March 30, 2011

Women's History Month

Hey everyone, I know I haven't posted in a while. I had been meaning to, but I just don't have the patience or attention span to write a bunch of stuff. Anyway, Masahide Kato (yeah the dude that writes that sick nuclear kritik we've all got people mad by winning on) recently had a Facebook post that reminded me that it was Women's History Month. I'm admittedly embarrassed because I didn't realize it was March. But, in honor of the month, I'd like to recommend and summarize some books written by some of my favorite feminist authors.

Earth Democracy by Vandana Shiva
Throughout her life, Shiva has been very critical of technological approaches to the environment. After working with and actually seeing the effects of nuclear power, she has written fiercely about the patriarchal underpinnings of environmental management. Being an eco-feminist she argues that there are connections between the way women and nature have been abused. Through a patriarchal lens, they are viewed as "standing reserves" if you will that must bend to the will of masculine domination. In the book Earth Democracy she is critical of intellectual property rights on crops and the privatization of natural resources. These are forms of patriarchal domination over nature in her view. She continues to be very critical of how the WTO's treaties and IMF have contributed to massive amounts of poverty and resource depletion. A great read and, if you're a debater, the cards fly right off almost every page.

All About Love by bell hooks
I know there are plenty of other bell hooks books that I could have gone with that talk more about feminism, but I have some history with and obligation to this book. In this book, hooks discusses the way patriarchal assumptions and fear have created a climate of hostility in our society. We have become a culture that worships death and fears otherness. This incessant fear has created the conditions necessary to otherize and destroy populations. Her alternative is to embrace a "love ethic" centered around an embracing of difference and mutual understanding. I know this sounds like hippy mumbo jumbo, and maybe it is, but hooks makes it sound great. I highly recommend this book, it goes great with a hospice affirmative.

Toward a Feminist Theory of the State by Catharine A. MacKinnon
MacKinnon takes us through a journey of American legal studies and how the legal system has functioned to uphold masculine assumptions and discourse surrounding almost every facet of the law that directly affects women. Through her analysis of the legal system, MacKinnon tackles big issues by discussing problems with the masculine framings of rape laws and abortion issues. There are also some sick perm cards if you're reading a feminism aff.

There you have it. Sorry I hadn't posted in a while, but I just got the new Pokemon game and all I feel like doing is playing that and sleeping. You should, if you're interested, post more suggestions, as these were only a few books that I had laying around.

Happy Women's History Month,

March 27, 2011

Update For Everyone

Hey everyone, apologies for the recent hiatus from the blog from me (and everyone else).

We're all at the NDT, and posts should resume like normal when all this simmers down. I've also been extremely busy with a lot of debate work lately, which is why I haven't posted in a while.

Expect a post from me soon!


March 22, 2011

American Exceptionalism As The End Of History

American Exceptionalism is as true as the tooth fairy{sorry everyone she is not real :(} The idea that the New World, The America's will avenge the Old World ancestors of Europe and make up for their lack of reasoning and Christian morality and that went into "their" system of thought as opposed to "ours". The issue with this thinking, this idea that America was created in a vacuumof the universe irrelevant to the history and events that went into its creation is exactly that it willingly and encouragingly forgets and disavowals its history and be-comings and declares its jeremiad into the world wilderness as an exception and betterment from the Old World way of dealing with "the rest of the world"(difference). The situation in Libya and the most current efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan offer a particularly unique example of this phenomenon. An unfortunate conclusion(consensus) that has been made by the international order that the United States(and its "Western" allies) are an exception.

In what other age can a single nation- state as if they were planning a routine get together organize fleets of battle ships to launch full assaults on another sovereign nation with little to no consequences for their actions? In our post- Cold War world there are no bounds to United States hegemony as can be seen by numerous regime changes that are not just sponsored by the United States but enforced by its arsenal of political, economic, and military capabilities. Iran(more than twice), Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Vietnam, Korea, China, Libya*, this list is so long it will detract from the point of the post and not to mention the United States "endorsed" leaders like Yemen, The Gulf States, Pakistan, and many other key interest points for the US where these leaders are seen by their people as "puppet governments" with the US as the world's puppet master.

