Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Nostalgic for Nothing: Industry and Affect


this is not a picture of me

The dominance of intellectual property in film is driven by one central affect, or affective composition, nostalgia, the sense that something about the past was once better. It is unclear, however, if this mood is oriented towards the actual films of the recent past, or childhood itself. What is it we are nostalgic for? 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Year Three: Four Ideological Conditions for the Covid Crisis


Picture of me practicing aikido in a mask 
(seemed appropriate)

As we look at another surge, another variant, and another school year of Covid, it might be worth thinking about the conditions that made this situation possible. The conditions are, as is so often the case, multiple, including the nature of the virus itself, technological, and economic conditions. What I would like to focus on briefly are the ideological conditions, or the way in which the virus took advantage of social contradictions as much biological weakness. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Other Scenes: The Ideology of the Economy/The Economy of Ideology

One of the most pernicious effects of the Marxist schema of base and superstructure is that it posits the economy and ideology as two separate and distinct levels. The base is where the economy does its work, silently and materially, and the superstructure does its work reproducing the relations of production by remaining entirely separate and distinct from the economy, by addressing morals, religion, the nation, everything but economic necessity. This rigid division makes it difficult to think of the ideological dimension of the economy and the economic dimension of ideology. 

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Barbies Amongst Themselves: Or, What Happens When You Make a Film about a Commodity


Watching Barbie reminded me of two essays that I had not read in a long time, Luce Irigaray's "Women on the Market " and "Commodities Among Themselves". In those essays Irigaray considers to what extent Marx's theory of the commodity form can be used to make sense of the status of women in society. Irigaray's texts takes as its start the idea of a society founded on an exchange of women, an idea integral to structural and psychoanalytic theories of kinship. From this it is possible to posit that relations among women would have the fantastic character of Marx's brief foray into describing the world of commodities amongst themselves. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Fallen Kingdom: Living in the Anthropocene with Spinoza and Marx


Bento in the Anthropocene 

Humanism, and the debates for and against it, is less a perennial philosophical question, returned to again and again, than a moving target, one that reflects the different political, cultural, and economic situation of the moment. The humanism of the renaissance is not the same humanism that was at the center of debates about Stalin and Marx in the sixties. Moreover, I would argue that the question of the human now is profoundly transformed by the Anthropocene, by the awareness that human impact has had an ecological and geological impact on the planet, transforming it for the worst. This does not mean that old debates and discussions of different humanisms in the history of philosophy are relegated to the dustbin of history--just that they take on a different sense and meaning today. Spinoza and Marx's debates with the humanism of their time take on a different sense today.