Sunday, March 25, 2012

After Alienation: Activity and Passivity in Work and Consumption

Debates about alienation with respect to Marx tend to focus on its philosophical underpinning, its humanism and essentialism. This is perhaps due to the immense influence of Althusser. Philosophically Althusser was right in turning our attention away from the half worked out notebooks on alienation, burdened by various anxieties of influence, and towards Capital, towards exploitation and the value form. However, their is an affective dimension to alienation as well, and part of its appeal, its long history in the works of the Frankfurt School, existentialism, punk rock and comic books, has to do with the way it captured a particular sensibility, a particular structure of feeling. This particular feeling appears to have been on the wane for quite sometime.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Meta-Fiction: The Comic Book (Politics and Narrative, Part Two)

Lets begin with a story, I decided to read Yves Citton's Mythocratie because I was interested in his reading of Spinoza that I encountered in other contexts. It just so happened that soon after I wrote the blog post on that book I also received a copy of Christian Salmon's Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind which Citton cites (actually two copies, but that is another story). As the title suggests, Salmon's book is also about narrative as a tool for marketing, management, and politics. At this time I also started reading Mike Carey and Peter Gross' The Unwritten series based on a recommendation from my local comics shop, which also deals with the stories and their power. Narrative is not something that I am "working on," Spinoza, or post-Spinozist understandings of transindividuality are, but one thread led to another, and ended up intersecting with my reading of comics, something I rarely blog about (no one can confess everything). These two errant threads began to connect in something that suggested more than serendipity when the latest collected volume of The Unwritten was titled "On to Genesis," a pun that would seem to invoke Simondon's ontogenesis. So as my work and entertainment intersected I decided to make a "busman's holiday" of it and write about The Unwritten.