Ktismatics

24 June 2009

A Hermeneutic of Sneerage

Filed under: Culture, Ktismata, Psychology — ktismatics @ 8:52 am

I don’t want to start no blog war or nothing, but the topic is psychologically interesting to me. Dr. Zamalek’s latest post on projects and energy suckage is entitled The Banality of the Troll. It seems that what I’ve been interpreting, per k-punk, as grey vampirism Dr. Z  has demoted all the way down to troll. (I wonder if we can infer that he’s been subjected to considerable negative criticism in his Belgrade presentations.) He says this:

“One thing to remember is that trolling is not just an unpleasant social phenomenon, but also an INTELLECTUAL ERROR. The sneer from nowhere is not just rude, it is also shallow and insufficiently aware of what it is doing. It lives in a world made solely of people, not of realities more generally. Sneering is not a project, it is an anti project. Projects are in touch with realities, not just with people…”

Dr. Z seems to contend here that the interpersonal sneer precedes and probably produces the intellectual critique. For many sneering critiquers this is no doubt the case: one hopes to gain relative status by publicly poking the needle at someone better known than oneself. But projects created by people are also often motivated at least in part by all-too-human egoistic considerations. Project producers tend to get pissed off when a “hermeneutic of suspicion” is applied to their work, suggesting that their project masks the creator’s “real” agenda of defending neoliberalism or paternalism or imperialism or whatever. I think the same goes for the recipient of intellectual critique: exposing unsavory psychological motivations for the sneer isn’t the same thing as dealing with the substance of the critique.

[A personal note: To find yourself subject to sneering critique is to have already achieved sufficient status that you’ve attracted the iconoclasts. Good on you. Most projects and their creators are ignored and would welcome the opportunity to discuss their work under practically any terms dictated by the discussant.]

Earlier in his post, though, Dr. Z depersonalizes trollish critique, embedding it in a broader intellectual culture:

“The troll, however, is extremely abundant, and is a direct byproduct of the model of critique that dominates most modern conceptions of what it means to be an intellectual. If we were to choose one global intellectual bias whose overturning would do the most good, it would be the primacy of critique”

This is worth considering. Empirical psychology is constructed piecemeal from studies that pit themselves against the “anti-project,” or “the null hypothesis” as it’s known in the biz. The goal of the research project is clear: starting with the assumption that randomness prevails, demonstrate that the pattern in your observable evidence is very unlikely to result from chance. The method doesn’t pit one theory against an alternative theory; it pits one theory against non-theory — a “critique from nowhere,” if you will. Still, I know what Dr. Z means: research driven by a pre-emptive attempt to poke holes in the Nowhere often results in a lot of trivial and mundane “normal science.” Still, in the aggregate the scientific enterprise is effective in building fairly intricate structures across the Void.

Like Dr. Z, I’m a big, naive fan of expanding these void-spanning structures rather than either siding with the Void or engaging in zero-sum debates about nailing down Plank A versus Plank Not-A. This critique style isn’t limited to intellectual circles. The corporate environment might look attractive to the outsider who believes that the entre-/intrapreneurial spirit actively cultivates creative risk-taking. Not so. Most new ideas don’t pan out; most risks fail, and workers have quite a bit to lose by actively promoting a risky new idea that will probably fail. But of course joining the chorus of nay-sayers makes failure all the more imminent. Conservatism is overdetermined. It’s amazing really that any new ventures succeed. Usually they’re championed not by the idea people but by the financiers and marketeers who’ve calculated the risks and conceived of the sales campaign. This is also why most new offerings in the marketplace aren’t all that new, and why the cineplex is filled with sequels and knockoffs.

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76 Comments »

  1. Dr. Z graciously and pointedly responds here. I don’t think it’s particularly important whether I’ve correctly captured k-punk’s categorical scheme. Maybe I’m even more naive than Dr. Z, but what’s important to me here is resisting the tendency to attribute bad-faith personal motivation to intellectual critique. Dr. Z says that’s not what he’s talking about, so I guess I misunderstood his last post about the sneer. He says that he welcomes direct criticism of his ideas. At the same time he says it’s nonsense to separate substance from tone, impersonal from personal. Of course the interpersonal dynamic can never be fully completely segregated in this way, but one can choose to ignore it for the sake of the reality being explored. Maybe Dr. Z encounters more pure trolls than I do — well, that’s not likely, since I’ve been subjected to some intense concentrated trollery on another blog. Of course one need not respond to someone being an asshole. I’ve made a policy of deleting comments that contain interpersonal slurs directed at bloggers (even at bloggers who troll), though I’ve purposely suspended that rule in the context of the troll/vampire discussions. But of course it’s possible to extract useful material from the dreck in which it’s embedded, even if one doesn’t explicitly acknowledge it.

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    Comment by john doyle — 24 June 2009 @ 10:59 am

  2. This is the important part John:

    8. As for the claim that I should be happy about all the attacks, as a sign of success, how do you know that I`m not happy about it? ;-)

    The Temptress knows that her best fans are the Trolls, because in their erotic investment she finds all sorts of perverse object-jouissance.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 24 June 2009 @ 11:56 am

  3. Well it is ONE part — part number 8 or thereabouts as I recall.

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    Comment by john doyle — 24 June 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  4. John, I think you are using the word “respond” rather liberally here – he didn’t respond to any of your points, he just regurgitated his previous points about trolls/vampires and made some rather idiotic (excuse my language) exaggerations in #6 (for all that punching in the face language he likes so much, I wonder if he ever actually hit anyone) – that there are trolls is a well-known fact, why are k-punk/harman and others present this as if they just came up with this stuff? it’s all been discussed and categorized for years now and what the result? nothing changed – why are we even bothering with this conversation?

    This bullshit about “sneering from nowhere” is just that, bullshit – it’s blogosphere, anything you ever say is potentially from “nowhere” – if Harman likes personal interaction so much, he might consider going to more conferences or getting some friends. There are many reasons why people blog and it’s not always so that they can present their ideas or solicit critical reactions – for K-Punk/Harman crew to self-righteously tsk-tsk everyone about it because they think their opinion counts is what’s most annoying about this ordeal – who made them the official spokesmen for the blogosphere? Again, they don’t even have a comments option on their blogs – how exactly are they attacked by all these trolls/vampires? All of this is such pretentious bullshit, I can’t even believe we’re still talking about it. Especially when Harman’s own juvenile behavior is widely known – attacking people who disagree with him, publishing private emails, mocking people in comments (out of the blue), sneering right and left – I guess the rule is the same as that of the children on the playground: “You hit me and I will hit you” – that’s very mature…

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 24 June 2009 @ 2:36 pm

    • Do I detect anger and hostility here, Mikhail? I suspect that, if I were to subject the various recent posts about trolls and such to careful exegesis, we’d find significant conflation between flat-out abuse and persistent substantive criticism. Maybe through this discussion some separation can be accomplished. I think it’s also clear that consciousness, unconsciousness, and affect do tend to roil around together inseparably — another sort of Correlation, one might say.

