version

Well-known member
It's not just the act of buying the stuff. It's also that it doesn't really have any purchase on me. I'll pick up a book on theory or politics like I will a detective novel. It's just something interesting to read, but it feels as though it should be more than that. I don't spend my time in a permanent state of anxiety over it and usually just get on with reading whatever I'm reading, but it crosses my mind from time to time.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
It's not just the act of buying the stuff. It's also that it doesn't really have any purchase on me. I'll pick up a book on theory or politics like I will a detective novel. It's just something interesting to read, but it feels as though it should be more than that. I don't spend my time in a permanent state of anxiety over it and usually just get on with reading whatever I'm reading, but it crosses my mind from time to time.

Do you want to study it? If not that's also fine, but I think that is your anxiety.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Like think about it like Westside Gunn. If you want it to tell you already what you know, then that's of little use. But if you want to see what the theory is in dialogue with, that can give you many branching off points.
 

version

Well-known member
Do you want to study it? If not that's also fine, but I think that is your anxiety.
Some of it, yeah. I've been reading and enjoying Baudrillard recently and I'm enjoying this Monsieur Dupont thing atm.

I think part of it's that the diagnosis is often much more convincing than the proposed solutions. You read something like Capitalist Realism and recognise the issues he's pointing out then you get to the "Marxist Supernanny" thing and the stuff about rationing at the end and think "Dunno about that, mate". And it feels like that process over and over when I read theory, which is partly what the thread's about. The idea of lots of venting and not much else.

A similar thing occurred to me watching a Spielberg interview after watching Munich the other night. He said he wasn't trying to answer questions with the film, just raise them, which is fine, but we generally seem to raise a lot more questions than we even attempt to answer. Surely someone has to make a decision or judgement at some point? In that sense, I kind of admire Vollmann for trying to come up with a "moral calculus for the justification of violence". You're sticking your neck out attempting something like that.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Some of it, yeah. I've been reading and enjoying Baudrillard recently and I'm enjoying this Monsieur Dupont thing atm.

I think part of it's that the diagnosis is often much more convincing than the proposed solutions. You read something like Capitalist Realism and recognise the issues he's pointing out then you get to the "Marxist Supernanny" thing and the stuff about rationing at the end and think "Dunno about that, mate". And it feels like that process over and over when I read theory, which is partly what the thread's about. The idea of lots of venting and not much else.

A similar thing occurred to me watching a Spielberg interview after watching Munich the other night. He said he wasn't trying to answer questions with the film, just raise them, which is fine, but we generally seem to raise a lot more questions than we even attempt to answer. Surely someone has to make a decision or judgement at some point? In that sense, I kind of admire Vollmann for trying to come up with a "moral calculus for the justification of violence". You're sticking your neck out attempting something like that.

Sure but my point was, are you interested in where Mark got the capitalist realism idea from? Cos its not original to him is it. It's not very marxist either, but I'm not going to do the work for you.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Sure but my point was, are you interested in where Mark got the capitalist realism idea from? Cos its not original to him is it. It's not very marxist either, but I'm not going to do the work for you.

Sorry that sounded snarkier than intended. I mean of course I can go into capitalist realism, i just don't feel like it. What I meant was more that I don't see theory as something I personally agree or disagree with but a tradition, in a similar way to the hard sciences.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I think Version's take on reading theory is OK really. It's fine to read stuff and try to understand it and then refine your ideas about the world.

Doing all that is better than pretending that doing that is "activism" or that you are now some kind of ultra left intellectual or whatever.
 

version

Well-known member
Sure but my point was, are you interested in where Mark got the capitalist realism idea from? Cos its not original to him is it. It's not very marxist either, but I'm not going to do the work for you.
Yeah, I am. I know the "easier to imagine the end of the world... " thing is supposed to be Zizek or Jameson, but I assume you're talking about more than that.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
I think Version's take on reading theory is OK really. It's fine to read stuff and try to understand it and then refine your ideas about the world.

Doing all that is better than pretending that doing that is "activism" or that you are now some kind of ultra left intellectual or whatever.

Never said it wasn't. But one can become a theory head in the same way that someone could be a casual listener of everything or a partisan music head. And let's not forget that a lot of people find music heads insufferable.
 

version

Well-known member
I think Version's take on reading theory is OK really. It's fine to read stuff and try to understand it and then refine your ideas about the world.

Doing all that is better than pretending that doing that is "activism" or that you are now some kind of ultra left intellectual or whatever.
Yeah, this is basically it really. I'm not an activist or even particularly radical, but I've some sympathy for it and find it interesting.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Yeah, this is basically it really. I'm not an activist or even particularly radical, but I've some sympathy for it and find it interesting.

Don't worry, activism is anticommunist anyway. In the sense that activism itself becomes a job, a career, a specialised area of enquiry. rRather than abolishing the division of labour it further strengthens it.

Even the old skool social democrats and statists of the early 20th century would have found the term incomprehensible.
 

thirdform

Well-known member

Thought, enlightenment conscious of itself, threatens to disenchant the pseudo-reality within which actionism moves…[A]ctionism is tolerated only because it is considered pseudo-reality. Pseudo-reality is conjoined with, as its subjective attitude, pseudo-activity: action that overdoes and aggravates itself for the sake of its own publicity, without admitting to itself to what extent it serves as a substitute satisfaction, elevated into an end in itself. (“Resignation” in Critical Models, pg. 291)
 

version

Well-known member
... activism itself becomes a job, a career, a specialised area of enquiry.
Yeah, that seems to happen with everything and I struggle to take the stuff seriously as a result. The leftist infighting on Twitter is ridiculous, like that shit the other week with the Current Affairs writers claiming they tried to unionise and were fired. It just looked like careerists on all sides using the language of activism.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Yeah, that seems to happen with everything and I struggle to take the stuff seriously as a result. The leftist infighting on Twitter is ridiculous, like that shit the other week with the Current Affairs writers claiming they tried to unionise and were fired. It just looked like careerists on all sides using the language of activism.

Well, they are activists.
 

luka

Well-known member
Yeah, that seems to happen with everything and I struggle to take the stuff seriously as a result. The leftist infighting on Twitter is ridiculous, like that shit the other week with the Current Affairs writers claiming they tried to unionise and were fired. It just looked like careerists on all sides using the language of activism.
this is all there is. everyone is a liberal.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Never said it wasn't. But one can become a theory head in the same way that someone could be a casual listener of everything or a partisan music head. And let's not forget that a lot of people find music heads insufferable.
Word.
 
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