Category Archives: criticism

Framing a Problem: How Corporations Manufacture Public (and Private) Consciousness

In 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to deport Clive Boutilier, a Canadian, on the basis of his being homosexual. The decision was based on the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 that stated “aliens afflicted with psychopathic personality…shall be excludable from admission into the United States.” The legislative history of this act reflected how congress interpreted ‘psychopathic’ to include homosexuality, an interpretation informed by psychiatry and the DSM-II (the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, kinda like the Bible of psychiatry).

Now, the assumption might be that if homosexuality was included as a pathology in scientific literature by medical professionals then there’d be nothing more to argue. But this would be naive. For the medical sciences and health industry are far from being objective. In fact, by designating homosexuality as a mental illness psychiatry simply mirrored the values of a homophobic society interested in maintaining a certain status quo, imposing conformity upon society. Even if a majority of homosexuals turned out to be afflicted with mental illness, it would not necessarily follow that their being mentally ill was a result of their being homosexual;  rather, it would be just as plausible that their being mentally ill were actually caused by the oppressive afflictions of living in a homophobic world. Such a fictional pathology would not be anymore due to intrinsic causes than extrinsic ones.  And if intrinsic, the cause of pathology would be indifferent to sexual orientation, just as readily discovered in heterosexuals as in homosexuals.

The point of this post is not to defend homosexuality per se, rather the issue I’m trying to get at is that what people naively believe to be truisms are nearly always manufactured by societal and normative interests. People think they come to their ideas and beliefs by themselves through rational thought when in actuality they were coerced and pre-programmed to think along certain party lines. This is just another example of how many of people’s values and beliefs are socially constructed and politically coerced, an example of how lobby groups and corporate interests manufacture public and political policies, in turn shaping societal norms and values. It is naive to believe that anyone can be invulnerable to such impositions, that one has shaped one’s own destiny in life of one’s own free will, and nihilistic to believe that such deception doesn’t warrant an active resistance against such evil. In an interview, Robert Spitzer, a psychiatrist acting as a consultant to the DSM-II, revealed how diseases became categorized as such not due to scientific facts but due to political coercion. When asked about how new diseases were included into the DSM:

Spitzer: you have to lobby, that’s how. you have to have troops.

Interviewer: so it’s not a matter of…

Spitzer: having the data? no

Interviewer: it’s nothing to do with science then, and nothing to do with evidence?

Spitzer nodded.

And the scary result of such political coercion that is dismissive of diversity, and that only embraces its self-interests that reflects the dissolution of the democratic process, is that it produces morons like this guy (below) and many others like him who go around duping that part of the masses who are too lazy or disinterested to figure out for themselves the meaning behind things. And we haven’t even begun to discuss how the online medium of communication only exacerbates and spreads such nihilism. Although the DSM has since taken homosexuality off its manual of disorders, there are still morons who keep its seedy legacy alive. Below is a comment that some poster left on this youtube video, to which i replied:

It’s been four decades since such gender issues were stricken from the DSM and yet, here we still are today feeling the effects of the past. Lobbyists’ actions, corporate interests, regimes of the nihilistic status quo, the phallic discourse of the Same, theocratic institutions– the violence of binary metaphysics has lasting temporal effects. Meaning, the dogmatic adherence to apparent truths necessarily marginalizes, objectifies and does violence against those who fall outside the purview of such illusory and politically manufactured truths. But these ideas seep into consciousness and are petrified there as belief. Set into stone. Setting Others in stone. And so its our task to continue to break such stone tablets at the foot of mountains that write in fire.