      I’m mostly interested in exploring my own thoughts about these matters now, rather than trying to pin down the Big Three on precisely what they mean. Many of us commenters suspect that the Big Fingers have been pointing at us. Recently Dr. Z acknowleded as much when he said that a good number of his audience in Belgrade were worried that they might be perceived as trolls/vampires. I conclude that, while Graham would rather talk with people who are building their own projects and who will support him in extending his own project, he will, not without some annoyance, engage in debate with people who either espouse a coherent contrary position or, with a bit more annoyance, who want to pick at specific aspects of his project. He draws the line at people who start slinging personal abuse. I’d speculate that Dr. Sinthome feels the same way. Me too.

      Regarding Graham’s own sneerage: hey, it’s his own blog, so he can do what he likes. I will note, though, that I’ve deleted two blogs from my blogroll because the author has posted private emails. Still, I maintain generally cordial relations with both of these bloggers.

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      Comment by john doyle — 24 June 2009 @ 3:02 pm

  5. Of course, I’m expressing anger and lots of hostility while it’s still tolerated by the blog-police, before you know it, any comments that is not a cheerleading “you go girl/boy” will be closely scrutinized, categorized and reported to the appropriate organ of control. The idea of “personal abuse” is becoming more and more inclusive in such policing of the internets – clearly, there’s just outright abuse and no one is going to like it (but to complain about it is like going to a dive bar and complain that they don’t make good martinis), but that’s why you can moderate your comments or erase them if there’s a need, but then there’s a whole range of reactions that are now deemed inappropriate like criticism and so on. It’s just annoying, on the other hand, I don’t have to read what the other bloggers write, so I guess it’s my own fault after all.

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 24 June 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    • Because the Doctor Zamalek blog doesn’t support comments, and because Graham rarely comments on others’ blogs (Larval Subjects being the main exception of which I’m aware), those who take interest/exception are virtually forced to “talk behind his back” like this, on another blog, or send him an email. I tend to be more forthright in emails the on blogs. So I suspect that Graham gets both more direct praise and more direct criticism because the conversations are private. Graham seems just as pleased with the praise — the young people love my tips and think I’m doing them a service, etc. — as he is displeased with the criticisms. At least he’s emotionally invested in his work. He doesn’t seem to question the motives of his acolytes; rather, he sees them as allies aligned against the troll/vampire contingent that collectively makes all their lives more unpleasant. Again, I suppose one might commend him for taking a firm position. I just find it too asymmetrical. I also get a sense that, in the heat of the moment and even with premeditation, Graham might overstate his case against those who disagree with him. This isn’t so different from one of us ranting at another blogger during a dispute, which is the sort of thing that Mikhail and Dejan want to see more of rather than less.

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      Comment by john doyle — 30 June 2009 @ 7:55 am

      • Someone emailed me this link describing why k-punk disabled comments. The events alluded to in the post unfolded before my time, but I gather that the blog began as a “kollektiv” of multiple bloggers contributing to the same endeavor, with mark k-punk as overall editor and impresario of the project. From the linked post, written by johneffay, one of the kollektiv, I gather further that the individual authors frequently disagreed with each other in the comments section instead of subsuming their individual differences under their commitment to building the joint project (whatever that was). Internal disagreement about internal disagreement seems to have ensued among the kollektive. In his comments on johneffay’s post, mark k-p says in part:

        “The interests of the Kollektive must come first. These individuals have demonstrated that they are hostile, not only to this particular Kollektive, but to collectivity in general. As such, they should be treated as the enemies they are. There is plenty of space on the internet for subjectivist opionist whining INCLUDING YOUR OWN BLOGS. Don’t come here. You are not welcome. Any future comments you make will be deleted as a matter of course. Debate is idiot distraction.”

        I didn’t know this history, but it seems that the kollektive idea was abandoned at some point, leaving mark k-punk as the only participant. Comments, however, remain disabled.

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        Comment by john doyle — 1 July 2009 @ 6:20 am

      • Hilarious Stalinist historical dialectic…long live the “kollektive”.

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        Comment by kvond — 1 July 2009 @ 6:25 am

      • It’s possible that the absence of comments on the present iteration of k-punk is an exaptation: adaptive in its original context but now just a holdover, like a prehensile tail. But how hard would it be for Mark to reinstantiate comments if he really wanted them? The k=punk blog reads more like online theory-infused journalism than the basis for mutual or “collective” exploration. I’ve been told that the whole Sept. 2004 k-punk archive is intriguing, but I’ve not had the chance to look at it yet.

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        Comment by john doyle — 2 July 2009 @ 7:19 am

      • Here’s some more from mark k-punk surrounding that particular singulary when he disabled comments. This from a post dated 4 Sept. 04:

        “Please note: feminazis, cult studs guilt mongers, passive consumer-whingers, ‘friends’ who occupy the moral high ground, misanthropes, gliberals, stoner pacifists, therapy-pushers…. Only comments deemed to be positive by the Kollektive will be left up. The purpose of the site is to build the Kollektive, so comments by those intrinsically hostile to the notion of collectivity or those hostile to the k-punk project per se will be deleted as soon as possible, so as not to waste the energy of the collective on distracting, egocratic nonsense…”

        Based solely on the content of posts I can’t infer the nature of the k-punk kollektive project — perhaps something about accelerating the posthumanistic shift from subject to object, mixed in with reviews/critiques of popular culture. The posts of 9/04 do seem heavy on criticism of others, sometimes by name — presumably not supporters of the kollektive’s project. In subsequent discussion of this 4 Sept post mark says something very similar to the recent anti-troll/vampire polemics:

        “Of course disagreement is welcomed. Who could think that I don’t welcome it, given the amount of time I’ve spent responding to it. But it’s the motive that’s important: is the person trying to engage in one-upmanship and defence of their own embedded subjectivity? Or is the person genuinely interested and requires clarification of key points, or simply thinks that the argument as stated is incomplete of in some other way inadequate? In other words, are they interested in the collective (even if such interest is only potential) or do they just what to stop it happening, condemn it from outside?

