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There were 109 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Postmodernism'.
- "I ask," I continue, "only because if you get lost it becomes our task here to find you and bring you back to civilization." We pause, savoring from our different positions the ironies of the word.
"Yes, of course," he says. "But that is unlikely. We are fortunate to have the excellent maps of the region provided by yourself."
"Those maps are based on little but hearsay, Colonel. I have patched them together from travelers' accounts over a period of ten or twenty years. I have never set foot myself where you plan to go. I am simply warning you."
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 12
- "I shall not live long," he had said: "in no one of my dreams can I see myself old I shall not live long not more than 250 pages": he had said and (suddenly (dazzledly) as one rising from (is it the Seine this long blue laughing?) from the water's depth into shattering sunlight he (thrusting up through the perfume of some unknown woman's hair her body sweeter far than he) found himself) sitting there and:
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 134-135
- "Traditional" theory is always in danger of being incorporated into the programming of the social whole as a simple tool for the optimization of its performance; this is because its desire for a unitary and totalizing truth lends itself to the unitary and totalizing practice of the system's managers. "Critical" theory, based on a principle of dualism and wary of syntheses and reconciliations, should be in a position to avoid this fate.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 12
- "You know, during those interviews I had an idea: one could prepare them in advance, for radio and television, as a sort of stockpile: on amalgamation, wages, cultural affairs, on domestic and foreign policy, on security matters. One could even introduce slight variations to provide a semblance of actuality...it's possible that the taped word sounds more alive than the live word -- Veronica once tried to explain to me that artificial birds, mechanical ones, can walk more naturally than live birds -- I keep thinking about that -- in the same way a sound or video tape might sound much more spontaneous than a live interview -- what they call live is deader than dead. As dead as the little paper that died under my hands -- and proliferates..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 226-227
- 'I wonder,' said Stewart, 'why there's been so little in the press about Nathan Fox. I only heard on the radio that he'd disappeared suddenly from your house. And they don't include him in the gang. Maybe they couldn't find a photograph of him. A photo makes a gangster real.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 431
- Flaubert's Parrot uses the Realist convention of historical documentation in order to give the novel an illusion of reality. It does, after all, contain references to real people -- Gustave Flaubert, Enid Starkie, Christopher Ricks -- and places -- Rouen, Trouville, Croisset. That these people exist or existed is verifiable in the "Ricksian" sense. However, they exist in the novel not as objective facts, but as determined by the fictional Braithwaite's perception of them. Indeed, they become fictional constructs, both because of this, and because they are framed within the covers of a novel. Through metafictional techniques the novel creates levels of fiction and "reality" and questions the Realist assumption that truth and reality are absolutes. Flaubert's Parrot is typical of contemporary metafictional texts in that, while it challenges Realist conventions, it does so, paradoxically, from within precisely those same conventions. Metafiction often contains its own criticism, and the novels which play with Realist codes criticize, as this one does, their own use of them. More generally, they call into question the basic suppositions made popular by nineteenth-century Realism.
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 3
- How German Is It is certainly not a terrorist attack. What it does do is present an effective engagement with issues of postmodernism, history, and culture that are implicated in terrorism's impact. As Sadie Plant has argued, the postmodern writings of Baudrillard and Lyotard in particular are 'underwritten by situationist theory and the social and cultural agitations in which it is placed'. Moreover, Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Jameson all invoke terrorism when characterizing dominant tendencies of contemporary culture.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 233
- The Assignment repeatedly demonstrates a concern with the problematics, and especially with the political implications, of literary realism...[T]he critique of realism offered by neo-Marxist critics suggests its repressive potential as a "fantasy of surveillance" corresponding to nineteenth-century developments in psychiatry and urban sociology, a form of policing, enforcing social norms and denying aberrations. Yet in spite of the frequency with which recent critics cite Bakhtin's argument that the realistic novel's dialogism brings about "a destruction of any absolute bonding of ideological meaning to language, which is the defining factor of mythological and magical thought," the critique of realism as allied with official views of reality remains a key point in the postmodernist program (Bakhtin 369).
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 114-115
- Throughout the twentieth century, most terrorist fiction, even that critical of popular beliefs about terrorism, continued to follow the conventions of nineteenth-century realism. For their part, government officials and the press still construct terrorism much as popular fiction does, and terrorists continue to stage their spectacles with an eye to what is now a global stage. Recognizing how often revolutionaries, politicians, and journalists draw on the familiar terrorist story inevitably leads to wondering how it might be disrupted, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Assignment offers an extended response to that question. In this 1986 novella, Dürrenmatt links the inadequacy of familiar representations to the limitations of realism itself, blending an absurdist critique of contemporary politics with a postmodern conception of terrorism.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 108
- All three, the Hausmeister, Max, the park attendant, were aware that Ulrich's father had worn a monocle, and that his name was Ulrich von Hargenau, and that he had died for his fatherland, another euphemism, and that Ulrich and his brother had dropped the von, a gesture that was universally regarded with suspicion and a quite irrational anger. As a rule, people did not drop their von. The Hausmeister, Max, and the park attendant also knew that Ulrich had been up to his neck in left-wing politics, and that as recently as nine months ago he had been involved in a long drawn-out trial in which his evidence had been used by the prosecution to build an airtight case, enabling them to lock up what everyone considered a bunch of ill-mannered agitators. In some quarters there was more outrage about their alleged bad manners than their left-wing rhetoric.
Source: How German Is It, p. 34
- As terrorists grew more savvy about television, they threatened to take control away from broadcasters. A German television journalist noted that during the Baader-Meinhoff organization's kidnapping of Peter Lorenz in 1975, "We lost control of the medium. We shifted shows to meet their timetable..." Terrorist acts, argues N.C. Livingstone, are custom-made for the medium; they are relatively concise, dramatic, and "not so complex as to be unintelligible to those who tune in only briefly...terrorism is so ideally suited to television that the medium would have invented the phenomenon if it had not already existed".
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 12-13
- As we know from personal experience, "terrorism" possesses such great power that the terrorism writer must be prepared to "be written" by the discourse. Any claim of neutrality for one's own writing appears most illusory when dealing with a topic that evokes such apocalyptic fears. The author's original context cannot be but a distant reference lost within the discourse's own phantasmagoria.
The very act of describing in any fashion those communities plagued with "terrorism," or writing about events that can be construed in "terrorist" terms, runs the risks of intellectual and moral contamination. Far from being a passive agent, terrorism discourse casts its powerful rhetoric of "contagion" over those who get too close to it. Its mutational powers transform academicians and journalists into experts, experts into novelists, and novelists into journalists.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 61
- At its simplest level, [The Assignment] complicates the terrorist myth by making the identities of the victims as problematic as those of the killers. Nothing is what it seems...Surely few readers can have the moral certainty to decide whether a brain-damaged Vietnam veteran-turned-rapist is a victim or a terrorizer.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 111
- Because its representations are closest to a commonsense, consensus notion of reality, Dürrenmatt sees a realistic art as potentially dangerous...The dangerous illusions of realism have more specifically political implications. F.'s "total portrait...of our planet" would indeed be that kind of totalizing, totalitarian art that Lyotard deplores. In The Assignment, the political terrors of realism are seen at their simplest in North Africa when the police chief steals F.'s film of the execution of the Scandinavian prisoner and replaces it with an official "documentary," complete with shots of cheerful cadets at a police training academy, which might be equally convincing to a European audiences. Such documentaries seem to carry out the logical implications of nineteenth-century realism...Indeed film, while clearly an art form for F., often associates itself directly with the police and with surveillance in The Assignment.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 116-117
- Beirut is tragic but still breathing. London is the true rubble.
