Aside

Notes on the Undertaking

What is a dead man to a reputation?
After all, the focus of a study of or so deeply involving MF cannot but deride itself when falsifying history for sake of hagiography. Anyway, no one who reads this (Dr. Albanese?) can excuse, apologize, deflect the certain absence of political upheaval in modern academics. Our campuses are designed straitjackets – no riots for us, nor occuptions of administrative buildings. So when our collective sensibilities are offended, who speaks for disenfranchised privileged paradoxes? Ours is for impotence. OurĀ  writing stifles itself every chance it gets, in obscurity and in loops of logic. We cannot even concentrate, as a group, on critical issues, critical theory, critical thought, without the distraction of a million meetings and emails. This is no paean to a lost romantic teleology of scholarship. I find the distrust of the internet-as-archive distasteful, facile, impotence on impotence. Simply put, its statements require a different grammar. Its interpretability as a corpus requires the logic of Google — as far as indexing and ordering goes — rather than the logic of Derrida. But what bothers me is the thesis that these logics are incommensurable. This problem has already been solved — and not by appeal to superficial empiricism or false positivism, either. No, our emphasis remains on reading Foucault for what we can learn about how to learn about our world, on- and offline, abstract and concrete. Our realms and regimes of discourse have shifted yet again. To engage archaeology — “of” media, technology, the like — deposes critique, and no mistake. So we turn to genealogy, not in a vain attempt to recover an essential Foucault (such a book would never rise above glib punchlines and observational interpretation) but precisely in an attempt to articulate an inessential Foucault.

What is a reputation to an essence?
Critique fosters deliberation, revision, elemental propaganda and concordance. Ours must remain a reflexive, even metacognitive critique. I will insist on these terms, no matter how descriptively empirical the research grows. Our education with Foucault is wasted if we disregard the utter instability of that figure itself. So in another academicese attempt to unjargon through looping logic, here’s the thread between genealogy, power, and critique as we inherit its modus operandus for technology. “Marx cannot survive outside the nineteenth century, as a fish cannot survive outside of water,” writes the tutor (CITE). And we reply that “foucault” cannot survive outside the twentieth, as a book cannot survive a flood. Waters rise on our planet. More ocean for Marx to swim in. More pages to rot and dampen, more circuits to fry. The links between such pathetic enunciations as anthropogenic climate change, and tenure’s disappearance, cannot but cloud discussion, sympathetic though they may become. The inessential rears its monstrous head. The cliches thicken. But we also avoid sweeping claims. We move from empirical historical attention to detail, to programmatic and practical political activity. These are never incommensurable, though they threaten rhetoric and campaign with too-swift-to-slaughterbench Hegelianism.
What is an essence to a politics?
Distracted rhetoric engorges corpora, while statements wither. An articulation of consent to domination, fraught with false humility, tangles and elides and defies a summary. Adverbial qualifications abound in such conditions: basically, essentially… Their structures of possibilities refract in their poetics. Any essence to determine inessential to return to anything. No focused argument here before computation and reduction of statement to point. Cataloguing meditations such as these on wasted time, on soon-to-be-deleted wastes of memory wastes server space. Reserve the right to rant abut the confusion and inspiration found in vague questions approached systemically. What politics, then? What essence? Sensational claim, this: the purpose of these corpora found not in its interpretation but in its accretion, its accumulation in an historically conscious paradigm. So outside the structurally inclined postmodern period – modern episteme left alas unshifted – these figures and functions of Foucault starve. Mixed metaphors drown us by now. So starving, drowning, labor, energy, text, medium: these left unqualified assumptions, softened not at all by politics that claim to their amelioration.
What is a politics to a dead man?
And less to him than, prepositionally ascertained through negation as usual, for him, is the fucking point. After all, to him a politics works only in its absence. For him, as in, for his reputation or the claims to essence of that reputation or these politics, death becomes the absence, the absent negotiation of negation. Too much fancy language by now, not enough research. The position taken in this post, to grossly summarize an underwritten and overwrought attempt, a miserable failure, is that Foucault or “Foucault” both don’t, can’t, won’t, affect political, material, institutional, historical “point is to change it” worlds, being mired in description and emphatically separating work from life from thought from writing. Yes, the separation endures. Unstructuralist being claimed by the text’s retrospective introduction. Slam the elements of its construction, the tools by which it’s manifested. Populate the interim with paradigmatic elemental affections. Draw a diagram and leave it at that. Let the open source open its sour course to correspondence with private interpretable genius. Leave genius aside and sing, for once, break out the dry and overdetermined patterns of complication and reduction favored by publics and intellectuals. Allow them to fight amongst themselves, and record the conflict, but do not presume to know better (or, even, more) than any or all on account of these interpolations. Move from innovations to interventions and leave genius out of it for now.
What is the subject of experience?
As ascertainable reflections of material world, substance and trauma, void and pattern all determine. Co-determined, then, historically and subjectively, experience’s suspect climate freezes, thaws, rebounds in echo grasp. Nonsense, this paradigm. The subject of experience demands that one hold a real thought in attention. Wonder or wander, not for thought or daydream. Ascertain at least reflection past the time of spattered blood on doorsteps, stoops, concrete sidewalks, asphalt, grass, mud. The sling and swing of spasms overwhelms the mind each moment that one gives one’s attention — a choice at every turn — to the flicker and shine of screentime. Serenade the winter weather come upon the grasp of gasp-mind. Indeterminacy here: or there.
What is the death of subject — of experience?

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