Through material gain and historical luck the United States and its exceptional idea(Manifest Destiny) has made the tooth fairy come to life. It has extended its enlightened Christian hand over(beyond;above) the complexities and intricate details of existence, all the cultures, languages, histories, symbols an infinite amount of history reified, embalmed, and defined by "the end of history" and the creation of a static notion of reality, practice, and theory. History as traveled from East to West and the very laws of nature; time and space itself has been completed(dominated;managed) by the Enlightened mind and the ever expanding universe of our world has come to set over the Western nations.

American Terrorism

First would like to thank all the LoF guys for letting me use the blog as my english project guniea pig. Now onto the content.

"Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane."

When asked to find a social issue I chose American Exceptionalism, the very system of thought that I think is responsible for the majority of the world's problems today. Chris very simply and perfectly describes American Exceptionalism in the previous post. America believes that it is ontologically ordained to carry out its messianic "errand in the wilderness." That is to order and control, to play global sheriff.

On face it may seem like a political issue, however both republican presidents and democratic presidents have waged wars in the name of manifest destiny. Left and right wing dominated congresses and the entirety of the American population has supported the system of thought. The problem is we fail to be reflexive and understand that our history is bathed in the oceans of blood of innocent people slaughtered by America.

Grenada. Panama. Kosovo. Somalia. The Trail of Tears. Nicaragua. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Libya. What do they all have in common? Military intervention.

View Image

When playing global sheriff the U.S. utilizes triumphantalist discourse to mobilize the public. During Vietnam we told ourselves that the North Vietnamese were communist, they did not subscribe to a democratic system of government therefore they have to be eliminated. In Afghanistan they are radical Islamic fundamentalists who do not fit the model of the evangelical right resonance machine. When confronted with difference America like all other hegemonies reacts violently plowing it over not allowing room for dissent or interaction. This attittude, this American Exceptionalism has culminated in a violent cycle that continues to grow. My Lai. Abu Ghraib. Dreseden. Those who do not fit within the model proposed by the U.S. become violently excluded: The Vietcong had to be napalmed. We had to firebomb Dresden. We had to fire upon Libya.

So why is it such a problem? Well other then the "American Terrorism" that napalms children in their sleep, American Exceptionalism creates the conditions for war. Post-Colonial nations are the nations where wars are waged today. Countries that the U.S. previous;y "gave democracy" are now the countries we label as the "Axis of Evil" such as Iran. The wars and resentment toward America only arise when America acts as the world sheriff. Terrorists only lash out because American Exceptionalism ruins their countries.

The solution? Education. To understand our history of violence and to be reflexive. We must remain unanswerable to American exceptionalism, like the Vietcong we must not come out of the jungle. We must arm ourselves with knowledge. The Vietcong brought down the system by hiding in the shadows and that is what must be done to bring down the exceptionalist system.

"In a society that has abolished every kind of adventure the only adventure that remains s to abolish the society"-Graffiti Writers of May '68

Accompanying video here

March 21, 2011


The idea of American exceptionalism entails an assumption that the US is in any place to dictate the affairs of world politics, as if it were acting from some sort of moral high ground or place of superiority. This destructive assumption places us at the center of global politics, but negatively so, shining a spotlight on the actions of the US in economic, military and social-political spheres. This spotlight feeds our national ego, creating a driving need in the minds of American policymakers that it's their responsibility to fix the naturally occurring problems of local politics in regions outside the normal influence of a given hegemon. American exceptionalism is not different, given our history of violent intervention in foreign theatres. The fire-bombing of Dresden is one such example, in which the "strategic goals" of the US military in ending the encroachment of the Nazi's in Europe superceded necessity and dictated that hundreds of thousands of civilians be burned to death in concussive flames that leveled a beautiful historical city.

My 2 cents on hegemony.

March 12, 2011

Cascades of Resonance

I've talked about the writing of Gastón Gordillo before in reference to his great work on resonance. He has written another great essay going deeper into a discussion of how resonance has shaped networks of resistance in the middle east uprisings.  Anarchist without Content provides a good exert by Gaston Bachelard about how the reverberation of resonance is part of a becoming-expression. And finally Maximilian Forte at Zero Anthropology (a great blog for those currently not following it) about using the Exodus story to understand western conceptions of revolution that was inspired by the above discussions of resonance.

