February 24, 2011

Check out the PolCap Blog

Quick shout out for friend of the show Kiersten Strachan and company. Any policy debater that follows LoF should add her to your blog roll. Very useful for anyone who wants to effectively run the politics disad. :]

Find her at:http://polcap.tumblr.com/

A Comment on Libya

For those of you who don't know Libya is on the brink of "civil" war. While an unprecedented eruption of energy surges through the populations of North Africa(and Arab Nations), Moammar Gaddafi is waging a war against his people. A belligerent attack through means of mercenaries and aerial attack against the opposition(general population of Libya). Reports from multiple news agencies have confirmed that Gaddafi has hired African mercenaries from Libya's southern neighbors Chad and Nigeria, and like many other leaders of the nations involved in the uprisings has paid foreigners and local Libyans to fight for the "loyalist" cause. The latest counts reveal an estimated 1000 deaths against the anti-government opposition. Army personal have began and continue to defect and civilians are literally occupying and commanding military bases and strategic infrastructure in Libya. Kadafi's seemingly delusional vision of power has lowly been decomposed by the opposition and his "power" remains contained mainly to the very center of the Libyan capital Tripoli. What is happening is nothing less than genocide and we definitely cannot remain silent about the situation. Although luckily the deaths have not escalated to cataclysmic proportions we as contributors of the public sphere have to make sure that people do not forget Libya and the innocent people dying there.

Furthermore, Libya should help us understand the true gravity of the revolts taking place on the opposite side of the world. That Egypt's success would as Hank elegantly explained would resonate and infiltrate multiple regions of the world and actually precipitate armed conflict between the governed and the government. A wave of revolt that shot across the entire length of the sahara desert at the speed of light. Egypt, Libya, Algeria,Tunisia, Morocco, all regimes without fail were bombarded by anti-government protesters. Besides the phenomenon of this literal domino effect this spirit has found itself manifested in Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Jordan and has incredibly almost unbelievable transmitted across the Asian continent to China, and even North Korea. One fruit vendor that felt abused by his governments institutions literally started the fire that has proliferated through the "Eastern" world. One man and one action traversed space and time and ruptured the status quo as it was determined to be.

{This is not a topic that any one post can give sufficient acknowledgment and will require dialogue and participation to truly reveal its true potential to mold understandings}

Sidewalk Rev

another great piece of work by Banksy it is clearly a fracture in the normalcy of its upscale london neighborhood--for those of you who have not yet seen his documentary go rent it at your local movie place it is called "Enter through the gift shop"

February 23, 2011

Debate and Theory

Peter Gratton over at Philosophy in a Time of Error has an extremely interesting post on K debaters. From his just surface knowledge of the activity by way of interaction from people who used to be/are in the activity he has the practice of K debate pinned down. For example:
"...as I understand it, is that the Continental approach is mostly used by under-dog teams taking on rich East Coast private high schools. Need to take on realist accounts of nuclear proliferation? Counter with a post-colonial critique of the creation of the global south or a feminist critique of phallo-centrism as represented in the use of missile technology (I’m not making either of these up). Apparently, it throws off the better profile teams used to more standard counterarguments, which seems to match Continental’s role in the academy in general."
I would also add to the discussion that the use of theory is not only strategically used by these "under-dog" teams but also because many of these team gravitate towards this style out of necessity (the catching people off guard is just a bonus). "Rich East Coast private high schools" are not just found on the east coast but everywhere, and they are the teams to beat. Policy debate (where teams argue in the traditional means about the desirability of policy actions) requires massive amounts of resources from high capacity printers, massive amounts of paper, large coaching staff, travel expenses, etc. These larger programs are also able to sustain large squads that can be mobilized for high amount of research production. Due to these structural advantages these larger schools are able to excel at the traditional policy style debating because they have the time and woman power. This is because they are able to stay current on research and produce enough evidence to cover all angles and arguments that are involved in a policy debate.

Because of all this teams/debaters from schools that have a small (or functionally non-existent) team need to find ways to be able to have a debate strategy they will have time to manage and research all by themselves as well as keep on top of their school  and life requirements. These easy to maintain strategies normally manifest themselves as the K (critique). A debater will find one author/critical position that they might find interesting (I myself did this with Nietzsche and later Baudrillard) and then do all the research they can possible do to understand that position inside and out, once that is done these debaters are able to go to bat against the best policy teams in the nation with relative success.

The other interesting part of Peter's post was that he was interested in ways that theory can be made more accessible to debaters:
I’m on the SPEP advocacy commitee the next couple of years so this seems like this would be an area where one could advocate for Continental in a certain way, but I’m not sure how: by putting Continental in touch with debate prep coaches? By leading some of these students into Continental friendly programs?
 I thought of a few suggestions myself for how organizations like SPEP could reach out to debaters:

1. Instead of reaching out to coaches, reach out to the debaters- set up a program where debaters who are interested in theory can get help/advice/direction in their research/thought. This could be done by organized web chats or Q&As where debaters can ask questions to be answered by somebody versed in Continental. Or set a "database" where you provide the emails of certain people who are experts in separate fields that so that they can be contacted, this can be broken up by school of thought or by knowledge of figure head type authors (Heidegger, Deleuze, Baudrillard, etc.). Once this is done THEN contact debate coaches and debate discussion boards.

2. Tell us how - Offer information on how to/where to do theory after high school. Many "k debaters" want to go to college and do/study Continental Philosophy but they are not quite sure how exactly to accomplish this. Do they go into the philosophy department, the english department, sociology,cultural studies, anthropology, political science? Sadly there is really no Critical Theory department, so providing information about issues such as this would probably increase the "recruitment" of high school debaters to Continental.

3. Dazzle them - This somewhat jives with #1 but i think deserves its own- Critical debaters are always amazed by great, interesting, applied thought - and this amazement doubles when it can be used by them. Maybe have a group of disparate Continental authors take the current high school topic and have each write a short essay or use it as a starting point to levy a critique/explain their own theoretical positions, give the collection away by having students email one address. Then SPEP has a mailing list of (elated) high schoolers interested in Continental thought.

This is all I got for now, but if anyone reading this blog has suggestions of their own I highly encourage you to post them in the comments here and/or at the post I linked up top.

February 19, 2011

Thank God for National Geographic

Just here to announce some amazing news I saw while watching "Lockdown" on NatGeo. They are presenting starting this next week a "Treasures of Egypt" series where they will take viewers through a journey of Egyptian antiquity. It's on all week so no excuse for not tuning in. It should be very interesting and a good source of background knowledge for the topic every body seems to be talking about.


I honestly have not many words to say at the moment, except that everyone should stay glued to Harman's blog http://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/ . He has the most up to date and truthful coverage of unrest in the middle east. I just finished watching videos that he is hosting of the Libyan army firing fully automatic weapons into protesters - this is horrific. I can do nothing more than express my greatest hope and solidarity with those who are in that situation.

February 14, 2011

The Patriot Act Extension

Today the United States House of Representatives voted for an extenstion of the Patriot Act.

Feel free to discuss it in the comments

February 11, 2011


Ill keep it short since I think very author on this site has something to say. What happened today in Egypt is monumental. Revolution became a reality and the voices of the masses had a say that changed politics. Egypt's actions will forever be remembered and a triumph against injustice and authoritarian regimes around the world. Hopefully the domino effect continues.

February 10, 2011

A Supplement To Understanding The Egyptian Phenomenon(Part Two)

This post is not to will people to understand the phenomenon in Egypt in a certain fashion. Rather it is to disclose a strategy to aid in the process of interpreting the time(history) that is unfolding before our very eyes. Once again, we address the texts of Edward Said, in the introduction to Orientalism Said gives a seemingly instructional description of the strategy that he employs to reveal the ways in which an individual positions himself towards the Orient during his investigation of Orient experience, reality, and an interrogation of dominant modes of thought towards the Orient. Said outlines two specific:

"principal methodological devices for studying authority here [they] are what can be called strategic location which is a way of describing the authors positions in a text with regard to the Oriental material he writes about, and strategic formation, which is a way of analyzing the relationship between texts and the way in which groups of texts, types of texts, even textual genres acquire mass, density, and referential power among themselves and here after in the culture at large"

Although Said is explaining how to use these methods to understand the authority of Orientalist texts, these principles offer an example of how to drown oneself, in a critical manner to analyze and interpret the ways in which understandings form and locate themselves into the general "culture at large". This reveals the opportunity to understand how events such as Egypt as well as the dominant(traditional) texts, and discourses that may distort such events "acquire mass and density". To begin, we can divulge further into these two ideas and how they are applicable to the movements taking place in the status quo. Strategic Location would advice us to examine the position from which the author produces his/her discourses, texts, and general ideas in relation to his/her subject. This has particular relevance to the Egypt situation. There has been an enormous media coverage that has produced, an almost infinite amount of articles, headlines, think tank reports, live video coverage, commentary, guest speakers, etcetera. All of these mediums of production have different authors, and motivations that manifest(or locate themselves) in the material they are producing. That means when being bombarded by different outlets of media one should try to keep in mind all of these different forces that constantly act on our attempts to process and make revelations out of the events that are happening in our time.

Strategic Formation is analyzing how these texts, and discourses gain power, and shape understanding about the subjects they address. Although Said is explaining this in the context of a genealogy it gives us insight (as mentioned above) to understand how the different texts about the situation in Egypt have attempted to exert their power in being able to produce knowledge about the situation in the form of reports, and solutions. This tradition of reifying knowledge production addressed in posts previous to this one show that this is not a new tactic but a tradition that has been constructed over time by a vast array of other texts, discourses, authors and so fourth. These authors formulate their texts by retrieving previous ways of producing knowledge about the Orient and applying and adapting it to a new situation to enforce this perpetual cycle of inheritance. So, along with being conscious of the authors positions towards the Orient when discussing it, we should also be aware of the power these texts have to formulate ideas about the Orient and why they are privileged with this ability. That is to say we should constantly analyze knowledge that is thrust upon(presupposed for) us and be attentive to the intricate relationships and implications it can have on a general understanding of the issue and to use these tactics to formulate ones own political will towards the position of the Orient.

In conclusion, we must analyze the protests that are taking place while we sleep in the comfort of our beds in the safe Western lands, that in a way can that can give adequate recognition of its" mass and density", that has created a fracture in dominant modes of thought, and of common ideas about the Orient. These methodologies hope to allow us to experience the true impact that these different movements have on the culture at large. We cannot allow this phenomenon to sink into the oblivion, slowly crippled by the numerous representations that seek to define, and essentially demolish the extraordinary spirit that lies inside the Egyptian population.

ATTN: Debaters

As you prepare for up and coming district, state and national tournaments keep in mind that if you're not a senior you'll have to prepare for the Space topic. Just a friendly reminder for those of you not-yet-graduating debaters that when you have to go through the rigorous process of choosing debate camps to check out the UTNIF, a camp that a few of the posters here (including myself and Hank) have attended and thoroughly enjoyed.
Their program information for 2011 can be found here: www.utdebatecamp.com

Check out their blog here, there's some pretty interesting discussions already:

Contact JV Reed with any questions here: jv.reed@mail.utexas.edu

February 8, 2011

Texas Lutheran University Philosophy Symposium

My good friend Jaynellen Stokes is helping to put on a symposium at TLU on the topic of "The Problem of Evil: Why Bad Things Happen to Good People". It's not in the vein of continental philosophy that those here at LoF dabble in, but it will be interesting nonetheless , everyone who can make it should check it out.
(click the photo to enlarge it)

The Egyptian Resonance Machine

Gastón Gordillo over at Space and Politics has an amazing post examining the material role that resonance has played in shaping the current events going on in Egypt.  It is quite lengthy but by far worth the read, Gordillo goes in depth on how resonance is not just a physical affect but also one that is mainly generated by the material affect of bodies, sound, movement, and spaticality.

One thing I would like to comment on that is interesting about Gordillo's essay is that his discriptions of the mass of protestors that are in the streets are often very visceral ones:

"...These bodies are determined to defend this square and willing to bleed and die if need be because this is the first free space of the new Egypt and the node of its revolution..." 
Aside from commenting on the physicality of resonance (Gordillo handles that), the way in which the revolution is represented as one of flesh, blood, gashes, wounds, grime, and sweat proves that the revolution is not only about removing the regime out of the state but one of cleansing (even if violently) the States control over protesters' physical bodies. The mass in the streets seems to be aware (even if subconsciously) that they are a body-politic. That the sacrifice of their flesh is just as much a challenge to power as their political demands. However what is also important to note is that this battle ground of the body is one fought on both sides, the State has a large amount of interest in mutilating these same bodies to regain control of the populace. Foucault tells us that the bio-political state operates is by managing the physical existence of  the public. This power over life and death normally expresses itself in policies that extend sovereign control through the managment of life (immunizations, reproduction policy, etc.), however when these policies fail to subdue dissent, the State is quick to drop the "benevolent" nature it works hard to sell. Just as the Egyptian protesters shed the States grasp on them by sacrificing the well-being of their bodies, the State also realizes that the body is just as important to regain control of as the square:

"...hundreds of detainees were being beaten up and tortured, with their screams of pain permeating the whole space. Tortured and dead bodies are the price Egyptians are paying for the US ongoing support of the Mubarak regime..."
 Like Kafka's machine of the Penal Colony the State attempts to stop the revolution by inscribing their rule across the bodies that are detained. The State uses extreme violence, pain, and suffering in order to re-discipline to body to "act as it should".  However just like the inscribing-machine from the Penal Colony the regime will not succeed in this endeavor, it will furiously exert itself by trying to regain control in increasingly violent manners, eventually imploding upon itself by it's own inertia. The more punishment the regime inflicts to those who are on the streets fighting for freedom the more people see that revolution is truly a matter of survival.

February 7, 2011

Do the Right Thing

For those of you who haven't seen it, go out and see Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. Tonight I noticed it was on TV again and I realized this is a perfect continuation of my Rant on Culture.

In the film it portrays the typical idea of the American "Melting Pot." The film depicts the series of events that happen in a single day in a multi-ethnic neighborhood that leads to a race riot. My question after watching the film again- does the melting pot of American culture breed tolerance, violence or something in between?

As we evaluate the melting pot of American culture we see that the pot isn't actually melting. As you look around you see that cultures are no intermingled. Growing up in LA this is extremely apparent, you have Chinatown, Koreatown, the Jews in Pico-Robertson and the predominately African American community in the Crenshaw district. How is this a melting pot? Wouldn't a melting pot involve all of these communities in the same area? So why do these lines of division occur? Most people explain that people feel most comfortable with their own ethnic group but I say this is not true.

I am a self hating white person. I hate white privilege, I hate the suburbs and I hate the SUV. The reason professors and psychologists choose to generalize and say that all ethnic groups feel at home with members of their ethnic group is because that is how white America feels. As Kevin Kuswa writes in "Suburbification, Segregation, and the Consolidation of the Highway Machine" (Journal of Law in Society Vol. 31 No. 3) for white America "the urban fringe became a flight away from the poverty,crime and inadequate social services of the city."

The white flight phenomenon is responsible for why we see cultures segregated and grouped off. As the white man fled to the suburbs they became the elite in society, divided from the inner city by the highway. They chose what population could inhabit certain spaces. Through control of the economy white America forced ethnic minorities into certain neighborhoods by controlling the local businesses and real estate.

But how does this address the original question? My answer is this segregation breeds something akin to violence. It breeds and ignorance for other culture. The lack of exposure between the cultures prevents the pot from heating up instead it is cold, with every culture staying intact. This ignorance and inexperience with other cultures breeds fear between cultures. Just like America has irrational fears of Iranian or North Korean nukes the people of Beverly Hills are scared of the people in Crenshaw and vice versa. This fear much like the fear of American politics manifests itself in violence just like it does in American politics. The LA Riots (sometimes known as the Rodney King Riots) provide a great example. The cultural response by both the African American and white community was one of extreme outburst, the African American community resorted to violence and the white community did the same but sent their personal thugs the LAPD in to do it.

In Do the Right Thing we see at the end of the film that everyone in this melting pot only wants the same thing--the American Dream. They all want to survive and put food on the table. The urban/geographic separation of culture leads to a cycle of fear and violence. In the wake of the race riot in the film the main character played by Spike Lee come to an epiphany moment--the violence never solves anything, it only widens the rift and prevents us from heating up the pot. So what do we do? We stop being afraid, we stop worrying that someones ethnicity means we cannot get along, we turn the flame on and mix with other cultures, seeing what the melting pot cooks up.

How the Revolts in the "East" are being Represented(Part One)

I begin with what seems to be cliche in academic post- colonialism. In 1978 Edward W. Said published his epochal work Orientalism. Said describes Orientalism as a "style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between "the Orient" and (most of the time) The "Occident". He goes further to explain that Orientalism is the way in which the "Occident" interacts with the "Orient". This sounds very simple but these interactions come to form an expansive nexus of ideas, texts, discourses, policies, subjects, etcetera. It is all of these ways in which the Occident relates itself to the Orient and seeks to have the Orient for itself(and production).

After this brief introduction I want to pose the question this post attempts to shed light on. How are the recent revolutionary events of multiple "Oriental" nations such as Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, and even Albania being represented by modern Orientalism? To begin, if we accept that Orientalism is centralized on the notion of:

"feel[ing] oneself as a European in command, almost at will, of Oriental history, time, and geography"

who's objective, and obligations is:

"to institute new areas of specialization; to establish new disciplines; to divide, deploy, schematize, tabulate, index, and record everything in sight(and out of sight); to make out of every observable detail a generalization and out of every generalization an immutable law about Oriental nature, temperament, mentality, custom, or type;"

then what is modern Orientalism's response to the spontaneous, and exilic energies produced in these nations? The very unpredictable and chaotic nature of such protests frustrates and strikes at the very structures that Orientalism as founded its influence upon. Orientalism is based off the West's ability to produce a predictable, and manageable Orient subject for itself. This ability to produce came with Western dominance over the Orient crudely beginning around the 17th century. With this new political, and military power, the West was able to exert its will- to - power over the Orient, and produced knowledge about the Orient, and sought to give it a static identifiable structure for others who will need such information to continue domination over the Orient subject. The protests go against this belief, by giving the Orient the opportunity to represent itself. To establish and define it's own identity by the actions it takes, untampered by menacing traditions of knowledge that seeks to dis-mantle this humanistic(existentialist*) spirit.

The construction of this relationship and way of "dealing" with the Orient has been a long, and strenuous project throughout history that involved so many people, things, and ideas it can seem almost infinite, and unfortunately I do not have the ability to give you this history sufficiently in such as post as this one. This means that we will have to turn to more recent events for evidence. First, we turn to an explicit observation of this mode of thought and how it manifests in our everyday conversations, and atmosphere. Coincidentally it comes from a very recent headline in US News titled "Palin Not 'Enthused' by Obama's Handling of the Crisis in Egypt". This title has a couple of implications for the purpose of our discussion here. First is the entirely exceptionalist idea of America's "handling of the crisis". What is the "crisis", and why would a completely irrelevant actor need to be handling it. Is a revolt of youth who hope to save their country from economic degradation and rescue it from the sinking ship of a thirty year dictator a crisis? This is a striking example of how knowledge is produced about the Orient in terms of the Occident and in this process is distorted, and manipulated to relate itself to the Occident(US). Because the revolt does not benefit us, and even threatens our political, and strategic balance in the region, the experience is produced for the general public as a "crisis". Although almost obviously so, this is only a crisis for America(and the rational, civilized, Western nations). Surely the Egyptians do not see this as a "crisis" but freedom, and a moment of great pride. The West does not seek this distinction because it unravels the very mythical nature of its power and instead it labels and defines this phenomenon with a cliche, reified phrase "Crisis in Egypt". Said identifies this in the updated preface to Orientalism:

" It is common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle east, as if ancient societies and myriads of people can be shake up like so many peanuts in a jar"

this whimsical description is exemplified by the headline of the article in which the US is placed at the center of an Egyptian experience and thereby condemns to the abyss the Egyptian opportunity to represent itself to the West. The construction of an Orient crisis is what is used to justify the handling of such crisis by a more formidable, and superior Western power. The second intriguing portion of this headline is Palin not being enthused about Obama's ability to handle the crisis. This reveals the Orientalist ability to deposit his/her subject in exchange for the Orients. Thus, it is no longer an issue of the phenomenon that is taking place but rather how it affixes itself towards the disposition of the West. It indicates that there is debate being had, and decision being made over the Orient for the Orient but seemingly without the Orient present(because ironically it is in "crisis). Without giving the Orient the opportunity to represent itself, it allows the West to execute through a much more stealthy manner the inherently(traditionally) prejudiced, and violent knowledge producing problematic that disfigures the Orient experience and forces us to evade the possibility of these relationships being able to re-shape the way we understand ourselves and the Orient as its own subject(ivity). Although this headline only outlines Egypt there are a multitude of other articles discussing the many protests taking place that follow this same tradition of thought.To be able to avoid this we must be able to reposition the points from which we examine and understand the Orient and with this repositioning be able to better understand the implications of the events taking place in the Orient in our day and age.


Posting now just to see how blogging works from the iphone.

February 6, 2011

Congratulations are in Order

Due to his recent success, our very own Brian Gonzaba will be attending the 2011 Tournament of Champions.

As you all know, this is no small accomplishment. Congratulations Brian!

February 5, 2011

Response to "Knowledge Distorted By The Masses"

The post discussed offers up a great possibility of revealing how knowledge as a tradition is passed down through history although I disagree with the notion that populations are mobilized and governed through fear, although for the purposes of this response fear can be seen as a tactic of the topic about to be discussed below. First, I want to refract the conversation towards the question posed of why/how people have come to know things in this way. This is a daunting question that will require more than a simple post to acquire the sufficient understanding. Knowledge is disseminated by those in civil society with the Power to overcome the complexities and chaos of nature and produce subjects by defining them, studying them, and formulating the basis of their subjectivity(or objectivity). Historically this comes in the form of institutions, and affluent populations who have held a position of influence(Power) in society. This is the same situation being discussed in this former post. The Bush Administration through the Power it attained by simply being part of a previously accredited institution(The Government) and by accessing a whole tradition of knowledge from pervious experiences, texts, and discourses was able to produce knowledge in the form of a paranoid xenophobia. The general population receives knowledge of places, cultures, and populations such as Iraq, and Afghanistan as objective truths that can be applied as a generalized way of understanding such a subject in its totality. Foucault explains this phenomenon in "Society Must be Defended":

It became a tactical instrument that could be used not only by the nobility, but ultimately in various different strategies. In the course of the eighteenth century, and subject to a certain number of modifications at the level of its basic propositions, historical discourse, eventually became a sort of discursive weapon that could be used by the adversaries present within the political field. In short, I would like to show you how this historical instrument must not be seen as the ideology or an ideological produce of the nobility or its class position, and that we are not dealing with an ideology here we are dealing with something else. What I am trying to identify is what might, if you like, be termed a discursive tactic, a deployment of knowledge and power which, insofar as it is a tactic, is transferable and eventually becomes the law governing the formation of a knowledge and, at the same time, the general form of the political battle. So the discourse on history is generalized, but in tactical sense

The administration was able to access this well of knowledge and like so many before them adapted it and reformatted it with a specific objective purpose. This relationship between Knowledge/Power is essentially what allows "fear mongering" to continue. This is not knowledge "distorted" by the masses but rather the masses are being mis-informed by the different "tactics" employed in the war over knowledge which is deployed to achieve a goal or end. This war like so many before, seeks to destroy the former to establish a predetermined latter(end). In this precarious situation the "regime" is produced which Foucault describes as the "group that rules society" which for this responses purpose can be seen as the Bush Administration. But, as the courageous youth of Egypt have shown us, all regimes are susceptible to revolt. We end with a final word from Foucault in a late interview "The Concern for Truth":

"The work of an intellectual is not to mould the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that he does in his own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re- evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will(where he has his role as citizen to play)."

February 4, 2011

The Debt of 9/11/01

First before I start I would like to give a shout out to Hank--UT PLAN II! Mazel Tov!

Now onto a recent thought. Why did the United States invade Afghanistan in 2001? 9/11. We all know that, but why are we still there? What is our justification for mass warfare?

The American people feel indebted to the victims, the thousands of people who died on 9/11. Our military action against Al-Qaeda, the Patriot Act and new TSA policies were all justified by the invocation of 9/11. We feel a debt to those who died, but is this debt legitimate? How does this debt affect our daily lives? This debt is what Nietzsche calls "Bad Conscience" as he describes it in the second essay of Genealogy of Morals "I consider bad conscience the profound illness which human beings have come down with, under the pressure of the most fundamental of all changes which they experienced-that change when they found themselves locked within the confines of society and peace. Just like the things water animals must have gone through when they were forced either to become land animals or to die off, so events must have played themselves out with this half-beast so happily adapted to the wilderness, war, wandering around, adventure-suddenly all its instincts were devalued and "disengaged."

This bad conscience that Nietzsche outline precludes us from living our daily lives. We feel a sense of obligation in this post 9/11 era to support the doings of the state and be patriotic--it is because of the debt we feel to those that lost their lives on 9/11 that we put up with FBI wiretaps, TSA pat downs, and increased video surveillance. Would a society founded on individual rights so easily agree to things such as the Patriot Act? No. Nietzsche explains once again in the second essay from Genealogy of Morals that our adaptation as a population "was initiated by an act of violence and was carried to its conclusion by nothing but sheer acts of violence.." I believe Nietzsche's thesis holds true for the U.S. We are locked in credtor-debtor relationship that Nietzsche describes. We as the American people take on both roles. We are the debtors to those who perished on 9/11, we owe them our freedom and therefore with that freedom we take up the position of the credtor towards Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda harmed us, they took thousands of lives and we must make them pay. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan is the credtors act of inscribing his superiority over the debtor, it is our attempt to make Osama bin Laden pay for what he did.

It is because of this "Bad Conscience" we have as a nation that I propose we forget 9/11/01. Not forget those who died, but do not make them the idols to which we are indebted. We must treat 9/11 like any other day in history. Only if we forget 9/11 are we able to focus on the present, we need to attempt to live our lives instead of trying to repay our infinite debt to those who came before us.

Knowledge Distorted by the Masses

This post is essentially going to be a rant/pseudo-criticism of our society in general. Let me start by posing a question: What drives the masses? While there may be no "correct" answer, I'm certainly inclined to respond with "fear", and while I've always known that. It just became painfully apparent to me recently.

How many times have you heard someone just say something along the lines of "We should nuke North Korea!", with the warrant nearly always being a deep fear of them destroying something held dear to them. It does not matter what empirical evidence would typically lead us to believe, fear generally triumphs over logic the vast majority of times.

My question: Why?

At first sight I believe it has something to do with the fact that people think that they actually do have the empirical evidence, usually because someone unqualified to inform them on the situation did so. That seems to be a huge problem with our society, everyone is an expert. And of course, when everyone is an expert, nobody is an expert. The worst thing to be in a society full of experts is an actual expert.

Gilles Deleuze and others make the argument that liberalism needs its subjects to be fearful, so it produces that fear, thus we come to desire our own domination and accept it as an inevitable sacrifice to protect us from the 'evils' of the world. This can be repeatedly seen throughout history, yet no one ever learns. The most notable recently being George Bush's "Patriot Act" followed by the subsequent declaration of the "Axis of Evil".

I'd say it's a safe conclusion that both of those are certainly contributing factors as to why fear dominates logic. It is both perceived as true, and the masses desire it. It's an effective tool to cajole previously unwilling subjects to bend to the whims of a system. This fear mongering and (as a result) inherently xenophobic society hasn't been as much of a threat until lately. With escalating conflicts around the globe and a population yelling "Nuke them!", you have to wonder when the people fueling that fear will give in to the resulting demand.

As I said previously, this was simply a quick rant on a comment I heard today, and I just wanted to get some thoughts out here as this is certainly only the starting point of this conversation. Why does fear triumph logic? What do you think?

Some more on the Egypt situation

Hank is definitely right, if you're not glued to this, you should be.

Here is a link to a live stream.



Still glued to all information that is flowing out of Egypt. Seriously this is one of the biggest things we will witness in our lives, if you haven't realized that yet start here : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/we-all-helped-suppress-th_b_818497.html.

"Doing Revolution" in a Disciplinary Society

Hank and Adam strike up a great conversation to be had. How do we "Do Revolution". The discussion I want to branch off from this idea is how do we Do Revolution in a society where there are detailed procedures, and apparatuses designed specifically to shut down such a thing. We can see this in our everyday lives. When someone openly disagrees with a dominant idea they are immediately discredited, and seemingly shunned from the sphere of relevance. When protesters take to the streets(although more rare in the US) there are police to make sure that they don't "go to far". These systems in place essentially put us in a police state where we can disagree insofar as we don't remove the existing hegemonic thought. People's livelihood can literally be affected by "doing revolution" because they are vulnerable to being arrested, ostracized, or in some cases killed because of their beliefs. A childish but very accurate example would be school when a teacher or authority figure is doing something wrong or maybe producing knowledge that is biased, and sometimes just straight up false. If you were to speak out like the UC students did you would then be subject to the "proper" procedures. You will be detained sent to the proper authorities and dealt a punishment, that can sometimes lead to more punishment(parents lol).This isn't our judicial system but our education modeling the same mode of thought manifested in the disciplinary system. Michael Hardt explains this notion of Foucault's thought very explicitly in "The Withering Away Of Civil Society" "Foucault's work makes clear that the institutions and enfermements or enclosures of civil society- the church, the school, the prison, the union, the party, et cetera- constitute the paradigmatic terrain for the disciplinary deployments of power in modern society, producing normalized subjects and thus exerting hegemony through consent in a way that is perhaps more subtle but no less authoritarian..." This is a crude explanation that I hope to expand on how our society which is so centered around the disciplinary model, maintains itself through the exertion of Power over difference

“An ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction.”
-Simon Bolivar

Thoughts on "Doing Revolution"

Adam mentions in Occupied that it is not enough to just talk about revolution but to enact it. I find this concept interesting, but i don't think the acts of discussion and "talking" is mutually exclusive with political praxis. Rather thought and action are both symbiotic forms that play with each other, taking and borrowing from each other, to create spirals that we call critique. I think the school Occupation movements last year (UC, New School, etc.) are a great example of this, not only was thought necessary to shed light on and  organize dissent against the budget cuts and war profiting that galvanized the student movements but to spread this movement. The students did not just "make revolution" by occuping the buildings - it's of value to note one of the first things that the student coalitions did once the doors and halls were barricaded was "think". They produced manifestos, websites (included with how to guides), and theory relating to what they were doing. Their praxis was not only generated by thought but was a catalyst of an entire intellectual movement based on the ideas of what it means to occupy and challenge dominant power structures.

Thought is not only valuable to give context to movements but also to generate solidarity between movements. The literature and reports generated by the students that were part of the student movements all became a part of a resonance machine that spread occupation across California like a wildfire (irony not intended). Situating our thought on resistance is key to connecting our social action of creating counter-hegemonic ideologies (doing-thought) with not only the current social actions of others that are building barricades, beating back riot police, and planting urban gardens (doing-action) but future movements like those that are still festering under the surface (like Egypt a few weeks ago) of a pacified status-quo. This resonance between doing-thought and doing-action are both equally important actions of doing-revolution. Like a  Briggs-Raucher reaction the fluid mode of revolution is in constant oscillation between different poles of doing-thought and doing-action but it never stops being revolution.

February 3, 2011

Meta-Tangible Philosophy

Salutations, my name is Max Birnbaum. I am a junior from San Antonio, Texas and debate at Churchill High School. Upon joining debate my adventure into critical literature began. The elders of my debate team began by taking me and my partner(fellow contributor Adam Lipton) aside giving us crude descriptions of great thinkers like Michel Foucault, and teaching us about why things like capitalism are bad. After these first encounters my hunger for knowledge was immense. I began my independent studies with Heidegger, and saw the capacity for philosophical ideas to literally reshape the landscape upon which I understood myself and my pre-existing material reality.I hope with these posts to encourage discussion about things that are in our general world are "relegated to the oblivion". To allow critical thought to flow and create new lines of flight and new methods of interpreting the world in which we dwell in. This blog also has the possibility to be more than just a space for over arching post- modern theory but allows us to discuss the things that go on in our everyday life and world and analyze them critically. I don't have much else to say except that I am open to questions, criticism, and friendship. All I ask is for participation to be genuine and to always remember the immortal words of the late great Edward Said:

"History is made by men and women, just as it can also be unmade and rewritten, always with various silence and elisions, always with shapes imposed and disfigurements tolerated"

Thanks to Hank and Chris and the other contributors for the privilege to join an amazing project and giving me and outlet for thoughts to run wild


Last night Hank I and I talked about the Occupied UC Berkeley movement. Chris's recent post on space made me once again think of it. I realized how truly revolutionary occupying a building is, no overthrow of a structure, no radical new creation, using pre-existing society and using a simple space to convey a larger message.

Youtube has a great little short documentary of the Occupied UC Berkeley Movement here.

Watching this made me realize another purpose for my part on lines of fracture. Not to simply discuss Lines of Fracture or have intellectual lines of fracture but to actually make revolution. As Guattari said when interrupting Lacan, I have no other goal then to make revolution. I am not sure how I am going to make it but I will now dedicate some posts to successful organization and protest.

Here is a kinda cool piece done by Banksy--I think I will end most of my revolution oriented posts with some of his art.

