Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Friday, July 22, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
1 I often declare that "Every futurism is a retro-futurism." There is, of course, a whiff of paradox about the aphorism.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
2 It seems paradoxical not least, given an inherent progressivity that seems to freight any concern with or aspiration toward "the future."— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
3 But I hope I have made the critique of futurology as the quintessential neoliberal/neoconservative discourse enough by now…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
4 documenting year after year the corporatism of futurological politics, the militarism of its history, the marketing form of its publicity.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
5 If I have managed to overcome the paradox and supported the contention that the apparent progressivity of futurisms…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
6 has in fact rationalized and stealthed reactionary assumptions, proposals, and practices, then the interesting question becomes…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
7 the question *why* this is so, what discursive mechanism facilitates this futurological confusion or deception.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
8 I propose that futurology is a narrative/rhetorical genre that invests the vicissitudes of technodevelopmental social struggle with…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
9 a coherence reassuring to elite incumbents and a destiny consoling (or in denial) to beings subject to ignorance, suffering and death.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
10 The relentless, ramifying reductionist impulse of futurological discourse seems to me its most conspicuous reactionary operation:— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
11 Reduction suffuses the futurological imaginary -- from the reduction of culture to biology (eugenics, evo-psycho, memetics, eg)…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
12 or the reduction of biology to computation (brain as computer, evolution as algorithm, reality as simulation, eg)…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
13 to the reduction of historical contingencies and complexities via technological determinism, forces of history or various scientisms.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
14 These seem to me less the source than symptoms of a deeper reductionism defining the futurological, its denial of the pluralism…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
15 of humanity and humane reasonableness, a denial that substituting instrumental for political conceptions of freedom and history.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
16 This instrumentalization of the political systematically confuses the amplification of given capacities for emancipation:— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
17 facilitating the false and facile futurological commonplace that peddles status quo amplification as progress, disruption, innovation,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
18 but also misconstruing public happiness (the pleasures and provocations of assembly) as consumer satisfactions and…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
19 misconstruing progress (the contingent and interminable worldmaking struggle of worldsharers) as production and accumulation.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
20 "The Future" is always a denial of the futurity inhering in the plurality of stakeholders in the present-opening-onto-next-presence...— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
21 and I believe it is this denial that is at the root of the susceptibility of the futurological imaginary to reactionary politics.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
Republican politics dangerously re-frames disputes over shared problems and their policy solution into occasions for cultural signaling...— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
The vehement adherence of Republicans to austerian economics and climate change denial revealed the susceptibility of the Party to Trump.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
Of course, a deeper and more obvious truth is that the GOP is the party of racism and Trump was the loudest racist vying for the nomination.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
This actually connects to the first point inasmuch as racism is another pseudo-scientific belief, an irrational rationality as Fanon put it,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
and the GOP shift from facticity to culture war is happening in the context of white-supremacist resentment/grievance in a diverse world.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 21, 2016
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
But none of this makes Donald Trump some kind of uncanny unstoppable force of nature. Remember when people marveled that Karl Rove was some kind of sooper-genius phenomenon... just because he was so brazen in his willingness to lie and cheat? Donald Trump and Karl Rove are utter mediocrities, they are ethically failed human beings. It was and remains only the ongoing failure of our organizations to weed them out when they fail to meet the standards of sustainable public organizations and resources, or even to prosecute them when they break rules and laws that renders them apparent "phenomena."
The GOP is now nothing but the party of scared racist bullies. The scared racist bullies of the GOP liked the biggest racist bully. And that was clearly Donald Trump. Few point out this bald truth and hence few are capable of getting at the "mystery" of the Trump phenomenon, or the failure of conventional wisdom the about the experience, expenditure, most convincing checking off of the plutocratic talking points (more defense spending, lower taxes on the rich, punitive austerity for "them," white-racist patriarchal Christianist family values over all), or the person whose "turn" it is to win the GOP nomination to win this time around.
