Black Helicopters

35 Years
September 11, 2008, 5:28 pm
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Victor Jara and the Blops – Progressive Chile 1971


Play it faster.
September 11, 2008, 5:25 pm
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(Thanks to Katie Wadkins)

Except really not together at all, but parallel.
September 3, 2008, 10:24 pm
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Milestone passed with little fanfare and even less of a sense of change, of accomplishment, of tasks completed.  This is, I think, as it should be.  I’ve been thriving on a sense of things being just barely within my control.  (I think I had had something of a streak going for avoiding possessive pronouns, and am arbitrarily bringing it to an end here.  This will be regretted anon.)  Relying heavily on words, despite a waning belief in their referential capacity, their ability to communicate anything remotely resembling my experience.  My interactions these days are gilded with a certain sadness, the inevitable process of extracting myself from a place that has finally become comfortable and engaging, and in which my actions have accrued a certain resonance.

Some old and not quite bad habits have been rising from a shallow grave.  I am decidedly unready to be doing some of the things I have been.  And I find myself sometimes wishing, obscenely, that I knew no one here, could spend my last days here on my own, freed of the obligation to say proper goodbyes.  This is, perhaps, the luxury of a newfound sense of meaningful interaction, which I rightly or wrongly think is to be picked up and jettisoned at will.

And all the while, afraid I am losing my grip on what I’ll laughably call my strong opinions.  Watching the sundry disgraces of the US presidential race, it is so easy for us all to forget that, as Coetzee reminds us in Diary of a Bad Year, “the state is always there before we are.”  That we, or those we foolishly invest with the power to do so, can act in a way that is unbeholden to the state and its power.  That democracy is so often just a bad joke.  The spectacle of a national election, in particular, never fails to reveal this.  We are, following Althusser, free to subject ourselves to an invalid, dualism.  A third way, rather than being the expression of a collective desire for the new in politics, is laughed away.  Again, Coetzee (or his, or his Anya’s, ‘Señor C’):

Always the subject is presented with the accomplished fact: in the first case with the fact of his subjecthood, in the second with the fact of the choice.  The form of the choice is not open to discussion.  The ballot paper does not say: Do you want A or B or neither?  It certainly never says: Do you want A or B or no one at all?  The citizen who expresses his unhappiness with the form of choice on offer by the only means open to him–not voting, or else spoiling his ballot paper–is simply not counted, that is to say, discounted, ignored.

Faced with a choice between A and B, given the kind of A and the kind of B who usually make it onto the ballot paper, most people, ordinary people, are in their hearts inclined to choose neither.  But that is only an inclination, and the state does not deal in inclinations.  Inclinations are not part of the currency of politics.  What the state deals in are choices.  The ordinary person would like to say: Some days I incline to A, some days to B, most days I just feel they should both go away; or else, Some of A and some of B, sometimes, and at other times neither A nor B but something quite different.  The state shakes its head. You have to choose, says the state: A or B.  (Diary of a Bad Year, 8 )

(One word: ZOMES.  Asa Osborne is a genius.)