I wish I had the time to enter into this discussion of resonance, however I (and most of the other LoF contributors) have been busy with state debate tournaments. However, once spring break is over and all of us are done with debate you can expect much more output from the blog.

March 3, 2011

The Enframed Mirror or Beyond the Technological Horizon

There's been much talk the past months over the power of social networks and the role they play/are playing in the revolutions in Egypt and other middle eastern nations. Some have deemed these the "Facebook Revolutions" or alternatively the "Twitter Revolutions". This is on the basis that large parts of the organizing, planning, and mobilizing was done through these social networking and their ability to instantly connect people in a decentralized and rhizomatic (hence network) way.

However these lines of analysis were shown to be highly premature and quite shallow when Mubarak essentially "turned off" the internet for the Egyptian population and the revolution kept barreling forward. To the surprise of Mubarak (and those in the FB/Twitter camp) people were still able to mobilize in the same instantaneous decentralized patterns they were before. There were two main reactions to this new development. The first ,by those singing the praises of social networking, was that the internet blockade had come to late, social networking had already done its job. The second, mostly hedged by the Left, was that it proved that social networking was indeed a useful tool for organizing people but the same things would of been accomplished without they just might of been slightly more difficult.

I think however that there is a third much more metaphysical way of thinking about social media's role in the Winter of Dissent. Jean Baudrillard brings up an interesting quote of Heidegger's in the lecture The Murder of the Real: quote a very mysterious phrase of Heidegger: “When we look into the ambiguous essence of technology we behold the constellation, the stellar course of the mystery.”... It so far refutes the very conception by Heidegger himself of technique and technology... This would be that at the extreme horizon of development, of technique, perhaps something other happens, a reversibility.
 This quote by Heidegger is so very intriguing because Baudrillard is right this does seem to go against much of Heidegger's project. Heidegger was no Luddite but his ideas about how technesis enframes the dasien into standing reserve is quite a gloomy one. However the above quote makes it seem that  if we are to behold this constellation of technology perhaps we can invest in a strategy that instead of retreating from technology strives to push it to it's limits past the horizon, a reverse enframing.

 The protests in Egypt provide a pretty good example of how this reverse enframing can ideally function. When looking at the revolution in this light both the Left and the social media cheerleaders were wrong: Facebook and Twitter were did not start a revolution, but they also were not merely helpful tools of protesters.

The majority of the original protesters and organizer of the Egyptian protests were the youth of Egypt. A generation of people for whom being constantly integrated and connected is a daily function of life (I know, I'm one of them).A generation whose default mode of being is not one static identity but rather one that is constantly in motion and concert with other identities in an interconnected world, similar to how stands of DNA collide into each other and come away with bits of foreign code causing recombinants, cross-overs, and mutations.So when these individuals have a goal (oust Mubarak) there is not a need for them to study social networkings to see how decentralized networks are created because it is how they normally function in everyday social life.

This is why simply shutting down the internet didn't stop the protests- the Egyptians were not using Facebook, they were being Facebook. Heidegger and Virillo got it correct that speed and technology could easily turn the social into an apathetic silent majority, but they failed to see beyond that mysterious horizon were these would be the new methods to turn an standing reserve into a mobile one.

*ignore this post-Just a Favor for a Friend*

Sorry about this post, this has no relevance to the blog, i had a friend who needed to "publish" an email conversations publicly. For those that need to read this email exchange about navy chaplains for debate purposes click on the read more button, for regular readers of the blog ignore this and read my new post about Facebook and Revolution.

March 2, 2011

Ripped From The Headlines

Just came across a pretty entertaining article from the Guardian while surfing on Google News. It speaks about Western intervention in the Libyan conflict is a bad idea and will continue the trend of western occupation in arab nations like Iraq and Afghanistan. He tries to expose the neoconservatism brought about by the bush era that is seeking oil rich land as resources and prices remain controversial. He even goes as far as saying the United States has already began to use the same tactics such as uncovering evidence of weapons of mass destruction that would justify a NATO led intervention in the oil rich North African nation. He also talks about the effect such an intervention would have on the Arab revolutions taking place outside of Libya.

