After a comment asking what sort of car I have, I decided to upload a video into youtube of my car which is currently in storage. This was taken just under two years ago. As I say in the youtube description: “you know there is some crazy shit going on with the motor when it sounds like a bird tweeting and a drag car at the same time. it is meant to sound like that.”

Seeing and hearing it again brings back many memories!! Including swapping the complete dash over once on the lawn of a rental house. lol When he was over recently, my dad said that he may try to get it going again while it is in storage.

When I write about modified cars, such as for my PhD, this is one version of what I am talking about. So put some headphones on and turn it up. Or better yet, if you have a decent stereo hooked up to your computer with a subwoofer, then turn it up really loud and you’ll get some sense of what the car is like. 🙂

PS I hope the embedded link works. 

Beazley Internet/Library comment

Via Anna at LP I found out about Kim Beazley, Leader of the Opposition, explaining on WA radio that, in Anna’s summation of his comment, “actually, Googling was no better or worse than looking up books in a library; and in the same way, the trick is to teach students to use the internet effectively and to ensure everyone has access to this important learning tool.” For once Beazley delineated a position that was not petite-Howard, so I fired off an email to him:

Dear Mr Beazley,

Sincere congratulations on the comment you made on the WA ABC Morning radio program regarding the relation between knowledge, the internet and libraries in the context of the so-called History Wars. It is the first time I have felt you have addressed an issue in such a way that would make me proud to have you as PM.

Howard’s focus in these History Wars on brute facts relies on some archaic conception of knowledge in an attempt to resuscitate residual forms of knowledge transmission. Yet, in the future we cannot possibly expect kids or even skilled workers not to use the internet as a knowledge resource. The internet is one of the greatest achievements of humanity and it should be used.

You have clearly delineated a position that is not only right, but, more importantly, it is one that Australia’s PM needs to have to lead us into the future. 

Kind regards,

Glen Fuller.

Biopolitics and the Sign of Biology

Biopolitics’ last domain is, finally — I am enumerating the main // ones, or at least those that appeared in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; many others would appear later — control over relations between the human race, or human beings insofar as they are a species, insofar as they are living beings, and their environment, the milieu in which they live. […]

I am simply pointing out some of biopolitics’ starting points, some of its practices, and the first of its domains of intervention, knowledge, and power: biopolitics will derive its knowledge from, and define its power’s field of intervention in terms of, the birth rate, the mortality rate, various biological disabilities, and the effects of the environment. […]

Disciplines, for their part, dealt with individuals and their bodies in practical terms. What we are dealing with in this new technology of power is not exactly society (or at least not the social body, as defined by the jurists, nor is it the individual-as-body. It is a new body, a multiple body, a body with so many heads that, while they might not be infinite in number, cannot necessarily be counted. Biopolitics deals with the population, with the population as political problem, as a problem that is at once scientific and political, as a biological problem and as power’s problem. And I think that biopolitics emerges at this time. […]

You can see that [the nature of phenomena taken into consideration] are // collective phenomena which have their economic and political effects, and that they become pertinent only at the mass level. They are phe­nomena that are aleatory and unpredictable when taken in themselves or individually, but which, at the collective level, display constants that are easy, or at least possible, to establish. And they are, finally, phenomena that occur over a period of time, which have to be studied over a certain period of time; they are serial phenomena. The phe­nomena addressed by biopolitics are, essentially, aleatory events that occur within a population that exists over a period of time.

— Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, pgs 244-246. [// = page break] 

Deleuze asserts in his book on Foucault that Foucault used history so as to think philosophically. If this is so, then, at the very minimum, every time history was used to think philosphically a slight modification would have to be wrought upon history so it would not be literal or the ‘brute facticity’ of the situation (as Foucault once described it). So why is it, in every thing I have read on biopolitics from mainly Anglo authors, they take Foucault literally when he is discussing biopolitics in the middle section of the above quote from Society Must Be Defended? He signals that he is only introducing the domains — ‘the starting points’ – in the early part of the above, and then in the final paragraph gives a general definition in terms of the general phenomena that he suggests concerns biopolitics.

Health, medicine, race, and biology are not the only, the most common, or even the most relevant domains of biopower and therefore biopolitics in contemporary society. To focus on those domains that explicitly deal with allegedly biological concerns in terms of Biology is akin to reading ‘disciplinarity’ only in terms of Criminology. (Is it because Biology has greater credence as a science than Criminology?) I could use much stronger language because it is clear these people are not stupid and yet they write such repetitive nonsense. So far it seems as if most researchers have mistaken Biopolitics as the politics derived from all that that comes under the sign of Biology (rather than focusing on the issue of the governance of the life of populations).

Have they not seen Super Size Me? I want to use it as an example. Is biopolitics only that which happens when Morgan Spurlock visits the doctor? Or what happens when the consumption of McDonalds modifies Spurlock’s body and his life? No, none of this is biopolitics, however the film allows for a certain biopolitcal understanding of the consumption of McDonald’s burgers. The mass of McDonalds consumers is a ‘population’. The act of repetitive consumption of McDonald’s itself is an act of biopower that reconfigures the consuming body so it is addicted (in terms of what Guattari called ‘machinic dope’). Isn’t the myriad calculations by McDonald’s so as to produce a given market anbd poulation of consumers a biopolitical act? This population is in part constituted by the images of advertising. Capitalist eros and the pornographic seriality of the capitalist image are therefore biopolitical problems. Lastly, subjectivities are produced that involve collective modes of sociality within which the perception circulates that “It’s ok to consume Macca’s”. What has this got to do with ‘health science’ or some shit? Nothing!

Forget biology.

I am trying to conceive of the biopolitics of markets in terms of the affective capture and modulation of populations. I need a political economy of biopower in niche-mediated consumer economies for my thesis. The media’s role is to anchor certain populations so they can be exploited by advertising — be it commercial or political — and then organised into action or exchange.