Sometimes, critique of ideology is just a matter of displacing the accent.  Fox News’s Glenn Beck, the infamous Groucho Marx of the populist Right, deserves his reputation for provoking laughter –  but not where he intends to do so.  The dramaturgy of his typical routine begins with a violently satiric presentation of his opponents and their arguments, accompanied by a grimacing worthy of Jim Carrey; this part, which is supposed to make us laugh, is then followed by a “serious” sentimental moral message.  But we should simply postpone our laughter to this concluding moment: it is the stupidity of the final “serious” point which is laughable, not the acerbic satire whose vulgarity should merely embarrass any decent thinking person.

Zizek, Slavoj.  (2010).  Living in the end times. London: Verso Books.  4, footnote 2.

Advertisements

I am no longer sure ‘Distractions’ is appropriate.  The summer gig is under way and that is the main distraction from my writing.  But it’s not superfluous like a distraction is.  It’s just a higher priority for the time being.

A lot of processing is done on the computer, so I have spent a lot of time on Netflix streaming The Office.  Why don’t more TV vendors do this?  It will end up on the Net eventually, but if on Netflix or on Hulu then, at least, they make some money off of it.  Here’s the better test.  The shows that I do follow, that are available for me to view for free, even though Netflix is a sunk cost, are harder for me to find on the free non-compensating sites.  Plus, the HBO shows could probably fetch higher premiums from Netflix because havign those shows stream might attract members.

It’s always comforting to find a well known author speak to my overriding sense of theory: there is too much focus, often unacknowledged, on the mind and not enough on the body/mind organism.  Here’s Paul Auster talking about the organism:

Writing is physical for me.  I always have the sense that the words are coming out of my body, not just my mind….Not only do you write books physically, but you read books physically as well.  There’s something about the rhythms of language that correspond to the rhythms of our own bodies.  An attentive reader is finding meanings in the book that can’t be articulated, finding them in his or her body. (2007, 27)

How very Massumi of Auster.

Alexander Star, the editor of Lingua Franca, has a piece about the state of fiction.  It’s mainly a review of literature, which concludes by aping the famous Jonathan Franzen essay.  Not impressive, but it is a good read if you are interested in a survey of the debate.  A debate that has apparently been put to rest since 1996.  Yawn.

A short diddy by a high school friend at The Second Pass about Glenn Beck’s new novel.  It includes links to more robust … hilarity.

Auster, Paul.  (2007).  Jonathan Lethem talks to Paul Auster.  In V. Vida, ed.  (2007).  The Believer book of writers talking to writers (25-42).  NY: Believer Books.

In his famous but falsified engraving of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere tried to render the “motley rabble” respectable by leaving black faces out of the crowd and putting in entirely too many gentlemen. (Linebaugh et al. 2000, 233)

Sailors and slaves, once necessary parts of the revolutionary coalition, were thus read out of the settlement at revolution’s end.  Of the five workingmen killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770, John Adams had written, “The blood of the martyrs, right or wrong, proved to be the seed of the congregation.”  Yet had Crispus Attucks – slave, sailor and mob leader – survived the fire of British muskets, he would not have been allowed to join the congregation, or new nation, he had helped to create.”  (Linebaugh et al. 2000, 240.)

Linebaugh, Peter and Marcus Rediker.  (2000).  The many headed-hydra: Sailors, slaves, commoners, and the hidden history of the revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press.