Voyou Désœuvré

We have all reason to rejoice that the things which environ us are appearances and not steadfast and independent existences; since in that case we should soon perish of hunger, both bodily and mental. (Hegel)

If aesthetics is first philosophy, perhaps we should replace the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” with “why does what is, appear?” This is the question that underlies my concerns with Harman’s withdrawn objects. Harman does think that objects do appear despite their withdrawal, and the relationship (tension?) between real objects and the sensuous objects, in which they appear and through which they interact, is central to his philosophy. Harman (or, I should say, Guerilla Metaphysics; doubtless he’s written more on this since) doesn’t address the question of how these sensuous objects appear, and I have difficulty seeing how his philosophy could explain that. If the object is wholly withdrawn, how could anything of the object appear? Indeed, in what way would the appearance of a wholly withdrawn object be the appearance of that object, rather than some other object? In this way, it seems to me that Harman’s theory actually risks destroying the objects it is supposed to be celebrating: if there is no way of understanding the connection between the table and the appearance of a table, in what sense is the thing genuinely a table, or a horse, or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? Read more↴

In other music news, the new J Stalin album, Prenuptial Agreement, is AMAZING. It’s the best hip-hop record I’ve heard in a long time, probably since The College Dropout. It’s great enough that there’s a rapper called J Stalin; it’s really icing on the cake that he produces tracks as great as, say, “Red and Blue Lights.” One thing I find interesting about the album, and probably one of the reasons I like it so much, is how much some of its synths and beats sound like grime, particularly certain Ruff Sqwad tracks or some of Target’s productions for Roll Deep. This occurred to me a little bit when I heard Philthy Rich’s recent album, but it’s really true of J Stalin. My favorite track on the album, “G in me,” is a great example of how well this grime-hyphy movement works. I guess where grime took dance music and moved towards hip-hop, J Stalin is moving in the other direction, but I’m glad they both end up in such a great place, musically.

The title of this post comes from J Stalin’s “Rockin Wit Da Best”; I hope it’s the Trotsky reference it appears to be. Also, when did people start using the expression “hot mess”? I don’t think I’d heard it six months ago, and now it’s the title of songs by Ashley Tisdale and Cobra Starship (who I was going to call “incomparably shit,” but of course their shitness is precisely comparable to that of 3OH!3), and crops up in a couple of tracks on Prenuptial Agreement and Animal.