Taking ecstasy at the “No Future night club” (a repeating preliminary)

Negative feeling could be what “whets the appetite and leaves no aftertaste,” as one of Schlegel’s fragments says. Moving out of loss, having done with memory yet still unfinished, undone, brimming and spilling over into the next table, this kind of feeling is negative but not deficient. Its erotics and convivialities and smoke breaks decline their objects exactly (not strictly, flatly; a platonic yes and curious no, maybe) where possession interrupts tendency. To prefer flirting or tasting to taking is to let our senses get out of sync with the already knowing trajectory of want. Like with each other there’s another common sense on the horizon right now. Numbing smoke floats under the streets at the end of the “empty” territories while across the country sacral cigarettes spirit away over invisible frontiers. If by the end of the night they evaporate, it can also happen over and over again, just from staying there or jumping fences and driving all over the place until it becomes a meeting, a praxis, a ritual, a semicircle, an open invitation, a conversion, a kinship, a stable threshold or wobbling envelope when transience comes out to play — and, along with everybody else, when the open screen breaks, there are those who want to take it all in: tourists and terroristic inspection; anthropology lending itself to demonology, all the white society types with their oblivious reactionary enclosure, for safety reasons. Whether they ever stopped colonizing, or whether they took or have taken everything, is still up in the air. No, it’s ongoing; no, the takeover was always a failure, corroded by its own needy epistemology.

Less interesting to ask when you’re hanging around in a promiscuous sleep, unlike (I’d argue) the supposedly regressive-orgiastic dreams of the “mescal Dionysus” Bloch comes up with by way of analytic opposition. But how could anybody find their way backwards when they’re besides themselves? Why categorize and take Iamblichus at his word when he says ecstasies are the work of demons? Just because we’re not all there or about to go unconscious doesn’t mean that’s a lapse out of aliveness; couldn’t it just as well be zoning out in the Not Yet that’s the inapparent difference from the next morning?

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obsolete or goofy as it may sound now (“thank you loOord for hearing my prayer”), utopia turns back on itself:
when the dream machine crashes, what ecstasy could have been (if not real) puts the afterward’s reality principle in question rather than the usual other way around (“the dream is over. but was it a dream?”)
nowhere — what can’t be placed even within or outside a dream — has the advantage at least of not aspiring to improve a territory

Matter’s (supposed) rawness obtrudes within a sensory field structured, perhaps, by semiosis (not always) but no less by performance — itself always already swathed in, sucked or debted into, arranging economies of sensation. So any particle’s transit may or may not come to rest or relative completion in a performative act. Acting assigns bodies, nonbodies, and other creatures their ontological categories. Furrows of animacy — auditory surround or any group of persons around a scene — dart, sometimes ritually but also virtually, through those ranges of action. What is primary is sensation and what can be done with it among others…

Under what conditions can communities formed in the crevices of a settler colonial system act as insurgent cells?

 

Were contingency synonymous with any spontaneous change, wouldn’t its valorization then only exemplify a logic of precarity – that is, wouldn’t contingency stand in for being on the brink of collapse, foreclosure, or eviction at any moment? And wouldn’t it signal an ideological demand for infinite plasticity – destructive not only because it deforms but because staying flexibly available for more hours (because you have to) sucks up all your time and squeezes out all your energy?

 

How do we abolish debt and the unfreedoms it enforces? Or rather how forget the debts sought by the governing rationality so it can extend credit? Simply abolishing debt doesn’t make sense if sociality (or Jodi Melamed’s “sociopoesis”) circulates through debts — but Stefano Harney and Fred Moten think more precisely about this than I am in The Undercommons (p. 66).

What if contingency were reducible neither to a logic of precarity nor to the at-any-moment flexibility it demands? If it could mean short soft accesses of another meanwhile (see Bliss Cua Lim on “occult national times”) – which won’t necessarily tear everything down in an instant but which could slip into another praxis evasive or unrecognizable enough to tear away from how austerity comes to administer sensation (planning to scrimp as though that were a horizon of desire) – or even the end of the world, “scattered, scatted eschaton” (Moten again, 118).

 

What does the ecstasy marked where an eschaton punctures you into collectivity do to the national meanwhile? Volatile mixtures brim up from around the supposed structural inertia of institutions and the comportments they want from you even on your off time.

Lobbed first in derision of a figure of queer hyperbole — the hypersensitive (endlessly wounded) and thus hyperdefensive (humorless, policing) but also hyperdramatic (complaining) claimant to a marginalized identity — “special snowflake” has curved back on its originators. On leftbook (and screenshots of e.g. the Glenn Beck fanpage) the term turns toward the critical exposure of self-absorptive white tears, of xenophobia as demand for safe space, and of racist diaperbabies “triggered” into losing their civility.

What does this insult presume? What is its force as insult? Calling someone a “special snowflake” antagonizes their presumed fragility, but why? And what does it mean to reverse the gesture?

An insufferable video on the “Millennials Question” can perhaps partially explain this. Motivational speaker / marketing consultant / would-be diagnostician Simon Sinek would characterize the snowflake as somebody who received too many participation trophies and now enjoys too much instant gratification to square their self-perceived singularity with the demands of a reality principle. To demand this kind of singularity is to become a social type defined by petulant inadequacy to typification.