Permit me to be "smug" for a moment. Racism is stupid and insane and evil. And its public voice is dying into impotent marginality -- which is not to deny the horror and heartbreak of its legacy and lingering force. None of the mediocre, bland bigots of the GOP's so-called "deep bench" of unpopular untalented unaccomplished uncharismatic Governors and hate radio celebrities could critique the racism that empowered Trump without alienating the base they would need to succeed within the GOP themselves. But we are not so constrained. To pretend these incompetents with their serially failed market fundamentalist pieties, their death-dealing fragile masculinist worship of guns and wars, their utterly rancid racist sexist heterosexist cissexist bigotry are anything but killer clowns is to deny obvious facts and disdain basic decency. If you think THAT is smug, then kill yourself because you're already dead. (Or, you know, read a book and wake up, or whatever. So smug!)
But you know what? America is not the GOP. America is the diversifying, secularizing, planetizing coalition that already elected Obama President twice in a row and has only grown since, and grows more and more and more by the day. Trump's appeals to disgusting bigotry may be dark magic for the aging white gun-nuts of the GOP (and the old white straight guys who still throng news media), but it is weird and ugly and out of touch in the America that has always been a nation of immigrants barrelling toward majority minority multiculture. Trump can try to divide this quarrelsome lot, Trump can try to make us scared, but there are rich vein of go along get along convivial pragmatism in this country and there are plenty who want calm competence at the helm when they are truly scared -- that is to say, it is unclear to me that Trump's line will even work if he manages to get us to frame this election in his preferred terms.
There is no mystery about the Trump phenomenon, only the exhibition of a destiny: the patriarchal white-supremacy that has long animated the American narrative is dying in America, even as it is still killing as it is dying away. It is time, and long overdue, for new stories. Here's hoping we can sweep aside the wreckage and find a field of flowers blooming here -- the work of building and maintaining sustainable equity-in-diversity in a nation and in a planet wounded and traumatized almost beyond healing is formidable enough and beautiful enough to enlist all our effort.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I still don’t know what “progressive” means.— Corey Pein (@coreypein) July 13, 2016
@coreypein Unless it means education, agitation, organization, legislation toward ever more sustainable equity-in-diversity, not very much.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 13, 2016
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Monday, July 11, 2016
If it seems scandalous to declare "Hamilton" a guilty pleasure in this moment of rapturous universal affirmation, let me preface this by insisting on the word "pleasure" there: I bought and memorized the soundtrack the day it became available, I'm a Broadway musical queen as you know, and I think it brilliant and invigorating and moving and memorable, okay? I'll just say that the "educational" plot involves no small amount of retroactive liberal romanticization and occasional mawkish sentimentality when it comes to it and that quite a lot of the music is pretty conventional once you get past the more famous hip-hop set pieces ("The Wiz" and "Assassins" already happened, you know) -- many of which are truly great, but Miranda is not Sondheim (yet), you know what I'm saying?
Look, I love The West Wing -- I have the whole run of the show on DVD in the collector's briefcase edition with the Seal, I watch the whole run every couple of years and watch a season or two's worth at least once a year, I am lapping up "The West Wing Weekly" podcast with fanboy joyjoy, there are episodes of the show that still make me cry and make me laugh out loud and inspire me after the bazillionth viewing... but the show is also a Big Block of Sexist Cheese with stinky blue sexist veins I must fast forward through in an incandescent rage every time, there are moments in which the smug patriarchal assumptions are so flabbergastingly bad I truly find myself thinking the show literally unwatchably bad even though I love it and will watch it and draw spiritual fuel from it anyway.