        It’s the difference between debate (i.e. parliamentary model: yaw-yawing Oxbridge fucks engaging in dick-swinging one-upmanship) and discussion/ argument (an impersonal exploration of how certain propositions fit together). Or argument versus opinion. Matt’s right of course that people can email me… bu that would mean that all discussion on the site had to come through me, whereas one of things I most enjoy on the site is being to see other people engage with one another. So I won’t be closing the boxes. But I WILL delete what I deem to be negative.”

        Less than a week later mark DOES close the boxes. From a 10 Sept 04 post:

        Yesterday, when I closed most of the current comments boxes down, you can’t imagine the relief I felt. I could come to k-punk without feeling sick with anxiety about what unthought out oedipalised rage, overgrown adolescent boy sulks and gliberal stupid American platitudes (‘hey man, all that Marxist lingo makes my cringes cringe…’) I would have to deal with…”

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        Comment by john doyle — 4 July 2009 @ 11:20 am

      • Here’s an excerpt from mark k-punk’s 17 Feb 05 post “We Dogmatists,” in which he offers ideological justification for his commitment to buffering the kollektive project from outside critique:

        “No, I am not tolerant. No, I do not want to ‘debate’ or ‘enter into dialogue with’ liberal democrats, PoMoSophists, opnionists, carnalists, hedonists, mensheviks, individualists…. No, I don’t respect you, nor do I solicit such respect for myself from you…

        “So, yes, hold on tight and spit on me, I am a dogmatist. But what does being a dogmatist entail? Briefly, it involves commitment to the view that there are Truths. One can add to this, the view that there is a Good. It’s no accident that, since Kant*, rationalism has been held to be synonymous with dogmatism. Post-Kant, we have grown accustomed to the view that critique rather than dogma is the only acceptable ethical and philosophical position, so that ‘rational dogmatism’ sounds like the worst imaginable insult. But where does this attack come from? Fundamentally, four interrelated positions: authoritarianism, mysticism, egotism and relativism. Far from being equivalent to authoritarianism, as the postmodern liberal doxa would have it, dogmatism is only effective alternative to authoritarianism…

        “But dogmatism is religion in the best sense. It is only through dogmatism – ruthless subordination of your Self to an impersonal system – that his majesty the Ego can be crushed. This has been the appeal of nontheistic religion throughout the ages. The Ego is simply authority in miniature (just as political authoritarianism is Egotism writ large), a micro-despot which can only be pushed off his throne by a commitment to sober systematicity…”

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        Comment by john doyle — 4 July 2009 @ 11:42 am

      • As if I needed evidence why K-punk has always struck me as one of the least interesting THINKERS on the internet (he turns a phrase nicely, and can be quite a bit quippy, but seldom do I get the sense that I am reading someone really thinking in any strong sense). I have no idea why people read him other than in the cocktail party sense, where one really is never “in” discussion, but only looking around for company in which you yourself can appear interesting. Surely he has grown up a bit since these gem quotations, but also no doubt the seed of them remains.

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        Comment by kvond — 4 July 2009 @ 12:15 pm

      • I’m sure I recall correctly, Kvond, that you and I started conversing after k-punk put up a link to one of my posts. Also interestingly, mark makes frequent admiring reference to Spinoza in these old posts as an immanent rationalist, operating both beneath and above subjectivity if you will.

        I realize how humanistic are my own editorial limits as a blog censor: synergize or critique the content all you like, but leave the individual antagonisms out of it. Regarding dogmatism, I’ve become more committed to Truth, Beauty and Justice as arbiters of pure difference. But when even these post-subjective standards are pluralistic relative to particular “schools” of thought, art, politics, etc., then I remain loath to assert my own reality and its standards as better than any other. So, e.g., even within science, which I regard as a good truth-procedure, there’s still crappy science: poorly conceived, poorly executed, boring. But there remain good theologies and good metaphysics that critique and sometimes reject science from the vantage point of alternate realities. I hope for some resolution of these incommensurable positions that doesn’t retain the “nonoverlapping magisteria” dodge, but I’m not persuaded that dogmatic entrenchment in my own reality is the way to go about it.

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        Comment by john doyle — 4 July 2009 @ 2:01 pm

      • Yes, I first found K-punk when he was in his Spinoza stage, and it was then that I tried to mine what he was saying. But it seemed that he was only interested in having mastered a philosophical position that was somehow en vogue, with a kind of Negri/Deleuze flaire, and not really thinking through it. (One cannot imagine a Spinoza who was not interested in dialogue with others, as his patient letter writing attests.) After I tired of his Spinoza brand-name thinking I left him alone for a while, only to discover that he was much less interesting for the time spent.

        And yes, it was a positive thing that I found your blog through his reference. Very seldom is it that I visit and this was a happenstance.

        For me a belief in truth is a belief in discourse and the necessary potential that one very well might be wrong, (and that one would enjoy finding out that one was wrong). This of course has to be balanced with the purely expressive dimension of philosophizing, the way in which we creatively construct a meaningful description of the world, which is of our selves. I see these two aspects as mutually compatable, and in fact complimentary.

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        Comment by kvond — 4 July 2009 @ 2:12 pm

      • I like your last paragraph very much, kvond.

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        Comment by john doyle — 4 July 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  6. Sense of humor, self-awareness, some politesse, not taking oneself or one another too seriously… I think you and I should hit one of those dive bars and complain about the martinis. Then maybe we can start punching each other in the face just like Fight Club.

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    Comment by john doyle — 24 June 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  7. you hit on something bigger here, mikhail, i read in the press that twitter is being praised for starting politeness on the internet (people come there because they feel free to speak without being judged or stalked)shortly there is lots of praise for the way the internet, too, might become normalized, homogenized, passivized, polite, safe and pleasant.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 24 June 2009 @ 8:32 pm

  8. Sense of humor, self-awareness, some politesse, not taking oneself or one another too seriously…

    I love this Eloise, it’s so sweet an’ cordial. You remind me of Melanie Griffith’s mother
    Peaches in SOMETHING WILD.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 24 June 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  9. Politeness is new rudeness. I say we all listen very carefully to this new “Holy Family” – later, when arrested, we can say that we were always big fans of the awesome trio before they were appointed Grand Masters of Blog Etiquette.