Maps and Sand-Castles: An Exploration of Urban Society (pt. 1)

Endless expanses of urban terrain: skyscrapers puncture the skyline, smoke fills the horizon, headlights dot the freeways, roads carve into the landscape like trickles of blood hemorrhaging from an open wound. Contemporary urban society is not just a way of life; it’s the expansion and spread of a consuming virus – a cancer on the planet’s surface. This way of life has evolved from a colonial history (a history for another time, and likely another author because I lack the epistemological constitution to disclose the histories of many colonial foundations); urban development in America traces its roots back to the frontier and the growth of colonies as centers of trade. The expansion of urban settings has only been historically made possible through flows of capital, and thus we see the great enabler of human “greatness” as greed. Today, we live in the center of an economic Mecca. Even in the panhandle of Texas we see more economic development than in many third world nations. As citizens of this capitalist aristocracy we live under an government system in a state of atrophy that only represents the needs of corporate interests and bureaucrats. Welcome to the wound: this is the fracturing industrial hemorrhage.

From an aesthetic standpoint there are obvious reasons to view industrial urban society with disdain. However, this leads us to question our course of action: do we entirely destroy urban organization? Or, better yet: is such a destruction even possible? Deleuze and Guattari tell us in Anti-Oedipus that undermining existing social conditions requires attention on the level of regimes of desire. Unfortunately, the desire to accumulate wealth and secure our well-being has ingrained capitalism into our primal instincts. We cannot help but revert to desiring a system that delivers us Coca-Cola and industrial agriculture and auto-mobiles and lounge chairs because this system makes OUR commodities cheaper and easier to access. People of conscience often ask how it’s possible to participate in such a system: to revert to the old description of capital’s permeation of the social fabric, how can we not when we swim in a veritable ocean of ether (Hardt and Negri)? Communicative, political, physical and other spaces all share common ties rooted in the physicality of our surroundings. These communicative and physical spaces are saturated with capital: you can’t go anywhere without being inside of capitalism. Even spaces opened to “resist” capitalism, the creation of fractures and coalitions to gather will, occur cloistered and surrounded by capitalist means of social relations. “Material revolution” is no real escape, only the creation of a small clearing in a soul-crushing forest of sleeping subjects. Rational subjects can never just flip a switch or make a decision and become “outside” of capitalism, which becomes a demoralizing incentive to just “give up.”

Along these lines, as a brief aside, Ward Churchill discusses the difference between true ignorance and self-induced bliss: “In effect, the U.S. citizenry as a whole was endowed with exactly the degree of ignorance it embraced. To put it another way, being ignorant is in this sense-that of willful and deliberate ignoration-not synonymous with being uninformed. It is instead to be informed and then ignore the information. There is a vast difference between not knowing and not caring and if Good Americans have difficulty appreciating the distinction, it must be borne in mind that there are others in the world who are quite unburdened by such intellectual impairments.” (WC, “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, 2003). Just because we can’t escape the confines of capitalist relations doesn’t mean that internal transformations are impossible (or undesirable.) But this is not to be confused with Churchill’s notion of false praxis and hollow support for resistance causes globally that only-ever manifest in symbolic form. “Fuck the war” or “Democracy in Egypt” mean nothing if they’re not back by some sort of instantiation: the Tor project (www.torproject.org) is a means of this sort of rallying, although not as significant as many of us would like.

The lines of the geography of the city produce striations: of course this is the same with all of relations in capitalism (as markets channel desires into new trends, advertising traps, etc…), but this is especially true of the physical space of the grid. Our mobility is restricted along streets and sidewalks. We only move through an environment artificially created for consumers: urban surroundings guide us through shops and force us to purchase pre-conditions for participating in contemporary economic society at the risk of being ostracized (iPhones, cars, new clothing, etc…).

But to quote Brad Stand, “Yeah man, I’m caught up in that shit too.” Sure, I own an iPhone. I swim in an ocean of ether, and sometimes I catch myself enjoying it. But I guess that just proves that capitalism isn’t a force entirely composed of negativity: Deleuze and Guattari see capitalism rather as a force than contains the danger of cannibalistic desire (self-consuming desire for fascism, desiring the suffering and regulation of others for the safety of the self). This only means finding a system in which capitalism can be buffered from this desire, or rather in which our desire can be re-directed from fascism to the positive side of creation and organic expansion. It simply means a transition from an industrial, striated urban model to a more organic model of organization (or dis-organization as chaotic interaction).

This feels like only the skeleton of an argument to me, so feel free to (and by feel free I mean please do) post in the comment section and continue this discussion of urban society.

Maps and Sand-Castles is a series, so watch for Pt. 2 coming in the next week.
Next Week on Maps and Sand-Castles: a discussion of Parkour as a rupture of the hegemony of spatial organization.

Signing off, peace.

February 2, 2011

Pseudo-tangible Philosophy

Similar to Hank, I take a fair amount of displeasure in writing about myself. There is just something about pounding into a keyboard information that is solely about yourself that makes me feel exceedingly narcissistic. However, I will suspend my previous dispositions on the matter for a moment to introduce myself.

Hello everyone, my name is Britain Kennedy. I can best be described as a bit of Nietzsche, wrapped up in Heidegger, with a little Bataille sprinkled on top. I debate at a very small school in Arkansas named Greenwood, my history in debate has been a very solid mix of success and failure. But none of that is really relevant to what you’ll need to know from me as an author to the blog.

My history in critical literature is fairly deep, but I’d like to consider it in its youth. My post-modern virginity bubble was pricked about 5 years ago when I became fascinated with the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, starting at the book “Beyond Good and Evil”. When I started my debate career, I had no idea that post-modern philosophy was used so frequently, and when I found out, it certainly peaked my interest. I started my barrage of work on Nietzschean philosophy in relation to how it could be used in debate, and eventually expanded into other authors such as (but not at all limited to) Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Martin Heidegger, Jean Baudrillard, and, the most influential as of late, Georges Bataille. What I believe distinguishes me from most of the people who do this kind of work is the motive – while most seem to do it for the sole purpose of winning, I considered myself to be simply studying this work, and found myself living by and incorporating it into my daily thoughts shortly thereafter (don’t get me wrong though, winning is nice.) Thus, the Britain Kennedy some of you know today was born.

What will I be able to contribute to Lines of Fracture? It’s certainly a good question, I have a subtle inclination to respond “I don’t know.”, but I know that’s not entirely true. I suppose the best answer would be that I can only offer myself and my thoughts (what else is there for a human to offer?). A better question is probably “What will you be writing about?” To which the answer would be a plethora of different things, from criticisms of modern events to commentary on anything I find particularly interesting or worth sharing. I also plan on simply asking questions at times and opening the comment section to create discourse that can’t be found anywhere else. Which brings me to another point, you will notice that I pose a lot of questions in my writing, I do this because I legitimately believe the act of problematizing things is truly the best way to come about knowledge. I’m definitely not exactly identical to my colleagues here, but my political/philosophical backing is pretty similar. I avoid labels as much as I can, but I can probably be described as far-left.

