Jason Rodgers's "Invisible Generation"
2152. "review of Jason Rodgers's "Invisible Generation""
- the complete version of my review
- credited to: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
- published on my "Critic" website March 9, 2023
Jason Rodgers's "Invisible Generation"
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 4-9, 2023
I usually feel like I live in a mostly illiterate or subliterate environment. I don't mean to say that being illiterate, per se, i.e.: unable to read, is something that devalues a person. My displeasure w/ this situation is more rooted in my observation that many of the people I know who consider themselves to be fully literate, including university professors, are, IMO, people who rarely read & people who read at a less-than-8th-grade level. Imagine a psychotherapist who reads a few self-help bks a yr & who, b/c of this, considers theirself to be fully informed & expert.
Contrary to this sub-literate commonality are my friends who write bks. There're many - & since this lot tends to be better-read I rejoice in their literateness even if I don't always like their bks 100%. I write bks, very few people read them, even my literate friends. I also review bks, at the moment I've reviewed 1,614 of them. My friends send me their bks for review or I buy them. Not surprisingly (& I don't blame them), they expect me to write glowing reviews of their genius.. or, at least,very favorable reviews. However, for me, review-writing isn't about trying to get my friends to love me, it's about trying to say what I have to say about the bks. More often than not, I go to considerable lengths to entice the review reader into being interested in the bk.. - but I sometimes say things that my friends get offended by. It's common for reviewers of peotry bks to give the bk a 5 star rating w/o even saying anything about the bk - giving the appearance that they mightn't've even read it. I figure that if I'm going to review a bk I shd 1. actually read the thing from cover-to-cover, 2. actually say what I think about it - otherwise, what's the point? At least ONE critic shd write something they mean once in a while instead of trying to win a popularity contest. Of course, the result is that I sometimes lose friends. I DO feel bad about this. I even usually pull my punches - but, still, a little jab gets in here & there.
NOW, it might seem like that preface implies that I'm about to be negative about "Invisible Generation" - but I'm not. I'm not really sure WHAT I'm going to write. I know that I'm going to express some perplexity about my own position in relation to Rodgers's socio-political philosophy. That's partially rooted in my gut reaction to this as being very akin to thinking in the 1980s anarchism that I was heavily involved w/. It's not a 'bad' thing that it seems rooted in that time, b/c I think that was a very vital time, it's just that I'm in a different phase of my life - one that's probably individualist in a way that makes it hard for me to identify w/ just about anyone's socio-political philosophy anymore.
I was 1st contacted by Jason in the fall of 2002 w/ a mailing including $5 for a copy of my Street Ratbag 6 + the 7th issue of his Psionic Plastic Joy zine. At the time I reckon it was remarkable enuf that he even knew about SRB b/c the days when Factsheet Five broadcast knowledge of my publications far & wide were long gone. Having been publishing since 1977 & having a huge personal zine library it was, by now, rare for me to run across any zines or other publications of any kind that distinguished themselves w/ extraordinary imagination. PPJ wasn't one of them, I downright disliked the collages & found the reviews of what I sent him to be lacking in depth or understanding. There, that's the negative part.
Now, 20 yrs later, Jason's sent me "Invisible Generation" & I find that his texts are more sophisticated & the collages, while I still don't really like them, work for me in the context of the bk. I shd explain that I'm not really singling out Jason's collages: I was approached by another friend to write an intro for a friend's collage bk & I declined b/c I find more or less all collages to be lacking in depth of inspiration. Collages from the time of Adolf Wölffli & Hannah Höch interest me b/c they were fresh then. Now they just seem lazy & cliché. Maybe if Rodgers changed his name to Rödgers?
Following the 1st collage on p 7, there's what seems to be a flier intended for guerrilla public display, such as on poles. There's a collage background w/ blocks of text put overtop of it. There's a title: "Infinite War Games", 3 text blocks, & a PO Box address for "Campaign to Play for Keeps". Such an intervention into the mediated environment appeals to me & I probably wd've copied the address if I ran across such a thing in my wanderings & then written to it. Some of the text:
"I know life is a game and I intend to play for keeps. Time to get serious about joking and work at play. It is time to play hard and play the ultimate game, war games.
""There is no rest for my rebel spirit except in war, just as there is no greater happiness for my vagabond, negating mind than the unihibited affirmation of my capacity to life and to rejoice. My every defeat serves me only as symphonic prelude to a new victory" - Renzo Novatore
"The winning strategy in the game of life is the game of insurrection. Civilization teaches lessons in zero sum games of winners and losers. The closest to infinite games are grand narratives of progress where those who are ground up serve the greater good. A new rule set is necessary. Maybe without winners and losers, or maybe disregard such petty concerns as winning or losing."
"Struggle is life and anti-entropic. When a person engages in struggle, they are infused with vitality. If they are not actively engaged with struggle, every passing banality crushes them. Struggle is the opposite of sacrifice. The means are more important than the ends. The possibility of ends is merely an added bonus." - p 8
I take it for granted that Rodgers is sincere. At the same time that I like what he wrote, I still find it a bit rhetorical. Such proclamations as Renzo Novatore's are impressive when the proclaimer is backing them up w/ action, w/ praxis instead of theory, as I understand Novatore did. But I, personally, don't want war, for myself or anyone else. IMO the US has been at war for my entire 69 yr life. I've been spared the direct consequences of those wars that the millions of victims haven't been. Nonetheless, there's the Class War, the war waged by the oligarchies on the wage slaves, the war constantly in progress that keeps the vast majority 'in its place'. I've struggled against the domineering interests since I was at least 5. That struggle hasn't necessarily been bad for me but I wonder what my life wd've been like if I'd had a higher percentage of classless good times. Anyway, the rhetoric here, if it isn't unfair to call it rhetoric, is of less interest to me than recountings of what a person has actually done. I reckon that's my pragmatism. What interests me is that I built an addition on my house & what I've done w/ that building, what interests me less are peoples' plans for castles in the sky. Not that "castles in the sky" is what I'd call Rodgers's philosophical hopes.
The next page has another street flier w/ a collage background & much smaller blocks of text:
"Shoot out at the consensus reality corral.
"The six gun swami mounts an offense against the razor wire fence of the black iron prison. The guards in the head have been ambushed." - p 9
I'm happy to see "consensus reality" referred to. That seems like an important idea that's been mostly lost, perhaps not many people ever 'got it' in the 1st place. For me, mediated 'reality' is a construct, one that seems to dominate most people's minds, it's 'reality' b/c people have a 'consensus' that that's what's what. But is it really a "consensus"? To me, the 'consensus' of 'consensus reality' is really an implant, something that "The guards in the head" have planted there in such a way that the people going along w/ it think is of their own creation when, in fact, it isn't. It doesn't originate w/ them at all, it originates w/ their rulers, the people they can barely even acknowledge exist let alone analyze or criticize.
"Reality is a constructed process. For most of us this is a symbol system we inhabit to interpret perceptions. It is not simply the same as subjective experience. Language works in an occult fashion, creating the very structure of the reality we inhabit."
""Reality," Carey argues,
""is a product of work and action, collective and associated work and action. It is formed and sustained, repaired and transformed, worshiped and celebrated in the ordinary business of living. To set the matter up in this way is neither to deny, ignore, nor mystify social conflict; in fact, it is an attempt to locate such conflict and make it intelligible. Reality is, above all, a scarce resource.["]" - p 10
Note that this is a humanocentric discussion. What is 'reality' for non-humans?
This is a minor observation & one probably of little interest to many other than myself: In 1987 I wrote a letter published in: KAOS (Number 10) (London, England, uk; edited by: Joel Biroco) in wch I stated "as 4 t he spelling "magick": i may prefer t he simpler "magik" as a spelling sufficiently distinct from "magic"" (p 14) & I remember Peter Lamborn Wilson (perhaps writing as Hakim Bey) chiming in somewhere in agreement w/ this. Now, b/c of the following, I wonder if Feral Faun was another advocate of getting away from the spelling "magick" (wch I thought of as a quasi-'ancient' spelling that didn't really resonate w/ me).
"Feral Faun expressed the promise and dangers of using magic as a tactic of combating control when he wrote "Magik is the wonderful, erotic relation we can have with every being in the universe. All that is, is alive. Order has separated us from the rest of the universe.["]" - p 13
Once "Invisible Generation" gets into these essays, the more I find the ideas expressed to be very clear - & as the essays become more recent the more I find them to be even clearer.
"We are already surrounded by occult warfare. This battlefield of civilization and consumer culture is composed of warring sigils locked in deadly combat. Corporate logos, organization symbols, advertisements, chain letters, propaganda, mail art, and graffiti. These are all sigils, occult symbols. The environment is covered in corporate sigils in the form of advertising, logos, and billboards. Common tactics such as graffiti are an intuitive and natural reaction to this. This warfare is totally asymmetrical; there is a need to find ways to even the odds." - p 14
"This is a struggle to seize the means of reality production, semiotic guerilla warfare." - p 15
&, indeed, I agree. There're forces at work who're trying to define 'reality' for us all b/c it serves their purposes for us to believe their story. These forces use every means they can think of to achieve this. Now that most people carry around 'smart phones' accessing their attn thru postings to sd phones is one of the most immediate means. Some of us try to counter these attacks on us, trying to 'out-clever' the 'reality'-definers w/ a greater degree of creativity & tactics such as rendering mind-numbingly 'definitive' statements ambiguous &/or suspicious.
"Writing is my way. It is the way I gain knowledge. It is the way I spread knowledge. It is the way I communicate. It is the way I confront. It is the only way I know.
"I continue to believe that writing, theory, poetics can change the world. They are able to reveal the mechanisms by which control functions. They are able to work out strategies to confront such, They are able to imagine other modes of living. I continue to believe this, maybe because I am very stupid.
"Even as I believe in the value of writing I am finding it harder to see what difference it makes to anyone. I know fewer people who even bother to read at all. They might browse something on their phone, but this is not reading, no more than watching the scroll at the bottom of Fox News is reading." - p 20
& here is where I felt an even more heartfelt identification w/ Rodgers. I love reading & writing, I love bks; I've reviewed every bk I've read since the fall of 2007. That's a huge critical thinking project. However, unlike Jason, "It is" NOT "the only way I know." I live in Pittsburgh now - but when I lived in BalTimOre most of my friends read bks, it was central to their intellectual development - & they HAD intellectual development. A small group of us cd get together in the 1970s & talk about, say, Djuna Barnes's "Nightwood". Cd I do that now?! NO WAY. Friends who read bks are extremely rare - esp in my local environment. I've written 16 bks, NONE of my friends locally has ever expressed even the slightest interest in any of them. They certainly wdn't even read a single page. I attribute this partially to a mass death of intellect, of intellectual curiousity. I, on the other hand, read every day - it's an essential part of my life. For other people I know it's as if reading means nothing to them - why wd they read? It's as if reading wd be the equivalent of staring at a rock for days on end, there's no point to it for them. But, for me, reading means exposing myself to information & stimulation that I won't find elsewhere. E.G.: I never heard of "coolhunting" until I read this:
"One textbook on advertising represents them as a form of anthropologist, stating that "the Advertising has long appreciated the value of qualitative data and is currently moving to even more strongly embrace extended types of fieldwork. Coolhunts do this by getting researchers to actually go to the site where they believe cool resides, stalk it, and bring it back to be used in products and its advertising" (O'Guinn, Allen, & Semenik 248). Firms with this as their stated goals began to arise in the 1980s. These marketing firms "search out pockets of cutting edge lifestyle, capturing them on videotape and return to clients like Reebok, Absolut Vodka and Levi's"" - pp 28-29
It's funny thinking about this, imagining being somewhere & seeing someone who you suspect of being a coolhunter. What if what's 'cool' about the people there is that they're readers of heavy philosophy & they don't wear Reeboks or Levis & are teetotalers?
"It may be possible to find ways to get the marketers to inadvertently disseminate their own undoing. Of course this subversion may be quickly neutralized; thus all the more reason for nomadism. By the time the subversion is neutralized, the next stage will have already begun, having used the initial subversion as a jumping off point." - p 30
"Freddy Perlman contructed Leviathan man as "a monstrous body, a body that has become more powerful than the Biosphere. It may be a body without any life of its own. It may be a dead thing, a huge cadaver. It may move its slow thighs only when living beings inhabit it." - p 31
What I think of is a 'superorganism', I see humanity as being deliberately herded together into a superorganism. People who had some individuality are no longer useful as individuals so they're being dumbed down so that they're easier to manipulate as a mass. The less people have to think for themselves in order to function, the more they become dependent on a hierarchy that they have no say in the management of.
"Max Stirner wrote that "The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us to no longer let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and set no glittering hopes on 'institutions.'" (Stirner 316). It is not working within the institution, but a rejection of institutions themselves." - p 33
Fair enuf, I suppose - but I don't believe in revolution or insurrection, if I believe in anything at all it's more a matter of what an individual manages to do w/ their life independent of such relative concepts.
"As the minor composition does not strive to become a major composition, a component of mass media, or a new hegemony, tactics of invisibility are adopted. "Sometimes clandestine struggles do not necessarily have to aspire to become something else, but can remain so because it makes sense compositionally for them to do so" (Shukaitis 211). Within mass culture the insurrectionist and radical is outnumbered and overpowered. Instead of confronting these situations directly it is probably more useful to work on a different level, in order to deal with this asymetrical situation. Rather than become a fixed mass formation, a subterranean project can remain flexible and dynamic." - p 38
Guerrilla Warfare, or, as I prefer, Psychological Playfare, is most effectively conducted from a position where one can't be immediately pinned down. Hit'n'run. Either that or one has to have a superhuman strength of character, an ability to clearly express & manifest a vision that's more compelling than that of the sizeable opposition.
"Where libertarian was once a synonym for anarchist or anti-authoritarian, it now is associated with free market economics. The free market program has proven to be far from liberating" - p 44
I lived w/ the president of the MD Libertarian Party in 1982. He was a rich megalomaniac in his 30s who didn't have to work & whose expenses were pd for by his father, who owned a big car dealership. When his father died, he lost his house on a double lot in a rich neighborhood & moved into the no-longer-in-business car dealership.
When I was in Barcelona in 2004 I stayed w/ an anarchist couple who hadn't previously known me but who took me in b/c the 'friend' who I was supposed to stay w/ had 'changed her mind' at the last minute. My Spanish anarchist friends used the word "libertarian" interchangeably w/ anarchist.
'Free market economics' just means that the rich have the legal 'right' to exploit whoever they want to in whatever way they want to in order to maximize their own profit. Anarchists are against governments & laws b/c they take away individual responsibility & impose a fake substitute. 'Free Market' Libertarians are against governments & laws b/c they interfere w/ their being as irresponsible as is convenient for them. Then again, some Libertarians are mainly concerned w/ legalization of drugs & police brutality & surveillance issues - so there's still some crossover between anarchism & libertarianism.
"Nicholas Carr": [..] ""And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I'm online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in swiftly moving streams of particles" (Carr 8-7). This result in a sort of hyper-skimming, in which rather than concentrating on the text, the reader (or viewer) scans through it quickly in search of what's perceived as relevant." - p 46
&, yes, this is an issue I consider too. I find that the quality of my communication in this electronic age is poor. Even tho people can communicate w/ me thru txt msg, email, snail mail, phone call, social media commenting, etc, misunderstandings & hotheadedness from superficial readings abound. I can write a mere few paragraphs to explain a short movie & have a friend check it out on their cell-phone & read something into it that's not only not there but that's opposite of what's clearly stated. In general, it seems that people can barely get past the 1st sentence in an electronic communication b/c they assume that the 1st sentence tells them all they need to know - as if it's an abstract for a scholarly paper that they don't have time to read.
The people that I have the best communications w/ are people who prefer communication thru snail mail. They take the time to read whatever materials I send them & then write a thoughtful letter in reply. The obvious problem w/ snail mail vs email is that snail mailing is outrageously expensive & emailing is 'free'. As such, I find myself in the tricky position of having to spend what're sometimes outrageous amts of money to send something to someone who won't use email when sending an email wd hardly cost a cent. 40 yrs ago, snail mailing was much more affordable - so affordable that I cd send off as many as 20 things a DAY.
Such matters aside, "hyper-skimming" strikes me as a very widespread consequence of what's enabled by electronic reading. A person can do a search, e.g., for a keyword that's of the greatest interest & just go to where that word occurs. That's a very handy feature, & one that I'm glad to take advantage of, but when such features start to dominate the how of reading then a text intended to be read front to back no longer is fully experienced. I wrote a review of a bk on a subject I'm fairly knowledgable about. As such, my review was long & detailed. When the author of the bk reviewed, an acquaintance of mine, saw the review he wrote me something like: "Only you would write a review longer than the book itself. I take it it's meant to be read by jumping about and reading any section in any order?" I informed him that, NO, it's meant to be read from beginning to end. Apparently, in his mind, anything long isn't really meant to be read in its entirety. That seems to me to be the attitude of academia. The review, of course, wasn't anywhere close to the length of the bk - but if it had been wdn't that be flattering to the author? That someone wd care enuf to put that much thought into replying?
Next up is another collage w/ text on it. It has what wd ordinarily be interpreted as a title: "Alienated Bookworms of the World Unite!". Since I'm an "Alienated Bookworm", amongst other things, I can relate to the following:
"Tired of feeling like you're the only person spending their evening highlighting key passages from Heidegger and Debord? Feel crushed by the weight of the cultural industry's race to the bottom of lowest common denominators? Disgusted by the heightened socialization of a well adjusted class? Do academic conflicts count as class war?" - p 51
One of the images in the collage is a man straining to lift a stack of Neitzche bks as if he's working out w/ them.
"I don't deny the power of friendship, I deny that it is experienced by most. I affirm the power of friendship, agree with the insurrectionaries that "friendship is a weapon," and hold that friendship is the basis of affinity. It is the only valid organizational principle.
"That is why I write. Almost everyone that I feel a strong bond with I know through postal letters. Through writing I seek comrades, attempt to build unions of self owning ones. Lying about the alienation I feel in daily life does nothing to alleviate the situation. Claiming acquaintances as friends merely degrades the term. Best to act as if the term could actually mean something, even if that means that I am alone. Better a lone wolf than a collaborator." - p 53
I like that as a personal statement. I don't really like the weaponizing of anything, I think the world is, to use a deliberately cliché word choice, already bristling too much w/ weapons for my preference. Are humans that paranoid & so in need of means of aggression? It seems so. Bucks grow antlers, these are used in battles for dominance. Bucks don't mount hundreds of them on the fronts of bulldozers & plow down everything in their path using some ideological conflict or another to justify the destruction.
Writing is important to me. It's thru reading Jason's writing that I've grown to respect him. I've had thousands of friends but I feel like I currently probably have less than 5. As long as you don't shake the tree, the fruits of motion don't fall on other people's heads - but if you're a natural-born tree-shaker, like I am, there're bound to be splatters everywhere & agitated people that go along w/ them. I sometimes think of myself as a subculture of one. I'd like to have more friends but we'd have to agree to disagree since it's rare for anyone to agree w/ me anymore. Most people I know absolutely CANNOT agree to disagree, they MUST feel the security of belonging to a subculture of many & find subcultures of one very threatening no matter how pleasant we might be otherwise.
"I'm most concerned with the structure of everyday life, the repression faced on a day to day basis. The confrontation with control that occurs in everyday navigation of the worlds of work and consumption. It really doesn't matter who is president, or even the police. It matters that there are presidents and police." - p 55
&, once again, I find myself agreeing. I find even anarchists acting like whoever's president is ultimately going to make a difference for better or for worse - but when I point out that Obama was the 1st president to use emergency authorization w/ a health crisis as an excuse & that Rump was the 2nd, following in Obama's footsteps, it's as if people don't get the point I'm making. & when I point out that Rump bombed the shit out of Syria & that Bidentity Crisis did the same thing they STILL don't seem to get the point - viz that the president is a tool for hidden interests & that it's the position of the presidency that's the problem & not the individual president himself (& someday it'll be a "herself" & it'll STILL be the same problem).
"There was a whole network of individuals creating their own confrontational culture, through zines, tapes, flyers, micro-broadcasting/pirate radio, etc. These creations have migrated on to the internet. Persistent rumors circulate that print is dead, internet radio is easier, you can reach a wider audience, and you can use technology for whatever means you'd like. All the while these ideas play right into the hands of the power elite. Clear Channel justifies its monopoly of the airwaves by stating that anyone can broadcast online. Print publications go out of business and are consolidated. Again, monopolistic corporations claim this is okay, it is not a real monopoly because anyone can publish online.
"Internet publishing is facing the same issues. The avenues available on the internet become more limited, more centralized. YouTube controls distribution of amateur video, constraining it to fit their will, and reaping massive profits off the works of all these prosumers. Facebook has the largest archive of personal information, even more than the NSA. This information is their product." - p 60
The obvious thing that I seem to point out over & over again is that the less one has the means of production & distribution physically in one's own hands the more that production & distribution ends up controlled by people w/ different agendas than yr own. I've read & reviewed Jaron Lanier's Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now" ( http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/CriticLanier.html ) wch delves intelligently into how social media uses those 'socializing'. So here's a brief quote from Lanier:
"Now everyone who is on social media is getting individualized, continuously adjusted stimuli, without a break, so long as they use their smartphones. What might once have been called advertising must now be understood as continuous behavior modification on a titanic scale." - p 6
So some of us continue to try to communicate independent of electronically mediated means. However, I, at least, find that very few people who're caught up in the web of dependency on smart-phones & 'news'feeds are even capable of being aware of their physical environment w/o projecting propaganda stereotypes on their immediate surroundings.
Now, I, too, have a so-called 'smart phone' & I use YouTube, etc, & I try to get the most out of them while giving up as little as a I can of my 'soul'. That doesn't mean I'm successful, it's just my way of living in the present tens(ion). E.G.: When I write a bk review for Goodreads I'm potentially exploited by Amazon for sales of the bks if they're available thru them. Hence, in my reviews I try to direct the attn of the reader in directions away from Amazon's business interests & more in the direction of MY interests &, I hope, the READER's interests. Even tho I'm, as far as I know, the world's most prolific moviemaker it's almost impossible for me to even get any curator to answer an email from me anymore. I'm a deviant, a critic of the Medical Industry, ergo I'm blackballed. Hence I use YouTube. I also use the Internet Archive. There're probably people in the YouTube employees who're rooting for me or I'd have even more trouble than I do already. People are organic, things like algorithms aren't. I'm counting on the organic to assert itself in its own best interests, algorithms & what I call AU (Artificial Unintelligence) are NOT working for the organic, they're working to mechanize all human behavior, make it more predictable, more easily controlled by things NOT in their best interest.
Alas, just today I've had further proof of how hopeless YouTube is. My movie entitled "Maintaining a Normal Social Life with Zombies" has been removed from YouTube for supposedly violating their medical misinformation rules. Fortunately, it's still on the Internet Archive here: https://archive.org/details/normal-social-life-with-zombies . I appealed this removal asking if the YouTube people are trying to make people like machines & do away w/ senses of humor. I had no hope that this appeal wd accomplish my purpose so much to my surprise the movie was almost immediately reinstated w/ this explanatory email:
"After taking another look, we can confirm that your content does not violate our Community Guidelines.
"Thanks for your patience while we reviewed this appeal. Our goal is to make sure content doesn't violate our Community Guidelines so that YouTube can be a safe place for all - and sometimes we make mistakes trying to get it right. We're sorry for any frustration our mistake caused you, and we appreciate you letting us know"
I find this ongoing wrestling match between me & YouTube's algorithms to be increasingly bizarre. I'm glad to be able to use YouTube's service but I don't share their sense of what constitutes a 'safe' community & how to go about protecting that 'safety'. I'm willing to concede that they have a very difficult & problematic responsibility but even w/o all the problems intrinsic to such an enterprise & all its surveillance & behavior modification dangers what constitutes 'misinformation' & who makes that judgement call is being grossly mishandled by shadowy vested interests.
"Fifteen years ago cell phones were a rarity, certainly no necessity. How did we live before? They are now a need." - p 101
&, sadly, I can see that 'need' in myself. Hardly anyone ever communicates w/ me thru my cell. I remember when cells were becoming common & when riding on the bus there was always at least one person having a loud conversation on one. I'd always joke that if I had a cell phone no-one wd call me on it. That's turned out to be generally true. The majority of the calls & texts I get are from scammers trying to rob me. Nonetheless, I use my cell as a camera, as a tool for finding places, & as a way for trying to spontaneously connect w/ friends - most of whom don't reply. Being a 69 yr old doesn't help w/ that. Every rare once in a while I accidentally leave my cell at home & when I discover I'm w/o it I start having fantasies of, e.g., having someone hit my car & being unable to photograph evidence that it was their fault - that sort of thing. Such paranoia isn't something I wd've had before I had the phone. Of course, this 'need' is artificially inflated: payphones are a thing of the past; cell phones are essentially required if one is to receive any services. If one's w/o a cell one gets treated as if one doesn't deserve to exist b/c such a deviance is intolerable.
"I appreciate the concept of the war of the ants (stolen from Mao), but hate Mao and such vanguardists. Thus, rather than the war of the ants, in Eris' name I declare the jihad of the marginal mosquitoes." - p 62
& I appreciate the humor of the above but I think I'd rather not associate w/ jihads or be associated w/ a blood-sucking insect. I'll stick w/ the old-fashioned Getting Odd w/ the Lunatic Fringe & continue to undermine 'reality' maintenance traps.
Jason Rodgers appreciates Renzo Novatore - imagine that carved into a tree.
"Along with his hatred of Fascism came a hatred of leftism, "Fascism is the other face of socialism" (196). He anticipated post-leftist anarchy. With socialism "one is half-free; one lives by half!" (89). Socialism as a movement slays some tyrants but then demands the sacrifice of the individual "on the altar of the people and of humanity" (154)." - p 74
& I can agree w/ that too. Nonetheless, I recommend reading the works of Mack Reynolds, an SF writer raised in socialism.
"I am not your ally. We are not comrades. Leftism is merely another authoritarian ideology. Your very attitudes preserve the hegemony of the totality. You may try to redirect blame away from yourself, saying that we need to unite to fight the "real enemy."" - p 84
It's funny, a few yrs back I was approached by a leftist to be a part of his 'vanguard'. I told him I had no desire to lead the masses or anyone else. Since then, one of the younger members of this 'vanguard' was acting as a marshall (surprise, surprise) at a political rally I attended & she sd to me scathingly 'At least you're not a fascist' as if not being willing to join their vanguard made me one step away from being a fascist. Beware of this young woman accruing power. If she were able I'm sure that she'd crush non-conformists.
"This is not an argument that computers are evil. Morality does not play a part in this critique of technology. My primary point is that technology is not neutral and that the notion of neutrality obscures and mystifies its influence. This is an influence that I find particularly negative in regards to freedom and autonomy." - p 104
"A certain mythology has built up around technology, a mythology which serves an ideologcal purpose. Critics of technology are portrayed as being conservative, even as high technology has often been the underpinning of totalitarian regimes." - p 105
Parking meters that ask for yr license plate # are surveillance tools. Did we really need to have the old style parking meters that one cd put coins into, that didn't ask for yr license plate #, replaced? Now, at least around where I live, if you don't have a credit card you can't pay to park at a meter wch means that if you DO park at a meter you risk getting a ticket. W/ the old meters you might be lucky enuf to pull into a spot that still had money on the meter - so if you were poor or broke you lucked out. Now, not only do you have to have a card but you're on record as having parked there. Was that really necessary? Not that I can see - & the meters were replaced at public expense, we got to pay for being under greater surveillance. That's an example of technology being non-neutral.
"What ties a person has are constructed through media. A key point of the anonymous book Test Card F was that the problems of media are intrinsic to the technology, not due to content:
""The media is integral to the maintenance of hierarchical social control. The external models of experts have supplanted our own lived experience.["]" - p 106
Wch explains why people can believe that people are dropping dead everywhere around them when they don't actually know of a single person in their social environment who's died.
"Still the growth of immobile viewing stations continue as well. There are even televisions at gas pumps and restrooms. Television is a fractal viral entity, creating cancerous growths wherever it incubates." - p 118
There were even plans to have TVs on the buses in PGH. I was appalled. As far as I know that didn't happen. Most bars have TVs, I prefer to go to bars where there're NO TVs but those are rare. Sports bars have TVs so that no matter where you sit you see at least one. I imagine most customers prefer it that way. That's a nightmare to me.
On December 27, 1986, I went w/ some co-conspirators to a home entertainment store outside of BalTimOre City so that I cd pirate broadcast to a wall of TVs in the store. The footage broadcast was a movie of mine that included footage from the Haymerket Centennial anarchist gathering in Chicago earlier that yr. There were technical problems but we did manage to successfully broadcast for awhile. There ARE things that we can do to counterbalance the nearly omnipresent propaganda flow but it's hard work.
Another collage w/ text:
"Somehow singularity man has the same opinion as everyone else, but who knows where it comes from? Because he doesn't know its source, he assumes he came up with it all by himself." - p 120
A comment of mine on a blog post was recently censored off for stating something similar. A highly abridged version of my 1st comment, the blogger's reply, & my (never allowed to appear) reply to that is as below:
Me: The problem for me is not so much that the government is 'winning' or 'losing' but that most people have long since lost their ability to think for themselves but are simply parroting whatever propaganda comes their way that's approved by their subculture. If they're a professor at a liberal university they're no less susceptible to this process than a laborer who thinks that Rump represented the interests of the working class.
Blogger: You say "people have lost their ability to think for themselves," a cliche that implies you have that ability, but we are social beings, and none of us have that ability in any absolute sense. What would it look like, anyway, how would you know if people are thinking for themselves, or if you are?
Me: When I refer to people not thinking for themselves I'm generally thinking of people who I hear expressing themselves in sentences that I hear from multiple people. An example is this: shortly after the quarantine was initiated in PA it was pointed out that at the time there were very few deaths attributed to COVID-19 in PA but an enormous amount in New York. I heard people say: 'That's because our governor did the right thing' referring to his quarantine timing. NY's governor declared the quarantine a day or 2 later. That delay was said to've been fatal to tens of thousands of people. I didn't believe that then & I don't believe it now. The statement that PA's governor had 'done the right thing' struck me then & strikes me now as a propaganda statement that people were astroturfed into believing originated with themselves. If my claim about people not thinking for themselves were, as you claim, "a cliche" I think I'd hear it stated more often, rather than almost never, since clichés are widespread. As for "that implies you have that ability, but we are social beings, and none of us have that ability in any absolute sense". That's a fair enough criticism but I think that there are degrees of individuality that're demonstrable by what one says & how one forms one's opinions. I have never said 'The governor did the right thing', e.g.. I stopped watching TV in 1969 or 1970 - as such I cut out one of the most pervasive propaganda sources from my life. Furthermore, I'm not a reader of mass-media 'news' sources of any kind. I form my opinions based on what I directly observe in my life & based on books. Books, of course, can be called mass media sources but they're not as topical as a daily 'news' feed & in the process of reading them I take notes & write reviews so my consumption of them is critical. I review every book I read.
"Dissident computer programmer Ellen Ullman provided an early critique of the ideology and practice of cyberculture and Silican Valley. "I'd like to think that computers are neutral," she stated, "a tool like any other, a hammer that can build a house or smash a skull. But there is something in the system itself, in the formal logic of programs and data, that recreates the world in its own image" (Ullman 89). Computers certainly allow a variety of tasks to be accomplished, but these tasks are done in a specific way, one involving discrete data, procedural logic, and instrumental rationality. Other ways are excluded.
"Technology changes the people and communities that use it, in subtle but total ways. Technology is socially constructed, reproducing the idiology of the totality." - p 121
I often use the term "AU" (Artificial Unintelligence) (see my movie on YouTube before it gets removed: https://youtu.be/Iw-rTflW-EQ ). My claim is that in tandem w/ AI becoming more human, humans are becoming more artificial - esp by incorporating algorithm-like decision making that's inflexible & dogmatic. Algorithms that are created for online data-scanning purposes tend to be unable to make fine-tuned distinctions. As such, when an algorithm finds a distinguishable passage in a YouTube movie of a certain length it can wrongly reach the conclusion that it's a particular song that's copyrighted. Since humans aren't going to double-check these multitudinous blunders, the algorithm rules the roost unless an intervention occurs, wch it may not. Hence the human behavior becomes algorithm-like: laziness results in a fallback position incapable of fine-tuning or actual perspicacity.
"["]Second Life may be only a game, but its central conceit- that we can separate ourselves from our bodies and exist as avatars in a digitized landscape- is more than an amusement. It's a metaphor for our future" (Carr 123)" - p 128
& my friend who introduced me to Second Life has been one of the people most pompously condescending in his reaction to my recent criticisms of what I consider to be mind control in our society.
The chapter entitled "Transgression or Affirmation?" begins w/ a quote:
""Industrial music first flirted with fascism as an attempt to shock. And to disarm signifiers by borrowing knee-jerk paraphernalia from all sectors (like brown shirts of the Nazis along with flesh-elongating earrings from Africa), and mashing them together in their apparel and music and album cover art and stage show.... The problem is, the right wing just looks so good with their crisp uniforms and threatening symbols, and the left, with their yielding symbols and disorganized apparel, have never even come close to competing, aesthetically"
"-Lisa Crystal Carver (80)" - p 178
To me, that's the kind of statement that presents itself as so 'factual' that readers are inclined to take it as 'truth'. I, however, find it completely problematic. Wch industrial music bands, exactly, is she referring to? Can she give any specific instances? Who is it, exactly, that finds the right wing look to be "so good"? Her statement essentially states what appears to be a 'truism' but I see nothing 'true' about it as a generalization at all. Those "crisp uniforms and threatening symbols" will inevitably appeal to some, aesthetically or otherwise, but I don't think that EVERYONE reacts that way.
I met Lisa in Paris. We had both been connected to a group called "Psycodrama" [deliberate misspelling]. I was supposed to be met at the bus stn in Paris by a friend of mine who didn't show & I didn't have enuf money to do anything other than turn around & head back to London where I'd come from. Then an industrial music DJ from the south of France saw me & started talking w/ me & he called Lisa & her boyfriend Costes to ask them if I cd stay w/ them. Lisa & I had never met but she had my name on a list so they helped me out. We made a movie together: https://youtu.be/2mAbcfmEEIs . I got together w/ my irresponsible friend the next day. Lisa & I stayed in touch & I remember her telling me in a letter that she hated music.
Anyway, performers use uniforms in various ways, often satirical. This neoist appearance on a CacaNadian TV show in 1984 is a good example of the use of uniforms to subvert militarism: https://youtu.be/H8FEfop8wYA .
"Performance art often makes this use of taboo explicit. This was the basis of one early, influential performance art movement: the Wiener Aktionismus group." [I removed what appeared to be an extraneous "in" here] "The group was founded in 1965 by Hermann Nitsch, as an offshoot of his Dionysian OM Theater. These performers created spectacles composed of copious amounts of blood and gore (much like many horror films). Taboos were regularly violated during the public performances. The performers masturbated in raw meat, sodomized each other, and ate shit. The goal of the performance was to shock the audience. The Aktionists, however, were very explicit in that they were attempting to shock the audience into examining their own taboos. This was intended as a ritualistic ordeal to change and shift conditioned thought." - p 179
Whenever I read descriptions of Vienna Actionism I hesitate to accept the accuracy of them. That isn't to say that I think Jason's description is inaccurate, it's just to say that sometimes the descriptions seem too pat. I've seen many films by Kurt Kren, Otto Muehl, Valie EXPORT (& even Dusan Makavejev's "Sweet Movie" factors in), & read about Nitsch, Schwarzkogler, & Brus, etc.. As such, I'm probably more knowledgable about the subject than most. Still, they've been so sensationally written about that I hesitate to accept descriptions. It was a common myth, e.g., that Schwarzkogler died from cutting off his penis. He didn't cut off his penis, he committed sucide by walking out a window. SO, did they "eat shit"? Maybe - but I've only seen a photo of Muehl, I think it might've been, with a turd on his shaved head, not of shit eating. Was the goal of their performances "to shock the audience"? Perhaps, but shock is often a fallback concept for art writers & reporters - there might be more subtle things at play. I find "ritualistic ordeal to change and shift conditioned thought" easier to accept as accurate.
"Just like garbagology (the technique of gathering information on a person by ransacking their garbage cans)" - p 180
Here's where I get nitpicky in a way that leads to many people hating my guts: What's referred to above is "garbology" & the main bk on the subject by the founder of garbology is A. J. Weberman's "My Life in Garbology" (Stonehill Publishing Company, 1980). The publisher, by the by, Jeffrey Steinberg, died under suspicious circumstances on May 23, 1981.
"Maybe sometimes deconditioning can find itself in service of conditioning and socialization. Think of the encounter group of programs like EST. The individual is taken away for a period of time, maybe a weekend, and has their belief system broken down. When they return from this encounter group, what happens? Sometimes they take on society's conditioning all that much more. That's why corporations send their employees there. After Jerry Rubin attended an EST training, he dropped revolution and took up business." - p 181
Ha ha! Yeah, I completely distrust EST. But, then, I completely distrust anyone who gets pd to abuse you - wch wd include dominatrixes - &, yet, I think I've know 3 or more of those so far & my personal non-masochistic dealings w/ them were very friendly. As for Rubin?:
"The term gained currency in the United States in 1983 when syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene published a story about a business networking group founded in 1982 by the former radical leader Jerry Rubin, formerly of the Youth International Party (whose members were called "yippies"); Greene said he had heard people at the networking group (which met at Studio 54 to soft classical music) joke that Rubin had "gone from being a yippie to being a yuppie". The headline of Greene's story was "From Yippie to Yuppie"." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuppie
I honestly think that if I'd ever attended an EST training I wd've beaten up the person conducting it. Still, that sd, Luke Rhinehart, author of the novels "The Dice Man" (1971) & "Adventures of Wim" (1986) also wrote "The Book of est" (1976) w a foreword by est's founder Werner Erhard - & not having read it I have to wonder about it. SO, I pulled my copy of it off my shelves & started to glimpse thru it. One of the 1st things that caught my eye was this in "Acknowledgments":
"I'd like to thank Morty Lefkoe and Ted Long for assisting me in making this book as accurate as possible. Their patient and often extensive discussions with me regarding the est data and processes used in this book with est's permission have helped me greatly in my effort to capture the spirit of an est training. I was especially impressed that not once did they suggest any changes because of something that might make est look bad; their major concern, rather was that The Book of est be accurate." - p v, "The Book of est"
Stimulated by that I decided to look for other things to quote from in the bk. This led to Rhinehart's introductory opening paragraph:
"est, the Erhard Seminars Training, is currently the fastest-growing and most important, original, and controversial 'enlightenment" program in the United States. The est Standard Training consists of two long weekend sessions lasting over sixty hours, during which 250 people are shouted at, ordered around, insulted, lectured, and introduced to various "processes"" - p xi, "The Book of est"
That seems to me more like something rewarding to the sadists who ran the "trainings" rather than to the masochists who pd alotof money to submit to it. The Vienna Actionists were chased out of Austria under threat of arrest for doing things like locking their audience in & forcing them to undergo their performances. In the US, est was big business.
"A playful diabolic use of evil can be liberating. Church of Satan is the opposite of this, seemingly being a rather authoritarian structure." - p 182
Oddly enuf, in the 1970s LaVey's "Satanic Bible" was everywhere in chain bkstores. I bought a copy while I was still living at my Christinane mom's house but never read the whole thing. I've never had any more desire to be a member of the Church of Satan than I want to be a member of any other church. I don't believe in god & I don't believe in satan. Whether satanists believe in satan I don't know. I do have one friend who's a minister (or some such) in the Church of Satan & I think he joined b/c it was something you cd do very cheaply w/o any commitment to any ideology whatsoever by just sending in a few dollars for a minister's ID. I've heard a radio show w/ some satanists talking affably w/ a christinane televangelist - telling him that they liked him b/c he seemed like a satanist just like them b/c of the way he robbed his followers. I found that amusing. LaVey's dead now, I've no idea what the Church of Satan is like w/o him.
"Where are the dreamers? Why do we continue living on a prison planet? Why is each of us alone against the universe?" - p 186
My answer is that these days the most diabolical attack on human intelligence since the Inquisition is in full steam: The Medical Industry Police State. While I think Rodgers' bk is generally excellent, his non-addressal of our current intense subjugation to what I perceive as imaginary dangers diabolically designed to produce maximum docility is a substantial defect in "Invisible Generation". Nonetheless, I highly recommend reading it.
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