1. babylonfalling:

    The New York Times by Tuli Kupferberg, EVO (1967)


  2. "The Internet is a thing we do. It might be righteous to hope to save it. Yet, righteousness is an oil that leaks from fundamentalist engines, machines oblivious to the flesh their gears butcher. […]
    So as you proceed with your protests, I wonder if you might also ask, quietly, to yourself even, what new growth might erupt if we let the Internet as we know it burn."
    — What Do We Save When We Save the Internet? (via cyborgmemoirs)

    (Source: The Atlantic, via criminal-delirium)


  3. "Any hot medium allows of less participation than a cool one, as a lecture makes for less participation than a seminar, and a book for less than a dialogue. With print many earlier forms were excluded from life and art, and many were given strange new intensity. But our own time is crowded with examples of the principle that the hot form excludes, and the cool one includes… Intensity or high definition engenders specialism and fragmentation in living as in entertainment, which explains why any intense experience must be “forgotten,” “censored,” and reduced to a very cool state before it can be “learned” or assimilated. The Freudian “censor” is less of a moral function than an indispensable condition of learning. Were we to accept fully and directly every shock to our various structures of awareness, we would soon be nervous wrecks, doing double-takes and pressing panic buttons every minute. The “censor” protects our central system of values, as it does our physical nervous system by simply cooling off the onset of experience a great deal. For many people, this cooling system brings on a lifelong state of psychic rigor mortis, or somnambulism, particularly observable in periods of new technology."
    — Marshall McLuhan - Understanding Media

  4. "Moreover, we cannot give an undistorted account of ‘a person’ without giving an account of his relation with others. Even an account of one person cannot afford to forget that each person is always acting upon others and acted upon by others. The others are there also. No one acts or experiences in a vacuum. The person whom we describe, and over whom we theorize, is not the only agent in his ‘world’. How he perceives and acts towards the others, how they perceive and act towards him, how he perceives them as perceiving him, how they perceive him as perceiving them, are all aspects of ‘the situation’. They are all pertinent to understanding one person’s participation in it."
    — r.d. laing, self and others (via becoming-vverevvolf)
  5. reckon:

    How James Joyce Got Awake


    (via mscontrarian)

  6. Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.

    - Marshall McLuhan


  7. This does not mean that ethnographic research does not get it wrong or that inferences are not made rather it is understood that any statement about the nature of the audience needs to move beyond mere speculation or self-reflection. Qualitative methodology does not get at an essential Truth; rather it grounds its inferences concerning the audience within the confines of actual audience practices. Furthermore qualitative methodologies attempt to keep in sight the highly reflexive stance that the researcher constructs around the knowledge of the audience through a complex interaction with the very “object” of knowledge. The ethnographic researcher in the field recognizes that this minefield, so to speak, is the only terrain in which to meet the audience and come to some understanding of its nature. In this sense ethnographic research of audiences are always ethnographies, multiple and contingent.

  8. theparisreview:

    Speakers of English may be unusually ill-equipped to describe smells. Our language lacks, for instance, a word meaning “to have a bloody smell which attracts tigers.”

    For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.


  9. For Metz then the film spectator’s ability to hold two “two contradictory opinions” is rooted in the early experience of the child’s disavowal of castration by maintaining a belief in the maternal phallus. Metz maintains that this is the root or “matrix” of the ability to psychically hold two different emotional experiences which the cinematic apparatus then activates. The spectator is split in two different states; there is an incredulous spectator that knows the events on the screen are merely projected light and are fictional (that is, there is in the spectator a deeper psychic layer that perceives that the mother does not posses a penis and therefore is castrated) and a credulous spectator that believes the events and characters on the screen are real (that is, there is in the spectator a refusal to believe that the mother is castrated and a desire to believe she has a penis). For Metz, fundamental to the film-viewing situation is the continual back and forth splitting of consciousness and belief based on this primary fetishistic disavowal. (It is fetishistic because it allows simultaneous elaboration of two contradictory meanings and experiences.) The consciousness of the spectator is divided; a no to reality and a yes to the cinematic dream. This does not mean that looking at the screen is like looking at the castrated mother, but that the cinematic experience is made possible by and recapitulates for the film spectator the earlier unconscious experience.


  10. "

    Languages animate objects by giving them names, making them noticeable when we might not otherwise be aware of them. Tuvan has a word iy (pronounced like the letter e), which indicates the short side of a hill.

    I had never noticed that hills had a short side. But once I learned the word, I began to study the contours of hills, trying to identify the iy. It turns out that hills are asymmetrical, never perfectly conical, and indeed one of their sides tends to be steeper and shorter than the others.

    If you are riding a horse, carrying firewood, or herding goats on foot, this is a highly salient concept. You never want to mount a hill from the iy side, as it takes more energy to ascend, and an iy descent is more treacherous as well. Once you know about the iy, you see it in every hill and identify it automatically, directing your horse, sheep, or footsteps accordingly.

    This is a perfect example of how language adapts to local environment, by packaging knowledge into ecologically relevant bits. Once you know that there is an iy, you don’t really have to be told to notice it or avoid it. You just do. The language has taught you useful information in a covert fashion, without explicit instruction.

    — K. David Harrison, The Last Speakers (via thelazypolyglot)

    (Source: simhasanam, via overweight-and-overdressed)


  11. It is crucial that hailing be viewed as the first step in a series of institutionally grounded material practices which command us without having to pass through consciousness at all.  Althusser sees ideology as a set of material practices or rituals which we are always already inserted into once we recognize the hailing.  As we are hailed and recognize ourselves as that subject being hailed, we are being constituted as ideological subjects within a social order with prescribed roles, rules, ideas and practices that seem to us natural.  In this sense ideology is a set of predictions which we fulfill and thus legitimate.  Although Althusser never articulated the different registers of this materiality, we can begin to analyze these practices or rituals.  Furthermore Althusser’s notion of ideology, with its notion of institutional rituals implies that we need not behave as fearful subjects but that we always see ourselves within these institutions as consenting free individuals who perceive the system’s roles, rules and rituals as our own; the external compulsion must be felt as an internal motivation and act of free will.


  12. The word “tyrannically” illustrates how Baudrillard views these categories of objects (and consumption in general) as social control.  Baudrillard, writing this book from a Marxist perspective, views the logic of this order of commodity-signs as a triumph of capitalism in its struggle to impose a cultural and symbolic order compatible with capitalism and the mass production of commodities.  These objects and their meanings are imposed from above through the ubiquitous technologies of consumption e.g. advertising, marketing, design, market research.  They are regulative agents in the economic and cultural domain that allows for the constant production and consumption of commodities within a social arena that always looks and feels natural and part of our common sense view of the world. 

    Commodities materialize immaterial classifications like status and social standing and stem their inevitable drift.   Because the use of commodities is no longer tied to defined needs their ability to signify connotations becomes infinite and connects to a logic of desire.  Historically capitalist production outstripped the range of human needs and recognized the necessity for an ever expanding mode of consumption if consumption was to keep pace with production.  The logic of desire opens up a more flexible system which follows not the fulfillment of individual need but the competition and rivalry of conspicuous consumption.  Consumers under the logic of desire play with commodity connotations in a social field composed of competition and difference.  However Baudrillard suggests that the logic of the commodity-sign is increasingly displacing all the other social logics.  It is the “semiological reduction” that is reducing the symbolic.  Baudrillard has a very specific definition of the symbolic; it is the object as it is exchanged in ritual or traditional contexts.  For example a wedding ring is a good current example.  This object must be this specific object and no other.  In anthropological literature it is the objects and context of the potlatch and the kula.  The symbolic use of objects and consumption is strictly opposed to the commodity-sign which is abstract and interchangeable.