There were pieces of my family all over the road. I picked up those pieces from the road and from the truck and wrapped them in a sheet to bury them.
Do the American people want to spend their money this way, on drones that kill our women and children?
Miya Jan, an Afghan man who recounts the events after a drone strike pummeled his village and killed his brother, along with his sister-in-law and 18 month old nephew.
American reports claimed 11 people died that day, the overwhelming majority being Taliban militants, while the inhabitants of the village refute saying 14 people died and they were innocent civilians.
Also more from the article, a 19 year old man named Abdul Ghafar, who lost his mother, brother, sister-in-law and nephew in drone strikes, which fly over his home several times a day states:
“The Americans say they are here to protect us. No — they’re here to kill us and terrorize our women and children. These be-pilots fly over our village almost every day. They spy on people and steal their lives. Children are afraid to go to school. People are afraid to stand in a group because they fear these planes will shoot a missile at them.”
Selfies are basically a medium where the subject can present herself to the gaze. The apparent personality and privacy of selfies is indicative of the penetration of the omnipresent Gaze and Other. We don’t need to go to Macy’s and use their backdrop to have our picture taken anymore, we can do so in our bedroom. Seemingly, then, we have complete control over the nature of the selfie. But we reproduce the Gaze by acting by ourselves to police our selfies to be acceptable. There is no position outside of the Gaze
Back in 1983, neuroscientists led by Benjamin Libet found that, about two seconds before someone presses a button ‘of their own free will’, a negative electrical potential – dubbed the Readiness Potential (RP) – began to build up in the cortex. Their EEG study showed that the brain seemed to have ‘decided’ before the conscious mind did – bad news for free will.
They say that, in the two seconds before a button press, you see both negative and positive changes, in roughly equal numbers. There are slightly more negative ones, so on average, there is a small negative “RP”, but only on average.
Almost half the button presses were not preceded by a negative potential, yet the button still got pressed – which means that the negative “RP” can’t directly reflect the decision to press.
Jo et al also ran a comparison condition, where participants had to listen to a beep, instead of pressing a button. So there was no ‘free choice’ to make, yet there were potential shifts in the two seconds before the beeps, just as there were before button presses. The difference was that in the beep task, there were equal numbers of positive and negative potentials, and they cancelled out to zero on average.
But why then are negative potentials more common just before movements? They suggest that
the negative deflections facilitate a movement in the near future, but they are not a neural sign of decision processes to move.
In other words, they don’t reflect a choice being made, rather they contribute to making a choice. Random brain changes influencing our choices… is that good news for free will?
Anyway, Jo et al did find a more substantial negative RP preceding button presses – albeit only about half a second beforehand. This occurred whether or not the ongoing slow wave was positive or negative:
Could this -0.5 second ‘late RP’ be the real marker of the decision to move? If so, it would still precede the moment of the conscious decision, which on average occurred at -0.25 seconds before the button got pushed.
Han‑Gue Jo, Thilo Hinterberger, Marc Wittmann, Tilmann Lhündrup Borghardt, & Stefan Schmidt (2013). Spontaneous EEG fluctuations determine the readiness potential: is preconscious brain activation a preparation process to move? Exp Brain Res DOI: 10.1007/s00221-013-3713-z
calling upon the fury. these poems are spells…badan holding hawa, pani, dharti, aag, yaadein, beej:
"The body is a storyteller. Each act of illness is an epic tale about interactions of flesh, spirit, and environment, for which we have no language, since we have split existence into these three domains. Language, naming, is a way to make the overwhelming sensory flood of experience manageable, and for the sake of defining this against that, we distinguish things, separate them, hold them against each other, make culture and are made by it, and still the truth of our bodies lies in a realm language can’t fully grasp… “-Aurora Levíns Morales
I had left Sri Lanka, which is still a very unsafe place. For me to get here, I had to learn to speak English, I had to go to art school, become a rapper — because it’s what America understood the most, in terms of communication — get to America, stand in front of respected TV channels like CNN and Fox. And I was like, “Hi, my name is M.I.A. I’m a Tamil and I come from Sri Lanka. Oh, by the way: There’s a war coming to an end, but it’s not as easy as the government killing terrorists. It’s a lot of civilians getting killed, and they’re using chemical weapons. Footage is being uploaded to YouTube, which is disgusting.” And everybody told me to F off. They were just like, “We don’t understand you; you’re a liar,” and discredited the work that I had done for 10 years. […]
One is a story where an American person goes to Uganda and picks out the story, puts it into context and then uploads it to YouTube, and then a lot of Americans can understand it. And me, I can be in the same category as Jacob, but I did the journey myself — nobody had to come to my village and save me and articulate my story. I’d learned the language myself, I built the platform myself, got to a microphone myself, got nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar the same month, to make the biggest platform possible in America. Then I told the story — and it didn’t translate.
“One of my goals in thinking about redefining the way we view relationships is to try to treat the people I date more like I treat my friends—try to be respectful and thoughtful and hav[e] boundaries and reasonable expectations—and to try to treat my friends more like my dates—to give them special attention, honor my commitments to them, be consistent, and invest deeply in our futures together.”—
you know what’s really “rapey”? being part of demographic which is overwhelmingly subject to rape and forced into sex work by a society which justifies treating you in such a way because you are “disgusting” and a “freak” and compares you to a rapist when you possess the political consciousness required to question the underlying cultural assumptions behind being portrayed in such a manner
Who are the most oppressed people in England? Gender and sexual minorities, disabled people and… soldiers? Yes, according to England’s “left” party, who want to add “being in the military” to a list of legally protected characteristics. (Unless anyone can tell me different, I’m assuming the actual motivation here is dogwhistle Islamophobia.)
At times like this I’m glad that the GGGG movement has established a firm international movement against militarism, and is hence in a strong position to push back. Ahahahaha. Anyway, next up, I hope to see trans* protections being expanded to include cisphobia, and spot fines for anyone who makes a white woman cry.
FUCKAREEES. Who needs the right wing, when you’ve got a ‘left’ party like this?
Last week, Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham in South London signed a letter to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling asking that the criminalisation of squatting in residential buildings (brought in last year) be extended to commercial premises too. This afternoon Umunna, who has come under public attack for this letter has responded by writing a little article on his blog defending his position. I can’t offer a full critique of what he has said on squatting (it’s late at night, and I have already had too much to drink), but I did want to pick up on a couple of points.
Imagine the scenario of a jail with ten prisoners. The governor of the jail decides one day that he will organise a race that all the prisoners must compete in. At the end of the race the three who come last will be shot. The others will return to their cells. Now imagine that one of the prisoners gets a head start. What are the attitudes of the other prisoners in the race towards him? Of course they hate him, they pour scorn on him. The governor spots the prisoner getting a head start, stops the race, and shoots that prisoner immediately. He then allows the remaining nine prisoners to line up and restart the race, announcing that now only the last two will be shot. The prisoners thank him for that decision.
It’s a strange scenario because here the governor stands for “fairness”. But fairness is double-edged here: he not only guarantees that the prisoners will have an equal chance of surviving, but he guarantees absolutely that three of them will be shot. The prisoners’ hatred for the one who got the headstart is certainly misplaced: instead they should hate the governor who put them in the position of having to race for their lives. The prisoners’ thanks to the governor for being fair is certainly misplaced too. Sure, he was fair to each of them within the scenario. But for having created the scenario, for having overseen it, and carried it through, he is demonic.
Such a notion of “fairness” seems difficult to defend, but this is precisely what Umunna did when he wrote on twitter,
No doubt Umunna would question the analogy with a prison, but what we are talking about is that people who can’t afford housing – and there are hundreds of thousands in Britain who are homeless, that alongside just under 70,000 mortgages more than 6 months in arrears, of which 70% or more than 12 months in arrears. Many of these people will, in the coming years, be made homeless. Some of them will end up living on the street. In the past many of those on the street would have squatted, as it is much safer than sleeping rough. Where squatting is criminalised people who would have otherwise squatted are condemned to needlessly die. This is why the homelessness charities Crisis and Shelter made submissions to the government against the criminalisation of squatting last year.
Umunna tries to avoid mentioning this when he writes, “For those particularly vulnerable squatters, homeless through personal tragedy and deep structural forces, do I think that squats are safe places for them to live or part of a long-term solution to homelessness? No.”
What he doesn’t say is that they are considerably safer than the street. Many people each year are saved from dying by squats. They might not always be ideal – indeed I know very few squatters who wouldn’t rather live somewhere they didn’t have to worry about police raids, violence from property owners, not having heating etc. But they are certainly better than the street.
We ought to remember the scenario of the race here. This is a matter of needless and arbitrary death - mainly of the vulnerable - presided over by a government in the name of fairness. But where this fairness kills, surely it is time to start asking questions. Those who thank the government for their administration of fairness fall in line with the pointless murder of their fellow humans, rather than realising that the administration of a system that arbitrarily kills is what really needs to be removed. These people favour themselves over those who run a little slower, and are willing to take their chances. They often forget that the race will happen again tomorrow, and the day after.
Nettlefold Hall and Patmos Lodge
Among Umunna’s various statements and tweets about squatting over the last couple of days, two cases have come up that he claims have cost the local council very large amounts of money. It might be worth looking at them a little more carefully. (I have done this quick research from Germany so if I have made mistakes please correct me and I will correct the article.)
Umunna claims in his blog post that squatters have done £150,000 of damage to an old closed library called Nettlefold Hall. But this is only part of the story. Nettlefold Library has been closed for two years. It closed because someone stole the copper off the roof. In the process the thieves managed to dislodge asbestos that was in the building, and consequently the library was shut. The council have been extremely slow to move on opening the library again, because they had other plans afoot. Amidst libraries closing across the country, the council decided that it would take advantage of this misfortune of having the roof stolen in order to get a private company to redevelop the site. By the middle of 2012 the deal was done: a company called City Screen Ltd (since June this year Picturehouse Ltd) was to redevelop the site, and would build a cinema there, but would also keep the library running. So essentially, the council decided it was going to give away some publicly owned real estate to a private company in order to get their library done up for cheap. I can’t find figures on the internet for the nature of the deal (more often than not these will not be available to the public because they are “commercially sensitive”) but apparently the plans for the complex will be available at the end of the Summer. To some this may sound like a good idea, but to most the story will be well-known that this type of transfer of land involves local people losing out in the long run. The value of the land to be given away likely exceeds the £150k clean-up operation by several orders of magnitude.
But, I can imagine, some readers might have a soft-spot for the picturehouse chain. The are some of the few cinemas that show a wide range of films, and only a medium sized business (turnover of about £25m a year). Well maybe you like these small business, but last year City Screen Ltd was bought out by Cineworld Ltd (current market cap.: £623m, annual turnover 2012: £359m) in a deal that has been reported to the competition commision, with the result that the new conglomerate will probably have to sell some of its cinemas as it was creating monopolies in some cities. That’s knocked 10% off the share price in the last couple of weeks alone, so perhaps this is why the story has ended up in the media. Anyhow, that doesn’t sound to me like the sort of company anyone – regardless of your political affiliations – ought to be supporting giving public land away to, in order to save money clearing up some asbestos.
It is worth being clear here that if the building is full of asbestos and is having significant building work done on it, then there will be expensive clearing work that needs to be done. The squatters in the building just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – the council had kept the library closed for well over a year just to save a bit of money by making a deal with an enormous cinema company, much to the disdain of the local community who like the runners in our race are now backing the council against the squatters.
Patmos Lodge, another property mentioned by Umunna (this time in his Letter to Grayling), which he again claims is costing the council £150,000, is a slightly more straightforward case. Patmos Lodge is a victim of the current cuts. The page on the Lambeth website reads,
“Patmos Lodge is a vacant site in Myatts Field North, Brixton, which once provided sheltered and residential care to the general public. However, following the Sheltered Housing Review in 2008, it was decided by Cabinet that the building was not fit for this purpose and should be redeveloped. The Cabinet decision was based on a thorough options appraisal. The Council does not have the financial resources to redevelop the site, so it was agreed that redevelopment of this site could only be achieved by transferring ownership to a registered provider, other Provider or by an outright sale. The sheltered and residential care residents were decanted in June 2010, and this project supports the Cabinet objective of demolishing the site, as it is believed a cleared piece of land is deemed more attractive with regards to expressions of interest. The Patmos Lodge site consists of a void sheltered scheme, a vacant residential care home and an empty three bedroom warden’s house”
That’s right, this is an old unused council building that used to be used to care for infirm people in a community, which is not only closed down, but is due to be demolished so that Lambeth can sell the land to a private developer.
It’s interesting to me that what Mr Umunna really seems to care about are those squats that jeopardise the possibility of the transfer of large capital assets from public hands into the hands of large private companies.
Is squatting about homelessness?
Umunna uses a popular notion of “posh squatters”, or as he puts it, people who are “avoiding paying for housing when they could do so”. Without meaning to sound trite, I am yet to come across any squatters who happen to have £500 a month going spare (the current going rate for a room in London.) Indeed, the best research shows that squatting is most definitely about homelessness. As the homelessness charity Crisis summarise, “Squatting, then, typically reflects a lack of other options, a scarcity of provision, and inadequate support and assistance to single homeless people.”
But not content with ignoring good research, Umunna wants to draw a distinction between squatters and the homeless. He writes,
“Homeless people who squat tend to do so for very short periods of time, rather than the years that other squats operate.”
I genuinely don’t know what he’s on about – because people who are forced to squat for years really are among the most vulnerable of all. Maybe some squats exist for a long time, and maybe some have a changing population. And maybe some people can just about survive squatting for that long. But Umunna’s words here are intended to evoke a popular hatred for those who in many cases most need society’s support.
Even if there are a few squatters who do decide to live in squats as a true lifestyle choice - even if one believes Umunna’s attack on these few to be justified - one must wonder if when Umunna attacks them with a weapon that also hits all of the most vulnerable in society, whether it’s really worth it.
For more info on squatting, and campaigns against criminalisation
George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because he perceived him as dangerous. The defense argues he was, the prosecution argues he wasn’t. No one, of course, argues that Zimmerman approached Martin with kindness, or stopped to consider the boy as anything other than suspicious, an outsider. Ultimately Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. A lack of empathy can produce national tragedies. But it also drives quieter, more routine forms of discrimination.
Let’s do a quick experiment. You watch a needle pierce someone’s skin. Do you feel this person’s pain? Does it matter if the person’s skin is white or black?
For many people, race does matter, even if they don’t know it. They feel more empathy when they see white skin pierced than black. This is known as the racial empathy gap. To study it, researchers at the University of Milano-Bicocca showed participants (all of whom were white) video clips of a needle or an eraser touching someone’s skin. They measured participants’ reactions through skin conductance tests—basically whether their hands got sweaty—which reflect activity in the pain matrix of the brain. If we see someone in pain, it triggers the same network in our brains that’s activated when we are hurt. But people do not respond to the pain of others equally. In this experiment, when viewers saw white people receiving a painful stimulus, they responded more dramatically than they did for black people.
The racial empathy gap helps explain disparities in everything from pain management to the criminal justice system. But the problem isn’t just that people disregard the pain of black people. It’s somehow even worse. The problem is that the pain isn’t even felt.
A recent study shows that people, including medical personnel, assume black people feel less pain than white people. The researchers asked participants to rate how much pain they would feel in 18 common scenarios. The participants rated experiences such as stubbing a toe or getting shampoo in their eyes on a four-point scale (where 1 is “not painful” and 4 is “extremely painful”). Then they rated how another person (a randomly assigned photo of an experimental “target”) would feel in the same situations. Sometimes the target was white, sometimes black. In each experiment, the researchers found that white participants, black participants, and nurses and nursing students assumed that blacks felt less pain than whites.
But the researchers did not believe racial prejudice was entirely to blame. After all, black participants also displayed an empathy gap toward other blacks. What could possibly be the explanation for why black people’s pain is underestimated?
It turns out assumptions about what it means to be black—in terms of social status and hardship—may be behind the bias. In additional experiments, the researchers studied participants’ assumptions about adversity and privilege. The more privilege assumed of the target, the more pain the participants perceived. Conversely, the more hardship assumed, the less pain perceived. The researchers concluded that “the present work finds that people assume that, relative to whites, blacks feel less pain because they have faced more hardship.”
This gives us some insight into how racial disparities are created—and how they are sustained. First, there is an underlying belief that there is a single black experience of the world. Because this belief assumes blacks are already hardened by racism, people believe black people are less sensitive to pain. Because they are believed to be less sensitive to pain, black people are forced to endure more pain.
Consider disparities in treatment for pain. We’ve known for at least two decades that minorities, primarily blacks and Hispanics, receive inadequate pain medication. Often this failure comes when people need help the most. For example, an early study of this disparity revealed that minorities with recurrent or metastatic cancer were less likely to have adequate analgesia. Racial disparities in pain management have been recorded in the treatment of migraines and back pain, cancer care in the elderly, and children withorthopedic fractures. A 2008 review of 13 years of national survey data on emergency room visits found that for a pain-related visit, an opioid prescription was more likely for white patients (31 percent) than black patients (23 percent).
Some of the problem is structural. We’ve also known for some time that pharmacies in nonwhite communities fail to adequately stock opioids. In a 2005 study, Michigan pharmacies in white communities were 52 times more likely to sufficiently stock opioidsthan in nonwhite communities. But this does not fully explain the problem. When pain medicine is available, minorities receive less of it. Medical personnel may care deeply about treating the pain of minorities. Even so, they might recognize less of it—and this may explain why the pain is so poorly treated.
The racial empathy gap is also a problem of our criminal justice system. Consider research on the impact of race on jury decisions. A 2002 experiment showed the power of race, empathy, and punishment. The researchers asked 90 white students to act as jurors and evaluate a larceny case. The manipulation, as you might suspect, is whether the defendant was black or white. But before jurors decided the defendant’s fate, they participated in an “empathy induction task.” Some jurors were assigned to a high-empathy condition and asked to imagine themselves in the defendant’s position. Other jurors were assigned to a low-empathy condition and asked to simply remain objective. Ultimately, the jurors gave black defendants harsher sentences (4.17 years) than whites (3.04 years)—even in the high-empathy condition (3.26 years versus 2.20 years, respectively)—and felt less empathy for black defendants.
This helps explain harsh sentencing in juvenile justice. Nationwide, youth of color are treated more harshly than their white peers. What is a prank for a white student is often treated as a zero-tolerance offense by a minority student. Minority students are more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension, even if they have a disability, more likely to be referred by their schools to law enforcement, more likely to be arrested, more likely to be tried in adult court, and more likely to receive a harsh sentence. Recall that participants assumed blacks felt less pain because of their perceived hardened lives. Stanford University researchers found something similar in juvenile sentences. In Stanford’s study, people perceived black children as more like adults, who deserve severe adult punishment, and not innocent kids, who deserve our empathy and compassion.
If we know part of the problem is a lack of empathy, is it possible to learn empathy and overcome an implicit bias? In the study of jurors, we saw empathy induction did not eliminate the empathy gap. But it did produce somewhat more lenient sentences. Perhaps this is a first step.
The perspective-taking approach seems to help. In a 2011 study, researchers tested whether empathy induction reduced pain treatment disparities. Participants assigned to the perspective-taking group were instructed to “try to imagine how your patient feels about his or her pain and how this pain is affecting his or her life.” As other studies have found, many people exhibited an empathy bias that drives their bias in pain treatment. But this study gives us some hope. It shows that the perspective-taking intervention reduced treatment bias—in this case by 55 percent.
But this approach misses something crucial. Perspective-taking must account for—and eliminate—the assumptions about what it means to be black or a minority in the United States. After all, imagining how pain affects a person’s life will not completely extinguish bias. Part of the problem is how we think about other people’s pain—and how when we stereotype their lives, we don’t.
"The human world is an open or unfinished system and the same radical contingency which threatens it with discord also rescues it from the inevitability of disorder and prevents us from despairing of it… Such a philosophy cannot tell us that humanity will be realized as though it possessed some special knowledge apart and were not itself embarked upon experience, being only a more acute consciousness of it. But it awakens us to the importance of daily events and action. For it is a philosophy which arouses in us a love for our times which are not the simple repetition of human eternity nor merely the conclusion to premises already postulated. It is a view which like the most fragile object of perception — a soap bubble, or a wave — of like the most simply dialogue, embraces indivisibly all the order and disorder of the world." — merleau-ponty, humanism and terror
“And then ideas entered his head on certain nights in the shapes of dreams. On these wild nights, he saw himself in her body and then he moaned at the injustice of finding his humanity concealed and trapped in this way until he would wake up screaming in terror… And then another thought came upon him, so terrible he could scarcely hold on to it. Suppose there is no difference between them except the power he wields over her. And suppose that in an instant of feeling himself like her, he let this power go, then would he not become her, in his own body even. And some part of him seemed to know what it would be to be her in his body, and how he came to know this he does not choose to remember. And he went no further that way in his thoughts because space closed in on him and slowly he had to push it back to give himself room to breathe. He had to push space as far as it could go, to the outer limits of the universe. [emphasis mine -Lisa]”—Susan Griffin, Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (The Women’s Press, 1984), p150 (via radtransfem)
white people in australia get really angry about ‘boat people’ i.e. illegal immigrants who come over on boats which is the absolute funniest shit because it’s like they completely forgot how white people came to australia in the first place
(hint: illegally, on boats)
No, we get angry that immigrants think that they can come over and steal our jobs and over populate our country.
houston we have a racist
loool steal our minimum wage jobs that you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole you mean
looooool bc we didn’t steal other people’s jobs and overpopulate their countries or anything
Having a job is a result of living in a specific type of capitalist society… I’m not sure it makes sense to project the type of economic structure much of the world has now onto ‘Australia’ before the arrival of white Europeans. What I mean is, it doesn’t make much sense to talk of white Europeans as stealing jobs from Aboriginal people, even if we think that what white Europeans did was extremely harmful and wrong.
**This piece is reproduced from Strike Magazine as it feeds into the WHAT THE FUCK project. Although we will probably write a response at some point, we take no credit for the original publication, writing or illustration of the article**
Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber explored the phenomenon of bullshit jobs for our recent summer issue – everyone who’s employed should read carefully…
On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber.
In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.
Why did Keynes’ promised utopia – still being eagerly awaited in the ‘60s – never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn’t figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we’ve collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment’s reflection shows it can’t really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the ‘20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.
So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers” tripled, growing “from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.” In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be).
But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.
These are what I propose to call “bullshit jobs.”
It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the sort of very problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.
While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organizing or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets.
The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.
Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done – at least, there’s only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there’s endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it’s all that anyone really does.
I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.
Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: “who are you to say what jobs are really ‘necessary’? What’s necessary anyway? You’re an anthropology professor, what’s the ‘need’ for that?” (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.
I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn’t seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I’d heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he’d lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, “taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.” Now he’s a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.
There’s a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely. Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.
This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that it’s rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.
Even more perverse, there seems to be a broad sense that this is the way things should be. This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people. It’s even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It’s as if they are being told “but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?”
If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc) – and particularly it’s financial avatars – but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days.
The card was produced as a response to the increasing UKBA raids targeting migrant communities in the last months (for more info, see this article). Please get in touch if you can help with translation into other languages, would like to circulate and workshop the bust card in your community, or become part of the anti-raids network!
I just read someone argue against the idea of not fighting hate with hate.
They came at it from the position of someone representing Structure telling them not to be hateful, and they argued that since that hate had made them suffer, and they have earned the anger they feel, that they should be able to hate those who oppress them back.
The problem is that when people talk about such, that’s not what they mean.
They aren’t saying you don’t deserve to to be angry. They are not saying that your fervent hostility is not righteous, and they are not saying that you need to be nice and modulate your tone, you miserable fucking filth, if you want to be heard.
What they are talking about, when they say that, is the way the system works — the way that the Tools of the Master are used against the slave, the way that the Power is used to hammer on the powerless.
What they are saying is this: Hate is a tool of the master.
And if you use his tools, you do his work.
(yes, I really do understand Audre Lorde, btw, lol)
So is Anger.
If you step out of line, if you defy, if you talk back, if you have the guts to stand up and say hey, dammit enough of this shit, then what do you get from those in power, I will ask rhetorically.
THe answer is anger. They are angry because you did those thing, and they will blame you for it, and that blame will stick — because they have the power to make it stick.
Now you are an angry oppressed thing. Angry oppressed things are out of control, are dangerous, are risks to the order. Angry oppressed things are why other thing in that class are oppressed. See? Look — this is why they need to be oppressed. Look at them! We were perfectly reasonable and they just got angry at us — and they will do the same thing to you.
Now, suddenly, you are hated. When they hate you, they whip you if you might be useful to them in the future (literally in history, but figuratively now), or they tie your feet to the back of a truck and drag you down roads, or they toss a rope over a branch and they lynch you, or they do whatever the times allow them to do; bully, legislate, harass, threaten.
And so now you hate them back. You hate them with a burning rage, and hate and rage blind you. Hate and rage are what they just got done saying you are all about. Hate and rage are what they have just finished telling all the other ones in power is your entire existence.
Now you act on that hate and rage. Now they say “Look! See! THey did it to you, just like we said they would!”. Now they have taken your possibly ally and turned them into their ally.
Now they do it all again. They call you inferior — because only inferior beings resort to rage and hate and they are, after all, so perfectly reasonable and completely like everyone else. Why, they are the people in power — they *are* like everyone else. And everyone else sees it, and they aren’t going to be rational and honest about things - they are going to be emotional and scared and manipulated and this is why you cannot fight hate with hate.
Hate is the tool of those with power. Hate it the weapon of those in power. They want you to hate them, because it supports everything that was said to strip you of your power.
They want you to be angry at them because that supports everything they said to strip you of your righteousness.
They want you to be the victim, to be the one without power to be the creature, the thing, the Other.
They want you to fight them with hate, because they already know what the result of that is. Ten thousand years of history show that hate only gets those who lack power erased, that hate only justifies genocide, and that hate only serves to help those in power, never those without it.
Now, on the other hand, when you don’t hate them, when you use your anger not at them but around them, suddenly they don’t know what to do.
They don’t have a tool that does it.
You can use the master’s tools, but you have to use them in a way they were not designed to be used. You have to use a trowel as a screwdriver, a pitchfork as a nightstand.
You have to take from them their tools.
You have to stare them in the eye and laugh at them. You have to show them that they did not take anything from you. Not your dignity. Not your humanity, Not your freedom.
You have to show them that your Agency is ten times more powerful than their Structure. That you define who you are, and you are not going to argue it, you are not going to be fair and balanced about it, because you have something better to do than give them the time of day.
THey don’t want you to do that.
SO every time you start to, every single time you show signs that your confidence is there, that your dignity is untouched, that your self esteem is strong and that you know damned fucking well what you are doing and they can kiss your ass, they are going to use the tools they have to pry those things away from you.
And the easiest way to do so is to make you hate them, and to make you angry, because when you hate and when you are angry, you give those things away in your blindness.
Use your hate. Use your anger. Not at them. Not at anyone or anything. Use it for others, just not those who oppress. Use it to drive you to learn what oppression is and what structure is and what agency is. Use it to drive you to dig into buried troves and pull out your history and your pride and your sense of belonging and use it to find the arguments they used to find their freedoms.
Because there was always someone they fought for the same things they deny you.
the thing is that why the fuck are feminists fighting each other? Fucking radfems and libfems. NO. THIS IS NOT WHAT FEMINISM IS ABOUT. FEMINISM IS ABOUT EQUALITY AND PEOPLE (SPECIFICALLY WOMEN) STICKING THE FUCK TOGETHER. IF YOU TRYNA PICK A FIGHT WITH OTHER WOMEN, THEN SHAME ON YOU YOU’RE NOT A…
This tired crap again?
Feminism is about, and always has been about, the liberation of women from patriarchal control, not about equality. It is about the destruction of rape culture, of male entitlement, of the gender hierarchy where men are on top and women are on the bottom—not equality. There’s a strong difference.
Different branches of feminism conflict with one another because there are different view points on how to fight patriarchy and to what extent it affects our lives. It’s a tad strange that you’re able to identify the cause of the conflict (patriarchy) but go on to demonize women, and in particular women who are anti-sex industry. On the latter point, it’s not about an individual’s choice whether or not to be a sex worker but the industry itself and the way it abuses and exploits the most vulnerable women and girls globally. No one is upset that a single privileged woman chooses to give blowjobs for cash, they’re upset that those women are the VAST minority of sex workers and the majority aren’t there voluntarily.
Feminists argue not because we’re too blind to see that it weakens our movement but because we have fundamental differences in how we view the problem and the solution. Frankly it’s pretty disgusting to reduce ideological differences between feminists to something as simple as “trying to fight with each other.” There’s a massive difference between believing the system can be reformed if you just choose your way out of patriarchy and getting to the root of the problem and dismantling the system entirely. This is like feminism 101.
“Hope is an investment that the “lines” we follow will get us somewhere. When we don’t give up, when we persist, when we are “under pressure” to arrive, to get somewhere, we give ourselves to the line. Turning back risks the wasting of time, a time that has already been expended or given up. If we give up on the line that we have given our time to, then we give up more than the line; we give up a certain life that we have lived, which can feel like giving up on ourselves.”—Sara Ahmed (2006), Queer Phenomenology, p. 18
“What trans people realise, all too often, is that while everyone performs gender, that isn’t how it’s conceived of publicly. When we use drag queens and other transgender people as the sine qua non of performance it reiterates, again via a backdoor, the idea that cis genders are less ‘performance’ (and thus more real) than trans ones. Butler herself would bang her head against a wall at this utter misreading of her work, and I know it is one of the popular misreadings of it that so vexes her. She has my sympathies for this, it’s not really her fault. But it is an idea that’s taken on a life of its own on the back of postmodernism, that shadow of Victorian academic colonisation, and that must be addressed.”—Quinnae Moongazer, Behind the Hills, Into Shadow (via radtransfem)
He distinctly remembers, some decade or so ago – much younger, more rigid and sanctimonious then – saying, “we do not want them to think we accept their sin.” New Spirit of Penn, the University of Pennsylvania’s gospel choir – but what was really, in his mind at least, his choir in the way he tried to own and control, in the way he tried to posture and preach – was asked to sing at the annual QPenn celebration that year (2001). Though there were rumors and a bit of concrete reasoning as to why he was likely a closet case from New Jersey, he sashayed through all the suspicion declaring his utter disdain for all things unholy, the gays certainly notwithstanding. It’s not that God hated them or anything, he reasoned. It’s that God hated their sin. And so he told the board members of the choir that under no uncertain terms would they sing for such an abominable celebration. We were not responsible for changing the minds and theologies of folks by singing; we didn’t want to be complicit in their celebratory posture, so his confessional, public reasoning went.
This is not the only, or likely the most egregious, pontificating in which he participated. He would argue with people, asking ridiculous questions, making offensive declarations, of those who could affirm and accept others. “But the Bible is clear about homosexuality,” he’d say. Or, “but how can two men or two women have sex? That’s just nasty…and not natural,” he’d interject into conversations. He was a sillyass boy. He, without a doubt, hurt people. He, one can be certain, confused many.
He hoped for two things simultaneously: on the one hand, he hoped that reproducing the proper orations with the correct intensity would release him from the purported bondage of seeming contradiction and hypocrisy. But he had a more intense, fundamental, secret hope. There was, indeed, more to the story. He mostly wanted home, comfort, love. He hoped someone would see past the voluminous, harsh, brash commentary. What he really wanted, more than anything, was to test their resolve. He needed to be convinced that another way was possible. He wanted to hear the arguments folks would make, what they’d say in reply to his ridicule. He was listening, though he feigned acute unawareness.
Simply: he was afraid of the possibility for a new world, for a disruption in the modes of thought, patterns of behavior, that he’d come to hold near and dear to his heart. What and who was there – just past the nadir, after the horizon, in the mysterious beyond, as “Land Before Time” would call it – and what life could be made in such thereness? He approached but with fear and trepidation. He knew he wanted something of such thereness but there were, of course, no guarantees.
What a world ago that was.
What does it mean to desire something of another? And what is there to make of such desire when it shows up as a fundamental dismissal of the concerns of, a refusal to care for, a resistance to be in solidarity with that other? What happens when desire for something that the other has shows itself through violence and violation, through utter disregard, theft? These questions have been haunting me a lot lately as I consider the supporter response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal, as I consider the head of US empire’s call for calm and quietude from those of us that are angry. There are various desires, in other words, for the black masses that have little to do with the concern of, care for or solidarity with those masses. I think the varying responses from both supporters of Zimmerman to the president of these purportedly united skies misrecognizes and, thus, misreads blackness and black folk concurrently. Theirs are theories of blackness, of black folk, grounded in a fundamental misunderstanding of what they consider blackness, and black folks, to be.
It’s something akin to what Judy Backhouse – member of the “all-white, mostly atheist Australian gospel choir,” The Café of the Gate of Salvation – said about a black voice she heard on a recording of “Precious Lord”: “it just sounds like someone on their death bed, their last gasp, you know.” And another member of this group – Tony Backhouse – heard yet another black voice and declared, “…and then there was somebody else who sounded like someone’s dying grandmother,” and it was that sound that incited his desire to learn more about black gospel music. Tony Backhouse was speaking particularly about the song “You Don’t Know What the Lord Has Done for Me,” but when I listen to it, it is not death, nor dying, that I hear. I hear life, a fundamental sociality, in their harmonics. Tony Backhouse, however, isolated the soprano voice from the others with which she sang, making of her voice an abstract valuelessness, making of her voice an individuated, lifeless, listless breath. It seems that both Judy and Tony Backhouse think that death and destruction – and the continual proximity to it – is what in their theologizing and philosophizing creates blackness. Such that any voices that emerge from such a zone must also be of the breathing dead. One would need believe that life could exist there, in that arid zone, before one could hear in such voicing that it is the mysterious beyond of blackness. They approach the black singer’s voice through a refusal to consider the capacity for vitality, a vitalism in sociality, heard when the singers perform together.
It is as if the voices of these singers – these voices from deathbeds, these sounds of dying grandmothers – were walking down streets while breathing, speaking, creating, but were victim of a fundamental inability to see, hear, feel, were victim of curious surveilling that could not envision that – yes – these voices belong, and belong in community, that – yes – these voices are of the simple fact of breath, of inhalation and exhalation, that – yes – this is life, black life, and ever so abundantly.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something…”
“He’s just staring, looking at all the houses. Now he’s coming toward me. He’s got his hand in his waistband. Something’s wrong with him.”
“These assholes” – in other words, they – “always get away…”
Split from the possibility of belonging – no one’s son or brother or friend – Zimmerman produced a dual movement with his pronoun language. Of Trayvon, he both abstracted him to the general equivalence of valuelessness while likewise individuated Trayvon as a spook, ghostly, ghastly figure enacting violence by merely walking, by the mere fact of his breathing.
This is about the aesthetic responses to Trayvon Martin’s murder, about how Zimmerman supporters can only approach through the ongoing necessity of black death, of conflating blackness with something other than living, of thinking that – yes – blackness is a pathology. But this blackness is something, likewise, that is desired. Like singing from purported deathbeds, singing perhaps like dying grandmothers. I am thinking, here, of “Trayvoning,” where kids – primarily white – lay on the ground with a can of tea and a bag of candy to reproduce, to perform, the moment of Trayvon’s death, ready for a camera to capture the image. I stand in wonderment at the spiritual and moral crisis of a people that could “enjoy” such posturing. I stand amazed at the vacuity, at the spiritual and material desolation, of such a people. This is more than simply offensive. I believe there is a much deeper longing created both by the misrecognition of blackness as death while also seeing the enduring vitality, the ongoing emergence of thriving black folks enact in the face of these violent conditions. Trayvoning, it seems, creates the image of death and destruction in order to experience something like what they believe blackness to be. What they experience, though, is alienation from themselves, what they experience is the muteness, the violating silence, of whiteness.
In Paul Connerton’s How Societies Remember, he remarked upon how corporeal practice can be passed on from generation to generation. These stylizations of the flesh include gesture and what we generally conceive as style. Diana Taylor in The Archive and the Repetoire says that, for her, performances are “vital acts of transfer.” And Saba Mahmood’s Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subjectargues that there are certain behaviors that are generative for producing, creating, manifesting piety, that certain exterior behaviors allow for the inculcation of a pious interiority and disposition.What I take from these texts is this: our flesh has the capacity to carry memory, and our flesh are texts that can be read, analyzed, studied. The flesh gives and receives meaning that is never liquidated. So I wonder: what is Trayvoning attemping to remember, what is it recalling, what is it rehearsing about whiteness as a relation to blackness, about whiteness as the production of terror – not just for black folks but for the ones who create the conditions of violence and violation as well?
You’ve heard the claims. With a roll of the eyes and suck of the teeth, some boastful undergrad student – for example – will claim, “all societies have had slavery” or “there has always been violence, why are black people special?” or, my favorite, “my grandparents immigrated from some-such-country and became successful and the United States hated some-such-racial-group historically.” What they attempt to do is bespeak the routinization of violence for all people, that moments of historical violence are what allow for the emergence of a unique group. If we keep in mind the distinction that Hortense Spillers makes between body and flesh – that flesh is that which is ontological and stands before theology and philosophy, violence and violation create a “body” through varied abstractions, that before middle passages and the lash of the whip created for us bodies, we were and are flesh – I want to consider the means through which whiteness desires to shirk responsibility for conditions of and the capacity for terror by normalizing and naturalizing violence and violation as the moment of emergence for sociality.
Such that Trayvoning and, yes even twerking (I’m looking at you, Miley), are postures of the body utilized to literally place oneself in the situations of violence and violation in order to approach something that they’ve cognized blackness to be. Such is the classist-elitist fascination today with being ratchet, the ghetto of yesteryear. This, however, is a conceptual problem, a conundrum. Blackness is not created at the points of violent contact, at the belittlement and deathliness of terror; blackness is the unrelenting, unyielding force that rises to the occasion of such moments; it is energy that is “previous to situation.” Physics teaches us this :: that energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred and transformed through encounter. The blackness that we have, that we carry, is that which is constantly sought after in order to destroy it. These performances of terror that whiteness creates are attempts to capture and seize blackness, transform blackness, harness blackness into a controllable, inefficacious thing. But no. We ain’t havin it … never did and won’t start now.
Those performing Trayvoning know this: when we protest – whether it is a communal march with placards and bullhorns, or simply as the fact of our breathing – we wrestle with the concept of finitude itself. Black folks have been confronted with the fact of finitude and still thrived. It is that resistance, that insistence, that whiteness tries to discover. It is the mysterious beyond, violently questioned, put on trial, that which is after the fact of terror where they seek to go. To cross the train tracks and go to juke joints and storefront pentecostal churches and parties in basements of buildings. But it is too scary to give up the certitude of whiteness.
Ever since the non-discovery of the Indies, if not before that journey, whiteness has tried to find for itself a way to exist both in one world while eradicating the possibilities for others to flourish, to have vitality, to thrive in other worlds as the foundational principle of its existence and proliferation. For whiteness as a way of proper, gendered, sexed, raced, propertied life to fashion itself, other modes of existence had to die. This is about placement, here on earth, at sea, in the cosmos. This is, in other words, a problem of belief, of confession, of cognizing, of being. White performances of the death whiteness creates is the synergy of violent and violative theology and philosophy, it is a modality of thinking and believing in an individuated self-governing, hierarchical relation to all others – humans, plants, animals. To wander about Trayvoning is to desire to be touched by the conditions whiteness creates.
I suspect that – while laying on the ground “playfully” “pretending” that Trayvon Martin’s life meant nothing – these kids wish to discover how it is that those who have been devalued by society still, in fact and deed, value ourselves, how we love and create against expectations. Because resources are not simply dwindling for black folks, we are not the only ones experiencing the violence of empire. And, no doubt, more will soon. It is impossible to see worth in yourself while producing performances of whiteness’s violence as playful and fun. They don’t hate blackness or black folks because they have no knowledge of what it means to be black, to have blackness. They hate the image of black folks they created in their own theological-philosophical minds, that is, the image created by racism. That image, then, is a reflection. So what they produce, what they create, are mirror images, replicating the horror that is whiteness while attempting to distance themselves from whiteness through vulgar performances of the other.
Calling myself “he” in the beginning of this reflection allowed for an easy, if not also problematic, distancing from my own previous behaviors. A privileged position from which to declare the past, I could say that “he” was some other person altogether, some other entity, some other thing. And now “I” can be praised for the radical changes made while not having to contemplate the very real material desires that, at that time, prompted such homophobic self-hatred.
Barack Obama bespoke the terrors of possibly being Trayvon Martin at one time in his life because he is likewise black. But his rhetoric regarding the necessity for the nation to begin caring for black boys runs counter the policy he enacts – not just against black folks in terms of education, healthcare, and economy domestically but also internationally with drone warfare and trade agreements. For example, Obama’s administration still insists on keeping an inequitable punishment for crack possession versus cocaine possession (18:1), keeping lots of black folks incarcerated. And the education policies of Race to the Top are liquidating urban environments, giving huge profits to private corporations in the education “business.” His rhetoric – a first blush – moves opposite his administration’s policy but beneath the surface, there is revealed a close affinity with policy through pathologizing black folks as constantly near death … Obama’s language and policy are more pernicious because blamed are our primarily moral, individuated, abstracted failings.
More destructive, then, because his language yields the dispersal of purportedly tough-love, caring rhetoric in tandem with deadly policy. He splits his first- from second-person – each time he fist bumps, brushes dirt off his shoulder, sings a line from Al Green – desirous of a space for self-congratulatory grandeur. So perhaps we should stop writing self-congratulatory pieces that don’t allow for perpetual confrontation with our histories, that create of us neat stories and narrative arcs of vulgar pasts but wonderful presents. The doubling down on racist behaviors is but a thin veneer, a cheap bandage, over the festering wounding that is whiteness. Guilt and shame will not a better world make because the racism that whiteness creates – that is whiteness – to quote Toni Morrison, is a neurosis. The distance between pronouns – he and I – does not serve to protect me from my histories. The distance between the street and Tracy Martin’s home did not serve to protect Trayvon. Through the violence of whiteness, of white supremacy, they become incalculable – both near and far. What is needed is an intense confrontation with our own contradictions to find and uproot them.
One of the most offensive things about the claim that “kinksters can’t help their kinks; they’re born that way” is that it is absolutely, completely, perfectly aligned with and in agreement with patriarchal beliefs about gender. The great majority of doms are male and most subs are female, so if we are to accept the kinksters’ way of thinking, then we must believe that men are naturally more dominant than women and women are naturally more submissive than men. That women enjoy being dominated by men because it’s in their nature to be dominated. That women can’t choose to not subordinate themselves because it’s who they are.
It’s a bunch of regressive, misogynistic bullshit that feminists have been fighting against for decades, and I’m not buying it.
Since we all like sources, here is a study on the psychological health of BDSM practitioners with a sample of over 1300. Included are demographics and background information. In the stats in this research:
78.6% of women are always or usually submissive, compared with 35% of men.
65% of men are always or usually dominant, compared with only 21.4% of women.
13.2% of male kinksters are exclusively homosexual and only 3.2% of female kinksters are exclusively homosexual.
92.9% of BDSM practitioners are white.
No surprises there whatsoever.
Its also interesting to note that the place that buys the most BDSM in Britain is George Osborne’s constituency - i.e. probably full of right-wing authoritarian rich white people.
(disclaimer: although I think that just because BDSM is practised in a certain way doesn’t mean its always/necessarily perpetuating existing hierarchies - don’t know enough)
As always, Egypt has managed to surpass and tear apart all expectations and write its own script. At the same time, I feel like my thoughts are so scattered and contradictory that it would be good to write some of them down, so I can remember them later.
Last night President Morsi was removed from power by the Egyptian military. To deny that this was—technically—a coup, is problematic. The military intervened and influenced the outcome of a political deadlock.
But my instinctive response is not to feel as devastated as I thought I would. The military’s move was not as bad as I had expected—they did not announce that they will be running the country during the transition, and in my opinion el Sisi made a remarkably smart move by appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court as interim president. Understanding the history of the military as well as their interests suggests that the Egyptian military does not want to openly govern Egypt. Rather they want to protect their (vast) economic interests, through protecting their political privileges (no government oversight, no accountability, and no transparency). The period following the 2011 revolution, during which SCAF was in charge of the country, was negative for the institution of the military. They lost legitimacy and support following a series of events including the Maspero massacre, the Port Said massacre and the virginity testing scandal. Additionally, questions were being raised about the economic empire the military controlled, as well as their role in political life.
So the military learned their lesson: ruling the country means being accountable to it (post-revolution, that is), so why risk that? Why not continue to exercise power from behind the scenes, while appointing a civilian interim president? Of course the military is a problematic institution (as it is in any country) and of course this is not an ideal situation. But by focusing solely on the military intervention, the grassroots mobilization of millions of Egyptians on June 30 is completely erased from the narrative.
But at the same time, I feel like I should be feeling more devastated, and less calm. This is the military we’re talking about. The most powerful institution in the country that has proven itself capable of brutality & authoritarianism. Of course I’m wary, as is everyone I know. But there is also a feeling of inevitability: this was bound to happen. Along with a feeling of relief, because the demands of the protesters were met. But the feeling of being scared is still there. (Yes, I know the military is still there. But how is that new? It was there before 2011, after 2011, after Morsi, and it’s there now.)
The reality is that June 30 came first. And it didn’t come out of nowhere. It was a popular response to widespread discontent with Morsi’s presidency.
The masses have not revolted anew out of a desire for military rule or love for the feloul liberal alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. They have revolted anew because Morsi and the Brotherhood betrayed the revolution.
In fact, Brotherhood rule deepened the same policies as the Mubarak regime, of impoverishment and corruption, and the desperate defense of big business interests in the service of American and Zionist interests. (Sameh Naguib)
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, being elected does not mean being allowed to do whatever you want. Morsi’s policies were problematic and were taking Egypt down a road many Egyptians did not want to go down. The protests on June 30 were bigger than those during the 2011 revolution, and that’s saying something. The demands were clear: Morsi should step down, and there should be early presidential elections. This is not to say that the Muslim Brotherhood no longer have a place in Egyptian politics. Most protesters I spoke to said they wanted the MB to be part of the political scene—but not at the exclusion of everyone else. Moreover, Egypt has no other mechanisms through which people can express their political discontent.
There was anger at the worsening economic situation, at the instability, at the lack of political inclusion. Granted, these problems were inherited from Mubarak (which is why it is dangerous and stupid to romanticize the Mubarak regime), but Morsi did not appear to be addressing them.
So people responded. And pushed. Until it was clear that Morsi had no option but to step down, which he refused to do (again, understandable considering the way the MB have historically been treated by the state, the army and the police).
The question of the old regime is an important one. There is no doubt that the 2011 revolution did not bring down the regime in its entirety. There is also no doubt that the Egyptian state did not magically transform itself into an “Ikhwan-state” in less than one year. Importantly, the same economic elite pre-2011 were active post-2011, in addition to the economic elite from the Muslim Brotherhood. Allegiances and alliances don’t shift that fast, and so of course there was influence from the old regime and old elites, especially since the military was still powerful. But the million-dollar question is: how much influence? Can this explain every mistake Morsi made? Can it account for all of the failings of the Muslim Brotherhood?
I don’t know.
Things are complicated.
So the conclusion is that things are complicated. There are so many historical trajectories that are coming together to create the current situation in Egypt:
The position of the military in the Egyptian collective memory and consciousness.
The behaviour of the military during the 2011 transition as well as before and after, and its position as Egypt’s powerhouse.
The exclusion, repression and murder of the Muslim Brotherhood at the hands of the state, police and military since 1952.
The monumental psychological shift experienced by Egyptians in 2011 that has made it impossible to govern Egyptians without accountability.
The nature of the Egyptian state, which continues to reproduce itself in specific ways, particularly institutionally.
The fact that many Egyptians do support the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, and now feel completely excluded.
Things are definitely complicated.
But people are happy. Not all people. The widespread arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members are a bad sign, there is no doubt about that. The way things play out during this transition will determine the next phase of the revolution. What is happening now – the mass arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members – is not a promising sign, and confirms the fears everyone has about the military. Again, the history of military-Brotherhood relations is important. But what option is there but to wait?
we must be consistent in opposing all forms of abuse and repression to which the Islamists will be exposed in the form of arrests and closures of satellite channels and newspapers, for what happens today to the Islamists will happen tomorrow to the workers and the leftists. (Sameh Naguib)
In fact there is also this strong feeling of helplessness. We go and protest but to what extent is it meaningful? Won’t it always be co-opted by one elite or another, last time the Muslim Brotherhood, this time the military? That feeling of creating change during protests is quickly replaced by a feeling of powerlessness when you hear about the meetings happening between political elites. Many (including myself) want to defend allegations that this is terrible because we were there on Sunday and know that it shouldn’t have turned out like this. We know people shouldn’t be thrown in jail, we know Islamists shouldn’t be tried faster than Mubarak & co. But somehow it feels like that will happen.
And then what? At the bottom of all of this is the Egyptian military, who since 1952 have structured the state and have ruled the country, whether directly or indirectly. There is no getting around the fact that if the revolution is going to succeed, the state and the economy have to be de-militarized.
The question is how?
(Oh, and a side-note to all foreign (western and non-western) observers, analysts, commentators and whatever else: you can ask why. You can ask how. You can ask what next. You can say you are worried.
But please don’t be condescending, petty and rude. Don’t insult or deny Egyptian intelligence and agency. Don’t say ridiculous things like “Egyptians want military rule, did they forget already?”—this is bullshit. Revolutions are complex. Many actors are involved. Many people wanted early elections and they got them. Was it ideal the way it happened? No. But it’s not the “death of democracy.” There is no ‘return of military rule’ because military rule never left.
If you’re confused about what’s going on, ASK. Don’t make snide comments and flippant degrading remarks. There are 90 million+ Egyptians. Ask. One.)
(Another side-note to Egyptians who are anti-Morsi: the classist, insulting language and discourse being used to target and delegitimise pro-Morsi protesters is disgusting & polarising. No, the Ikhwan shouldn’t be thrown in jail or kicked out of the country. They shouldn’t be arrested. Their channels shouldn’t be shut down. They’re not ignorant or uneducated. Seriously, move on.)
What has happened in Egypt is the height of democracy, a revolution of millions to directly topple the ruler. As for the military displacement of Morsi, this was nothing but a foregone conclusion, once the military institution saw that the masses had already settled the issue in the streets and squares of Egypt. Al Sisi did on July 3 2013 what Tantawi did before him on February 11 2011; he acquiesced to the will of the rebelling populace, not out of any patriotism or revolutionary fervor, but out of fear of the revolution. For if al Sisi had not intervened to dislodge Morsi, the revolution would not have stopped with the overthrow of Morsi and the Brotherhood, but was – and still remains – competent to transform into a complete social revolution which would oust the entire capitalist state, including the leaders of the military institution. (Sameh Naguib)
Till things become clearer, the revolution lives on. But I can’t say I’m optimistic.
And there’s also doubt now. Maybe it shouldn’t have happened this way? Or maybe I’m being influenced by the overwhelmingly negative reactions from outside, from people who are usually in solidarity with Egyptians? But what’s happened has happened. What next?
However, the powerful effect of white people’s touchiness on this subject should not to be underestimated. In fact, I think it goes hand in hand with the threat of violence in perpetuating racism.
For instance, racial inequality nowadays relies more heavily on the intimidation and violence of the war on drugs and immigration enforcement than on the terrorism of vigilante groups. But, racist immigration and drug enforcement policies are founded on the widespread popularity of racial stereotypes that falsely criminalize black men as the source of the illegal drug problem in the U.S., and immigrants of color as drains on our economy. In other words, ordinary prejudice is as much a part of the oppressive equation for communities of color as violence and intimidation, and the fact that these ordinary forms of prejudice are expressed through major public institutions is possible because we deny that these stereotypes are grounded in prejudice at all.
We need to marginalize ordinary racist stereotypes and behavior, and this starts with calling racism out, even when those guilty of it get touchy because they are unable to recognize their acts as racist.
But, why so touchy?
At the risk of sparking a sh*t storm, here are a couple of proposals.
First, I think white people get bent out of shape by the label racist because being able to wield it means that, at least culturally speaking, people of color have power we haven’t traditionally had, specifically because of racism.
For generations even looking at a white person in the wrong way could get a person of color fired, harassed, terrorized or even lynched. Going as far as lodging an accusation of any kind against a white person could spark a race riot.
But socially conscious people of all races fought and even died in order to end the white cultural, economic, and political supremacy that led to this kind of intimidation and violence. Today, the degree to which we are empowered to speak out against racism is a measure of the erosion of unjust white power and privilege that was achieved through these historic efforts. When white people react defensively to people of color involved in the audacious act of calling them out for racism, they are, albeit usually unconsciously, struggling to reconcile themselves with lost white privilege.
What are the words you do not have yet? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am black, because I am myself, a black woman warrior poet doing my work, come to ask you, are you doing yours?
And, of course, I am afraid — you can hear it in my voice — because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation and that always seems fraught with danger. But my daughter, when I told her of our topic and my difficulty with it, said, “tell them about how you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there’s always that one little piece inside of you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don’t speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth.”
On the cause of silence, each one of us draws her own fear– fear of contempt, of censure, or some judgment, or recognition, of challenge, of annihilation. But most of all, I think, we fear the visibility without which we also cannot truly live. Within this country where racial difference creates a constant, if unspoken, distortion of vision, black women have on one hand always been highly visible, and so, on the other hand, have been rendered invisible through the depersonalization of racism. Even within the women’s movement, we have had to fight and still do, for that very visibility which also renders us most vulnerable, our blackness. For to survive in the mouth of this dragon we call america, we have had to learn this first and most vital lesson– that we were never meant to survive. Not as human beings. And neither were most of you here today, black or not. And that visibility which makes you most vulnerable is also our greatest strength. Because the machine will try to grind us into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. We can sit in out corners mute forever while our sisters and ourselves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned, we can sit in our safe corners as mute as bottles, and still we will be no less afraid.
”—Audre Lorde - The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action (via mikroblogolas)
“There is no recognition [in this art] that all of that capitalist trash contains within it the relentless destruction of all that each of us holds closest to us and loves most dearly. There is no understanding that the violence of the abstractions that capitalism imposes on humanity are materially particular, intervening in the particularities of our lives. To refuse to engage with that particularity is, it seems to me, to stand in solidarity with the forces of capital. The question of what it would mean for the artwork to attempt such an expression of the destruction of things and people loved the historical weight of that process, is never asked…”—From this article
I attended your MFA show two nights ago. I apologise to an extent: with so many artworks on display it was difficult to digest any of them. That situation was exacerbated by the fact that so few of the works seemed to have it in them to behave destructively…
You might remember that earlier I mentioned I clicked the link provided by Azealia Banks of her remix, only to find it had been taken down. Banks posted the remix on soundcloud, but Baauer and his labelmate Diplo demanded it be taken down because it was an un-authorized remix. Aside from the obvious rejoinder that the majority of soundcloud is unauthorized remixes, this episode reveals the difference of power that negotiates the “open” space of the internet. We have a white producer, who is accused of appropriating Harlem culture, attacking a black female rapper born in Harlem of improperly using his “intellectual property.” Black claims to propriety are met with crickets, while a white man’s claim is heard and acted upon to the detriment of Banks. Diplo took to twitter to begin the anti-Banks commentary, while Banks refused to back down. She made a music video and posted it to youtube, ensuring that her fans would still have access to the song. The spat continued on twitter though, with Banks inadvertently calling Baauer the “F-word.” This re-ignited a sleeping giant in Azealia Banks’ burgeoning career, which is her intramural relations with the LGBT civil rights apparatus, as well as gay male media figures, that simultaneously support and police her. This conversation is deep and necessary (for a much better handling of this topic, click here), yet for the purposes of this essay it is important to mention this because much of the coverage of this “twitter beef” was to categorize this as “yet another Azealia Banks beef.” There is an almost universal consensus that Banks starts and maintains beefs with producers, a storyline Baauer and Diplo cited and perpetuated to deflect attention away from their own fault. Baauer and Diplo’s story is that Banks recorded a remix and they asked her to not post it because they decided to go into a different direction. The different direction was to get Juicy J to record a remix and release that as the official remix. What this mystifies is what Banks brought up: the fact that they came to Banks asking her to remix it initially and then, at the last second, after she had worked, mixed, prepared a marketing strategy, aligned it with her own schedule, and shot a video, they decided they did not want her to go forward with it. So, Baauer and Diplo decided that Banks’ life and career should take a backseat because they wanted another, more famous, black artist to remix their song.
