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Re: <nettime> IDF reading Deleuze and Guattari (and Debord)
John Hopkins on Sun, 27 Aug 2006 18:38:04 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> IDF reading Deleuze and Guattari (and Debord)


>There is a need to build a new "old" language of critique, not simply 
>rely upon the recycled reactions of a strain of the left from '68.

Bravo Daniel for stating that up front and clearly!!

>To use Debord might be an oversimplification of his work, just as it
>is to use D+G. But we must ask, what is in these works that makes 
>them so open to this use?

I think a more general class of question might be: How is it that a 
relatively obscure set of texts become so Popular and are now used to 
explain everything?  And:  Who is next to be completely discredited; 
Who is next to be raised from the historical mausoleum of textual 
re-presentation and re-duction to be exclusively followed?  Or who(se 
writings) will next be warped and twisted to fit the contingencies of 
those in power.  Just wait and see!

Not to degrade the ideas arising from that period or any other period 
-- but they are only one way of looking at the world -- I wonder what 
the landscape of nettime (or of academia) would look like if 
historical quotations could not be invoked -- that instead first-hand 
observation was the primary pathway to a world-view.  Personally, I 
got tired of using other people's models for the world, and prefer 
constructing my own internally (and externally) consistent view.

Of course, perusing an elegant and inspiring model from someone else 
is a nice thing, but should discourse be so often couched in terms 
and images that dead white guys thought up?

I recall using DeBord back in the mid 80's (as a critique of 
post-modernist-obsessed academic thinking and as a suggested pathway 
for an engaged critical praxis), but being completely rebuffed by 
claims that his writings were irrelevant.  So much for PC amurikan 
academia...

>Unfortunately, these theories of the French radical mafia have now
>become synonymous with "critical theory" in general, as the IDF has

Just as the writings/writers who gave rise to the PoMo view of the 
world were discussed ad infinitum, ad nauseum between 1980 - 2000, 
now it's D&G from 1990 - 20xx along with the Situationists from 1995 
- 20xx.

It's great to adopt more accurate models than the one that one is 
presently following, or models that more accurately circumscribe the 
momentary contingencies of presence in a particular socio-political 
milieu, or to actively adjust existing models to fit the moment, but 
reliance on any one model as the flux of history passes seems 
problematic.  It's too easy.

AND, when the next critical step is taken, the step from reading to 
acting, to a lived praxis, what happens when the book can't be found, 
when there's no time to read, when life is in-your-face, or the 
chapter hasn't been written to aid in coping with TODAY?  What then?

When one is faced with constructing ones own model, THEN one has to 
be critical of ANY social input at the same time as rebuilding (and 
being confident in) atrophied internal sensibilities and 
comprehensions of the world 'out there.'  It's a nice unstable, 
dynamic, and active position to be in, rather than nodding in 
agreement with those old texts.  It brings one to the front of 
living, where decisions must be made based on what is happening in 
the moment, not on what one was told to do in school...

okay, cheers,

John

PS - and one might well ask the question of older bits of wisdom -- 
how is it that they stick around -- hegemonic academia, rigid 
theoretical application?  or functionality? (Sun Tzu has probably 
saved more readers' arses than D&G so far...) ;-))

PPS -- and when, historically, was war anything else but the ego play 
of the leader of the offensive war machine?






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