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 24 June 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  10. I understand both the principled attack and the sense of personal anger and frustration boiling over in the heat of the discussion. At what point though does rudeness turn abusive? I mean, the Parodycenter goes out of its way to hurl personal insults at selected targets for no other reason that I can see other than the sheer sadistic pleasure of it. And I’m speaking from personal experience here. Of course anyone can say pretty much anything they want, on blogs or face-to-face, but making the other person feel badly just for the fun of it? That’s plain old trollery. Why do it? And why tolerate someone else’s abusiveness in your own home or on your own blog? I say freedom of speech be damned in such circumstances: ask the person to shut up or go home; hit the delete button.

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    Comment by john doyle — 25 June 2009 @ 1:14 am

  11. The abuse doled out by Parody Center is as nothing compared to the sustained abuse dealt out to the person who asked Harman a couple of pertinent questions regarding the viability of his project as a supposedly non-anthropocentric realism.

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    Comment by Marcus Welsh — 25 June 2009 @ 10:27 am

    • I don’t know the details of this sustained abuse from Harman, Marcus, either because I missed the relevant posts or because I didn’t deem the topic that prompted the abuse personally relevant at the time. The intensity of abuse depends in part on whether you are the one on the receiving end.

      I suspect that you and I are not alone in thinking that Graham at times acts like a bully in intellectual discourse. He’s a notable figure, having published books that are taken seriously by many in philosophical circles. He presents himself as an academic role model, and others apparently regard him as one, which suggests that he consciously chooses his style of interaction as exemplary. Maybe he doesn’t recognize his own aggression; more likely he regards it as both justifiable and righteous when exercised on behalf of the Good. When the higher-status guy smacks down someone of lower status, the recipient isn’t just personally chastened; the smackdown is also a professional one. I wish that Graham’s generosity toward the up-and-comers would take into account this status differential and that he’d lighten up in defending his own projects.

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      Comment by john doyle — 25 June 2009 @ 11:42 am

      • > The intensity of abuse depends in part on whether you are the one on the receiving end.

        Hardly, John. Anyone who read those (subsequently deleted) posts would have been able to see them for what they were: character assassination.

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        Comment by Marcus Welsh — 25 June 2009 @ 12:10 pm

      • I know the event you mean, Marcus, and I agree completely: that sucked. Based on our off-line email exchange I’ll omit details of the event to protect the presumed innocent.

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        Comment by john doyle — 30 June 2009 @ 8:06 am

  12. I mean, the Parodycenter goes out of its way to hurl personal insults at selected targets for no other reason that I can see other than the sheer sadistic pleasure of it.

    John you’re full of shit you know as well as I do that Reiner Werner Fassbinder was a sadist who saw in the cracks of dispassionate abuse passions inaccessible to ordinary mortals. My meta-meta parody could never be so crass as to resort to direct sadistic abuse. Furthermore I don’t see how it could be trolling if one exposed cultural products and GODDAMN PROJECTS to rauncy X-rated parody. Their (and your) elite products are accessible to any kind of parody as any other cultural product, or GODDAMN PROJECT, is.

    By the way I still don’t know how you got to accuse me of publishing personal e-mail, but I am not saying that it is not possible because I generally enjoy playing with your own passive-aggressive sadism.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 10:48 am

    • It’s not just the Parody Center’s attack on projects, VOPR; it’s the attack on the individuals who produce the projects. I mean, we could walk through any number of CPC posts and identify many personal attacks leveled at various individuals in the blogosphere. You call it “meta-meta parody,” but I can’t distinguish it from direct abuse.

      This sort of abuse is entertaining, I’ll grant you, in the same way that watching somebody in a DePalma film abuse his victim is entertaining — this is part of your auteuristic art. And I recognize that the abuse, being only verbal, can’t break my bones and so on. And, while I and others recognize your intellectual, artistic, and creative gifts, you don’t speak from a position of status and authority, so you can’t really do anyone any serious professional harm. But I’m pretty sure you derive personal pleasure from administering verbal abuse to your targets. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who’s felt subjectively abused by your “meta-meta.” To say that your targets must derive some jouissance or insight from the abuse is just some bullshit self-justification. You do it for your own pleasure and that of your audience.

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      Comment by john doyle — 25 June 2009 @ 11:59 am

  13. to hurl personal insults at selected targets

    though this is also hitting it on the nail because I see my parody campaign as a humanitarian bombing of British and American Marxists which will either bring on a subjective destitution and convert them back to reality, or leave them unimpressed.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 10:58 am

  14. Politeness is new rudeness.

    Could not have put it better myself Mikhail! I was just thinking the other day, while reading a newspaper that praises Web 2.0 technologies like Twitter for making the internet social because there isn’t as much rudeness
    and trolling as on other sites, that the author implies the advancement is in the further taming, normalizing, disciplining and socializing of discourse so that it becomes even more consensual than it already is.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 11:04 am

  15. To say that your targets must derive some jouissance or insight from the abuse is just some bullshit self-justification. You do it for your own pleasure and that of your audience.

    I’m an animator and a director, that’s my job. I make my own show. Their troll criticism is also futile in this sense, because I’m not the one without a project, just not the kind of a consenting project THEY would like to hear, one that embellishes and embalms their careers as the wise men of philosophy. I do not lie about my opinions of their thoughts, I state them as they are, so you shouldn’t think that this is some kind of post-modern ironizing at play.

    The Egyptian temptress’s journey through Serbia unfolds exactly like that of one of the UN diplomats I used to work with, when they stop reading their government’s press and their lies, they suddenly realize that hey, this is one of the most interesting countries in Europe – and I thought Zizek had the ultimate take on Yugoslavia!

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  16. But I’m pretty sure you derive personal pleasure from administering verbal abuse to your targets.

    Actually I don’t, if I did then I would be CARING about them far too much. I do not even much recognize them outside of the theatre play I wrote for them, nor do I feel the need to explore them any further. You are somewhat different in this regard, although since you have joined them you simply can’t be as accepted as you would be without them. I just don’t like your Eloise Doyle reconciliatory persona.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  17. What have we learned from this discussion? A couple of votes for more virulent argumentation and less politesse. A vote for Parody Center over Dr. Zamalek as the lesser of two evils. A sense of irritation with Dr. Z as a guy in a glass house who’s throwing stones. Granted, it’s not a big sample size for drawing definitive empirical conclusions.