The racism in "The Winds of War" miniseries makes me feel much the same thing -- and yet I have been re-watching that miniseries over and over and over since it first aired. Part of my personal "Stay Wouk" thing is no doubt due to the fact that in high school I had an intense and terrible identification with the Byron Natalie love story in Winds (first miniseries, but then the novel in which it is spelled out that Byron loves Natalie because she is brilliant but also fucked up and he combines lazyness, intellectualism, and horniness in a bundle that, incredibly enough, Wouk defines as Byron's "virility"!), through which I created of course all sorts of romantic idealizations and analogues that seemed to me applicable -- assuming I am Natalie, of course -- and even plausible as a resource for my future self as an adventurer in love, and given that my other preferred resources were more or less Spock and the witty quarreling couples in Noel Coward comedies this probably wasn't my worst intuition. But another part of it my guilty pleasure is from the highly problematic but I will admit still bracing fueling of an earnest streak of progressive patriotism involving public service in a country uniquely invested with the power and resources to do unprecedented good or evil in the world and the responsibilities this imposes on its citizens of good sense and good will. This is a patriotism that is neither reducible to nor extricable from the virtue of the vicious, the patriotism that is a smug celebration of incumbency by its beneficiaries, but it is also patriotism as the heartbreakingly compromised, infinitely demanding, catastrophically error-prone work of struggle for sustainable equity-in-diversity in the face of all that waste, fear, parochialism, inequity, and inertial incumbency.
Infuriating though he is, Richard Rorty, another deep and formative influence for me, is much the same. I owe so many of my turns of thought and expression to his sardonic and sensible seeming essays! He provided a bridge between Wilde and Arendt for me in a strange sort of way, but for the purposes of this odd little post he was speaking very much the same language Herman Wouk's and Aaron Sorkin's public-spirited actors with all their earnestness and thoughtfulness and awfulness. I never wanted to be them, I always felt I would be excluded from being them even if I wanted to be, but I did want to be something like my own version of them.
If these are all works I have rarely mentioned here on the blog, that is because I tend to talk about my true guilty pleasures (Xanadu, Entertainment Weekly's Big Brother episode re-caps) or my true comfort food (Star Trek, Judith Butler, Gary Indiana), rather than works like these that straddle those categories and trigger my uncomfortable and ambivalent and worried patriotic streak.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Saturday, July 09, 2016
It is absurd on its face to attribute positions Clinton has long held to Sanders and not to Clinton herself. Come to think of it, it is absurd on its face to describe old policies as new, though I'll be generous and pretend what is meant is that these re-iterations, in the current context of platform negotiations, are "news."On Saturday morning, Hillary Clinton released a new health care policy proposal that emphasized several major progressive priorities, including a public option and increased funding for community health centers. In the proposal, Clinton pledged:
- To give Americans in every state a "public option" health insurance plan
- To let Americans as young as 55 years old opt in to Medicare
- And to double funding for primary care services at community health centersNow, these aren’t really new ideas for Clinton. She said at a campaign event in May that she supported "the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age." And she’s long supported community health centers. But the fact that she’s formally backing these progressive priorities at this moment -- rather than pivoting to more centrist ideas as the general election contest approaches -- is a testament to the influence of Bernie Sanders’s campaign.
This sort of absurdity is itself nothing new, however, in the ongoing narrative comparing and framing the relative progressivity of the Democratic candidates for the nomination this election: crediting the progressivity of the platform's healthcare reform language to Sanders but not the party's actual nominee Clinton, whatever her published positions have been from the first, seems to me just the latest false and facile variation on this theme during these negotiations, playing out as well in reporting about the platform language concerning affordable college education, raising the minimum wage, demands for police reforms, liberalizing drug laws, among many other things. The platform's absolute repudiation of capital punishment is one of the few exceptions in which Sanders' view prevailed over Clinton's -- and that outcome thrilled this Clinton supporter. (That and post office banking -- but I give the credit there more to Warren, who I fervently hope but do not expect in the least to be HRC's Veep choice.) Like the denial of enthusiasm and a mandate for the candidate who won more states, more delegates, and millions more votes in landslide majorities, Clinton supporters are used to hearing that the victories of the first woman to win a major party's nomination and likely to win the presidency aren't like the "victories" of the men who have come before her or who compete with her and lose even now.
That Clinton would be pivoting to the center by now after securing the nomination and hence it must be Sanders' presence restraining her certainly reflects long-held and hitherto warranted "conventional wisdom" in pundit circles, but it is worth noting that throughout the campaign Clinton's forceful appeal to Democratic base voters and the Obama coalition suggests that she re-assessed that conventional wisdom in the aftermath of her experience in the 2008 campaign and observing political and demographic changes over the course of the Obama presidency. I daresay it is no surprise that since I don't agree Sanders has moved Clinton substantially to the left because she already moved there herself since 2008 in her published positions neither do I think Clinton needed Sanders to stay to the left where she placed herself from the beginning for reasons that still make electoral sense (and -- dare I even suggest such a thing? -- may reflect her actual convictions in light of her assessment of what is politically possible after the successes of the Obama administration). Rather than insist that Clinton has been moved or kept to the left by Sanders, I would say that the Democratic party has moved to the left better to reflect the needs and aspirations of the majority of Americans and that all the major candidates (I'm including Martin O'Malley) for the presidency this first cycle after the Obama administration reflected that shift from the beginning. That this should have been a cause for celebration among progressives after the long dark night of the Reagan epoch should go without saying. Unfortunately, all too often it has indeed gone without being said.
That the public discourse so long devoted to documenting Clintonian "shiftiness" would dramatize her shifts, whether they are happening or not, or the Sanders or Base forces restraining her imminent or desired shifts, whether they have evidence for them or not, is I suppose no great surprise. The third false commonplace in the article (not included in the already long quote above, follow the link for the whole piece) is the subsequent declaration that Sanders is still to Clinton's left, whatever her "accommodations" of him in re-iterating long-held positions of hers, suggesting once again that the measure of a candidate's authentic "leftness" is how unqualified their slogans are rather than the substance of policies proposed in a diverse society or efforts to mobilize sufficient coalitions to implement actual reforms. Much of the contentiousness of the primary arose from the same absurdity as current declarations about Clinton's so-called "shifts," namely the pretense that Clinton's published campaign positions are significantly to the right of Sanders' in the first place any more than her voting record was.
In her many decades in the public spotlight Hillary Clinton's politics have reflected the demanding contentiousness of problem solving and reform struggle among diverse enormously powerful national and international stakeholders (as an activist First Lady, as a New York senator, as Secretary of State) while Bernie Sanders retreated to a more-than-usually liberal homogeneous white postage stage of a state, Vermont, where he could indulge with few consequences in symbolic stands, protest votes, and scolding. Time and time again progresssivity has been linked via Sanders supporters and presumably neutral pundits to hostility to the kind of pragmatism without which progressive reform is rarely achieved in this unwieldy insulated continent-scaled mess of a republic. Even if I share more often than not a desire to arrive at the ideal outcomes with which Sanders has identified himself, I have never agreed either with those who regard Clinton's pragmatism or her compromises (even the terrible ones) as evidence of her cartoonish hostility to those ideal outcomes nor with those who seem certain that repeated harangues about the desirability of those ideal outcomes somehow brings them closer to realization in a world shared with numerous, powerful, influential stakeholders who simply don't agree or have a vested interest in resisting them.
Now, I was broadly sympathetic at first to the notion that it is fine to let Sanders supporters take credit for progressive platform victories -- whatever the actual merits of such declarations -- in the interest of party unity in the face of the opportunity occasioned by the Trump candidacy to gain more control at all layers of governance and hence to loosen or even end demoralizing gridlock and solve our shared problems. Pragmatists and diplomatists fudge this sort of thing all the time in the interest of getting results. But it seems to me that the overwhelming majority of Bernie supporters quickly shifted their support to Hillary Clinton prior to these gestures or would have done anyway in the face of GOP ugliness and disarray. Further, it really seems that those who have not already made this shift are mostly not satisfied in any case and hence little likely to do so, and that these are in any case a mostly a noisy minority who are marginal to progressive partisan politics -- Naderites, redditors, Greens, anarcho-whatevs.
