“I am sure you know what Paul de Man says about insight and blindness. His theory has to do with an insight that can actually obscure other things, that can be a blindness. And the reverse, also, how what seems blind can open up possibilities. When I think about the insight that is a form of blindness, I think of rationality, of rationalism, which is blind to God and to the things God can offer human beings. This is the failure of the Enlightenment.”
~Teju Cole, Open City
“Many of Brecht’s radical contemporaries were content to make theater, or derive theory, based upon the assumption that their good intentions and well-reasoned analysis were all that was required, and that the people, once suitably awakened, would find their truths self-evident. Brecht rejected this. He believed that to be effective as a playwright or a politico, one must embrace the present. He took the position of a strategic weathervane, testing the popular wind and fashioning a political theater that sailed with it. Like the authors of Learning from Las Vegas, Brecht was not suggesting a public-opinion-poll politics of giving people whatever they want and slavishly following in their wake. He understood that catching the wind did not dictate the direction that one traveled, because, in his words, ‘Once one has a wind one can naturally sail against it; the only impossibility is to sail with no wind at all or with tomorrow’s wind.’ Tragically, in Brecht’s Germany, it was the Nazi Party that ended up being his best students.”
~Stephen Duncombe, Dreams: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy
“To call this population of strangers in the midst of which we live a ‘society’ is such a usurpation that even sociologists wonder if they should abandon a concept that was, for a century, their bread and butter. Now they prefer the metaphor of a network to describe the connection of cybernetic solitudes, the intermeshing of weak interactions under names like ‘colleague,’ ‘buddy,’ ‘acquaintance,’ or ‘date.’ Such networks sometimes condense into a milieu, where nothing is shared but codes, and where nothing is played out but the incessant recomposition of identity.”
~The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection
Selections from “Proposals for Rationally Improving the City of Paris” by the Lettrist International, October 1955:
-The subways should be opened at night, after the trains have stopped running. The corridors and platforms should be poorly lit, with dim lights flickering on and off intermittently.
-The rooftops of Paris should be opened to pedestrian traffic by modifying fire-escape ladders and by constructing bridges where necessary.
-Street lamps should be equipped with switches so that people can adjust the lighting as they wish.
-Museums should be eliminated and their masterpieces distributed to bars.
-Lastly, Jacques Fillon favored the idea of transforming churches into houses of horror (maintaining their current ambience while accentuating their terrifying effects).
Trailer for Occupy Unmasked, a Citizens United Production: