notes on the history of publicity

This post contained an draft version of a dissertation section. A more recent version is now available on the works page.

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8 thoughts on “notes on the history of publicity

  1. I’ve tried to KILL ALL COMMENTATORS, which means to sweep my house clean of all authorities. therefore, this name-dropping reliance on authority is not allowed in my diss.

    however, this is an example of what my pre-writing looks like. enjoy (you voyeurs)!

    1. I think Foucault often wrote more like a social scientist than a commentator. When he marshaled texts or authors, it was often use them as positivities within a given episteme or dispositif, rather than as authoritative interpretations.

      To clarify using Foucault’s work on madness and psychiatry, as an example: when he analyzed the likes of Pinel and Charcot, he did not treat them as authorities to lean on, but as practitioners producing psychiatric knowledge (connaissance). When Foucault analyzed the transcendental conditions of knowledge provided by any given episteme/dispositif (savoir), he mostly did his own work.

      Similarly, when doing synthetic work, I might cite things like myths or examples (connaissance), which requires the proper nouns that mark those singularities — as D&G say, like meteorologists, it’s both a good practice to name each hurricane as it is to name each singularity. But when it comes to my analytic work, I would like to make the argument rather than lean too much on authority.

  2. As an aside, I dropped a suggestion entitled ‘bloom theory’ into an ongoing discussion surrounding the recent movie theatre massacre because the participants appeared to have been at a complete loss for words in which to describe what had occurred. As expected, the feedback leaned mostly toward the negative, which I thought was inexplicable owing to the fact that ‘attention getter,’ among other things, seemed to be commonly agreed upon as a motive.

    1. Like the Austin IRS Bomber, school shooters of every stripe, and every other nihilistic act of self-destruction, the movie massacre was textbook Bloom.

      Mirroring the odd Hegelian language of Bloom Theory: might those we “suggest” things to only “see” bits and pieces of Bloom until its vicious separation exists in the totalized state of nothing?

      If I am correct, stereotypical Bloom actions are the deathrows of people who couldn’t stand losing their belief in a system that no longer provides anything to believe in. And it is the Spectacle, who demands that you “be” someone, that Bloom’s actions make believe — to exist, but without meaning, and only through death.

      But I sort of tire of these Hegelian reversals…

      1. Yes, my suggestion was offered to a dedicated MSM readership representing very well the totalized state of nothing. Nevertheless, I believe that the bits and pieces of Bloom are somewhat perceptible in the fact of the total estrangement of people from one another in everyday settings. The train example near the beginning of the bloom publication is replayed millions of times each day. The silence between people aboard an average urban commuter bus heading to the business sectors every morning is deafening. People are instinctively afraid, and for good reason, of the unknown quantity standing next to them in any given situation. It’s more prominent when observing travel back and forth via the same means each day, encountering year after year on a daily basis only the same silent bodies heading in the same directions. And it isn’t at all because there is primarily nothing to say to begin with. If a thousand blooms and movie theatre-like events were to occur tomorrow, the following day we would still be talking about the bits and pieces that people will continue to ignore. I think that while bloom theory succeeds very well as a description, it ultimately fails as an emancipatory device while the general unconsciousness persists. Heinous acts will be routinely committed without the perpetrators and most of the onlookers ever knowing precisely why. There is nothing to salvage from such totalizing results.

      2. Agreed.

        Additionally, I think this explains why the people currently fighting the fourth world war are rarely looked to as resources in the struggle. Even though it is the sweatshop workers in Bangladesh that burn down their factories, the coal miners in Spain who construct makeshift rockets to hold the barricades, or even the petty criminals of the slums who are really on the front lines. Not the professional activists, and especially not the NGO bureaucrats.

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