Friday, August 26, 2011

An Example of a Limit Graph

the fundamentals of mistranslation - the lost language - the blank - parody essence of comic - the ahistorical - presentism - here and now epicurean, immanence - the limit of empiricism - the surface - fashion - orientalism

The surface - comedy the face, tragedy the obverse - both constitute the empirical

Someone tells me a joke. I then, in turn, tell that Sabda (speech) to someone else. I am questioned whether I have the right to tell that joke. I explain that I obtained the rights the previous afternoon. My questioner nods in assent and allows me to tell the punchline.

The late Vedic period holds speech as nitya, and in an interaction with artha (a kind of meaning). In the speech act, the particular, reference is dissolved into performance, or the reference becomes created through an action (an analog to sacrifice - two is pronounced man and wife through a similar abstract-magical operation as those ritually consecrated. Where is time in performance, in the performances of Saint Augustine's treacherous past, in the performances of the scholar-priest who defines and limits with words, but words here spoken.

The word spoken, and the relaying of that word's telephone game follows inevitable distortion. Whatever he or she had said, I didn't quite get it, but still you'll relay something (the transfer from subject to object). Bearing truth in lektons, some contortion is passed along. Someone asks you to write it down. Okay, you say, but it won't be the same.

The naming of things. In the beginning, there were a bunch of people and some things without names and one ingenious group that mouthed om which beat everyone to the punch by naming everything. What is worse, categories or no categories? The categoritians began to point at things and say gavagai, to which their companions replied that what they said depended on their presuppositions of space and time and who knows, maybe they were like those people with all those verbs that Borges or his copyists talked about. So no one can agree what's named what, but they don't have anything else to do, so they keep pointing at stuff and saying things and nodding and running around.

It might be said that the language of this people - lost now and attested only in a few undeciphered documents - was truly the lost generation that all the hip Americans (in Paris when it was cool) were talking about. This alienation, human from tree, squirrel from sky, rock from ocean, was the inherent blank in their conversations. Was it a parody? Was everything supposed to be funny, merely to mock the idea that any reference was possible (and the resultant play a collective joke to be enjoyed by participants and vex those outside of it - such as the scholars of today) - or was it rather that this interminable uncertainty was a cause for severe disturbance? One, driven to despair, began to sculpt a large mound, to the frenzied cries of those around him.

The Americans, after have returned, declared that this soil was no longer theirs - that now they saw that America was a big sham and that they'd have to start writing novels about how lame America was which would in turn be honoured by both them and their country. What matters is what happens here and now. Whitney explained that he didn't need your crummy book-learning, that his Vak (in anointed Brahmans) and Davincian nature-attack complex was enough to reconfigure things. He could build anything they said - but this story when retold was distorted and no one really understood, though there was a statue later on that they kept seeing on their way to wherever (it didn't really look like him, but then no one of that generation knew what he looked like, nor does anyone now). Here and now, in the repentant world of the Augustan polemicist, were all those Georgian problems of food and power (now solved through the grace of gadgets) that caused the saint to wield a punctum in attacking the infidels, all those who questioned the devout intuition of the regretful now. The worldly that abnegated the worldly. And all confessed in an object (with all its disagreements) reified into spawn by subsequent generations.

For all our successful misinterpretations of what was said, we present the superficial as the non-reference of the appearance (which determines the considerable) - how taking up the cross-fertilization of cultures (one word to another, objects mixed up therein) fails to adequately tell a present. But so what? People talk, they get things done, whatever abstruse construct you are proposing life goes on, people do their thing and act and accomplish different things. So it is - in miscommunicating a ramble only hopes might perform an injunction into locations where it has no right. And the joy of the superficial relates this immediacy, whose ridicule rings at once in the ears of the attendant at the performance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Don Cherry Model for Discussing the Vancouver Hockey Riots: With Particular Focus on His Fashion Sense

What follows is an attempt to supplement the current popular, journalistic and critical ideas concerning the riots - as with any discussion of pop culture and fandom, the crucial difficulty lies in the fair representation of any demographic at the consumerist hub of the entertainment network (from gushing and manic MTV fans to militant hockey/sports fans) - especially when they become the immoral mob as in this case. In grappling for any sense-making framework, it might be that the best models are provided by the entertainment itself. Following this assumption, and much as Virgil was Dante's guide through the epic circles of Hell, Don Cherry shall be my guide through the fashion-imbued technopolis of rock'em sock'em hockey.


These notes rely heavily on the following two brilliant works: "Transcendental Technique, Don Cherry's Fashion Philosophy and the Unspeakable" and "The Vancouver Riot Considered as Covert Fashion Performance"


"What is the relation of idiocy to resistance?" - pseudo-Montaigne, while in Dumdrudge (a place where dumb people drudge away - silently as befits their description)


Weissnichtwo - a city whose spiritual forces are sufficiently universal so as to make it impossible to different one location from the next - geographical specificity evaporates into mystical identity.


