#OccupyWallStreet and the Question of Change

One of the dominant critiques of #OWS is that it has no clear demands.  And yet, as many in the movement have claimed, that is precisely the point.

Revolution is not the goal. We don't want to turn all the way around and find ourselves right back where we started.  We need to take a line of flight, go somewhere else entirely, like Bugs Bunny being chased by Elmer Fudd.  He doesn't run; he shifts the conversation.

And this, I believe, is what #OWS wants: a fundamental change of structure and of behavior.  They don't oppose; they multiply.

And this means radical openness, different voices and perspectives. This means moving beyond ideology and its implicit violence, its us vs. them dichotomies, its righteousness.  Righteousness is unseemly in every way.

And so a new way of coalescing.  A way that does not have one, fixed agenda but has multiple agendas or no agenda at all.  This is a performative protest, practicing what it professes.

Is that enough?  Well, of course not. A bunch of people sitting in the streets stirring up shit and talking in round tables is not the end state. It's the beginning state.  And it's an essential element — collective, non-ideological discussion fueled by passion, anger, frustration, need, and desire.

Individually, a lot of changes need to be made.  People need to refuse to work 60, 70, 80 hour weeks without proper compensation.  People need to stop shopping at convenient behemoths and support local business.  People need to stop driving like they're the only one on the road.

We have to claim dignity and civility on an individual basis.

But there are enormous, powerful structures in place that need to change, as well.  The flow of capital needs to be re-engineered.  Right now, the game is rigged by a coalition of government and police that enforces these flows, ensuring the capital flows towards the top of global corporations. 

This is not about liberation. That is a red herring. This is about the structural engineering of capital flow.

And so change must begin with dismantling the privilege and power afforded corporations.  This means:

  • Taking away personhood from corporations.  While this cannot happen overnight, it would be nice to have some economists begin mapping out how to do this without triggering a complete economic collapse.
  • As incorporating is a privilege and not a right — a privilege granted by the government, which presumably is by the people —  put certain mandates on corporations that re-engineer the flow of capital.  Now, it all flows up.  So mandate that it must flow down, too: profit sharing with all employees.  Don't like that rule? Don't incorporate.

What else?


Anonymous said...

I find it rather absurd that people complain about the protestors' lack of demands or solutions to problems, in light of the fact that our government's current solution to these same problems has been to bail out companies and banks that have failed by their own hand. It's sort of like the "5 stages of grief" applied to the "death" of capitalism: government and corporations are still in the denial phase (if they even acknowledge there is a problem at all — and why should they, given record corporate profits) while the protestors have reached the anger stage. You can't negotiate with people who haven't acknowledged that there is a problem unless you have a lot of money or a lot of weapons. Even worse if the person you're trying to negotiate with has not only got you beat on both those fronts, but he also is making a profit just sitting there.

If only Burroughs were alive to watch the "paroxysms and idiot terror" in NYC, although given his firearm proclivities, things might not have ended up so well (if he can kill without even trying, imagine what would happen if he put his mind to it):

"And here is Mr. Rich Parts. He is three hundred years old. He is still subject to accidental death, and the mere thought of it throws him into paroxysms of
idiot terror. For days he cowers in his bunker, two hundred feet down in solid rock, food for fifty years. A trip from one city to another requires months of sifting and checking computerized plans and alternate routes to avoid the possibility of an accident. His idiotic cowardice knows no bounds.
There he sits, looking like a Chimu vase with a thick layer of smooth purple scar tissue. Encased as he is in this armor, his movements are slow and
hydraulic. It takes him ten minutes to sit down. This layer gets thicker and thicker right down to the bone-the doctors have to operate with power tools.
So we leave Mr. Rich Parts and the picturesque parts people their monument, a mountain of scar tissue."

drwatson said...

I wrote this a few years ago when I was trying my hardest to get completely outside of philosophical language. I know regret half of that. Anyhow, I'm a bit embarrassed with some of the writing, but you might find the sentiments relevant. (And the editing problems are not mine)


what the Tee Vee taught said...

Meet the new boss... same as the old boss, eh? The #OWS crowd is wise to recognize this, I suppose.

Obviously (I'm going to say it) a really easy way to sum up this here culture of ours:

It thinks coercion is not only necessary... but good! Bending others to your will, forcing them to go "your way" (which, in this culture, is to value production as the paramount goal — and fuck THE PROCESS!! I needs me SOME FUCKING RESULTS) forcing others to be as you'd like them to be... that's the goal. And, beyond hilarity, the schools — beacons of bourgeois values — claim that "bullying" is a problem.

