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{Monday}

 
FAN...TASMAGORIA

... really good stuff HERE; and I'm not just saying this because my homegrrrl name drops the Pill Box, or is acute on the holey Greil:

" [...] I've been finding The Shape Of Things to Come a real slog, to be honest - I'm skimming over large chunks of it. The chapter on Twin Peaks (the chapter where Marcus drops riot-grrrl into the picture, incidentally) is pure guff - I don't get it at all. Maybe the problem begins from the title of the book onwards: it seems that with this new stuff, the motivation in Marcus's writing is to close down rather than open up interpretation. He wants to take these fleeting, flimsy pop-cultural moments and hew them into granite; turn his ghosts into monuments, and then herd everybody into the public square to turn around and face those monuments. See, see? - but I don't see at all."

The post goes on to take in SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY and the dream/day-dreaming photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron, which is uncanny, as I'd just been reading about the same in Marina Warner's latest, PHANTASMAGORIA {Spirit Visions, Metaphors & Media into the 21st Century}, a book I heartily recommend...

Coming to Warner's text - and an advance copy of the dizzying new Nick Tosches, KING OF THE JEWS {The Arnold Rothstein Story} - just confirmed what I already knew re Marcus - it's not, it's never enough simply to pick the "right" subjects, or merely deploy the "right" terms (e.g., "weird", "ghosts", "haunted", etc) - which is to miss the point altogether I think if we're talking Hauntology... it should be the aggravated place you write from, it should inhabit the signals you send... it is the doubt that pocks and scars your writing's style ... or, just because Marcus says somethng is "weird" (or, rather, Weird), doesn't make anything he says haunting... especially when he keeps trying to drag everything back to an origin, to GROUND it, in a presumed, an unquestioned, an a priori AMERICAN logos ...

... what it is, what it is... should be a real ontological jolt, something that displaces or displeases you, opens up a caesura, an aporia, a lacuna (or lacana?), a gap or gape in where you think you are, where you think you think from, where you think thinking goes or what it does, how you think it summons, who you think speaks when "you yourself" speak... it is not, it is not in any way, but it especially is not an acess or gateway into list making, or History as summons, itinerary, COMMONALITY. It should make you think (knock) thrice, before ever doing anything like that ever again. Words should feel soiled, spoiled, unmanageable, OFF ... which is why I start to feel un-easy about Hauntology so-called as a hobby-hors(), i-2-3, tick this off, tick this off...

... the point about Derrida and the coining of Hauntology is that it is spillage or outbreak from a rigorous combing of Marx and the very precise way in which certain words or notions HAUNT the Marxist project {{ perhaps without the author's sure knowledge or clear intent... which is why CALLING Hauntology or Ghost syntax INTO your own project - as CAPITALISATION, as something you confidently bank or capitalise on or invest in - may, very properly, disqualify you before you even begin to speak of it. Derrida's echo-point would rather be that it SPEAKS BEFORE YOU, with that strange logic of the spectre or un-dead, which is to say, time (as tongue) twisted, something which is supposedly 'dead' and 'gone' (in temporal, logical terms) can still be waiting UP AHEAD, lying in wait, putting your call through or blocking access, directing the flow or stoppage of "your" speaks-to-me thought before it even commences to sing ... it should make you think twice about the phrase "my voice"... it is not an invoice ... it is an off-white body standing before you in backlit abeyance, saying nothing but speaking All... that no matter (immaterially) what you say, you get this noisesome, queasy feeling that it is merely a TEXT or VOICE MAIL sent on from who knows when, old news from elsewhere ... some faraway near ...

________________

... speaking of which, I woke up a few mornings ago with this odd bit of sung doggerel jumping in my head, which I immedately scribbled down:

"I have a brother back in the BRONX

and an entire memory of VIENNA
..."

Huh?

From WHOSE mouth exactly, to "my" text...?