March 1, 2011


The Pineal Eye
Georges Bataille

When my face is flushed with blood, it becomes red and obscene. 
It betrays, at the same time. through morbid reflexes. a bloody erection and a demanding thirst for indecency and cri- minal debauchery.
For that reason I am not afraid to affirm that my face is a scarulal and that my passions are only expressed by the Jesuve. 
The terrestrial globe is covered with volcanoes, which serve as its anus. Although this globe eats nothing, it often violently ejects the contents of its entrails.
These contents shoot out with a racket, and fall back, stream- ing down.
 -The Solar Anus

I. Scientific Anthropology and Mythical Anthropology

To the extent that a description of human life that goes back to the origins tries to represent what the fonnless universe has accomplished in producing man rather than something else, how it has been led to this useless production and by what means it made this creature something different from all the rest-to: this extent it is necessary to abandon scientific anthropology, which is reduced to a babbling even more senile than puerile, reduced to giving answers that tend to make the questions put to it seem ludicrous, whereas these answers alone are miserably so when confronted with the inevitable and demanding brutality of an interrogation taking upon itself the very meaning of the life that this anthro- pology supposedly aims to describe.

But in the first phase, at least, philosophical speculation is rejected with no less impatience than the impotent theories of prehistory when this speculation, . obeying the dictates of a guilty conscience, almost always kills itself or timidly . prostrates itself before science. For even if this inhuman prostration can still be denounced, even if it is still possible for man to contrast his own cruelty and· madness with a necessity that is crushing him, nothing of what is known of the means proper to philosophical investigation can inspire in him any confidence; philosophy has been, up to this point, as much as science, an expression of hu- man subordination, and when man seeks to represent himself, no longer as a moment of a homogeneous process-of a necessary and pitiful process-but as a new laceration within a lacerated nature, it is no longer the leveling phrase- ology coming to him from the understanding that can help him: he can no longer recognize himself in the degrading chains of logic, but he recognizes himself, instead-not only with rage but in an ecstatic torment-in the virulence of his own phantasms.

Nevertheless, the introduction of a lawless intellectual series into the world of legitimate thought defines itself at the outset as the most arduous and auda- cious operation. And it is evident that if it were not practiced without equivoca- tion, with a resolution and a rigor rarely attained in other cases, it would be the most vain operation. Outside of a certain inaccessibility to fear-it is a question here essentially of undergoing, without being overwhelmed, the attraction of the most repulsive objects-two conditions thrust themselves on anyone whose object is to invest understanding with a content that will remain foreign to it, and they do so not only in a clear and distinct way, but as imperative prescriptions.


The Obelisk
Georges Bataille

The Mystery of the Death of God

A "mystery" cannot be posited in the empty region of spirit, where only words foreign to life subsist. It cannot result from a confusion between obscurity and the abstract void. The obscurity of a "mystery" comes from images that a kind of lucid dream borrows from the realm of the crowd, sometimes bringing to light what the guilty conscience has pushed back into the shadows, sometimes high- lighting figures that are routinely ignored. From Louis XVI's guillotine to the obelisk, a spatial arrangement is formed on the PUBLIC SQUARE, in other words, on all the public squares ofthe "civilized world" whose historical charm and monumental appearance prevail over everything else. For it is nowhere but THERE that a man, in some ways bewitched, in some ways overtaken by frenzy, expressly presents himself as "Nietzsche's madman" and illuminates with his dream-lantern the mystery of the DEATH OF GOD.

The Prophecy of Nietzsche

"Have you not heard," cried Nietzsche, "of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the marketplace, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!' - A s many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? -Thus they yelled and laughed.

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. 'Whither is God?' he cried; 'I will tell you. We have killed him-you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

'How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A GREATER DEED; AND WHOEVER IS BORN AFTER US-FOR THE SAKE OF THIS DEED HE WILL BELONG TO A HIGHER HISTORY THAN ALL HISTORY HITHERTO.' " 1