Source: Mao II, p. 129
- Better than any political analyst, Dürrenmatt draws us close to understanding the emotional and intellectual costs of living in the late twentieth century, when even terrorism cannot be counted on to correspond to our conceptions of it. Otto von Lambert's insight that "Auschwitz...was not the work of terrorists but of state employees" is well supported in this novel. Terrorists serve the need to believe that there are centers of resistance against a well-established order, yet as the novel amply demonstrates, the very notion of a center is illusory. The new physical terror of computerized bombing and the old one of rape correspond to a condition in which contemporary human beings live and move, their identity fragmented by new philosophical conceptions of memory and the self but also by new technologies that violate their privacy or reduce their importance in traditional roles, such as that of the warrior. Surveillance and observation, intended to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war or successful terrorist attacks, are oppressive but desired.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 119
- Between Plato's distrust of the artist as a liar and magician, a man who can paint the bed he could not build, and Baudrillard's distrust of the hyperreal, "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality," there is a clear line of descent. Seen through Brita Nilsson's eyes, a Warholish Russian painting called Gorby II illustrates the political implications of simulacra. It is a "maximum statement about the dissolubility of the artist and the exaltation of the public figure, about how it is possible to fuse images, Mikhail Gorbachev's and Marilyn Monroe's, and to steal auras, Gold Marilyn's and Dead-White Andy's". What is the connection between the artist who painted Gorby IIand a political world driven by such images? Between that artist and Karen, who conflates Korean messiahs with Khomeini and Mao, or between the artist and a magazine editor in Chile who published caricatures of General Pinochet and then is sent to jail for "assassinating the image of the general"?
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 29
- Beyond this point there are only catastrophes. Perfect is the event or language which assumes its own mode of disappearance, knows how to stage it, and thus reaches the maximal energy of appearances. The catastrophe is the maximal brute event, here too more eventful than the event -- but an event without consequences, one that leaves the world in suspense. Once the meaning of history is over, once this point of inertia has been passed, every event becomes catastrophe, becomes an event pure and without consequence, (but that is its power). The event without consequence -- like Musil's man without qualities, the body without organs, or time without memory.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 17
- Characters should be interchangeable as between one book and another. The entire corpus of existing literature should be regarded as a limbo from which discerning authors could draw their characters as required, creating only when they failed to find a suitable existing puppet. The modern novel should be largely a work of reference. Most authors spend their time saying what has been said before -- usually said much better. A wealth of references to existing works would acquaint the reader instantaneously with the nature of each character, would obviate tiresome explanations and would effectively preclude mountebanks, upstarts, thimbleriggers and persons of inferior education from an understanding of contemporary literature. Conclusion of explanation.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 25
- Dürrenmatt shares...a wish to expose the myths and explore the realities of terrorism. An experimental fiction, The Assignment points to the complex reality that lies behind the too-familiar story and suggests as well the actual experience of human beings caught up in terrorist activities. Fragmentation of identity in the novel's unstable world leads to a longing for order that asserts itself in totalitarian politics, fundamentalist religion, and documentary realism, all disciplines, in Foucault's sense, that depend on observation. Suggesting the difficulty of distinguishing between the victims and practitioners of terror, Dürrenmatt undermines the usual story of sinister Islamic terrorists...His manipulations of the myth present terror both as an understandable private response to the conditions of late-twentieth-century life and as a public practice that intensifies and conditions panic.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 110
- Ecstasy is the quality proper to any body that spins until all sense is lost, and then shines forth in its pure and empty form. Fashion is the ecstasy of the beautiful: pure and empty form of an esthetic spinning about itself. Simulation is the ecstasy of the real: just look at television, where real events follow each other in a perfectly ecstatic relation, that is, in dizzying, stereotyped, unreal and recurrent ways that allow their senseless and uninterrupted concatenation. In ecstasy: this is the object in advertising, as is the consumer in contemplation of the advertisement -- the spinning of use-value and exchange-value into annihilation in the pure and empty form of the brand-name.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 9-10
- Fearing his bed would cool, he hastened past the emptiness of the hall, where a handsome girl stood poised without her clothes on the brink of a blue river. Napoleon peered at her in a wanton fashion from the dark of the other wall.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 32-33
- For Bradbury, however, the affinity between Abish's prose and the postmodern is 'misleading', although he does assert that they 'share' one 'tendency': 'a refusal to name what we call reality as real, a sense that the language which authenticates this or that as history, geography or biography is a language of human invention'. Given that Abish wrote How German Is It without ever having visited Germany, Bradbury's comment seems apposite. And certainly there is an ongoing fascination in Abish's fiction with what the writer has termed 'defamiliarization'-- which is no doubt partly attributable to his having lived in a number of countries from a young age.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 192
- For really two distinct, yet oddly complementary, features of contemporary life worked against The Satanic Verses: the resurgence of religious fundamentalism and the explosion of the electronic media. On the one hand, we note the extreme literalism of Rushdie's opponents, their unwillingness to accept "the fictionality of fiction" (Rushdie, IH 393). The "death of the author," in the West a philosophical proposition, became in Iranian hands a large cash incentive, and a promise of paradise, for the assassination of a Booker Prize winner. Yet in a sense the literalism of the British Muslims who burned the book in the streets of Bradford was a tribute to the printed page that is rare indeed in the West; they did not regard the novel as an inconsequential imaginative exercise but as a powerful expression of ideas deeply engaged with reality.
On the other hand, the familiar enemy of the printed text, the electronic media, arouses Baudrillardian anxieties. As Daniel Pipes points out, the 14 February fatwa has all the marks of a media event; had the ayatollah simply wanted Rushdie dead he could have dispatched a hit squad months earlier, when British Muslims began their protests. "Broadcasting his intentions allowed Rushdie to take cover, so Khomeini's real goal must...have been...something quite different". An apocalyptic vision of all solid ground disappearing, to be replaced by a vertiginous mass of images, attaches itself to the phenomenon of the writer who disappears into the spy fiction world of safe houses and Secret Service protection. Surely the text of The Satanic Verses also seems to disappear, in spite of phenomenal sales, into televised images created by angry men who pride themselves on not having read it. Surely, too, the claims of political fiction to act on the world seem overwhelmed by the world's evident ability, especially when kept instantly up-to-date by satellite, to act on novel and novelist.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 24
- For the majority of people who are not directly subject to its violence or intimidation, terrorism has to be 'made to mean' and the media are crucial ideological vehicles in systematizing and organizing disparate 'acts of terror'. Indeed, media are not simply external actors passively bringing the news of terrorist incidents to global audiences but are increasingly seen as active agents in the actual conceptualization of terrorist events. They are credited, in other words, not simply with definitional but constitutive power: we now have 'mediated terrorism' (Cottle, 2006), 'media-oriented terrorism' (Surette et al., 2009), 'media-ized warfare' (Louw, 2003) and 'mass-mediated terrorism' (Nacos, 2007)
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 9-10
- For the purposes of this study, Realism...is limited to the literary conventions (and their ideological implications) which were developed in nineteenth-century England and France as a formula for the literal transcription of "reality" into art.
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. ix
- Furthermore, the terrorist has a far greater capacity to garner public attention than does the soldier. It is a particularly salient confirmation of the common perception in postmodern discourse that reality is being shattered into images and that everyday life is becoming confused with TV's hyperreal world.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 6-7
- He turns away, but with a slow claw-like hand I manage to catch his arm. "No, listen!" I say. "Do not misunderstand me, I am not blaming you or accusing you, I am long past that. Remember, I too have devoted a life to the law, I know its processes, I know that the workings of justice are often obscure. I am only trying to understand. I am trying to understand the zone in which you live. I am trying to imagine how you breathe and eat and live from day to day. But I cannot! That is what troubles me! If I were he, I say to myself, my hands would feel so dirty that it would choke me -- "
He wrenches himself free and hits me so hard in the chest that I gasp and stumble backwards. "You bastard!" he shouts. "You fucking old lunatic! Get out! Go and die somewhere!"
"When are you going to put me on trial?" I shout at his retreating back. He pays no need.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 126
- How could there be secrets here? Drive-through kitchen, state-of-the-art projection room, everything out in the open, no passages inside the walls, no hidden doors, all still too new. What could lie behind a front like this, when it's front all the way through?
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 191-192
- However we may ultimately wish to evaluate this populist rhetoric, it has at least the merit of drawing our attention to one fundamental feature of all the postmodernism enumerated above: namely, the effacement in them of the older (essentially high-modernist) frontier between high culture and so-called mass or commercial culture, and the emergence of new kinds of texts infused with the forms, categories, and contents of that very culture industry so passionately denounced by all the ideologues of the modern, from Leavis and the American New Criticism all the way to Adorno and the Frankfurt School. The postmodernisms have, in fact, been fascinated precisely by this whole "degraded" landscape of schlock and kitsch, of TV series and Reader's Digest culture, of advertising and motels, of the late show and the grade-B Hollywood film, of so-called paraliterature, with its airport paperback categories of the gothic and the romance, the popular biography, the murder mystery, and the science fiction or fantasy novel: materials they no longer simply "quote," as a Joyce or a Mahler might have done, but incorporate into their very substance.
From chapter: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
Source: Postmodernism, p. 2-3
- I don't like the kind of houses they build for themselves, don't like their taste, let alone Fischer's. Even the finest paintings they have hanging there, paintings I even like, seem like forgeries to me even when they've been proved to be genuine -- especially ten. There's something about them that kills art, even music -- I'm glad our child has left all that behind.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 228
- I know somewhat too much; and from this knowledge, once one has been infected, there seems to be no recovering. I ought never to have taken my lantern to see what was going on in the hut by the granary. On the other hand, there was no way, once I had picked up the lantern, for me to put it down again. The knot loops in upon itself; I cannot find the end.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 21
- I take Sun Tzu's wise words regarding war on pretty much the same level as a fortune cookie, but when it comes to the war on terror, then Sun Tzu here catches my breath. For it seems that the art of deception in this particular war is organic and built in to what is by necessity a war of error, a deliberate and compulsive lying, tied up with the fact that in the name of defending the people, which is to say democracy, the war is now against the people. We the public have become the enemy, and that is how I read Sun Tau on the art of war today.
Yet would it were that simple because the power of the art of deceit does not -- I repeat not -- necessarily weaken with exposure. Sometimes the very opposite occurs; sometimes deceit seems to thrive on exposure, as in the conjuring tricks of shamanism and in the conjuring now exercised on a global scale by the world's only superpower. This global conjuring rests on a sea change in the way truth and language work in what Carl Schmitt called "the exception," meaning the state of emergency. The curious thing is despite the tremendous concentration of power such a state of emergency implies, which should allow the leaders to tell the truth without fear of the consequences, the opposite is more likely to occur.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100
- If anything, the text [in Volodine] increasingly persuades the reader of the futility of resistance, of its identity with that which it opposes: the revolutionary's identification with the state, the writer's with the police. The text finally fails not because it is too readable or because it is unreadable or subject to misreading, but because it cannot occupy an uncontaminated pure space from which to offer a critique of power. Writer and critic, terrorist and police officer, are not only at the last margins of Europe but also at the last margins of the printed text, in a novel that suggests that a revolutionary impulse that has driven Western art and politics for two centuries has, at last, perished.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 153-154
- If mere words, the language of public discourse, are debased, the writer may well wish to turn to more intuitive models of communication, the discourse of private symbolism and even madness.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 81
- In an extreme way, Britain's paradoxical stance on political violence is what Mr Vladimir is attempting to match with his plan of creating a terrorist 'outrage' in order to elicit more stringent policing. His idea takes on an absurdist tone, though, when he explains to Verloc his 'philosophy of the bomb': 'A bomb outrage to have any influence on public opinion must go beyond the intention of vengeance or terrorism', he argues: 'it must be purely destructive. It must be that, and only that...'. Attacks on property, religion, and churches fail to disturb the quiescence of the everyday, he states, for insurrection has become a mere media phenomenon: 'Every newspaper has ready-made phrases to explain such manifestations away'. An act without authorship is thus required, he argues, an epiphanous devastation irreducible to the familiar: 'what is one to say to an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in fact, mad?' [emphasis added by Houen]
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 36-37
- In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) articulates faculty, film and television producers, game designers and the Pentagon to one another. Formally opened by the Secretary of the Army and the head of the Motion Picture Association of America in 1998, it began with $45 million of the military's budget, a figure that was doubled in its 2004 renewal. ICT uses military money and Hollywood muscle to test out homicidal technologies and narrative scenarios -- under the aegis of film, engineering and communications professors, beavering away in a workspace thoughtfully set up by the set designer for the Stark Trek franchise. By the end of 2010, its products were available on 65 military bases. I guess that is convergence.
ICT collaborates on major motion pictures...But more importantly, the Institute produces Pentagon recruitment tools such as Full Spectrum Warrior that double as 'training devices for military operations in urban terrain': what's good for the Xbox is good for the combat simulator. The utility of these innovations continues in the field. Many off-duty soldiers play games. The idea is to invade their supposed leisure time and wean them from skater games in favour of what are essentially training manuals. The Pentagon even boasts that Full Spectrum Warrior was the 'game that captured Saddam', because the men who dug Hussein out had been trained with it.
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 108-109
- In this chapter we have considered various ways of writing "Basque terrorism" -- whether as "patriotic cause" (ETA's Documentos), "ethnography" (Douglass), "entertainment" (Shed and Trevanian), "news" (the Basque and Spanish presses), counterterrorist "intelligence" and "expertise" (Sterling, Post, the panel of international specialists), and "sociology" (Wieviorka). Each, as we have seen, is more than simply a different perspective of the same reality; rather each produces its own separate reality. Terrorism writing aims at constituting these various texts into a single field of discourse.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 60-61
- Instead of reading on and on about the tenuousness, ambiguity, or uncertainty of someone's feelings, she preferred to question the meaning of a thing or the meaning of a thought, preferably raising the question in German, a foreign or at any rate adopted language that enabled her to reduce these crucial questions to pure signs, since in German the word thing and the word thought did not immediately evoke in her brain the multitudinous response it did in English, where the words, those everyday words, conjured up an entire panorama of familiar associations that blunted the preciseness needed in order to bring her philosophical investigation to a satisfactory conclusion. Could this be the reason why she had come to Germany? To think in German, to question herself in a foreign language?
Source: How German Is It, p. 36
- It is clear that surrealism did not negate the objective world but in fact tried to sublate it in a dialectical manner: negating but also transmuting it in a new horizon of meaning. The iconoclastic sociologist Jean Baudrillard chides surrealism for remaining within the purview of realism, reinforcing it ironically by apotheosizing the imaginary. Refusing the antithesis between the real and imaginary by positing the "hyperreal," Baudrillard tries to outdo the surrealists by locating the unreal "in the real's hallucinatory resemblance to itself" (1984, 71).