What worries me is that these false narrative concessions presumably mobilized to court disgruntled Berners (who are mostly already on board or never will be) may actually contribute to injurious misdiagnoses of the diversity of and, perhaps paradoxically, sources of unity in the existing political terrain, and hence abet reactionary outcomes to no good purpose: and by "false narratives" here I mean those rationalizing white-supremacy as economic precarity, for example, or feeding false equivalence frames or silly serially-disastrous "amplify the contradictions" notions of Democratic and Republican party politics at a time when Democrats are moving left to embrace the progressive promise of the Obama coalition and Republicans represent the most dangerous organized force in the world (not because they are more "evil" than other regressive movements, but because their position within the actually-existing American party duopoly gives them plausible access to unequaled and unprecedented military, corporate, practical, institutional, normative resources to implement world-historical harms and crimes). I must say, that it is a source of flabbergasting amazement to me how many informed and intelligent people seem to attribute to insufficiently pure attestations of ideology what is palpably the result of Republican obstructionism enabled by low-turnout elections, gerrymandering, organized disenfranchisement, anti-democratic legal and procedural gambits, mass-mediated mis-information campaigns, and for-profit hate talk. Meanwhile, the ongoing and far-worse looming reality of catastrophic climate change renders the danger represented by the current incarnation of the GOP nothing less than an existential threat to the living world.
You know, it is because Clinton's policies seemed to me forceful and substantive and realizable given sufficient down-ticket success, and also because her campaign seemed to recognize the reality and promise and leftward trajectory of the Obama coalition and the diversifying, secularizing, planetizing REAL real America that I supported her from the beginning. Well, there are also issues of performance, temperament, intelligence, competence, and connections to key constituencies and organizations in which she has seemed to me better than any available alternative, and certainly better hands down than the woolly, inflexible, censorious, disgruntled, isolated and isolating Senator from Vermont. I can't say that I like or trust Hillary Clinton as much as I do President Obama (for whom I have plenty of criticisms even while judging him, as history also will do, as the most effective progressive President since FDR or LBJ -- as much an indictment of our country as it is praise of those figures), but I do have reason to hope that she will be a competent commander-in-chief and protect and extend Obama's progressive accomplishment to the good. Of course, having a woman fill the role of President or Prime Minister is no guarantee of progressive outcomes, but I will not deny that I think the occupation of the White House by a woman (even better were there two on the ticket) would be a powerfully positive transfiguration of political power in this culture, and that what seems to me wholesome in this possibility is only amplified by the fact that Hillary Clinton does not seem to me to be conventionally charismatic but is a bit plodding, awkward, careful, care-takengly grandmotherly, conventionally faithful in her public persona. Given the deep problems of the unitary executive in an epoch of industrial-militarism and mass-mediated celebrity unforeseen by the framers of the Constitution I think any changes in our sense of the Presidency provide welcome occasions for intervention and re-inflection of its powers.
The relentless denial and distortion of what seem to me key realities throughout the primary campaign have been demoralizing and infuriating, especially to the extent that so many of my usual interlocutors and allies seemed to be indulging in much of the worst denialism and distortion, identifying radicalism with anti-pragmatism and purity cabaret, losing themselves in performative contradictions like critiquing the executive through candidate fandom or pretending to reject party politics through doomed and silly efforts to hijack or game party processes. Needless to say, the relentless backdrop of mass-mediated Trump/GOP racism and idiocy together with years of socially mediated documentation of racist policing and gun madness has only amplified beyond bearing the depression and rage occasioned by all this comic-book nonsense and wasted political energy of the primary season.