So, the problem isn't the bullying — it's not recognizing who gets to bully! Only the powerful are allowed to bully — and you, kid, ain't powerful... so quit embarrassing us all, we have facades to maintain.

And, any claims to valuing "diversity" is the deepest of bullshit — uniformity is the goal.

Here's Captain Shitbird Adam Smith, to bring my rant to a close:

"Civil government is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all".

Thanks for honesty, asshole (Smith, not you DC).


what the Tee Vee taught said...

I have one.

In response to your invitation, "what else?" (as my previous comment was just yelling, not a piece of a conversation)

1) Those who would take your dignity and force you into unnecessary struggle designed for their benefit — wage-slavery — are oppressors — righteous oppressors.

And they will not give up their power. So... stop cherishing non-violence. It's bullshit and extremely childish... for those who refuse to acknowledge the reality of their oppression (largely because they have it pretty damn good, ye' ole' white folk love them some non-violence).

Whenever violence goes up the chain of command (think 9/11, or anytime a cop is assaulted, or any example you like) the powerful freak the fuck out... because they know... they are vulnerable. They are flesh and blood. And they. are. vulnerable.

The indecent among us have garnered their power through violence (generations of it, taking many forms), and it's proper that we all remember that... and keep the option on the table, when we're sitting down talking about "what can we do". Find your teeth... they work. All violence is not the same — so quit blackballing it.

drwatson said...

I reread that essay - and it's a bit lame - but I guess I was trying to find hope in an internet culture that I saw being crapped on by most academics while still realizing the huge problems in disembodied communication. Hopefully, I'll rewrite it more thoughtfully when it's time to write my diss - which is actually coming up pretty quickly.

Anyhow, I was thinking about change a few semesters ago as it related to the rhetorical mode of invention. And what struck me is that it's hard for most theorists that I've grown up reading to actually account for change.

So for example, when I read people who get called Structuralists - Saussure for example - the world seems like it exists on a chess board. But all the pieces are always-already in place. The system just doesn't deal with newness. And when I read people that get lumped into the camp of post-modern it seems like language and culture are the biggest determining factors in what can be thought. So it's hard for me to figure out how account for change.

Now, certainly things do change and in terms of the current political economy it seems paramount to meditate on this idea. What we need now is a reconfiguring. And we need someone who can actually speak to people on television to do this. I mean other than Cornell West, I can't think of an academic who is anti-corporate domination who can also speak in a way that doesn't alienate exactly the people you need for a movement not to occur for a few weeks, but sustain itself, to become a narrative not of dissent, but of "the way things are."

drwatson said...

@WTTVT - I don't think violence is ever going to be a good solution. Not simply for non-violent, hippy reasons, but also because it's a losing game. I live in NC and in the south you hear lots of paranoia concerning guns and their ability to stop oppression from the government. Now I grew up with guns - hunting and what not. I'm not an anti-gun person in that respect. But I damn sure don't want to fight the American military.

But more importantly it's the debate Camus had with Sartre and MLK had with MX. Means and Ends are related. Means need to be as noble as ends, in my opinion. You don't replace violence with violence you find the third way - the way of Bartleby.

In Melville's amazing story Bartleby is constantly asked to do tasks and he always says "I'd prefer not to." And in this small way he carves out a space that is neither consent or dissent by inversion.

And that space isn't as abstract as it sounds - it's the space of Gandhi's militant non-violence. That movement worked so well because it was built off of "I'd prefer not to." Move. No. Fight back. No. Okay then what? Then the violence of the state was revealed and then people could see it for the first time as what it was.

MLK and the civil rights movement was similar. The space that's carved out, I hope, is where change can take place. You don't just reverse the order of oppression - as the Russian Revolution is often talked about doing.

At least I hope so - just thinking out loud.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Well no, nobody wants to fight that psychotic institution directly, and I'm certainly not suggesting doing so.

Yes, Bartleby is excellent — I'm with you (the film is pretty darn good as well, used it in class a few times).

Violence can be noble — of that I have no doubts. I'm not encouraging riots. Rather, I'm leaning on the Derrick Jensen model: We need it all.

Look at the circumstances, think about the affect, and do your best... but doing something is not to be derided because it isn't "proper". This thinking, I believe, is quite insidious.

