Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Jameson

Meanwhile, Some Links

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* Marquette has a new president, the first lay president in its history. His farewell message to UWM.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone at UWM for your efforts to make this a great university. I have been proud to serve as your leader for the last three and a half years, and I am confident that UWM will continue to make significant strides to become a top-tier research university that is a great place to learn and work. I will continue to promote UWM and spread the word about the great things being accomplished by our campus even after I am no longer Chancellor. I will also work hard to strengthen and build partnerships between UWM and Marquette, as I believe that by working together, Milwaukee’s two largest four-year academic institutions will help address many of Milwaukee’s problems, drive growth within the region and increase the prestige of both universities.

* Dia/lectics of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

It Seems More and More Certain That We Live in a Multiverse.

Texas Congressman Wants National Parks Opened To Drilling. US House votes to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams. Escape the Devastation of Future Earth on a Luxurious Space Mayflower.

Roughly .02 Percent of Published Researchers Reject Global Warming.

An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz. This is the army-as-utopia piece I was going on about last week, if you were curious about it.

* What Life Will Be Like for Girls’ Hannah at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission.

Harvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide. Come now, only three? Don’t be coy, Harvard…

* Amy Acker joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of course she is.

Generations of political manipulation have finally turned that sense of solidarity into a scourge. Our caring has been weaponised against us. And so it is likely to remain until the left, which claims to speak for labourers, begins to think seriously and strategically about what most labour actually consists of, and what those who engage in it actually think is virtuous about it.

Inside UFO 54-40, the Unwinnable “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

* In sum, this so-called “data-driven” website is significantly less data-driven (and less sophisticated) than Business Insider or Bloomberg View or The Atlantic. It consists nearly entirely of hedgehoggy posts supporting simplistic theories with sparse data and zero statistical analysis, making no quantitative predictions whatsoever. It has no relationship whatsoever to the sophisticated analysis of rich data sets for which Nate Silver himself has become famous. The problem with the new FiveThirtyEight is not one of data vs. theory. It is one of “data” the buzzword vs. data the actual thing. Nate Silver is a hero of mine, but this site is not living up to its billing at all.

* Why was Charlotte’s absurdly corrupt mayor doing the bag drops himself? Amateur hour. He’s going to be so mad when he finally gets around to seeing American Hustle.

* Clickbait publication says stop talking so much about clickbait.

Garfield Minus Garfield Minus Jon Plus Jon Osterman AKA Dr. Manhattan.

* And nothing gold can stay: Bradley Cooper is rumored to take over Indiana Jones.

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Sunday Reading at 10,000 Feet

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* Someone put Istvan Csicsery-Ronay’s keynote from ICFA this weekend on YouTube. The “Empire” ad Istvan plays from Computer Associates is amazing.

* Highest-ranking administrator at Marquette abruptly resigns.

* No! No! I won’t believe it! It’s impossible! Bottom line shows humanities really do make money.

* The other college debt. Revenue at Any Cost: Institutional Debt and the Crisis of U.S. Higher Education. And from the archives: “The University and the Undercommons: Seven Theses.”

* The first issue of Porn Studies is available online.

* Re-Imagining the Place and Time of Communism Today: Between Hardt’s “New Love” and Jameson’s “Citizen Army.”

* Kim Stanley Robinson will be in Madison the first week in April for “Imagining Possible Worlds.”

* Hobbit hole playlet, a steal at a mere $3000.

* Marching on: marriage equality in Michigan.

* Police officers in Hawaii are lobbying lawmakers not to repeal a statute that allows them to …. wait for it … have sex with prostitutes during the course of legitimate investigations. Repeating my joke from Twitter, “legitimate” in that sentence is working so far it should be allowed to have sex with prostitutes while on duty…

* Race, cash, and the drug war in Florida.

* Black Preschoolers Face An Epidemic Of Suspensions.

* Autopsy shows Texas cop fired fatal shot from close range into sarcastic student’s back. The officer is currently on administrative leave.

* It should be no surprise that when law enforcement agencies investigate themselves, they find no wrongdoing—especially since a study of the FBI’s internal investigations found that they cleared themselves of wrongdoing in 150 out of 150 fatal shootings. With that track record, the public can’t be confident in the integrity of an investigation with this predictable outcome.

* Duke Energy Caught Intentionally Dumping 61 Million Gallons Of Coal Waste Into North Carolina Water.

* The comforts of dystopia.

* HBO In Talks with Lisa Kudrow to Bring ‘The Comeback’ Back for Season Two. I want to see that.

* I’m addicted to my job.

* CNN, still the absolute worst of all time.

* Ideology at its purest? Why not just believe the things bisexuals say about themselves?

* The Town That Turned Poverty Into a Prison Sentence.

* My dementia.

* “Plot idea: 97% of the world’s scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.”

* And killjoy scientists strike again.

Spring Break So Close You Can Taste It Links

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* Sing to me, Muse, of Fredric Jameson. I’ve never understood the “worst writer” slam against Fred; alongside all the other good things I’d have to say about his work I think he’s actually very clear and precise.

* CFP for the 2014 Marxist Literary Group at the Banff Centre: Energy, Environment, Culture.”

* CFP: Bruce Springsteen Studies.

* Once upon a time in America this was called advocating for justice. But in today’s America, it’s deemed a miscarriage of justice.

* Meanwhile. My god. And my god. And my god. And my god. The US courts are just a bottomless nightmare.

Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims. Yes we can!

* Freddie deBoer on the unbearable lightness of always voting Democrat.

* The unbearable whiteness of Project X.

* 25 Years of Declining State Support for Public Colleges. Many Colleges ‘Hoard’ Endowments During Rough Economic Times. The Rising Cost of Not Going to College.

* Service, Sex Work, and the Profession.

* The SATs have been provably racist and classist for decades with no improvements; Canavan’s Razor would suggest that’s the entire point. But this time…

The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped? Content Warnings and College Classes. The Trigger Warned Syllabus. We’ve gone too far with ‘trigger warnings.’ I think this kind of “trigger warning” — and even offering alternative assignments when circumstances warrant — is very often good pedagogy on the level of the individual classroom; I did so this semester when teaching Lolita, somewhat reluctantly, but I’d come to feel it was necessary. I’m very skeptical it would ever be a good idea at the level of administration or policy.

An Elegy for Academic Freedom.

* 10 Unintentionally Horrifying Statues of Famous People.

* Tendrils of the invisible web: the undersea cables wiring the Earth.

“Wearing Google Glass automatically means that all social interaction you have must be not just on yours, but Google’s terms,” Adrian Chen wrote at Gawker almost a year ago, when we all first cringed in fear.

* You know every cop is a criminal: David Cameron’s porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children.

* Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher’s car.

* The Civ V files: Never Move Your Settler?

The Fetishization of Lupita Nyong’o.

* Who owns the Oscar selfie?

* Zombie Studies in the WSJ.

Why Sweden has so few road deaths.

* Durham school board joins teacher tenure lawsuit.

According to a New Study, Nothing Can Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind.

Activists Erect A Monument To Rape Survivors On The National Mall.

How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation.

* Sea Level Rise Threatens The Statue Of Liberty And Hundreds Of Other Cultural Heritage Sites. Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse. But don’t worry! President Obama’s New Budget Is Peppered With Efforts To Tackle Climate Change. Peppered!

Milwaukee shuts down Little Caesars for day over rodent droppings. A whole day! That’ll show ‘em.

Cheerleader Sues Parents for Refusing to Pay College Tuition. Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk. Having not heard any of the evidence or consulted any of the relevant laws, Canavan Court rules in favor of both plaintiffs!

* How do you remember a massacre?

* How did DC manage to cast anyone but Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor — much less Jesse Eisenberg? It’s a crime.

* Pretty mediocre hoax. Everyone knows Mattel has had working hoverboards since the 80s anyway.

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed.

* And I try not to get sucked into the wingnut-said-something-crazy! scene anymore, but every once in a while: my god.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Thursday!

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* What happened in Atlanta this week is not a matter of Southerners blindsided by unpredictable weather. More than any event I’ve witnessed in two decades of living in and writing about this city, this snowstorm underscores the horrible history of suburban sprawl in the United States and the bad political decisions that drive it.

* Accreditation Standards Should Include Treatment of Adjuncts, Report Says. This has been my revolutionary scheme for a while, glad to see it could actually be feasible…

Let Banks Fail Is Iceland Mantra as 2% Joblessness in Sight.

“I wouldn’t go so far,” writes Horton of Kincaid’s central thesis that short science fiction exhibits all the signs of exhaustion. “I don’t think that ‘all meaning has been drained from’ the tropes we use, but I do think they are becoming overfamiliar. And I do think that the field of science fiction has to a considerable extent become enamoured with explicitly backward-looking ideas.”

“These findings suggest that potential harm to faculty-student relationships and academic freedom should not continue to serve as bases for the denial of collective bargaining rights to graduate student employees.”

* Boom: A Journal of California interviews Kim Stanley Robinson.

* My friend Jack Hamilton eulogizes Pete Seeger.

What STEM shortage? Electrical engineering lost 35,000 jobs last year.

* Utterly horrifying: Hanover College Told Rape Victim That Attempting To Have Her Alleged Rapist Punished Is Harassment.

California is thirsty.

* UNC: We failed students “for years.”

* Maps of Hip America.

* Many watchdogs believe the police are killing more innocent Americans than ever. But here’s why they can’t be sure.

* Occupy and the Academy.

* Stradivarius violin stolen in armed robbery in Milwaukee. Said to be the biggest heist in city history.

* Some Notes on the MLA Job Information List.

* What do unionizing NCAA players want? NCAA Should Be Begging for a Union.

* Capitalism, the infernal machine: An interview with Fredric Jameson.

* The police union as philosophical problem.

* The Rise of the Post-New Left Political Vocabulary.

* …41 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming people have attempted suicide, a rate far higher than the national average of 4.6 percent.

New York Senate passes bill punishing ASA over Israel boycott.

* More on Ezra Klein’s very strange idea.

* Batgirl advocates for equal pay for equal work.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal wins every prize today.

* So does this Ice-T impersonator prank calling noted Ice-T impersonator Paul F. Tompkins (as played on the second episode of the new Ice-T podcast starring Ice-T).

New York City commissioner’s ancestors were slaves of Benedict Cumberbatch’s family.

Climate Change Is Already Causing Mass Human Migration.

10 Failed Utopian Cities That Influenced the Future.

* And The State reunites (for a segment anyway)…

Saturday!

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Today, Trina is one of approximately 470 prisoners in Pennsylvania serving life without parole for crimes they committed as teenagers. I was pretty cranky about this the other day on Twitter with respect to the Mitt Romney bullying story (on which subject fellow UNCG MFA alum Steve Almond gets biblical here).

Activists say Argentina now leads the world in transgender rights after giving people the freedom to change their legal and physical gender identity simply because they want to, without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures beforehand. Great!

Brazilian politicians and journalists were not placated. “We’re going to show this gang that they can’t come down here and create whatever environmental mess they want,” Carlos Minc, a co-founder of Brazil’s Green Party and environmental secretary of Rio state, told the newspaper O Globo. “I want to see the CEO of Chevron swim in that oil.” Great!

The free market as more efficient than central planning, case 751.

All of the current administrative solutions are perverse and/or unsustainable.  Public universities cannot solve their financial problems by raising tuition even more quickly in the face of the tuition bubble, the student debt bubble, public anger after decades of similar annual increases at 3-4 times inflation, a pro-education president who is campaigning to punish tuition increases with further funding cuts, and mounting damage to an entire academic generation symbolized by the recent tripling of the number of PhDs on food stamps. 

* Funny how this works: Saying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation.

* Taibbi: Obama versus Romney is the worst reality show on TV since the Tila Tequila days. The characters are terrible, there’s no suspense, and the biggest thing is, it lacks both spontaneity and a gross-out factor.

* A quick note from Jameson about base and superstructure.

* The Lego Lord of the Rings Videogame Is Really Happening. I’ll take one of each applicable video game system, please.

* Wes Anderson Tumblr blogs. It’s early going, but “Directed by Wes Anderson” may eventually be your winner here.

* And I’d have paid good money to see a Maurice Sendak Avengers.

Next Week at Duke: “Periodizing Jameson”

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Hope to see you!

Written by gerrycanavan

April 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

‘Science Fiction without the Future’

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I was recently asked to write a review of Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America for a special “Petrofictions” issue of American Book Review. Imre has put the full text up on Facebook; hopefully you can read it there. Here’s a bit from the end:

…Here then is what science fiction looks like without (or after) the future: the twentieth century is envisioned not as the launching pad for a glorious technofuture but as an anomalous moment of prosperity and historical possibility which quickly burns itself out, leaving in its place the worst combination of Manifest-Destiny America, feudal Europe, and decadent Rome. The novel’s odd, melancholy temporality—a retrospectively narrative bildungsroman set in a future that is simultaneously a parody of the past—completely upends our sense that the last hundred years represent the apex of progress, and indeed the idea that history can be thought of as any story of progress at all. By its end Julian Comstockhas taken its reader well beyond the postmodern mood Fredric Jameson famously called “nostalgia for the present,” and comes to feel something like officiating at our own collective funeral.