Another video comes to mind too  —

Somebody says “go get your diapies changed.” An echolalic turkey gobble noise jumps from the young person raising two middle fingers to the older trump supporters crowding in and screaming back the gobble noise. In a longer version of the video we learn that the young person started screaming to interrupt a speaker with a microphone and then gets drowned out by people shouting “USA!” x 3. Aggressive mock applause gets mirrored back while people shout hurray and sarcastically bellow “Oh yeah oh yeah.” The most legible sign says “SPEAK OPENLY    DISAGREE HONESTLY   PURSUE SOLIDARITY” and then, handwritten, simply “Trump.”  Toward the end you can see the young person kind of bobbing up and down into a mortification dance where the absurdity of the confrontation somehow redeems the shame of not knowing what you’re doing or even exactly why.  Everyone is filming everything.

I wonder if this captures the moment it became possible to use “special snowflake” to antagonize the fragility of those who feel threatened by left-liberal and radical counter-“policing.”

What is happening here? When does infantility act tactically?

Can the rhetoric of infantility (calling somebody else a baby) be thought on a continuum with infantility as reversion to prediscursive noise or the enactment of a shared shame dump where discourse must become formless (acting like a baby)?

Can “snowflake” not just reclaim but also re-weaponize (ascribed) hypersensitivity?


A partial bibliography could have you read the books Elaine Showalter mentions in this paragraph from the introduction to Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture (1997):

Americans also tend to feel defensive about hysterical disorders after the recent spate of accusations that this country is becoming a hysterical victim society. It’s a standing joke that Americans no longer view themselves as sinners struggling with the guilt of lust, avarice, or greed but rather as sick people addicted to sex, shopping, or sweets. Books like Charles Sykes’s A Nation of Victims (1992), Robert Hughes’s The Culture of Complaint (1993), Wendy Kaminer’s I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional (1993), and Alan Dershowitz’s The Abuse Excuse (1995) mock and denounce what they see as the twelve-step, self-help culture of contemporary America. Because many of these books have an ideological ax to grind, they seek political scapegoats and simple answers for a complex phenomenon. Pundits blame the recovery movement on Freud and psychoanalysis, changes in sexuality, or a collapse of American family values. These attacks are so sweeping and so vitriolic, so one-sided and so unfair, it’s no wonder patients, psychiatrists, and therapists feel threatened and panicky. In the Journal of Psychohistory, Nielltje Gedney, for example, charges that critics are after “the total annihilation of therapy and therapists.”

Also “Bart’s Inner Child,” S05.E07 of The Simpsons (first aired in 1993), screencaps in the facebook group “I am leabing dIS gronP,” and Sarah Schulman’s Conflict Is Not Abuse (2016). Apparently the term “special snowflake” has been traced (by Wikipedia) to Fight Club (1996) and the film version thereof (1999), and there’s probably something to be written about “edginess” as a genre of disaffected teen masculinity diffused from that. See too the fashion philosophy of “normcore” (as snowflake antidote), e.g. in this manifesto thing called Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom.

Aren’t there dissonances in an alt-right that can both lash out in murderous envy at “normies” and ally themselves with a perhaps broader based (or rather cross-generational) backlash against “snowflakes”?

(Somehow it took me over a year to realize that to write something about this one would really have to engage Lauren Berlant’s “Theory of Infantile Citizenship.”)

Typographic Abrogation

Abrogation is a refusal of the categories of an imperial culture, its aesthetic, its illusory standard of normative or “correct” usage, and its assumption of a traditional and fixed meaning “inscribed” in the words (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back 38). …

Source: Typographic Abrogation

Just wanted to pull attention to this both bc it usefully gestures toward a proto-fascist context for the transmission of a typographic aesthetic and bc it has something to say about empire — but what does it mean to assert that the Futurists refused an imperial aesthetic? asking bc I don’t know much about them and don’t see where it’s coming from.

Also, wanted to add an image to the gallery. From Yone Noguchi’s The American Diary of a Japanese Girl (1902):

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What’s interesting about this is not just that it recalls the form of Mallarme’s earlier poem, but also that its formal experiment was generated by a narrative enclosure: the narrator has torn up a kind of gossip column, “Things Seen in the Street,” but regrets it and so attempts to arrange the torn pieces back into what she acknowledges to be an illegibility.  As if she were presciently acting out Tristan Tzara’s 1920 “To make a Dadaist Poem,” or, indeed, writing it, Miss Morning Glory (the narrator) tells how she plucked the scraps from her basket to form poetic “lines.” Maybe a line of transmission here?

 

Mania 1978 : other screened for the pathos of a system’s outside to flirt with – risks, still, an overongoing encounter with the undevoured, hence sticky, or endlessly incorporating system (like chewing gum) – within which the other coheres

Mania 1979 : desiring reflexivity breaks in/from manners – via unspoken lapse of “little niceties”

but do niceties = an ideosphere? or is it, rather, the pathetic because boring (flavor chewed out) consistency of the other’s system that, by forming an ideosphere of one, breaks niceties but simultaneously incorporates back into them?
Extrapolate — a kinesthetic notation of what becomes a perceptible fact of the physics of a scene but doesn’t make it to a cognition (complete or otherwise) of the significance happening — e.g. gestural condensations of cigarettes (Richard Klein)
also, what are mundane forms of incomplete cognition (e.g. stupidity, ellipsis, waiting)? 

 

1978 – The Neutral
1979 – The Preparation of the Novel


(Barthes)