Experimental Music Festival, May 19, 2001. This clip shows the premiere of this performance piece. The piece was inspired by two books: Hello My Big Big Honey: Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews by Dave Walker and Richard Ehrlich, and Critique of Exotica, by John Hutnyk.

Hector Rottweiller

Bashing out notes for a lecture/text on the Culture Industry. Reading Adorno’s essay ‘National Socialism and the Arts’. He wrote this in 1946, but I think he might have meant it to be read today. When he talks about the social and political situation of popular music after the second imperialist world war – as the continuation/modification of the spirit that birthed Hitler – I can only think this resonates with the way commercialization has been totally operationalized in the situation of imperialism today. Or maybe worse, in a way, well, that might have made both Adorno and the Nazi’s blush. Sure, there is still a lot of examples where you can point to ‘oppositional’ elements in music, and the injunction that ‘nothing should be moist’ (Adorno) still has not taken hold absolutely everywhere, but sometimes even the moisture just tastes like a ‘sexual lozenge’ (Leiris) we are sold to keep us quiet. Adorno pointed out how it would be an error to think there ‘ever sprung to life a specifically musical Nazi culture’ but, rather, what was ‘profoundly changed by the system was the function of music which now openly became a means to an end, a propaganda device’ (Adorno 1945/2002:283 [Essays on Music]). The exponential exacerbation of this tendency today is not just the use of quaint guitar pop to introduce political leaders – Fleetwood Mac for Clinton, Oasis and Bliar, Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ for U.S. Gulf War Generals, but the all pervasive trivializing of music in every sphere of our lives as mere flavour and colour. No longer rhythm and sonorous life, just the clitter clutter of the new aural gadgetry. Should we be bothered (?) that: music on music-television has become mere jingles for lifestyle shows and fashion shoots; ring-tone downloads reduce melody to mechanical alarms; football games punctuate scoring moves with sampled pop refrains from the worst back lists; hip hop stars advertise acne creams: “I’m moisturizing my situation…” and do it on prime time. Role models yeah, I guess they gotta get paid… What then for creativity and listening, articulated in the market, killed at the store. Ready Mr Music please…

Prangsta and co

Along the high street that is the Western front of Goldsmiths College, just near the plush offices of Debtford Town Hall, our immediate environs – and significantly the College’s street credibility – are enhanced by a couple of shops that have graduated from rather ratty used clothes joints to impressive art forms in their own right, with correspondingly artistic facades and window dressing (and commercial websites – though these are slow – see Now I know that there are all sorts of stories about the history of these stores, and that this all revolves around the College owning the buildings, and the politics of squatting, and of creative endeavour, and of course of trendiness and clutter, of fires, of threats, of architectural dreamscapes and catastrophe (a nod to Buck-Morss, and Will Alsop) – but the one thing that shouldn’t be under question is that these places do add something important to the college in the way that is miles apart from, but just as crucial, as the slick corrugated lines of the ipod/shed/sccribble that is the new arts building. There have been a couple of visual anthropology films and essays written about this ‘street’ culture (including some filming inside the store for those who never ventured past the doorstep), but the bigger issues have to do with the gentrification of the New Cross area and the place of cultural mix as opposed to planned privatization and profit margins. There is a lot at stake – the horrendous blunder that was the renovation/destruction of the old Goldsmiths Tavern (which is only now edging back to a faint echo of its very late night glory) would be compounded, if these stores were lost. Any dismantling of such ventures (its not venture capitalism so much as ad-venture fashion) would entail the decimation of key reasons why Goldsmiths has appeal …

"Shoot to Kill" London Police – October 11 Goldsmiths

“Shoot to Kill” seminar

Discussion with Tariq Mehmood (novelist, filmmaker), Ziauddin Sardar (academic, tv presenter), Arun Kundnani (Institute of Race Relations) and others about race, war and policing in London post July 7.

Starts: 18:00 – 11 October 2005 Ends: 20:00 – 11 October 2005
Location: Small Hall/Cinema, Main Building Goldsmiths College London
Cost: nil
For further details, please email me.
Centre for Postcolonial Studies and Centre for Cultural Studies are sponsors.

Cops/army Campus!!!

Two stories from the Education press that I really hope are a wind up. Crikey. [click to enlarge]

Sigur Ros concert in Portland…

Jen Dawson reviews Sigur Ros concert in Portland… another CCS graduate makes good…

Howard Potter

Dr Howard Potter. While on the topic of PhD students, another of my supervisees gained a gong today. Howard Potter submitted his bound manuscripts to Senate House, Uni of London, (two copies – topic, the Sachsenhausen museum in Oranienberg) and so he becomes the third Goldsmiths PhD I’ve seen through – look out world! Howard is coming with us to the AFL at the Oval on saturday 8th – and he has a fantastically provocative chapter in the “Celebrating Transgression” book – (see books pages link for that). Congratulations Howard, Red Salute.

Im Kwon-Taek: The History Man’s Long and Winding Road

A shout out to Nikki Lee who recently completed her PhD with me in CCS. Here she is soon after the viva. Congratulations.

Check out Nikki’s recent article in “Firecracker” on Im Kwon-Taek:
Im Kwon-Taek: The History Man’s Long and Winding Road


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