Archive for July, 2012

The Gaze And Its Relation To Mammon

July 27, 2012

            The previous post of July 12, 2012 concerned itself with the promulgation of mammon. Taken as an account of the authentic real, or as an elaborate representation, it is patently absurd. But given that the authentic real is dead (much as god is dead and so, to shamelessly introject Baudrillard, we must invent a simulacra of the authentic real) and representation is obsolete in a culture of surface and distraction, the posted essay does point in a certain direction. The PBS show Frontline ran an exposé of the Pebble Mine controversy in Alaska the other night. In its usually thorough approach, it looked at what proponents and opponents put forth as their rationale for the future. Primarily relying on superb technology, the mining conglomerate assured viewers that its engineering expertise was focused on not only the current ecological challenges, but on those hundreds of years away. Even the environmentalists’ modeled and statistical projections were grounded in technology. The native resistance countered corporate engineered utopian designs with a bombardment of “what if’s” based on these “green” technological projections. On a vastly different scale, this mirrored the current fracking controversy embroiling parts of Ohio. It is significant to note, in a Lacanian sense, what was lacking or absent in the Frontline (as well as fracking) debate presented. Neither side entertained the very real possibility that an entity “existing only in contemplation of the law” may choose or be forced to go out of existence. Nor did they desire to imagine that copper may become obsolete, that is, something else may come into being as a disruptive innovation rendering the use of copper obsolete. Very real precedence for both is found historically. Corporate “reorganization” through bankruptcy or dissolution in order to avoid liability losses absolves responsibility and allows capital to flee disaster (such as occurred with the catastrophe in Bhopal India or the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in West Virginia). Obsolescence of product or technology shatters market demand and results in process abandonment. Evidence of the latter is over abundant with derelict factories, brown fields and in Ohio, coal mining areas that once fueled steam locomotives now leach acid into the watershed. These exigencies of the argument are elided by both sides in preference for the “scientific” ones of technology. Why? Could it have anything whatsoever to do with the enormous debt we all owe to technology? Like homeowners underwater on their mortgages, we fear being foreclosed on, being evicted from the convenience and ease provided by evolving technology. We would be homeless without our droids. This sophisticated technology is likewise primarily what makes “too big to fail” supra-national corporations possible. Mammon’s precedence and priority appear invincible when coupled with scientific certainty. Whether corporate idolatry or environmental ideology, exponentially evolving technology comprises today’s gaze, and the gaze is experienced by both.  The very history of human commerce and exchange, and its continuous repetition of blunders, debauchery and conflagration comprise the repressed real. The gaze and its relation to mammon determine today’s politics of imagined reality.

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Mammon Televangelist

July 12, 2012

            Put your hands on the television and cry out that your elected representatives embrace the new majority. Commit yourselves anew to vote with Americans for Prosperity and a Publishers Clearing House guarantee for this life and the next can be yours today. Indeed, the grand Poo Pa of the Crystal Cathedral enjoins the four angels trumpet call from on high and announces that he, and only he alone, possesses the vision of wealth, the path of righteousness needed to create jobs so essential to the salvation of this great land. My brothers and sisters we have strayed in our ardor and devotion to riches and plenty. The economy underlies all our trials and woes. Body diseased and wracked with pain? A job is the cure! Education lacking to apply? A loan from above will light thy way; debt’s burden unbearable but the promised harvest of one’s dreams – priceless. The spirit is strong but the wheels are failing for such a taxing journey? EZ monthly payments are available to join the gridlock in the skyway. Purchase choices are an unlimited plan. Many are called but few are chosen. And it is the chosen that deserve the largest tax breaks for without them how could we ever choose, let alone know what to choose? It is our faith based economics that anoints us as a chosen people, unlike any other. The televangelist of mammon will not be silenced. Tirelessly he preaches the gospel of redemption: placing him among the elect will unleash the wealth known only on high to rain down on both the just and the unjust. Unto him it has been revealed. Mammon’s televangelist has been to the mountain on high, to one of his palaces, and understands the ways of gold. His opponent’s eyes have not seen the celestial glory for his gaze is downcast, earthbound, ensnared in the vision of the middle class. The incumbency of office is mightily burdened by the tradition of passing years. Ministering to everyday needs and cares precludes grand gestures of faith and healing, precisely what the wealthiest global economy requires.

            “However, it is precisely in the theatrical (performative) aspect of politics that reality and representation lose their distinct boundaries since politics exposes its own aesthetics. As Azatyan has argued, politics at this point reveals itself not as a reality production machine, but as an apparatus that imagines reality: it constructs its own reality as imagination, thus rendering the very separation between reality and representation obsolete.” (The Real and/as Representation: TV, Video, and Contemporary Art in Armenia by Angela Harutyunyan, pg. 109 Artmargins 1:1)

            Excluding totalitarian dictators, what head of an ostensibly democratic country (if any) has produced any substantial change to that country’s employment and GDP within the global economics of recent late term capitalism?

Corporate Declaration Of Independence

July 4, 2012

            It is customary on the Fourth of July to read anew the full text of the Declaration of Independence. While listening to tradition, imagine corporations as people. Here are the substitutions for wherever the word “people” appears:

 

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for [one] corporations to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” 

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Corporations to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

“He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of corporations, unless those corporations would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.”

“He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the corporations.”

“He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the Corporations at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.”

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our corporations, and eat out their substance.”

 “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our corporations.”                                                                                                          

“A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of [a] free corporations.”

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Corporations of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

 

            Aptly enough, the text appears refreshingly different. When the entirety is read with this change in mind, the text becomes even more startling, its interpretation more revealing and contemporary.