My Generation in Fragments (#1)

My Generation in Fragments #1

What follows are some brief notes from a journey into the psychosis of a generation. I approached my topic in an “automatic” way, beginning with a first thought (a troubling line in a Marling song) and elaborating upon it. But, very quickly a pattern emerged through the convergence of consumerism, technologism and masochism. I keep my notes to a minimum; what follows is a collage of fragments.

Wit

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‘My partner’s addiction to porn is ruining our sex life’

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 February 2011 21.00 GMT

I love my partner of four years dearly. But for the first year we had sex only three times because he was a heavy porn user. He stopped and our sex life improved. But he started using online comment sites all day and night instead. I lost it over how anti-feminist much of the comment was (although the site was supposedly progressive) and felt I could not hold his attention.

We broke up for a month, but leaving him was unbelievably painful. He agreed to limit his time online and as he did not have an internet connection at work, our relationship was good, especially sexually. Now he has gone back to using porn again with the same results. He has declined to watch it with me but seems unable to stop. We get on well but does this relationship have any future?

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Comments:

nimbin

3 February 2011 11:21PM                                                                   Recommend (36)

What sort of porn is he into, he may have some fetishes that are not being fulfilled.
You could try becoming the porn, show him that the real thing is better than watching, unless watching is what turns him on. If watching is his thing let him watch you being naughty. Participate communicate find out what is ringing his bells watch with him and make sexy comments.

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Laura Marling and Masochistic tendencies:

And the weak need to be led

And the tender I’ll carry to their bed

And it’s a pale and a cold affair

I’ll be damned if I’ll be found there

But give me to a rambling man

Let it always be known that I was who I am

In short: wish-fulfillment: reactionary desire to place faith in benign patriarch, who will lead us ‘weak’ who ‘need to be led’. Death-drive: escapism of ‘I’ll be damned if I’ll be found there’ and egotistical desire for posthumous recognition: ‘let it always be known that I was who I am.’

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This is what I was taught at school in History classes:

Model I was taught at school: left and right converge into fascism

“Extremism” is taught to be the enemy: extreme left and right positions merge into totalitarianism.

The result of this “lesson” is the utter evacuation of critique; a rationale for quietism; the shoring up of the status quo as “moderate”, “realistic” and “democratic”.

The “ideology of totalitarianism” is found in the slogans placed in the mouths of so many, parroted without thought or any basis in experience (after all, where is my generation to gain political experience in this ultra-alienating political moment?).

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‘Is the Theory of Communism right?’ (Nov 2010)

From: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.246681-Is-the-theory-of-communism-right

ravensheart18: Utopia is unattainable due to human nature.

Danny Ocean: If morally correct, then I know a huge number of people, especially Anglo-Americans, will dismiss it without a second thought. And rightly so- it goes against everything they stand for, and has so far has only led to totalitarianism.

DuctTapeJedi: It’s very noble concept, and I don’t think that it’s morally wrong, or anything. However, it is very to difficult to pull of in large scale, and can easily be corrupted.

nifedj: “Pure” Capitalism and “pure” communism both have major flaws – capitalism’s lack of regulation would lead to monopolies, cartels etc. and communism tends to spread wealth unfairly, stopping people being rewarded and thus discouraging them from aspiring to anything.

Why is communism so bad?, Yahoo Answers (2009)

Free Man: Communists have a history of legislating thought. Thoughts are the last unconquered vestige of human freedom. They steal people’s religions from them and murder people almost at random. […] Communism has been an overreaction filled with pride and hateful bigotry that has erased many of the revolutionaries higher moral ground they had when they first became angry at the economic inequalities of people. A balanced compassionate moderate approach to social justice is still in order while violent extremism and vise-like government intrusiveness continues to defame leftist thinking.

Laelia: It sounds nice in theory, but the reality is that people are greedy, lazy bastards. People want more than just enough to live on. Because in a capitalist society people can change jobs at will and move up in the world, people are willing to do the base jobs because they know they won’t be spending their whole life at them unless they choose to do so. It’s the same with going through the process of becoming a doctor – it’s *extremely* hard, so there needs to be motivation to actually go through with it.

Because people are lazy, greedy bastards, the only way to make them adhere to this system is through force. Even then, it’s somewhat iffy. Communism has gotten a worse rap than it deserves because of the scaremongering in the United States, but it’s far from an ideal system.

Always the recourse to “human nature”… without (ironically) the recognition that, if this “greediness and laziness” is actually our inherent nature (which I doubt), then capitalism is the worst “system” to have in place. For capitalism actively encourages competition and concentration of wealth, the only counterbalance being working-class movements and demands.

Are these opinions original thought? Are they based on personal experience or knowledge of history? No, of course not – despite frequent recourse to ‘facts’ about the USSR. What are they based on, then? They are based solely on ideology; this is capitalist propaganda.

See this report on historical revisionism, also:

Communism may be dead, but clearly not dead enough

The battle over history reflects a determination to prove that no political alternative can challenge the new global capitalism

Seumas Milne
Thursday 16 February 2006
The Guardian

Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre seems once again to be haunting Europe. Last month, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the “crimes of totalitarian communist regimes”, linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still “legal and active in some countries”. Now Göran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further. Demands that European ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign – including school textbook revisions, official memorial days and museums – only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority. Yesterday, declaring himself delighted at the first international condemnation of this “evil ideology”, Lindblad pledged to bring the wider plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

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TECHNOLOGISM:

Aaron Peters on recent Higher Education debate:

What all parties neglect in the debate is the role of technological change and how it has already reduced the costs of what universities seek to do with students – namely reproduce, disseminate and explicate information. Indeed it has been contended that Moore’s Law, of exponential technological improvement, will have a greater impact on the quality of delivery in education (primary and secondary as much as tertiary, for that matter) than any increases in government spending or student spending over the coming period.