Teufelsdrockh's fashion-based philosophy holds that meaning lies ultimately in the phenomenal (compare Mach), and so a fashion epistemology works to pry apart textile semantics with the superficial as the fundamental - ontology shifts by changing your outfit, and the collective episteme is grounded through the latest style of boots. Potential and belief are similarly just misinterpretations of surfaces, whose material glance flashes in amplitude, saying little before shapeshifting and calling again for new tools of analysis. What we mean then with objects (which we don) becomes a microanalytical affair - the attention to the latest earring style and blazer colour provides the most substantial means to uncovering whatever is meant by profundity.


Don Cherry's clothes philosophy is expressed not through a secondary creation, but through the act, not through theory, but through praxis. Meanwhile, his overt activity is of a character that is completely naive in regards to his fashion genius. Indeed, it is even a personality (if there could be one) that would be systematically opposed to such a cultivation. Or is it that such an opposition is impossible and one is sublated, like Kierkegaard's Hegelian shoe-maker, into wardrobe-dominated submission (Forord)? We can already hear the contrarian cries of protest from the nudist.

If the "communist light" pinko ( is a kind of hippie-socialist (that may, on occassion, take the time to embrace a tree or two), then the anti-Cherryan is ultimately a nudist. But if we take political opposition by getting dressed, how should we dress? It is this fundamental political question that is addressed by fashion.


The Enemies of Clothing:

The Christian naturist holds that much of Christianity is gravely mistaken, and God was in fact displeased with Adam and Eve for covering up with fig leaves. For them, nakedness is next to Godliness. Likewise, the dig ambar ascetic (whether hindu or jainist) was apparently naked, though they explained that they were in fact wearing the environment or akasha (dig "sky" ambar "wearing") which was such an entirely logical argument, that dissenters had to agree. That they could not take off the sky was never brought up, and the name has stuck since. Some such gymnosophists retreat to rec beach or the evergreen forests to their tree-houses - these people are variously called the hylobioi or aranyaka. Their avant-garde hippyism is the bane of all skillful fashion designers around the world - their heresy denies the noumenal power of clothing and attempts to refute it in debates by both refusing to reply and then proceeding to take their clothes off (compare the recent feminist oulipo performance reported by B Mori). The ancient geographer Strabo explains that the hylobioi live in tree-houses and subsist on leaves and fruits, while abstaining from women and wine. However, much like the digambar monk, who's wearing the sky, Strabo further reports that they are "clothed with garments made of the bark of trees (Strabo XV, I, 60). We can see the nudist argument already beginning to fall apart.

The middle ages spoke of "Bragmanni" (possibly a distortion of the Vedantic Brahmin) who apparently were nude, cave-dwelling wise men who were heavy on moralistic utterances and weak on fashion statements. The identity of this somewhat obscure group blends sometimes with the Gymnosophists (these semantic overlaps can be further explained by how each group represented a (mis)translation of members of the indian priesthood). These peoples, like the sky clad (exemplary in whom is Mahavira himself), practiced a moralism that resisted giving in to body demands for ease and property. This dogmatism systematically blinded them from the ontology of textiles, rendering their philosophy as superficially insubstantial as it was weak in style advice.

The naturists, the enemies of the clothed, collectively forgot one key element in their noble attempt to shirk the habits of banal civilization: that the lack of clothing and decision to wear none is also a fashion decision, indeed possibly the most axiomatic one. Thus through their own denial, the nudist becomes the exemplary fashion philosopher and further shows that any attempted denial of the essence of fashion leads to a philosophy that exemplifies it in the most fundamental way. What you can't escape you epitomize.


The ridiculous, here, becomes intensified, not in the name necessarily of laughter however, but in the name of a kind of hypertragedy, whose physical manifestation is a collective destruction. Who is responsible? How does it relate to one particular person without being entirely hyperbolic and overwhelming?

The situating of the commercial media, or "spectacle" or whatever term you like, is of course important, but one must be careful in describing those participating. As a counterexample I will use the following article: ( I quote a passage from it below:

"It was necessary for a thinking person to ask: of all the things to hype, why hype NHL hockey, which is an exclusively macho and irrationally violent entertainment product? But even to ask the question “why this rather than something else” was a form of unsportsmanlike treason. Indeed, donning Canucks ware – a de facto-compulsory uniform – was not only fashionable and sexy, but an act of obedience to the State."

In this passage, NHL hockey is "an exclusively macho and irrationally violent entertainment product" and those who participate in wearing its symbolic fashion products do so out of "obedience to the State". Now let us take the stereotypical rioter - the 20-something intellectually-challenged disgrace of a boy from the bridge and tunnel quarters. The fact that this is always a caricature will only help our critique. Does this morally reprehensible kid ever choose to hype NHL hockey? Does he don a team's Jersey out of "obedience to the state"? We already know he's an idiot, so he's certainly not the "thinking person" referred to in the question. So the budding suburbanite commercial clone is not the right audience for this type of analysis - it is directed at critique and change and directed at those capable of seeing hockey for the commercial product it is. But what happens when we try to include this key demographic in the description? This young man who is "macho and irrationally violent" - this is not a thing that theoretical analysts decided one day to invent through the entertainment media and can change by simply putting out another product, but a type of arguably immoral male behavior that manifests in Hockey as well as a host of other areas (contact sport, boxing, UFC and more crucially practical pursuits like war and law enforcement). The Marklean analysis then, brackets out the bridge and tunnel immoralist, discussing a discursive political and commercial media issue. The person is out of the picture - hockey not as a sport young boys want to play and others find exciting to watch, but rather the reactive action of pawns to macho, irrational and violent media hype with fans donning paraphernalia and watch games through state obedience. A system then largely mysterious to the hockey player or fan (and the logical follow-up that the analyst knows better much as the European who understands Africa better than an African) - naivist participation shy of systemics. The catalytic dichotomy is brought together in the revolutionary Chalcedonian monistic dualism of Don Cherry. Just as Jesus unified and maintained the dualities of the human and divine in Anatolius' Council, so Cherry unifies the dual roles of fashionista and philosopher while maintaining a coherent and singular Cherry nature. On the one hand he presents a durational representation of his embodied hockey culture and on the other an (mis)exposition of the fashion surrounding the game. Technoetic discursion simplifies the issue and eliminates the agent - instead there is a rejection of the game as state compulsion, with an accelerated or amplified sectioning of behavioristic tendencies. Secondly, the accompanying "fashion of obedience" becomes inverted as the key positive formulation of a philosophy of the phenomenal and particular. This most banal end-product becomes the essential epistemological ur-concept which shall delineate our descriptive understanding.


The spectacle system is not just images but, following Debord, people's relations mediated by images. But if we don't describe the people in question in any faithful way (or we describe the people we wish they were, or would rather describe), the emphasis turns away from specificist demography towards a system of abstraction in which one academic systemization is as good as another.


The secondary nature of entertainment absorption is underwritten not by an a priori commercial presence, but by a persistent and multiple generation of the ridiculous. The tragedy is generated not through systems that act on people, but the plurality of human activities that efface specific agency (this is the subject's manifestation of the absurd) whose epiphenomenon may have the appearances of machinic agency - but this myth is actually grounded by a reality that, in Nietzsche's terms, is human all too human. The comic, in this case, services the one-dimensional character to become not a cause for hilarity, but a reply in a rather incomprehensible and violent denouement. In technoesis, the human is easy to forget, yet invisibility does not mean non-existence. (The applies both in alterity and the ultra-conservative - in both cases the particular person is eliminated in favour of the system which becomes effective by virtue of mass)


Vaucanson's contributions to fashion are nigh immeasurable, yet can perhaps be reduced to two key creations. The first was the Canard Digérateur, a mechanical duck that could eat grain, digest it and defecate, a computational being so impressive that Voltaire claimed that, without it, "vous n'auriez rien qui fit ressouvenir de la gloire de la France." The glory of France was contingent on the defecations of the computational duck. But perhaps most magnificent of all was Vaucanson's work in pioneering programmable fashion, whose plastic nylon existence is absolutely integral to understanding both the instantaneous radical originality and shifting in contemporary fashion, as well as its unparalleled instant sameness. Computational fashion allows for a global fashion movement in next to no time, with everyone wearing absolutely identical outfits thanks to their programmable nature. Vaucanson's invention amplifies fashion's philosophical utility which has accelerated ever since. The invention was an automated, punch-card operated loom, whose designs could be entered beforehand through a system of hole patterns which permitted needle passage, creating the exacy same garment over and over. Moreover, Vaucanson's technical focus on the brass tracks of applied science makes him all the more exemplary for an age of fashion whose aesthetics relies increasingly on its corresponding science. Likewise, the philosophy of clothing can be said to ultimately be the territory of the engineer or manufacturer, for the necessary prerequisite to any garmant philosophy is the presence of a garmant - a presence which relies on the practical producer or ur-philosopher, of whom Vaucanson is a forefather.


Hybrid fashion and Don Cherry's precursors:

Pre-Cherryan fashion is chiefly represented in the practice of cross-dressing. Achilles, in order to hide from Odysseus because he didn't want to go to war, got his mom (Thetis) to dress him up like a woman in Lycomedes' court. It didn't work, but nonetheless Achilles' work in autofeminization set him/her as a trailblazer in what has become the exemplary mode of anti-fashion disruption. Further, Achilles exhibits a kind of metafashion, that is, fashion conceptualism which questions the very act of fashion - this move, we shall see, becomes central to the genealogy which grounds Cherry's performances. Cherry is hockey's most successful inheritor of the cross-dressing tradition.

Even before Achilles, Heracles was punished for murder by Omphale who made him dress up like a woman and do "women's work". No doubt Omphale's decision was enacted through the realization that any effective moral punishment must simultaneously be a statement of revolutionary fashion sense. Eastwards, during the Agnytbaas or exile, Arjuna masked his identity and became "Brihannala" and took to teaching dance for a year. Both espionage and the criminal system find their order in the proper garment, which in turn defines identity and one's own being (a point, finally, successfully beaten to death by Shakespeare in virtually every comedy he wrote).

