Wednesday, 25 September 2013

That Was Nice

A three thousand word essay for Claire Colebrook in a day. The best was a 7000 word essay for New Literary History (hi Rita!) in three hours.

"But I Like It"

"My own experience confirms this. Here's our profile: healthy family of 3, with good income, living in NY, with both spouses now self-employed. We have been without health insurance for the past 2 years, since the best we could do was $3000/month for a basic plan through Blue Cross. 3000 dollars a month (that was the cheapest non-catastrophic plan, too)! Who could afford that? Anyhow, last week I called up the NY state agency to check prices through the exchanges and was quoted prices of between $400-$650/month, depending on the plan and whether it was Silver or Bronze. I literally couldn't believe it.

Clearly this is tyranny, fascism, socialism, the purest example of dictatorship I have ever witnessed, an affront to everything that is holy and American. But I like it."
--comment on the Obamacare rates on one of my favorite news sites today

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Think Tank (PiL)

 I like how the tank becomes military here.

Think Tank

A think tank is just a fake university run by conservatives or neoliberals to confuse people. Look at this for instance.

The chap spreading the wrong about Obamacare is an “adjunct scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute.

In other words he is supposed to appear a part-time, innocent eager beaver pursuing truth. Whereas his fee for the “research” alone is probably double or triple what an actual adjunct professor would be paid for teaching one class.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Latour on "Progress"

Continued from the last post: I can't tell you how awkward it was to be pathologized as one of these apocalypse mongers on numerous occasions, perhaps most intensely at U Wisconsin Madison last fall. Especially since like Latour (I say it all the time, in a slightly different register), my belief is that the apocalypse has already occurred. 

I was pathologized thus simply for stating a physical fact: at the rate we are going, by 30 years from now we will have emitted five times more gigatons of carbon than is necessary to, ahem, "transform" (I believe I used a coital verb) Earth beyond all recognition.

An arche-fact, if you like, one that doesn't depend on a correlator to make it real.

Bingo, Latour

Modernizers are extraordinarily good at freeing themselves from the shackles of the archaic, provincial, stuffy, local, territorial past. But when the time comes to designate the new localities, the new territories, the provinces...toward which they are migrating, they content themselves with utopia, with hype, and great movements of the chest...

No wonder they never paid any attention to where they were headed, obsessed as they were to escape from attachment to the old land. Good at detachment, they seem quite naive when the question is how to reattach themselves to a new boat, how to delineate a new nomos...

Funnily enough the more progress-oriented modernizers are, the more they are ready to deny that ecology could even be an issue. The more rabid is their contempt for they call “prophets of doom,” “apocalypse mongers.” If you push them a bit more they will even tell you that all the talk about the end of time, of the inuption of Gaia is nothing but so many schemes to exploit the poor developing countries even more. If they are from the left.

If they are from the right, then it's nothing but a plot to impose Communism on the rich developed nations. It is as if they are saying “Progress minded of all nations and all parties, let's unite in the denial of climatology as our new horizon. We need neither territory nor a soil. There is no limit. Forward! Only reactionaries insist on limits, they don't want to be emancipated, they want to drag us back to the land, to an era of restoration and misery from which we have finally and so successfully migrated.”

--Bruno Latour, Gifford Lecture 5

Hyperobjects Day


You are receiving this because you are in some way connected with me and my book Hyperobjects, which is due out on September 23

Hyperobjects are things such as climate and radiation, not to mention Earth itself. Things that massively outscale us, things that are massively distributed in time and space. 

Rather than do a book launch--one place, one time, didn't seem appropriate--I decided to call 9.23 Hyperobjects Day. 

We will celebrate Hyperobjects Day in a necessarily rolling, phased way, because we are living on a gigantic thing that rotates. 

We will celebrate Hyperobjects Day in a contemplative manner. 

I wondered what the simplest thing to do might be to acknowledge the looming presence of at least one of our beloved hyperobjects. 

On Hyperobjects Day, on the hour of 10am wherever you are, I want you to take your shoes off for one minute. 

When you take your shoes off, you notice you are on Earth, for a moment. Two of the familiar “tools” in your world (your shoes) malfunction, as it were. What is under your feet becomes a little bit clear. 

No particular thoughts or actions are required apart from the removal of your shoes. 

Tim Morton”