Frames /sing


True Revolutionary Spirit and “the System”

Thinking on Anodyne Lite’s post on Radical Break revolution (and its attendant hatred for the dread neoliberalism), materialism, privilege and revolution, the following occurs.

For those who hadn’t seen it, Samberg’s satirical take on white positioning against “the System” is absolutely hilarious. But more than this it really captures for me some of the self-contradiction found in even the most academic anti-Capitalist pleas for a “radical break” from the perceived wholeness of Capitalist closure. As I’ve mentioned many times, these fairly wealthy (on world standard), usually older white professors/authors are essentially text machines producing books for largely white, affluent youths, all of which are “part of the system”. Zizek and Badiou of course prime examples.

Pristine is when Samberg choruses “I’m an adult!” We glimpse the kind of Dysphoric pleasures involved in standing up against the “System”. This is not to mention the complex ironies involved in white person’s rapping with ghetto force, and the grammatical games involved in whether or not one’s Dad is a phone. Important humor.

9 responses to “True Revolutionary Spirit and “the System”

  1. anodyne lite October 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    LOL… Yes, I like how even the kind gesture of the hot dog man is somehow a reification of the System… really sort of paranoiac…

    Anybody who lives in NYC (esp Brooklyn) for any length of time certainly knows the type. It’s ironically always the ones who profit the most from the “System” who are looking for this radical break from it–they usually have the most unattainably “morals” regarding what’s ok to do and what isn’t to get ahead within it, too. Of course, they’ve never had to actually be in a position to make any of these tough moral decisions. And most of them seem to go about their everyday lives more or less exactly like the rest of us.

    Really, their affects are all they got to set them apart, if you look at it this way…

  2. kvond October 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Yes, I see the Brooklyn, as well as the East Villiage type clearly. But I also see the entire dysphoric ethic, the pleasures of unhappiness that seems to qualify much of the revolutionary talk in academic quarters.

  3. anodyne lite October 8, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I think we’ve talked about this briefly before: the death drive is still a proper *drive*, even for Freud. When libido inverts, it’s still libido, just rerouted.

    It feels good to feel bad, etc.

  4. Carl October 9, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Yup, it’s all pretty silly.

    I wonder if “the pleasures of unhappiness” here are a defense mechanism, since we’re invoking Freud. In two senses. On the one hand, for these ludicrous intellectuals they redirect the blocked energy of actually feeling bad about things one doesn’t have the power to change (a classic masochistic syndrome). On the other, for those intellectuals’ critics they provide an easy vantage for mockery without requiring any empathetic investment (a classic schadenfreude syndrome), and perhaps a second-order diversion from their own powerlessness.

    • kvond October 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm

      Or, for the critic of the critic of these intellectuals an even easier, even less attached empathic investment, giving them the sense that they stand above all in the fray, something of the order of a “God”…oops, I mean “Historian”…

      Funny how the diagnostic logic composes a sword whose edges cut in so many directions you can’t even hold it.

      I’m not really interested in diagnosising the Revolutionary Spirit, as locating its effects. Asking the simple questions, Who is it for? What does it Accomplish? What are its truer Goals? I neglect of course the paranoic thesis that the reason why Revolutionary Spirit has been so foiled in producing a radical break is that “the System” has in dominance anticipated its ever move and like an octopus wrestled it with every hand.

      • Carl October 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm

        For sure, good point.

        I think the answers to all of your questions are likely to be plural; ‘the system’ seems to me not so much a coherent malevolent demiurge as a sort of schopenhauerian Will, each tentacle of the octopus lashing out its “I Want” in its own pattern and rhythm. Or to be fanciful a different way the whole thing’s a hodgepodge of this and that loosely assembled within some pretty minimal boundary conditions. Contesting it is not so much like fighting an 800 pound gorilla as punching a net-bag full of scraps of bubble wrap.

  5. Paul Ennis October 9, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Agreed. I’ve tried to argue this before but it is impossible to highlight to people how silly the revolutionary academic really is but only if that person happens to be such an academic. Thanks for the video link.

  6. kvond October 9, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Carl: “Contesting it is not so much like fighting an 800 pound gorilla as punching a net-bag full of scraps of bubble wrap.”

    Kvond: I just don’t get it? Why punch it, why not weave something out of bubbles, or as Sloterdijk says, “spheres”? The contested imaginaary opposition is unhelpful, at least most of the time.

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