What is happening here is a politics of obliteration. That Banks is thought to be replaceable by Juicy J is emblematic of what so many black people in popular culture have attested to: the systemic belief in the interchangeability of black entertainers. The thought here is that a black female rapper from Harlem can be replaced by a black male rapper from Memphis, Tennessee. Baauer attempts to say that he thought Azealia Banks’ lyrics were only so-so and believed Juicy J could do better. If this is not an example of a white man talking out of his ass, I am not sure what is. I do not need to get into the technical aspects of rapping to say Azealia Banks could destroy any rapper who’s idea of a great song is, “Bands ‘a make her dance.” But this is not about Juicy J, this is about Baauer and the meaning of blackness to his ability to produce music. For him, black culture is not an other’s thing made in specific contexts, but instead are loose, unowned resources of “cool” to be stretched, interpolated, and sequenced into a dramatic product to produce his own name. Thus, the being of black culture (its claims to place and time) are obliterated so that he may write himself into existence over the cleared field. Saidiya Hartman writes, “The elasticity of blackness and its capacious affects enabled such flights and becomings… The fungibility of the commodity, specifically its abstractness and immateriality, enabled the black body to serve as the vehicle of self-exploration, renunciation, and enjoyment” (Hartman, 25). Thus, Baauer is not simply emblematic of an internet-age, post-genre music culture, but is instead an example par excellance of the white imagination using the black body as a vehicle for its own purposes. In other words, Baauer is not (only) a thief, he is a master.
Thus, Baauer is not simply emblematic of an internet-age, post-genre music culture, but is instead an example par excellance of the white imagination using the black body as a vehicle for its own purposes. In other words, Baauer is not (only) a thief, he is a master.
check out the other work on that blog (outofnowhere.blogspot.com). Both (I think right now it’s still only two) of those thinkers are PHENOMENAL. Murillo & Brady’s work can also be found on thefeministwire.com.
They don’t have innocence worth protecting from grown ass men, no.
This nigga should be under a jail, but the fact that he still gets to have a career says SO MUCH about how little Black people and society in general value Black female personhood.
I do not understand why that dude is not shunned to the depths of loathing
one time I was shopping with my grandma and her best friend and the bfs daughter. we were in the daughter’s car and Michael Jackson’s pyt came on the radio. she was like oh this takes on a whole new level (this was a couple years after the second trial). and I was like well I guess you’ll stop listening step in the name of love then? but of course his victims were black girls so you don’t care.
And I don’t get how there are Black people who helped white folks vilify Michael Jackson, right?
Negroes BELIEVED that my hero was molesting children, when the FBI had a file on him FOR YEARS and found NOTHING!
All them cases were motherfuckers trying to extort The Kang,
But these n-words KNOW that R. Kelly was messing with underage girls, and they still bump his shit!
i read that Robert used to cruise around chicago high schools looking to pick up girls
It was so bad that most of us knew what places to avoid when he was in town. The McDonald’s in Hyde Park, the Rock & Roll McDonald’s downtown, a couple of burger spots on the West Side…like this list is so long because he would post up after school at a place where teens hung out and try to pick up girls. And if you were around long enough you could usually spot the recycled game. Everyone was so pretty they could be in a video, so smart they had no business hanging out with kids, & so grown he knew they were ready to spend time with a real man. How do I know? He hit on me & my friends twice. Mind you, he was only interest when we were clearly underage.
But everybody is so thirsty to defend his ass, when he’s nothing but a predator.
why isn’t this shit common knowlege
He had the gall to call himself the fucking Pied Piper and people still defend his predatory ass.
There’s a psychological study that shows that the more ‘afro-centric’ a person’s features the more likely people would give them the death penalty - but only if the victim was white.
The male type is characterised by a detached, if not outright dysfunctional, sensibility: retreat from a perplexing and frustrating emotional world into an intellectual domain in which their precocious facility with words and images affords them a degree of mastery and skewed self-understanding. “Girls” are then somewhat unfortunately positioned as gateways into the abandoned realm of sensual and emotional connection, and alternately idealised as muses/sex-goddesses and denigrated as (variously) narcissists, seducers, trivial beings, neurotic leeches, etc. (Dworkin’s inventory of misogynist stereotypes remains one of the most comprehensive and deeply-felt). Duncan Thaw’s alternating attraction towards and contempt for Kate Caldwell is exemplary here, as is his delirious observation that “men are pies that bake and eat themselves, and the recipe is hate”.
Young female intellectuals (again, I’m talking about the characters one encounters in books, such as the memoirs mentioned above) seem to have problems not so much with “boys” as with themselves: boys are a nuisance insofar as they behave unfeelingly and unpleasantly, rather than because they represent an unattainable connection with some inaccessible reality. It is a matter of reconciling, or finding ways of living with not being able to reconcile, one’s full and contradictory humanity with the simplified and diminished humanity encoded as “femininity”; resisting (rather than transcending) confinement, the “women’s room” of narrowed scope and lowered expectations. The problem is then one of knowing what to do with oneself, where to put all that stuff for which there appears to be neither place nor name.
“Art will not create social change, but it can provoke thought and prepare us for change. Art can tell us what we do not see, sometimes what we do not want to see, what we do not realize about life, about sensitivity and crassness. What is ordinary may be seen as spectacular. What seems ugly may appear quite beautiful and vice versa. What seems trivial may become important depending upon how it is presented by the artist.”—Elizabeth Catlett (via blaublueblah)
“I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was. Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed my car.
Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test. Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I’d prove myself a moron, and I’d be a moron, too. In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly. My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.
Consider my auto-repair man, again. He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me. One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: “Doc, a deaf-and-mute guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with the other hand. The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?”
Indulgently, I lifted my right hand and made scissoring motions with my first two fingers. Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed raucously and said, “Why, you dumb jerk, He used his voice and asked for them.” Then he said smugly, “I’ve been trying that on all my customers today.” “Did you catch many?” I asked. “Quite a few,” he said, “but I knew for sure I’d catch you.” “Why is that?” I asked. “Because you’re so goddamned educated, doc, I knew you couldn’t be very smart.”—
I keep seeing this post around!!! I’v e been going, sure, yeah good point if you’ve never come across any critiques of IQ tests and stuff, fair enough, but it bothered me.
I couldn’t put my finger on what bothered me til now: it’s that he thinks all the skills he doesn’t have are the kind that you learn so you have A Job. He’s got one job, why’d he need any of the rest of this knowledge. But… guess what Asimov, working in a garage or in any of those industries is still a job with a wage that’s recognised as socially valuable, and that’s not the only kind of work there is. You know what isn’t A Job? Housekeeping, cooking, gardening, working as a carer. This idea that in a world where if he couldn’t earn a living as an academic he’d have to learn manual labour skills, but that luckily he can so he’ll never have to? That’s some bullshit right there.
Y’know what Asimov? Loads of us started learning some of those oh-so-complicated manual dexterity skills as pre-teens because it makes sense for everyone in a family to cook dinner sometimes, or maybe just ‘cause we were girls and we ought to know how to cook. Taking care of the place you live is work and a skill-set and you can choose to learn it if you want to take care of your home. You and everyone fucking else can learn it.
“Jacques Lacan reminds us, that in sex, each individual is to a large extent on their own, if I can put it that way. Naturally, the other’s body has to be mediated, but at the end of the day, the pleasure will be always your pleasure. Sex separates, doesn’t unite. The fact you are naked and pressing against the other is an image, an imaginary representation. What is real is that pleasure takes you a long way away, very far from the other. What is real is narcissistic, what binds is imaginary. So there is no such thing as a sexual relationship, concludes Lacan. His proposition shocked people since at the time everybody was talking about nothing else but “sexual relationships”. If there is no sexual relationship in sexuality, love is what fills
the absence of a sexual relationship.
Lacan doesn’t say that love is a disguise for sexual relationships; he says that sexual relationships don’t exist, that love is what comes to replace that non-relationship. That’s much more interesting. This idea leads him to say that in love the other tries to approach “the being of the other”. In love the individual goes beyond himself, beyond the narcissistic. In sex, you are really in a relationship with yourself via the mediation of the other. The other helps you to discover the reality of pleasure. In love, on the contrary the mediation of the other is enough in itself. Such is the nature of the amorous encounter: you go to take on the other, to make him or her exist with you, as he or she is. It is a much more profound conception of love than the entirely banal view that love is no more than an imaginary canvas painted over the reality of sex.”—Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love (via heteroglossia)