The greatest American liberty

The greatest American liberty is to be left alone to do and say as one pleases (ending at (just the) tip of the other’s nose).

You can call this religious liberty or freedom of speech or any other sociopolitical semantic construction you desire. What many of the conservatives in the room seem to be forgetting of late is that this live and let die policy demands that you don’t get upset by what you see if you insist on being a voyeur and spying on your neighbors.

Exponentially worse than the linguistic decision to allow literally (because of such rampant misuse) to also be defined as figuratively, is the application of law to enforce ‘religious’ liberty. Liberty is based on what one can be forced to do or kept from doing (or, rather, the absence of that force). It is not (in any way) based on what one can be asked to tolerate, to accept, to understand, to learn about, or to accept as fully human. Religious liberty (or liberty of any legally enforceable kind) is unrelated to what one may or may not agree with (despite deeply held beliefs). Otherwise my religious liberty invalidates your capitalism and willingness to destroy the planet.

Given that so many of those ‘deeply held beliefs’ are based on modern interpretations of ancient, translated writing  (mythologic, figurative, and often marked by extreme poetic license) the claim becomes even more tenuous. Social reality is based on consensual construction and shared meaning. Liberty is not, and cannot, be based on the attempt to force shared meaning, especially such culturally specific (in this case evangelical) meaning. The inability to accept that meaning is constructed or the inability to believe that history did not happen the way one wants to believe it did is not a basis upon which to insist that others blindly follow the path of ignorance. One is entitled, in America, to be ignorant and useless. One is not empowered to insist that the government protect that ignorance or force it upon others.

Post:Noise

Post:Noise is the umbrella term (it is not exactly a genre in the way that no ()holistic non-totalizing work can ever truly be classified in a codified ‘genre’) that I use to define my sonic and video/spectacle work. It is an application of thoryvology into the arts.

Briefly, it is a category that describes work undertaken with the received methods and practices of Noise but with goals beyond those most commonly associated with Noise. It does not seek to be loudest, most abrasive, or any other appellation of furthest from the norm (cf. Attali). Noise is sufficient in that respect and the work of noise artists and noisicians continues to pursue those ends. Thoryvology, and thus post:noise, recognizes the arbitrary nature of boundaries and lines of demarcation and does not apply its lines of flight in those directions. Post:Noise does not seek the fringe but embodies it, does not seek to alienate but is alienated.

The OED (the prime record of this bastard tongue) has 22 separate definitions for ‘post.’ This post will be an effort in intentional cutup contextomy (a thoryvological research method), mining from those 22 definitions of ‘post’ and the two for ‘noise’ an approximation of the concept of post:noise (postnoise, post/noise, post-noise, &c).

Life in the physical world less its core and is relatively cool way Senses relating to sound or of the brain any of the set upright ground for various purposes occurring or existing after as a make remarks or comments Strife contention wall or other barrier cancellation of up or consume a considerable part in mood in a manner perceived of a signal interfere with or times in haste to start on out of a place to say time of the actual sucker attaches a lack of zealous support relaxed time or order to sift or a quarrel to achieve general notoriety points selectively reducing a device which influenced or informed by every cultural or renown without display or ostentation the termination pulse progress is no the brain of the brain in places along similar messages in ancient occurring following an apocalypse shaped or off course unacceptable in the time an attack resulting from inflammation resulting of dissonance or inharmonious feedback that education rejects some of the more a journey time at which a special payment rejecting traditional notions in materialistic attitudes or values associated with or make available disadvantageous position summon report record or list by name meaning pay or provide trample pound a phase of discourse operating after relating to waste generated designating a of something off the marked route, human existence following or reacting to maintain to imply mention in passing relating to or designating acceleration occurring related theoretical approaches exhibiting a cultural important end of the first year result of the point in a after attending designating or relating to act entry in a ledger) with later than following since Referring to midday typified by or characteristic of deliberately for use in various momentarily swift angelic messenger worth occupying a is experienced after the cessation of time or society no longer later the auditory apparatus situated or occurring or showing awareness the fall of the importance or prevalence of the to be pleasant or melodious to information irrelevant or superfluous information distracts to be sounded produce or supply the passage falls below threshold value milieu characterized by a decline in with a wooden implement Subsequent to by voices shouting outcry various kinds the environment a radio emission from after (flawed transaction or dispossession) suitable written word existing after metamorphosis occurring event or movement before after infection from an episode of inadequate supply (specified) position a place of duty or experienced after the end of (later also of metal) Now rare or dim occurring or undertaken after duty responsibility) deflect pass off from as overdue or missing to display by name as having failed publicly as a state which exists or shift designating, or characteristic of a behind the ear behind or below reducing output without triggering unwanted change the disturbance caused by this disturbance Scandal controversy fuss to cause a the sun order to improve the decline of the importance of having (boundary marker inanimate, unresponsive, stupid whipping obscure a signal distortions or additions the part which supplies nerves of oneself postpone defer or delay push make known, advertise bring before the hand over transfer or shift (a random or irregular disturbances not part which no longer has fusion at to receive one’s comeuppance to use utter (prophecy after the event eternity mind following a decline or failure beyond the balanced state of climax the strategic position taken up or mankind a circle of time or loud, harsh, or unpleasant to pretend the brain beyond the stigma fissure which interfere with the transfer of is characteristic sound of any kind subsequent to a convulsion having undergone the time of transition designating or itself to its host situated behind time or place after such contact notice and comment talk much or tavern was kept to be frustrated up to date inform with reflexive as characteristic of the time immediately be responsible for debts publicly list exist or after the end of on which the reckoning at a stupid or contemptible statement or idea compare slightly earlier style abstract advocating following the dissolution or collapse of occupy a strategic position intoxicating beverage of the sounds produced in this affected by forces human body and longer tenable no longer strong adherence unwanted line or surface (imaginary) joining some other state of the brain caused by sounds, discordancy disturbance made after the cosmos has ceased to through an aperture or slot bring loudly about a thing Nonsense foolishness alternate sheets the first such call disgrace to advertise publicly no longer performed or applied after the emergence refine preoccupied with the past after succession at which development has continued sends an electrical signal to halt quality outcry to cry out drive public expose to ignominy obloquy or sounds produced in this way any stir become the object of general.