Source: Working Through the Contradictions: From Cultural Theory to Critical Practice, p. 124
- It is one thing for an undertaking to be possible and another for it to be just. Knowledge is no longer the subject, but in the service of the subject: its only legitimacy (though it is formidable) is the fact that it allows morality to become reality. This introduces a relation of knowledge to society and the State which is in principle a relation of the means to the end. But scientists must cooperate only if they judge that the politics of the State, in other words the sum of its prescriptions, is just. If they feel that the civil society of which they are members is badly represented by the State, they may reject its prescriptions. This type of legitimation grants them the authority, as practical human beings, to refuse their scholarly support to a political power they judge to be unjust, in other words, not grounded in a real autonomy. They can even go so far as to use their expertise to demonstrate that such autonomy is not in fact realized in society and the State. This reintroduces the critical function of knowledge. But the fact remains that knowledge has no final legitimacy outside of serving the goals envisioned by the practical subject, the autonomous collectivity.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 36
- It is tempting to avoid the decision altogether [note: the choice between unitary/totalizing/functional science and oppositional/critical/dual interpretation/argument as the ultimate in knowledge and best single way forward for society] by distinguishing two kinds of knowledge. One, the positivist kind, would be directly applicable to technologies bearing on men and materials, and would lend itself to operating as an indispensable productive force within the system. The other -- the critical, reflexive, or hermeneutic kind -- by reflecting directly or indirectly on values or aims, would resist any such "recuperation."
I find this partition solution unacceptable. I suggest that the alternative it attempts to resolve, but only reproduces, is no longer relevant for the societies with which we are concerned and that the solution itself is still caught within a type of oppositional thinking that is out of step with the most vital modes of postmodern knowledge...For brevity's sake, suffice it to say that functions of regulation, and therefore of reproduction, are being and will be further withdrawn from administrators and entrusted to machines. Increasingly, the central question is becoming who will have access to the information these machines must have in storage to guarantee that the right decisions are made.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 14
- It is useful to make the following three observations about language games. The first is that their rules do not carry within themselves their own legitimation, but are the object of a contract, explicit or not, between players (which is not to say that the players invent the rules). The second is that if there are no rules, there is no game, that even an infinitesimal modification of one rule alters the nature of the game, that a"move" or utterance that does not satisfy the rules does not belong to the game they define. The third remark is suggested by what has just been said: every utterance should be thought of as a "move" in a game. This last observation brings us to the first principle underlying our method as a whole: to speak is to fight, in the sense of playing, and speech acts fall within the domain of a general agonistics.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 10
- It is...impossible to judge the existence or validity of narrative knowledge on the basis of scientific knowledge and vice versa: the relevant criteria are different. All we can do is gaze in wonderment at the diversity of discursive species, just as we do at the diversity of plant or animal species. Lamenting the "loss of meaning" in postmodernity boils down to mourning the fact that knowledge is no longer principally narrative.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 26
- It would be dangerous and misleading to imagine that the near past was some prelapsarian state rife with political potentials, so it's as well to remember the role that commodification played in the production of culture throughout the twentieth century. Yet the old struggle between detournement and recuperation, between subversion and incorporation, seems to have been played out. What we are dealing with now is not the incorporation of materials that previously seemed to possess subversive potentials, but instead, their precorporation: the pre-emptive formatting and shaping of desires, aspirations and hopes by capitalist culture. Witness, for instance, the establishment of settled 'alternative' or 'independent' cultural zones, which endlessly repeat older gestures of rebellion and contestation as if for the first time. 'Alternative' and 'independent' don't designate something outside mainstream culture; rather they are styles, in fact the dominant styles, within the mainstream.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 9
- Jameson famously claimed that postmodernism is the 'cultural logic of late capitalism'. He argued that the failure of the future was constitutive of a postmodern cultural scene which, as he correctly prophesied, would become dominated by pastiche and revivalism. Given that Jameson has made a convincing case for the relationship between postmodern culture and certain tendencies in consumer (or post-Fordist) capitalism, it could appear that there is no need for the concept of capitalist realism at all. In some ways, this is true. What I'm calling capitalist realism can be subsumed under the rubric of postmodernism as theorized by Jameson. Yet, despite Jameson's heroic work of clarification, postmodernism remains a hugely contested term, its meanings, appropriately but unhelpfully, unsettled and multiple. More importantly, I would want to argue that some of the processes which Jameson described and analyzed have now become so aggravated and chronic that they have gone through a change in kind.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 7
- My analysis of terrorism through literature is also intended as a contribution to debates about terrorism's figurative aspects more generally. For while many literary and critical theorists contend that we have moved from modernity to postmodernity, from capitalism to 'late-capitalism', from structuralism to poststructuralism -- and, moreover, that these shifts have had profound influences on socio-political practices generally -- it is rare to see these terms or debates being filtered into terrorism studies, despite its frequent references to fictionalization and theories of discourse.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 20
- News of disaster is the only narrative people need. The darker the news, the grander the narrative.
Source: Mao II, p. 42
- Perversely, Clair's absurdist condensation of historical causality insists upon the contemporary significance of avant-garde movements. In the case of surrealism, the group's violent rhetorical and poetic practices are no longer relegated to a quaint corner of literary and aesthetic history (as they often are in the U.S.), but are instead implicated in a much greater contemporary crisis in humanism. Indeed, Clair insists upon surrealism's genealogical ties to more recent anti-humanist thinkers, from Lacan and Debord to Deleuze and Baudrillard, who likewise refused to keep their radical ideas out of everyday affairs. This is consistent, Clair reminds us, with the nature of avant-gardism, whose cultural position is based on collapsing the distinction between "art" and "life." This collapse bears ethical as well as aesthetic consequences: what is at stake, for instance, when avant-garde rhetoric is spiked with appeals to violence, as well as with practices that tend toward the dissolution of humanistic ideals? How, and to what extent, do the more incendiary tactics of a movement like surrealism "prepare the mind?" And for what do they prepare it?
Source: Object Lessons: Surrealist Art, Surrealist Politics, p. 178
- Politics and fabulation overlap further towards the end of Part Five of How German Is It in a section entitled 'The purpose of an antiterrorist film'. According to Wurtenhberg's chief of police, the purpose of such a film amounts to constructing a complete terrorist profile that identifies 'their slang, their gestures, their preferences, their way of dressing...their weapons, their techniques, their political rhetoric...' in order to 'Depict as accurately as possible the threat they pose to the stability of this society'. However, as the narrative voice points out, presenting an authentic picture of the threat is fundamentally a matter of deciding how to 'minimize' or 'exaggerate' the terrorists' 'strength' and 'callousness'. Determining a special-effect of realism appears to be the only way the desired political effects can be realized: 'In order to clarify, to make evident a terrorist threat, the film has to distort, fabricate and often lie. But no matter how great these flaws are, the need for the film is self evident'...That this whole procedure requires that the distinctions between events and representations, facts and fictions, 'terrorism' and counter-terrorism, become totally unclear in order to manipulate the public is no doubt why there is 'always a possibility' that it will not succeed.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 227-228
- Post-colonialism, ethnicity, sexuality and cultural studies are not, of course, innocent of theory. nor do they simply date from its decline. It is rather that they have emerged in full force in the wake of 'pure' or 'high' theory, which for the most part they have put behind them. Not only put behind them, indeed, but served to displace. In some ways, this is an evolution to be welcomed. Various forms of theoreticism (though not of obscurantism) have been cast aside. What has taken place by and large is a shift from discourse to culture -- from ideas in a somewhat abstract or virginal state, to an investigation of what in the 1970s and '80s one would have been rash to call the real world. As usual, however, there are losses as well as gains. Analysing vampires or Family Guy is probably not as intellectually rewarding as the study of Freud and Foucault.
