Friday, May 08, 2009

Disavowal being Disavowal 

Open letter to Howard Bryant:

"Nobody can gloat -- not the Yankees, not the Red Sox, not the players (even though they all got to keep their money) and not management (which was able to make its money and tout its vigilance while the names who drive the product cheated). And not the fans, who like to believe they root for the only clean team in the game."

I enjoyed your article, which is one of the more coherent arguments thus far in favor of "taking steroids seriously." But I do disagree with one thing. I'm not sure I buy your suggestion that steroids are somehow tainting baseball-- testing the very "soul" of the sport. After all, the -one- beneficiary of the "steroids era" would be the media, and those in it who stand to benefit from neverending hand-wringing and outpourings of outrage and disappointment. But is the sport itself really in some sort of peril now?

You are neglecting the most culpable party of all in all of this, and that is the -fans-. This is not a nice thing to say, but it's true. Who, exactly, are the real victims of this "deception?" Who are the perfectly pure fans out there who somehow really believed that these big shots weren't on steroids? The truth is that everybody, save a few starry-eyed kids perhaps, knew about it. And a lot of people were okay with it, because they were entertained-- and still are-- by the sport. Maybe a lot of other people aren't so okay with it. They fall into an interesting category.

This category is what Freud calls "disavowal," in which one knows certain things but then claims to not know them. You could argue that most entertainment is premised on disavowal. We see things in movies that are absurd all the time, but still give ourselves over to the spectacle, knowing yet not-knowing that what we are seeing is fake. Many, many aspects of American culture have this structure. I know, but...

This is why we are unlikely to rethink our understanding of steroids-- to, for example, accept them as a part of sports that is one factor among many others. No chance. Even these supposedly terrible disappointments are welcome in our culture, as a way of sacrificing the very idols that we worship as their expiration date nears. This is the great American pastime-- soaring to fame and riches, and then brought back to earth by humiliating scandals. We can punish the deceiver for our own disavowal, and externalize our own rather strange addiction to entertainment-based pleasure.

I mean, just read this shit. This is sick. I have not the slightest doubt that this Masshole regarded Manny as a deity in 2004 and 2007. This is a pathetic sack of castrated masculinity attempting to recastrate himself, cut it off again, cut it off "Manny," find a new hole to hang it on.

It's true, the "steroid era" will never end. You, everyone needs the cycle to continue. Where would we be without sacred cows for the pyre, surrogates for our own desire?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

why can't we have nice things, dear? 

As someone interested in Leftist aesthetics, such as they are, I was gratified to see the redesign of the new Institute for Anarchist Studies website, which looks pretty darn sharp by my lights, although I suspect some with more refined tastes would disagree.

Provisionally, until friends with better taste weigh in, I'll throw it in the pantheon of cool looking (or at least rising above the general level of turdlike) anarchist things like the IWW and Crimethinc. websites. I'm not a big Crimethinc-er myself, but they do make stuff that's nice too look at. Too often lefty and specifically anarchist stuff is just kinda crappy lookin' and not in a very good way either. Which is a shame, because who wants a poorly designed revolution?

For anyone with similar preoccupations, or even idle interest, there's also a very good blog that is keeping an eye on such things. (rimshot)

blogger breaks new story on NPAC 

Minneapolis MN --- In news that stunned both the political and media world, it was revealed today that the outspoken and at times controversial Republican congresswoman from Minnesota's 6th district, previously known as "Michele Bachmann", is actually an elaborately staged performance by experimental artist "Trinity Ohm." Ms. Ohm, born Rebbecca Greene, explained that while she was satisfied with the direction of what she calls her "Cycle of Rage", she felt that the Bachmann character she had created, defined by her extreme right-wing politics and propensity to spout thoroughly outrageous claims on TV and radio, had run its course. "I was hoping that as of late, I could sort of 'out' myself by running off a series of the most paranoid and ludicrous swill imaginable," said Ms. Ohm in an interview, "like when I seemed to imply the Democrats were responsible for spreading Swine Flu or that Obama's Americorp program was tantamount to the creation of 'government re-education camps', or when I suggested that (fellow congressman and Muslim) Keith Ellison was connected to terrorists, but unfortunately it only seemed to further my credibility." Ohm said she simply, "wanted to expose how the media phallocracy normalizes racism and homophobia in American society," but eventually found that she had gotten more than she bargained for. "I never thought I would actually get elected, but when I did, I guess I just ran with it."

the rest...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dumb Question, Dumb Answer 

Specter interviewed in the Times:

With your departure from the Republican Party, there are no more Jewish Republicans in the Senate. Do you care about that? 

I sure do. There’s still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.

What an asshole.


...Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who sits on the Second Circuit and is considered the favorite for the position because she’s a Hispanic woman and Barack Obama has a secret edict to never give another white man a job again unless he works in the financial sector, in which case he’s welcome to all the money he can grab.


Monday, May 04, 2009

nihilist performance art cult (NPAC) gigs in New York 

Seen on the streets, sent to Balko:

So...I guess that makes us...under military occupation?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

perverse nihilist performance art cult performs in florida 

It was "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" at the Franklin Correctional Institution, and Sgt. Walter Schmidt wanted to give the kids an idea of what their parents do.

So he took out a handheld stun device and zapped them with 50,000 volts of electricity.


Schmidt, the arsenal sergeant at the Panhandle prison, said he asked parents for permission to shock the kids.

"When they said 'sure,' I went ahead and did it," he said by phone Friday.

link, h/t Avedon

shit that makes me laugh out loud at 1:30am on a saturday night 

Graeber on the art world as a form of politics:

One thing the explosion of the avant garde did accomplish was to destroy the boundaries between art and politics, to make clear in fact that art was always, really, a form of politics (or at least that this was always one thing that it was.) As a result the art world has been faced with the same fundamental dilemma as any form of politics: the impossibility of establishing its own legitimacy.

Let me explain what I mean by this.
It is the peculiar feature of political life that within it, behavior that could only otherwise be considered insane is perfectly effective. If you managed to convince everyone on earth that you can breathe under water, it won’t make any difference: if you try it, you will still drown. On the other hand, if you could convince everyone in the entire world that you were King of France, then you would actually be the King of France. (In fact, it would probably work just to convince a substantial portion of the French civil service and military.)

This is the essence of politics. Politics is that dimension of social life in which things really do become true if enough people believe them. The problem is that in order to play the game effectively, one can never acknowledge its essence. No king would openly admit he is king just because people think he is. Political power has to be constantly recreated by persuading others to recognize one’s power; to do so, one pretty much invariably has to convince them that one’s power has some basis other than their recognition. That basis may be almost anything— divine grace, character, genealogy, national destiny. But “make me your leader because if you do, I will be your leader” is not in itself a particularly compelling argument.

In this sense politics is very similar to magic, which in most times and places—as I discovered in Madagascar—is simultaneously recognized as something that works because people believe that it works; but also, that only works because people do not believe it works only because people believe it works. For this why magic, whether in ancient Thessaly or the contemporary Trobriand Islands, always seems to dwell in an uncertain territory somewhere between poetic expression and outright fraud. And of course the same can usually be said of politics.

If so, for the art world to recognize itself as a form of politics is also to recognize itself as something both magical, and a confidence game—a kind of scam.

I would like to be involved in a campaign for elected office in which the slogan was "Make me your leadar so that I will be your leader".


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?