Josh Jones writing at Open Culture reports on the coming-to-political-awareness of a music fan as a beacon of a hopefully broader awareness: culture is all political.
… the disgruntled former fan is not just one lone crank who didn’t get it. Many people over the years have expressed outrage at finding out there’s so much politics in their culture, even in a band like Rage that could not have been less subtle. Many, like former lever-puller of the Machine, Paul Ryan, seem to have cynically missed the point and turned them into workout music. Morello’s had to point this out a lot. (Ditto Springsteen.)
Uncritical and numbing consumption has led to the blind belief that political statements foul the entertainment pool.
The adjective [“political’] is weaponized against art and culture that makes certain people who have power uncomfortable. Saying “I don’t like political bs in my culture” is saying “I don’t care to know the politics are there.”
If, after decades of pumping “Killing in the Name,” you finally noticed them, then all that’s happened is you’ve finally noticed. Culture has always included the political, whether those politics are shaped by monarchs or state agencies or shouted in rap metal songs (just ask Ice-T) and fought over on Twitter. Maybe now it’s just getting harder to look away.
Description of German arcades, 1927. in Buck, Dialectic of Seeing
I cannot enter it without a damp chill coming over me, without the fear that I might never find an exit. I am hardly past the shoeshine and news paper stands under the lofty arches of the entrance, and I feel a mild confusion. A window promises me dancing daily and that Meyer without whom no party would be complete. But where is the entrance? Next to the ladies’ hairdresser there is another display: stamps and those curiously named tools of the collector: adhesive pockets with guaranteed acid-free rubber, a perforation gauge made of celluloid. “Be sensible! Wear wool!” demands the next window of me [. .. ] . I [ . . . ] almost stumbled over the peep shows, where one poor schoolboy stands, his school bag under his arm, wretched, immersed in the “scene in the Bedroom.” [. . .] I linger over [. . . ] Knipp-Knapp cufflinks, which are certainly the best, and over the Diana air rifles, truly an honor to the goddess of the hunt. I shrink back before grinning skulls, the fierce liqueur glasses of a white bone cocktail set. The clowning face of a jockey, a handmade wooden nutcracker graces the end of the musical toilet paper holder [. . . ]. The whole center of the arcade is empty. I rush quickly to the exit; I feel ghostly, hidden crowds of people from days gone by, who hug the walls with lustful glances at the tawdry jewelry, the clothing, the pictures [. . .]. At the exit, at the windows of the great travel agency, I breathe more easily; the street, freedom, the present!
> But “personalization” is not simply how we cope with our desire for individuality in an age of mass production, of course. It’s increasingly how we’re sold things. It’s how we are profiled, how we are segmented, how we are advertised to. – (educationglobalcapitalism )
Donald Trump Poisons the World – With toxic positioning – Trump's "cleareyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage" makes the global community a global hallucination. Asserts the only position is his. Closes debate. Explains his spectacle. Illustrates how politics differs from business. Assigns us each our role. – (trumprhetoricpoliticsglobalcapitalism )
>My advice to administrators: Stop thinking of yourselves as in-house philosophers or free-speech champions or dispensers of moral wisdom, and accept your responsibility as managers of crowd-control, an art with its own history and analytical tools, and one that you had better learn and learn quickly. – (rhetoricacademiaacademic_speech )
Blogs can be experiments that disrupt because they stand apart from management culture. The din of the blog can disrupt, interrupt, the music of the management spheres. Does this sound too much like the Luddites facing off modernization-by-management? Cult whacks culture? From Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, by Geert Lovink
Of course blog culture is different from the entrepreneurial risk cult embodied by management gurus such as Tom Peters. Much like Ulrich Beck defined risk, bloggers deal with hazards and insecurities induced by never-ending waves of modernization. What is blogged is the relentless uncertainty of the everyday. Whereas entrepreneurs colonize the future, energized by collective hallucinations, bloggers expose the present in which they find themselves caught.
Not Luddism then. Perhaps “the relentless uncertainty” that Modernism embraced and shored against its ruins. Eliot created poetry from fragments. Pound intentionally mistranslated Chinese ideograms (Kenner, and Perloff). Picasso took to cubism. Duchamp created readymades ready made to whack the salon culture (still going on with Tracy Emin). V Wolfe freed the English narrator from narrating a material diegesis (Joyce ditto with the Irish narrator). Gertrude Stein sprung US syntax on everybody. Cage created music using prepared pianos. Uncertainty. Disharmony. Making noise. Making a kind of noise that makes a melody hard to discern until an ear is retuned. Rétoured. Noise fosters critics.
What about risks? Management culture talks about taking risks strategically. What does the blogger’s risk entail? Nihilism? Alienation? Is it a greater risk to act than not to? A greater risk to speak or stay silent? Bloggers don’t do risk assessment.
Bloggers disrupt the disrupters. They override the constant talk about change. It is remarkably easy to attack the post-modern corporation as it solely depends on a hollow public image, developed by third-party consultants. Online diaries, rants, and comments so easily defy the manufactured harmony at which community engineering aims.
As bloggers get louder, so do image-makers. As the scene gets noisier, less is hearable. The situation creates critics because more discernment is needed to hear, to catch, the signal in the noise. Modernism’s co-emergent dialectic was New Criticism. We might look to a revival to bring out the melody. Then there’s the risk of commitment. Public image is hollow because opportunistic, but the image-makers come in unending waves. If they’re going to disrupt (arms against a sea of), bloggers are in it for the long term.
Footnote: Ok, I agree that modernism can be cold. It is a logocentric noise that shouted out the more erotic programs and aesthetics of the 20s – 30s – 40s – 50s. The point here is that noise is //made//, like poetry, music, prose, sculpture, painting, code that runs software that runs our life. We’re never far from algorithms that generate fractals. Modernism is close at hand, but there are other schools within reach.