Source: The Event of Literature, p. ix-x
- Really Existing Capitalism is marked by the same division which characterized Really Existing Socialism, between, on the one hand, an official culture in which capitalist enterprises are presented as socially responsible and caring, and, on the other, a widespread awareness that companies are actually corrupt, ruthless, etc...But postmodernism's supposed gestures of demystification do not evince sophistication so much as a certain naivety, a conviction that there were others, in the past, who really believed in the Symbolic. [now quoting Zizek:] ...those who do not allow themselves to be caught in the symbolic deception/fiction, who continue to believe their eyes, are the ones who err most. A cynic who 'believes only his eyes' misses the efficiency of the symbolic fiction, and how it structures our experience of reality.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 47-48
- Rene Crevel's 1933 essay "Notes toward a Psycho-dialectic" makes precisely this theoretical move [i.e., a surrealist theory that expands the fields of Marxist inquiry beyond its own orthodox presuppositions]. Published in the same issue of SASDLR as Eduard and Peret's review off the press coverage of the Papin sisters, Crevel's article uses Jacques Lacan's recent doctoral thesis on paranoia to articulate how psychotic crime could provide a means for better understanding political expression. Crevel thus revises Aragon's justification of violent insurrection as a function of "visionary" class awareness, instead describing proletarian revolution as a gradual process of increasing consciousness as a subject...
Lacan's 1932 thesis on paranoia was appealing to Crevel because it allowed him to expound a materialist theory of unconscious development, which stressed the social rather than the constitutional, genetic, or even instinctual development of paranoia's delusional system. Lacan's study of paranoia stands in opposition to the two major French theories of the illness: the notion of automatism, which understood the mind as series of automatic functions, and of constitutionalism, which understood the mind as organically fixed in its irregularities. Lacan's theoretical breakthrough was to propose instead that paranoia is a delusional system with an emphatically social basis, a condition brought about through the dialectical interplay between the subject and other people. Lacan's theory of paranoia does not simply reject the patient's delusional structure, through which the subject strikes out against her own ego-ideal in the form of a persecuting enemy, as a false or alien theory of persecution; it understands the illness as already a synthesis of conscious perception and unconscious judgment. By studying the social conditions that contribute to paranoia, Lacan thus structures his own theory as a dialectical extension of the illness itself.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 185-186
- Rushdie's political aim is familiar: through modestly experimental devices -- multiple narrators, time shifts, the violation of realistic decorum by improbable coincidences, magical events -- to liberate the reader from the tyranny of an inerrant text. As in DeLillo's Libra, Robert Coover's Public Burning, or J.G. Farrell's Empire trilogy, storytelling in The Satanic Verses is meant to act on a world already saturated by narratives, urging the reader to consider an alternative perspective, hoping to free up some space in the real world for another interpretation of the patriotic myth, the official version, the sacred text....The Rushdie affair has become the exemplary instance of the postmodernist political novel encountering actual politics, actual violence.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 21
- Saussure's emphasis, then, is on the constructedness of meaning. Linguistic structures determine our perception of reality so that meaning cannot exist independently of language. Stendhal's description of the novel as a mirror walking down the road is insight of this, in adequate because it assumes that "ready-made ideas exist before words" (Saussure 1915: 65). Instead, structuralists argue, "our knowledge of things is insensibly structured by the systems of code and convention which alone enable us to classify and organize the chaotic flow of experience" (Norris 1982: 4). Literature in structuralist terms can no longer be seen as a natural emanation from a mysteriously inspired, moral mind. Indeed, the gain of structuralist theory is the demystification of literature as an especially privileged discourse since structures, codes, and conventions are found just as much in literature as in Literature (see Eagleton 1983: 106-7).
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 21
- Science has always been in conflict with narratives. Judged by the yardstick of science, the majority of them prove to be fables. But to the extent that science does not restrict itself to stating useful regularities and seeks the truth, it is obliged to legitimate the rules of its own game...For example, the rule of consensus between the sender and addressee of a statement with truth-value is deemed acceptable if it is cast in terms of a possible unanimity between rational minds: this is the Enlightenment narrative, in which the hero of knowledge works towards a good ethico-political end -- universal peace. As can be seen from this example, if a metanarrative implying a philosophy of history is used to legitimate knowledge, questions are raised concerning the validity of the institutions governing the social bond: these must be legitimated as well. Thus justice is consigned to the grand narrative in the same way as truth. Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives...Is legitimacy to be found in consensus obtained through discussion, as Jürgen Habermas thinks? Such consensus does violence to the heterogeneity of language games. And invention is always born of dissension. Postmodern knowledge is not simply a tool of the authorities; it refines our sensitivity to differences and reinforces our ability to tolerate the incommensurable.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. xxiii-xxv
- Scientific knowledge requires that one language game, denotation, be retained and all others excluded. A statement's truth-value is the criterion determining its acceptability...In this context, then, one is "learned" if one can produce a true statement about a referent, and one is a scientist if one can produce verifiable or falsifiable statements about referents accessible to the experts...Unlike narrative knowledge, [science] is no longer a direct and shared component of the [social] bond. But it is indirectly a component of it, because it develops into a profession and gives rise to institutions, and in modern societies language games consolidate themselves in the form of institutions run by qualified partners (the professional class). The relation between knowledge and society...becomes one of mutual exteriority. A new problem appears -- that of the relationship between the scientific institution and society.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 25
- Several now untenable assumptions are clear, here. The first of these is that "empirical reality" is objectively observable through pure perception. The second is that there can exist a direct transcription from "reality" to novel. Implicit in this is the idea that language is transparent, that "reality" creates language and not the reverse...Finally, there is the notion that there is a common, shared sense of both "reality" and "truth."
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 12
- Still, writers are not terribly reliable as witnesses for either the defense or the prosecution. They are also not to be relied upon as lovers. They lack patience. They seem to have a certain difficulty in taking pleasure from what they are doing. Like chess players, they are inwardly preparing themselves for the inevitable end game.
Source: How German Is It, p. 28
- Strauss' thinking differed from much of Popper's analysis but saw scientific criticism of official accounts of important historical events as a precursor to totalitarianism because it undermines respect for the nation's laws and traditional beliefs; it ushers in, with philosophy and science, the view that nothing is true; and it unleashes tyrannical impulses in the political class as top leaders compete for popular support. Although Popper and Strauss arrived by different routes, they agreed that conspiracy theories can fuel totalitarian political movements that threaten respect for human dignity, popular sovereignty, and the rule of law.
Source: Conspiracy Theory in America, p. 78
- The Clerk sat and spoke...A curious flatness was in his voice. He was practicing and increasing this, denying accents and stresses to his speech. Wise readers of verse do their best to submit their voices to the verse, letting the words have their own proper value, and endeavour to leave to them their precise proportion and rhythm. The Clerk was going farther yet. He was removing meaning itself from the words...he turned, or sought to turn, words into mere vibrations.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 62
- The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These "antirealist" doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry. One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity. Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide honest representations of himself. Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature. It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.
But it is preposterous to imagine that we ourselves are determinate, and hence susceptible both to correct and incorrect descriptions, while supposing that the ascription of determinacy to anything else has been exposed as a mistake. As conscious beings, we exist only in response to other things, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing them. Moreover, there is nothing in theory, and certainly nothing in experience, to support the extraordinary judgment that it is the truth about himself that is the easiest for a person to know. Facts about ourselves are not peculiarly solid and resistant to skeptical dissolution. Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial -- notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 64-67
- The critical function of the subject has given way to the ironic function of the object...No longer any need to confront objects with the absurdity of their functions, in a poetic unreality, as the Surrealists did: things move to shed an ironic light on themselves all on their own; they discard their meanings effortlessly.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 75
- The game of science thus implies a diachronic temporality, that is, a memory and a project. The current sender of a scientific statement is supposed to be acquainted with previous statements concerning its referent (bibliography) and only proposes a new statement on the subject if it differs from the previous ones.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 26
- The godgame played in The Magus consists of a series of frames which are repeatedly established and broken. This framebreaking, as Brian McHale points out, presents us with a series of illusions of "reality:" "Intended to establish an absolute level of reality, it paradoxically relativizes reality; intended to provide an ontologically stable foothold, it only destabilizes ontology further" (1987: 197). This is a more than apt description of the effects of Maurice Conchis' "metatheatre" in the novel, a theatre designed "to allow participants to see through their first roles in it" (Fowles 1977b: 408-9).
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 88
- The government took PR to a new level: it is now called PM for 'perception management' and it treats war as a product to be 'rolled out' and promoted. It is serious and systematic. It branded the war and used advertising-like slogans to sell it...Anchormen complained the the media had gone from being a watchdog to a lap dog, but did nothing about it...It is important to understand that this does not add up to a critique of a few lapses or media mistakes. The Iraq War was more than a catalogue of errors or flaws. The war was shaped for coverage, planned and formatted, pre-produced and aired with high production values, designed to persuade, not just inform. What we saw and are seeing is a crime against democracy and the public's right to know.
From chapter: Challenging the Media War by Danny Schecter
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 314-315
- The point of this is that if "the factual side of literature becomes unreliable, then ploys such as irony and fantasy become much harder to use" [note: quote from Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot, p. 77]. In other words, the literariness of the text is dependent upon the veracity of the facts.
Interestingly, the novel as a whole plays with precisely this notion. Braithwaite accumulates a vast amount of information about Flaubert, but this knowledge only makes him Flaubert's parrot. For Felicity in Un coeur simple, the parrot Loulou has mystical, religious connotations. Find the "real" parrot, however, will not give Braithwaite any mystical insight into either Flaubert or his fiction. The facts do not lead, as he hopes they will, to truth.
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 2-3
- The real does not efface itself in favor of the imaginary; it effaces itself in favor of the more real than real: the hyperreal. The truer than true: this is simulation...More generally things visible do not come to an end in obscurity and silence -- instead they fade into the more visible than visible: obscenity;
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 11
- The Rushdie affair put a whole complex of Western assumptions about the politics of postmodern art, about the nature of reading and of satire, up against traditional Muslim assumptions about, among other matters, the nature of representation and the obligation to revealed truth, and found them, if not wanting, at least not universal.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 36
- The supposition that modernism as we have known it is inside out, so that we haven't known it much; that it has the two-sided structure just proposed gains in credibility once the proposal is brought to bear on literary history. Terrorism (which Chesterton conflates, rightly or wrongly, with anarchism) is a central formal inspiration and a central thematics of Anglo-American and international fiction, throughout the century. Ignorance of the continuity has helped create another outside to modernism, our so-called postmodernism; but the continuity and the impact of anarchist terrorism on literary culture suggests that we have only various modernisms to contemplate, and not a divide between one modernism and another, of course, because Chesterton identifies, as the original terrorist, the god who blows up Job, Chesterton thinks there is more to modernism than modernity.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 155-156
- The vision of the writer as revolutionary, Byron in Greece or Lamartine on the barricades in 1848, is too compelling to be abandoned easily, even or especially when it is accompanied by the expectation that the writer in old age will be a hoary sage, a Victor Hugo living in the comfort a grateful nation bestows on its benefactors. Such grand and hopeful views of the writer's authority are the lighted backdrop that accentuates the dark outlines of terrorist fiction, that most pessimistic of genres, and supplies it with its deeper ironies. From James to Coetzee, novelists who imagine a bond between terrorist and writer assume that both are isolated and marginal, incapable of gaining a hearing in the ordinary language of civic life.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 155
- The world he could see from the window gaily mocked him with a promise of being an image of the painting...
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 84
- There is, then, an incommensurability between popular narrative pragmatics, which provides immediate legitimation, and the language game known to the West as the question of legitimacy -- or rather, legitimacy as a referent in the game of inquiry. Narratives, as we have seen, determine criteria of competence and/or illustrate how they are to be applied. They thus define what has the right to be said and done in the culture in question, and since they are themselves a part of that culture, they are legitimated by the simple fact that they do what they do.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 23
- There's the life and there's the consumer event. Everything around us tends to channel our lives toward some final reality in print or on film. Two lovers quarrel in the back of a taxi and a question becomes implicit in the event. Who will write the book and who will play the lovers in the movie? Everything seeks its own heightened version. Or put it this way. Nothing happens until it's consumed.
Source: Mao II, p. 44
- They fled and escaped from actuality. Unknowingly, they spoke as he did, knowing; therefore they were his servants -- until they dissolved and were lost.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 101
- This idea, that a postmodern fiction offers an effective form of political resistance because it undermines categories through which we experience official views of reality as reality itself, is but the most recent expression of the old romantic idea of writer as rebel. It is one obviously close to Volodine, who in his 1991 novel Alto Solo describes a writer suspiciously like himself, a man whose anguish over the real world leads him to write about alternative societies, even though he longs to denounce the dominant ideology directly...Certainly Lisbonne dernière marge takes the political claims of postmodernism seriously, yet in the end they too prove dubious...The powerful, Volodine suggests, are likely to remain the fabricators of reality, and a difficult experimental form quickly degenerates into aesthetic game-playing.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 147-148
- This way of inquiring into sociopolitical legitimacy combines with the new scientific attitude: the name of the hero is the people, the sign of legitimacy is the people's consensus, and their mode of creating norms is deliberation...It is clear that what is meant here by "the people" is entirely different from what is implied by traditional narrative knowledge, which, as we have seen, requires no instituting deliberation, no cumulative progression, no pretension to universality; these are the operators of scientific knowledge. It is therefore not at all surprising that the representatives of the new process of legitimation by "the people" should be at the same time actively involved in destroying the traditional knowledge of peoples, perceived from that point forward as minorities or potential separatist movements destined to spread obscurantism.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 30
- Tis book of two parts, terror and healing, takes little for granted and leaves even less in its place. It derives from the almost I've years I spent in the southwest of Colombia, South America, from 1969 to 1985, in periods varying from one month to two years. During those times my hand was tried at several things: history, anthropology, medicine, mythology, magic, to name but the nameable and leave the remainder where the subject matter of this book communicates itself -- in the politics of epistemic murk and the fiction of the real, in the creation of Indians, in the role of myth and magic in colonial violence as much as in its healing, and in the way that healing can mobilize terror in order to subvert it, not through heavenly catharses but through the tripping up of power in its own disorderliness.
Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. xiii
- To those familiar with postmodern art, [The Satanic Verse's] subsequent juxtapositions of Othello allusions with advertising jingles, or of fantasies about medieval Arabia with quasi-journalistic exposés of police brutality in contemporary England, scarcely seem surprising. Blurring history and fiction to make the historical appear fantastic is the stock in trade of such books. The 1983 Hawkes Bay incident, for example, in which a Pakistani woman, Naseem Fatima, led thirty-eight Shiah pilgrims to their deaths in the sea out of the mistaken belief that it would part to allow them to pass safely to the holy city of Kerbala, needs little fictional transformation to fit into the phantasmagoric world of Gibreel Farishta's unwelcome dreams.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 20
- Ultimately, there are three reasons that I prefer the term capitalist realism to postmodernism. In the 1980s, when Jameson first advanced his thesis about postmodernism, there were still, in name at least, political alternatives to capitalism. What we are dealing with now, however, is a deeper, far more pervasive, sense of exhaustion, of cultural and political sterility...
Secondly, postmodernism involved some relationship to modernism. Jameson's work on postmodernism began with an interrogation of the idea, cherished by the likes of Adorno, that modernism possessed revolutionary potentials by virtue of its formal innovations alone. What Jameson saw happening instead was the incorporation of modernist motifs into popular culture (suddenly, for example, Surrealist techniques would appear in advertising). At the same time as particular modernist forms were absorbed and commodified, modernism's credos -- its supposed belief in elitism and its monological, top-down model of culture -- were challenged and rejected in the name of 'difference', 'diversity' and 'multiplicity'. Capitalist realism no longer stages this kind of confrontation with modernism. On the contrary, it takes the vanquishing of modernism for granted: modernism is now something that can periodically return, but only as a frozen aesthetic style, never as an ideal for living.