As you may have already noticed, my posts will (for the most part) lack a certain fluidity to them. I’ll make it a goal to keep my posts as accurate a depiction of my mental process as I can, but there’s no promise I’ll be able to articulate it onto paper. I think this kind of project is extremely important, as it has been pointed out, philosophy is not an activity that should be held to “scholars”, as we are all scholars. It’s simply the love of knowledge, and what is there to love more?

I hope you all enjoy your stay on Lines of Fracture, you’ll be hearing more from me shortly.

New Left Media

Hello everyone, now I know this group is relatively popular, but I had to share as I am a big fan. They're called New Left Media and they're awesome. These film students traveled around the country to various politically charged sites and interviewed people, activists, etc.

That being said, I really enjoy their interviews with people at places like Glenn Beck's "Rally to Restore Honor". You'll find that these extremist Right wingers know about as much as we expected.

Also, people should donate to keep them around and making videos. Great fun for any leftist, here it is, New Left Media.


Probably the best award decision I have heard about in a long time

This would definitely make up for Zuckerberg beating him out for the Time Person of the Year. 

A Norwegian lawmaker has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, saying Wednesday that its disclosures of classified documents promote world peace by holding governments accountable for their actions.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee keeps candidates secret for 50 years, but those with nomination rights sometimes make their picks known.
Snorre Valen, a 26-year-old legislator from Norway's Socialist Left Party, told The Associated Press he handed in his nomination in person on Tuesday, the last day to put forth candidates.
"I think it is important to raise a debate about freedom of expression and that truth is always the first casualty in war,'' Valen said. "WikiLeaks wants to make governments accountable for their actions and that contributes to peace.''
Valen also announced his choice on his blog, where he wrote that WikiLeaks had advanced the struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech, just like last year's winner, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Valen cited disclosures of nepotism and corruption in Tunisia's presidential family, saying WikiLeaks "made a small contribution to bringing down'' that regime.
The prize committee typically receives more than 200 nominations, so being nominated doesn't say anything about a candidate's chances of actually winning. And there's no way of knowing for sure that people who announce candidates actually submitted a legitimate nomination to the award committee.
Kristian Harpsviken, a leading Nobel-watcher and director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, said he didn't consider WikiLeaks as a strong candidate for the 10 million kronor ($1.6 million) award.
"The reason I think it's unlikely is that there has been so much criticism of WikiLeaks, not least how they have handled identification issues of people in the documents,'' he said. "I don't think it quite does the trick.''
Harpsviken keeps a list of "possible and confirmed nominations,'' based on public announcements and his own sources. His list this year includes WikiLeaks as well as Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking material to the website.
Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva, Afghan human rights advocate Sima Samar, and several rights groups including U.S.-based Wings of Hope and Cuban opposition movement Damas de Blanco are also on the list.
His own top guess is Russian rights group Memorial, followed by activists Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Ory Okolloh of Kenya.
The committee will announce the winner in October.


Baby Steps pt. 1

Just dropping by to give an update of Lines of Fracture. First I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone that has stopped by to witness all of our first awkward steps in the big world of blogging. I hope you enjoyed what you saw and have decided to add us to your blog roll and visit again, hopefully we will continue to provide you with entertaining posts. Now to just document some of the baby steps that LoF has accomplished so far:

-Moving on up:  LoF was officially launched by Chris's post Tangible Philosophy on the 30th, since then we have had 330 views, for those not so good at math that 110 views a day.
-Big Winner: The most views at once came today after the posting of Brian's had to talk about debate, he posted at 9:59, and at 10:00 we have 49 views to the site
-Divide and Conquer: We are officially an international blog, and have covered the entirety of north america. Out of our 330 audience members 229 have been from the states (including alaska) and 1 has been from Canada.
-Chromed Out: Chrome is currently the browser LoF is viewed most in by a 27% of our views, coming in close second is Firefox with 25%. There is also 10% of you who are still using Internet Explorer, come'on guys! Its 2011, get with it!
-Old News: We have already got so much posted that in order to view them all the "older posts" button actually has a purpose.

I think we are doing pretty good so far, and we will only get better. Adam has started an advice column to provide some humor here. We have had another wonderful author join our ranks, everyone should get acquainted with PJ Martinez here. And finally Chris promises a post on D&G in the coming days, so get excited.

February 1, 2011

Dear Adam

Our blog has taken on art, critical theory, and a bunch of other random stuff so I am adding something more...life advice! Growing up in the LA Times there was a column called "Dear Abbie" where readers would ask for adivce on all kinds of things from relationships to how to teach your kid to ride a bike.

Those of you who know me know that I probably the worst person to give life adivce but this is for the lolz. So write in your questions and they will be answered!

send them to linesoffracture@gmail.com and have the subject be Dear Adam. Hilarious scenarios to add to the humor effect are appreciated. Yes I will take these seriously if you for some twisted reason want advice from me.

had to talk about debate

This one's for the k pledges, and people who want to run a k aff yet don't really no what they're doing yet.
the gonzaba's guide to answering framework

