Kritik of the K

SHELL

pg…/…

The affirmative makes a valiant attempt to wage intellectual warfare upon the structures of violence so pervasive in society, however, the very nature of intellectual warfare is that of useless expenditure. Although their intentions are good, they will never succeed, for their pursuits are tantamount to little more than intellectual masturbation- it is a form of systems-maintenance, and a feature of the status-quo of capital tricked out with beautiful illusory truths.

Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture Vol 6 No 2] As the economy in general and technological development in particular come to be seen in logistical terms, so the critical industry too will be taken as a logistical system, and war discourse as pure war carried out by other means. But it is all too easy to conflate military, technological, and intellectual production. It might be that the forces of deterrence or nuclear war really do extend into criticism, into the study of texts, into the colloquium and critical journal, but even if there is some economic coordination between them, it would be a mistake to elide their differences. There is no question that military success is increasingly determined by access to technical knowledge and that logistical development is a laboratory for new technologies, but to recognize this is not to prove that all fields of knowledge are connected to military research in the same ways. Such claims will certainly be made, with fantastic effects, just as the critical truisms that fictions are informed by political realities and that politics is dependent upon fictive forms are turned around, without careful examination of the reversability of these propositions, into the quite dubious but productive thesis that therefore criticism of these fictions constitutes political action. What pure war indicates, however, is that intellectual warfare is not oppositional: it is a form of systemsmaintenance, and a feature of the status quo of capital. Hence war discourse will cast intellectuals as agents of a general logistical economy and at the same time offer them an array of quite useful and quite delusional critical fantasies about their combat for and against the warfare state. But let me suggest another economics here, another fantasy, one not restricted to the familiar terms of use- and exchange-value for the military-industrial-knowledge complex, but based as it were on waste-value: a general economy, in Bataille's sense: an economy like that of the sun, which gives life but is utterly indifferent to it, burns itself out as fast as it can, expends most of its energy into the void. Bataille's image of war-economics is the ritual practice of the potlatch, a form of symbolic combat most likely associated with funerary observances, but which he sees as a solar means of purging the superabundance of natural and cultural energy. The purpose of art and thought is the purest expenditure, waste, dépense.11 Intellectual warfare can be seen in this light, as ritualized combat whose value is that it has no value: a means of squandering useless wealth. Intellectual production is the production of superfluities tricked out with beautiful illusory truths, and we meet to exchange ideas only in order to destroy thought itself with these ludicrous gifts.

1nc Shell 2/8
1

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

B. of the K KritikConstantly demanding that we become critical warriors, that we join in their pg…/…

game of intellectual masturbation is the nature of rhetorical criticism. We are never relieved of the duty to fight the good fight, but because it all exists in our heads, because the “moral spaces” and post-modern borders that we speak of exist only on the pages of books, the K becomes a method of entrapment and an END to politics. Mann, 1996, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture Vol 6 No 2
It would be a mistake to assume that this metamorphosis of discourse as war into discourse on war has occurred because criticism has become more political. On the contrary, criticism has never been more than a political effect -"policy" carried out, and in our case dissipated, by other means. The long process of seizing politics as the proper object of criticism is one more tardy phenomenalization of the device. What we witness -- and what difference would it make even if I were right? -- is not proof of the politicization of criticism but an after-image of its quite peripheral integration with forms of geopolitical conflict that are, in fact, already being dismantled and remodeled in war rooms, defense institutes, and multinational corporate headquarters. War talk, like politics talk, like ethics talk, like all critical talk, is nostalgic from the start. While we babble about territories and borders, really still caught up in nothing more than a habitual attachment to disciplinary "space" and anxious dreams of "agency," the technocrats of warfare are developing strategies that no longer depend on any such topography, strategies far more sophisticated than anything we have imagined. And we congratulate ourselves for condemning them, and for our facile analogies between video games and smart bombs. I would propose two distinct diagnoses of the rise of war talk. On one hand, war talk is merely another exercise in rhetorical inflation, intended to shore up the fading value of a dubious product, another symptom of the imaginary politics one witnesses everywhere in critical discourse, another appearance of a structural device at the very moment it ceases to operate. On the other hand, war talk might still indicate the possibility of actually becoming a war machine, of pursuing a military equivalent of thought beyond all these petty contentions, of realizing the truth of discourse as warfare and finally beginning to fight. It will be crucial here not to choose between these diagnoses. In the domain of criticism they function simultaneously, in a perpetual mutual interference; there is no hope of extricating one from the other, no hope of either becoming critical warriors or being relieved of the demand that we do so.

