Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!": Breaking Bad as Austerity Allegory

What follows should perhaps have the subtitle "Scattered Speculations on Breaking Bad" because it started as a post a few episodes into the final run and was finished after the penultimate episode. Edits were made along the way, but it is less a coherent essay taking into consideration the entire narrative arc of the last season than it is a series of observations as it unfolds. It is a bit long, and, if you have not seen the last season, spoiler alert.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brutality Today: Brief Remark on Chamayou's Manhunts

When I first heard of the publication of the book, Manhunts: A Philosophical History it immediately occurred to me that it was the kind of book I would want to read. I have a well known obsession with The Most Dangerous Game and its various remakes. In fact if you place me in a room with at least two hunting trophies I will immediately start doing my impression of the rich bored hunter, claiming that "Man truly is the most dangerous game." So I knew that I would find the book interesting. What I could not initially understand is what the book would offer besides some rather dark trivia of man's inhumanity to man. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Geeks Versus Hipsters: Scattered Speculations on the Affective Economy of Popular Culture

Image from The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin

There are two basic models of affective orientation towards popular culture. The first is the nerd, or more properly, the geek. I prefer the latter term because it shifts the focus away from content, comic books, sci-fi, etc, and towards the relationship of intense identification and pleasure; a relationship often summed up by the phrase "geek out."Framed in such a way the geek contrast nicely with the hipster, the latter is defined less by content, beards, bands from Brooklyn, etc., than by an affective relation of either irony or detachment. The hipster would not be caught dead wearing the band of the shirt that he is going to see, while the geek shows up at the convention in full costume of her favorite character.