Get merry!

Of those brave readers of my blog who have not already had a sexy supersized xxx-mas, I offer this little gem from the dancing-with-lasers scene in the flick that was made for followers of Baudrillard (wtf Julia Roberts playing someone playing Julia Roberts?? I almost choked on the straw for my frozen coke), Ocean’s 12

Here is the parent page just so you know it is a legit mp3 download. Direct link.

Oh, French goodness! If this track doesn’t get you bum-dancing in your seat or at least your head nodding, then I regret to inform you that you are, in fact, already dead.

Title: Thé à la menthe
Artist: Nikkfurie de La Caution

Even his name is cool. Dang!

Add it to your playlists! Milk it until it SuX0rS!

As funny as lemon juice in a little plastic squeezy bottle found in the fridge

Inspired by a post on Mel’s blog, here is Academic (sung with a similar ironic spirit and tune of ‘Supermodel’ by Jill Sobule).

I don’t care what my tutors say,
I’m gonna be an academic.
And everyone is gonna speak like me,
Wait and see…
When I’m an academic,
And my books on amazon dot com free,
Everyone will wanna read up on me,
On me…

Cause I’m young and I’m bookish, and so intelligent,
I’m gonna be an academic

I’m young and I’m bookish, and so intelligent,
I’m gonna be an academic

I wish that I was like my professor,
With a job like his and politics like his.
And I show them how, how it was done.
That be fun, that be fun.

And I write my final essay,
Why I love my Zizek, why I love my Zizek.
And oh, on my tattoo its the coolest thing that you have ever seen.

I’m young and I’m bookish, and so intelligent,
I’m gonna be an academic

I’m young and I’m bookish, and so intelligent,
I’m gonna be an academic

I didn’t cheat yesterday,
I’m not gonna cheat today,
I’m not gonna cheat tomorrow,
Cuz I’m gonna be an academic.

So intelligent…….I’m gonna be an academic

I’m young and I’m bookish, and so intelligent,
I’m gonna be an academic

I’m gonna be an academic.
I’m gonna be an academic.

Talking to pretty girls, again

I must be recovering, well, maybe not entirely or perhaps I am too reflexive for my own good or something, but last night I realised that I was talking to a young woman who was breath-takingly pretty and I was enjoying it.

We were getting on alright, I spoke her language, which is not the language of the ‘academic elite’ and we were both simply having a few beers and a few laughs. I respected the way she spoke, like someone who was honest, perhaps sometimes brutally so, about what she said; therefore only her content modulated, never her expression, which was perfectly singular in its differentiated repetition. I was speaking in my usual counter-charming manner. She was once a Catholic school girl and her parents were once publicans so she could handle the discursive lubrication of my near constant swearing, and probably could have let me know a few new choice lines. (I even told her about the Catholic school girls song by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, haha!

Every now and then I would smile and eventually she asked me what I was smiling about – we had been talking about the recent earthquakes, including the one near Tassie as she is from Tassie, but now works with a mate’s girlfriend, which is how she came to be at this function – and I almost said because I am talking to an extraordinarily pretty girl, but I hadn’t consumed enough Dutch courage (I was driving, as was she) and she had just been verbally molested by some silly bugger who had consumed too much, so I just told her it was because I was in a good mood. This was, of course, entirely true.

Between now and the fiasco in Pittsburgh of the recent past I certainly have chatted with and been in the presence of many attractive people. However, in spite of their obvious attractiveness – looks, personality, or otherwise – no spark had burned inside me to talk to them because their mere presence willed me to simply continue being there. I think I was suffering from a distinct and perhaps entirely self-absorbed inattentiveness. It is an odd feeling to realise that you are in fact happy just to be around someone; it is far more odd to realise that you hadn’t really felt like that for a duration, really it is something of a shock. It forced me to excuse myself to the gents and that was an event if there was ever one. Not the gents mind you, it wasn’t that sort of pub, but the realisation that as I was looking into someone’s eyes at that precise moment I would not have preferred to be anywhere else. So I would punctuate such moments with a smile…

It takes me ages to get over my past loves. I think I have evolved a form of denial that forces me to think about things too much. Not reliving things in my mind like some form of weird Dr Phil torture, but trawling through the past like a treasure hunter. I choose not to live with bad memories and really want to hold on to those moments that are worth it. Not repression, but affirming the best in the worst to realise how I have to come to be where I am at the moment – an assemblage of forces, desires, sadness and joys. This is all well and good but I don’t want to live getting prepared for moments that have past. The future is what I am talking about. What are going to be the next building blocks in my life? You know, like the Lego’s that everyone played with when they were eight years old.

Are they going to be like those cool coloured-clear pieces of Lego bling that were used as police lights or spaceship lasers, is it going to be a piece of highly-complex technic Lego that allows me to transverse some crazy life contortions, or could it even be one of those big pieces of Duplo that allows me to build the foundations of something else? Every kid is a Deleuzian when they are Lego-d up, at least when they bugger the instructions off; playing in the virtuality of what is becoming as it is actualised as a singular assemblage (of Lego’s or events). Yeah, fuck.

Anyway, I enjoyed last night.

The social utility of the tax return

As you do a lot this time of year, I have been yarning to many people about relatively random stuff. One singularity that was repeated in different ways in many conversations was the social utility of the tax return. The focus of the conversation was obviously not the tax return, but what the tax return was going to enable. Perhaps it is ‘Australian’ and more specifically a ‘youth’ thing, but all the great plans people had for next year – the kind of stuff New Year’s promises are made from – involved a reliance on funding derived for the annual tax return. Has the taxation regime of our tragically neo-liberal, neo-con government unwittingly become the central investment account of the many young adults I have talked with? For example, one guy was going to Sweden, some one else wanted to install a sick car stereo, and some other person wanted to get a boob job(reduction). Is the practice of day-dreaming about what can be done with this seemingly amazing windfall of cash-money a (relatively) new ritual in our post-industrial society?

