RND// To consider Slavoj Žižek’s Sex And The Failed Absolute (Bloomsbury Academic 2020) near the top of anyone’s shortlist for the biggest stinking load of old academic charlatan obscurantist bollocks ever pinched off by a major publisher.
While not entirely without merit – there are at least a couple of easily understandable, well thought out and clearly presented ideas and sentences hidden among too often patently batshit Lacanian waffle; Žižek appears to have outdone himself in terms of eye rolling obscurantism in the name of ego-inflating (strictly Academic) cleverness.
To paraphrase: “However, the true enemy of the present book is not new realist visions but what one is tempted to call the fine art of thinking-as-a-parody, an art which more and more pervades our public space: grand (yet embarrassing) academic theatrics in the guise of wisdom intended to fascinate us with their endless depth. They no longer function as synthetic articulated propositions but more like holographic images providing instant cognitive-spiritual satisfaction.”
And now a unedited quote from the book:
“Honoured to be included into Badiou’s list, I nonetheless consider my characterization – “positivism of drives” – inadequate: as it was abundantly developed by me (and, of course, Alenka Zupančič), “death drive” in our work does not refer to any kind of “positivity” but to the grounding gap or crack in positive reality (and that, consequently, also opens up the space for what Badiou calls Event and Truth-procedure). “Death drive” is in our reading Freud’s paradoxical name for its very opposite, for immortality, his name for what the German idealists like Hegel called radical (self-relating) negativity. It is not an (ontic or) ontological category but a category that points towards the fatal limitation of every ontological edifice, towards the impossibility that lies at its foundation, rendering it “non-all,” incomplete (without implying that there is an external limit to it, that something, some transcendent entity, eludes reality. In short, for our standpoint, it is Badiou himself who is, in some basic sense, all too “positivist” in his notion of Truth-Event: for him, the exception to the order of Being can only be a positive (affirmative) Truth, while for us, the space for such an exception is opened up by the void of radical negativity.”
– Slavoj Žižek, Sex And The Failed Absolute
What? Fuck right off with that shit, sunshine. Take your fancy European name dropping and your fellow bullshit academics and their shrinking collection of vain intellectual irrelevances and politely (yet firmly) stuff it. Was that some kind of private academic in-joke? But why does the reader have to be the butt of such obviously time wasting bullshit? Virtually nobody but Fucking Academics™* even talks like that. There’s a good reason for this. They’re under to much pressure from actual (non-academic based) reality to give two obscurantist shits about Bagel, or other radical self-relating negativities. Elvis, talk about a cliquey circle jerk in an ivory tower packed with stuffy, hyper-wordy assholes.
*Name of a forthcoming novel (mind you, sounds like a cheap paperback by that disgusting fascist pig turd Houellebecq.)
Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m writing this under a moral rule articulated by Žižek himself; that while one must be intellectually harsh and strict with one’s enemies, an even more stringent and uncompromising gaze must be applied to our friends and allies. This is to keep them honest. The failure to do so is collaboration with cosmically useless intellectual™ pontification masquerading as innovative knowledge.
Žižek my son, talking shit like that simply does not help anyone except yourself. You’ve got a big brain on you, sure – but you’re blatant, bloated academic ego betrays the shaky philosophical foundations of cognitive vanity. It doesn’t really help humanity get out of it’s own deep shit. It’s a very unsexy look. When it comes to common cultural objects and processes, you regularly bring something exciting to the table – a undoubted fresh take on otherwise invisible public subjects, made invisible through their transparent ubiquity. But this time you appear to have written yourself into a conceptual dead end, where useless old, dusty ideas parade themselves in a shameless public (Communist-era?) display of fancy terms everyone’s secretly both laughing at, and bored by.
Few give a shit about Hegel. Most people shouldn’t have to give a shit about Hegel. Hegel’s just another Dead White Guy. (You don’t want to be an Undead White Guy, do you Zizzy.) Is it important that *someone* (/lurking in the willfully obscure, shaded hinterlands of Academia) gives a flying shit about Hegel? Possibly.