It is not just fiction that informs Cherry's practice, but also history. Certain Christian Desert Fathers were actually women, such as St. Mary of Alexandria, whose design skill was so formidable that she was tried and found guilty for illicitly impregnating a woman - a secret kept until death at which time the judge realized a legal mistake had been made. Catalina de Erauso ("La Monja Alferez") was known as the military fighter Alonso Diaz Ramirez de Guzman. After a successful career abroad and having revealed herself, she gained special permission from the pope to keep wearing men's clothing. Both these pioneering heroines were as intrepid in their political transgressions as they were seamless in their ability to concoct an effective disguise. Textile skill is essential to political revolution and transgression. Their cross-dressing ways set the historical precedent for a critique of the technoetic environment, where the surface of fashion pervades everything, and its philosophy (and practitioners in the likes of Don Cherry) become high stakes endeavours.


In the end, a move from the megamedia hype sport to a greater cultural plurality, but in composing a text one might be cognizant of the general trends and the under-represented, which for any argument becomes the crucial instance of emphasis. The age of pseudo "pure media" inverts the ultranormalized as the outlier. The conflation of resistance and superlative compliance blend into the object.


"To the living, fashion defends the rights of the corpse." - Arcades Project, Benjamin "The fetishism that succumbs to the sex appeal of the inorganic is its vital nerve." - ibid

Notice here that the technical thing (ostensibly "dead") becomes the crucial site on which to ground a resistance of style. To defend the corpse we cannot rely on any life-affirming system, which ultimately effaces the needs of superficiality - rather, we must adhere to the transcendent or dead - this adherence can be properly defended only by a philosophy imbued with the shallow qualities of fashion - its essence is object-orientated, and its human relevance is precisely in relating what is the inert and objectified to the living. The recovering of the technical will be crucial in excavating the person from amidst the objectified rubble, much as any restaking of personhood must work against the objectifying trends which efface it. The system of fashion, as Benjamin states, is by its nature befitted for just such a resurrection.


fashion and the crowd - the mode of objects and inauthenticity - the constitution of the effective political act, the constitution of the completely ineffective. Here we fail to implicitly assume in regards to the moral properness of action in general, which would unfortunately create an identical opposing totalization which falls prey to the same exclusions (of x type of person or life) that are critiqued. We cannot step outside the event, its meaninglessness, its reprehensible directionless banality in favour of the entirely ideal without skirting the issue entirely. Rather we are stuck to deal with what is at hand - the crowd, the disgusting suburbanites, the vicissitudes of fashion in technoesis - in other words, this is us, not some alien civilization we can usefully judge from planet theory, what theorizing we do do must be pressed firstly for its actual delineation of our actions which a complete relegation to the purely mediated, while likely sense/myth-making, leaves specific agents (save as media-warped automata) absent. The understanding of the banality of evil is understanding how, far from an empirically-describable set of "evil" features (whether head bumps or personality traits), you too (as in the original Oedipus drama) can be implicated in its blundering.


Hockey is on the one hand the activity of participants in hockey-like behavior, and on the other a culture of symbols relating to its action. The symbols - such as the hockey jersey of a given team - crossover into the realm of fashion, and invest the sports clothing with social presence (of a continuum between coherence and absurdity depending on your participatory investment).

Don Cherry's suits are an ironic homage to the cult of the uniform, if not the beloved hockey home team jersey, then the paraphernalia of proper business and corporate excellence. The flamboyance of the anti-business suit marks an ironic identification with the newscaster, producer, and the entertainment complex in general which circumscribes the hockey industry. As a hardcore, naivist representative of good, old-time hockey, Cherry's anti-fashion represents a parody of the superfluous media circumscriptions of hockey in the mission to further preserve the untainted essence of the game - and its authentic symbols. The media symbol is mocked, while the hockey symbol is reinforced and/or recovered. Thus Cherry is a symbol of the naive transgressor, whose suit choices echo either a mysterious annoyance or pleasing anomaly in the viewer more concerned with play-by-play than the current state of fashion theory.

Likewise, Cherryan fashion can be recovered in the antagonism of opposing teams (and the mixing therein in trades or in the Vancouverite returning home in a Boston uniform) and the violence of that cross-over. The difference, on the ice, between the good and the bad is dictated entirely by clothing symbols (one that would be lost, for instance, in the original gymnasia, where players would risk both frostbite and their moral identity) - likewise the wearing of one team's symbols versus another is enough for friendship or emnity respectively. But to call this "fashion" might insult the hockey fan who sees donning the jersey instead as a sign of dedication and respect for a given team (barring those that pick it merely for the colours or style, which more easily fits the fashion rubrick). The fan will describe it instead as an expression of the team s/he supports ("because I'm a Bruins fan") - it is not a shirt for itself, but a reference to a practice engaged in by the wearer. Now, however absurd one might think fandom is, for the user it is as real as any reality definition can discover and to understand its culture - as in any fashion - one must consider the social circumstances which make any seemingly banal fashion choice the most fit of available decisions, on however a microsociological scale.

Behaviour in the NHL player demographic (men, 18-40ish - a demographic also present in fans) comes to a head when its symbolic massification is put to task in high stakes games - the corollary that "all rioters were foreign imports who came just to riot", and "the riots had nothing to do with hockey" are, however true, ultimately unverifiable and are a gloriously effective method of shirking all responsibility (the moral damnation of stupidville was not lacking in '94, and we see how it effectively quelled the 2011 destructive impulses of the dumb suburbanite demographic (who alternate their time between reading political analyses and bashing their heads against the wall) - ineffectual damnation competes well with directionless delinquency for a prime spot on the useless-to-society list)

Particulars in question:

Is hockey the best thing, as viewer or player, for this demographic to engage in? If they don't do this would they do something otherwise, and if so what? Would it be, as discussed before, another sport, nothing, or join the more violent ranks of society by going to war and/or enforcing law? Does violent sport, as an early 20th century pacifist claimed, avoid war by channelling aggressive energy to a realm of play? A perspective might hold that all males in the proper social circumstances will not need an outlet, as achieved for example through social limitation/cultivation of certain practices to whatever degree. Is the best way to deal with violence to eliminate it and discourage it at all levels or to try to provide an outlet for it? These prickly questions are underwritten by the essential aspect of our current symbolic code - as we saw earlier, nudism is the fundamental expression of fashion obsession and we see now that the Greeks, sporting in the nude, were the most dedicated fashionistas. It is this dedication to ritual garb which informs the cohesion and general acceptance which our fashion system lacks - the Cherryan model helps us to see that it is not the repudiation of the superficial that is essential, but rather the reconstitution from the phenomenal sense-base of the surface, which is our only access-point both to generate acceptance, and/or incur revolution as desired or needed.


The ultimate question plaguing those we might care about Wednesday's events is this: how can we prevent a riot? If the culprit is the media apparatus, how do we deal with this? What is it exactly, and what people will be left if there were no people to begin with? The result is piecemeal. The first question is of a behavioral type and the societal obligation to admit and deal with it, even though it may be "idiotic" (recall here Pindar, and the ritualistic aspect in Zeus' Olympics as well as elsewhere in the Mayan ball game, etc - or conversely the privation of such an admission as in certain Christian and Buddhist systems). The peculiar halfway point of these reconciliations of the personal/social (read stupid/cultured) is a system of cultural denigration and commercial permission, in which the unsanctioned behaviour inevitably turns outwards without any specific target since any non-cultural target is as good as another (in this prevailing non-culture it is the non-personal (that is, collectively and pragmatically useful) piece of technology that is epitomized). Who is the culprit? Clearly not "us", but rather those horrible, amoral, idiotic bridge and tunnel subhumans. This is of course quite odd, seeing as everyone knows they are stupid, and will punch anything that passes in front of them, but even more surprising was the fact that they were present in game seven and continued to act as stupidly as they always do. It's a disgrace too, as this time instead of staying quiet in their trailer, they embarrassed us on international media - for them to be a part of Vancouver, worse a representative part is going too far and needs to be publicly denounced constantly and at all costs. For better or worse, suburbanites are here, and they are increasing: they are voting conservative, they are not politically correct, they are unaware regarding global culture and politics, and they are definitive products of the commercial media. This is one of the great battles of contemporaneity, this increasingly systematic byproduct of global capital. To begin to broach this is not to denigrate, disown and despise the chief representatives and products of this accelerating system - it is in fact the opposite, to start from this perspective (the microsociological/particular/situated/local) because quite frankly the problems faced by this demographic ARE our problems and are the problems of our future (the yuppy moralism of a yaletown will serve us less in this regard).


The hockey player as male pop star - the inversion of this alienation (the Marilyn Monroe syndrome) constitutes our essential problematic - how the periphery defines the normal and that in turn is itself peripheral (to the original periphery). In either case the question of the system is coupled with the particular agent in which the strange anomaly is the jingoistic anti-whatever moralism vs the alienated mainstreamer (a reverse-exclusionism as in the academic sphere). Any convention of the critical apparatus is liable to this, the translative question of what hopes to be addressed (how many of the proletariat know what a proletariat is) and moreover creates a forum for an actual reply (you can just see the Surrey kids scrambling to read the latest critical works on the Cup finals).


The subsequent question looks at the symbolic culture of hockey and how it is increasingly focussed on the technical-commercial aspects of its mass existence. In this Don Cherry is key. Don Cherry is hyperbolically for all that old-time, nitty-gritty hockey stands for. But everything about his media presence is anomalous and an eyesore to anyone who appreciates media culture in its standards. As a child I thought Cherry seemed like the most unintelligent man in existence, everything was always solved by "grinding", and now I find him both garishly entertaining and almost ridiculous in his naivist nostalgia for some authentic version of hockey. Thus he interrupts the seemlessness of the hockey-entertainment stream (of which I was subject as a child) with a kind of idealism that serves as a constant counterfactual. Think what you will of Cherry, he is definitively for hockey in his formulation and interruptive of whatever cohesion the broadcaster wishes to portray: and all of this is typified in his wardrobe choices. Cherry is parodic of hockey as seemless media product, and a defender and reinforcer of the inherent value of its local symbology. He is a voice against communalized fashion and its slick technical surfaces - a loud, awkward, non-cerebral visceral man who wants to promote grinding, hitting and pet dogs, over say a fashion epistemology like this.

