I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.
I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".
Let’s just cut the shit for a minute and say it: electronic dance music is the stupidest music on the planet. It even has a fittingly dumb name, EDM, which makes me cringe every time I see it. More so than the acronym, though, the reason it sucks is because the amount of talent required to perform it is precisely none.
Case in point: Paris Hilton recently made her DJ debut in Brazil. She can’t give a competent on-screen blowjob—Christ, you just put it in your mouth and spin your head around like Linda Blair—but she sure can throw down Gotye remixes and Avicii tracks to big crowds. Hilton even pushed a few buttons and it looked like she knew what she was doing. The best part about the whole spectacle was how it showed that trotting out some attractive and vapid idiot with no qualifications to DJ, other than that they have a following, isn’t exclusively a Vancouver thing.
Michael Mann, the filmmaker, gets paid to make movies and TV shows that depict urban crime as being simultaneously slick and gritty, a balance that few others of his profession have landed, making him one of the best of his peers.
Michael Mann, the writer, not related to the filmmaker, writes persuasive arguments against EDM like the above. I’d like to ask him what qualifications are needed to DJ, if he thinks that no talent is necessary to perform said genre of music but my head is spinning like Linda Blair reading this piece.
2) “Hey, the last time I put together an article full of ad-hominems, insults, strawmen, sub-Cracked ‘tude and bro-snark misogyny, it got 400+ comments! Let’s keep that hit-count gravy train a’rollin!”
3) Wouldn’t it be funny if it was the same Michael Mann, though? Just embittered over having to scout dance clubs to shoot for Collateral and dealing with tinnitus afterwards?
Just reblogging this to say that Michael Mann has been writing shit exactly this terrible for The Georgia Straight for years. With apologies to the handful of good people who have worked to improve its standard of quality (Gregory Adams, holla), The Georgia Straight has been devoid of any merit as an arts-and-culture review for the entire time I’ve been reading it (though I moved out of Vancouver three years ago so I’ve had little occasion to peruse it recently). Anyway, it appears things ain’t changed. The worst thing is that it has no competition, and I shed tears for the brave souls who tried and failed to develop an alternative (Terminal City, Only, Tooth & Dagger). If the publishers had any sense, they’d fire all of their terrible, entrenched old-guy music writers and start over, but all they care about is the ad revenue from their condo-buying readers’ eye-time — and that business model is clearly working just fine for them — so that’s not going to happen.
I would just like to say: there’s a difference between having a DJ-set, and having a DJ-set people actually thought was good.
I mean, by his qualifications, rock music is talentless shit because (the obvious example) Nickelback released an album. The problem is, of course, that no one with a critical mind towards music judges Nickelback well.
However, it still cannot be denied that, in the history of the human race as in the development of every growing child, the use of speech becomes before the use of writing. Nor does Derrida deny it. Rather he denies the assumption that we ordinarily make without even thinking about it: the assumption that the original form of a thing is somehow also its “truest” form. Thus we tend to assume that we could finally explain language if only we could rediscover its most rudementary beginnings in primitive communication. Such an assumption comes very naturally to us, but we would be hard pressed to justify it on rational grounds. So Derrida proposes instead a radical separation of historical and conceptual priority. Derrida recognizes the fact that writing follows from the fact of speech, but he none the less asserts that the idea of speech depends on the idea of writing. Or to put it another way, writing is the logically fundamental condition to which language has always aspired.
No doubt this is a difficult position to grasp. But consider an analogy; the case of a growing tree. Ordinarily we tend to imagine — even when we know better — that a tree rises and flourishes by virtue of some deep and inwardly hidden source of life. We tend to imagine some single essential centre which there is the earliest stages of growth, and which has remained constant under all later increments. But in fact, of course, a tree lives on the outside , by the circulation which flows through its green bark and sapwood; and its centre is mere dead heartwood, endlessly supplanted and left behind.
Richard Harland (On Derrida and Language as Writing)
I agree with Derrida on many levels but this is just patently wrong.
1) This isn’t Derrida, this is a a gross oversimplification of Derrida out of context.
2) What do you disagree with?
3) The real point (and I hope I don’t grossly oversimplify myself here) is what he calls “arche-writing” as the hinge term for a general economy that produces the binary opposition but is not either of the terms (speech/writing, or presence/absence) and is both. Writing is the “phantom double” of speech, it returns to haunt speech as the condition of its possibility and impossibility. He calls writing “the natural violence” that comes from within natural speech but also conditions its possibility. The “history” of the binary is not what he’s interested in—he’s interested in the privileging of one over the other as typifying the metaphysics of presence/logocentrism present in Western thought.
(via rhizombie) I’m not protesting based on any assumed origin of the primordial reaction to language, etc., but rather that writing is not a condition for the possibility of speech nor does it condition it, but rather that speech conditions all forms of writing as the activity that makes sense and makes sense of and for someone that is writing. I am protesting on a few conditions - that texts are already polyphonous themselves and engaged in conflict and dialogue with themselves, that the person writing is engaged with this same dialogic activity with themselves and with their own writing, and that speech, gesture, and interaction must be the conditions of possibility for both the intelligibility and unintelligibility of any form of language. (via hollovv)
See, I really don’t get this, and I think it’s part of why I’ve never really been able to sink myself into Derrida.
I don’t understand the privileging of language (either speech/writing) over other objects of metaphysical inquiry (even though Derrida is against metaphysics, from what I understand, I always thought it was the sort of ‘negative metaphysics’ that Heidegger’s against as well - that is, to use his terms, the privileging of present-at-hand substances over any other type in the history of metaphysics). Why the focus on language over and above most other things?
You say that “speech, gesture, and interaction must be the conditions of possibility for both the intelligibility and unintelligibility of any form of language” (and you mean this in opposition to Derrida who would praise writing as more ‘originary’ or something over speech, if I’m right?), but I just don’t get how speech and/or writing serve as the ‘conditions of possibility’ for language as intelligible or whatever. Like, I’ve always been of the opinion that sense is prior to linguistic investigation: the limits of our world aren’t determined by the boundaries of language, or discourse, but by the boundaries of senses. I feel that senses come prior - both in an obviously historical sense, but in a metaphysical sense too - to any investigation of language.
I should qualify this a bit, so I don’t fall into some sort of naive empiricism. I’m not claiming that we can only know what our senses tell us, but instead that our linguistic descriptions of things that we can/can’t know are bounded by our senses. For example, I had a discussion with my roommate the other day about how some animals ‘see’ electromagnetism. I had to ask the naive question about how they see such a thing, what it could be like for them to see such a thing, etc. He corrected himself and said that it’s not that they ‘see’ electromagnetism, but that the sense it, and that sight is the closest sensory experience we have to what those animals are experiencing in relation to electromagnetism. Because we don’t have that sense though, we can only describe the experience derivatively, through metaphor. And that’s the limits on our knowledge there: the sensory experience of the world, and tools like metaphor are ways of trying to approximate experiences outside of this. As far as I can think of, I can’t think of any writing that gets out having sense as its grounding, even if only in a derivative sense - and not just the five traditional senses, but all the things that get considered as senses now (like, our sense of being a unified object in relation to a contexture of other objects or whatever).
So, all I guess I’m asking in this really long response (way too long, fuck) is: why the prioritizing of language? That’s something I never understood in the shift from phenomenological investigations to semiotic ones: what’s the justification for focusing on language so much?
Maybe it’s just because long investigations into language bore me, but…I just don’t get it? Whatever, I’ll probably have to end up reading Derrida anyway.