I suspect that the unqualified canalization of political discourse playing out on twitter, in which I have been too eager a participant myself, only exacerbates the worst of these distortions. I am hoping my twitter feed will stumble back into comparative good sense after the conventions are done and the general election commences, otherwise I mean to purge most of the fauxvolutionaries and just read partisan progressives and real radicals who teach me stuff and productively disagree with my parochialism, almost entirely progressive people of color and queer feminists and environmental justice activists/academics (the best of whom, again, seem to be progressive people of color and queer feminists). While fauxvolutionaries often agree with me on ideal outcomes, at least to the extent that these can be reduced to tweetable slogans of which I have contributed plenty myself, I am exhausted and demoralized almost as much when they agree with me as when they disagree at this point. By way of conclusion, I now realize and lament that it turns out this paragraph has continued the recent rather self-indulgent trend in which comments on apparently any topic seem always to veer me back to this questioning of blogging and microblogging practices as part of what I have long thought of as my own very minor effort to do the work of some kind of public intellectual in this moment and in my position. I could say that this is the last time this will happen, but I fear I would be lying.
Friday, July 08, 2016
Thursday, July 07, 2016
From the right, charges of "smugness" (politically correct! elitist!) tend to be defensive, in the service of anti-intellectualism. 1— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 7, 2016
From the left, charges of "smugness" (compromised! elitist!) tend to be aggression or concern trolling, in the service of anti-pragmatism. 2— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 7, 2016
Can't say I'm a fan of actual smugness, but as a charge it expresses too often hostility to either critical thought or progressive action. 3— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 7, 2016
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Sunday, July 03, 2016
Saturday, July 02, 2016
1 I find myself thinking more and more that twitter is a moralizing space failing or even masquerading as a deliberative space.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
2 By "moralizing" I mean it is useful for shoring up the "we" of mores, the *we* that repudiates *theys* for its legibility and force.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
3 For threatened, marginalized communities centering and bolstering a moral we can foster truly emancipatory and revelatory political power.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
4 But deliberative work seems to me to operate differently than morals, its politics are pragmatic in ways that compromise moral lines.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
5 Or it evokes instead the contingent universalization of ethical imaginaries that resist or would transcend our moral horizons.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
6 Twitter's moralism invests conversations with zany momenta, too much like the "Telephone" game from childhood.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
7 You try to make a point within twitter's character constraints, often in an improvisatory way in a real time exchange.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
8 Some strangers affirm what you say while other strangers take umbrage -- in neither case do the reactions seem exactly right.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
9 You try course corrections, encouraging and encouraged by those who seem to agree, hoping to nudge them closer to your point.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
10 You may try to defend yourself against unwarranted attacks but efforts to qualify claims or redirect focus smell like blood in the water.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
11 All this is all the more difficult if you feel a bit defensive or even horrified by the way you feel you may be being misconstrued.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
12 "Followers" feel like moral support networks you don't want to alienate, but consist mostly of strangers affiliating with a caricature.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
13 While some tweets seem rather like aphorisms, provocations that work as points of departure rather than settlements,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
14 …most tweets seem instead like subcultural signals of identification and dis-identification that work best when they are least ambiguous.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
15 I've been quite invested micro-blogging practices for a few years now, and whatever their palpable satisfactions and real rewards…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
16 I do wonder if they are capable of facilitating conversation aimed at understanding or organizing aimed at diverse coalition-building.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) July 2, 2016
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
No shock: In the Future eveybody dies. 1— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) June 29, 2016
The reason this isn't just a tasteless observation is because a disavowal of finitude, mortality, vulnerability, error drives futurology. 2— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) June 29, 2016
Never forget the essence of futurology is a death-dealing peddling of status quo amplification as accelerating progress via denial of death.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) June 29, 2016
Tech's "Thought Leaders" love to confuse making bets with having thoughts: Toffler was a trailblazer for our ruinous artificial imbecilence.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) June 30, 2016
I went from future shock to future fatigue years ago.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) June 30, 2016
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016
Sunday, June 26, 2016
As regular readers of Amor Mundi know, my partner and I have been together for over fourteen years now. But we aren't gay married because we disapprove of marriage as a vestige of human trafficking and as an irrational acquiescence to damaging Hallmark card fantasies of romantic completion. And yet we both fought for marriage equality and are cheered by its successes because our exclusion from the institution damages the lives of queer folks who feel differently than we do and because that exclusion long remained an injustice enabled other worse exclusions and injustices, and also simply because it seems more forceful politically to oppose norms from which you are not already excluded and the refusal of which costs you something.
