Sunday, June 09, 2024

Zine, Blog, Podcast: A Media History of Self-Indulgence

 


Sometimes I find myself thinking about the sequence, zine, blog, and podcast. I think about this in part because at one time or another I have had, or been involved with all three. In some ways each offers the same promise of DIY, self produced, media. Although I different scales of influence and material investment. 

Saturday, June 01, 2024

Draft Translation: For a Systematic Study of the Relation of Marx to Spinoza by André Tosel

 

Draft Translation: Not for Citation


What follows is another attempt at a translation of an important text by André Tosel on the Marx/Spinoza relation. It is not a finished, or polished translation, but a rough sketch put forward to help people get a sense of this overlooked articulation of the relation between Marx and Spinoza.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Witness Me: Intellectual Property and Pleasure in Furiosa and I Saw The TV Glow

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and I Saw the TV Glow

When one looks out at another summer of sequels, reboots, and prequels it is possible to resort to the cliche that "they are out of ideas"--to pose the problem as a crisis of originality. It is for this reason, among many others that it is worth reading Daniel Bessner's piece for Harpers, "The Life and Death of Hollywood: Film and Television Writers Face an Existential Threat" One of the merits of Bessner's piece is that he makes it clear that the crisis Hollywood is facing is not one of ideas, of the imagination, but of capital, of profits. As Bessner writes,

Friday, May 10, 2024

2 Apes 2 Planets: On Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

 


The recent Planet of the Apes films can be defined by two questions: one internal to the films themselves, to their own universe, albeit with allegorical dimensions, and the other external, to their status as commodities in the culture industry. The first question is what is the nature of the conflict between humans and apes? Is it a natural conflict, a conflict between two species for domination, or is it a political conflict, a conflict between different ways of living. The second question is will audiences watch and identify with apes, with CGI characters, rather than humans played by human actors.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

The Concept Worker Doesn't Wear a Hardhat: Spinoza, Marx, Nesbitt and Common Notions

 



"They would not agree with one another any more than do the dog that is a heavenly constellation and the dog that is a barking animal." Spinoza


"The concept dog doesn't bark." Louis Althusser 

Ever since reading Margherita Pascucci’s Potentia of Poverty I have been thinking about the relation between Marx’s thought and Spinoza’s common notions. The question I am asking is not did Marx write Capital in and through common notions, as an application of Spinoza’s thought. Although I am not entirely discounting such influence. Rather, what would be at stake in reading Marx through the common notions? 

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Two Thesis on the Limits of Philosophy: Marx and Spinoza

 

I once contemplated getting my favorite Spinoza proposition 
as a Vanity Plate 

In the past few months, longer even, but before the recent wave of student occupations (more on that later), I have found myself in the grips of a kind of depression that stems in part from what can only be described as a gap between theory and practice. How this works is like this, all day, or at least part of it, I read books, and get into discussions understanding how the world works, and what could be done to change it and yet the world goes on unchanged, or, more to the point, it just seems to get worse and worse. (I will let the reader fill this in with whatever ecological, political, or economic calamity that comes to mind) The disconnect between the classroom and the world creates not just division but despair.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

One, Two, Many Spinozist-Marxisms: A Postscript to The Double Shift

 

This post is illustrated by some of the promo work 
I have done for the book

I have commented before, more than once even, that the intersection of Spinoza and Marx is less a position, something like Spinozist Marxism, than a field of intersecting problems and questions. In some sense it is possible to even map out the way in which different Marxists draw from different elements of Marx (and Spinoza) creating different articulations of the relations which intersect with different problems in the critique of capitalism. 

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Leave What World Behind: On Leave the World Behind







Something has changed in watching post-apocalyptic films in recent years. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when, and what exactly the cause might be, but at some point in the last few years the post-apocalypse has gone from an escapist fantasy to a figure of dread. The increasing rate of global warming leading to fires, droughts, and hurricanes; the ongoing Covid pandemic; and the rise of right wing nationalism has transformed the apocalypse from a subgenre of science fiction to a barometer of fears and anxieties. As Robert Tally argues the sense of the future has changed dramatically over the last decade: utopia has been replaced by dystopia in contemporary fiction and film and post-apocalypse has replaced predictions of a miraculous world of tomorrow. This is another way of addressing Fredric Jameson’s old adage that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. To which we could add that this imagination is no longer an idle speculation about the future, but immediately lived, as apocalypse seems to inch closer, moving from the distant horizon to the lived present. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Racial Division of Labor: On Sylvie Laurent's Capital et Race

 



In Kathi Weeks' The Problem with Work she makes an argument about the way in which work produces and reproduces gender. As Weeks writes:

"To say that work is organized by gender is to observe that it is a site where, at a minimum, we can find gender enforced, performed, and recreated. Workplaces are often structured in relation to gendered norms and expectations. Waged work and unwaged work alike continue to be structured by the productivity of gender-differentiated labor, including the gender division of both household roles and waged occupations...Gender is put to work when, for example, workers draw upon gendered codes and scripts as a way to negotiate relationships with bosses and co-workers, to personalize impersonal interactions, or to communicate courtesy, care, professionalism, or authority to clients, students, patients or customers."

Lately I have been thinking about the way in which we could also think about the way in which work is also organized by, and organizing of, other social hierarchies including race. How is work organized by race, or how are racialized codes and scripts put to work in the workplace?

Monday, March 04, 2024

Requiem for a Training Montage: Or, Everyone's Crazy for a Self-Made Man






The other day, out of a combination of nostalgia, insomnia, and tribute to Carl Weathers I decide to watch Rocky III. I am not sure why I picked this one. Perhaps because it is one of Weathers' best as he goes from rival to partner, it is also where Rocky goes from scrappy seventies film to full on eighties excess, a process that would be completed in Rocky IV. It also got me thinking of training montages.