If fashion is the microsociological interplay between one person and another, where does the media business suit (or dress) fit in? It is not for anyone, rather it is a completely mediatized object that is for anyone and everyone - it is universalized dress that is good and appropriate anytime, anyplace. In the same way, the post-industrial metropolis is a universal rational model that is not specific to culture or creed, but is an open pragmatic system for anyone to partake in. Moreover, hockey is increasingly a "universalized sport" which is less about local cultural practice and symbolic meaning, and more about a consensual set of rules that are not specific to place, that are in the US or Canada, where players are related not to their hometown but to the market of franchise business trades - where in short, participation is judged on technical merit (not culture or geography) and is democratic as to who wishes to achieve that exemplary technique. The ethos of Ancient Olympic competition is more or less universalized in 20th/21th century sport, albeit with its cultural-ritual component more or less absent at its core. Thus hockey is a sport of technique, upheld by a technical system as is the urban metropolis or entertainment-media complex. But local attachment is inevitable. *After* the fact of commercial organization, national and local meanings are given to the hockey game. Recall for instance the trade of Gretzky - this was, through and through a business decision - Gretzky had been contracted as a valuable commodity that could win games, trophies and cups and thus seats and general paraphernalia sales, and was kept for that same reason. He was sold, not in betrayal of that, but for *precisely the same reason* - if something has what you surmise to be its peak market value, anyone with a modicum of business sense would sell. So what's the problem? The sport is in its essence a practical technical affair and for anyone invested in the post-technical cultural symbol of "Gretzky as Oiler" - myself as a child included - found that the trade inhuman, unreal and a brutal demonstration of illusion and powerlessness. What could a fan do? This was an irrelevant question. Pocklington made a business decision - you may become attached to a local store but it's the owner's business skill, and not your nostalgic attachment, that will determine whether or not it remains.

The second problem with the riots is this orientation of symbols, its fashion. If the symbol is meaningful (canucks uniform) then the opposing symbol is attacked (a boston uniform). But what about attacking your own city, its cars and stores, its corporate structures and public structures and worst, random people? This attack is not directed at anything in particular, it does not hold onto any culturally consistent symbols, it is quite literally an attack on any thing whatsoever, with the note that a publicity-grabbing object (big car fire, corporate store-front) is favourable. While certainly hockey as a local culture is not out of the picture, and bruins fans wouldn't be well-advised to run around insulting everyone in the riot crowd, if anything it was more an attack on "Vancouver" than Boston (thus both the people that claim "it's about hockey fans" and those that say it's not, to even those that claim all the rioters were imports - this is all moot and only emphasizes the blind ubiquity of the aggressive act). However local symbols were relatively unimportant, the attack was on what were simply large, targetable and common objects in the city, and things the general media might cover to hear the frustrated cry. This attack on miscellaneous technologies laid bare the actual underbelly of hockey not as a locally-determined sport for young athletes, but a technical megamachine whose operations and backlashes are pointed both nowhere and anywhere, and are for no one and anyone, transcribed into the open cultural slate of international communication technology, whose event coverage is democratized into the simple criterion of threshold volume (the amplitude sufficient for media travel).


In this we have the strange confusion of some between the rioters and "anarchist activists" - a common division would see the former as the ultra-normalized right-wing/conservative (or politically-oblivious) suburbanite, and the latter as a radical leftist who is consciously informed on politics. In other words, if we could draw opposites on the political spectrum, these would be decent candidates. But suddenly in the post-technical arena, we have explanations of how the riots were an expression of anarchism, how burning cars was a protest against oil use and destroying and looting corporate stores must have been some anti-corporate act. This does little to account for the more random acts of violence against other people (or say, against Bruins fans) but they serve to epitomize a contrary conflation: even if all those who made this connection were completely wrong, the potential connection still remains, if only as a completely random one. If it were in fact militant anarchists on the bend to combine protest with publicity stunt, the overlap of events to the uninformed viewer could have born similar appearances. Misinformation skews, loses and reinvents intention - radical change and normalization fight for the same cause of mainstreamed subversion. And the act is directed toward anything, against anything - protesters defend against association with simplistic mindlessness, and the mindless defend against suspect action.

Even the possibility of such an association inverts our critique and makes the brunt of our questions irrelevant. This subject, our embarrassment, who we wanted to shun with all our might, is now associated with the most radical perspective of change and anti-technological resistance? Of course this stance is thin, but it begs a reapprisal of certain questions - just what constitutes effective activism today (and how is that definitively different from the riots, keeping in mind many "less informed" people made just that association (ie G20 & Cup Riots)?

If, in a given scenario where certain voices are not addressed, in what mode can they effectively protest this? I have been part of activism that I found both effectual and ineffectual while still believing in the latter case in the potential of an additional voice, but what form should that take?

Moreover, if we want to damn this event, who exactly do we damn? And who do we damn without damning ourselves? The vicissitudes of technique drown the particular, one intention and its opposite merge in the ultimate boot synthesis of the Hegelian shoemaker, and this new pair of boots is fashionable and affordable enough for people of all economic classes and political persuasions. This consumerist delight is a further damnation where choice preceeds its phenomenal pseudochoice.