Answering Framework
I should start off by saying that the key to success when answering framework is not what blocks you have, how many blocks you have, nor is it the quantity or quality of the evidence you use (if any). The key to answering framework is about a couple things including but not limited to the quality of argumentation, the intelligence of your arguments, but most importantly it is about what you as an individuals/two debaters in a room can bring to the debate space as well as the world around us. What is it you can give the people in the room that shows us the path to a brand of life affirmation that we can find to be most preferable. One more thing to remember is that your k is the first interpretation of framework created in the round (don't let them tell you that you have no counter interpretation)
The levels of the framework debate
Try this… imagine the framework debate as a staircase with three levels. The concept of these three levels will be an important reoccurring concept through out this lesson.
The levels are as followed:
1. The level of the criticism
2. The level of the debate space
3. The level of the world around us
The first level- the first step in this imaginary staircase is the criticism that you presented in the 1ac/1nc. The most important factor of your criticism is exactly that…your criticism. Often times in a framework debate your opponents will attempt to guide the debate away from the issues you presented in the first constructive, as a means of making your criticism look like the least important thing in the round. Some of the best framework debaters don’t allow the opponents to do this. Usually in my experience the first answer on my framework blocks is always an extension of at least one of the pieces of evidence or even just an argument from the first constructive that makes it look as if the framework debate has already been answered. This also involves taking some of your impacts and linking your opponents to the criticism. This process on the fist level is what allows you to have the first impact to the framework debate, and it allows you to remind your judge/ opponents to remember the k flow and not disregard it during the round.
Properly utilizing this level of the debate also sets up the following situation… WINNING THE FRAMEWORK DEBATE MEANS YOU AUTOMATICALLY WIN THE CRITICISM AND THE WHOLE DEBATE (for the most part still try to win the k too results may vary).
The second level- the next step on the set of stairs that is the framework debate is the debate space itself. The literal actions that are contained within the walls of the room you are debating in. The round that is going on has just as much importance for the debate as any other part does. Remember that what your opponents say on this flow are fighting words and if you feel that your criticism is important and personal then make it that way. Although they will say that they aren’t, what they are really saying is that the activity of debate doesn’t have room for your criticism or it just doesn’t want it (wither they really believe this argument or not). Your job on this level is to prove not only that the community has room for the criticism but also more importantly that it needs to be exposed to what it is you had to say. I often find that a reference to the actions of exclusion in the debate round just creates more proof to your point that in the status quo your methodology or philosophy has yet to be accepted in both the world of politics and academia. This is what created probably my most use catch phrase in the round “their framework proves the exact thesis of our criticism”. Remember the first level because just like stairs there is a connection between every single one of the steps, the levels shouldn’t remain separated from each other and each step should have references to the previous one, this all meaning that once you reference the impact in the debate space itself you should also connect it to the impacts of your 1st constructive too.
When this level is used to it’s full potential it is able to make your criticism look more important, and it shows a real life example of your impacts to the judge within the rounds.
The third level- the third and final level of the stairs is the world around you. How does what happen in this round affect the rest of the world? Even if you argue that the k stays in the room, the question still needs to be answered about how we can take what we learned in this round and apply it to the demands of real world situations. This is a concept that Paulo Friere calls Praxis: the ability to turn thought into action (action by any definition you make it to be). What is it about your criticism that can be converted into a reality-changing concept? For example even if you are running a capitalism k with a reject alt, what is it we can remove from this round and remember later? It could be something like resisting the call to capitalist totalitarianism by not giving into the demands of all political status quo policy making, or it could be something as simple as learning and choosing wisely what aspects of a political project to accept and not to accept.
Another main goal of this level is to provide an external net benefit to solve for, or an impact that happens in the real world after the debate is done. This is usually an explanation of the bad things that happen when your criticism is either not adopted or even just not accepted. Normally I find it important to talk about the way education, politics, and/or community is affected after the round if people in the world don’t listen to what I have to say. Once again this should be referencing the impacts you stated in the 1st and 2nd steps.
If this is utilized correctly it should give you the upper hand in the magnitude discussion i.e. the impacts to their framework vs. the impacts to your framework. Also you would hands down win the probability and timeframe debate because it is undeniable (although they will deny it) that your impacts are occurring right now (or at least a couple internal links), while their impacts have yet to happen.

Remember to use these steps when answering the standards debate too ( the staircase applies to every aspect of the debate round)
The thought experiment- Remember that the key to using all these steps in the best way possible is to continue to tie them all together and not engage them all separately. We are now going to engage in a little thought experiment and imagine a few different things about what it is you where just told.
First, imagine the set of stairs I just told you about as if it where a literal set of stairs that you would see in a house or something
Next, imagine that the staircase has an infinite amount of steps, which are levels one through three just repeating themselves going up and not stopping.
Then imagine the stair set as if it looked like the picture above:

Both going up and down at the same time
Now imagine this image as if it where a three dimensional model made out of paper
Then imagine taking the 3-D model and crumpling it into a ball
Next flatten out that ball, until it then becomes a circle
Also, imagine that circle on a piece of paper
Finally, imagine the circle as if it had no barrier or markings defining it as such, then it no longer a circle, for a circle cannot exist without a barrier that defines it as such… it then becomes blank and nothing, all you see is a blank page.
This is how you answer framework now use the blank page you imagined and write some fucking blocks… and create the staircase which sparks the process all over again.
Brian D. Gonzaba

Uber-tangible Philosophy

Howdy, my name is PJ Martinez and I'm a debater/senior at Mercedes High School, which is in a town named Mercedes. It's about as south as you get in Texas before you hit Mexico. I don't have too much to say as fellow contributors are, like I told Hank, out of my league. I was really excited/honored to be asked to contribute though, so here I am.

The majority of my high school career has involved an intense fascination with critical literature, dating back to when my coach/mentor, Hector, gave me an expando with some basic representations kritiks when I was a wee freshperson. My love affair with critical literature continued my sophomore year as my partner/hero, Marc, had us read nothing but critical theory. I've been doing it ever since.

I dig me some feminist literature, William V Spanos is a god, I'm big on security (bad), this year spurred my love affair with nuclear kritiks, and I've been really digging me some other deconstruction and post structuralism business recently.

Unfortunately, I'm not nearly as cool/hipster/artsy as my fellow radicals on this blog, so my posts probably won't consist of much poetry and art. I do get my kicks off of bashing neoconservativism, so I will definitely use this blog as a vehicle by which to vent those urges. I also look forward to discussing some classic kritikal literature and the new stuff that surfaces after I click "Publish Post". Not too sure what else I will contribute, I'll remain spectral about it.

In any case, it's a pleasure to be aboard. Happy kritiking.

Rant on Culture...sort of

I dislike ignorance. With a passion I detest those who believe they know everything. Today I lost it in a class an unloaded on a kid and I thought I would just post up what I said. Typical Texas conservative high school student says that illegal immigrants steal our jobs and even legal immigrants steal his potential future jobs. He quotes Emma Lazarus and says that this land is the land of opportunity not the land of exploitation. My response was slighty more offensive but my basic argument was as follows: How does the immigrant take your job? The high school student sitting in an AP class trying to get into a good college were you going to be diggign ditches for minimum wage? No. American culture has become so scared of the other that we impose irrational scenarios for interaction with them. If we let non Americans come here the American people will be the minority they will steal our jobs. Were those jobs meant for the average american? No. Our economic system has created a sess pool of manual labor jobs designed to funnel the immigrant into certain conditions. Thats why they dont take your job, because our culture has become so embedded with fear that we force them into certain jobs regardless of their experience.

A similar situation just occured when discussing the situation of Iran's nuclear capabilities. People guide their decisions in our American culture based on fear and an attempt to stay safe. Our economics, politics, and social interactions are funneled through our emotions of fear. I think Michael Moore jokinly describes our culture well in this video .

That little bit was jsut blowing off some steam but also sets up the problem I have with American culture...we lack culture. Some people always say "we are the melting pot" I think we are a different kind of melting pot where the people who come here literally get lost in the miz and are forced to assimilate to suceed in this country. Our country has forced itself towards progress at all costs that is has forgen an attempt to connect to the people who come to this land. Besides the 4th of July and obesity America has no great defining point of its culture. Sure I guess that amkes it unique but our coutnry has robbed people of their values. The immigrants who come to our country today are no longer welcomed, but were they ever welcomed? Do we truly live in the land of opportunity? I think this post is just ranting right now but I am open to criticism and discussion. I want to end with a little quote, the quote that is supposed to describe how America treats those who are not the affluent white man, sadly this quote has been forgotten by our "Culture"

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door"