COLLAPSE: The DEATH of “RELIGION” in AMERICA has been POSTPONED…

I’ve been watching the reaction to a Trump Victory with my mouth agape, not because of the epoch-smashing nature of his win, nor the eminently predictable backlash to it, but because of the PROFOUNDLY RELIGIOUS NATURE OF THE REACTION, and of course the ULTIMATE IRONY that this RELIGIOUS OUTPOURING is coming from the most SECULARIZED (LAUGH, COUGH!) BEACHHEAD of AMERICAN SOCIETY…

If one watches the footage of the RIOTERS (take your pick) who remind ME — at the very least — of the GARMENT RENDING GOTTERDAMMERUNG that accompanied the death of AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI, or to stretch even further back, STALIN, one has to come to the conclusion that something more PROFOUND than DIPLOMATIC DEFEAT has occurred.

And for even further PROOF, scan this piece about the fear of A SUICIDE CONTAGION due to the impending TRUMP PRESIDENCY (https://thinkprogress.org/suicide-contagion-election-e8f2bc2c09c6).

There’s a TECHNICAL TERM for this apparently impending EPIDEMIC: The WERTHER SYNDROME and it comes from GOETHE’S FIRST MASTERPIECE, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, an EARLY EXAMPLE of GERMAN ROMANTICISM that dealt in YOUNG SPURNED COURTLY LOVE that culminated in the SELF-EXTERMINATION of its SNOWFLAKE in the 18TH CENTURY PROTAGONIST. And here’s a link because GOETHE’S first masterpiece isn’t exactly in the COLLEGIATE CANON THESE DAYS, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sorrows_of_Young_Werther), although it obviously should be reintroduced.

PUBLIC MOURNING and SUICIDE are NOT the reactions of A SOCIETY inoculated against the RELIGIOUS IMPULSE. These are the REACTIONS of A SOCIETY in thrall to a REDISCOVERY of RELIGIOUS MASOCHISM, one day short of FLAGELLATION and STIGMATA.

And this is also FURTHER PROOF of what many of the POLITICALLY AGNOSTIC have been saying since 2008, that with BARACK OBAMA, the SECULAR CHURCH OF LIBERALISM, finally found its PATRON SAINT that allowed its VALUES to move from ABSTRACTION into EMBODIMENT.

And the REJECTION of their “GOD” by 30 (at counting) STATES has FORCED A DAY OF RECKONING. The results of a DEMOCRATIC ELECTION, wherein the WINNER is CONSTRAINED from day one by TWO ADDITIONAL and DISTINCT BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, should not INCUBATE FEAR that leads to WRIST-SLASHING and spilling into STREETS in a RELIGIOUS COUNTER-REVOLUTION to bind THE TRUE REMAINING FOLLOWERS together into a COLLECTIVE BOUT OF GROUP HUGS with a side-dish of SOLIDARITY through BURNING CARS.

This is nothing less than the PRIMAL CRY that accompanies the DEATH OF A RELIGIOUS DEITY and the REJECTION of HIS (its) HOLY WRIT and TEXTS (in this case LOTS AND LOTS OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS).

AMERICA — as I’ve been stating for the PAST TWO YEARS — is GOING TO GET A LOT MORE RELIGIOUS than it ever PLANNED (even if its is in the GUISE OF “SECULARISM” or “SPIRITUALISM”), and what’s ironic is that AN AVOWEDLY UN-CHRISTIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT has caused THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS…

MICHAEL BAY’S “13 HOURS” is the most RADICAL FILM IN YEARS, but not in THE WAY YOU EXPECT. HINT: It’s NARRATIVE not POLITICAL…

I could commit 2,000 words to the unique generic fusion of “13 Hours”, on how it drags the Urban Western into a post 9/11 age by utilizing the brick-and-mortar of John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” with a third-act sprinkling of the ticking-clock “waiting for the morning light”straight out of monster movies.

I could spend another 2,000 words on all the failures in the film: the unjustified length, the meandering of the first 45-minutes, the rank sentimentalism, and utter lack of character differentiation.

But what we have here is something BIGGER. This is a film that COLLAPSES an entire NARRATIVE PARADIGM.

 

It EXPLICITLY BLAMES THE AMERICAN SECURITY APPARATUS for the death of AMBASSADOR STEVENS and several SECURITY CONTRACTORS (not just HILLARY CLINTON and her “VIDEO”, which barely gets a mention, in an act that seems equal parts brazen contempt, and Hillary being small game considering what this film is after). However, the film goes one step further: Only the STRIPPED DOWN PRIVATIZED MILITARY represented by OUR CONTRACTOR PROTAGONISTS kept the DEATH TOLL that low!

But that’s not the RADICAL PART:

The MILITARY APPARATUS is UNABLE TO SCARE UP A SINGLE PLANE to do a FLY-OVER and BUZZ THE ENEMY. The C.I.A. is portrayed as a bunch of FECKLESS, EFFETE, BLUE-BLOODS looking to log their hours in BENGHAZI and GET PROMOTED.

And now I’m sure you’re thinking DADDY COLLAPSE, why is this the MOST RADICAL STATEMENT IN MAYBE A DECADE. Let me tell you:

IT CRATERS THE ENTIRE NARRATIVE IDEOLOGY THAT HAS GOVERNED MAINSTREAM POLITICAL THRILLERS SINCE 2001 (which were really REHASHED from the 70’S)…

…In a TYPICAL POLITICAL THRILLER STRUCTURE (be they of the THRILLER VARIETY or its cousin the ESPIONAGE ACTION EXTRAVAGANZA), the C.I.A. is presented as a ROGUE AGENCY that can DISPATCH LETHAL ASSASSINS and TOPPLE A GOVERNMENT with a WELL-PLACED PHONE CALL. The same C.I.A. has an IRON-BOOT to the THORAT of both the EXECUTIVE and LEGISLATIVE CLASS, and frequently THE VAUNTED MILITARY (either the SUPERSTRUCTURE or a LONE HERO) is the ONLY THING THAT CAN SAVE US FROM THE C.I.A.’s tyranny.

“13 HOURS” reduces the C.I.A. to a PUNCHLINE that shows more interest in COCKTAIL PARTIES and PROMOTIONS than actual INTELLIGENCE GATHERING. And THE GENERAL CLASS comes off about as well. But “13 HOURS” goes further, by pointing out that both of these GOVERNMENT ENTITIES are in possession of unfathomable technological resources that they seem either unable to LOCATE or lack the CLEARANCE to UNLEASH. That falls to the…

…POLITICAL CLASS who are either M.I.A. of NON-COMMITAL throughout the ENTIRE ORDEAL of the BENGHAZI SIEGE.

The radicalism of this presentation — if not already apparent — is shocking.

It posits a C.I.A. and MILITARY that are LIKELY TO GET YOU KILLED, but via INCOMPETENCE, SPINELESSNESS, and LEADEN BUREAUCRACY. Our protagonists, our HERO CONTRACTORS, are able to hold off HUNDREDS OF RADICAL MARAUDERS, but they can’t EVEN FIND SOMEONE IN CHARGE BACK AT HOME.

This is quite an epochal change from the world of BOURNE, the world of LeCARRE, the world of CLANCY. Our OWN OSSIFIED GOVERNMENT, which in “13 HOURS” resembles the HEYDAY OF SCLEROTIC SOVIETISM, is deadlier than RADICAL ISLAM…

…Which is ironically something LeCARRE has been saying FOR OVER A DECADE, but he doesn’t get its not MENDACITY, it’s INCOMPETENCE.

And I think the AUDIENCE ALREADY UNCONSCIOUSLY KNEW ALL THIS, which is why “13 HOURS” didn’t actually NEED TO BE SEEN (and also why the return of JASON BOURNE was treated like an EXTINCTION FLARE).

And speaking of GENRE: We may have left the TRADITIONAL POLITICAL THRILLER STRUCTURE; however, “13 HOURS” dragged another 70’S GENRE back in from the cold:

THE URBAN VIGILANTE FILM. “The French Connection”, “Death Wish”, “Dirty Harry”, in which LONE GUNMEN or GUNMAN (sometimes part of the BUREAUCRACY, sometimes FIGHTING IT) take the STREETS BACK for the INNOCENT from the GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURES (either LOCAL, STATE, or FEDERAL) that abandoned them into a hell of social darwinism.

“13 HOURS” hits you with the new truth:

Many still believe our GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO KILL US. We just NOW believe it’s THE ACCIDENTAL BYPRODUCT OF BUREAUCRATIC SLOTH, and NOT A GRAND PLAN.

 

The PARADIGM MUTATION between ART AND POLITICS (or the FINAL KISS OFF to POSTMODERNISM)…

After a weekend spent watching an unhealthy amount of TELEVISION and reading an equally unhealthy amount of REVIEWS FOR “SUICIDE SQUAD”, I’ve come to a TENTATIVE CONCLUSION as to why ARTISTIC CRITICISM as a form of AESTHETIC INTERPRETATION HAS FLATLINED, and POLITICS appears to have become IMMUNE TO CRITICISM…

…ARTISTIC CRITICISM now operates SOLELY WITHIN IDEOLOGICAL BOUNDARIES, and POLITICS has ABANDONED ALL IDEOLOGY except PUTTING ON A SHOW.

When one reads ARTISTIC CRITICISM these days, the AESTHETIC GAUNTLET (visual, narrative, dramatic) thrown down by the WORK is hardly ever mentioned.

Now this may also be a byproduct of THE UTTER ABDICATION OF AESTHETICS ITSELF BY ART (and here I’m speaking primarily of FILM AND TELEVISION). FILMS TODAY — outside of a few outlier examples — seem barely able to FUNCTION ON A VISUAL LEVEL, and the scanty few able to EXHIBIT VISUAL FLUENCY, are generally UNDERCUT BY DWINDLING BUDGETS. TELEVISION, the last refuge of anyone looking for DRAMA, is similarly HAMPERED BY BUDGETS, and the undergirding philosophy that TELEVISION is a WRITER’S MEDIUM and can therefore shirk off basic VISUAL STANDARDS and GRAMMAR (only the first season of “TRUE DETECTIVE” can challenge this view). But back to before I digressed…

…ART IS A SENSUAL MEDIUM, a BARRAGE OF SOUNDS AND COLORS, a NARRATIVE CONTAINER par excellence; however, THE ONLY THING DISCUSSED IN CRITICISM now is IDEOLOGY. Genuinely, I never thought I would live long enough (especially with my daily ingestion of AMERICAN SPIRIT LIGHTS) to see reviewers comparing MICHAEL BAY or ZACK SNYDER TO AYN RAND, and barely engaging with THE ACTUAL CONTENT OF THEIR FILMS (now one could be pretentious and claim there is NO CONTENT in a SNYDER OR BAY FILM, and they would be INCORRECT, because these two are VISUAL STYLISTS PAR EXCELLENCE, which, at one point, was a PREREQUISITE to being a FILM DIRECTOR). We don’t review ART anymore, we review how well ART CONFORMS TO “OUR IDEOLOGY” (NOTE: Our “IDEOLOGY” itself is a LOADED TERM, and one that requires more SPACE than is digestible for the POINT OF THE ESSAY, but as a SHORT-CUT, figure the espoused “IDEOLOGY” is something our ESTEEMED CRITIC learned in THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE).

This SEISMIC SHIFT has allowed POLITICS to ABANDON IDEOLOGY AT A BREAKNECK SPEED and to focus solely on AESTHETICS, while ENTERTAINMENT TAKES OVER the FORMER ROLE OF POLITICS, and abandons it’s sole RAISON D’ETRE.

This is a FASCINATING MUTATION from the ROLE OF POSTMODERN ART in NEOLIBERALISM. In NEOLIBERALISM, ART was to HELP ONE FORGET that THEY HAD NO VOICE IN POLITICS, or to allow for an UNCONSCIOUS ERUPTION under the film’s surface of UTTER HOPELESSNESS at this fact.

However, in POST-CAPITALISM, ART IS NOW YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF POLITICS…

DONALD TRUMP and HILLARY CLINTON are not IDEOLOGICAL POLITICIANS, they are AESTHETIC VEHICLES. They are SIMULATIONS come to CREAKING LIFE, SIGNIFYING NOTHING, belching NOISE that is SUPPOSED “SPEECH”.

And since they are BEREFT OF IDEOLOGICAL CONTENT (and for those tempted to claim TRUMP is IDEOLOGICAL, I truly DARE YOU TO FIND HIS CONSISTENT IDEOLOGY, he’s more like a DAILY BUFFET of ANARCHY) we are FREE TO COMMENTATE ON THEM as if they were ART MOLDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT. This is how it’s ENTIRELY POSSIBLE to FUNDAMENTALLY DISAGREE with every single thing TRUMP or CLINTON UTTER, yet still support them wholeheartedly AS CANDIDATES. And simultaneously, why it’s IMPOSSIBLE to have NOTHING TO SAY about the “GHOSTBUSTERS” REBOOT. And also to SUPPORT MY PET THEORY, that there’s a REASON we have NOT PRODUCED A SINGLE MOVIE STAR since BARACK OBAMA was ELECTED. HE IS OUR MOVIE STAR, rendering any and all COMERS NULL AND VOID UPON DELIVERY.

When I listen to PUNDITS DEBATING HILLARY AND TRUMP, it sounds to me like SISKEL & EBERT back in the EARLY 90’s debating SCHWARZENENGGER versus STALLONE. And when I read FILM CRITICISM (and occasionally TELEVISION), I feel as if I’m reading a NOAM CHOMSKY screed eviscerating REAGAN’S UNLAWFUL INCURSIONS INTO CENTRAL AMERICA.

DONALD TRUMP and HILLARY CLINTON are the MOVIE STARS OF AN IDEOLOGICALLY ABANDONED POLITICS. The MOVIE MEANS NOTHING, it’s just THAT THEY SHOWED UP. Like TOM CRUISE in his heyday appearing in “COCKTAIL”.

We once ELECTED AN ACTUAL MOVIE STAR, now we simply SERVE UP CANDIDATES TO perform THE SAME FUNCTION MOVIE STARS ONCE DID…

…Get THE PEOPLE TO APPEAR for AN UNVEILING NO ONE HAS ANY INTEREST IN, based upon the SHEER FORCE OF THEIR PERSONALITY. This is the ALCHEMY between TRUMP AND POLITICS.

WE HAVE NO MOVIE STARS in ACTUAL FILMS anymore because THE PHYSICAL VESSEL OF IDEOLOGY IS IMMATERIAL. IDEOLOGY ITSELF will CARRY YOU THROUGH. Bodies are just bodies NOW. However, the MOVIE STAR “FUNCTION” is CRUCIAL in POLITICS because IT’S BEEN FULLY AESTHETICIZED in a way ART ISN’T ANYMORE (and may NEVER HAVE BEEN)…

…All the IDEOLOGY has MOVED TO ART, and I’d argue both POLITICS AND ART have SUFFERED IMMENSELY FOR IT.

 

SO MANY NARRATIVES COLLAPSE IN THIS VIDEO…

I can’t promise this posting is a full-fledged return to blogging the contours of the collapse; however, this video had so many violations to the standard college campus social-justice narrative (including an overzealous use of the RAPE WHISTLE), that I just HAD to share it:

In aforementioned clip, Breitbart news’s Milo Yiannopoulos, an outspoken gay conservative is shaken down by “Black Lives Matter”. Then eleven minutes in, “Black Lives Matter” is verbally excoriated by an African-American student.

Accelerationism Without Accelerationism

SHAVIRO ON ACCELERATIONISM. He feels it aesthetically, not as much philosophically.

The Disorder Of Things

The second post in our forum on Nick and Alex Williams’ Inventing the Future, from Steven Shaviro. Steven is the DeRoy Professor of English at Wayne State University. He blogs at The Pinocchio Theory.


The term accelerationism was coined by Benjamin Noys in 2010, in order to designate a political position that he rejected. In Noys’ account, accelerationism is the idea that things have to get worse before they can get better. The only way out of capitalism is the way through. The more abstract, violent, inhuman, contradictory, and destructive capitalism becomes, the closer it gets to tearing itself apart. Such a vision derives, ultimately, from the famous account of capitalism’s inherent dynamism in the Communist Manifesto. For Marx and Engels, capitalism is characterized by “constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation… All that is solid melts into air, all…

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The Trauma of New Materialism, Speculative Realism, and Object-Oriented Ontology

EXCITED to READ MORE. Fascinating topic and one I’m personally obsessed with…

Larval Subjects .

earth_crackedI haven’t been writing much here and hope to rectify that from here on out.  I suppose that I’ve found it difficult to write in this medium for a variety of reasons in the last couple of years.  Tonight I find myself reflecting on all of the controversies that new materialism, speculative realism, and object-oriented ontology have generated in the last few years.  In recent years I’ve heard these vectors of thought criticized for supporting neoliberal capitalism to hating humans to asserting the dominance of things over humans.  I’ve always found such criticisms surprising, wondering where it is from which they might come.  What is it about these trajectories of thought that elicit so many passions.  Is there something new here?  I’m not so sure.  This evening I came across the following passage in Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge that speaks to something similar, albeit in a different context.

The cry…

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HOW NETFLIX IS THE CENTAL METAPHOR FOR THE CRISIS OF MEDIA’S FUTURE: TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION MARRIED TO NECROTIC CONTENT…

Morning Collapsers:

So it may appear that your intrepid morphologist has some kind of personal vendetta against NETFLIX — as if Reid Hastings personally poured sugar into Daddy Collapse’s gas tank — however, in today’s screed, I’m using NETFLIX both as controlling metaphor and symptom of a LARGER ISSUE that threatens to DEVOUR ALL MEDIA. But make no mistake, I do believe NETFLIX is SATAN, and a perfect representative of —

The YAWNING PARADOX at the heart of MEDIA in today’s age, which in short order, is:

The apex of CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY married to the most RETROGRADE, NOSTALGIA-BAITING CONTENT.

For every step forward we take in DISTRIBUTION TECHNIQUES and PRODUCTION, the CONTENT side beats two hasty steps back or stays in a defiant mode of UTTER STASIS. And it’s an EPIDEMIC sweeping across all MEDIA SECTORS, just take a gander at FILM or PUBLISHING.

Hell, let’s stay with PUBLISHING for a SECOND:

AUDIENCES of this SCALE have never EXISTED BEFORE IN DIGITAL MEDIA, and what are they being served: ADS so atrocious you’re willing to PAY TOP DOLLAR TO AVOID THEM existing side-by-side with FACTORY FARM PRODUCT guaranteed to send warm NOSTALGIA TINGLES up your leg (courtesy to Chris Matthews).

And how do BOOKS LOOK?

Well they increasingly resemble a NECROPOLIS, wherein TOP ELECTRONICALLY ENHANCED DISTRIBUTION HYPE is solely expended to the cocktail napkin scribbles of DEAD OR INVALID AUTHORS (Harper Lee, Stieg Larsson, Dr. Seuss) who remind us of OUR CHILDHOOD or when BOOKS WERE JUST BETTER.

But back to NETFLIX and the HEART OF THE METAPHOR…

MEGA-MUTATIONS to LINEAR TELEVISION are imminent. The BUNDLES are being put on a CORD-CUTTING FRIENDLY DIET. MASSIVE DIGITAL ARCHIVES OF CONTENT are just waiting to be BINGE STREAMED at DIRT CHEAP prices VIA ON DEMAND SERVICES. STREAMING (exemplified not only by NETFLIX, but also AMAZON and HULU) is so BIG that it’s going into the CONTENT BUSINESS ITSELF, both to cash in, and to save money on exorbinant LICENSING FEES.

And guess what?

With all this freedom and potential cash at their fingertips — enabled by TECHNOLOGY — STREAMING is coming up with the absolute DREGS of CONTENT (ALMOST EXACTLY like what DIGITAL has done to the ADVERTISING BUSINESS), and forcing the producers of ACTUAL QUALITY TELEVISION into a role as gutless servers of SECOND-ORDER NOSTALGIA. Allow me to elaborate…

DVR, ON-DEMAND, and DVD took a shark-bite out of the appetite for ACTUAL LIVE TV VIEWING (save SPORTS or AWARDS SHOWS); however, NETFLIX delivered the final blow, by inaugurating and hyping THE BINGE.