Appalled by the deathly demoralizing anti-democratizing energies of corporate-militarism as I am, I grasped nonetheless the indispensability of ending Bill Clinton's gargoyle "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the ban of queer folks from serving openly in the military for reasons similar to those that make marriage equality victories good -- but, again, I cannot say the jingoist cadences inevitably framing the victory felt particularly enlivening to me personally here in the belly of the beast of the imperialist abroad police-state enabling at home endless War on Terror. Ending employment discrimination against queer folks seems to me a more substantial goal that will help many truly precarious people in this country while imposing a constraint on many truly pernicious people in this country -- and hence I cannot say that I am surprised to find it the assimilationist goal that still most stubbornly resists accomplishment, year after year after year. I don't like kids enough to wallow in gay adoption victories, and while I am all for Families We Choose, I wonder why the Chosen Families we celebrate must always be so drearily conventional.
But even if, as I say, I fully recognize the indispensability of demanding the availability of legibility on conventional institutional terms, lest illegibility marginalize so many of us in ways that literally ruin and end lives, I personally believe that a life more fully lived demands selves made of both prose and poetry, freedom requires both answerability before the eyes of power as well as the questionableness out of which different worlds are made (I recommend you read Fanon if that doesn't make sense to you).
Yes, all told, I am one of those grumps you hear about who think that celebrating Pride as assimilation to the institutional norms of reprosexual corporate-militarism is nothing to be Proud of. While Pride originated in the righteous impulse to defy the hurtful shame imposed on wanted queer lifeways by mean, fearful, ignorant majorities, I think there is plenty to be ashamed of in the complacency, conformism, and consumerism our new Prideful majority celebrates.
Especially now that I'm past fifty I find that I more or less want Pride to get off my lawn. It is like a crowd of vacant consumers and squalling kids hard to distinguish from a food court in a Tornado Alley suburban mall even with the interchangeable shirtless guys and sequins shorn of their magic by too much sunlight. I do know that there are plenty of older folks who draw a real measure of strength and support from Pride, and yet I do think Pride is something youthful at heart, and in a way that registers both the fabulousness and foibles that can characterize youth in dumb overgeneralized stereotypical ways I won't make many friends getting into in any depth. But the hazy ambivalent fondness I still feel for Pride, while feeling at once quite contented that Pride is no longer the thing for me, is something like the hazy ambivalent fondness I feel for my own time of youthful adventuring.
I marched with my friends in Queer Nation in the Pride Parade in Atlanta half a dozen times at least, in the early nineties, and that really felt like something. Perhaps it was because we didn't seem quite as respectable as the Pride tag insisted we should be aspiring to be, for one thing. I marched in San Francisco's Parade just once, the summer after I moved here, in 1996, and it already felt terribly belated and pro forma. I wasn't really part of any movement anymore, and that left me feeling like I was at a County Fair cruising a loud crowd for dick and funnel cakes. That's, gosh, twenty years ago now! Now I see on my tee vee that queers march behind banners designating the tech companies they work for. I must say I felt quite a lot of sympathy for the Occupride moment in 2012 -- but I heard about it on the news after the fact. There was some political alchemical spark there, some joyful noisy resistance, some futural opening onto elsewhere that felt truly queer. To connect with that kind of queer futurity, I might even drag my tired old unrepentant queer ass onto the street again one day...
