Voyou Désœuvré

@voyou My Top 3 #lastfm Artists: Kitten (72), f(x) (47) & Girls Aloud (17) http://bit.ly/c92RWg 28 Jul 14 Reply Retweet Favorite

Grand Budapest Hotel Perfume

In the essay “Utopia as Replication”, Jameson suggests we consider Walmart as an example of how “the most noxious phenomena can serve as the repository and hiding place for all kinds of unsuspected wish-fulfilments and utopian fantasies”. Jameson intends this as a bit of a provocation, but I wonder if Walmart isn’t actually too easy a choice for the “paradoxical affirmation” of “what is most exploitative and dehumanizing in the working life of capitalism”. Walmart’s vastness of scale and remorselessness give it an aesthetic alibi, allying it with a tradition of modernist creative destruction which is likely to be attractive, at least to the sort of people who read Jameson. To really follow through Jameson’s project of unearthing the “utopian impulse”, we need to consider an aspect of capitalism that is not just exploitative but also in bad taste; for a certain strand of contemporary opinion, that would be “twee”, the kind of cutesily-retro faux-petit-bourgeois capitalism of cupcake shops and Cath Kidston. Read more↴

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    I haven’t paid much attention to Left Unity, because TBH a group organised around the electoral road to social democracy seems more like an Old Labour re-enactment society than a viable political trajectory. Apparently, at their recent conference they decided not to adopt a basic income as a policy, which some have taken as a […]

  • Tolerance and the city February 6, 2014

    I like The Carrie Diaries, the prequel to Sex and the City on the teen-focussed CW network, a lot. It’s a fun show, but there’s an underlying issue-of-the-week earnestness to it which differentiates it from Gossip Girl (with which it shares a production team) and which I like to think is a period detail, harking back to 1980s […]

  • You want full communism? You better sublate work, bitch October 24, 2013

    Britney’s new song has been widely condemned as pure ideology; this piece in the Guardian is typical, arguing that the song reflects a contemporary, “religious” commitment to the value of work. That’s not what the song sounds like to me; it’s not so much capitalist ideology as capitalist id. While the official capitalist ethic proposes the necessity of hard work as the ground of equality, the capitalist id glories in the reality that you have to work while (indeed, because), capital doesn’t.

  • 8tracks mixtape themes I can’t think of eight tracks for August 17, 2013

    Walmart as Utopia. Obviously there are lots of songs about conspicuous consumption, but most of them are about a fantasy level of consumption which is unattainable (probably, for the artist; certainly, for most of their audience). I think Jay-Z has actually produced the Adornian nec plus ultra of this genre with “Picasso Baby.” How do you […]

  • Communism equals soviet power plus amazon.com July 20, 2013

    I don’t get this idea that figuring out communist logistics is somehow a uniquely pressing political task. — Voyou Désœuvré (@voyou) May 13, 2013 I may have been a bit disingenuous when I tweeted the above; I don’t “get” the turn to communist logistics in the sense of finding it an appealing position, but I […]

snippets

  • The Inspired Voyage of Patrick Leigh Fermor by Daniel Mendelsohn

    Small wonder that a salient feature of Leigh Fermor’s style is the long list, that most unconstructed of devices. His penchant for lengthy enumerations confirms your suspicion that what delights this writer is the sheer abundance in the world of things for him to look at and learn about. Mani memorably opens with one such enumeration, in this case of the varieties of Greek communities throughout the world (to which the author hopes to add a group of Jews who, he has heard, live in the Mani):

    I thought of the abundance of strange communities: the scattered Bektashi and the Rufayan, the Mevlevi dervishes of the Tower of the Winds, the Liaps of Souli, the Pomaks of the Rhodope, the Kizilbashi near Kechro, the Fire-Walkers of Mavrolevki, the Lazi from the Pontic shores,…the phallus-wielding Bounariots of Tyrnavos, the Karamandlides of Cappadocia, the Tzakones of the Argolic gulf,… the Basilian Monks,…both Idiorrhythmic and Cenobitic, the anchorites of Mt. Athos, the Chiots of Bayswater and the Guards’ Club,…the Shqip-speaking Atticans of Sfax,…the exaggerators and the ghosts of Mykonos, the Karagounides of the Thessalian plain,…the princes and boyars of Moldowallachia, the Ralli Brothers of India,…the lepers of Spinalonga…—if all these, to name a few, why not the crypto-Jews of the Taygetus?

    There is an incantatory charm about such accumulations that, among other things, neutralizes the critical faculty. I have read this book three times—it is by far his best, a work in which the author’s high style finds an appropriate correlative in the piratical dash of his favorite region’s inhabitants—and have still never bothered to find out just who the “exaggerators of Mykonos” might be.

    I always thought it was weird, back when the OOO people were really into these long heterogeneous lists, which they called “Latour litanies”, that they were so uncurious about the history and rhetorical operation of the trope. But perhaps the lack of a critical appraisal was the rhetorical point all along.

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  • When microbes kill us, it‘s often by accident – Ed Yong – Aeon

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