I know I have to stop thinking about imaginary thesis topics and start the head-down-bum-up stuff with my own monstrosity, but surely this regulated return of monies that is like a guaranteed government run lottery service deserves some sort of attention. It is not merely an accounting anomaly but the motor-cause of dreams. How does it operate across the networks of sociality perpetuated by the new ‘under-resourced’ almost-working-class of the immaterial service/knowledge/performance-based economies? Does this increase the hegemonic aspirational tether that the current government has tied around their necks? That is, by giving people a taste of what it is like for the affluent they can aspire to become affluent.

Again, I am buggered if I know. Yep…

Capital is eyeballin’ you

Since being back home I have been cranking the pay-tv my folks have. I caught _Dog Soldiers_ this morning, dang, that is a cool movie… Anyway, on the Cartoon Network they have this promotion running at the moment called _Eyeballs 2_. Here is the login page.

Fly Buys points and all the other consumer incentive programs operate as an apparatus of capture for networks/circuits of consumption. That is, they simply do not encourage people to buy something from one shop, they commodify entire chains in the networks of consumption. Capitalists call this ‘synergy’. The clearest example of this in Australia is the relatively recent melding of petrol/service/gas stations with supermarkets/grocery stores. It is recent because it didn’t exist when I worked at a service station up until early 2003. Spend a certain amount ‘here’ and you get money off your fuel bill at the linked servo ‘there’. I think these circuits of consumption are very interesting as commercial interests are not simply investing in your patronage, but they attempt to commodify a massive chunk of your life. Your lifestyle becomes a resource – a resource that is strip-mined for everything your got and don’t got (via credit).

They sucker you in with the only simulacra that exists anymore with any meaning (ooh, the paradox): the ‘bargain’. The logic of the ‘sale’ or the ‘bargain’ motivates consumers to lease out their lifestyles – represented as circuits of consumption – to themselves so commercial interests can accrue rent, i.e. produce surplus value, over a network of consumption rather than a single point transaction. The bargain is a simulacra in one of Baudrillard’s modes (I can’t remember which one??). It is the logic that fools people into believing they are producing value by spending money. Is that retarded or what? Advertising seduction merely prompts consumers to desire something. The recent developments in consumer incentives organises this desire into seemingly self-perpetuating locuses of consumption.

Getting to my point, the model for this is not some fantastic business venture schemed up to rip multi-millionaires off. I argue the model is derived from children’s television programming. At some point in history the story became subsumed to these networks/circuits of consumption. The circuits of consumption were once derived from the fandom generated by a show to become the motivating force behind the show. So now these circuits of consumption organise fandom. Disney has been on the ball for years, it never really made the final step though… There is a dialectical tension between the principle of organisation implicitly promoted by the commercial interests and the organisation of fandom immanent to itself. I talk about this in my thesis with the car dudes and their enthusiasm. Some fandoms/enthusiasms are more autonomous than others. For example, computer game modders probably have more autonomy in terms of im/material production that sustains their fandom than does, say, an eight year old kid playing with his Pokemons.

Perhaps the best example of this is the US re-produced Japanese anime that was known in the US and elsewhere (including Australia) as Robotech. The fellows at Harmony Gold (US re-production house) had the genius to reconstruct three separate anime series from Japan into one massive show. They could do this because all three original series were made or influenced by the artwork of a single Japanese anime artist. Anyway, the deal would only be struck to make (or reproduce) the series as Robotech if they could guarantee sales of merchandising for toy maker Hasbro. The link between the show and the merchandising was intrinsic to the development of the show – the proof is found on the DVDs in the seven Robotech boxsets (I own them all, suckers!). There are a number of voice-overs and interviews that explain the relationship between Harmony Gold and Hasbro was essential to the re-production of Robotech and therefore, I argue, Robotech fandom.

The next stage in this commodifcation of networks of fandom is not modelled on television programming, but major league sports. Pay per view. With media on demand only a few dreamy sleeps away (like christmas!) the congruence of medias will herald the congruence of lifestyles, production and fandom – the biopolitical production of the perfect consumer.

What spawned this post is the now-running incentive program on the Cartoon Network called _Eyeballs 2_. It connects with Johnathan Beller’s argument regarding the ‘cinematic mode of production’ and check out a response to it also. Through what Beller calls the “labour of looking” kiddies collect ‘eyeballs’ and trade them in. The Cartoon Network is doing a massive favour to tomorrow’s business.

The ‘eyeball’ itself is interesting. It is not the ‘eyeballs’ of the kids (or big-kid PhD students) watching cartoons, but the eyeballs of capital. They are multiple and are only defined by their number – deterritorialised multiplicities. The qualitative differences between cartoons don’t matter. What matters is how many ‘eyeballs’ you have. You are defined by your ‘eyeballs’, or, rather, how many ‘eyeballs’ have you. They call it an ‘eyeD’ card.

The recent furore around mpeg music and movies online gains a different importance. It is not only the labour of looking that is being lost – the pay-per-view factor. What is also lost is the ability to manipulate consumers into circuits of consumption. The crucial scripts that determine the organisation of fandom are taken out of the hands of synergised media conglomerates and back in the hands of consumers. It is a bit like when car enthusiasts go street racing, there is no need to go to the drag strip…