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Re: <nettime> Naomi Wolf: This global financial fraud and its gatekeeper
t byfield on Thu, 19 Jul 2012 19:55:56 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Naomi Wolf: This global financial fraud and its gatekeepers (Gu...


Silly Keith, don't you get it? "Guns" -- a proxy for all PHYSICAL 
aggression -- are just *props* in the "theater" of warfare. Sure,
they "work" in the sense of actually destroying human bodies and
the "fear" of them has actual, empirical consequences; but from a 
HISTORICAL perspective, "we're all dead in the long run." So, to 
"understand" history, you need to "step outside of it." That way, 
whatever comes from the end of a rifle -- "power," for example -- 
comes wrapped in quotation marks! 

So is the PEN mightier than the SWORD? Or will sticks and stones 
BREAK my bones but WORDS never hurt me? 

You may think we can't "step outside of" history," but we can. 
How? The answer, amazingly enough, is VISUAL. "Quotation marks"!

But, like guns, quotation marks are just a proxy for a broader
"philosophical" procedure -- of bracketing objects and phenomena, 
and CASTING them in a different "space." That's why VISUALIZING 
"data" is such a central technique in capitalist discourse: it
lets us "present" the world in neat little Cartesian birdcages
that are OPTICALLY distinct from the actual world we "inhabit."
They SHOW us that, however erratic the "data" is, we can contain 
it in seemingly "rational" frameworks with distinct "historical" 
periods "carved" from time understood as the endless march of 
self-similar quanta. Minor issues like the SUBJECTIVITY of the 
AUDIENCE are banished: reduced to the impoverished, "mechanistic" 
discourse of the USER and his "cognitive" habits. And the EVENT, 
which we spent decades demolishing, returns in a neo-"modernist" 
guise: the hermetically sealed perfection of the "dot." And all
those myriad forms of "ambiguity" and "social construction" -- 
aspects that were "built" over centuries of INQUIRY and ACTIVISM 
-- are "deconstructed" or DE-BUILT, unmade, RUINS reduced to so 
much featureless "sand" by the "storm we call progress": they
become LINES that "connect" (or tactitly "disconnect") the "dots." 

You may laugh, but this kind of SCHEMATIC (dis)connection is 
absolutely central to "discourses" now -- at a level that 
"quantitative" inquiry and analysis will not, CANNOT grasp.

I'm getting "bored" of this STYLE of writing, so I'll "stop."

I couldn't agree more with you about the primacy of guns over
"guns" etc, etc. However (or, better, additionally), it's also 
worth considering the ways in which various aesthetic forms -- 
whether seemingly idiosyncatic uses of punctuation or techniques 
of pseudo-systematic representation -- both reveal and conceal 
brutal material realities. But they aren't merely representative;
they actively perpetuate and enforce -- through an impoverished
vocabulary and even more impoverished meta-commentaries (for ex,
contemporary rhetorics that have addressed and explained the
'audience' > 'listener' > 'viewer' > 'consumer' > 'user') -- what
can (and tacitly cannot, i.e., *will not*) be understood about 
the present. This kind of visual bracketing, whether in the form
of equivocated "[words]" or arbitarily delimited and more or less 
metaphorical 'spaces' -- which we hear about everywhere, always
-- are signs of a hegemonic territorialization in speech and
image. The fact that they're obsessively used to direct inquiry
toward immaterial cognition rather than material realities isn't
an accident of history.

Cheers,
T

mrzero {AT} panix.com (Wed 07/18/12 at 09:11 PM -0400):

> Sorry, guns are in very high fashion. Go to Syria, Afghanistan, Waziristan?
> this war as solely the war on desire is one of the root misapprehensions of
> high capitalism, perhaps a product of that very propaganda. Not that it
> doesn't supplement the wars fought with guns. But Industry didn't disappear,
> it just moved to East and South Asia, where working conditions are
> militarized on a scale the 19th century steel magnates of PGH cd only have
> dreamed of. The fields of battle have moved back to "former" colonies: Africa
> and South Asia and are coming soon to a demonstration near you. Do you ever
> listen to the daily news from Africa?
> 
> You are living on Fantasy Island, boss. And apparently you did not witness
> OWwherever police tactics (physical high and low tech ones as well as
> information technology based ones) first hand.


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