1nc Shell 3/8
2

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

C. Acting as a singularity and attempting to reject all formalized identiy in favor of its own being separate from the state is what we call becoming “identifiable,” in other words, becoming the principle enemy of the state. Our opponents valorize this position as the one of most resistance, yet they fail to realize that calling us to join in their demonstration will inevitably result in state-sponsored violence. Agamben 1993, The Coming Community 83-5 [I do not have this card, I am in the process of tracking it down. I think you should find any old agamben card that talks about becoming “bare life” and stick it in here.]

pg…/…

3

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

pg…/…

4

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

1nc Shell 6/8

Kritik of the K

pg…/…

D. The fog of war and violence is mighty blinding, a resistance to language and description through bombastic event. It has infiltrated the realm of criticism as well. When discursive attacks are launched, the enemy does not escape signification or representation, and there is always slippage here between perception and reality- this is fog. The alternative is to embrace the tactical usage of fog. Rather than selfcongratulate for the strength we have mobilized through our criticism, we must appear weak yet be tactical- we must not let the enemy see what we truly think of them if we are ever to be victorious. Mann, 1996, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture Vol 6 No 2, “consider what” AND “established rights and property”
Consider what Clausewitz calls the fog of war -- its untheorizable turmoil, error, accidents, chance, the sheer disorientation of combat terror. The fog of war is quite literally noise, war's resistance to language, to objectification, to the code: both its problematic and its seductiveness, the limit of its intelligibility and the depth of its sublimity. There are two approaches to this fog. One can try to burn it off with the bright intensity of analysis, as if it were only a surface effect, even though everything would lead one to believe that fog is an irreducible element of war, something that must be taken into account, that cannot simply be withdrawn. Then perhaps one ought instead to attempt to map this fog, not in order to eliminate it but to put it to use. The fog of war might be more than an enemy of reason: it might be a tactical advantage. But how to map the fog of war? I anticipate an increase in references to chaos theory, discourse analyses deploying language like the following:
military interest in turbulent phenomena revolves around the question of its negative effects in the performance of weapons systems or the effects of air drag on projectiles or water drag on submarines. But for our purposes, we want an image not of the external effects of turbulent flows, but of their internal structure. We are not concerned here with the destructive effects that a hurricane, for instance, may produce, but with the intricate patterns of eddies and vortices that define its inner structure. . . . In order to better understand turbulence, we must first rid ourselves of the idea that turbulent behavior represents a form of chaos. For a long time turbulence was identified with disorder or noise. Today we know that this is not the case. Indeed, while turbulent motion appears as irregular or chaotic on the macroscopic scale, it is, on the contrary, highly organized on the microscopic scale. The multiple space and time scales involved in turbulence correspond to the coherent behavior of millions and millions of molecules. Viewed in this way, the transition from laminar flow to turbulence is a process of self-organization.33

It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the turbulence of intellectual warfare obeys the theoretical laws of chaos. Perhaps it will become possible to map the way epistemic breakthroughs stabilize themselves as singularities

5

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

and fractal "eddies within eddies" (De Landa), increasingly dense, detailed, and localized skirmishes in entropic disciplinary subfields. I imagine that the effect would be at one and the same time to deepen the breakthrough, by Kritik of the K pg…/… intensifying subconflictual areas within the field, and to dissipate it. Again: resistance, subversion, opposition, etc., stabilize quite as much as they destabilize. The deepening specificity of gender criticism, for instance, might represent the regulation of gender conflict as much as its disruptive potential: its increasing density becomes the paradoxical mark of its dissipating force. It is just as likely, however, that attempts to apply chaos physics within analyses of discursive warfare will constitute nothing more than another set of tropes, another pipe dream of a scientific humanities, another mathematical sublime: the same contradictory desire for the rational conquest of phenomena that seem to escape reason and the autodestruction of reason in the process that one finds in Clausewitz. Even if fog cannot be reduced to a science without being caught up in the mechanics of critical sublimity, one might still pursue its tactical uses. There is no question that the military is committed to deploying the fog of war. The importance of disinformation, propaganda, jamming, covert operations, "PsyOps," and so on increases as warfare becomes more dependent on technical and tactical knowledge. As the power of reconnaissance and surveillance grows, so does the tactical importance of stealth technology. Virilio remarks that, in the hunt, the speed of perception annuls the distance between the hunter and the quarry. Survival depends on distance: "once you can see the target, you can destroy it" (WC 19, 4). Thus, from now on, "power is in disappearance: under the sea with nuclear submarines, in the air with U2s, spyplanes, or still higher with satellites and the space shuttle" (PW 146). "If what is perceived is already lost, it becomes necessary to invest in concealment what used to be invested in simple exploitation of one's available forces -- hence the spontaneous generation of new Stealth weapons. . . . The inversion of the deterrence principle is quite clear: unlike weapons which have to be publicized if they are to have a real deterrence effect, Stealth equipment can only function if its existence is clouded with uncertainty" (WC 4). For Virilio, stealth is not a matter of radar-immune bombers alone: it involves a vast "aesthetics of disappearance" that reaches an order of perfection in state terrorism:
Until the Second World War -- until the concentration camps -societies were societies of incarceration, of imprisonment in the Foucauldian sense. The great transparency of the world, whether through satellites or simply tourists, brought about an overexposure of these places to observation, to the press and public opinion which now ban concentration camps. You can't isolate anything in this world of ubiquity and instantaneousness. Even if some camps still exist, this overexposure of the world led to the need to surpass enclosure and imprisonment. This required another kind of repression, which is disappearance. . . . Bodies must disappear. People don't exist. There is a big fortune in this technology because it's so similar to what happened in the history of war. In war, we've seen how important disappearance, camouflage, dissimulation are -- every war is a war of cunning.34