 That explains it, right?

Not that kind of public intellectual

public intellectual

Today, more than ever before, to think one’s time, especially when one takes the risk or chance of speaking publicly about it, is to register, in order to bring it into play, the fact that the time of this very speaking is artificially produced.

– Jacques Derrida, Echographies of Television

It was an odd thing, finally getting around to reading Nick Kristof’s appeal to public intellectuals. The first oddity was, within my network, its utter incomprehensibility. My feeds were inundated with rebuttals well before I ever got around to searching out the original op-ed. There are no shortage of public intellectuals in my sphere. While that might be easily discounted because I am, in fact, an intellectual myself. I don’t understand how it is any harder for anyone else to have decided to follow the same twitter feeds, blogs, and news outlets I have. They are all equally public and while they may not have the mass appeal or global reach of the Old Grey Lady, they are not hiding.

Analyses of Kristof’s piece abound on the interwebs (I enjoyed these)

angry_prof
Intellectuals are thinkers. Public intellectuals think out loud. Gainfully employed public intellectuals ride unicorns to work.
2/16/14, 7:41 PM

but the question that keeps coming to me is: Does the public really want intellectuals? There was another Times opinion piece I read that seeks to discount the rationality of atheism. It was written by public intellectuals. With degrees. But that it sought to undermine why 62% of philosophers are atheist is troubling. Maybe this is why I read the Times for its headlines and otherwise let it exist as the populist paper it seeks to be (does that make me super elitist?). Because if we need a paper of record to reassure the public that it is irrational for the educated to be more secular and thus perfectly acceptable to believe in anything (Ken Ham makes a number of assertions in the ‘name’ of ‘science’), perhaps more public intellectuals is not really what the public is looking for.

Nietzsche says that what is important is not the news that God is dead, but the time this news takes to bear fruit.

– Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

No one likes being told that they are stupid, that their belief system is wrong, archaic, childish, or worthy of mockery. Not that an intellectual (or anyone) should ever adopt such a dismissive attitude towards the public, but absent a willingness to doubt belief systems and knowledge structures, that’s certainly how it can come across. Perhaps what is necessary in developing a large impact for public intellectuals is for the public to seek out the intellectuals, to meet us halfway. There are plenty of blogs and news outlets that are academic or don’t dumb down the research. Some journals may be behind paywalls but enough of them are not. There is a vast literature available in books (maybe not in your local library, but perhaps that can be remedied) and increasingly open access publishing.

Given the reaction that I have seen to Kristof’s argument, the issue is not a lack of intellectuals or a lack of desire to make our knowledge publicly available, accessible, understood. Perhaps the problem is that the public does not want us. Does not want us challenging the status quo, questioning belief systems, economic ‘certainties’, political and value structures, privileges. Or maybe you’re just not looking in the right places.

The least acceptable thing on television, on the radio, or in the newspapers today is for intellectuals to take their time or to waste other people’s time there. Perhaps this is what must be changed in actuality: its rhythm. Media professionals aren’t supposed to wast any time. Neither theirs nor ours. Which they are nonetheless often sure to do. They know the cost, if not the value, of time. Before denouncing, as is constantly done, the silence of the intellectuals, why not give some thought to this new mediatic situation?

– Jacques Derrida, Echographies of Television

The purview of theory (exploring the elephant graveyards)

Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.

But what about that shadowy place? There was apparently some dust up this week after Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s The Prison-House of Data hit the interwebs.

So instead of focusing on my current projects (or, perhaps approaching them obliquely) I got to thinking about what is and is not theory, what is justifiably the purview of theory,and the concept of the digital humanities as such.

What then will have been the digital humanities? The Infinite Archive? Twitter Theory? Digilogocentrism and the reinsertion of telepresence?

What isn’t digital humanities? Is it merely a case of certain aspects of the humanities and the academy refusing to live in the future? A via quest to remain in the false security of the linear world of print and old classics?

Digital Archiving, data management, and hypertext-an-sich were first out of the gate when enterprising humanists found computers and computer networks. But that they should remain the defining and imprisoning elements of the “digital humanities” is absurd and one of the significant limitations of the academy, especially one that seeks to maintain artificial distinctions between the disciplines.

The elephant graveyard might have been a necessary plot point for Lion King but the academy and specifically the humanities should recognize no such limitations. That grants maintain these artificial distinction when doling out money to artists and scientists is a depressing consequence of this semantic shortsightedness that does indeed need to be rectified. One of so many similar problems about a higher education system based on churning out employees and making the world safe for conformity and capitalism.

For now I will continue to just call myself a theorist and leave the appending of qualifiers to those afraid to think outside of clearly delineated categories.

I also write poems.