One delicious irony is when Zizek says “The storyline is shamelessly summarized from the Wikipedia entry on The Dark Tower.” Which precisely means; it’s plain bollocks, and I didn’t watch it precisely because I’ve better, actually meaningful things in my life. Likewise, perhaps one need only read a summary of Sex and the Failed Absolute from Wikipedia – equally without shame.
When the snout itself retroactively gives birth to the mollusk of the Real
‘Eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation’ arrives with a lot of unexamined ideological baggage; it’s easy to be a perfectly ludic dipshit. D-for-disingenuous Kermit impersonator and all round Your-Asshole-Dad(dy-Figure) Simulator Jordan B. Peterson writes and speaks perfectly clearly, except he willingly obfuscates his naked reactionary right wing hated with a lot of ‘plain speaking’. Except it’s overwhelmingly just plain wrong. Žižek on the other hand seems pathologically amused with huffing the academic stink of his own hopelessly, bizarrely convoluted Lacanian farts. Theory for him seems like a nervous tick you just can’t stop.
RND/ To consider possible examples of J.G Ballard themed conceptual digital art and critique:
There are an enormous number of multi story car parks in Watford. They played a special role in The Atrocity Exhibition. They were iconic structures. I was interested in gauges of psycho-architectonics. Multi story car parks and their canted floors as a depository for cars seemed to let one into a new dimension.
– JG Ballard/ on BBC Two short film Crash/ 1971 directed by Harvey Cokebliss/ from crash – BFI modern classics by Iain Sinclair
– In which stock carpark images exist for stock synthetic experiences of urban modernity while the ghost of Ballard looks on.
Ballardian media encounters with Simon
To consider half remembering a brief social media micro meltdown via Professional Academic™ Mr. Simon Sellars.
High Rise Film Poster
Tossing over the cinematic balcony/ high rise 2015 critique
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A trash wallow in sex, nudity, violence, cruelty to animals and the skewering of contemporary society, it will predictably appeal to kids and art house patrons who crave the cinematic roller coaster rides of outrage and chaos that lead to downright anarchy.
– Rex Reed, laughable Observer review of high rise /FTG
Notes about this dreadful flick as they occurred;
– In which Ben Wheatley’s flick “High Rise” (2015) seems an utter cinematic failure of true Ballardian scale.
One has to stand back from it in hot feigned awe of terrifying new vistas of coke-brain addled cinematic disaster tourism which must of informed such a tragic mis-production, right from drawing board to final cut, right to (conceptually at least) VHS-style, direct-to-plastic covered shelving units next to a 70’s Woolworths checkout.
Wheatley seems to live under impression he’s the next Kubrick, but it’s just his friends blowing smoke up his arts.
– For Ballard to discuss built architecture is to highlight critique Western technological society’s mass psychic architecture.
Indeed, consider concrete as an idea make literal / concrete – a solidity of ideas made livable (ie. physically socio-psychically unbearable.)
For Wheatley however, apparently all they need are some upward shots of a faintly menacing construction against an overcast sky In many ways, his High Rise completely bypasses Ballard style approaches to errant roving psychological architecture, and seems fully content with an almost deliberately vague overview from the top floor – of Wheatly’s own (lost) directorial Ego, perhaps.
– The tone of the movie is so uneven, it’s almost as if it’s precisely what Wheatly was going for – not that it seems he’d thought that far ahead; better to have rich, paleskins just guffaw snobbishly a lot on screen and have done with it.
– Maybe not since Hudson Hawk (1991) has there been such an incoherent nonsensical mishmash of useless movement noise – a half arsed closing jumble sale of discarded objects masquerading as somehow articulate, or meaningfully comprehensible – it makes you want to snort whatever it was the joker had who got gave the green light for this celluloid turkey.
