May
03

       For my group we chose to work with the idea of zombies and in particular the zombie-movie.  It is in my understanding that zombies, are trapped in a Marxist prison.  The zombie is alienated from its labor and as Althusser would say, alienated from its means of production.  Althusser states “the ultimate condition of production is therefore the reproduction of the conditions of production” (1483).  The zombie, when looked at in this system, is built (or rather has the function of) reproducing itself, that is it.  The zombie is the perfect example of the “reproduction of the conditions of production.”  First the zombie does nothing but reproduce itself.  The infected zombie bights the healthy human, that human becomes a zombie.  Second the zombie constantly reproduces the conditions of its existence in the sense that in the zombie epidemic, or the zombie take-over, the zombie has complete control over society.  The society in which it takes place is under siege, locked up in basements and shopping malls.  The streets are barren, breeding grounds for zombies.  The reproduction of the conditions of production has thus taken place.

           Althusser also states that “the reproduction of labour power requires not only a reproduction of its skills, but also, at the same time, a reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order” (1485).  The zombie maintains power during the outbreak, during the epidemic, during the post-apocalyptic state.  The human race is under the rule of the “brain-dead” zombies (many comparisons can be made to the current state of America and politics, but we shall not go into that in full)  and has to submit to such a rule because the zombie race can not be completely destroyed.

       Let us now look at Althusser’s statement on his model of society: “the upper floors could not ‘stay up’ (in the air) alone, if they did not rest precisely on their base” (1486).  The zombie’s could not stay in power unless their is the human bottom to feed on.  The human bottom is the resource the zombie needs to stay elevated, if in theory, the zombies were to annihilate all of the human substructure, the zombie race would not have its essential platform to exist on.  The zombie problem would ultimately be solved.  However, there would be no more humans.

            “the State is a ‘machine’ of repression” (1487).  This also goes for the zombie.  The zombie is a “machine of repression” for the fact that it has altered the human race.

          So the problem is, what do we classify the Zombie as?  Is the zombie a Ideological State Apparatus or a Repressive State Apparatus?  Althusser gives us the distinctions.  “What distinguishes the ISA’s from the (Repressive) State Apparatus is the following basic difference: the Repressive State Apparatus functions ‘by violence,’ whereas the Ideological State Apparatuses function ‘by ideology'” (1490).  The zombie does function by violence however, there is a certain amount of zombie ideology that also exists in the way that the ISA functions. 

          Another problem we face is that the zombie, while the oppressor in this situation, is also the repressed in this situation.  The zombie is the typical “cog” in the Marxist theory, the wheel in the machine.  The zombie is completely unknowing of what it does, it is alienated from the task that it preforms.  So, could there be a zombie revolution in which the zombie realized this and stopped making more zombies?  The problem being that this would also cause the zombie race to go extinct.  An interesting question to ponder. 

Apr
23

          You can always tell that something is going to be interesting when within the first sentence the author states “This essay is an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism” (2269).  I must say though, I think Haraway is quite funny at points, and obviously well educated.  I suppose what I will do now is just list some things that stuck out to me. 

(this paragraph is supposed to be the last one, I have no idea how it got here, god  -damned cyborgs thats how) Also I wanted to point something else out, somehow the page numbers are elusive to me right now, so you will have to trust me.  Haraway at one point in the essay is speaking of Adriene Rich and the idea that she relies on organics, or insists that organics are better, (as do I) and Haraway goes on to say that this idea can only be understood with polar opposites or something like that.  That you can only understand this system because the other system in fact exists, or something of that nature.  However Haraway herself at one point labels the natural world as innocent (which in many ways it is not) and in need of rescue.  So in a sense she is relying on the same technique.  The natural world can be defined against the un-natural world.  Innocent, helpless, and so on and so on.  That’s all.

            “…we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs” (2270).  Isn’t that the truth.  I have to agree on her ideas on technology and that it has become so incorporated into our lives, especially her idea of miniaturization, that we have essentially become part machine.  I think of the cell-phone, and how you can wear them stuck in your brain now, who has time for hands?  I also think of how lost most people would be without their cell-phone.  I think of how much I hate the cell-phone.

          This one cracked me up.  “The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitamate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socoalism.  But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins.  Their fathers, after all, are inessential” (2271).  Another funny one, “Christian creationism should be fought as a form of child abuse” (2271).

              I also want to say that her chart on the “informatics of domination” was quite scary to me in many ways, seeing how most of it is true.  It is a bit funny though that I just finished reading Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain, and have never read Future Shock, though have heard the name.  I am always behind anyway.  But nonetheless all these things, and a whole hell of a lot more, are being replaced by technology and “cyborgism,” if that is a word.  I got a little lost on her attempt to relate it to Feminism, but I still think I took some good ideas from the piece. 

Apr
17

   The problem with the world is that there are far too many educated people debating what is real and what is not, there is a whole lot of it right the fuck out the door, I’d rather climb a mountain any-day over a philosophical debate of reality.  Now that I have voiced my opinion I will get to the article (though my opinion is right; smug smile).

                Baudrillard has to make himself more sided, how the hell are we to figure what side he has his money on, or for that matter what in the hell he is talking about, because he obviously wrote this with a dictionary in hand, just skimming and finding words to toss in.  He reminds me of Eliot, a pretentious snob, but I am in a foul disposition, so I may be biased.  But who cares I always am, now that I look back on most of my blogs.  Anyway…this is supposed to be somewhat educated so…

                 “it is the map that precedes the territory” (1733).  I think he is arguing against this but I cannot tell, if however, his argument is indeed against above quote, I support his theory in that sense.  I am doing everything in my gut possible to stop from going on a rant against theory, so I will attempt not to.  The stuff about God was interesting, umm, Rameses, umm, I have to say he uses the word Savage interestingly, though I thought that was politically incorrect, umm….

                The ending, yes the ending, “which feed reality, reality-energy, to a town whose mystery is precisely that it is nothing more than a network of endless, unreal circulation-a town of fabulous proportions, but without space or dimensions.  As much as electrical and nuclear power stations, as much as film studios, this town, which is nothing more than an immense script and a perpetual motion picture, needs this old imaginary made up of childhood signals and faked phantasms for its sympathetic nervous system” (1741).  Isn’t that America.  Okay why couldn’t the whole thing be like that?  I say you want reality, go climb a god damn tree and stop reading and writing this dribble.  I’m done.

Apr
11

 I suppose the first thing that I want to do is just some basic quotations.  This is the second or third time that I have run in to Adorno and each time I leave with a good collections of quotes, and feeling that he ran his metaphor a little too long, as in this case with the production of the movie.

“Even the aesthetic activities of political opposites are one in their enthusiastic obedience to the rythm of the iron system” (1223).  He uses an example at some-point of propaganda, and I was thinking that this quote works very well to show how similar the propaganda between Nazi Germany and the USA was before the outbreak of WW2 even though the two countries were “political opposites.”

“Even now the older houses just outside the concrete city centers look like slums, and the new bungalows on the outskirts are at one with the flimsy structures of world fairs in their praise of technical progress and their built-in demand to be discarded after a short while like empty food cans” (1224).  Adorno being a Marxist, this paragraph works well to show his overall argument against capitalism and its excessive waste.

“It is the coercive nature of society alienated from itself.  Automobiles, bombs, and movies keep the whole thing together until their leveling element shows its strength in the very wrong which it furthered” (1224).  Once again with the Marxism, the alienated nature of society.

“The disappointment would be felt not so much by the enthusiasts as by the slow-witted, who are the ones who suffer for everything anyhow” (1230).  I had to put that in here just because it makes me laugh.

“The less the culture industry has to promise, the less it can offer a meaningful explanation of life, and the emptier is the ideology it disseminates” (1234).  I think this is one of his best points, along with the paragraph surrounding this quote.  I don’t know if it needs any explanation it basically means what it says.  The shittier our culture industry, the shittier our lives and their meaning, the shittier our overall minds and thoughts.  That is my attempt to summarize.

Apr
04

          I went into viewing this video thinking it was completely different, and was quite surprised when I found out it was stand up comedy.  I thought it was going to be a documentary of some sort, and as we all know now, it was not.  I thought that she was pretty funny to some degrees, but I must say that some of it didn’t strike me as being all that funny, not because of the subject matter, but I just didn’t find some of it funny.  Anywho, that is not important I suppose.  I did however find the biographical information that she gave in-between jokes interesting, because it obviously has a lot to do with what we have been talking about in class, I suppose most of the jokes did as well (thusly why we watched it one might suggest).  It dealt with race, sexuality, gender, all those fun things we have been reading theory about.  I want to know if there really are KKK-Marts (I know there are not) but they do have to buy those things somewhere right?

          Okay so yes as we talked about in class today there are a lot of connections to Butler in her act.  The one that stuck out a good deal, as we discussed in my group today, was the destruction of the body to fit into what society has labeled and accepted to be what one should look like.  I thought the thing about her face was very interesting.  The fact that she had a wide face.  I don’t know if I am falling back on a stereotype here, but I was under the assumption that women of Asian descent actually, genetically, have broader faces.  I hope I am not using prejudice, this is something I just thought was true.  If it is, then in essence what the people telling Cho that her face was too wide, were actually not just saying that she had to change her appearance to be more “beautiful,” but that her race in itself was flawed.  I find this interesting because it passes the border of just being about sex and gender and goes into the idea of race and culture.

         Interesting article I just found.  (Don’t ask how)  Here it is.  I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that blueprints of the “face of beauty” have been created.  I think our theorists would have some words.  Is this an example in itself of discourse on sex as Foucault would call it, perhaps?  I don’t know just what to make of all this, but alas, here it is.

             

Apr
04

     The first thing that I want to post here is the blurb from the intro on Butler that says, “Key for Butler is the instance that nothing is natural, not even sexual identity” (2485).  I wanted to put this here because I think it is important to take into view, because that goes against pretty much everything that we are taught about the difference between sex and gender and so on an so forth.  I also want to point out Butler’s idea that “trouble is inevitable” (2488), and that it is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact many good ideas have come out of people “making trouble” within a society and its norms.  

         Also I see Butler as using some ideas we have already read a bit about, mainly Derrida.  “What other foundational categories of identity – the binary of sex, gender, and the body – can be shown as productions that create the effect of the natural, the original, and the inevitable” (2489).  And also, “The task of this inquiry is to center on – and decenter – such defining institutions…” (2490).  Of course this is the Derridian idea of the center-less object or ideas, yet it is being used in a different application.  There can be no true “center” of sex or gender or etc., for the center lies within them all.

         Also the passage on page 2493 which states Douglas’s idea that “the body is a model that can stand for any bounded system” could be looked at closer.  While Butler talks of this in one way, I would like to look at it as a theory in itself.  For the body has been used as an example in many of the theories we have read, and could also be used to represent probably all of them.  (this would be a good paper topic I think.) 

Apr
04

          So, did you buy a shirt?  If you did you supported the ideological state apparatus that is the college of St. Rose.  If St. Rose is a ISA, then it has to fund it self economically correct?  (notice how I am doing the thing where I ask a question and then answer it)  And in order to keep you, the student, alienated from the production of your education, why what else than a good ol’ fashion, laid back, reading of work.  This is to make you think that you are doing something on your own free will and expressing yourself and what you have learned.  However, if we look to Althusser’s idea of education, the “‘literary culture,’ which [is] directly useful in the different jobs in production” (1485).  Then you could say the college has tricked you in to practicing that use for production.  And if you happened to buy yourself a t-shirt, which the profits from which will go to fund next years symposium, then you actually helped the economy of the ISA and ensured that it will be repeated next year, where a whole new, fresh batch of college students will practice their labor producing talents.  And if we look at Althusser’s statement, “labour power tends (this is a tendential law) decreasingly to be provided for ‘on the spot’ (apprenticeship within production itself), but is achieved more and more outside production: by the capitalist education system, and by other instances and institutions” (1485).  The capitalist education system being the College of St. Rose in this instance, then we have been taught to produce.  And in practicing this production value at the symposium and also perhaps spending money to ensure this continues, we have been alienated from what it is that is repressing us.  In fact one could say that the fact that we “had” to go to the symposium at all was an ISA being forced on us.  [ Just for the record I don’t buy much of what I am saying, I am just trying to apply a theory and Marxism is fresh on my mind.]  So….   we have been blinded by the college and its attempt to force us into labor roles, and also have been passed on in ideology so we ourselves will repeat it, especially those of us who may go on to teach.  Then to stop this we need the good old revolution, and then…. (Marxism shits the bed at this point). 

Mar
26

                Foucault brought up several ideas that relate to the work we have been looking at in class so far, so I thought I would toss them out real quick.  1. Interplay,  “…merely through the interplay of prohibitions” (1648).  2. A bit of Marxist theory, “…population balanced between its own growth and the resources it commanded” (1653).  Also a bit more Marxist theory dealing with the ideological aparatuses, “enabling the institutions of knowledge and power to overlay this everyday bit of theatre with their solemn discourses” (1657).  And of course, or good friend Derrida, “a diserpation of centers from which discourses emanated” (1658).  There are several others riddled throughout the selection we read but that will do.

             Overall Foucault came off as a bit of a snooze for me, mainly for the same reason that many of the theororists we have read do, they seem to be very interested in talking about language and its uses, but they seem to not be very interested in how they themselves use it.  I feel sometimes as though a bunch of these therorists got together in a room and became jelous of one another and decided to prove mental stamana a la mental diareah on page.  But hey thats just me.

                  I am curious however, does sex, in our American culture, still have any shock value.  It seems to me that it has very little and is a much more open subject.  I mean hell we are a capatlist society and they do say sex sells, and it does seem to be used to sell everything.  Even chewing gum.  I’m thinking about the obscentiy trial for Allen Ginsburgh’s Howl.  I doubt highly that would happen if that poem was published tomorrow.  Also I am thinking Henry Miller.  Is he still too open?  I wonder, do I dare put down a selection and let the class decide, or rather I suppose I will just do this, has anyone read Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, anything by good ol’ Mr. Henry Miller, and if so is it still more than what seems to be “politically” correct for our time.  I am just curious. 

Post script – I did not spell check this, it may contain any number of errors

Mar
26

          The end of this novel is not what I would go and call uplifting to any degree, and I must say I don’t by the transendental ending as we discussed for about one second before class ended on Wednesday.  Mainly becuase you can’t have transcendentalism or an idea of transcence forced upon you which is how almost everythough and action in this book is made after the break in and rape.  Even Davids actions and mentality are solely rooted in that instance, and his ideas at the end are rooted in the fact that Lucy will not leave and is being forced into a system that he doesn’t agree with or accept ultimately.  So that is why I don’t know if transcendentalism works here, but we only talked about it for a moment anyway.

        I have to say that I like the idea and theme of the dogs throughout the whole piece.  I was trying to think last Wednesday of how to tie them all together and come up with some sort of theme and I real think the idea of coloniolism and repression can be seen in all the scenes involving the dogs.  Just and idea.

                  I almost must say that in not one point of this book did I view David as an artist, becuase he is not one, but I find it quite funny towards the end when he is talking about publishing a masterpiece opera and comming back to the world a triumphiant, poor, crazy artist.  (Thats great.) 

Mar
18

      I shall simply continue here as I was before.  The book takes quite the turn about in this second reading we are doing and I have yet completely decided what to make of it all so far.  We are given a brief intro to David and who he is, and that is done for reason, but how it plays out into this second part I am trying to figure out.  We see a bit of a reversal I suppose, the white man who teaches at the college and is a womanizer, suddenly becomes flipped and bares witness to his daughter being victimized by the black man, or rather men.  It still seems to have more than that though, and I don’t think we will see the full picture until the end. 

                  Page 98 middle of the page.  Seems to be a good example of Fanon and also a good example of Rubin.  “There must be some niche in the system for women and what happens to them.”

             Also page 129 I think is great and has a lot to do with what we have been talking about with language and its use and origin and malleability.  I’m going to punch out a rather long quote here because I think it is important.  “‘Lucy is our benefactor,’ says Petrus; and then, to Lucy: ‘You are our benefactor.’ /A distasteful word, it seems to him, double-edged, souring the moment.  Yet can Petrus be blamed?  The language he draws on with such aplomb is, if he only knew it, tired, friable, eaten from the inside by termites.  Only the monosyllables can still be relied on, and not even all of them. /What is to be done? Nothing that he, the one-time teacher of communications, can see.  Nothing short of starting all over again with the ABC. By the time the big words come back reconstructed, purified, fit to be trusted once more, he will be long dead.” 

               Hot damn!  That is a good one.  There is a whole lot in there to be “unpacked” as I have heard stated over and over again in all my classes.  I have some feelings on it but I really want to know what other people think.  You could probably use that as a representation for a good deal of what it is we have read in class so far, it is all in there pretty much.  Even talk of the Rhizome.  Termites, what a great image, gnawing at the fibre of modern English. 

                And finally I have to mention the Descartes gallbladder.  Might be my favorite line in the book.  “The soul, suspended in the dark, bitter gall, hiding” (124).   Just thought I would mention it.

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