anxiety, stress, depression… and fun!

I haven’t quite figured out how to make anxiety and stress productive instead of depressive yet. Yesterday was a bad day for me.

I had chopped up the previous version of the diss and extracted the relevant bits for the next chapter. This basically involves most of the discussion of the development of the Street Machining scene in the 1980s with examples of the 1970s and present day scenes so as to compare. 43000 words into about 17000 words worth of argument. The shock of 130 scrollable pages on my computer screen was very different to the elation of finishing a chapter over the weekend. Too much, too much. Last night I got it down to 32000 words just by chopping out all superfluous discussions and references (to works by Whitehead and Deleuze mostly).

Lost my temper and exhausted my patience during a discussion of the new RTA advertisements on Larvatus Prodeo. The following is a less angry version of my comments. I was seething with some old-fashioned class hatred. In general, there is not enough class hatred. My nouveau bourgie intellectual lifestyle certainly would make me a target. Yesterday, however, I could’ve led a revolution.

I can’t believe that the soft liberal left would be so stupid as to allow themselves to be interpellated in the exact same way that the reactionary right is interpellated. The soft liberal left hate hoons. Hoons are loud and aggressive young men who seemingly don’t give a shit about anyone else and apparently cause all the accidents within the system of automobility. This is a mystified belief because as I have argued in my academic writing the statistics just do not support such a conclusion. However, the ads are a brilliant example of the left being manipulated through what I have called the ‘biopolitics of the sign’. (I discuss this in my diss, read Baudrillard through Foucault!) The advertisement has been constructed not to actually change road user behaviour, on the contrary, as one commentor on LP put it:

The purpose of the ads is to demonstrate to the community that the state government is sincerely concerned about road safety.

Demonstrating one is sincerely concerned about a problem and actually solving the problem are two separate things.
Well done, you stupid bourgie fucks.

Beyond the abject stupidity of the welcoming reaction to the ad given to it by the soft liberal left is the stupidity of the ad itself. The question of masculinities is an interesting one, and demonstrates the further stupidity of commentors over on LP. The ads basically seem to be drawing on decade old research that sought to connect a ‘protest masculinity’ of young working class men with particular anti-social driving practices. Besides the actual sexual reference, within neo-Freudian discourse (with a bit of Lacan and D&G) the Phallus is the overcoding signifier that organises the rest of the patriarchal Symbolic order. So the ad is reinscribing dominant gendered power relations by framing acts of stupidity in terms of a lack of access to material resources and opportunities because of a lesser position within the Symbolic order. This is the exact same disabling position that is allegedly meant to produce protest masculinities. Hence, the circuit is reproduced (if you believe this neo-Freudian bullshit). Well done, you stupid bourgie fucks.

The ad doesn’t function to change the subjectivities of the alleged target population. The problem with the ad is that it functions within a particular discourse and does not pertain to the reality of the situation. The RTA site states that the ad is meant to combat ‘youth speeding’.

Our aim is to make speeding socially unacceptable
In NSW speeding is a factor in about 40 per cent of road deaths each year. This means more than 220 people die each year in NSW because of speeding.

In addition to those killed, more than 4000 people are injured in speed-related crashes each year. The estimated cost to the community of speed-related crashes is about $500 million a year.

The ‘Speeding. No one thinks big of you’ youth speeding campaign is one part of our effort.

Doing 200 km/h on the spot while doing a burnout is not speeding. Not stopping for someone a a crosswalk to cross the road is not speeding. Drifting around a corner and arcing it up is not speeding. Most practices depicted in the ad are examples of an activity called ‘hooning’. ‘Hooning’, according to the QLD police service’s own statistics, accounts for less than one half of one percent of all accidents. There is a disjunction between the over-representation of young men in road safety statistics and the peanuts who go around doing burnouts and acting like hoons.

YOUNG MEN DO NOT CRASH AND DIE IN LARGE NUMBERS BECAUSE OF THE ACTS THE SAME OR SIMILAR AS PERFORMED IN THE ROAD SAFETY ADVERTISEMENT.

‘Speeding’ is a discursive statement, in Foucualt’s parlance, meaning ’speeding’ is a particular discourse event within language that is differentially repeated in various ways. So ’speeding’ is also present as actual ’speeding’, ‘hooning’, and all types of the other forms of practice that ‘bad’ drivers are described as.

‘Speeding’ is meant to refer to a certain kind of selfishness by which road users refuse to participate as members of traffic. ‘Traffic’ is a contemporary equivalent of the ‘panopticon’ based around controlling vectors of movement rather than distributing populations wihtin spaces through technologies of visibility. We internalise various technologies of social control organised around immanent queueing systems (this of course is some of the good stuff from my actual dissertation). Where ever there is a queue, the social technology of ‘traffic’ is in effect. These stupid kids doing burnouts and shit are being used to discipline the rest of you so you embody the social expectations of the queue whenever you are part of traffic (wherever it is, shopping centres, phone lines, some other bullshit). It has nothing to do with saving p-platers’ lives, but acting on the punitive glee the stupid bourgie fucks have for those who don’t ‘queue’ in ‘traffic’. Yes, go forth and be good ‘road users’ in every queue, especially the queues produced through the false scarcity and modes of distibution of resources within capitalism…

Bad driving is driving in such a way to not leave enough of a gap between cars, going faster than the flow of traffic, not entering and leaving the flwo of traffic properly, not being aware of other cars and the non/existence of ‘gaps’ in traffic (ie blindspots), etc. Did the ad combat any of these things? No. Waste of money. Well done, you stupid bourgie fucks.

Tackle the actual problem not segment a targeted population (p-platers) to produce a media apparatus to capture the affective interest of another population (stupid bourgie fucks) for political gain.

back to the diss…

6 thoughts on “anxiety, stress, depression… and fun!”

  1. Great post.

    Choice comments from car-enthusiast forum:

    LOL its got sweet fuck all to do with speeding!

    If i was behind that yellow XR and saw those chicks do that after his attempt if pop it at 8k 4th gear and pop the tyres! fuck yeahhhhh!

    and keep goin on the rims!

    lol at the HUGE angle of the vl….

    i thiink the add states that everyones pissweak and needs to try harder MORE SMOKE MORE ANGLE!

    thats what the add says to me!

  2. Totally agree and I said as much on LP. This ad really grinds my gears, and I don’t even own a bloody car.

  3. Keep at it Glen! Don’t get depressed, anxious – go for a long walk and then approach the chapter again, slightly more refreshed. He is big G, but a softie at heart!

  4. Hey Glen, have you read Rant by Chuck Palahniuk? I bought it when I was in Sydney a few weeks ago and I think you might find its take on automotive culture interesting…

    Also, you have been working at an epic level. I think you should allow yourself some off days here and there.

  5. hey! I’ll party when I’m asleep, no, I’ll party when I’m dead, no, hang on… shit

    I am coping rather well with my current full tilt boogie lifestyle. For example, I depotentialise my anxiety through little rituals of patience. Patience is such a productive disposition! Not only in pedagogy, as I have discussed before on here, but allowing oneself time to work through what needs to be done and allowing oneself to discern between needs. A need is of course to do nothing or get drunk or see Transformers! yeah!

    I only have one proper chapter left for the diss then a complete final version final draft will be done. I have given myself 12 days to do it. Then I don’t sleep for about 18 days.

    Now I am writing the gaming paper I talked about on here earlier. Sweet. Distributions of actions and situations! woo!

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