The pseudo-dominant hype that comes alongside ontological thinking: a kind of extension of postmodernism’s apolitical arabesques, which then moved into the digital. This most likely reflects a lack of political consequence amongst the wider left in the metropolitan centres. Spare time on their hands, fairly comfortable economic circumstances, and no practical occupation, meant speculations and flights of fancy with ‘radical’ inclinations but no connection to expressed political needs or mobilisation. A theoretical dominance that treads water in the flow of cultural politics.
The analysis of trinkets, objects, souvenirs or commodities remains wholly bourgeois if things are not seen as first up, against the grain, the embodiment of social labour power and prevailing relations of production. From there the examination of class struggle and the relations of production as they shift according to distribution of resources, labour, machinery, market and state becomes the necessary context to understand the role trinkets play in crises, conflicts and historical change. Trinkets do not have autonomy, but are contexted by the political, social and historical conditions they nevertheless allow us to describe. Appearance form.
Am continually amazed at the truly fucked up and arrogant entitlement of the middle class Brit – especially those of that middle class which still claims some distant working class origin. It manifests in a unbroachable passive aggression as if the Empire continued, as it objectively does, for them by right of a trickle down inheritance. It almost makes one prefer the polite but honest nostalgia of the debauched ruling class in their sanatorium suburbs. They at least can be put to work as national treasures and relics. The spectrum of those from rich off shore fund pig fucker to arsehole self-regarding Wikipedia entry tending bureaucrats of the Arts constitute the real impediment to any sort of social transformation in the back of the queue Isles.
Bright side of the current reaction. The decline of the European powers was bolstered by the land grab that was the USA – basically the oppression of indigenous and slave Americans was invested in a temporary world domination culminating in the Marshall Plan and Marilyn (the famous Monroe doctrine of coca-colonisation). But the only America that can be made great again by incompetent boorish land speculator Trump will be his accidental spurring of central and south America towards cross border action. Take a longer view and recognise how the anti-colonial triumphs of the 20th Century will, no doubt in convoluted ways, deliver on the promise of the massive transformations (Russia, China etc) of populations and aspirations for justice in the 21st. The centre is real old and the periphery is on the up, dialectics is not just propaganda but recognition of patterns and analysis of historical shifts. Migration changes the world for the better, and claims to any other outcome are myopic idealism, racist self-harm and stalling of the inevitable.
(On inadvertently hearing The Donald on the radio).
What if: the digital humanities represents a wanna be elaborate theoretical effort with a retrograde political conception and naïve economic complicity – an intellectually restrained class bought off with moderate comforts one step above the austerity imposed by upon the majority lower tiers by a cynically corrupt ruling class.
Was reading and discussing with a comrade Dinesh Wadiwel about his stuff on animals in Marx, and took up discussion of the bit from Capital 1867 edn , cited by Endnotes 2, on animals as general equivalent (dropped in subsequent editions). This since I am giving a talk on related themes: Marx, Animals, India, a certain rhinoceros, in Senegal this Saturday.
But then I did a search of the phrasing (english trans of 1867 edn from Value Studies by Marx <download here>). There, discovered a bit of suspect website scrubbing.
Let me put it neutrally, and let the people decide <the people know I have nothing against Zizek, except for my polemic in Pantomime Terror, that is: (see here)
I can’t call it “climate change”, as that seems too soft – this is not a change of weather, its capitalist polluting bastards and a barometer cannot measure the vicious exploitations underpinning value extraction.