As dangerous as a midnight coffee #2: knee deep in the hoopla

At it again. It is where its at. The at to the it et al (multiplcity).

Today the scales at gym told me I weigh 100kg, which is of course nonsense as my body mass fluctuates quite a bit depending on what I have been doing (but only by 2 or 3 kgs in a weekend). I am close to getting to my 100kg goal before going home in early June.

This bloody chapter… Am I wrong to try to bring so much stuff together? Thornton’s subcultural capital read through Bourdieu’s practical knowledge i the context of what Moorhouse calls ‘know how’ = a practical knowledge of the capacities of the scene that is potentialised as it is in-acted. I have coined the neologism ‘in-action’ to describe the process of integration of what Whitehead calls prehensions, specifically conceptual prehensions (knowledge), in relation to the events of action that I am talking about. Of course I decide to talk about all this using historical examples, so enter Foucault and his archeological method which is problematic for only dealing with ruled-based configuations of discourse rather than the mediations between abstraction and experience through affect of ‘practical knowledge’. WTF has this got to do with modified-car culture? lol…

Five songs to keep me going tonight:

5) “Dream Operator” Talking Heads, True Stories
4) “We Built this City” Starship
3) “Anyway you want it” Journey
2) “Dammit” Blink 182
1) “Finish Line” Snow Patrol

casual academics

NTEU is having conferences in each State and Territory over the next couple of months for casual academics. Sign up for the conference here. They also have an online survey which I have just filled out and here is the response to one of the questions:

It is almost as if the university thinks that casual academic staff are being done a favour by being ‘given’ employment. This is complete and utter bullshit. The university very well knows that the excess labour of casual staff and the insecurity of their workplace conditions can be used to control the staff and maintain invisible workplace relations. Ideas are not separate from their material conditions of circulation be they books or in the bodies of academics. The insecurity of casual academics directly impacts on the security of knowledge.

The bourgeois middle-class credentials of academics is put on display not through cultural performances of class, but through the dire material conditions of their younger ‘colleagues’. No one is going to die (except mental health issues and suicides) and I eat and pay my rent, but I survive because I am fueled purely by the burning contempt I have for those who clearly do know better.

Indeed, the only good thing about this state of affairs is that such workplace conditions are having the effect of producing a generation of extremely angry young academics who have the determination to survive. Every single one of my academic friends is concerned about this, even those who are ‘lucky’ enough to be on ‘full time’ three year post-doc contracts. How stupid are universities and managerial staff if they don’t think an entire generation of militant academics is going to come back and bite them where it hurts?

the invisible: emo poetics

The Invisible has an interesting soundtrack. One of the songs is Snow Patrol’s “Open Your Eyes” (from the Eyes Open album) The particular emo poetics that defines the premiss of The Invisible can be deduced from the key lines of Snow Patrol’s song:

I want you so much to open your eyes,
Because I need you to look into mine.

Such a poetic may indicate new constellations of youth. When some smart little cookie figures out how to properly translate Foucault’s archeological method into a Cultural Studies context and goes looking for ‘statements’ in the archive of popular culture one such example may be of so-called teenage rebellion or as I prefer to think of it the alienation of youth. The alienation of youth is not an alienation at all, but part equal measures an ‘escape’ built into the capitalist system to capture the youthful exuberance of young people and the opposite of an escape and that is an enduring stand against the system to paradoxically produce a little piece of the world removed from the rest. Of course ‘youth’ is not a typological category or identity but a process whereby new subjects are fashioned from those assessed to be old enough to assume the ‘freedom’ of adulthood. Being an adult is hence presented as a ‘good’ thing, which is a complete joke once the current normative life trajectory is taken into account (born-child-youth-youngadult-middleadult-oldadult-retired-dead). ‘Youth’ is a singularity that expresses the demarcation of a threshold in this process and which is distributed across a family of statements pertaining to youth culture.

The Invisible has been panned by basically everyone, but from what I know about the film (which is little) it may present an attempt to rearticulate in cinema form the next iteration of youth. The plotline has the makings of a Shakespearean-scale tragedy, involving the contingencies of conspiracy, near misses, traitors, heartbreak, and love, it is a pity that the writers couldn’t have been a little more restrained with the moralizing overcoding. Everything is about the choices made by some stupid kids. Why are these kids burdened with the responsibility of a neoliberal performance-based decisionist rationality when they are immersed in the punitive reality of ungracious adults and a system that does not allow them to make their own mistakes? This is where I think the film may go wrong. Instead of framing it in terms of “real selves” as “invisible to others, one due to his untimely death and the other due to the neglect she’s endured since the death of her mother” why not frame it in terms of the utter poverty of a culture that does not have the confidence or the generosity to allow kids to problematise their own errors in their own ways?

This is what is truly invisible: technologies of visibility that allow kids to see themselves in the world in ways that do not conform to the expectations of a society for which they are being fashioned as subjects. Do adults punish kids with their own stupidity and inability to make a better world? This is to read the Snow Patrol song not as a lament about a friend or loved one, but, even though it refers to a second person ‘you’, it is a lament about one’s self. As if How to open one’s eyes to one’s self not as an autonomous being separate from the world, but as a rich and problematic fold of the world. To give one’s self a perspective on the world by giving one’s self a perspective on one’s self. I know I shall be forever grateful to my parents for allowing me to make my own mistakes and then supporting me when I inevitably did.

(Is it possible for Snow Patrol to get any cooler than they already are? The video of Open your Eyes is from Claude LeLauch’s C’était un rendez-vous the same film that inspired the Getaway in Stockholm people to make their film (as I discovered when I interviewed Mr A in Stockholm). I think the Snow Patrol people must be car dudes considering how much of their music is car related!)

Now, if only I could sleep…

Bob the BLF Member


From Friday night.

More fun was had.

Outfit was a complete success 😉

Images from my mate Peter, see some more on my flickr.

Last night I went out with some crew to a place in the Sydney CBD called Retros. I like the skanky university pubs better compared to the sleeker, massive and more mainstream city clubs, but it was like a double retro flashback. Double flashback not only because of the music (refrains galore, blocks of affect) but cause it was like I was 18 or 19 and back home going out with the dudes in my suburb. I would wear a suit (I had 5).

Had a good walk home for some supplies and then pushed on to St Peters to pick my bike up before riding it home again. A good 2.5 hour transverse of the city. No gym today.