I went from wildly flailing about my qual topic to having a pretty clear approach to the whole project after about a half hour conversation with the professor.
Going to be diving into a lot of international relations theory, which wasn’t something I considered before the semester began.
"Tweezer > Maze" - 12/28/12 - Madison Square Garden, New York NY
Feeling nostalgic for this run. Maybe the most fun 4 show run I’ve done. Pretty much a peak experience, the whole thing. My soul is still trapped in time at that moment in the 12/30 “Carini” when it got dark and weird and grungy and everyone just started headbanging instinctively.
This Tweezer is pretty great too.
Slavoj Zizek is fond of the phrase he calls “cultural capitalism.” Corporations heed liberal concerns for human rights and environmental disaster not by addressing the systemic root causes of the problem, but by finding market solutions that ameliorate the negative perception of the consumerist act. Buying a coffee in Starbucks also becomes a charitable act that funds a slightly greater percentage of profit for the bean farmers and healthcare for its employees. Buying shoes for a little more money also clothes Africa. Investing your money also becomes an opportunity to give a micro-loan to an impoverished third-world farmer. Whether such acts actually end up doing more good than harm, especially when the corporation’s financial livelihood is contingent on the existing structural oppression in place, is irrelevant as long as the consumer feels they made the world a better place with their purchase. This logic is a sophisticated form of what Roland Barthes called an inoculation, which “…consists in admitting the accidental evil of a class-bound institution the better to conceal its principal evil. One immunizes the contents of the collective imagination by means of a small inoculation of acknowledged evil; one thus protects it against the risk of generalized subversion.” Now in contemporary culture we have begun to address these “accidental evils,” proving the overall benevolence and good that these institutions do and obfuscating the principal evils even more.
A main focus in neoliberal thought is to dismantle old radical narratives and refocus the pieces into one emphasizing individual empowerment while maintaining the systems of oppression that gave rise to the original radical resistance in the first place. Corporations now allow room to “have a conscience” while also leaving plenty of space to make profit. Its ideology is focused on making sure the two don’t seem anathema to each other. Indeed, even originally well-meaning efforts succumb to this logic, a fate identity politics has lately been suffering. An important concept such as privilege is relegated to an obsession with individual states of being and the status of the messenger being more important than the message. Rather than the author being dead, her very material background becomes a noise that drowns out the content of her text.
this song… mmmmm.
Land of the free