Search results for "politics "

Draft review notes #3

Author: joe

Saturday, 12 September, 2009 - 15:17

[Some contextual notes for my PhD, regarding the status of participatory media in academia and industry]

So the everyday is always written off: the mass produce trash culture without quality; they fail to rise up and revolt and against the elites; and they are deceived by machinations against which they have no real defence.

A key characteristic of the critiques of the everyday is their insistance on the schism between the real and the ideal, or between appearance and reality. Marxist thought constantly seeks to portray the common man as a duped fool, a donkey of a man suffering under false consciousness: if only we could make him see the world as it truly is, without the miasma of ideology to cloud and befuddle his judgement and ability to act, then he might rise up and take for himself the world that is truly his.

The critique of propaganda and ideology also hinges on the notion that the popular consciousness cannot adequately grasp the real forces, determining events behind the scenes, hidden from view, available only to the most critically engaged and forensically committed minds. Chomsky's line is exemplary of this - his work is largely characterised by 'exposures' of hidden motives and explanatory forces which most other people fail to notice, presumably because they either choose to ignore the evidence or are too taken up in the ideological hegemony to be able to transcend the deceit.

The paragon of this mode of critique is Habermas, who seems determined to project an image of a utopian world - the world as it might be - which can only be reached by the most stringently impossible means. Citizens must be competent, capable, engaged, critically objective and rational, yet willing to listen to and understand other subjective views. The object of this rational-critical discourse is a endpoint at which disagreements will have been ironed out, intersubjectivities achieved - and presumably we will all just sit around gazing at each other in a stupor of silence since we'll have no differences to speak of or dialectical positions to bother articulating.

At the heart of Habermas' vision of rational progress to some humanistic utopia is Enlightenment: the rejection of tradition and any authority that is handed down, seen as so much dogma, in favour of rationally justifiable positions and truths which are available to us to produce without reference to the tyranny of conservatism and prejudice. What an attractive notion - the worldview of science itself, which takes no article on faith, but only on falsifiable and empirical merit!

I find it almost irresistable - the restive rejection of the chains of the past, and the embrace of a world made of iron ration and reason... and yet, yet... why must we constantly fall for this notion that the world is or should be other than it is? What is it about the way of the world that we must always feel it is inadequate? Why must we diagnose the life of the everyday world as somehow being wrong?

Categories: reality, appearance, idealism, Habermas, ration, reason, utopia, Chomsky, Marx, media, phd, politics, propaganda, ideology, revolution,
Comments: 0

Draft review notes #2

Author: joe

Wednesday, 02 September, 2009 - 21:45

[Some contextual notes for my PhD, regarding the status of participatory media in academia and industry]

So much for the pressure to conserve industry interests: capital ensures 'quality' and disseminates self-perpetuating ideological discourses, while the vernacular and the demotic voices are marginalised and reminded of their powerlessness. It isn't novel to diagnose the manipulative and ideological nature of the propaganda mechanisms which capital-oriented discourses mobilise, nor to articulate the ugly underlying fact that the economic capital base underlies and mutually reinforces the ideological superstructure of the persuasive agenda. Much of the substance of those liberal-arts-based media studies degrees which are chastised by the industry for being frivolous and out of touch (because they aren't authentically in touch with industry 'practice'), or misleading and duplicitous (because they hypocritically sell themselves as routes into industry), are often built around reworkings of these Chomskian or Marxist critiques of society, industry, and government.

Even so, Lenin's tantalising question 'what is to be done' is seldom asked in any kind of forceful way since the money follows political neutrality and technocracy. Discourses of academic detachment and objectivity are put in the service of the advancement of natural sciences or technological innovation, which not only have the convenient habit of disclaiming political interest or historical contingency, but of knowing full well that committing to an overtly apolitical or compliant agenda will both attract and perpetuate future funding.

It has always seemed to me that the grand tasks of 'fighting the superstructure' or 'fighting the base' are far too nebulous and mountainous tasks for the individual to countenance - I absolutely identify with Ulrich Beck's description of modern life as tragic in the sense that the world seems to be too big for any one of us to change it. How might one become a revolutionary? What could that possibly mean at a time when I barely have time to charge my laptop let alone charge my political consciousness? It is one thing to make the argument when the opportunity arises: it is another to be a revolutionary.

That question that so dogs Marxists: why does the common man and woman not rise up and take back what has been confiscated from them? Perhaps the thought that they must, later on today, go home and cook dinner; or that the freedom one has to buy contentment in the form of a iPhone or a hairdo might not be wholly delusional after all; perhaps the simple graspable facts of living are more immediate and more real than the abstract ideals to which revolutionaries must sacrifice their lives. What are these poor addled consumers to do?

Categories: Chomsky, Marx, media, politics, propaganda, ideology, academia, revolution, what-is-to-be-done,
Comments: 2

'Conference eaten by black hole,' wishes Joe

Author: joe

Tuesday, 26 September, 2006 - 23:44

Blair said you have to be a fully paid up member of the human race, before being a fully paid up member of the labour party. I think he was implying that that was what he was, first - a real person.

I am unconvinced. Thatcher was a fully paid up member of the human race. She could at least inspire hatred and anger, in unparalleled capacities. She lived among us, at least in the sense that we noticed her to the extent that we wanted to kill her, mercilessly, slowly, publicly and vindictively..

Blair is, on the contrary, scarcely worth the emotion. In twenty years' time, will people remember him with such convulsion - either positive or negative - as do people who lived through, and still react to, Maggie? I imagine his insides have been eaten away by spinning nano-bots, leaving a fully functioning shell of political veneer. But his estimation of his legacy surely betrays his excellent acting skills, else he must be Canut - 'Under this government, the tide is lower than when we came to power, while the summertime has not failed to arrive at least - but no more than - once a year. What other party can say the same?'

He inspires no Shipbuilding. The otherwise intelligent people I know who say that his heart is in the right place, seem to overlook that there is no heart. He believes in nothing but himself. Here is walking proof of the notion that socialists slide towards totalitarianism, and that capitalists tend to fascism. In his embrace of the third way he demonstrates that any glimpse of autocracy makes political figures of any persuasion succumb to the belief that they alone, can succeed in guiding a nation where all others will fail.

Thatcher had an Assisi-complex, but Blair has a messiah-complex, and like all messiahs (who are all fake), they are only partly human.

Categories: blair, labour, politics, thatcher, messiah, asshole,
Comments: 1

Richard Dawkins for president of the world

Author: joe

Monday, 09 January, 2006 - 21:41

I have just finished watching the first episode of Richard Dawkins' new series on Channel 4, The Root of All Evil.

Firstly, the most pressing thing to say is that this is the best and most important piece of programming I have seen on the Television since Adam Curtis' The Power of Nightmares.

Secondly, Dawkins must be congratulated for having the courage of his convictions and pressing his views home in the face of undoubted risk from fundamentalist fascists who may now consider him a target.

Thirdly, why did the editors of this programme feel the need to switch a to 'fly-on-the-wall' documentary style whenever Dawkins' exposition veered towards blasphemy? Channel 4 would have shown real conviction by allowing Dawkins to lay out his arguments in the same way that Robert Winston is allowed to present his, or likewise Schama is able to expound on his subject. By using editing techniques to signify that Dawkins is presenting a 'point-of-view', they defeat the entire object of his argument.

Fourthly, I would like to see the BBC dare to produce programming like this in a prime-time slot.

Finally, why are there only two episodes, and not an entire digital channel?

That aside, hurrah, bravo, make the man a mullah, etc

Categories: science, fundamentalism, religion, education, media, fascism, politics, documentary, television, faith, reason,
Comments: 0