Brian Holmes on Fri, 25 Jul 2008 08:11:07 +0200 (CEST)

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

Re: <nettime> 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

Ed Phillips asked:

>  why the sales job for a bizarre complex
> that is directed at more and more excessive, spectacular, even arbitrary
> displays of power that will never be used is so successful. Here the image
> comes to mind of jet fighters that rotate on a dime. Something so insanely
> exhorbitant in expenditure, flaming, flaring off, exploding in test after
> test.

I was wondering about exactly this today, as I read in the New York 
Times about four air force generals seeking $16 million in public monies 
to build two-room designer-appointed "comfort capsules" for their 
personal transport through the imperial skies. But then my curiosity 
only mounted higher as my eye moved further down the page, where I read 
about the Bush administration plans to use $230 million of 
"counter-terrorism" money to upgrade Pakistan's F-16s. "The officials... 
said the timing was driven by deadlines of the American contractor, 
Lockheed Martin." No further comment about those deadlines then ensued...

> Brian keeps making some very fundamental points that I do not see mentioned
> enough, and he is thinking "with" them:
> 1. Is to think in terms of geocapital and the nation states and Empire(s)
>    as a complex interweaving, a totality.

Thanks for noticing that, Ed. One of the real interesting things that 
became concrete for me in South Korea (though I already understood it 
theoretically) was the way that Fordist and military-industrial 
development has been driven, in both countries, by the deliberate 
maintenance of red-alert status at the 38th parallel. Far-off sites of 
conflict that Americans only see in the movies serve as pretexts for the 
development of the most sophisticated weapons imaginable (never forget 
that the US military budget is now as big as the rest of the world's 
combined). Meanwhile on the soil of that far-off site something 
different has been happening: build-up of heavy industry under 
dictatorial discipline until from 1960 to 1988, then rapid 
neoliberalization peaking with the 1997 Asian crisis to throw the 
country open to outside capital looking to feed on educated labor. The 
complex interweaving produces very different political and cultural 
outlooks as part of one internally differentiated system. Yet I would 
agree with Keith that this does not make "totality," not even the 
totality of something called kapitalism. The imperial interweave is a 
system of power, it's dominant, it imposes its militarist will in 
staggeringly violent and absurd ways, yet there is so much else to life 
under the sun and the stars and the electric streetlamps. No less 
important than the act of looking into the eye of power is the act of 
looking away.

best, BH

#  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:
#  archive: contact: