You probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging for a while. I got kinda bored with this blog so I moved here. Catch me there! :) Chao!
I was a kid of the 90s; I grew up with the early days of manga globalization and post-surgery Michael Jackson. Friday had been surreal; I woke up and my father told me that Michael Jackson had just passed away. Surreal, because I somehow knew, that Jacko had been dead for a very, very long time — for as long as I can remember. Yet precisely for that reason he was also an immortal.
He was the reason I loved modern art and dances, aspired to work in music, digital painting, and video editing since I was a kid. Somehow I also felt that Baudrillard wouldn’t have made sense to me had I not known Jacko when I encountered him several years back, and had Baudrillard not made sense I would have probably gone on to learn quantum physics, my high-school passion, without glimpsing more into philosophy and cultural theory.
I remembered the day I knew of Jacko. I was five back then. My father had the “Dangerous” album, in the retro audio cassette glory, in the car. I went and looked through the album art. I was pulled in like I had never been before. Then, upon watching Remember the Time, I had fallen in love — with what? With the world of the future that Jacko inhabits. More than any other shows, even children’s shows, it told me that there is a world beyond; a world we have now, decades after Jacko, famously christened “hyperreality”. Michael Jackson introduced us all to a world of the uncanny, where we all betray the boundaries of life and turn into dancing zombies in all our technicolor glory; where every male is female and every white is black; where every consumption becomes a consumption of consumption itself; where every emotion, despair, death, and suicide becomes enjoyment; where every place is a dance floor, every person is a work of art, whose bodies can be modified, constantly transformed into one another, turned into surreal photographs and videos. As Mark Fisher wrote (about Off the Wall, but I feel this in all his works) his dance was “theology, the songs secular hymns to divine disco itself, the impersonal ‘force’, the inhuman drive, that makes life living but has nothing to do with the vital.”
Which is why Michael Jackson was our hero. He was a walking wax sculpture with no real life, a dancing zombie, a mask with no face beneath, a schizoid being disturbed and deviant, a cultural icon that transcends, betrays, and criminalizes sex in one fell swoop; and we all loved him and hated him for all these things. During these times where we are still debating how to box people into the inbetween (the “third sex”, the “subalterned”, etc), how to properly enjoy life and sex, how to be politically correct with other races and cultures, Jacko had since long ago transcended these boxes, “Peter-Pan-like”, as if they were the most trivial things. As imomus said,
He’s black yet also white. He’s adult yet also a child. He’s male yet also female. He’s gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he’s also never fucked their mothers. He’s wearing a mask, yet he’s also showing his real self. He’s walking yet also sliding. He’s guilty yet also innocent. He’s American yet also global. He’s sexual yet also sexless. He’s immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He’s Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He’s real yet also synthetic. He’s crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He’s the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He’s bad, yet also good. He’s blessed yet also cursed. He’s alive, but only in theory.
Perhaps much scorn will be upon me from the Leftist community for giving such high praises to an icon of capitalism gone wild, but if many call themselves children of Marx and Coca-Cola, I am a child of Foucault and Michael Jackson. Needless to say my attitude towards culture has never been, and will never be, one of nostalgia, but one of obsessive forward thrusts in present life, Nietzschean and Wildean in the fullest sense, as embodied by the King of Pop himself. I never hated him; not when I learned of how destructive his lifestyle is, not when I learned of his child sexual abuse accusations, not when I see the “repellent whitened sepulchre” he had become; if anything, I love him even more — aren’t artists supposed to go to the end and break borders of sanity altogether? Jacko was a true artist, in both the best and sickest possible sense.
Goodnight, sweet prince. I have never hated you.
Hey all you posthuman pirates, insurgents, and revolutionaries, ready your canons, some folks in Iran need a hand. Here’s how you lend one.
So I thought I would have time for more hibernation and read more intensely those thick books on my shelf, but then it appears an interesting event has happened. So there was this Iranian election on the 12th, but I have been sitting around idly even as all the violence take place (I’ve never been the bleeding heart type, mind) — I thought it was nothing more than the usual protest, without conditions for an Event.
But as time passes it becomes more and more apparent that this is a revolution that has much significance. Heck, even the final boss of the Internet is joining the battle. Which means you can, too.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s line of thinking throughout their work is how today’s Empire can only be resisted from within — how? By none other by the multitude’s sheer power to act. First and foremost, the multitude needs to take hold of the facilities of communication and make it their own — free speech is the ultimate and perhaps only weapon against any kind of fascism in the broader sense.
It goes without saying that, whatever it takes, Iranian bloggers need to be protected at all costs. This is the dawn of a new age and we cannot by any means let the old ways of censorship and repression have their way. This world is free, after all — in masks (proxies or literal Guy Fawkes masks), every individual has nothing to lose but his chains.
So here I repost again from the link above how to make actual these virtualities of the multitude against restriction of free speech:
- Do NOT publicise proxy IP’s over twitter, and especially not using the #iranelection hashtag. Security forces are monitoring this hashtag, and the moment they identify a proxy IP they will block it in Iran. If you are creating new proxies for the Iranian bloggers, DM them to @stopAhmadi or @iran09 and they will distributed them discretely to bloggers in Iran.
- Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.
- Keep you bull$hit filter up! Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don’t retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting. The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.
- Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.
- Don’t blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don’t publicise their name or location on a website. These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don’t signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind…
To do more action, find out more information, I would reccommend you once again to join the protest.
Even if a ballot is silenced, the voice behind it cannot be. This age does not belong to authorities. This age belongs to the legion that forgives nothing and forgets nothing.
The first post of this blog was in May 28th, which basically means we didn’t exactly celebrate our first birthday on time. May the mudkip in the cake make it up for our lateness. So, happy birthday to The Posthuman Marxist! Yay!
Unfortunately I’m also here to post some rather bad news to you readers. As you may have noticed the frequency of posts here at TPM continues to decline. I’m afraid that won’t be fixed anytime soon due to current circumstances. I am working on several things, including a thesis, a book, and a lecture for paraflows 2009, which our friends up at monochrom had been so kind to invite me. I’m writing a psychoanalytic posthuman study on Serial Experiments Lain for my thesis, which I hope to publish online up here for you to download when it’s done. As for the book, it’s that book about the chans, memes, online pornography, etc, as I have probably so often mentioned if you know me outside the blog — I want to make it a posthuman theory book the likes of which nobody has ever read.
So anyway, that’s that. That is not all I am doing since I like to keep bigger things reclusive, keeping the fantasy of the objet a intact in true neurotic fashion, but trust me when I say I do hope to make a comeback better than ever with unexpected things in unexpected corners of the web. Suffice it to say that I am working on a larger project that will hopefully hit the headlines.
On world news, things are going on, but I am specifically interested in the continuing saga of the great interwebs war, namely the Anonymous versus Church of Scientology war this June. In the porn sphere I’m actually half-wanting Natural High to produce another charity porn movie this year.
So with everything going on, the case is actually there are many things I want to write. So what the heck, I will still write anyway, just don’t expect any high frequency of my writings. I’m writing this for the sake of updating and so you readers won’t think the blog is dead. See you in another time!
Porn critics love to say that pornography speaks so much about the misogynistic society we really live in. What they do not know is that by saying this they are masturbating harder (plus-de-jouir) than the simple innocent guys who fap (jouir) in front of their computer screens at home. Is not this “misogyny of the Other” — not the sexual act in porn itself — the ultimate fantasy offered by pornography today?
I get tired of all the sex-negative, porn-negative views that my intellectual colleagues like to prattle on, about society’s true misogyny, and so on. Frankly speaking, I have not met a single person who both watches porn and is a misogyny. All the porn consumers I know (myself included), respect women, supports feminism, is more open to the various ways women think and feel, and so on, while all the misogynists I know hates porn and constantly complains about the degradation of our society. What is going on here?
I remember telling a couple of friends a while ago that I do not believe a single bit the thesis that “porn is the theory, rape is the practice,” telling them that it is essentially a bad name that comes out of the mouths of irresponsible assaulters who are so chicken they need to put the blame on other objects for their actions that the conservative media are only too keen to appropriate for their anti-porn propaganda. Being good young adults, they argued otherwise, although they do watch porn themselves. I asked them whether they have had a single intention at all to rape a women after watching porn, and of course their answer was no.
“Then why do you still believe the theory?” I asked. One gave a perfect answer: “Well, of course, if it is us educated, well brought-up people, it is OK. But imagine how those uneducated people who have never known about sex! No doubt they would go on a raping spree!” It was an a-ha! moment for me. I realized it was not about misogyny after all. The ultimate fantasy in porn turns out to be not a sexual fantasy, but that of class struggle. It was that ancient notion of civilized people versus barbarians all over again.
(A disclaimer before we go on: first, I acknowledge the existence of cases where people gang rape young teens after watching porn, but only as much as I acknowledge young teens go on school shooting sprees after watching war movies. They are exceptional cases and I perceive the excuses as retroactive constructions. Second, I am not talking about extreme fetishes of the long tail market variation.)
Case example. So we watch a porn video of this young girl being degraded, humiliated, violated, and so on. And, to a certain extent, even female-respecting guys enjoy it — why? Precisely because we know perfectly that it is just an act, because the porn stars are getting paid well, and so on. If that fact is obvious, to whom, then, is the drama staged? To none other than he who the porn stars are looking at when they stare straight at the camera — not you or I miserable, individual guys, but the abstraction of our collective being, the Imaginary Other.
The porn critics are wrong when they criticize violence as though it is staged for the enjoyment of the empirical audience. Violence in porn is instead staged for the Other to act as an empty fantasy screen in which the audience can project their true surplus-enjoyment beyond sex (that there exists someone out there who degrades women, is a racist, and so on). This is why, even when we know a “reality porn” is fake, scripted, etc, we not only tolerate but expect the producers to claim authenticity. Appearance is all the more crucial, because when we are no longer allowed to engage ourselves in sexist, racist, etc enjoyments, we need an Other to enjoy for us.
We come to a paradoxical conclusion: the existence of the (staged) degradation of women in pornography reduces the degradation of women in real life. The libido is already invested out there, in pornography and all its fantasmatic space, so that we can in turn, in real life, be more open towards women.
Thus, the porn critics actually did not get it all wrong: there indeed is a repressed sexism in society (along with racism), of which pornography is a symptom in which it returns. However, precisely qua symptom, its function is to keep at bay its true, traumatic form — raw, unrepressed hatred for the Other. I would even go as far to say that violent pornography is the price we have to pay for political correctness, as the true violence that sustains it. (This is also why it is absurdly easy to find racial stereotypes in pornography, such as “monster black cocks” and “submissive asian sluts”.) To say it in another way: when we have political correctness, we face a longing for violence at its purest.
Then, my obscene advice to countries with high misogyny rates that we think ought to have a better sense of political correctness would be: make more violent porn!
Recently Mike Arrington of TechCrunch posted a polemic of Facebook’s policies. So it turns out that Facebook does not ban denials of Holocaust and yet they ban pictures of breastfeeding women. This predictably disturbs many people, and has lead to paranoiac suggestions that Facebook is actually anti-Semite, anti-feminist, and so on.
Especially interesting here is the juxtaposition of the two taboos, positioning them from the start as a case of mispositioned censorship — one that should be but isn’t censored, and another that should not be but is in fact censored. This proves to be more problematic the closer one looks at it: of course, people would still get angry even if Facebook does not censor breastfeeding (both not censored), while probably they would be content if Facebook censors both. However, this problematic only rises when there is a displacement of censorship, as is the case at the moment.
Which leads us to a more interesting perspective: what do Jews and tits have in common? As Žižek noted, Jews are the anti-Semites’ embodiment of the malignant object-cause of desire, while breasts are of course one of the forms in which the object-cause of desire appears, according to Lacan. The appearance of anti-Semitic comments on Facebook discussions brings into obscene light this object-cause of desire, while breastfeeding, supposedly through its context, arguably does the opposite: it desexualizes the breasts into a non-sexual, family-friendly object.
The excuse for the latter’s censorship is of course the usual one: “We knowthere is nothing sexual about breastfeeding, but nonetheless people have warped fetishes,” while the excuse for having no ban of Holocaust denial is, presumably, that all opinions are allowed and must be respected. Of course, the hate speech shown on TechCrunch’s screen-caps are already against Facebook’s TOS (which obviously leads to the rash conclusion that everyone who denies the Holocaust are anti-Semites), but it seems that the core problem is not so much the hate speech as the space for denying the Holocaust whatsoever.
It is here (and not only on 4chan!) that one encounters the Real of the Internet. We start off wanting to promote “safe content” and end up censoring arguably trivial things such as breastfeeding, which recalls the proverbial paranoia that nothing is safe on the Internet (how about pictures of feet and socks, or of children at all, should Facebook allow them when after all people can just as easily take them off of facebook with a few simple clicks and use them as a means of warped public masturbation on another site?). The obverse is also true: we start off wanting to encourage discussions from all perspectives, and end up encountering the hard limit of our so-called postmodern tolerance (every historical account is relative and its truth is questionable, except the Holocaust, the truth of which must be maintained at all costs to keep ourselves from the resurgence of anti-Semitism!).
Mike Arrington ends his article with a comment, “Yes, Facebook, this is the side of the line you’ve chosen to stand on,” and posted an obscene image of child victims. I would say that Facebook, being the “sixth largest country,” is fated to continue to find itself in dangerous situations on the other side of the line (remember Facebook’s privacy polemic several months back?) — why? Because Facebook is becoming more and more like a government rather than a system (like Wikipedia, Twitter, or 4chan, which are really more public places than a governed home). And the obscene image, what is it but a symptom dedicated to an innocent Other’s gaze for which the truth of the Holocaust must be maintained?
Accommodating society with their own postmodern paranoia and micropractical ethics is a tough, if not impossible, job. There is a line, a primordial split constitutive of society, which looks different from different sides. In some ways 4chan (especially /b/) is luckier, since it embodies nothing but this split itself. Facebook tried to be careful as it always does, but it looks like once again they got back their message in an inverted true form.
That was the message encoded in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009 by none other than Anonymous. These 4chan netizens jumped into action and hacked the poll, not only making sure that moot, the founder of 4chan, tops the list, but also being careful to arrange the order of winners up to the 21st so that the list would read, “mARBLECAKE ALSO THE GAME”. TIME already made the list official — epic win for moot and Anonymous — but completely denied the hack. You can read the details of the hack here.
Here is an excerpt from Mashable regarding this piece of news:
The Internet has different rules. The folks at Time just learned about it in a very amusing way, as their third annual poll for the world’s most influential person was topped by moot A.K.A. Christopher Poole, founder of the legendary memebreeding forum 4chan. And, though the results of the poll are obviously skewed, the list is now official nonetheless.
Remember, it’s not Barack Obama, not Oprah Winfrey, not Pope Benedict XVI, but moot. He received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100).
The Internet does play by a very different set of rules indeed. Who is moot? I am not asking about who he really is in real life, his personal history, and so on, but what can the existence of this 21-year-old founder of 4chan who became this year’s most influential person on Earth tell us about the culture we are living in?
moot has been quoted to say, “My personal private life is very separate from my internet life. There’s a firewall in between.” It is very interesting to note that moot did not use the phrase “real life” to denote his “personal private life”. That alone I think is really telling — clearly, moot, like many of us, has an online life more real than his private life.
4chan has been described as the “Wild West” of the Internet. The rawest of lands and coarsest of media, the home to Internet vigilantes as well as the most homophobic, misogynist, and racist users, often with amazing hacking skills, 4chan represents the face of posthuman subculture today. And I am not even trying to romanticize it as we often romanticize a Wild West — go to 4chan today to /b/, the random bulletin board, and you will see what I mean, if you haven’t. There is nothing romantic about it, save perhaps the total assault they do on culture on a daily basis.
The growth of a subculture, a raw resistance of any kind at all, always presents us with the Real of antagonisms of the culture we are living in. 4chan is the antithesis of Facebook, and moot is the antithesis of Mark Zuckerberg. When we discuss the Internet, we often forget today about 4chan, about the nameless, faceless commons that is Anonymous, about the glorified Master signifier that is moot. When we discuss cultures, we often forget about their breeding place, the Wild West, the grafitti brick walls of the anonymous crowd.
The TIME 100 hack tells a lot about the times we are living in. In a way, we can even say that TIME ultimately got what they wanted — they decided to do an online poll, and online, moot is indeed the most influential person. Invisible he may be, but one only needs to see the number of memes penetrating our Internet lives today, from Rickrolls to LOLcats but also “epic” phrases — indeed, 4chan can take any meaningless thing and imbue it with the object-cause of desire because they themselves embody the faceless gaze of the commons — to see how true this is. Because our times are heading towards that critical direction again: where culture can no longer be dictated, when minds can no longer be censored, and when a handful of people can turn a historical media cultural event upside down.
Slavoj Žižek says that in order for our times to grow, “maybe we just need a different chicken [fetish object]“. The problem so far regarding democracy is that “we know the system is corrupt, but does the system know it is corrupt?” — in other words, we continue to do it because we know it works even if we don’t believe that it works. I think the recent message-encoded TIME 100 hack proves otherwise — the system itself knows that it is corrupt, and it is only the big media companies that are losing and continue to pretend everything is OK. And fortunately, the technological apparatuses that be no longer serves them but the faceless crowd.
I’m going to have a marblecake and celebrate.