I think a thoroughly layered resistance, including violence (in which those who gasp at the very idea of violence see it as an occasionally (or regularly) useful tool... and are willing to support those who would use it), could make it much easier for those who would like to take the path of Bartleby... perhaps.

Also (END:CIV paraphrasing), it's wise to remember that Gandhi was only part of the resistance to British power. And in many ways, Gandhi was the best the British could have hoped for — as King was for the American power structure desperate to continue to keep the underclass (blacks) underfoot... this culture needs an underclass after all, despite all this nonsense about "education" leading us to prosperity.

I enjoy your thinking Doc Watson, thank you for it.

Daniel Coffeen said...

@ Anon: Ah, WSB: That's a good call — it would be great if he were around to see this. He got it like no one else got it.

@ Dr and WTTVT: Bartelby as resistor is fantastic — thoroughly non-ideologic and with the perfect amount of madness that, in its way, verges on violence. He's so persistent. Love that.

As for other kinds of violence, I think this needs some consideration. Not sure about shooting people — not sure who you'd shoot that would matter. The Chinese tried some really radical culture change involving violence and forced education and, well, it did something. Just not quite sure what.

I like the way the Yes Men operate (for the most part): jamming information circuits. Is that violence? Or Anonymous, hacking VISA et al: Is that violence?

I dunno.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Let me replace violence (because I'm certainly not focusing on violence against people as a good thing, but not inherently bad either... I want to hear the plan first) with force... so sure, if Anonymous gets into Visa's ass, costs them some money, fucks up their racket — that's force. That's good stuff.

Clearly, if a supreme court justice or bank chief gets murdered the culture of coercion and domination won't end, they're just cogs.

But, regardless of effect, destroying this planet with various poisons and forcing the masses to toil for the sake of the few is fucked... so why not support those (I didn't see anything) who would attack Monsanto, or whatever.

Fear of prison? Good answer. We're in a bind.

drwatson said...

Okay - so I would say it would be inherently bad to use violence if you weren't left with only that alternative. So certainly in WWII I think violence was justified SOMETIMES. But not the atomic bombs and not several other instances.

I'm not against these acts of violence because of an ideological reason - I really just don't think they're usually defensible. Now it's not ideological because I certainly believe in the right of self-defense. But the language of violence IS the language of power.

Okay so force - I like this word much better. Force is interesting. And I would highly recommend a professor's book that I had: Stephen Yarbrough's After Rhetoric. It's amazing.

Yarbrough makes a distinction between rhetorical force and actual force. If actual force is backing up your speech, you have rhetorical force. So I can tell my students to write a paper because my rhetorical force is backed up by a gradebook. He also complicates Fish and several others. I can't speak highly enough.

But okay - so force can operate without physical violence. I mean I just can't buy the idea that you have the right to hurt another human being because you don't like their institutional position - I mean we're against a system - not individuals. And that's important to remember. I don't have Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. What I hate is the dominance they have. But force can be applied in different ways. And that's absolutely the way I'd want to think, i.e., how can I apply force in ways that don't make me a monster to affect change.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Hey Doc, thanks for the continued correspondence. I'm going to say quite a bit (and it's useful to know that I own no property. I am forced to submit to land-owning overlords... and I really fucking hate that. I refuse to even attempt to "get ahead", giving my excess to those more needy than I):

Violence is being used — every moment of everyday — by those who wield the power in the systems you refer to. Does this not require that we legitimize stooping to their level? Biting our cheek and believing it to be necessary? We can't let them dominate and take our teeth, can we? Can one not use violence as a means to end a culture of coercion and domination?

And then hopefully put that tool away until someone else comes around looking to dominate and control? I'm not talking about using violence to bring in a new boss... I'm talking about trying to destroy the role of boss (yes, I know... I could consider living in the "real world" — sorry, I don't mean to be a dick and suggest you'd say that, but it is a common refrain).

When there is a move to separate those who operate and benefit from the systems you refer to (bankers, politicians, etc.)... from "the system"... does this not leave us in a terribly odd stance. A posture from which we are crippled? Maybe?

I'm not sure what you mean by the language of violence is the language of power. What does that mean to you?

I'm also interested in the idea of "violence only if it's the last alternative".

As far as people I can only read about go, I enjoy Toussaint L'Ouverture. No saint (which isn't to say saints are good, but you follow me), but what the hell: he helped lead a thoroughly called-for ass-whipping on the French Dominators.

You wouldn't argue that the Haitians should have plodded along, would you? Because killing the masters was an indefensible use of violence?

So where does "the last option" come in? Are we required to plod along, just because the new dominators aren't going to come to our houses and slit our throats? They're just going to force us to play by their rules (pay them to live on the planet).

drwatson said...

WTTVT: Man, those are all good questions. I guess I'm going to cheat and respond with mostly questions. And I don't mean to dodge the questions - this just helps me think.

In terms of Haiti - of course not. I think if you're only option is violence then it's fair and appropriate. But are we the same as poor Haitians? And the answer seems like it's obviously "no." But then what exactly is the difference. Because I don't disagree with the notion that I often feel helpless to change the system because of how big it is. In fact when people say things like "down with the system," I am totally sympathetic, but the statement makes me want to sneer, mostly because I grew up with The Simpsons and have to fight the move from irony to cynicism.

My next question is what exactly do we mean by "violence." I think it would help to define it just for this conversation. I mean Levinas would define violence really widely and maybe someone else only means physical violence. So what exactly do we mean?

I feel like when I wrote that the language of power is the language of violence, I was using violence in the way I should be using a phrase like rhetorical force. That idea was clearer when I wrote it than now when I'm reading it. Sadly, this happens to me often.

Enjoying the exchange - definitely makes me think.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Okay, I'm feeling pretty good here, another long one, going to rant my ass off!

Violence — I'm talking about any type of destruction of things or bodies with the intent of A) making it impossible for the dominators to continue dominating or B) making it no longer worth it for the dominators to continue dominating ("I'm tempted to dominate others, but I've got a 75/25 chance of getting me and mine killed if I do so... so I won't")

If the violence is designed to meet A or B, I see it as a legit to put it in motion.

And I think you're correct, other avenues should be explored first. But (and this is a big but) it's important to keep in mind:

Irrational problems ARE NOT solved by rational answers. So, if I am compelled to acquire far more than I need in a way that guarantees the suffering of others... this is (I believe) irrational. And don't think that appealing to reason will suffice in changing behavior... sociopaths are not reasonable.

For example: those who give the green light to nuclear power stations are insane, and it's not unreasonable to attempt to disable their ability to implement their destruction... because we know they don't give a shit about producing mountains of poison in the name of steam powering a turbine. I'm not going to send the head of Exelon a Helen Caldicott book.

Let me get on to the Haiti example:

First, it's useful to define the "we" when comparing "us" and "them". I do my best to not think of my situation when talking about "our" situation... because I have it pretty good. I'm plenty white, plenty tall, plenty thin, and plenty well-versed in how to behave around powerful people (shut up often, speak to flatter) and therefore am extremely capable — if I were to choose to do so — to gain the rewards of this society. Hell, I can (and have) made 60+k throwing around food and whipping up cocktails for the upper crust... working 4 days a week, for less than 40 hours... because I'm accepted by the wealthy and know how to pamper their smug self-image.

So fuck me and my WASPy name and face. I'm thinking about the women of color (women in general) and everybody from the class of people who are getting raped, objectified, and used up like trash — and that's not even thinking about the non-humans.

So I'd say YES, "we" (identifying with those who have it the worst) are in a relatively similar situation to 18th century Haitian slaves.

Again, for me, it's the culture of domination.

The idea that "I" (any old person aspiring to be powerful) not only can, but SHOULD, try to force their will on others. Get them to do what you want them to do. There is no benevolence here. Control is the goal. And this world of ours makes it very clear to us, if you're willing to listen: don't do that. Don't try to control.

(mabye) Final thought: if this culture is focused on robbing non-whites, women, animals, trees, fucking everything of their subjectivity, and making them into objects to be manipulated, everybody that is actively doing that needs to be put on notice. And if some blood is spilled, so be it. We're all here to live and die anyway. Those who seek to dominate have more unnecessary blood on their sweatshop labor produced pants than I can fathom anyway.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Part II of throwing ideas around:

People aren't bad. But the idea that the world is dead and exists to be dominated and exploited, "I" (and those I identify as mine) come first and only... then it's time to embrace violent measures and the individuals who are willing and able to carry them out.

Big picture: put violence back on the table as a very legitimate option. Don't let bourgeois values (those, like me, who aren't anywhere near the bottom of the hierarchy) determine the means of resistance. That's fucking bullshit.

I'm in the middle (or perhaps still the beginning) of big personal re-education project, a death and re-birth, and realizing that you have to fight for the weakest among us is the biggest obstacle I'm trying to break through... I'm starting to get closer, and it feels right.

I hear you in that sudden movement towards sneering (I fight it everyday — both from myself and others), but the real goal is to eliminate any rewards from coercing others. And yes, what needs to be overcome is enormous. Monotheistic religions all spout the language of dominating others. Property for profit and gain — rather than allowing every thing on this planet to have its own subjectivity — is straight dominator thinking.

It's all fucked, but let's rally against it and make as big of a stink as possible. Lots of little and big steps. Personal and social. I recently stopped killing ants in the house, and I've talking about how the school's mantra of RESPECT is impossible in a hierarchical relationship based on domination... needless to say, some people like me more, and others like me less... but fuck it, I'm ready to be bold!

To keep your mouth shut and go along to preserve social status and comfort is unconscionable. Just keep trying to push your willingness to resist further... that's what I encourage.

Down with domination. The planet is alive (not a metaphor) and willing to let us back in... we just need to derail the crazy train.

Finally (I think I mean it this time), I know the situation is hopeless, and that in all likelihood the culture is doomed to destroy until it collapses under its own weight, and then the healing might slowly begin. And perhaps this is the only way, but we owe it to the innocents to fight. Right? I think so. And I'm trying to be a better fighter every fucking day.

Enjoy, Doc Watson

drwatson said...

I'm going to read all this again before I respond at length. But first thanks for your generosity. And thanks Coffeen for writing shit that fits my favorite criteria: it's interesting and it's pleasurable.

Okay I want to share something I wrote today for my class on Style.


Okay and one question. But I will respond at length after I take this all in: does it really work today to divide up (if you're already sensitive to the issues of race, class, gender and so forth) down the traditional white/non-white, men/women lines.

What I mean is this: I teach tons of poor white, what would be called "rednecks." (And it's important to note this is the only group that liberals will refer to pejoratively without a second thought.) So my poor white students and my poor brown and black students are not really different groups. Now they aren't the same either. That's what's complicated.

Also, the men/women dichotomy obviously ignores transgendered people, but it also assumes that this is the determining factor in terms of status in a capital community. (Now I'm not suggesting you don't know all this. Just writing out loud.)

So given the protests, which are actually bringing together people like me and tea party people, can we use traditional categories to talk about power? If not, what categories?

Now, again, I would write differently if I thought I was talking to someone who didn't already recognize his white-maleness didn't allow him to navigate the world easier. The only time I've ever felt profiled is when my hair gets long and I ride around with musical equipment in my car.

More to come.

drwatson said...

I think what I'm most resistant to is the idea that my reluctance to use violence comes from my status as a white/male/middle-class/consumer. I don't think this has anything to do with my bourgeois values. (I'll never be a Marxist, mostly because I can't ever spell "bourgeois.")

And really I think the Marxist dichotomy is problematic. The terms bourgeois and proletariat fit reality too tightly into them; they squeeze the balls of reality.

I agree something should be done. But, take the Occupy Wall Street. The minute that breaks out into a violent anything, they will have lost. The media is dying to for that to happen - the media wants them to turn out to be monsters. They are successful, in my mind, to the degree that they can find a 3rd way that is neither passive nor active in a violent sense.

The people who run the planet and the police force that will work for them understand violence. They know what to do with it. They don't understand Bartleby. And they certainly can be confused by a complex network of differently thinking Bartlebys.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Your Style work was great. And thanks again for coming back for more, I'm enjoying it. Coffeen snapped me out of a funk several years ago, and I'll always rejoice stumbling into his lectures.

On your first response:

Sure, the categories are flawed, but keep in mind everything I wrote was a rant (no pauses, just letting it rip = a certain type of generosity) and the white/non-white — men/women groupings (looking at who exercises the vast majority of coercion and force — because they are the powerful groups) still work just fine for me.

And, at least to some degree, I'm not nearly as interested in power... as I am the WILL to coerce and control. As long as this culture still finds this to be good (really bad) or necessary (still pretty shitty) we can look forward to more of the same. The goal being two:

1) disarm the powerful

2) proliferate the idea that pursuing control is destructive

Letting go of the will to control and dominate, and learning to listen (to each other, the earth (or Gaia... it speaks), and other plants and animals) is a path worth re-discovering.