The methods of strategic disappearance developed by terrorist states are the most insidious form of secrecy. That is why Virilio, the anti-technologist, believes that the technology of secrecy must be exposed. Every order of stealth weaponry is purely and simply a threat. The aesthetics of disappearance must be reappeared. For Virilio, as well as for the reconnaissance cameras whose history he records, success depends on the logistics of perception, on closing the distance between the critic and his quarry. But what if critics are not only hunters; what if they are the quarry as well? Michel de Certeau points out that, for Clausewitz, the distinction between strategy and tactics is determined not only by scales of conflict (war vs. battle) but by relative magnitudes of power. Strategy is for the strong, and it is deployed in known, visible, mapped spaces; tactics is "an art of the weak," of those who must operate inside

6

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

territory controlled by a greater power; it takes place on the ground of the "other," inside alien space.35 It must therefore deploy suggests that Kritik of the Kdeception in the face of a power "bound by its very visibility." De Certeau pg…/… even in cases where the weak force has already been sighted, it might use deception to great advantage. This is another lesson from Clausewitz: "trickery is possible for the weak, and often it is his only possibility, as a 'last resort': The weaker the forces at the disposition of the strategist, the more the strategist will be able to use deception." In the "practice of daily life," in spaces of signification, in the contests of critical argument, such a tactics of the weak would also apply:

Lacking its own place, lacking a view of the whole, limited by the blindness (which may lead to perspicacity) resulting from combat at close quarters, limited by the possibilities of the moment, a tactic is determined by the absence of power just as a strategy is organized by the postulation of power. From this point of view, the dialectic of a tactic may be illuminated by the ancient art of sophistic. As the author of a great "strategic" system, Aristotle was also very interested in the procedures of this enemy which perverted, as he saw it, the order of truth. He quotes a formula of this protean, quick, and surprising adversary that, by making explicit the basis of sophistic, can also serve finally to define a tactic as I understand it here: it is a matter, Corax said, of "making the worse argument seem the better." In its paradoxical concision, this formula delineates the relationship of forces that is the starting point for an intellectual creativity that is subtle, tireless, ready for every opportunity, scattered over the terrain of the dominant order and foreign to the rules laid down and imposed by a rationality founded on established rights and property. (38)

And yet it is rare that any of this ever occurs to critics, who seem to believe that "subversion" consists of vicarious identification with subversives, and of telling everything one knows to one's enemies. It is nonetheless already the case that, in critical discourse, behind all the humanistic myths of communication, understanding, and interpretive fidelity, one finds the tactical value of misinterpretations. In an argument it is often crucial for combatants not to know their enemy, to project instead a paper figure, a distortion, against which they can conceive and reinforce their own positions. Intelligence, here, is not only knowledge of one's enemies but the tactical lies one tells about them, even to oneself. This is so regular a phenomenon of discursive conflict that it cannot be dismissed as an aberration that might be remedied through better communication, better listening skills, more disinterested criticism. One identifies one's own signal in part by jamming everyone else's, setting it off from the noise one generates around it. There is, in other words, already plenty of fog in discursive warfare, and yet we tend to remain passive in the face of it, and for the most part completely and uncritically committed to exposing ourselves to attack. Imagine what might be possible for a writing that is not insistently positional, not devoted to shoring itself up, to fixing itself in place, to laying out all its plans under the eyes of its opponents. Nothing, after all, has been more fatal for the avant-gardes than the form of the manifesto. If only surrealism had been more willing to lie, to dissimulate, to abandon the petty narcissism of the position and the desire to explain itself to anyone who would listen, and instead explored the potential offered it by the model of the secret society it also hoped to be. Intellectual warfare must therefore investigate the tactical advantages of deception and clandestinity over the habitual, quasi-ethical demands of clarity and forthrightness, let alone the narcissistic demands of self-promotion and mental exhibitionism, from however fortified a position. If to be seen by the enemy is to be destroyed, then intellectual warfare must pursue its own stealth technology. Self-styled intellectual warriors will explore computer networks not only as more rapid means of communication and publishing but as means for circumventing publication, as semi-clandestine lines of circulation, encoded correspondence, and semiotic speed. There will be no

7

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

entirely secure secrecy, just as there are no impregnable positions -- that too is Virilio's argument -- but a shrouded nomadism is Kritik of thealready spreading in and around major discursive conflicts. There are many more than nine grounds, K pg…/… but the rest are secret.