– If you hadn’t read the novel or seen the trailer, you’d never of realized this patchouli scented calcified brain lump had anything remotely to do with the world of ideas and philosophical explorations of mighty writer J.G. Fucking Ballard. (Did anyone other than Tom even read the novel? Were they even partially knowledgeable about what Ballard’s remotely about – his expansive conceptual possibility space?)
– It’s as though Mr. Ben must have been so thoroughly enamored of his own midnight Art secretions, they got repeatedly tossed over the bland Brutalist balcony of his own dead concrete imaginings in a stupefyingly dull orgy of failed creative excess – whereupon they land upon the heads of disinterested viewers like bird crap from the 90th floor, only to have them dismissively wiped off with abject apathy.
– After the opening credits, you wait wait for the movie to start proper – to say any one thing concrete – but it never happens; nothing ever begins, just one cheerless fated smear of imagery after the next, like some poorly considered advert for classic psychedelic animation Mr. Ben.
– Switch off the sound and simply project whole flick on the far white wall of your underground research lab instead; it works best as an over extended trailer for a movie that will never be made (nor should.)
– If there was an award for ‘most annoying uninterrupted use of inappropriate background music’, High Rise would win an Oscar; turn that bloody racket down so we can hear what’s happening (if anything.)
– While watching, one feels utterly indifferent to every half non-thing that’s happening on screen; if that was the point, then this accidental self parody of a movie a seems runaway success.
– To consider High Rise as so dire, so free of menace it acts like some Conservative comment precisely designed to make the political dimensions of Ballard’s work toothless and safe – an ironically class warfare free, family friendly urban apocalypse designed by Jerry and Margo Leadbetter of cult 70s BBC TV series “The Good Life” – indeed, there were infinitely better scenes of architecture enabled alienation on view in “The Fall and Rise Reginald Perrin.”
– The building itself stands tall and desperate lonely, a cheap knockoff of cheap state sponsored architectural erections seen in Hollowood flick Dredd (2012) – in fact Dredd with the sound off features infinitely more and better ‘Ballardesque’ shots and angles.
– Only one shot stands out of the whole visual shambles – that moment character Laing faces the camera, his face covered in blue paint like some future Mayan temple warrior with eyes ablaze – finally suggesting the birth or local dimensional manifestation of true ‘Control Subject Zero in Designer Urban Psychopathology’.
– One could remove Tom Hiddleston’s middling two dimensional character cutout and few would notice – indeed that smart kid in the movie with the kaleidoscope was the most interesting and underdeveloped character on set, apart from Jeremy Irons doing his best to look like he remotely belonged there (with the minimum of drab material he was provided to work with.)
– Almost everyone on set is a caricature; the character of Laing was supposed to symbolize the ‘psychologically exploratory neural space’ of Ballard himself – the passive equivalent of researcher Vaughan; unfortunately nothing remotely interesting or daring was attempted (and even less successfully managed.)
– To generally consider High Rise a laughable 70’s laundry pile of sweaty old architect balls – which ends with the appropriately and amazingly inappropriate song “Industrial Estate” by The Fall as a dirty cherry on the whole cheerless shit cake.
To throw this together together in such a manner – a large group of back slapping luvvies with too much fucking money and not quite enough talent on their clammy hands – smelling their own exotic horse steak farts in a hermetic art-sealed, glass lined express lift to nowhere video-development hell.
– To casually chuck such flicks over the balcony, so ‘lite’ one won’t even get the satisfaction of its weightless turgid body delicately smashing against rusting birdshit covered jags far below; an instantly forgettable jumble of a flick – a thoroughly civilized imagining of Ballard’s ultra-violent inner sci-fi legacy.
To consider recent social class war revelations about the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – the worlds tallest unmarked grave – notice how Ballard got it precisely right again; people with riches do indeed live above the poor – just hovering like gated Hungry Ghosts directly above the physical rotting concrete stacks they’re directly responsible for, utterly indifferent to the plight of other human beings below them.