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Britain was of course stupid to Leave (maybe maybe maybe Parliament or even the Scottish Parliament will find some workaround to put a stop to it still?) and Britain should be made to pay when they come crawling back, come what may. They were already half-assed members, enjoying benefits of EU membership but with all sorts of carve-outs insulating them from EU responsibilities and still whining and insulting and mucking things up all the while. One hopes there will be less toleration of that nonsense when Britain comes back like Oliver with its gruel bowl in hand begging for more.
You know, neoliberal and awful though the EU is, and yes of course it is, it is less so than Britain to my eyes -- consider the greater, not adequate but greater, progressivity of taxation and the more ample social supports in so many of its member states, for example. I know euro-bureaucratization is a drag and even tyrannical at worst, but to see that to the exclusion of seeing that implementation of environmental, health, education, labor, safety standards and civil liberties is actually a rare, precious, fragile emancipatory triumph is much more a blindness than an insight.
Brexit is also, of course, one more wake up call in a decade of wake-up calls to Europe that austerity threatens its stability and exacerbates dangerous right-wing political formations (in France, the Netherlands, Italy...) and one would hope they really do wake up this time and finally change course in consequence: especially since austerity hasn't delivered on its promises otherwise anyway. Yanis Varoufakis is someone who is advocating noisily right now for the left remaining in the EU as indispensable to any efforts to radically democratize European politics from within, a position with the broad contours of which I agree, whatever my specific disagreements and distaste for the digirati-broleftist Assange-to-Zizek tinge of his milieu (check out the DiEM25 Manifesto, you'll see what I mean, goodish and illish).
Were the EU to make some adjustments away from neoliberalism and toward democratization (more transparency and accountability in governance processes, more shared public investment in sustainable infrastructure and industry rather than mortgages and financial instruments) then the demands it would be in a position to make upon a rapidly marginalized radically under-performing Britain yearning for Bre-Entry would be all the more welcome. The nonsense of the whole notion of a monetary union without a fiscal union might be closer to a solution, for one thing. Reversing current crazy conspicuous wealth concentration even a little bit in Europe, coupled with an effective PR campaign shifting from gross xenophobic politics onto climate threat politics, say, would be worthy work for all the bright brittle eurocrats to earn their salaries with, if you ask me. Many prominent austerians are inflicted with "the anglo disease" and a temporary loss of Britain could be an occasion facilitating such a course correction. A fellow can dream.
You ask: "Whose terms should be more demanding, the Brits' or the Eurocrats'?" I say Europeans should be more demanding of Europe, and Europe should be more demanding when Britain tries to crawl out of the hole they've dug. Till then, one hopes the left takes up this opportunity to push for our agenda (that agenda in a phrase? sustainable accountable equity-in-diversity) as the right most certainly will do. But I fear the usual inertial professionals (well-meaning and otherwise) looking to cash in while the usual passionate and righteous activists squander the moment in purity cabaret will either break our hearts or muddle through according to something like an historical coin toss.
I'm a dumb American, of course, so what do I know about Europe? It isn't modesty but honesty when I say the obvious -- I'm an interested but inept outside observer, anybody is better to ask about this stuff than me. In this moment I will say the US looks much better off: We went for inadequate but real stimulus not austerity in 2008 despite the GOP and have stuck to weak tea variations of the same. The Obama coalition outnumbers our dim dupe racists providing better chances for comparatively sane national outcomes. The American version of Brexit is old straight white bigots dying of old age in an ever more diverse and secular society. If HRC wins -- blah blah monster blah blah evil blah blah notwithstanding -- the Supreme Court may become reliably liberal till 2050, corrections to jerrymandering if Dems stay organized for the midterms may lead to Congressional representation in line with actual voting results, and then quite a lot can change quite quickly after years and years of too little changing too little (the first years of the Obama administration provide a narrow glimpse of the pragmatic possibilities): We can have more public investment, more progressive taxes, sustainability and harm-reduction policy-making can be prioritized and yield virtuous circles, all the while the country approaches majority-minority diversity and then this ridiculously lucky stupid criminal pack of infants get yet another shot at blowing our chance to do some good in the world.