*RANT* !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU SUCK 8

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik IS A RANT ABOUT WHAT THEY DO… THIS of the K

pg…/…

BEING A PUNK DOESN’T MAKE YOU SUBVERSIVE- ONLY A SYMPTOM OF THE ORDER ITSELF. TO EXIST ON THE “MARGIN” IS A NECESSARY PLACE FOR SOME, THE CENTER, FOR OTHERS…AND SO YOUR POSITION IS NON-UNIQUE- IT HAS BEEN RECUPERATED AND CANNOT BE ATTACHED TO ANY MODE OF REFORM. JUST SAYING “MODERNISM GOOD” WOULD BE A LOT LESS DANGEROUS.

MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
It would seem ridiculous to sentence oneself to yet another term of ressentiment; bad enough to risk promoting it by the very act of considering it. Perhaps only a masocritic would subject himself to the humiliation of doing so. And yet in the stupid underground the logics of recuperation and ressentiment are turned, so to speak, on their heads. Everyone there knows all about recuperation and it makes no difference. One can display the most stringent self-criticism about the impossibility of revolt and the next day proclaim the subversive effects of noise, as if one were Russolo himself, Russolo in the first place. The stupid underground is marked by the simultaneous critical understanding of the fatality of recuperation and a general indifference to the fact; it ignores what it knows, and knows it. It acts as though it forgets, until it virtually forgets, what it always recalls. It responds to every critical reminder, even those it throws at itself, with a So what, fuck you. But this very feigned stupidity, this posture of indifference to its own persistent critical knowledge, is the trace of another trajectory. For if the euphoria of punk nihilism is entirely the nihilism of the commodity, by this same means, at certain unpredictable moments, it represents the possibility of nihilism turned loose, driven suicidally mad, ressentiment pushed to the brink of the reactive and becoming force. Inane energy, brute energy, energy without reason, without support, even when it is caught up in what otherwise poses as a critical project. This is not to say that the euphoric frenzy of the punk or skinhead is the sign of something new and vital: the energy released by the stupid underground is never anything more than an effect of its very morbidity. It is marketed as novelty, but that is not its truth. Nor will it ever constitute a base for opposition: it cannot be yoked to any program of reform, nor serve any longer the heroic myth of transgression. It is merely a symptom of order itself. Everything has been recuperated, but what is recuperated and put to death returns, returns ferociously, and it is the return of its most immanent dead that most threatens every form of order. The repressed does not come back as a living being but as the ghost it always was, and not to free us but to haunt us. It returns as repetition; when we see it in the mirror, as our mirror, we pretend not to recognize it. The fury of the punk or skinhead is the fury of this stupid repetition, and it is far more destructive than the most brilliant modernist invention. It ruins everything and leaves it all still in place, still functioning as if it mattered, never relieving us of its apparition, never pretending to go beyond it, draining it of value without clearing it away. That is why one cannot dismiss it according to the logic of the new, whereby the only admissible revolutionary force must conform to the movement of progress and innovation. The rhetoric of innovation is parroted by the stupid underground, because it still obeys the superficial form of the avant-garde. But it obeys it long after it is dead, and as if that death didn't matter, as if history had never occurred in the first place, as if everything retro just suddenly appeared, in all its original vacuity. As if it were even better, more powerful, once it is dead, so long as one insists that it is and pretends that it isn't. It is the blind repetition of every exhausted logic far past the point of termination that generates the most virulent negation. The stupid persistence of the dead has taken the place of the critical.