Thus the difficulty arises in the popular generation of X activity, followed by the post-technical amplification of that into the hyperbolic and indiscriminate. The paradox of consumerism is that massification normalizes control - but no matter how clever our rationalizations, nor however contingent the elements of choice involved, capital is unique in its radical banality where the feedback of the popular (again, however delimited) is crucial in systemic understanding (the focus group underlines this). The spectacle and its politics are relevant but only insofar as their popular referent (quite simply, what is the activity of the people in question?) is actully represented.


sport as non-cultural product (or post-technical cultural product - the amplification of one's own generative desire in turn as normalized obligation) - the corollary of technical fetishism in metropolitan fashion and sport - beliefs are directed at anything and retaliate indiscriminately


Don Cherry, as might be intimated by now, couched with his beloved dogs in the realm of the absurd, solves all these problems. In the first case, he is the rarely naive man who lives and breathes an almost religious version of "hard-hitting" hockey which he presents in a straight-up, tell-it-like-it-is manner. His charm is not in his intelligence, or even the sense or relevance he puts forth, but for the fact that, in all his obliviousness, he believes and lives what he says. Maybe we don't want that - we don't want hockey if that's what it is - that Cherry and his dogs are not for us - but the proposal of "Canada without Hockey" might be worse than the proposal to hear Cherry talk about dogs and types of grinding (or if nothing else, less likely to be viable in a popular manner).

In the second case, Don Cherry's wardrobe is the anti-media clown outfit par excellence. Everything depersonalized and corporatized in hockey takes a ridiculous form in Cherry's 100 watt metrosexual garb coupled with his YY chromosome epithets on hockey as medieval trial by might. Cherryan fashion theory poses bad taste as the antidote to media sterilization, and brute cacophony as the solution to the techniques of depersonalized statistical analytics.


To return to Vaucanson, it is the computational science of clothing which underpins this all. As a science, it is limited to open particulars, subject to continual modification - the accelerated advance of science is mirrored in the accelerated self-renovation of fashion. One's material possibility of overwritten rapid-fire aesthetic shapeshifting. The Machian phenomenalism of Teufelsdrockh is exemplified by a biosensationalism of epistemic foundations - the immediacy of observation upholds any secondary claim to mediated this or that. This fact applies pragmatically to science, as it does to the science (and its consequent aesthetic-material possibilities) of fashion designing. The conclusion, as the inception, is superficial, the comic flatness that embodies the tragic as hinted in the early paragraphs. As Rudolf Carnap says, "In science there are no 'depths'; there is surface everywhere."


note: I am not entirely alone in proposing a Cherryan framework of explanatory etiology for the riots. J Johnston has suggested that the big-screen amplification of Cherry's suits would likely have caused a mass para-epileptic fit (where the autonomous movement of the body's nerve system is not directed internally (as in the more commonly known type) but rather externally at whatever adjacent objects are in the immediate environment) which in turn would lead to the involuntary destruction of the city. This system admittedly has a parsimonious elegance that mine lacks, as it states in one sentence what I have a belaboured to intimate in a series of aphorisms. Notwithstanding, after some objective consideration, I have found it to be decidedly inferior to my system, as he does not, in any part of his system, make any mention of avian automata.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Goldsmith offers here a Watsonian self-image of the process of technicalities - the Nobel Prize of innovative aesthetics is cobbled together - a question then is who is the Chargaff in this picture?

Like Watson, Goldsmith describes the "name-check" and "cool-factor" that engineers the "bounce" of technical clout - Watson's role as X specialist is subordinate to his citation capacity, his Boing Boing power-base at networking, moving and collating varieties of information. The sensorial interactor and appropriative dissector then succeeded by the transcendental connector (thing > shreds > dissipation) - the fallacy of course is that you can move on from one without accreting onto the materiality of the other, not to mention that this isn't diachronically new, nor transchronistically unique. It's true that degrees of uniqueness are useful to highlight, but an ultimate basis may be argued in science, in art the precepts of free association above all find utility - thus such a division must be questioned (since as a result it's only use is the roll of patents-labels and artificial stake claims - artificial of course, because in this case all the referents are immaterial).

So, the innovation should be questioned (Chargaff - as well as Franklin - might help here) as should the paradigmatic shell that this aesthetic position represents.

Firstly, we should clarify that the distinction is relevant, and examples insightful, which motivates the point of this response to being with. The subordination of the textual what to the socio-political how essentializes the machinic satire of Issue 1, yet that this is a Google Alert fact (the counter-examples are endless, but just imagine how Luther's door-nailing or any political-textual issue foregrounds the how) begins to address the untenable guise of newness. Moving beyond the self-refuting precept of uncreativity itself (relevant how requires more analysis, yet why is contrasted with a proposed lack of the new), the urlinguistic novel push is seen throughout:

"it’s clearly the next move" - not simply a descriptive enterprise, but a hypothetical abstraction.

"how much human intervention will be necessary to successfully sustain it as a viable literary practice" - is any human intervention necessary? Is there a purposive need to explain and justify something - is there anything to justify?

