Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Ten Anti-Historical Characteristics of Top Ten Lists

10. What were your top ten seven minute walks of the year? Top ten mornings you woke up stressed about the day ahead? Top ten minor injuries that no one really knows about but acutely bothered you for a week or two?

9. Top ten awkward eye contacts with a stranger on the subway? Top ten mundane conversations with a coworker that you really wish you had skipped? Top ten moments of borderline suicidal depression?

8. The top ten list is a stopper in time, an anti-historical historical marker that produces what Debord referred to as psuedocyclical time.

7. "Pseudocyclical time is in fact merely a consumable disguise of the production system’s commodified time. It exhibits the latter’s essential traits: homogenous exchangeable units and suppression of any qualitative dimension. But as a by-product of commodified time whose function is to promote and maintain the backwardness of everyday life, it is loaded with pseudovalorizations and manifests itself as a succession of pseudoindividualized moments."

6. The top ten list is a key (anti)intellectual breaking of historical continuity by making the arbitrary calender year appear as a somehow relevant or meaningful aggregation of time and experience.

5. The top ten list encourages a particular form of acceptable nostalgia for past consumption, a nostalgia that reoccurs conspicuously simultaneous with the celebratory consumption period of the Holidays. The top ten list teams up with the always "anti-climatic" New Years Eve party and the ironically-indulged-in-but-designed-to-fail New Year's resolution to make the repetition of the same psuedo-experiences year after year after year seem historically differentiated.

4. The top ten list is often used to discuss cultural consumption: consumed, the film/book/blog post/song has become not a continuing art object which moves with us into the present and colors our experience, but rather becomes a singular (and hierarchichally rankable) past experience whose value becomes primarily its ability to appear on a top ten list for the year.

3. The top ten list functions to produce an anxiety about what cultural products or experiences were not had: this anxiety leads to, of course, consumption (maybe I should go see those movies after all!) and self-recrimination ("God I barely saw any great movies at all this year! I'm such a phony.")

2. The psuedo-rationality of the number ten (we operate in a base ten mathematics, after all) and the idea that a list of ten things can include all of the meaningful information helps to reproduce hierarchical and exclusive notions of the value of experience. Resistance to the idea of the top ten, then, can only think in terms of expanding the list (ten isn't enough! We need 20! 30! One hundred!), turning any grappling for meaning into a squabble over how many paper cuts are needed in order to kill the year.

1. The top ten list, then, functions to destroy any actual historical value of the experiences had over the 365 days by making those experiences 'history' in two senses: in the colloquial sense that gangsters use to mean dead, inert; and in the grade-school sense: something that happened, is over and is only of interest as a date or part of a pattern of progress. The top ten list takes events, products and experiences and makes them points on a time line in order to end any possibility of their continuing to exist meaningfully beyond January 1st.

0. The top ten list's relevance and production ends at the precise moment of its reenactment as the year-ending countdown. Dick Clark will ruin your shit. Till next year, fuckers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hater of Two Evils

Dear Sir(s?),
In a change that will effect literally ones of people, I am going to be attempting to update this thing with a more controlled regularity. As a result, the need to produce will potentially involve more traditional topics as I ramp up. Like the following, about elections! That's how it's done around here baby. 
With infinite hate,
WHO was Here

The right wing hates Obama so much that, despite continuously ascendent conservative policy for 30 years, Obama-hate produced a spontaneous on-the-ground right wing protest movement, which succeeded in two years in bringing the Republican party even further to the fringey right.

Mitt Romney is like a stack of instant pancakes without any butter or syrup: you're hungry, it's breakfast time, you'll eat it, but your mouth is gonna be incredibly dry and you're really gonna have to force a swallow.

But you know what? You'll still eat it. You might not love it, but it's just hard to hate a stack of pancakes. Ambivalent? Sure. But hate?

No one, and I mean no one, is coming to the polls in 2012 for people they like. Even Michelle misses the house in Chicago and is only sorta half-heartedly smiling for those cameras on November 6.

The clown-car Chinese fire drill that has been the Republican nomination process sure makes it look like Obama could win this one on an anti-colonialist Kenyan-nationalism ticket, but remember, things are getting worse in America.

If ows generalizes and begins to look more like London, if unemployment continues to go up, if foreclosure chaos and student debt and health care costs continue apace, and they will, dear reader, saving some sort of catastrophic bubonic plague that wipes out everyone in the line for presidency up to Bernie Sanders, and that's ignoring the possibility of EU collapse, well, things aren't gonna look so good for Obama.

And honestly, is the Democratic base gonna freak out to stop Romney from getting elected? Sure, he's a milquetoast millionaire Mormon whose leadership qualifications are CEO-dom, but the dude ran Massachusetts for fucks sake. Romney-care precedes Obama-care. Hella liberal cred.

This dude is a boring, centrist piece of shit, which is to say, a wildly misanthropic neoliberal douchebag, which is to say, every president we've had since most of the people who ran Obama's campaign on the ground were born.

But you know what? Republicans hate Obama way more then Dems hate Romney. And when it comes time to step into that voting booth and pull that lever, only the most deluded liberals and 'moderate' republicans are going in there voting for their man.

And all those kids? Wild in the streets.

Hate will run the show this November, and this year hate runs red.