9

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

MORE RANTING

pg…/…

Y’ALL SOCIALIZE PLEASURE…AND YOU TRIVIALIZE YOUR OWN K [THIS CARD IS MOSTLY JUST AMUSING]
THE

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

It is notable how often the interviews in Modern Primitives--stupid interviews in general--resort, even while describing the most extreme practices, to the category of fun. The subjective analogue, the affective dimension of fuzzy capital might be fuzzy fun. Stupid fun. Piercing is fun, drunkenness and drugs are fun, sexual excess is fun, hyper-loud sound is fun, theft is fun, staying up for days is fun, je m'enfoutisme is French for fun. All of them together, what could be more fun. Stupid fun is not simply pleasure, even in a complex economy in which pleasure and pain are inextricably linked; it is rather the intensity that binds them indifferently together. Stupid fun is intensity itself: anything intense is fun. Stupid fun is quite serious; it is also "political," we are told, by being the subversion of the serious, the practical, the useful, the profitable. At the same time it participates in (if only by stealing from) the general industrialization of amusement. One can buy it, ingest it, for a while have it; it is even imminently obsolete, just like the commodity; but it also floats free of the objects to which capital would like to fix it, which are just as likely to lapse into boredom in an instant, to eclipse the dull aura and useless utility of the commodity even as they seem to announce it, to turn against the user and denounce the use. Fun is difficult, after all, to exchange. It obeys peculiar laws that are refracted by capital but are not precisely economic. If earlier avant-gardes sought to break down the apparent boundary between art and life, so the stupid underground seeks the dissemination of fun past the demarcation of entertainment centers, the permeation of fun into all aspects of life, or else. Fun is the register of the total aestheticization of experience. The rock band is a fantasy conjunction of work and fun; the day job is sabotaged because it is not fun; drugs are fun until one ends up in a recovery program, which will insist to you that you can have fun now without drugs. It might be a force of revolt in a world where the work-ethic dominates, but such a world no longer exists. Fuzzy fun socializes pleasure, removes it from a strictly libidinal economy, pressures capital to satisfy us when it is clear that it cannot, and dissipates the gravity of its potential critique in the most critically trivial acts.

SChizo-ANALYSIS LINK [DELEUZE]
10

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

PSYCHOANALYSIS CREATES A CIRCLE OF CAPITAL- BITING ITSELF IN THE @$$ SO TO SPEAK. RADICAL SCHIZOANALYSIS A LA D&G ONLY CREATES A CONDITION OF TRAUMA THAT IS EVENTUALLY EXPLOITED AND TURNED AGAINST ITSELF.

pg…/…

MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
The stupid underground can be mapped onto a familiar and perhaps quite objectionable psychotopography: it is a zone of the repressed of culture and thus, according to this model, both a pathological site giving rise to all sorts of pathogenic surface effects, and a therapeutic matrix, a place where impacted energies may be guided toward a proper sublimation. The stupid underground presents itself as both a symptom of the disease of capital and an indication of the direction of its cure. But in the stupid underground, as in so many other sites, the direction of the cure often leads back into the disease; or the cure itself turns out to be nothing more than a symptom. For instance, in the terms of one standard hypothesis, the stupid underground reproduces the pathology of Other, of the Symbolic order, in the very attempt to avoid it, like the alcoholic's prodigal son who is so repelled by his father's disease that he can only end by becoming an alcoholic himself; at the same time, it is a kind of paranoid rechanneling of obsessions and defenses, a way to reconceive the social world by means of, indeed as a psychosis. Perhaps merely the critical equivalent of lining your hat with aluminum foil to protect yourself from alien radiation or government microwave transmissions (often: the same thing); perhaps a more radical form of schizoanalytic political action.

As both symptom and therapy, and by these very contradictory means, the stupid underground also indicates the trauma of order itself, of everything it finds above ground, marking a place for the circuitous return of the Real, the nonsymbolic, the nothing around which the Symbolic is formed and in whose black light it is revealed as nothing but symbolic.9 Again: one employs this psychoanalytic vocabulary with considerable uneasiness, at least as much as one feels with any critical vocabulary: since psychoanalysis is the very disease for which it proposes to serve as a cure (Kraus), since it is the most pathological (and therefore irreducible) manifestation of the hermeneutic circle, this vocabulary is a set of symptoms to the very degree that it is a therapeutic lexicon. One must further insist that what is at stake for us in this psychoanalytic tropology is not the postulation of a monadic, centripetal individuality preliminary to culture, any more than one should say that neuroses are simply an effect of social inequities that, once resolved, will immediately dissolve them. Neither individual nor society can be privileged because the distinction between them is faulty in the first place. Hence, in part, the real interest of the stupid underground: it is liminal even as it is subliminal, mandated by a pathology that blurs the boundaries of this gross organization. It is neither molar nor molecular but a symptomatic space, marking the trauma out of which this very division has been projected. If it were possible to think of the symptom as a passage between what Deleuze and Guattari call "planes of consistency" or intensity, between what is called the social and what is called the subject, it would be entirely proper to this occasion. The stupid underground, the subliminal itself, is located not beneath the established order but between the Social, the Symbolic, the Law, the Subject and the subject, blurring the division between them in its own psychotic and quite veridical manner, distorting and still providing terms for their constitutive inter-interpellation, marking by its inane repetitions the trauma that is their mutual point of departure.

SCHIZOANALYSIS LINK

11

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

LIKE THE CRIMINAL WHO LEAVES SYMBOLS AND TRACES LIKE IN ALL THOSE MURDER MOVIES, THE PSYCHO/SCHIZOANALYST IS REALLY ONLY LEAVING TRACES TACTICS BEHIND KritikREPLICATINGOF THEIR OWNOF THE REAL. ….TACTICS THAT WHEN HAPPENED UPON BY AN OUTSIDE SOURCE ONLY RESULT IN REVEALING… AND THE HORROR

of the K

pg…/…

MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
The stupid underground as symptom thus also conforms to what Derrida calls the trace, and which he explicitly links with the Freudian Nachtraglichkeit. Let us pursue it here along lines elaborated by Alphonso Lingis, as "an element that is . . . found only within the human economy, without being a sign." Perhaps: a stupid sign. The analogy he draws conforms nicely to our purposes: The criminal, whose telos is the perfect crime, and not simply the release of unsocialized or barbaric force, acts to break an established order, and depart from the scene of the crime. But the disturbance itself remains, and can function as so many signs indicating a malefactor and expressing, to the detective, the identity of the act and of its agent. The criminal then acts to cover up his traces, so as to depart completely. But the deed passed into the real, and the precaution taken to wipe away the traces of the deed itself leaves traces. The traces a criminal leaves in covering up his traces are traces neither in the pure or purified sense we can now reserve for this term. They are neither signs nor indices, and they are not inscribed by an intentionality; the criminal meant neither to express nor to indicate anything by them. They are not made in order to be recognized and repaired. For him who comes upon them, they will mark the loci at which an order has been disturbed. They refer to a passing, that acted to pass completely from the present, to depart from the scene completely. The one who detects them recognizes something strange, not about to present and identify itself and not representable, but that concerns him by virtue of this disturbance and violation of the layout he inhabits. (145) If we were able to conceive of these criminal traces not only as an aftereffect of the disruption of the scene but as proper to its very construction, in something like the Derridean sense of non-originary origins, we would be close to the traumatic relation to and originary return of the Real that the stupid underground poses to the culture of repression. One must, in other words, imagine that the criminal stupidly repeats the scene of origination (which is not to say origin as such) in the very act of seeming to transgress its order, and the traces he leaves reveal not only his own crime but its absolute identity with the arche-crime, the primordial disruption, that is the Real itself.

12

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

LINKS: SCHIZO-ANALYSIS [THE NOMAD] pg…/… DELEUZE AND GUATTARI ARE THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW VIRTUAL MODELS CLOSE OFF THE EXITS THAT THEY INDICATE AS “WAYS OUT OF THE SYSTEM.”

THE

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

Intellectual economics guarantees that even the most powerful and challenging work cannot protect itself from the order of fashion. Becoming-fashion, becoming-commodity, becoming-ruin. Such instant, indeed retroactive ruins, are the virtual landscape of the stupid underground. The exits and lines of flight pursued by Deleuze and Guattari are being shut down and rerouted by the very people who would take them most seriously. By now, any given work from the stupid underground's critical apparatus is liable to be tricked out with smooth spaces, warmachines, n - 1s, planes of consistency, plateaus and deterritorializations, strewn about like tattoos on the stupid body without organs. The nomad is already succumbing to the rousseauism and orientalism that were always invested in his figure; whatever Deleuze and Guattari intended for him, he is reduced to being a romantic outlaw, to a position opposite the State, in the sort of dialectical operation Deleuze most despised. And the rhizome is becoming just another stupid subterranean figure. It is perhaps true that Deleuze and Guattari did not adequately protect their thought from this dialectical reconfiguration (one is reminded of Breton's indictment against Rimbaud for not having prevented, in advance, Claudel's recuperation of him as a proper Catholic), but no vigilance would have sufficed in any case. The work of Deleuze and Guattari is evidence that, in real time, virtual models and maps close off the very exits they indicate. The problem is in part that rhizomes, lines of flight, smooth spaces, BwOs, etc., are at one and the same time theoretical-political devices of the highest critical order and merely fantasmatic, delirious, narcissistic models for writing, and thus perhaps an instance of the all-too-proper blurring of the distinction between criticism and fantasy. In Deleuze-speak, the stupid underground would be mapped not as a margin surrounding a fixed point, not as a fixed site determined strictly by its relation or opposition to some more or less hegemonic formation, but as an intensive, n-dimensional intersection of rhizomatic plateaus. Nomadology and rhizomatics conceive such a "space" (if one only had the proverbial nickel for every time that word is used as a critical metaphor, without the slightest reflection on what might be involved in rendering the conceptual in spatial terms) as a liquid, colloidal suspension, often retrievable by one or another techno-metaphorical zoning (e.g., "cyberspace"). What is at stake, however, is not only the topological verisimilitude of the model but the fantastic possibility of nonlinear passage, of multiple simultaneous accesses and exits, of infinite fractal lines occupying finite social space. In the strictest sense, stupid philosophy. Nomad thought is prosthetic, the experience of virtual exhilaration in modalities already mapped and dominated by nomad, rhizomatic capital (the political philosophy of the stupid underground: capital is more radical than any of its critiques, but one can always pretend otherwise). It is this very fantasy, this very narcissistic wish to see oneself projected past the frontier into new spaces, that abandons one to this economy, that seals these spaces within an order of critical fantasy that has long since been overdeveloped, entirely reterritorialized in advance. To pursue nomadology or rhizomatics as such is already to have lost the game. Nothing is more crucial to philosophy than escaping the dialectic and no project is more hopeless; the stupid-critical underground is the curved space in which this opposition turns back on itself. It is not yet time to abandon work that so deeply challenges our intellectual habits as does that of Deleuze and Guattari, and yet, before it has even been comprehended, in the very process of its comprehension, its fate seems secure. One pursues it and knows that the pursuit will prove futile; that every application of these new topologies will only serve to render them more pointless. The stupid optimism of every work that takes up these figures is, by itself, the means of that futility and that immanent obsolescence. One must pursue it still.