But for all its anticipatory retrospection of the coming post-oil disaster, the novel is not hopeless. In the epilogue we are told that Adam has in essence gone on to reinvent the lost art of science fiction itself; in 2192 his most recent novel is American Boys on the Moon, a Jules-Verne-style adventure yarn about a group of youngsters who discover an old NASA rocket buried in Florida and use it to reach the moon. (In a footnote, Adam concedes the story is completely implausible, but admits he likes it anyway.) There are similar hints throughout the novel that a second age of enlightenment and invention could be in the offing, and indeed that the reign of the despotic and theocratic Dominion may soon be at its end. The theocrats are themselves huge believers in progress, insisting “the history of the world is written in Scripture, and it ends in a Kingdom”—but Julian’s revolutionary retort, seemingly borne out, is that history is actually chaos, written in sand and shaped by the wind (674). For Wilson, it seems, there’s an exciting, even necessary freedom in this permanent historical flux, which when juxtaposed against the violent schemes of the rich and powerful becomes in its own unstable and impermanent way a kind of unexpected utopia. The cyclicality of history turns out to be as cruel to kings and tyrants as it is to everything else; in time all their dreams of power and control turn to ash as well. Even in a history that can’t stop repeating itself, we find, the bad times eventually end, and good days someday come again.

The Poetry of the Future

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There is a tendency among the Left today — and I mean all varieties of the Left — of being reduced to protecting things. It is a kind of conservatism; saving all the things that capitalism destroys which range from nature to communities, cities, culture and so on. The Left is placed in a very self-defeating nostalgic position, just trying to slow down the movement of history. There is a line by Walter Benjamin that epitomizes that — though I don’t know how he thought of that himself — revolutions are “pulling the emergency chord,” stopping the onrush of the train. I don’t think Marx thought about it like that at all. It seems to me that Marx thought that productivity would increase by getting rid of capitalism. On the level of organization, technology and production, Marx did not want a return to handicraft labour, but to go on into all kinds of complex forms of automation and computerization [as it would emerge] and so.

The historical accident of something like socialism or communism taking place in a place what was essentially a third world country, Russia, an underdeveloped country, that’s made us think of socialism in a way that was not Marx’s way of imagining it. The socialist movement has to itself be inspired by this other type of vision.

Fredric Jameson is interviewed by rabble.ca.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

‘Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change’

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…from Kim Stanley Robinson.

So the question of history returns. How do we act on what we know? The time has come when we have to solve this puzzle, because the future, from where we look at it now, is different than past futures. Before we just had to keep on trying to do our best, and we would be OK. Things seemed to slowly get better, for some people in some places anyway; in any case, we would keep trying things, and probably muddle through. This is no longer the case. Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. This is a big change. We need to take action to start history on a path onto the side of the peninsula representing one kind of better future or another; the details of it don’t matter, survival without catastrophe is what matters. In essence the seven billion people we have, and the nine to ten billion people we’re likely to have, exist at the tip of an entire improvised complex of prostheses, which is our technology considered as one big system. We live out at the end of this towering complex, and it has to work successfully for us to survive; we are far past the natural carrying capacity of the planet in terms of our numbers. There is something amazing about the human capacity to walk this tightrope over the abyss without paralysing fear. We’re good at ignoring dangers; but now, on the attenuating peninsula, on the crazy tower of prostheses — however you envision it, it is a real historical moment of great danger, and we need to push hard for utopia as survival, because failure now is simply unacceptable to our descendants, if we have any.

Saturday Links!

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“A lifetime achievement award is a little alarming,” said Jameson, who came to Duke in 1985. “But on the other hand, it’s very nice to have the recognition.”

* Your democracy at work: Barack Obama Has, on Average, Attended a Fundraiser Every 5 Days in 2011.

* Matt Stoller: When a switch in the party in power does not result in policy changes, there’s little point in electoral politics.

* And just to counter that cynicism a bit: arguably one of the more important (and more progressive) components of the ACA took effect yesterday, the requirement that health insurance companies spend at least 80% of premiums on actual health care. UPDATE: Countering the counter-cynicism, Tim Worstall says this probably isn’t a big deal after all.

* Some North Carolina poverty facts.

* As is standard journalistic practice, the New York Times has allocated space for an accused child molester to tell his side of the story.

* If Duke is one of eleven campuses with “major Occupy movements,” I fear for the movement. Occupy Duke was genuinely tiny, and the #occupyduke hashtag is comprised almost exclusively of mockery and contempt.

* Occupy Commencement: UNC students are petitioning against Michael Bloomberg as commencement speaker.

* And Reuters selects the best 100 photos of 2011. Here’s #72:

Wednesday Links

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* Two sites keeping track of Occupy Wall Street news: Greg Mitchell at The Nation and the 99 Percent Movement tag at Think Progress. Meanwhile the movement continues to go national (and international), and is apparently leading to walkouts on college campuses as well, including here in NC.

* In class Jameson often notes that for decades the word “capitalism” was a shibboleth of the left; people on the right just didn’t say it. It’s happening just a bit faster with this 1%ers meme.

* He can’t help it if he’s lucky: A late gamble on Bob Dylan has sent the singer-songwriter soaring up the odds to become the fourth favourite to win the Nobel prize for literature on Thursday.

* Whatever happened to the hypertext novel?

* This July, beginning with the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California, as many as 6,600 inmates at thirteen prisons underwent a three-week hunger strike to protest the state’s use of “supermax” facilities designed for long-term solitary confinement. The strike ended on July 20 when inmates received as concessions winter beanies, wall calendars and the promise of “some educational opportunities.” But their larger, more basic demands—more humane living conditions and a feasible exit strategy from solitary besides “parole, snitch or die”—went unmet. As a result, on the morning of September 26, the hunger strike resumed at Pelican Bay.

* And submitted for your approval: the most gerrymandered district in history.

Some Smart-Ass Pawns

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Continuing to break radio silence to report that Criticism‘s special issue on The Wire includes a piece from Jameson on realism and utopia in the series, as well as a piece from Mark Anthony Neal on social capital and cosmopolitan masculinity.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

Monday Links!

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* Fredric Jameson previews his new book, Representing Capital.

You will now have understood that this distinction between politics and economics, between the achievable Utopia of the Utopian planners and the deep unconscious absolute Utopian impulse, is one between the social-democratic moment and the moment of communism. Communism can only be posited as a radical, even unimaginable break; socialism is an essentially political process within our present, within our system, which is to say within capitalism itself. Socialism is capitalism’s dream of a perfected system. Communism is that unimaginable fulfillment of a radical alternative that cannot even be dreamt.

* Unexpectedly, grad school lowers your blood pressure. It doesn’t seem right to me either.

* The GOP thinks not enough people are unemployed. Calculated Risk has a brief history of the current catastrophe.

Wisconsin has some buyer’s remorse.

* More on hydrofrackingHow radioactive is Pittsburgh’s drinking water? What’s fracking going to do to New York?

* First Big Coal Broke the Union. Then It Broke This Town.

* Trailer for the American remake of The King’s Speech.

* Scientists in Hollywood. The focus is on Natalie Portman and Mayim Bialik.

* Ponzi justice in Raleigh.

* And Jon Hamm, Superman. I’m sure yet another version of the origin story will be great, though.

Detroit Today Is Your Town Tomorrow

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More on Detroit and ruin porn, also via Aaron Bady.

These photos of uninhabited ruined spaces do little more than confirm what the most casual observer already knows about Detroit and cities like it. Moore is sensitive to this danger, and does includes a few photos that represent Detroiters leading lives amidst the ruins. Besides two portraits of Detroiters at home, Moore also includes a photo of a rooftop party by twenty-something white urban explorers, a self-conscious reflection, perhaps, on his own access to these spaces and on the well-beaten paths of ruin fetishists. Vergara, the Chilean-born photographer whose photographs of Newark, Detroit, Chicago, Camden, and New York are collected in The New American Ghetto, addresses the ahistorical failing of much ruin photography by investing much more heavily in the ruins: Revisiting the same site over a period of years, or even decades, Vergara’s pictures show with often heartbreaking clarity the slow, painful transformation of a house, a street, a neighborhood. And Austin and Doerr’s Lost Detroitcombines ruin photography with architectural history, seeking to fill in the historical gaps. The ruin photos in Detroit Disassembled and The Ruins of Detroit, despite the authors’ obvious reverence for their brick-and-steel subjects, are also spectacles of degradation, in which, as Frederic Jameson writes about the postmodern condition, our “putative past is little more than a set of dusty spectacles.” In requisitioning the ruin’s aura of historical pathos, ruin photos suggest a vanquished, even glorious past but, like the ruins themselves, present no way to understand our own relationship to the decline we are seeing. After all, this is not Rome or Greece, vanished civilizations; these ruins are our own, and the society they indict is ours as well. As a purely aesthetic object, even with the best intentions, ruin photography cannot help but exploit a city’s misery; but as political documents on their own, they have little new to tell us.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

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