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    Comment by john doyle — 25 June 2009 @ 2:42 pm

    • A few more people have weighed in via email. Though I make it a policy not to post the contents of private conversations, I will say this: some of these emails have alerted me to publicly verifiable episodes in which Graham has attacked specific individuals by publishing, on his own and others’ blogs, excerpts of private email conversations which presumably attest to his adversaries’ bad character. I’ve decided not to release the names of the individuals in question in order not to subject them to further public scrutiny. Nonetheless, I’m persuaded that these events did take place. I mean, if I have evidence that someone has or is about to commit a crime, then sure. But to win a pissing contest? Unethical in my book, regardless of provocation.

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      Comment by john doyle — 30 June 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  18. What have we learned from this discussion?

    Ah you want to LEARN something…

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  19. Anyway Clysmatics, Eloise, you’re such a demanding woman. I mean I just gave you a GREAT topic to discuss on that Fury, but you’re not satisfied, you want to get to the core of why I don’t want to join your brunch with the polite gentlemen of object-orientatism, which by the way you like so much more than me due to its dry scientific aspect. So you’re asking me to give up my art and NORMALIZE in order to follow the tempo of Dr. Zamalek’s blawging. Then you get into sick sadomasochistic squabbles with Patrick, pushing me into the position of the mediator, and then find yourself insulted when I use them for parody pulp fiction. All the while you won’t admit that I created a cafe for several blawgers here and a kind of a sick family which however sick it may be, is after all a family.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 June 2009 @ 10:39 pm

  20. An imaginative story line you’ve sketched out there, VOPR. I have secured the book on DePalma, Becoming Visionary, from the library, and I’ve just begun reading the author’s extended treatment of Carrie. The film begins with a stationary camera absently watching a girls’ volleyball game, but then the camera “starts to move from a motivation that does not seem clear and the movie starts to signify…”

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 26 June 2009 @ 2:41 am

  21. Interestingly the Egyptian temptress DID notice that there was a hotel bombed close to the Chinese embassy which wasn’t on the official list of targets, but was the kind of a political target that would show off Western power vis-a-vis the Chinese. As Ive been saying all along, one needs to GO THERE before one makes conclusions.

    Like

    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 26 June 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  22. Howcome Dr. Zamalek is no longer on your blawgroll?

    Like

    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 27 June 2009 @ 5:17 am

  23. […] my energy, bad bad, whatevuh. For all you trolls and grey vampires out there, this one’s for you. Maybe you’ll finally get the point if it’s in catchy song-lyric form. Huffamoose, […]

    Like

    Pingback by Blogwars theme song (with bonus video) « Dead Voles — 27 June 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  24. Regarding the hermeneutic of suspicion, poking at the implicit orientalism or whatever of Harman’s theories: this is a strategy of critique arising from a “somewhere” positioned outside the frame, outside the intended and stated content. I think it’s legitimate to explore unconscious subtexts, regardless of whether the author acknowledges or disavows their legitimacy. At the same time, it is a good question whether we should be held accountable for all the unintended meanings to what we say or write. Graham has been quite outspoken in his distaste for Derrida, who made a living by exposing and exegeting the unintended intentions and the gaps that reveal traces of repressed meaning. I admired this strategy of Derrida.

    Is it just as legitimate, then, for Graham to explore unstated, unsavory, perhaps unconscious motivations of those who critique him and his work as it is for someone else to do the same to his (possible) orientalism? I suspect the “right” answer is yes; what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. My objection in part is that Graham wants to employ a hermeneutic of suspicion on those who do that very thing to him. I’m prepared to hear speculations about my possible motives, even ones I don’t/won’t recognize in myself. I might actually learn something about myself and my work by paying attention to these messages from the Other, something that, while temporarily distracting, might actually enrich my projects. That doesn’t mean it won’t piss me off and that I won’t disagree with the attributions assigned to my unconscious.

    On the subject of orientalism but off the subject of this post, I’m going to make a few remarks about this subject on my Chinatown screengrab post.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 30 June 2009 @ 9:04 am

  25. @24, I think you’ve nailed something here, John. Graham is at his most charming, impressive and appealing (he is all those things) when he’s chosen the topic and discourse and everyone else is following along. The Pied Piper playing his own tune. But he reacts disproportionately badly to reframing and game changing, which are contestations of his (self) control. And of course he would dislike Derrida, whose point is precisely that authors are not in control. This is all quite consistent with his philosophy of withdrawn, sealed, sui generis objects. A very delicate thing is being protected. Because it’s been conceptualized as the really real, it may righteously be defended by any means necessary.

    Where Graham’s reactions emerge from psychopathology and become potentially compelling is when there’s a project. It is indeed energy-draining and counterproductive to keep framing and gaming once something needs doing. But what needs doing? Here I think vopr really gets down to it when he says

    I’m an animator and a director, that’s my job. I make my own show. Their troll criticism is also futile in this sense, because I’m not the one without a project, just not the kind of a consenting project THEY would like to hear, one that embellishes and embalms their careers as the wise men of philosophy. I do not lie about my opinions of their thoughts, I state them as they are, so you shouldn’t think that this is some kind of post-modern ironizing at play.

    Graham seems to assume that what he is up to is a good thing, or even that being up to something at all is a good thing. But that’s far from self-evident.

    Like

    Comment by Carl — 2 July 2009 @ 9:01 am

    • A very delicate thing is being protected.

      I think the only “very delicate thing” that is being protected is Harman’s fragile ego…

      Like

      Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 2 July 2009 @ 10:43 am

    • Carl: “And of course he would dislike Derrida, whose point is precisely that authors are not in control. This is all quite consistent with his philosophy of withdrawn, sealed, sui generis objects. A very delicate thing is being protected.:

      Kvond: Nice interwoven diagnosis/interpreation. What is so interesting about his theory of withdrawn objects (and his withdrawn, overly defensive feelings of incursion and energy suckage), is that his ever retreating objects are supposed to be those that never get touched at all. In fact they metaphysically are cut off, sealed. So in a sense there is no need at all for all this self-protection and over-reaction. He is cocooned. As I pointed out in my reading of his theoretical Orientalism, these objects are expressive of the overly withdrawn “white” Norther European reserve, the cultural withdrawl that cannot touch life directly.