Laurie Penny:

How Twitter changed the face of dissent

Posted by Laurie Penny – 20 December 2010 13:48

Today, as social media come of age, the rules of resistance are undergoing a similar shift. Combine digital empowerment with a generation systematically deprived of economic security, and you have the perfect storm. Something huge is happening, and the word for that something is solidarity.

Solidarity has gone hypertextual. The student movement that made its voice so powerfully audible in the fee protests was largely organised on Twitter using the hashtag #solidarity. “Being able to contact thousands of people with one short tag was really important,” says Jessica, 20, a student activist who claims to have been “radicalised” by Twitter. “#Solidarity has very obviously now become the link between all of those fighting against the same government in different ways,” she goes on.

The notion of true solidarity between workers, students and activists was undermined in previous centuries by the fact that dissent was organised according to the old rules of business, with a central bureaucracy and a controlled message. Now, the economy of information has become collaborative.

“Thanks to the internet, the people are becoming the Panopticon – the all-seeing, ubiquitous power,” says Aaron Peters, who is working on a PhD on the political impact of social networking. “With these tools, individuals can legitimately say, ‘we are everywhere’.”

Elsewhere by Laurie Penny:

In order to be properly effective, rebels have to deregulate resistance. Deregulating resistance will mean deregulating the organisations that control resistance, making them more anarchic, more inclusive and more creative.

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Technologism is rampant: it’s been used to “explain” the student movement in the UK; protests in Iran and Egypt and – well, everywhere else; it’s used to explain how we will defeat climate change and how the financial crash came about. At the risk of simplification, let us propose a counter hypothesis: Technologism is the internalization of a myth used to sell cameras and printers and other pieces of useless gadgetry:

“It’s getting better”: An advert for Canon cameras: http://vimeo.com/3924823

Plainly “technology” is becoming a nodal point at which “culture”, “commerce” and (political) agency become intermixed. What we know as “technology” – i.e. heavily advertised commodities –  thus functions as “affirmative culture” in a far more direct way than Marcuse imagined.

See, for example, this advert for the Sunday Times using the Speech Debelle song “Spinnin’”: http://www.tellyads.com/show_movie.php?filename=TA12241 (click)

The words, in a suitably sunny colour:

The world keeps spinning changing the lives or people in it
Nobody knows where it will take us
But let’s hope it gets better better better

Thus: iphone/ipad “technology”, “culture”, “politics”, “news” and a young black woman are brought together: an affirmation of consumerism under the ‘imaginary’ of the world getting ‘better, better, better’. This discursive imaginary is a way of positing false harmony and misdirecting and diffusing (potentially political) agency.

See this one too, under title “Life’s for sharing” (“an exclusive commercial break…”!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUZrrbgCdYc

The “flashmob” fashion brings together technologism (i.e. marketable technology; gadgets) with airbrushed “multiculturalism”, fashion, “fun” and work. Alienating and highly regulated spaces and routines (e.g. train stations; the commute) are momentarily “taken over” by the spectacle of “freedom” and “spontaneity”. In fact, this “carnival” is orchestrated by capital. Leisure, spontaneity, culture and resistance are thus incorporated into work and consumption.

Whilst the “flashmob” has been used to protest against tax-breaks (e.g. against Vodaphone), this form of protest is obviously limited in various ways (it is apolitical, in short). That this form of protest is then picked up by the bourgeois media and represented as the paradigm of C21st protest speaks volumes.

Is there something masochistic about this myth of technology? Surely we can link this back to the Laura Marling song, noting the way that “technology” subsumes the position of the benign patriarch. In the figure of the flashmob we see the desire to let oneself melt and merge with the mass, to accept and internalize the logic operating beyond you (set against a background recognition of violence and heteronomy): a force that allows communion with those around you and faith in an omniscient plan and a common culture (those of us who know that “things are getting better better better”; those of us with iphones; those of us who were “in” on the flashmob plan). Individualism and communality exist in erotic tension, shot through with the spectacle of the “new”: the fetish item, the ipad/ipod/iphone; the strangeness of the flashmob. Masochistic desire to be taken beyond yourself, to submit, to be the loved (though mistreated) and loving (though debased) slave, to willingly choose to lose all sense of self, and take pleasure in one’s bondage. All of this appears to be the common content of so much of our “culture”.

One final quote, comes from Debord’s Panegyric: ‘When “to be absolutely modern” has become a special law decreed by a tyrant, what the honest slave fears more than anything is that he might be suspected of being behind the times.’

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~ by Wit on February 20, 2011.

6 Responses to “My Generation in Fragments (#1)”

  1. […] I started to address this problem in a previous post: Technologism is rampant: it’s been used to “explain” the student movement in the UK; protests in Iran and Egypt and – well, everywhere else; it’s used to explain how we will defeat climate change and how the financial crash came about. At the risk of simplification, let us propose a counter hypothesis: Technologism is the internalization of a myth used to sell cameras and printers and other pieces of useless gadgetry: […]

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