Thirdly, a whole generation has passed since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. In the 1960s and 1970s, capitalism had to face the problem of how to contain and absorb energies from outside. It now, in fact, has the opposite problem; having all-too successfully incorporated externality, how can it function without an outside it can colonize and appropriate?...Capitalism seamlessly occupies the horizons of the thinkable. Jameson used to report in horror about the ways that capitalism had seeped into the very unconscious; now, the fact that capitalism has colonized the dreaming life of the population is so taken for granted that it is no longer worthy of comment.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 8-9
- Virtual or real, national or transnational, state-sponsored or executed by small groups, terrorism in all its forms remains a central concern for contemporary societies.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 1
- We are experiencing the triumph of contemporaneity and of its accomplice, forgetting or collective amnesia. Stated somewhat differently, in early modern times change displaced traditions; today change succeeds change.
Source: Democracy Inc., p. xviii
- We don't need the novel. Quoting Bill. We don't even need catastrophes, necessarily. We only need the reports and predictions and warnings.
Source: Mao II, p. 72
- When, in the second chapter [of The Magus], "the mysteries" begin, the reader is encouraged to "identify" with Nicholas as the only constant. Yet this too is made problematic because of the fluidity of characters' roles, as well as by the repetitions of and insistence on ideas about acting, staging, costumes, and performances. Nicholas is, after all, also a character in the metatheatre. In the final chapter, Nicholas arrives back in London. The apparent end of Conchis' masque proves to have been yet another performance, however, and the theatre continues even off the delineated "stage" at Bourani. Nicholas is still subjected to stage-managed moments even in the safety of his own familiar "reality." Appropriately enough, then, this last chapter is a frame with only three sides, giving the illusion that the theatre can spill out into the reader's world as well.
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 92
- With the predominance of information technology and global networks of power, war has become both 'postmodern' and 'discursive', [Chris Hables Gray] argues: 'its unity is rhetorical'. What characterizes it are 'the metaphors and symbols that structure it, not...any direct continuity of weapons, tactics, or strategy between its various manifestations...'...Any survey of statements made by politicians in the aftermath of 11 September would certainly suggest that rhetoric and the figurative did play a major part in the event and the responses to it...The attacks on the buildings were declared to be not just an attack on the US as a whole, as bin Laden suggested; for US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 'It wasn't an assault on America. It was an assault on civilization, it was an assault on democracy', and on 'the twenty first century' itself.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 4
- With the triumph of fascism, the degeneration of communism, and the integration of social democracy, [Enlightenment] ideals were seen as having lost their cachet and, as a consequence, this kind of political critique as having lost its appeal. Auschwitz had punctured the aura associated with progress and modernity. Old-fashioned criteria for making judgements, constructing narratives and understanding reality thus became anachronistic. The postmodern appears avant la letter. Enlightenment and modernity find their fulfillment in a concentration camp universe run by an unaccountable bureaucracy, fueled by an instrumental rationality run amok, and expressed in the unleashing of an unimaginable rage.
Source: Critical Theory, p. 52
- Wittgenstein, taking up the study of language again from scratch, focuses his attention on the effects of different modes of discourse; he calls the various types of utterances he identifies along the way...language games. What he means by this term is that each of the various categories of utterance can be defined in terms of rules specifying their properties and the uses to which they can be put -- in exactly the same way as the game of chess is defined by a set of rules determining the properties of each of the pieces, in other words, the proper way to move them.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 10
- Yes, said Ulrich. Is the young American woman on the floor above mine a radical? I can easily find out for you, said the chief of police, smiling, feeling proud of the Hargenaus. Old, old family with a castle somewhere in Westphalia. Pity they decided to drop the von.
Source: How German Is It, p. 38
- Yet you do not have to be a former papist or ex-Oxbridge don to appreciate the oddness of a situation in which teachers and students of literature habitually use words like literature, fiction, poetry, narrative and so on without being at all well equipped to embark on a discussion of what they mean. Literary theorists are those who find this as strange, if not quite as alarming, as encountering medics who can recognise a pancreas when they see one but would be incapable of explaining its functioning.
Source: The Event of Literature, p. xi-xii
- [A] multiracial thicket of travelers all busily photographing and filming each other and forming an unreal contrast to the secret life inside the compound of the police ministry, like two interlocking realities, one of them cruel and demonic, the other as banal as tourism itself...
Source: The Assignment, p. 48
- [A] very suitable definition of contemporary man might be that he is man under observation -- observed by the state, for one, with more and more sophisticated methods while man makes more and more desperate attempts to escape being observed, which in turn renders man increasingly suspect in the eyes of the state and the state even more suspect in the eyes of man...
Source: The Assignment, p. 16
- [A]n institution differs from a conversation in that it always requires supplementary constraints for statements to be declared admissible within its bounds. The constraints function to filter discursive potentials, interrupting possible connections in the communication networks: there are things that should not be said...However, this hypothesis about the institution is still too "unwieldy": its point of departure is an overly "reifying" view of what is institutionalized. We know today that the limits the institution imposes on potential language "moves" are never established, once and for all (even if they have been formally defined). Rather, the limits are themselves the stakes and provisional results of language strategies, within the institution and without...Reciprocally, it can be said that the boundaries only stabilize when they cease to be stakes in the game.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 17
- [Conversation between Bill Gray and his friend Charlie]
"You have a twisted sense of the writer's place in society. You think the writer belongs at the far margin, doing dangerous things. In Central America, writers carry guns. They have to. And this has always been your idea of the way it ought to be. The state should want to kill all writers. Every government, every group that holds power or aspires to power should feel so threatened by writers that they hunt them down, everywhere."
"I've done no dangerous things."
"No. But you've lived out the vision anyway."
"So my life is a kind of simulation."
Source: Mao II, p. 97
- [Following fascism and Communism] Now it is terrorists who lurk in every shadow, images of terrorist attacks that fill our television screens, and fears of new varieties -- nuclear, biological, cyber-terrorism -- that drive calls for increased surveillance and larger defense budgets. If such Orwellian transformations in the identity of the enemy do not make us skeptical, an element of construction in political and journalistic rhetoric about terrorism, even in terrorist acts themselves, seems inescapable. Bombings and hijackings begin with a few people plotting violence for maximum exposure, come to us on television, where distinctions between news and entertainment are ever more tortuous, and quickly pass into the popular imagination, into blockbuster movies and paperback thrillers.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 1
- [H]e...would have to conclude that other people suffered as much from not being observed as he did, that they, too, felt meaningless unless they were being observed, and that this was the reason why they all observed and took snapshots and movies of each other, for fear of experiencing the meaninglessness of their existence in the face of a dispersing universe with billions of Milky Ways like our own...
Source: The Assignment, p. 19
- [I]n our time, since 9/11, the anxieties of the regime seem quite able to accommodate revelation of deceit. To date the war on terror traces a curve from the phoney allegation of weapons of mass destruction to the surprising admission in late 2006 of "extraordinary rendition" and hence of torture by the president of the United States. This pattern of lying and admission, or of lying followed by a breezy dismissal of one's "mistake," plus a raft of neologisms sufficient to keep William Safire busy for another lifetime, is to my mind a marked feature of this new war. I am especially moved to remark on how easily admissions of deceit are made by the White House, as when the president did a comic routine for the Radio and Television Association Dinner in 2004 in Washington, during which slides of him looking under Oval Office furniture for weapons of mass destruction were shown.