___________________


... oh, also recommended, this few years old, but ever so timely "opinion" piece from ALAIN BADIOU on the QUESTION OF THE VEIL. {I've been struggling through a new collection of Badiou's Theoretical Writings [Continuum Impacts Pbk], but Jeez, it's tough work. Although how much of that is down to my ingrained antipathy to MATH, I'm not yet sure ...

posted by Ian 10/23/2006 09:26:00 AM

Comments:
this is one of the strange qualities of pop -- from any era ever -- that yr indifference or impatience with it at the time (a dislike often pretty easy to justify) will (eventually) be trumped by the way it speaks back to you in 10 or 20 or 50 years

the pop-commentary industry -- and obviously i include include all avantist fanboyism, political and/or nerdy, in this -- has as a result of this known quality tended to shape itself as a pre-lapidary tipster mob second-guessing where this trumping shall arise: ie always asking WHAT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME?

but this is a rotten question and produces very unsatisfactory results -- a better question *might* be "what can't possibly stand the test of time?" -- to pay attention to the MOST evanescent* stuff, not bcz it will "go down in history" (and by predicting it, you get to snuggle up with history and go down on er in it yrself), but just bcz it is the veiled map of what the predigested history-of-the-immediate-future industry are likely to be missing (?)

except i'd be circumspect i think about ANY "surefire technique" for making out these kinds of voices (everyone knows that hauntings never happen in the presence of a. jaded hacks and b. qualified scientist)

another bad habit is every time to frame the question as "what are the voices whispering on the edge of THEIR dreams" -- where "their" is the set of lame, stupid, deluded and/or evil people "you" like best to lambast -- bcz a better, deeper, more scary question is "what are the voices whispering on the edge of MY dreams" (which you can extend to "our" if you like by examining the overlap between the good "me" and the ugly "they" -- THAT's the terror-but-one creeping slyly up on us)

(i don't mean "STOP DENOUNCING THEM" particularly -- but accept that for good or bad such denunciation is very much part of everyday noonday-sun politics)

*possibly a bit of a misleading word, as it has "gauzy" and "wispy" as a sonic implication -- some of the stuff i mean is right out there and solid and large as you like, in plainest possible sight and hearing, but somehow also invisible/inaudible to the self-appointed critic, mainstream, alt, radical, whatever

**how are you faring with robin hood? i am not yet prepared to admit defeat but i feel i am circling the wagons a bit
 
rock as in "rocks my world" vs rock as in "petrification" (dylan is a good hoho "touchstone" bcz the petrified dylan litters the landscape, yet the lacunafying dylan has never gone away; nor can all the uncut cover stories in the universe actually exorcise him)

i actually think at a certain point in the early 90s, marcus looked as if he was going to move into a REALLY interesting territory in re the uneasy links between public politics and (for want of a better jargontag) "ghost politics" -- there's some great potential stuff moving about in the shadows of the best pieces in "double trouble"; but i also think there's a strong element of generational failure to grasp the BAD that the clintonistas were doing to and through the "new deal democrat vision" -- an element of, to be be crass and unoriginal about it, boomers once again not getting out of the way -- which has hobbled him (underneath the surface he knows he has to move away from something he feels he can't for big-as-death noonday-sun "resistance to bush" reasons)
 
I dont know why some folks seem to have such trouble holding two SUPPOSEDLY 'mutually exclusive' positions at once - the DOUBLE mark...
As in, for instance, there is no reason one cannot execrate the despicable tactics the Starr-y eyed Republicans used contra the Clintons... whilst *at the same time* being HIGHLy critical and suspicious of a lot of what the Clintons did or didnt do... (I wish I could rememebr who, but I read a good piece on this last week, and it wasn't Hitchens, about all the lame double-standards that the USA's Left-leaning and feminism-mouthing commentariat applied to Clinton...)
Also, of course, no reason that being critical of G Marcus NOW automatically indicates some sweeping refusal of all the good stuff he has contributed before; I think I indicated this double stance as far back *as* that Tricky piece, in fact... which was what a close reading of Derrida opened up for me: you can *affirm* something's provisional or tactical or 'x' value whilst questioning or un-picking some of its less helpful or in-the-way assumptions or aspects...

PS: agree with Robin; it's kind of lost me.
And Dylan. The monumentalising Scorsese/Marcus approach - Dylan-as-America, Dylan-as-protest, Dyaln as legend, Dylan-as-univocal "icon", whatever - was very happily subtly unpicked by Dylan's own auto-biog, BTW, in very interesting way(s)...
 
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