Author Archives: heatdeathoftheuniverse

Anti-Œdipus as Self Help-Guide

Solutions for Post-Modern Living is an excellent blog. I came upon it by way of its owner’s last.fm account, a fine collection of musical choices, not unlike my own. Anyway, he posted a bit of text by Foucault written for the introduction to Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Œdipus, a work that I have been content to merely know of rather than read. Foucault seems to do an excellent job of summarizing the entire work however, imagining it as a kind of self-help book, revealing what is for him a rather uncharacteristic, and perhaps merely unintentional, sense of humor:

The art of living counter to all forms of fascism, whether already present or impending, caries with it a certain number of essential principles which I would summarize as follows if I were to make this great book into a manual or guide to every day life:

* Free political action from all unitary and totalizing paranoia.
* Develop action, thought, and desires by proliferation, juxtaposition, and disjunction and not by subdivision and pyramidal hierarchization.
* Withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western though has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.
* Do not think that one has to be sad in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable. It is the connection of desire to reality (and not its retreat into forms of representation) that possesses revolutionary force.
* Do not use thought to ground a political practice in Truth; nor political action to discredit, as mere speculation, a line of thought. Use political practice as an intensifier of thought, and analysis as a multiplier of the forms and domains for the intervention of political action.
* Do not demand of politics that it restore the “rights” of the individual, as philosophy has defined them. The individual is the product of power. What is needed is to “de-individualize” by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualization.
* Do not become enamored of power.

(Michel Foucault, Preface to Anti-Œdipus)

Another Year

Things are winding down. I’m somewhere between having a completed first draft and a rough outline of my race and urban planning paper. I’m trying to think up a title that’s clever but not at first. Only in retrospect.

One of the best parts of procrastinating is that I finally get around to the web-slacking that I know I should’ve attended to for some time. Joined Reddit and Vimeo. Also discovered totally badass video series Target Women. This summer will be time spent with Donna Haraway and Robert Bolaño, also, in the garden, and with my baby:

my baby

my baby

Sometimes the library’s the only place to be, and sometimes my room is the only place to be. Huh.

A few things

I saw a girl at the gym yesterday. On the front side of her shirt:

God is dead.
— Nietzsche

And on the back:

Nietzsche is dead.
— God

I didn’t know what to think. Of course I did anyway, but I’d wish I’d asked her what it meant to her.

On another note, I like some of the graffiti scrawled on the walls of the study rooms in Raushenbush. I found this particularly affecting:

I forget that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character and that therefore what one does in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the housetops.
–Oscar Wilde

Today begins the long haul.

TITLE

Writing a blog entry (I can’t find it in me to do the work that needs to be done). I’m writing a texture piece in the spirit of Ligeti’s Atmospheres but I’m allowing for harmonies to crop up and since the transitions between different sections are meant to be subtle and messy it’s got a little bit of a Reich-like sound. I’m using big chords though, entire scales really, so it’s still essentially a texture piece. It should be cool. You will come and hear it and that’ll be good.

I got fucking sunburned yesterday, but then I took a cold showerfollowedbybath like three times and it made me well. I drank a beer and it put me right to sleep but not before I put on Aloe. Now I have a tan. It was ninety yesterday. It’s going to be ninety today. I can say, without a doubt, that I find this to be the most perfect weather in existence, fuck all y’all west coast people with yr insistence on “dry heat.” It’s not that pretty. I like being wet. So do you (I know it). It’s awesome, and the sky looks dense and filled with things, there are many more beautiful clouds and the soft haze that floats above the city and the fields during the golden hour makes me feel like I’m in a movie about the future or an alternate dimension and Tim Burton’s doing the set design. Anyway I had to lay around with little clothing. It made for a happiness I cannot explain even though I felt like a vain douchebag.

I’m gonna write. When it’s finished, sometime tonight, I will post the sheet music and you, web denizens, will be able to see what things look like. okeydokeysister024

@#&*^$#!

Fuck Sarah Lawrence’s housing lottery. I need to have a room to myself, I need to be naked, frequently. I also need a goddamned kitchen. Why the fuck couldn’t they have given us Kober?

Bicycles, Whiteness, Cigarettes

Look. At this. I see things like this, and I realize that massive sums of money are of little consolation. The best things in life are usually affordable. Maybe that’s a terribly ignorant (arrogant?) statement and revealing of my white, middle-class privilege.

I’ve been thinking about race of late. (That’s always true.) But it seems to me that whiteness is whatever everything else isn’t. When I look at a site like Stuff White People Like, I get a little upset at their attempts to ascribe middle-class triviality and self-absorption to white culture. I’m not sure why.

My intuition tells me that I have good reason, that this facade of critical, self-deprecation is little more than a cover for self-indulgent fawning. There’s an acknowledgment and a tacit acceptance of the notion that America’s class structure favors whites. It’s not obvious, but I doubt that the site appeals to any people of color unless they are forced to deal with what they perceive as the social conventions of the bourgeoisie, and that they see themselves as something else.

I think what bothers me the most is that the site functions as a corrective measure against the only good thing that whiteness has to offer, that is, it’s malleability. As far as I can tell, the more people appropriate middle-class values and achieve material wealth, the less ‘whiteness’ will be conflated with bourgeois culture. For any person of color who happens to like old school hip hop, they will suddenly feel the inadequacy of inauthenticity that so often demarcates white culture, even though the beat or a message in the music might truly speak to them, they’ll be pressured out of listening to that music because it essentially amounts to them being ‘white.’ In this way I think SWPL functions to maintain the color lines of other races as well. Also If someone reads about how only white people love coffee, they will have to think to themselves that these white people actually are ridiculously self-absorbed, to the extent that they think their excessive consumption of caffeine is in any way unique and therefore something funny. Things that aren’t true aren’t generally funny. You’d have to have your head stuck up your ass not to realize how popular the drink is just about everywhere on the planet.

Of course the site’s entire premise, be it tongue in check or not, is that there is something essential and categorical about race, so maybe I shouldn’t be particularly surprised by any of this. Still, I can’t stand it. I think it totally undermines the notion that there is such thing as class (which I believe) and that it imputes, in an ideal environment or system, some sort of meaning about a person (which I also believe). Somebody has to get exploited… right?

On another note, I can’t fucking stand living with people who smoke cigarettes. There’re two closed doors between me and them and this shit is still driving me crazy.

Not that I don’t have one now and then…

Cucurrucucu Paloma via Caetano Veloso

I cannot stop playing this song. A cover is in order.