Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

“But then again, who does?”

blade_runner_final_cut Taking a stand on the perennial Blade Runner debate, Žižek declares that Deckard is indeed a replicant, and that the fact that the film doesn’t make this explicit is a “conformist compromise which cuts off the subversive edge” of the film’s “blurring of the line of distinction between humans and androids” (Tarrying With the Negative, 11). But surely this is the wrong way around: if Deckard is simply a replicant, there’s no blurring of the distinction between humans and androids, because all Deckard’s apparently android qualities are explained by his actually being an android; the moral of the story becomes, “sucks to be a replicant.”

This is not to deny, of course, that there is a great deal of evidence in the film that suggests that Deckard is a replicant. But what blurs the distinction between human and android is the film’s refusal to confirm what it constantly implies about Deckard, which is the best illustration of Žižek’s point that “the difference which makes me ‘human’ and not a replicant is to be discerned nowhere in ‘reality'” (40). One could even defend the original ending in these terms (which Žižek calls an “imbecile happy-ending”); even if Deckard and Rachel did escape to live a complete life together, it would never be long enough to prove them human.

How does one philosophize with a prospective temporality?

K-punk writes:

One of the strange things about Badiou is the curious retrospective temporality of his literally post-modernist philosophy – this is what it was to be a militant, this is what it was to fall in love… well, yes, but, now what? What’s rousing about The Meaning Of Sarkozy is precisely the call to start again from nothing.

The apparent oddity of this paragraph—that k-punk criticizes Badiou for something for which Badiou himself is held up as the alternative—actually demonstrates something interesting about Badiou. One of Badiou’s most important ideas is his insistence on separating politics and philosophy, a position which evidences a certain modesty about philosophy; despite his avowed Platonism, Badiou would agree with Hegel’s criticism: Read more↴


I’ve just realized why I enjoy reading Hegel so much. Compare:

The principle of family life is dependence on the soil, on land, terra firma. Similarly, the natural element for industry, animating its outward movement, is the sea. Since the passion for gain involves risk, industry though bent on gain yet lifts itself above it; instead of remaining rooted to the soil and the limited circle of civil life with its pleasures and desires, it embraces the element of flux, danger, and destruction. Further, the sea is the greatest means of communication, and trade by sea creates commercial connections between distant countries and so relations involving contractual rights. At the same time, commerce of this kind is the most potent instrument of culture, and through it trade acquires its significance in the history of the world. (The Philosophy of Right)

Watch: Vizzini on dialectics


Steven Shaviro writes about post-celebrity celebrity while NBC is running trailers for the new American version of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here (regrettably, due to the intervention of the courts, not starring Rod Blagojevich). The arrival of this show from the UK disappoints me a little; American TV, with the respectful celebrity reporting of Entertainment Tonight and the always-suited late-night talk show hosts, seemed like the last redoubt of the aura of celebrity, which the celebrity reality genre decisively does away with.

The image of non-glamor is a great deal of work. It’s not a surprise that the celebrity reality genre arrived in the UK so much earlier than in the US; as with so much else (Thatcher, financialization), the UK exhibits the tendencies of late capitalism in a purer form, with celebrity having been abolished over there a long time ago. Read more↴

There’s no such thing as a first draft

There have been a number of great posts recently at Object Oriented Philosophy about being a grad student and/or academic, and the writing process in particular; but this latest I find utterly incomprehensible:

I sat down, and simply wrote it straight through. 12 pages. How long did it take? Geez, maybe 2 hours, maybe 3 hours…. The point is…I paid no attention to style. That’s for later.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve read or heard advice like this, but I’ve never understood it. What does it mean to write without paying attention to style? What is writing without style? Isn’t writing the process of taking something that doesn’t quite exist, the content of ones thoughts, and making it exist by supplying it with a form? So to write without paying attention to style would be to not write at all.

Graham Harman’s written quite a bit about the importance of style, as a matter of essence rather than mere decoration; so it’s odd to see him suggesting the virtues (indeed, the possibility) of writing without attention to style. I wonder what he means by it.

“I love it so much, this smell of the asphalt”

Watch: t.A.T.u. – Paving the road to fame