Honky Tonk University

As I was chatting to Tony who wanted an update, here it for economies sake for the family and friends too: we are in week 12 of homeschooling. Heaven forfend, help the kids. We sailed past the ‘we have this’ phase into stir crazy part three in and out the other end of ‘this is how it will be forever’. Playing the Animals ‘We Gotta get Out of This Place’ over dinner. Vietnam = 0 deaths, under 300 infections found, yaaay, and all of those traced to a couple of folks returned from pommyland, one airline pilot who went clubbing!! Nevertheless, great effort and a system that works – go figure, communism for all, I say – and we hope it will just be a few weeks more before the schools welcome us back, otherwise, its forever and, well, at least life is cheap here. On the other hand, life is cheap here. Thankfully some factories and businesses have been paying wages and there’s a lot of govt support, but marginal, part-time, street-level workers, waste-pickers., lottery tix people, etc, must have it tough, so very, tough times for many people, but I am still surprised, a little, since not all that many are visibly losing it. People sit around as casual as ever in the smaller outdoor street cafes that are still functioning in a minor way; for the bigger cafes – and in our area, every second house is a small cafe or foodie joint – in terms of the near-subsistence level businesses here must be a lot of pain – 80% of shops still closed (though the guy selling Security System’s can’t be an essential service can he? I mean, everyone is at home, and the restaurant tips are empty. Who needs security gadgets right now?). There was a moment when we could think, ah, it is just like a long long staycation, – endless Tet – but its harder to concentrate on anything the longer this goes on without a clear outcome/prognosis. I guess we have a lot of people starting to construct these. Home kit versions mostly – and often prognosis by numbers. And Guesswork. When I do get a moment to think work things, apart from just getting the few articles out with others, the analytic side is a minefield of doom and chaos. Again, maybe in some ways, Vietnam should be ok because not so many foreign students come here compared to say, Australia, UK and US uni’s, who are gonna suffer extreme measures – part inflicted by the ‘crisis’, partly by the bodgy silver budgie management types that will cut to the bone to save their skins. Especially UK ones who recently spent tonnes of money on tarting up their facilities to attract more students. Expect a huge crash in the higher education sector there. That, plus travel, are going to be a long time coming back. Venture capital will no doubt be looking to invest in remote digital services for rich folks on islands. If they can secure private armies to defend their fibre optic links and helicopter/drone Amazon deliveries, their life will be the same – well, wall-to-wall Rolling Stones ‘at home’ videos are the saddest part of it. Quite a long way from the Honky Tonk, eh Mick.

https://www.academia.edu/42809668/The_pecuniary_animus_of_the_university

Walter Benjamin and Asja Lācis

Well, he might be the ‘Marxist you can take home to meet your mother’ (as Vijay Prashad once said to me) but here some Benjamin, plus one – Asja Lācis -, for unpacking in between the consequential chaos of homeschooling – its a reassurance for parents that comparatively home school is going to be ok so long as they are making sure its not only endless playing of the ‘game’ monopoly (well, and a whole lot more, including Disney, but an exemption for the magical thinking of Dorothy who seeks to make it over the rainbow with a couple of workers so their dreams come true. The Emerald City is no communist Utopia, but putting that self-appointed snake-charmer wizard guy in a hot air balloon should be a lesson too. And dropping a house on the wicked witch to the approval of the good witch leaves some room for interpretive license): Anyway, here is Andris Brinkmanis on Walter Benjamin and Asja Lācis:
 
‘During the hot 1968 season, the name Anna Ernestovna “Asja” Lācis (1891–1979) unexpectedly reemerged among young leftist cultural “archaeologists” as an unearthed ruin of a historical “dream city.” A crucial missing element of a certain political-cultural trajectory had been rediscovered. With it, Benjamin’s short essay “Program for a Proletarian Children’s Theater” regained the character of a concrete and dialectical political-aesthetical pedagogical praxis, based on real experience. His writings on childhood and pedagogy thus assumed a programmatic character too: to oppose the dominant “bourgeois” education and behavioral models by all means, locating the very foundations of the capitalist ideological edifice in early childhood education’.
 
And Asja:
“In times of struggle, art has to be both an ally and friend of those in conflict. In this century of struggle, we look for art in the magnificent, free life. In it the creative process reveals itself through an intense and free action of the spirit, through masses that flow united by a common exhilarating rhythm’.
 
Read it all here:
 
 

Vietnam – Brazil

Comparative. Who’d have thought to do this one – but, its done, and there’s an intriguing and generous review – of J. Warren’s Cultures of Development: Vietnam, Brazil, and the Unsung Vanguard of Prosperity, from the Journal of Vietnamese Studies Vol 14, No 4 (they have made their content free up till May). Unfortunately, the book itself is mega expensive.

Click on the image to get the review:

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exoticism, revolutionary tourism, solidarity

What does solidarity look like? There have not been enough in the way of critiques of revolutionary tourism, of the exoticist trap of romanticising rebel movements abroad while ignoring practical tasks at home. A critique of that from an internationalist position would have to stress the co-constitution of the oppressions over there and over here. Often the same corporate and government players, yet, also often the same sort of privileged myopia within and among those who say co-constitution and act only, or at best, in the ways Amnesty International or similar might do – insisting on the expertise of the well placed, thriving on the time drain of those accessed at the front lines. Trying to hold the two ends together is no doubt hard, but hang on to only one and you float away into la la land. Learn from those cut at the cutting edge, and don’t be the cutter.

Robinsonades: we are all a bit Robbo now.

Several Robinsinades are coming soon.

But folks seem a bit confused about which Daniel Defoe to get into right now. As the world splutters towards total collapse,  I mean, do you read his notes on the plague year first, or go for a refresher course on self-isolation in Robinson?

RobbinsonTV

I’ve articles in the works on this, and have been translating an excellent essay from German on Crusoe/Croix/Kreutznaer/Kreutzer by Wulf Hund. But today, recognizing the new viral potency of the Crusoe effect, I am stumbling through a new version. We are all Robbo now.

answers to all questions about trinkets, and Capital.

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