Now admittedly this was one of those occasions that anthropologists like to call rites of reversal, like carnival, in which for a brief period of time the king is the butt of scandalous humor. Nevertheless, something has changed. It is difficult to imagine Nixon joking about Watergate or Clinton about Monica Lewinsky. Meanwhile the Republican-dominated Congress decriminalized violations of the U.S. War Crimes Act as well as the Geneva conventions and retroactively absolved U.S. officials, including the president, of culpability under their provisions. We are living, in other words, in a new regime of truth in which a peekaboo pattern -- now you see it, now you don't -- is intimately associated with torture itself. And isn't torture itself a ritual of reversal?
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100-S101
- [I]n the post-Cold War, post 9/11 world a particular version of terrorism has come to dominate policy and media discourse internationally. The Kremlinologists have been replaced by the proliferation of 'jihadi studies', one leading exponent of which has baldly suggested that the 'war on terror' is going to be a generational event: The Longest War (Bergen, 2011). For the US, dealing with terrorism has become a major post-Cold War strategic priority. Given the primacy of the US as the world's largest economy and its formidable media, military and technological power, this strategic priority seems to have become a global political priority. By virtue of its unprecedented capacity for global surveillance, as well as its domination of global communication hardware and software (from satellites to telecommunication networks; from cyberspace to 'total spectrum dominance' of real space, and the messages which travel through these), the US is able to disseminate its image of terrorism to the world at large.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 4
- [I]ts principal source of revenue was a war with a neighboring country, a war for control of an area in the great sand desert that was uninhabited except for a few stray bedouins and desert fleas, where not even tourism had dared to set foot, a war that had been creeping along for ten years now and no longer served any purpose except to test the products of all the weapons-exporting countries, it wasn't just French, German, English, Italian, Swedish, Israeli, and Swiss tanks fighting against Russian and Czech tanks, but also Russian against Russian machinery, American against American, German against German, Swiss against Swiss, the desert was peppered with the wreckage of tank battles, the war effort was constantly seeking out new battlefields, quite logically, since the stability of the market depended on weapons exports, provided these weapons were truly competitive, real wars were constantly breaking out, like the one between Iran and Iraq, for instance, no need to mention others, where the testing of weapons came just a bit late, and that was the reason, he said, why the weapons industry was so committed to this insignificant war, which had long lost its political meaning, it was a make-believe war...its only meaning resided in the fact that it could be observed...
Source: The Assignment, p. 93-94
- [M]an, in the final analysis, was a pedant who couldn't get by without meaning and was therefore willing to put up with anything except the freedom to not give a damn about meaning...
Source: The Assignment, p. 22
- [M]any, indeed most, people could not stand themselves if they were not observed by someone, and would flee either into the fantasy of a personal god or into an equally metaphysically conceived political party that (or who) would observe them, a condition from which they in turn would derive the right to observe whether the world was heeding the laws of the all-observing god or party -- except for the terrorists, their case was a bit more complex, their goal being not an observed but an unobserved child's paradise, but because they experienced the world in which they lived as a prison where they were not only unjustly locked up but were left unattended and unobserved in one of the dungeons, they desperately sought to force themselves on the attention of their guards and thus step out of their unobserved condition into the limelight of public notice, which, however, they could achieve only by, paradoxically, drawing back into unobserved obscurity again and again, from the dungeon into the dungeon, unable, ever, to come out and be free...
Source: The Assignment, p. 21-22
- [Re The Magus] However, this most convincing role also proves to be an illusion. At the end of Conchis' godgame Nicholas is abducted and subjected to a ritual "disintoxication." Here, he is faced with thirteen psychiatrists and psychologists, the apparent perpetrators of the "metatheatre." Amon them is Dr Vanessa Maxwell whom Nicholas recognizes as Lily/Julie. This is the last role, and although Nicholas discovers that it is yet another performance, he cannot now discover the "truth," even though he is allowed to meet the twins' real mother. On her, he heaps his anger that the "metatheatre" is anti-mimetic.
Each of these roles leads Nicholas closer to what he thinks is "reality," yet each is an undercutting of the notion of an absolute "reality." Each is an affirmation of relativity. Nicholas' response to this is to adopt the role of Realist reader. Back in London he seeks correspondence between the events at Bourani and "reality." Conchis has warned him that "all here is artifice", but Nicholas cannot accept that Conchis' masque is neither mimetic nor expressive (in the traditional interpretive senses).
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 91
- [S]cientific knowledge does not represent the totality of knowledge; it has always existed in addition to, and in competition and conflict with, another kind of knowledge, which I will call narrative in the interests of simplicity.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 7
- [T]he camera alone was capable of capturing the space and time within which experience took place, while without a camera, experience slid off into nothingness, since the moment something was experienced it had already passed and was therefore just a memory and, like all memory, falsified, fictive, which was why it sometimes seemed to him that he was no longer human -- since being human required the illusion of being able to experience something directly...God was not subject to observation, God's freedom consisted in being a concealed, hidden god, while man's bondage consisted of being observed...
Source: The Assignment, p. 107-109
- [T]he growing impact of electronic and, more recently, digital media has intensified the spectacular capacities of terrorism so that it has come to be described not simply in relation to media but, in itself, as a 'communicative act' (Hoskins and O'Loughlin, 2007: 9) and a 'symbolically organized event' (Blain, 2009: 24).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 10
- [T]he intellect too, he said, was incapable of coming up with a persuasive illusion of meaning outside of man, for everything that could be thought or done, logic, metaphysics, mathematics, natural law, art, music, poetry, was given its meaning by man, and without man, it sank back into the realm of the unimagined and unconceived and hence into meaninglessness and a great deal of what was happening today became understandable if one pursued this line of reasoning, man was staggering along in the mad hope of somehow finding someone to be observed by somewhere...
Source: The Assignment, p. 20
- [T]here was no self, or rather, only a countless chain of selves emerging from the future...a process that seemed to imply a fiction of selfhood in which every person made up his own self, imagining himself playing a role for better or worse, which would make the possession of character mainly a matter of putting on a good act, and the more unconscious and unintentional the performance, the more genuine its effect...
Source: The Assignment, p. 24-25
- [Universality is] a system of values which regards itself as attuned to all cultures and their difference but which, paradoxically, does not conceive itself as relative, and aspires, in all ingenuousness, to be the ideal transcendence of all the others.
Source: Paroxysm, p. 11
- [With reference to McNamee's Resurrection Man] Coppinger and Ryan feel "obsolete, abandoned on the perimeter of a sprawling technology of ruin"; print journalists in an electronic age, they must cope with a "new species of information" coming out of paramilitary organizations operating under cover names, or from politicians who condemn violence ambiguously, or from courts where unidentified witnesses give their evidence from behind screens...Television news already incorporates this understanding about the marginality of fact. Even Victor recognizes the "narrative devices" it uses...we easily assume that when their reports diverge from fact, they serve some obscure political interest..."Atrocity reports" eschew detail and "achieve the pure level of a chant. It was no longer about conveying information. It was about focusing the mind inwards, attending to the durable rhythms of violence".
When journalism is no longer about conveying information, journalists like Ryan and Coppinger disintegrate, and even the terrorists whose actions form the ostensible subject of media stories feel disoriented, experience a loss of self.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 48-49
- [W]e can discern a common conception of the social [note: in 'traditional' social theory]: society is a unified totality, a "unicity." Parsons formulates this clearly: "The more essential condition of successful dynamic analysis is a continual and systematic reference of every problem to the state of the system as a whole...A process or set of conditions either 'contributes' to the maintenance (or development) of the system or it is 'dysfunctional' in that it detracts from the integration, effectiveness, etc., of the system." The "technocrats" also subscribe to this idea. Whence its credibility: it has the means to become a reality, and that is all the proof it needs. This is what Horkheimer called the "paranoia" of reason.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 12