Most of what we think of as culture is little more than the unquestioning acceptance of standardized values.

Irvins, Prints and Visual Communication

Less Passion from Less Protein

In the middle years of the seventeenth century Roger Crab of Bethnal Green subsisted on “dock-leaves, mallows or grasse” and plain water, while in the late twentieth century Stanley Green, wearing cap and blazer, paraded in Oxford Street with a banner proclaiming “Less Passion from Less Protein.” For twenty-five years, crowds swirled about him, almost oblivious of his presence, engaged only in their usual uproar.

from “London: A Biography” by Peter Ackroyd

Act, Statement, Not Motive

In argument, while motive and disposition might be interesting to study, they are of less interest than the stated positions.

Of course, a person may have all kinds of motives for adopting, questioning, rejecting, defending, or attacking a particular standpoint in a particular manner, but the only thing that person can really be held to is what he or she has, whether directly or indirectly, said or written. That is why it is not the internal reasoning processes and inner convictions of those involved in resolving a difference of opinion that are of primary importance to argumentation theory, but the positions these people express or project in their speech acts. Instead of concentrating on the psychological dispositions of the language users involved in the resolution process, we concentrate primarily on their commitments, as they are externalized in, or can be externalized from, the discourse or text. 54

from Eemeren and Grootendorst, Systematic Theory of Argumentation.

What I’m reading 11 May 2017 through 16 May 2017

What I’m reading 25 Apr 2017 through 8 May 2017

a search advisory committee filters for leadership

The language of the upper echelons of leadership is digitalization… Otherwise, commands and censures, those two antisymmetrical instruments of leadership, could not be communicated.  KIttler, Gramophone, 249-50.

Leadership requests strengths and weaknesses from advisory committees as a way to filter out the “accidental noise” of culture for “an absolute all-or-none organ.” The trench-warfare irony is that the advisory committee becomes the filter of their own instruments. They become the noise that is filtered. Complicit.

What I’m reading 17 Apr 2017 through 24 Apr 2017

writing and image

au printemps

The struggle of writing against the image – historical consciousness against magic – runs throughout history. With writing, a new ability was born called ‘conceptual thinking’ which consisted of abstracting lines from surfaces, i.e. producing and decoding them. Conceptual thought is more abstract than imaginative thought as all dimensions are abstracted from phenomena – with the exception of straight lines. Thus with the invention of writing, human beings took one step further back from the world. Texts do not signify the world; they signify the images they tear up. Hence, to decode texts means to discover the images signified by them. The intention of texts is to explain images, while that of concepts is to make ideas comprehensible. In this way, texts are a metacode of images.

Flusser, Philosophy of Photography

How would McLuhan respond to this? He might be ok with the idea of struggle. He might be good with conceptual thinking born of writing, as an abstraction from senses. This might be a trace to the spectacle, too, as writing and the writing stand in for the world.

What I’m reading 11 Apr 2017 through 15 Apr 2017

What I’m reading 1 Apr 2017 through 9 Apr 2017