      But when you read closer, you realize that Graham’s objects are perpetually invaded from within, submarined by an ever cacophany of sensuous events that threaten to bleed into each other. And the sensual vicars of others invade this space, appearing amid an all-too-rich flux. Graham’s repeated sense that others are crossing the line, stepping in the inside, and then stealing his energy comes from this essential (and for him metaphysically eternal) dichotomy…an inside if you will that feels too much, and an outside that can feel nothing directly.

      What you get is a very nice, gentlemanly fellow who knows all the manners and smiles very nicely, on the outside, and, when the external borders are invaded, a rather havok’d, extremely agressive, it seems sometimes deceptive or accusatory Hyde.

      [John, if you find the above too unfair or descrimnatory feel free to delete it.]

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 2 July 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  26. In Graham’s scheme the essence of a thing, being infinitely withdrawn, can never be assailed by interactions with other objects. If a human is an object like any other in this regard, then the essence of a philosopher cannot be touched by external critique. So if the ego is fragile and needs to be protected from outside assaults, then… the ego must be assailable through interaction, part of the human object’s interface with the outside world, and not the essential “true self.”

    A project, being an object like any other, must likewise have an unassailable and infinitely withdrawn essential core that can never be touched by outside criticism. In this sense I suppose I can see why he’d regard criticism as futile: by definition it can never get to the heart of the matter. But if critique can undermine a project-object, then the theory of objects likewise becomes assailable.

    What I think is consistent with Harman’s theory is that the interaction between a project and an outside critique generates a new hybrid object fusing together the project and the critique. Similarly the interaction between two egos generates a hybrid dual-ego composite object. But now we’ve clearly gotten distracted from sneer theory, thanks in no small part to you trolls and vampires.

    “or even that being up to something at all is a good thing. But that’s far from self-evident.”

    Definitely — kind of Nietzschean. We can of course point to any number of bad projects as counter-examples.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 2 July 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  27. Kvond, it looks like we were thinking along the same line of flight simultaneously.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 2 July 2009 @ 12:10 pm

    • Yes. But I read his dichotomy of objects (persons) as much less stable than you seem to. His soft, gooy middle requires a near paranoid defense of the sensuous interior. In fact, the metaphysical/psychological assumption seems to have foreclosed any possibility for a new hybrid object, or at least strongly works to deter such a transformation. Instead his one object (his person, his theory) he imagines must be projected largely unchanged far into the future (he regularly writes about how one has to fantasize that your theory is being taught centuries from now).

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 2 July 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  28. I’ve not read Prince of Networks, but I presume it extends the discussion of interactive hybridity (there’s a book title for you) he began in Guerrilla Metaphysics. As you observe, kvond, the defense of the gooey interior should theoretically be entirely unnecessary, with interaction spawning an unlimited number of new hybrid objects without ever violating the integrity of the original interacting objects. That’s supposed to be a good thing.

    I recall something about how, in Harman’s scheme, interactions are asymmetrical, kind of like a plug being stuck into an outlet. There’s an actor and an acted-upon, a “top” and a “bottom” to use VOPR’s favorite analogy. Maybe Graham would rather be the plug than the outlet…

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 2 July 2009 @ 12:26 pm

    • Yes. One cannot help but feel that the asymmetrically of Harman’s theory of causation (one of the most incoherent and almost entirely unexplained aspects of the theory), whereby one object can have causal influence upon another object without the other object having ANY effect on the first (hell, who cares about science), is a projection both of his greatest fears:

      1. That he will be attacked/influenced/altered without having any reciprocal effect on the influencer: Paranoia.

      2. A delusional aggrandisement which expresses just how he imagines his theory should have a one-way effect on others (itself immune from criticism).

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 2 July 2009 @ 12:44 pm

      • Carl,

        I like the dichotomy of hammer and avil even better…somehow. But yes, even the nail has causal effect upon the hammer, as it is the nail and its properties that determines where the hammer will swing, ever giving it its fate as a hammer/nail/wood assemblage.

        Like

        Comment by kvond — 3 July 2009 @ 7:36 am

    • I’d rather be a hammer than a nail. Yes I would. If I only could, I surely would.

      Like

      Comment by Carl — 2 July 2009 @ 9:32 pm

  29. Confronting this sort of influential asymmetry, one could be excused for invoking a hermeneutic of suspicion not just psychologically but politically. After all, it seems integral to the theory itself, this disparity between aggressor and victim. I’ve not read this aspect of Harman’s theory, though, so I’m only engaging in speculation.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 2 July 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    • Yes John, you mention “politically”. It was when I began thinking of the political implications, not just of his metaphysics, but also what he does with it, it was then that I started making my orientalizing interpretation. For the colonizer ever feels the fear that they are always on the “outside” (even though on the political inside), that conversation are being had all around that they cannot control or even enter into. They fear that though they are seeming to have a “civilizing” effect upon the indigenous, the natives are all somehow all immune to it, that if the colonizer would simply leave everything would revert back into a native/natural if chaotic state. All the while, the native people/culture starts having a sort of one-way effect on the persons who colonize, seemingly to seep into their behaviours, tolerances and eventually into their morals. Slowly the colonizer him/herself is becoming colonized, from the inside. At best the “white” colonizer reads these effects as benificent, as mediating the colonizer to some greater potential (just as the inner sensuous vicars mediate the cold white object), but ever with such a beneficience lurks its opposite, a suspicion of a malevolent corrosion, a decadance.

      Now of course this polarized image of paranoid invasion is just that, born out of the desire for the colonizer to have a one-way, didactic, instructive, dictative influence on the too-sensuous other (mind on matter). Indeed there must be hybrid objects everywhere, and causal influences moving into both directions.

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 3 July 2009 @ 7:32 am

  30. I believe this is how Harman’s vicarious causation works, kvond, but I’m completely open to correction or reinterpretation. Two separate objects are proximal to one another. For them to come into relationship with each other, one of the objects has to emit an allure, which is some subset of its sensual properties. The other object, meanwhile, has to enfold the alluring object in its sphere of intentionality. The intending object in effect strips off the alluring sensual features from the other object and brings them into proximity with its, the intending object’s, real object-hood. The alluring object isn’t really violated though, since its essential properties remain fully insulated from any relations with other objects. The intending object too retains its separate essence, but now it has created a new hybrid object from the association between itself and the other object’s alluring properties.