Nothing is being talked about of course - the question of literature is no different, however the interrogation shifts towards how best to address that.

"If Issue 1 is any hint, then it’s clear that machines will need to play a much more central role in the discourse" - or is it that machines already do play a central role - who decides for the machine? This is a question-begging inquiry. Immersion, here, is appropriated as platform.

"I can’t name a writer — even the most radical and “uncreative” — who would choose the model of a bouncy meme over the slow roll of literary history." It seems to me the post-industrial poetic has this as an assumption, just as the social-theoretic pretensions of contemporary science are dictated (as Watson and his reviewers in Merton, Bronowski and Lewontin would agree) by it.

"But that too will soon be changing." inceptive trans-humanist eschatology - like the Nasca lines as alien invasion - what is explained reductively in parts is reproclaimed as a mysterious whole. Prophecy works best in reverse or the as in the Kierkegaardian maxim look back to live forward.

The second point - regarding the shell of an aesthetic position that this perspective has materialized into - is problematic not because of the position (which I so emphatically agree with that I assume it as given) but how it does little to manifest its sociopolitics but to point to its reality - a beginning no doubt, that led Warhol to Xerox and fittingly "measure the column inches" of his reviews (as opposed to reading them), but only a hinting start of the garbage-collating realizations of the new realist, or in the case of the Watsonian Goldsmith, the material-workers Chargaff, Franklin et al who ground and re-relate the assemblage. Like, perhaps, the politically-astute Ubu collection, whose content and social marketing might be said to express a technical creator's brilliance (cf. the Vitruvian man) over the cleverness of a non-descript positing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ballard liz taylor quotes and thoughts

Simon Sellars has collated some Ballard Taylor quotes

some of the quotes + comments below

"As Catherine Austin walked around the converted gymnasium these bizarre images, with their fusion of Eniwetok and Luna Park, Freud and Elizabeth Taylor, reminded her of the slides of exposed spinal levels in Travis’s office." - Ballard (elizabeth taylor as media spinal nerve - her absence is not so much an option of mourning the foreign as it is an evisceration of posthuman dependance - the eniwetok Marshall Island h-bomb site (technical tragedy) is paired with the Paris fun fair luna park (technical banality) - likewise freud (representational tragedy) is paired with taylor (representational banality) - the saturated technical stimuli where technique and representation collapse together, as do the tragic and banal)

media death is no death at all - it is in fact a kind of catastrophist (re-evoking the pre-Darwinian evolutionary stance - rehashed in different garb by the likes of gould) intensification - a whole new and more pervasive form of life becomes instantaneously possible - mourning is not a function of memory and tradition, but of technical fetishism - the seeming exactitude of documents preclude present interpretation, replacing legend with subjective eliminativism ("actual" ontology becomes more object-associated)

"the jutting balconies of the Hilton Hotel have become identified with the lost gill-slits of the dying film actress, Elizabeth Taylor."

"The presiding deity of their lives, the film actress provided a set of operating formulae for their passage through consciousness."

consciousness, or mind, here is located in the media and its images

"In some way Travis would attempt to relate his wife’s body, with its familiar geometry, to that of the film actress, quantifying their identities to the point where they became fused with the elements of time and landscape."

"The planes of their lives interlocked at oblique angles, fragments of personal myths fusing with the commercial cosmologies."

"Query: at what point does the plane of intersection of two cones become sexually more stimulating than Elizabeth Taylor’s cleavage?"

"Query: does the plane of intersection of the body of this woman in my room with the cleavage of Elizabeth Taylor generate a valid image of the glazed eyes of Chiang Kai Shek, an invasion plan of the offshore islands?"

geometry and battle plans are compared with an objectification of the starlet - the body is prepackaged in objectification, indistinguishable from other objects - in the equalisation of objectivity, the erotic (and war-violence) is universally substitutional

"the body of a screen actress like Elizabeth Taylor, which one sees on thousands of cinema hoardings, thousands of advertisements every day, and on the movie screen itself, her body is a real landscape. It is as much a real landscape of our lives as any system of mountains or lakes or hills or anything else."

a technical landscape has no fundamental differentiation of its forms - for ballard this so often seems to unify the field in the erotic (and violent) - taylor's body becoming a sort of any-landscape or generalized landscape for a given period - an image both severely objectified (fittingly for the screen image) and universalized in an inhuman manner (that is, landscapes do not necessarily have humans, nor are they dependant on them for their existence)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

picking up from where it had left off, first the creature was bludgeoned
next the texts were etched in behind its left ear
reddened over the synthesizer

visualize the curves and the floodlights
quaking and soaking

bejewelled revitalized. define defense, even though you have that polariscope
and even though you've claimed to have inscribed a manuscript
into the temporal lobe of an indiscrimate beast

even though the visualization of curves
the following of floods and lights
the machiavellian crumpling of retrogression

even though this still inhabits your pleading
temporal redden

instead, the lights which hadn't simper unwit induct

surrapt proprios

the deception of definition lays worn and waste till clavicle

synthesis comes in garish hd at a hawaiian spa
full of broadcast riddles and the coloratura of businessman

induced affinity, plash worm anathema
the gauze of dusk and blinking