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a woman and her truck

What’s being celebrated here? [Woman]? Technology? Masculinity? Bracketing the illusion, that this is a truck commercial, the narrative that ‘Chevy’ chose here is interesting. The idea that Chevy builds ‘tough’ trucks for ‘tough’ people…can’t we easily replace ‘tough’ with ‘masculine’? Ignoring the assumption that Chevy’s  targeting a male audience during the commercial break of a baseball all-star game, let’s imagine this was ‘geared’ towards women. Well, all this reveals is that the notion of a ‘tough’ woman only exists as derivative of a culture that is a priori masculine. That insofar as ‘woman’ is, is because Chevy defines her via recourse to its-self. Typical corporate psychology, at least in the world of the hyper-real commercial. Which is what the masses confuse as ‘reality’. Is this ‘woman’? How can one say ‘no’? Yet how can one affirm this depiction of ‘woman’ without recourse to masculine values? I suppose what’s being celebrated here is the notion of grit. Western grit. That grit belongs to boys and girls alike. Perhaps thats a way to circumvent the male/female or object/subject dichotomies: don’t address the identity, address what identity presupposes. Anyways. with the above being said, I surprisingly like this commercial. Not cause I agree with Chevy or the commercial world’s message or any such intentionality that’s behind the video. Tapping into that 5th dimension, the woman in the world of the video gives me hope of possibility. She’s doing her own thing, world be damned. And the ribbons ain’t going in her hair, but on her wall. And she’s driving that truck, that truck ain’t driving her. ‘Two bodies with one mind’– can’t say I affirm this one though; Chevy slipped up there and could take a cue from the Fast and Furious series. It’s not one mind but one body in affective relation with its environment, be it natural or mechanical. Not merely a woman and her truck but a woman and her horse. A woman as her self without reference to that male other. Again, she’s driven but not being-driven. What’s driving her would be a mystery for only men properly speaking (and by this I mean in Freudian terms), have ‘drives’. And so man drives, for his metaphysical nature so compels him to drive, to cause accidents, pave roads, map the earth and emit poison upon the atmosphere. The drive towards innovation, technology, and ‘life’; yet, it’s a drive that simultaneously denies life and what sustains it. But not so for the woman and her horse. Her way [is] the nurture of mystery. It is unknown to us. And yet it sustains us. To speak of it is to deny it, to deny it is to speak of it. Confounding and marking the the limits of binary/patriarchal reason and being.

 

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the birth of ‘God’

(this entry is very experimental and free flowing)

what is that which we hold sacred above all, that which we are called by ‘God’ him-self, to nurture, honor and protect at all costs? is it not life?.. yes, it is sin!

indeed, what is life other than the self-sustaining self-sustained? that which is not-death? indeed life is not that which ends, but that which self-perpetuates. to be life, it cannot be death. to be life, it must persist…it must be or be becoming. and what is being, other than a being self-interested? there is no perpetuation without an a priori self-preservation, a self-interest. there is life or there is death. the denial of death, this is life. the denial of death, this is the life that is dead.. is the life that self-sustains, that seeks its self-perpetuation..to the demise and marginalization of death. where there is life there cannot be death. the life that lives on to conquer death. there is life or there is death…

the very essence of life as lived phenomenon is that which the christian ‘God’ repudiates- self-interest, that which is contrary to ‘God’s’ will. assuming ‘God’ has something such as a ‘will’. but apparently the christian ‘God’ does so we’ll stick with that assumption. ‘life’ as christians understand it, is sin. for what is more contrary to ‘God’ than that which is most innate in all humans- the will to live? the will to self-representation, to self-sustain, to live in self-subsistence, self-sublimation? self-interest, the will-to-self utterly in contra-diction to ‘God’s’ ‘will’! and yet this is life a la mode! sin, how sweet it is. yes..we mean life, how sweet it is! the life of man! sin a la mode.

whence the paradox. existence is sin. to exist, to be, is to be in ‘sin’ since to exist is to live and to live is to self-persist, to be self-interested. (remember we’re operating off of the typical christian notion of ‘sin’, assuming things like a knowable ‘God’, and that this perceived divinity has an anthropomorphic ‘will’ anything remotely similar to our own, etc) existence is sin. to be created is to exist is to be in sin. creation is sin. creation from nothing is the creation of something, that something which is life, which is sin. this is the reasoning that is lost to christian assumptions…a theo-logic that creates for itself the problem of ‘evil’..of sin, of the problem of existence. you see what’s happening here? such a ‘problem of evil’ only exists if the christian ‘God’ does, or if this ‘God’ creates. for creation is sin.