    So if we were to translate this formulation into colonialism and orientalism: The dominant Western nation is the intending object; the other orientalized subordinate nation is the alluring object. The oriental object emits its seductive allure, drawing the dominant nation’s intentionality. The dominating nation strips the alluring features from the oriental subordinate nation, absorbing and merging them with itself in creating a new hybrid object: call it empire. The oriental sub-nation still exists, but it has ceded its alluring sensual properties to the dominant power’s merged empire-object.

    I don’t think this is a distortion of the core theory. If all objects are on ontologically equal footing, then nations and empires participate in this sort of asymmetrical vicarious relationship. Clearly also there’s a distinction between relations within a nation and those established between two nations. The relations internal to a nation are direct, occurring within the intra-object plasm. Individual humans and groups are part of the nation, participating in this direct internal relational plasm. While one individual always remains Other to the other, the two of them attain sameness within the larger hybrid societal entity Relations between two nations are indirect, mediated. The other nation is Other to my own; the individual members of that nation are also Other to the members of my nation, in a way that isn’t true of internal relations within my nation.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 3 July 2009 @ 9:34 am

    • Now incorporate Harman’s theoretical one-way causation (causation whereby one object can have causal effect on another without ANY reciprocal causal effect…what Harman calls “a mosquito hitting a semi-truck” or “a meteor hitting a planet” to the Colonial situation. Which is the mosquito, which is the truck?

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 3 July 2009 @ 10:15 am

      • I doubt that I need to point out that the physics being espoused here are highly dubious…

        Like

        Comment by anodyne lite — 7 July 2009 @ 11:16 pm

      • Welcome, AL. There’s physics, and then there’s METAphysics. (If there are trolls, are there also METAtrolls?). I’m pretty sure that Harman’s theory isn’t particularly concerned with the physics of truck-mosquito interaction. But do we get into idealism territory in his realism when the properties of a mosquito cannot be touched by the truck, yet the mosquito can be destroyed thereby? Does the hermetically withdrawn essence of the mosquito disconnect from its bodily surfaces and float into the plasm, looking for another host body to occupy…? Anyhow, I think there are connections between Harman’s metaphysics and the issue of projects and critiques, which has been worth exploring at least a bit.

        Like

        Comment by john doyle — 8 July 2009 @ 1:58 pm

      • John,

        To say that Harman isn’t interested in physics, isn’t really so. That is to say, he is attempting to explain what physics explains, via his metaphysics, and to do so requires that his explanation actual prove a significant improvement in description. That is to say, if he is to REALLY be talking about the interaction between bowling balls and wood floors (and not just making up human fantasy projections), then the nature of their causal relations AS THEY ACTUALLY OCCUR (in otherwords, at the very least, as we are able to measure and predict them), is to be the subject, the explanadum.

        If indeed we can theoretically (coherently) and empirically measure the causal effect of a mosquito on a truck, or a meteor on a planet, Graham’s desire to assert that there is no such causal effect pretty much disqualifies his entire metaphysical explanation, at least as I see it. To further inebriate his theory, he actually has no explanation at all for what causation is, that is by what means or mechanism or requirement a sensuous vicar actually has some affect or not. He can only say that as a devotee of Husserl/Heidegger it CANNOT be as modern science takes it to be, inventing a kind of Creationist conception of the order of the world. In the end he simply makes a very good case why one should not think about causation with Husserl or Heidegger in mind.

        Like

        Comment by kvond — 8 July 2009 @ 2:16 pm

  31. Indeed. Harman’s theory acknowledges the possibility of an object going out of existence altogether. As the mosquito’s sensual properties are smeared across the truck’s windshield, at some point the mosquito must give up the ghost. If an object is its properties, does it happen that at some point the mosquito gives up not only its detached sensual properties but its real essential properties as well to the windshield? Does the oriental nation eventually lose so many of its alluring soldiers’ lives and resources and labor that its essential nationhood finally gives up the ghost? I don’t believe I’ve read how an object finally ceases existing in Harman’s theory.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 3 July 2009 @ 10:32 am

  32. The question is, while the truck supposedly delivers a very powerful “sensual vicar” to the mosquito (it is pretty silly talking like this, but this is how Graham thinks causation works), producing a destructive effect, why in the world why the mosquito not present even a modicum, a wee little, however impotent “sensual vicar” of its own to the truck’s gooey middle?

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 3 July 2009 @ 10:41 am

  33. Because the mosquito contributes a wee bit to the hybrid, albeit short-lived, truck-mosquito object? Maybe we need to conduct some empirical research.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 3 July 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  34. Sorry, bad typo [not the second “why” but “would”}.

    Graham uses the mosquito/truck example to explain how there is NO reciprocal causality. That is to say, under the said state the mosquito’s sensuous vicar would NOT make an appearance to the truck, there would be no wee bit of contribution…at least that does seem to be what he is saying (however inordinantly).

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 3 July 2009 @ 1:25 pm

    • There are two options here I can think of.

      1. Graham does not know his high school physics. Trucks are visited by the sensuous vicars of individual atoms of atmospheric gas, which in aggregate make quite a difference; so they certainly are affected in the same way, without the aggregate, by mosquitoes, which outmass nitrogen atoms by quite a bit. The meteor/earth example is even more laughable; just ask the dinosaurs.

      2. Graham does not have physics or material causation in mind. He is after all, as he keeps telling us, not a materialist. Perhaps he means the truck does not ‘notice’ the mosquito in some conscious sense, perhaps related to this concept of ‘allure’?

      Like

      Comment by Carl — 3 July 2009 @ 2:48 pm

      • Or is the motion of the truck a separate object? In which case wiping off the mosquito goo from the windshield would prove Graham’s point.

        Like

        Comment by Carl — 3 July 2009 @ 2:51 pm

      • Carl et al,

        If interested you should read his essay on Causation “On Vicarious Causation”. I can email it to you if any are interested (kvdi@earthlink.net ). But I the illustrations (mosquito/meteor) come from two lectures I’ve heard on line. He contends that if you follow Husserl and Heidegger you end up having to refuse the basic tenents of Science (and it seems a great deal of its explanatory framework, throwing out what you call “high school physics” and a whole lot more), one is lead to great hostility to scientific materialist causation. Now, the common sense view of such a claim might be: well, if you have throw out scientific causation (and its explantory power), perhaps it is better to throw out Husserl, Heidegger, etc.

