Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Genysis of a New Film Form: Reflections after Watching Several Hollywood Films on a Long Flight

Top: Terminator, Bottom Terminator Genysis

The repetition that defines Hollywood is not without its difference. It constantly mutates in response to new conditions. This transformation has gone from the sequel to the prequel, from the remake to the reboot. Following this summer's Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, and Terminator Genysis it is possible to chart yet another mutation, not a remake or a reboot but a "callback."

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Conceptually Barking Dogs: Between Spinoza and the Frankfurt School

This post will be illustrated by pictures of my 
dog, Bento. *
(This picture was not staged. He stole this book)

"The concept of the dog doesn't bark" --Spinoza 

Idit Dobbs-Weinstein's Spinoza's Critique of Religion and its Heirs: Marx, Benjamin, and Adorno is a book that challenges many commonly held conceptions. The first is in the title itself, which suggests a strong relation where many, myself included saw at best a non-relation and at worst a repudiation of Spinoza by the Frankfurt School. Spinoza often appears less as a precursor for the Frankfurt School than as part of what the latter consider to be the dark side of the Enlightenment. I am thinking specifically of the passage of the Dialectic of the Enlightenment which states, "Spinoza's proposition: 'the endeavor of preserving oneself is the first and only basis of virtue," contains the true maxim of all Western civilization, in which the religious and philosophical differences of the bourgeoisie are laid to rest." It is thus somewhat surprising to see Dobbs-Weinstein recast a line of descent moving from Spinoza through Marx to Benjamin and Adorno. This reordering of the various philosophical precursors follows Dobbs-Weinstein's argument larger argument for the repressed materialist (islamic and judaic) Aristoltean tradition.