2nd one:

Let's throw out bourgeois then (I didnt' meant imply Marxist thinking with its use), I have no use for it specifically. However, I absolutely believe that comfort within the oppressive system leads to inaction by those who could most successfully sabotage shit.

How could it not? It's a house slave mentality.

That last point is beautiful and smart: they don't understand Bartleby.

However, the power-hungry dominators do know what to do with what they don't understand (see every indigenous culture this dominator culture has come into contact with).

So, I'm with you very very much on the utility of saying, "No, not going to do it, I'd prefer to do something else".

But... going back to my original point: validating violence as NOT ILLEGITIMATE is the point I want to highlight.

Surely not ideal (it's a move to stoop to a lower level in pursuit of a essential, undeniable goal), and in many cases probably not the way to go.

But sometimes? In the "correct" situation? Fuck yes.

So that's my rant: non-violence only folk need to snap out of it.

drwatson said...

WTHTVT: I'll just make one more small comment. I don't think we should be systematically against most any option. I mean their are times when violence is the right answer. For instance if someone is attacking you. (And yes, totally the easy example available)

So my issue isn't an absolute position - it's really a matter of the stuff I've said before. Mostly stuff that I think has more to do with American Pragmatists like Davidson and Rorty than philosophers that I usually refer to like Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty: what will work, be efficient, be a non-metaphysical solution to a problem.

Oh and I wasn't critiquing the dichotomies as a gotcha move. I agree that there should be generosity in reading something that was written quickly. But I think, as I'm sure you do, that one should always read generously.

Daniel Coffeen said...

Gentlemen: it's been supreme pleasure watching you work this shit out. And, by now, I have a good sense of your respective styles which adds a level of delight to the exchange.

And I think it boils down to this: Sometimes, you gotta fuck shit up — as long as said fucking up is strategic and effective.

The issue I wrestle with is this: What does it mean to change on a societal level? Is that even a meaningful goal? The individual is easy — well, not easy — but I know how I can change myself.

I also can imagine certain structural changes to re-engineer the flow of capital. But when it comes to changing "society" or other people, fuck, I just don't know.

Claims of false consciousness are dangerous — what you think you want is wrong. But without that claim, we're fucked.

I think it's all a matter of focus. Not revolution. Not society. But this or that local institution, local event, local experience....

what the Tee Vee taught said...

DW: I like the idea of being a non-metaphysical solution to the problem (especially is you're keeping your meta-physics to yourself), that's an easy trap to fall into... spiraling around looking for an answer, rather than making a few moves. And I'm pleased we're on the same page: no need to systematically remove violence from the realm of resistance.

DC: Change on a societal level? For me, I recognize that (without some hilarious rise within a cult of personality) my actions will only reverberate in the way networks function (as you have often cleverly described).

So, as a guy walking around, a family member, a friend to a few, and a guy with a teacher job: I try to add my bits to the impossible equation and then -- as always -- try to keep an ear and eye out to see how and where shifts are being made, and then how I can reconnect to my many networks based on however it is I'm processing the new dynamics.

Yeah, it is a matter of focus. In a strangely obvious way: revolution (whatever that could be) is always the last thing to happen, by the time it does happen, it was already completely inevitable. So what had to precede it? The networks spitting out a new series of equations and relationships. And how did we get there? Well... we all know, right? Shit changed.

So just keep on keeping on and up, play along in the human games of communication and structured relationships... and hopefully push towards an enjoyable life for those who are denied one.

Daniel Coffeen said...

Another thought about violence: Foucault does a beautiful job in Discipline and Punish of making the drawing and quartering of a regicide look like nothing compared to the horror of the prison regimen. Which, he asks, is more violent?

Is the relentless vampirism of the Spectacle violent? When Chase Bank uses John Lennon's Instant Karma — is that violent? Or is violence only for physical abuse?

what the Tee Vee taught said...

JP Morgan's ghost using Lennon's tune? Violent... meh, probably not a useful direction to push that word (simply because it is so embedded in the directly physical), but it's clearly some bad shit.

So, I'll offer some words to capture the phenomenon: a blend of torment and wretchedness (which also describes how the Spectacle eviscerates those who know that all that is good will NOT appear and all that appears is NOT good)

I think novelists expound on torment as the most brutal of afflictions — just as Foucault nails it — a regimen of suffering and objectification is torment, no?

Would you rather be punched in the face once a month? or spend a lifetime knowing — just knowing — that your childhood love is being enslaved and tortured?

Fucking Yikes