        As to whether the truck “notices” the mosquito, Harman is under the impression that “noticing” is the very means by which causal influence is exacted or carried out. If there is no “noticing” then there is no causal effect.

        The truth of the matter is, I have no idea Harman thinks his metaphysics requires One-way causation. Rather, with John, I pretty much see that the very notion of the hybrid object forecloses such a thought. It is only (by my intuition) Harman’s paranoia over one-way influence, and fantasy of being influential himself in a mono-directional fashion, that inserts such a doctrine. Hey, why begrudge the tiny mosquito his wee little vicar? I mean this vicar is probably a rather noble and polite fellow and wouldn’t go anywhere he wasn’t told to…

        Like

        Comment by kvond — 3 July 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  35. Certainly possible, Carl. I suspect that I’ve reached the limits of my intuition about what these things might mean or how they can be reconciled with common sense or everyday observation. Perhaps some day I need to read more of what Harman has to say about it.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 3 July 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  36. […] rhetoric. I am not sure why Kvond has this strange obsession with me, but he certainly seems to be expending a lot of energy writing about me. […]

    Like

    Pingback by Two Things I Hate « Larval Subjects . — 5 July 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  37. I see that Sinthome has linked to this post as evidence that kvond spends a lot of energy writing about him. I just scanned through the comments, and while we explore the blogs and writings and Graham Harman, mark k-punk, and Cultural Parody Center explicitly and in some detail, I don’t think we discuss Sinthome or his blog at all on this post. However, I appreciate the link and, if you like, feel free to add to the discussion on this controversial topic.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 5 July 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  38. Larval Subjects has sublated his identity into the commericial whole of others, it would seem. No doubt when one discusses the very idea of trolls and grey vampires one is discussing him. It seems that the Harmaninac paranoia is ever spreading, jealous whispers everywhere, attempting to take down that “great” “positivity” of Object Orientation.

    I will say I do spend some time writing about Larval Subjects on occasion, but it is very little time, and even less energy.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 5 July 2009 @ 6:37 pm

  39. Et voilà — now we’ve talked about Sinthome too.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 5 July 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  40. Well, at least now the “lowly community college professor”, “classy, contemptuous warrior” (as he alternately identifies) will be happy…alas.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 6 July 2009 @ 7:45 am

  41. Though 3 weeks have passed since the last comment on this thread, it’s time for an update. Yesterday Dr. Zamalek again repeated k-punk’s injunction to “surround yourself with people who have projects.” Dr. Z elaborates: “Tearing down other projects does not count as a project.”

    Earlier in this thread we explored the “hermeneutic of suspicion” as applied both to the tearer-downers and the project managers. We also saw how mark k-punk’s resistance to tearer-downers is explicitly rooted in what he regards as the need to protect the boundaries and integrity of projects, with an authoritarian hand if need be. But what about Graham Harman? Are we just indulging in armchair psychologizing about his resistance to criticism? I don’t think so. Here’s an excerpt from Harman’s paper in Collapse II:

    “While analytic philosophy takes pride in never suggesting more than it explicitly states, this procedure does no justice to a world where objects are always more than they literally state. Those who care only to generate arguments almost never generate objects. New objects, however, are the sole and sacred fruit of writers, thinkers, politicians, travellers, lovers, and inventors.”

    First off, I thought that in Harman’s system new objects aren’t spawned only by humans, but also by collisions between billiard balls, fire encountering cotton, and all manner of non-human interactions. Secondly, in that same article Harman says that “every connection is itself an object.” An argument generated by an analytical philosopher results from an intentional connection initiated by the arguer in response to some feature of the project. The result, per Harman, is itself an object. So it seems that Harman, in invoking the sacred charge to create objects bestowed upon a certain elite class of humans, is stepping outside the bounds of his own project. We can only speculate why, but we can certainly identify the self-contradiction explicitly.

    We’ve not clarified what’s meant by a “project,” but I’d say it refers to the intentional and systematic and usually goal-directed work undertaken by individual humans or groups of humans. The project is a kind of dynamic meeting-place where objects and subjects interact to produce new products, inventions, events, ideas, and so on. I suppose that a bunch of boulders and pebbles and what-not could have as a project the production of an avalanche, but I don’t think that’s what Dr. Z is talking about here — though I’d say that preventing or stopping the avalanche would constitute a project in its own right. No, both Graham and Mark are talking about projects as the laboratory or incubator for the creation of “sacred fruit” — objects of human genius like theories, inventions, books, discoveries. It seems that for Harman the creation of such objects is better than other kinds of activities in which humans can engage.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 27 July 2009 @ 9:01 am

    • This deserves a new topic heading. It is a productive critique (and I dare say, in your tearing down of Harman’s idea that crticism does not produce new objects, produces a new object, a new way of relating of its own).

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 9:06 am

      • Wow, that was quick, kvond. I was still editing my comment, so I probably that last paragraph about projects after you’d already replied. Okay, I’ll do it — make a new object-post, that is.

        Like

        Comment by john doyle — 27 July 2009 @ 9:16 am

  42. yes kvond you could say that the idea of my parody, my aesthetic project, is to create this vulgar Object that is an amalgam of all the blawger’s bizarre personalities and obsessions, and which kind of shows his ass to them. My search for the Daddy with the Biggest Blawger Dick is partly a satire of myself, and partly a satire of the Fall of the Father and the Decline of Symbolic Efficacy as outlined in Dr. Zizek’s boring dialectic texts. I also found a strange and beautiful jouissance in the reduction of the blawger relationships to sadistic homosexual intercourse, because there is something, as the success of gay parody shows us in a movie like BRUNO, to that anal joke that is upsetting but also irresistibly funny. I combine this with my own incessant cultural pursuits, because I really enjoy philosophizing freely without the restraints of some academic environment.

    So in this context you relationship with dr. Sinthome is also anal-sadistic, because you seem to go there in order to get a cold shower, or a clinical rejection from the narcissistic cat, and in this you show all the personality traits of a hysterical tranny, screaming for the police but at the same time displaying her sexy lingerie to the desired Object. This position fascinates me because on the one hand it’s dr. Sinthome’s deepest desire to have antagonist fans while on the other hand it causes almost hysterical repulsion when the cat is in a foul mood. You have become dr. Sinthome’s genuine parody Object, the point at which the cat loses control of herself.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 27 July 2009 @ 1:38 pm


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