we can toss the typical interpretations of the eden myth in regards to ‘sin’ right out the window along with the phallogocentric assumptions that fuel such readings. the garden could not exist without ‘sin’. without struggle. flux. tension. madness. death. if christians want to preserve their notions of a ‘holy’ ‘God’, they’ll have to confront the very question of sexual difference- why was an other created? sin occurred way before eve ever bit into that apple, it existed before she was ever ‘created’. or…sin came into existence once eve was created…but isn’t this the phallogocentric reading par excellence? but of course, this is the phallic God! the ‘God’ of the christians! who ‘created’ adam first! for prior to eve, the ‘world’, the garden was a phallocentric paradise where as far as adam’s gaze could see, creation was one. and then came the Other, with ‘nothing’ to see. the creation story is the story of the creation of sin. i will suspend any further thoughts concerning the creation story for now. but the christian niaiserie continues…

for did we not posit this’God’? is not ‘sin’, existence, this will-to-life, this will-to-self, is it not the self-same will-of-’God’? for is not ‘God’s’ will, a will of self-interest? you see the problem we run ourselves into when we attempt in any way whatsoever to describe [G_D] in human language, by analogy and by recourse to reason? but of course, we made ‘God’ in our image! in the image of the christian! who is a man! the ‘God’ that is the pro-jection of the super-ego. an extension of the phallic order. what sado-masochism, what ‘castration anxiety’ in man compels him to posit that which in turn negates what he cherishes most- his own life, his own member-ship? what causes man to create a ‘God’ that nihilates his own existence? it is existence…with woman.

so convoluted and twisted is this heir, this progeny, of an ontological oedipus complex; the super-ego that posits ‘structures’ and ‘laws’- religion, morality, war- to re-enforce the self, the phallus…in terror, in re-action, in re-aggression towards the possible loss of self-certainty, of castration…at the sight of ‘nothing’, at the sight of the vaginal opening, at the sight of this…woman. 

under threat of castration, the threat of [nothingness], the ego promoted to the super-ego. it leaves behind its cathexis towards the anatomical phallus itself and moves onto a masturbatory grip of the idea of the phallus. forget the self, it is too vulnerable, to exposed to otherness, so let’s enshrine the idea of the self, close it off to any threat of castration, close if off from otherness by the ‘erection’ of architecture and structure! and so the self-constructions of religion and morality are born, (re)presentations of self-idealism. born, but how? product of what? of rape. man cannot procreate by his-self. indeed man requires a womb. self-idealism born of a second womb, the ideal womb, the one that man fixes in being within his phallogocentric economy to inseminate.. in repetition. such is nihilism. the abortion of woman. of difference. of otherness. for the birth of ‘God’.

the problem of evil is the problem of existence is the problem of being is the problem of self-interest is the problem of phallocentricity. what is the response to such interminable problems?

the question now surfaces- is a definitive castration possible? is an end to such narcissistic phallic dessemination  possible? would it not mark the end of existence (as we ‘know’ it historically)? the end of life, the end of..’sin’? indeed the end of a christian existence. castration would mean..the death of ‘God’! but of course nietzsche already proclaimed the victory over ‘God’, but he also admitted that even after its death, that this ‘God’ would cast a long shadow. what would remain after the death of ‘God’, after the end of ‘christian’ existence? [nothing]. there is life and there is death. there is sin or there is [nothing]. and yet, eden was but a shadow of an echo in the thought of a memory of a time in its twilight. we have been expelled from that ‘garden’ have we not? expelled by whom, by what? by the myth man creates to aid and abet his phallogocentric order. ‘christianity’.  is castration possible? de-nucleation that would lead to denuclearization? would this not amount to madness? hysteria? of course- for the christian. that man of reason, that crucifier of christ, the madman par excellence. to return to death, to return to the womb is impossible given that life, as-we-know-it-to-be-phallogocentric, expels all otherness, aborts all creation. against the horror of [nothing], man gave birth to ‘God’, an unnatural birth- indeed a rape of nature- an ideal birth. nietzche thought this ‘God’ had died, but it is stubborn. for it did not come to birth via natural means and it will not die by natural means. it was born of reason, of phallogocentricity, and so it cannot die by reason, by structures, by systems, by any logos driven intentionality. only faith can kill this ‘God’. nietzche slayed him once before, but just as death and being re-born is not a one and done phenomenon, neither is deicide. it requires repetition. it requires faith, hysteria, and the discovery of peripheral pathways that lead to as yet unknown ways of being affected.

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