Hyperballard Research Icon “Vaughan”
To let J.G Ballard die – a call for far more experimental (aka ‘Hyperballardian’) Research And Development
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Raw hallucinogenic beetle extract from never forthcoming research pamphlet simulation cloud – via ludonautic Resarcher Robert What – in a generally Ballardian style.
‘Psy-Fi’ visionary J.G Ballard is thoroughly dead – yet officially sanctioned consumer culture refuses to let him stay that way, contentedly picking over his moldy corpse with every flat, smooth word they utter about or around him.
First off; after crawling out of the woodwork to claim Ballard’s greatness – and therefore their own by proxy – unrepentant racist Martin ‘I was always a fan’ Amis can go jump into the nearest drained ivory swimming pool.
Consider this a call for no more polite / mystified Ballardian discussions; let modern ‘Resarcs’ immediately and unceremoniously burn his historical corpse in abandoned desert hotels filled with equally musty academic papers.
To consider some effortlessly violent, ‘recreationally psychopatho-illogical’ need to constantly reinvent / re-view Ballard as eminently dis respectable, grotesque, dangerously unpredictable, tastelessly alien, angular and oblique – in other worlds ‘atrocious’; a need to move a little way past or beyond The Ballardian – to become ‘Hyperballardian’ – in order to discuss or approach The Ballardian at all.
Ballard needs to die properly – needs more critical uncertain critique and less arse kissing by the ancient uncritical fawning ones – so that The Ballardian may breathe on and evolve / mutate – remain free of the shackles of desiccated Academia who constrain The Ballardian via perhaps an inherently Conservative analysis by dead nice words carefully selected and pruned, to remain safe and innocuous to one’s golfing and publishing buddies at annual, awful Ballard-Lite style / themed conferences, full of back slapping ‘white artists white wine empty walls’ aka the ‘Pale, Male and Stale’ – crusty sycophants and torpid hangers on in pressed suits pimping out Ballard’s otherwise living memory flux in strict service of their tepid dissections / effortlessly traditional, self effacing middle class three book deal industry horse droppings.
Like gangs of minor roving accountants, such tasteless drones with their endlessly pragmatic applicability and the pseudo holistic approaches to digital strategy they see seek in Ballard, do not in fact have a monopoly on defining The Ballardian – they do not in fact have him or the strange conceptual Research & Development spaces he helped catalyse all neatly wrapped up.
Of course, Ballard himself was in any strange case an embodied polymorphic multiplicity of fuzzy, often contradictory influences, attitudes, final metaphysical approaches to the zeitgeist runway – arching, elaborately signalled bio-electric cyphers launched without ever quite landing – often merely continually crashing, perverse, slow motion neuro-cultural autopsies.
Contrary to popular elitist (academic) belief, not everything in life or existence may be indiscriminately sprayed with the instant moniker “Ballardian” and automatically stick.
Rather one must dis-continually re-deconstruct “The Ballardian” – view or treat The Ballardian as a necessarily fragmentary attitude, a dangerously unsustainable yet necessary altitude – say that of raw hardcore Postmodern Research And Development.
– To act as thoroughly experimental with ‘The Ballardian’ as Ballard was when he first appeared on the virtual Scene.
To this non end, to this indirect process, Resarcs of / in simulated research of ‘Big Science’ call on the mighty idealization simulation / nightmare and mega highway TV Data Angel “Vaughan” – Triassic patron anti saint of Research, atrocity exhibit triple zero direct from the deep chrome void – to theatrically re-deconstruct Ballard / The Ballardian via nonlinear series of transgressive biotech skirmishes in unexpected images simulations and unformed potentialities – unexpected even to themselves.
To consider this, not as another desiccated manifesto but theatrical “And Yes” call and response – call for Ballard as potential living alternative – to – reality, for alternative conceptual spaces – undecidedly an Non Practical Ballardianism which may draw on the internal strength and failures of those who research it – who simply burst in on /as “Scene.”