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Showing posts from December 7, 2014

The secret messages of authors: Nietzsche again

How does one use the papers of an author? Some authors, like GS Lichtenberg, are famous mainly for the notebooks that they left to posterity. Others, like Emerson and Nietzsche, are famous firstly for their books – even as those books are trailed by the vast haul of their Nachlass, their jounals, their scratch books. Both Emerson and Nietzsche, as well, worked in an essay form that centered on the phrase, or paragraph – or perhaps it would be better to say, using Nietzsche’s dynamite metaphor, that the essay or the number is a sort of photograph of the ruin caused by the explosion of these phrases, sentences, slogans at the center. The center, supremely, does not hold. I’m thinking about this while reading and  gritting my teeth through, Geoff Waite’s book on Nietzsche. Waite, who positions himself as a true, Nietzsche-defying leftist (an authorial figuration that takes many turns – sometimes he casts himself as a man  heading Nietzsche off at the pass, as though FN wore a black h

Leftist attacks on Nietzsche, or why I am a pseudo-leftist

Domenico Lusordo’s attack on Nietzsche is one that I am weirdly eager to read, or at least some of it – I don’t think I’m in it for 1300 pages. I haven’t yet read Geoffry Waite’s massive attack on Nietzsche, or, really, Nietzschian leftism – pseudo-leftism, Waite claims. Pseudo-leftism is a pretty good description of my own politics, and the fall of communism is not something I mourn (except when listening to Leonard Cohen’s The Future) so there is that.  Marx and Nietzsche were allied in at least this: they weren’t mourners. However, from the reviews I have read of the Lusordo, and the bits I have read of Waite, my impression is that they are operating within the Nietzschian dance – a politics of the text, if you will. Interestingly, though, they seem to deny Nietzsche any humor or wit. Rather, his is a corpus to be driven through with a plow. If there is humor or wit, this is mere deception, mere encrypting. What it is not, what it can never be, is enjoyment.  For instance, Wait

Water pistol juntas

Lately, I've been thinking of this post, which I wrote in 2011 When looking at the story of capitalism and the rise of the European powers, it is striking to see forms of organization appear on the periphery before they migrate to the center. For instance, the work discipline of the factory in 19th century England seems to replicate forms of work discipline created for the sugar 'factories' in the West Indies of the 17th century. In 19th century England, the work discipline was imposed on 'free labor', and in Jamaica, it was imposed on slaves. Yet, if we look away from the changes implied by this transformation of the working agent, we see a continuity of form, or at least the production of an organizational form that can be transposed.  And, unlike serf labor in Central Europe, for instance, this slave labor is relatively free of the codes that define its rights and hedge in the transmission of property and title by the owners. A similar movement from