Steven Shaviro has posted his response to my and three other “curators’ notes” on his Post-Cinematic Affect.
The twists and turns of the discussions that have followed each of the daily commentaries have been fascinating. Somehow we’ve gone from a discussion of recent cinema to theorizing about affect and the limitations of recent affect theory (under the sign of Spinoza, Deleuze, and Silvan Tomkins), metabolism and panpsychism, magic (homeopathic and other kinds), fashion, “cinesensuality” and allure, Lady Gaga, YouTube and its “free labor,” and back again to capital and the possibilities for resistance, liberation, and alternative logics.
Okay, it’s just an ad… and for a book that focuses on a single node within a complex, multi-scaled set of relations. But that node ought to be obvious, and the fact that it isn’t tells us as much about the last 40 years as we need to know to start fixing things.
In response to my Dharma of file sharing post, visual artist Tom Gokey, whose work readers may know from Speculations journal, shared a link to his video on “Public Libraries, 3D Printing, FabLabs, and Hackerspaces.” It is… stunning in its implications. Just watch.
The democratization of production? The total plasticization of the world?
Whatever one may think of Brian Leiter as a philosopher (and I have no strong opinions, not having read any of his books), he has to be commended for having what may be the best philosopher’s blog for conversations on yesterday’s Canadian election.
I was going to post something to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, but Sarah Phillips has already posted something so good, saying many of the things I would have wanted to say, that I will simply link to her article at Somatosphere and add some personal notes of my own. The result reads more like a love letter to post-Chernobyl Ukraine than a lament. So be it.
First, a couple of choice bits from Sarah’s article:
UW Madison has done an exemplary job responding to the Wisconsin Republican Party’s efforts to intimidate eminent environmental historian William Cronon. The two documents, by the university’s legal counsel and by chancellor Biddy Martin, are well worth reading and are available on Cronon’s blog. While many of the legalities are specific to Wisconsin, the principles aren’t. They deserve a congratulatory shout-out for upholding the best academic and legal traditions.
The story of the Wisconsin Republican Party vs. environmental historian Bill Cronon makes for a rare example of a single academic’s blogging activism (blogtivism, to use that ugly word) going viral.
You’ve probably heard the basic outline of what’s happened already: Cronon became interested in finding out who was behind the controversial legislation crafted by Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker, posting about it on his blog, Scholar as Citizen. The state GOP responded by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to have access to all his personal emails including any reference to a range of words (like “Republican”), names, and topics. Cronon responded publicly to the scare tactic, and the rest is becoming history.
According to Cronon, his blog has received more than TWO MILLION (!!) hits over a 24-hour period — unheard of for an academic blog post. The New York Times has crafted an editorial responding to the story, scheduled to appear in its paper tomorrow (but readable online today).
Did someone mention anything about the risks (and/or virtues) of blogging?
A few observations from the events of the last week or so:
(1) Tsunamis happen. When they do, in a globally media-connected world, they bring us all a little closer together. (Not all of us; those who don’t wish to be brought closer may drift further apart. But, to risk getting overly psychoanalytical, those who’ve had a reasonably loving upbringing, or those whose instincts and/or the influences they were exposed to helped them overcome a loveless upbringing, will drift closer together — because empathy works on, with, and through them, and the images and thoughts of tragedy resonate.) This is something new in human history, and it gives me cause for hope.
Part of Jodi Dean‘s response to her critics was this paragraph:
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of communism is its capacity to return, throughout history, as an aspiration, even in the face of counter revolution, active hostility, defeat, war, etc. Communism is irreducible to the conflicts of the 20th century. I think the reason is that “from each according to ability to each according to need” is an axiom of working and living together with undeniable power.