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Showing posts from September, 2015

Identity Politics at its Nadir: the Viet Cong Controversy

Although we shouldn't be shocked that the limitations of identity politics has reached its nadir, it has definitely reached its point of self-destructing ignorance in the case of the recent furor over the name of the indie band Viet Cong .  As I've argued before, identity politics is the result of a valid impulse to deal with the problematic of sites of oppression that were not theorized by traditional marxism, and yet ended up becoming a set politics with serious limitations .  In the case of this Viet Cong "controversy" (which is also, to be honest, a hipster tempest in a tea cup, but still revealing), however, we have a case where an identity politics discourse is left in form but right in essence. To summarize: the band Viet Cong wanted to play a DIY art space in Toronto, "Double Double Land", and was told they couldn't because one of the artists who runs this site, Jon McCurley, found their name offensive.  He described the name as a "joke a

Some things of note…

A general update here, in lieu of posting the next piece of my Terrorist Assemblages  review, of things I've found interesting, or that I've been involved with, in recent weeks… Sticky Notes: so immediate! First of all, I've been reading a lot of The Worker's Spatula .  I don't know who is behind this website, but whoever they are they're fucking hilarious: it's kind of like an Onion  for the communist left, and thus requires an understanding of communism and the anti-capitalist left in general, to really get––perfect, then, for most of my readers.  I don't find all of their articles super funny, but most of them are.  And to be clear, when I say that "I don't find all of their articles super funny" I don't mean that I find the articles that poke fun at things connected to my set politics unfunny (i.e. like when they parodied Sison), because I actually find those things the most  funny: I truly like laughing at myself. More that,

Let's Read "Terrorist Assemblages"! A Phenomenological Review: Chapter Two

In my previous entries in this series I worried about Puar's eclecticism.  By this chapter, however, it seems as if she is beginning to centre her theoretical approach around Agamben, particularly his concept of the "state of exception."  While I don't think this enough to allow her to escape completely from the charge of eclecticism (because I think Agamben is also somewhat eclectic), or from the charge of a very narrow idealism (Agamben's focus and over-application of a Schmitt-inspired concept has always revealed an obsession of appearance over substance, an inability to cut down to the material foundation upon which both the state of exception and homo sacer  are dependent), it does permit a greater level of coherency. Earlier I worried that Puar's concept of homonationalism, though perhaps useful for most imperialist countries, was very US-centric.  Unfortunately this chapter confirms my fears about how the theory has been conceived as nationally spe