Voyou Désœuvré

In which I round up unrelated thoughts about this year’s music

When “The Edge of Glory” came out, I described it as like Jason Nevins remixing Kelly Clarkson; should probably have clarified that this was intended as praise, an attempt to convey the splendid excessiveness of the song. Indeed, the song has become my favorite track of the year, and the more I listen to it the more it seems to be even more overstuffed than a Jason Nevins remix. Much the same could be said of Born This Way, and while the continuing parade of terrible lyrics, ridiculous outfits, and 13-minute videos got a bit wearing, I think it’s important to maintain fidelity to the Gaga event. Read more↴

The Terminator (1984) and Terminator: Salvation (2009) make great bookends to neoliberalism. Terminator is about the rise of neoliberalism: a woman is hunted down by a representative of the future, a future manifest in a machine hidden within human flesh. This future seems unstoppable until, in the final scenes the fleshly machine is destroyed by the more honest Fordist machines of an American factory. As an allegory of neoliberalism, this is utopian, as the future of outsourcing and just-in-time production that the terminator represents was already on well on it’s way to being established by 1984; and by being utopian, it’s also reactionary, because it mistakes Fordism, a temporary compromise with capitalism, for something desirable in itself, and so focuses on an unwinnable and anyway unworthy defensive struggle, rather than thinking of new ways of going beyond capitalism. Of course (and I think this is what has given The Terminator such a lasting legacy), the film is quite aware of this, ending with Sarah Conor aware of the inevitability of the neoliberal apocalypse, and searching for ways to prepare for it.

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