I don’t think NETFLIX introduced THE BINGE, nor do I think they intended to scramble our brains Riddler-style with it; they merely needed to STAY ALIVE and radically differentiate themselves from LINEAR TV (ironically because LINEAR TV forced them into a defensive crouch by pulling reams of their CONTENT, and charging upwards of $3 BILLION in LICENSING FEES). And the ramifications have been enormous.

BINGE VIEWERS are a fickle, persnickety, and most of all, DEPRESSED bunch, just check these STATS.

And what makes DEPRESSED PEOPLE feel better?

THE KNOWN. NOSTALGIA (FULLER HOUSE, WET-HOT AMERICAN SUMMER). Ersatz emotion and a retreat to infantile tendencies (DAREDEVIL, LEMONY SNICKET).

You can’t be risky with these folks, they’ll STOP WATCHING.

And NETFLIX can’t have people STOP WATCHING. It isn’t SUPPORTED BY ADS, and doesn’t have A CORPORATE SPONSOR or CABLE COMPANY to help them hedge RISK. Occasionally, NETFLIX may pick up a DECENT SHOW (Orange Is The New Black, Bloodline, or House of Cards); however, it’s usually BECAUSE A NETWORK PASSED ON IT, and NETFLIX swooped in with CASH. But let me be even more EXPLICIT:

NETFLIX isn’t DEVELOPING QUALITY PRODUCT. The SUPERIOR SHOW has usually been DEVELOPED by a TV NETWORK that can afford the expensive DEVELOPMENT process, and then chose TO PASS.

Now you may choose to counter and say:

Well even though STREAMING isn’t producing the same quality as LINEAR TV, I’ll just watch my GOOD LINEAR TV when it comes to STREAMING.

Ahhhh, but you won’t. Because it WON’T EXIST…

Since the AD MARKET has fallen out of LIVE TELEVISION (save for SPORTS), and CORD-CUTTING is rampant, TV NETWORKS are becoming RISK AVERSE (and I can’t exactly blame them), because they’re relying on recouping their diminishing manna by DIGITAL LICENSING RIGHTS. And what’s going to make you the most cash? Shows that are BINGABLE. And BINGABLE SHOWS need to be either NOSTALGIC or NARRATIVELY STRUCTURED to ensure the BINGERS don’t BAIL.

And as I’ve said before, what types of NARRATIVES LEND THEMSELVES TO BINGE: ANTHOLOGY and SERIALS.

Or REBOOTS. Because BINGERS are always LIKELY to give NOSTALGIA A SHOT. They may not STICK WITH IT — in fact, STATISTICALLY REBOOTS aren’t more successful — but they’re at least more likely to give it a college try.

THIS IS THE HOLLYWOOD MODEL, by the way.

So in short order —

You can say au revoir to your MAD MEN, your BREAKING BAD, your SOPRANOS, your beloved WIRE.

But Master Collapse, you’ll say:

Didn’t NETFLIX and BINGE save MAD MEN and BREAKING BAD. In a certain sense, SURE.

But on the other hand, they’re not likely to be produced again, because they’re not BINGE-PROOF. They were created PRE-BINGE. Also, due to CORD-CUTTING, AMC may never be able to take RISKS like those shows again, because it won’t be protected by a BIG CABLE BUNDLE to defray costs if an experiment goes AWRY.

It’s just like FILM.

FILMS aren’t CREATED for the ONE-TIME VIEWING EXPERIENCE anymore. They are engineered from the ground-up to serve ancillary markets for the CORPORATION, and keep on granular grossing far into the future.

ENTERTAINMENT can’t focus on its job, which is to ENTERTAIN. The entire programatic slate has to EXIST PURELY FOR THE FUTURE (DIGITAL, UNBUNDLED, groping after FOREIGN RIGHTS).

And that’s the GREAT IRONY:

MASSIVE TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENT to ENSURE YOU CAN KEEP BEING SERVED THE PAST in an increasingly RETROGRADE FASHION…