www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> The insult of the 1 percent: "Art-history majors"
Newmedia on Sat, 5 May 2012 17:42:02 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> The insult of the 1 percent: "Art-history majors"


Brian:
 
> It isn't fair. And there is no honor in formerly democratic 
> societies that are now ruled by the ultra-rich.
 
No, it's not "fair" but, sorry, that's also naive and no one with any  
"intellectual" grounding in the sociology of power could let you get past this  
mistake.  This society -- indeed Western society (and every other society)  
-- has *always* been "ruled by the ultra-rich" (along with their  "friends.")
 
"Formerly democratic" -- huh?  When did women get the vote (and what  did 
they vote for)?  And, when did African-Americans get the vote (and what  did 
they vote for)?  And, what exactly does a "vote" mean in a world  dominated 
by mass-media "programming" anyway?  Voting for what television  tells you 
to vote for?
 
 
What happened to all that discussion about Marcusean "one-dimensionality"  
and the Baudrillardian/Deborgian "spectacle"?  Formerly democratic?   What 
planet was that on?

 
What happened to C. Wright Mills ("The Power Elite" 1956)?  Or, Pareto  
("The Rise and Fall of the Elites" 1901/1968)?  Or, Bill Domhoff's 2010 6th  
Edition "Who Rules America?" (which is based on Michael Mann's "The Sources of 
 Social Power" 1986/93)?
 
Mann is widely considered the best sociologist of power today.  His  
Ideology, Economics, Military and Political (IEMP) model of social power has  been 
the topic of books filled with pro-con essays and conferences and clips on  
YouTube.  C'mon -- I know this began as an "anarchist" mailing  list but 
let's be honest about power and its sources, okay?
 
I'll tell you what happened to the artists/intellectuals and what it has to 
 do with nettime.  The Western European "elites" stopped paying them.   
Why?  The Cold War was over.
 
The massive institutionalized "state" payments to artists in Germany and  
France and UK were simply a *feature* of the Cultural Cold War.  Read  
Francis Stonor Saunders' book (or any of the others.)  
 
The Western elites paid the trade unions, they paid the artists, they paid  
the social scientists, they paid the journalists, they paid the  
intellectuals.  It was an *integral* part of the fight by FREEDOM against  the *Evil 
Empire* . . . and then the *empire* went away.  No more  payments . . . and 
no more elite-funded cultural "coherence."
 
When I was invited to keynote Metaforum III in Budapest and first met  
nettime (and was invited to join its Zentral Kommittee), I met a group  of 
unhappy artists.  The WALL had come down and now they could all  visit the Stassi 
museum in East Berlin but many of their lives had also  become very 
"precarious."
 
And who was nettime's "nemesis" at the time?  George Soros -- who had  set 
up his own East-meets-West network and told the ZK that it either  had to 
merge with his (i.e. go on his payroll) or shutdown.  That's why the  *last* 
nettime "party" was held at Soros' offices in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  
 
Democratic?  Ultra-rich?  Way too close to home?   Guess what -- Soros won 
and nettime shut down.  No one wants to be on *his*  SH*TLIST!
 
What has happened to ALL OF US is that we've lived through TWO "rotations  
of the elites."
 
The first was 60+ years ago with the rise to global dominance of the  
"Rockefellers" -- who won WW II, established the IMF/WB, UN, CIA and Ford  
Foundation etc. based on a Cold War -- and the second was the 20+ year-old  
collapse of that "consensus" and the falling of the WALL (which was caused by  
Silicon Valley) and the rise of the BRICS.
 
In the USA (and EU etc.) this second *rotation* left NO ONE in "charge" --  
since they had put all their eggs in the Trilaterial basket, the bottom of 
which  fell out in the Carter Presidency -- and resulting in a situation  
where the *elites* could no longer control themselves, leading to ridiculous  
un-self-policed "wealth" creation.  The result was a run-away Wall Street,  
driven by the ROBOTS (i.e. "slaves") who actually do all the "work."
 
> Climate change will destroy the planet and Koch 
> will have saved the Met's dinosaurs!

Terror!  What you  call "climate change" -- from the standpoint of any 
artist/intellectual who is  used to being "supported" by their own elite 
*patrons* in a post-industrial  economy -- is what BILLIONS of people simply call 
*development* since they live  in the still-industrializing economies.
 
There is only ONE way that "green-house gases" will stop spewing into the  
atmosphere -- the collective *power elites* of the world will stop them.   
And the only way that will happen is when the Chinese and Indian and 
Brazilian  and Mexican and all the other "poor people" of the world are no longer 
POOR, so  their own elites will be able to slide their societies into 
post-scarcity  "green" mode, like us.
 
Do artists/intellectuals have to stop being *neutral* (which really means  
getting paid to keep your mouth shut, as they *all* were until  recently)?   
YES!!
 
Does that mean that they are putting their artistic/intellectual talents to 
 good use by implying that "democracy" has been lost and that we'll all 
"cook" if  we don't go out and march?  NO!!
 
We need to UNDERSTAND society if we don't want to just be swept along by  
the *flash-floods* now careening down our gullies and high-rise canyons.
 
 
Please go back and take a look at my Technology, Language and Empires of  
the Mind post.  We haven't been in the "Kansas" of "popular democracy" for  a 
long time now.  In fact, we have spent all of our lives in another  place.  
In OZ, you can't tell the players without a program (i.e. the  "programs" 
that have been crafted to invade our minds -- by an "imperial"  elite.)
 
If you don't UNDERSTAND MEDIA, then you don't have a chance.  Go back  and 
read McLuhan.  
 
Go back farther (like he did, writing his PhD on "The Classical  Trivium.") 
 Go back to find your own culture!  
 
You want to cite Marx?  That's great but what culture did he identify  his 
"communism" with?  Could it have been the "medieval" peasants around  Trier 
who he defended in his earliest newspaper columns?  Or, did it come  from 
the Greeks that he wrote about in his PhD thesis?  Surely it wasn't  the 
industrial "proletariat" who he never met and only wrote about because  Engels 
paid him to do it (since he lived his entire life in the relative  "luxury" 
afforded him by his *elite* patron, while married to a  "baroness.")
 
Go BACK and find something *solid* to stand on, so you have a chance at  
contributing to something *coherent* -- since I can assure you that is 
*exactly*  what is happening now in China and a hundred other places (as  
"multi-culturalism" is finally killed by a madman in Norway.)  
 
You want some HONOR?  Then write a few posts on the CARDINAL  VIRTUES!
 
What we don't need is another March-of-Dimes for the SWAT teams (who  
recently rousted a bunch of OWS "squatters" two doors down from me) to ensure  
that the next budget pays for drones flying over Brooklyn (where we already 
have  the helicopters and relentless street-stops)!  
 
You want to *confront* the SURVEILLANCE state?  Give them something  
"honorable" and "just" and "temperate" and "prudent" to WATCH!  That will  really 
mess them up.
 
What we need is F*CKING Renaissance . . . not another  
meant-to-fail-because-the-leaders-are-cops Revolution!  
 
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org