13

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

LINK: CRITICAL CYBER-TECHNOLOGY

Kritik of the K

PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS SUCH AS “CYBER-THIS/CYBER-THAT” IS QUACKERY THAT HIDES A SECRET OBSESSION WITH RISING TO TRUTH-STATUS. ALL OUR LINKS TO
CRITICAL LITERATURE APPLY TO YOUR PSEUDOSCIENCE

pg…/…

MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]

What should one think of a Nobel Laureate who proposes, quite scientifically, the theory of "directed panspermia": that the nucleic proteins from which "life itself" arises were sent here from another star system? Or the notion that, since the biochemical structure of psilocybin spores resembles nothing else on earth, they too were exported, as the very seeds of consciousness, from somewhere out there? Or the proposition that language itself is a virus from outer space, or that time can be controlled by cutting up audio-tape and projecting images on top of one another? How to comprehend experiments in brain expansion through stimulation by electronic implants, or drugs; or what proposes itself as research into nanotechnology, in which tiny robots will someday patrol our bloodstreams scrubbing out cholesterol deposits and gunning down incipient cancers; or cyberprosthetics; or life extension through the ingestion of massive doses of vitamin compounds and amino acids?12 Or, to address our specific instance, what shall we make of reports of red and black rains, of frogs, fish, and highly-worked stones that fall from the sky? Charles Fort: "I have collected 294 records of showers of living things. Have I? Well, there's no accounting for the freaks of industry."13 It would not, after all, be so hard to accumulate masses of such "data": one would simply have to collect newspapers and magazines from around the world and devote all one's time to poring over them, filing, collating, cross-referencing, in a certain sense indiscriminately. In time one could produce a whole new world-view, or at least the apparent eclipse of an old one, without ever having to look up. Several years, while riding a bus, I found myself across the aisle from a famous humorist-conspiracy theorist (as we have here before us a "humorist-scientist"), who spent the entire time tearing strips from the newspapers piled beside him and inserting them in various file folders. Did he miss his stop? It couldn't have mattered; and he would doubtless claim that I had missed several stops far more important. How then should one comprehend these precipitous frogs, these crocodiles that turn up in England, this cow that gave birth to two lambs and a calf, these boys dropped suddenly into a boat in the middle of a lake, miles from the place they last remembered? Perhaps the fish fell from a "super-Sargasso Sea"; and to postulate such a sea may have one main motive: "to oppose Exclusionism" (47), the elimination of aberrant possibilities by rationalist methods that seem, from this perspective, nothing more than paranoid symptoms. What about these inscribed stones? Maybe they are just freaks of industry, of fantasy, a strange game against certainty itself. Or perhaps they really--really--do signal the existence of New Lands, hyper-Laputas floating in an atmospheric warp somewhere above the earth's surface. The truth is up there, out there, way down there, concealed from us by government intelligence agencies, by conspiratorial elites, by the powers hidden behind the powers that be, by extraterrestrials, none of them efficient enough to prevent the freaks of industry from prying loose a glimpse of their traces. And what about the strange cloud-form trailing a sort of hook, sighted by one Capt. Banner of the bark Lady of the Lake (by implication: a trained observer): "I think we're fished for," "I think we're property" (50-51). What about this woman burned to death on an unscorched bed? An instance of the "possible-impossible" (107), of "certaintyuncertainty" (119). The hyphenation is crucial: it marks what Fort calls "alleged pseudo-relations" (98). Everything might be connected; to speak here of coincidences--as Bataille might, in a copula-tion that dreams of polluting the entire universe--is already to cede too much to a scientism that would exclude what is not demonstrable by the given logical means, to relegate it to the exo-real, the margin, the underground of non-fact, of chance, of the unexplained and still-to-be-dismissed. Everything is connected: "the attempt to stop is saying 'enough' to the insatiable. In cosmic punctuation there are no periods: illusion of periods is incomplete view of colons and semi-colons" (52). But in exactly the same manner, it is futile to search for singular and fundamental laws: if one refuses to exclude or suppress unclassifiable data--unexplainable phenomena presented to our senses, which in some sense know better--one always comes to "bifurcations; never to a base; only to a quandary," what one might otherwise dismiss as mere contradiction. "In our own field, let there be any acceptable finding. It indicates that the earth moves around the sun. Just as truly it indicates that the sun moves around the earth" (61). Just as truly? How can one say something so ludicrous? It is one thing to churn out reports of unexplained events, a few of which might actually have occurred, even if one will probably end up explaining them in rather more mundane terms; or to pick out foolish errors in the most rigorous scientific reasoning, which is perfectly capable of dismissing what will someday be widely accepted; but it is another thing to propose seriously--that is to say, with the most rigorous laughter--that the sun revolves around the earth, or that there is no velocity of light ("one sees a thing, or doesn't"), or that "nothing that has been calculated, or said, is sounder than Mr. Shaw's determination" that the moon is--is? what is the status of the copula here?--thirty-seven miles away from the earth"(58-59). Shall we even bother to ask about the point of all this? Not quite frivolous, nor yet quite serious; a critique of scientific certainty not without its own games of certainty; not even, necessarily, quackery, if the quack is one who takes himself utterly seriously about things no one in his right mind would believe, and who can produce a mountain of evidence to support what are clearly insupportable claims; who builds this mountain obsessively, one pebble-fact at a time, as if everything depended on it; who is convinced beyond doubt that [he] has in his hands some sort of key--to secret laws of physics invisible to terrestrial math, to cures for cancer or AIDS driven south of the border by the drug industry, to alien technologies kept not-quite-secret by the CIA--and remains devoted to this research for decades; who believes he has survived despite the most terrible danger, that extraordinary precautions must be taken, vast forces are being marshalled against him, he is being followed, they are reading his mail, he will pursue his heroic quest until they finally eliminate him. Or not so spectacularly paranoid, only theoretically so: what is in danger is not one's personal well-being, but in some sense the truth itself. As humorist-scientist, Fort both aligns himself with all scientists, making them guilty by association with him--they're quacks too, anyone driven to belief by a system is a quack--and always leaves himself a few curious exits:

14

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the believe than I K

I go on with my yarns. I no more believe them that twice two are four . . . . I believe nothing. I have shut myself away from the rocks and wisdoms of the ages, and from the so-called great teachers of all time, and perhaps because of that isolation I am given to bizarre hospitalities. I shut the front door upon Christ and Einstein, and at the back door hold out a welcoming hand to little frogs and periwinkles. I believe nothing of my own that I have ever written. I can not accept the products of minds that are subject-matter for beliefs . . . . It is my attempt to smash false demarcations: to take data away from narrow and exclusive treatments by spiritualists, astronomers, meteorologists, entomologists: also denying the validity of usurpations of words and ideas by metaphysicians and theologians. But my interest is not only that of a unifier: it is in bringing together seeming incongruities, and finding that they have affinity. I am very much aware of the invigoration of products of ideas that are foreign to each other, if they mate. This is exogamy, practiced with thoughts--to fertilize a volcanic eruption with a storm of frogs--or to mingle the fall of an edible substance from the sky with the unexplained appearance of Cagliostro. But I am a pioneer and no purist, and some of these stud-stunts of introducing vagabond ideas to each other may have the eugenic value of some of the romances in houses of ill fame. I cannot expect to be both promiscuous and respectable. Later, most likely, some of these unions will be properly licensed. If anybody thinks that this book [Lo!] is an attack upon scientists, as a distinct order of beings, he has a more special idea of it than I have. As I'm seeing it, everybody's a scientist. (94-5)

pg…/…

Note the passage from skepticism to perverse hospitality. Doubt becomes belief, without even a bump of transition. It is not really skepticism, since uncertainty itself is "intermediated" by the hyphen that connects it to certainty: "My own expressions are upon the principled-unprincipled rule-misrule of our pseudo-existence by certainty-uncertainty" (119). And not belief, since it is belief itself that Fort wishes finally to undermine. It is a matter of infinite possibility strictly beyond the limits of knowledge, a certainty (not a belief) that human certainty, all the maps and models by which we organize the real, precludes what must still be true beyond it. These days, one might object, the two lambs and a calf are more likely to be the progeny of staff writers for the National Enquirer, who also see, at least until they meet their production deadline, Satan's face in the whirling clouds of a hurricane: stupid science is a business, the market for snake oil has never been better. But one should not be too quick to assume that those who produce such facts do so out of utter cynicism, not even the cynicism of capital itself; nor should one be too quick to dismiss the consumers of such facts as simply gullible. One might find a few rather Fortean researchers among the writers and readers of these tabloids. In any case, what is valuable is the outlandish, the secret affinity between incongruities, and it is valuable because it so stupidly gives the lie to what is so blatantly and banally true, because everyone knows that the real truth is suppressed, held back, that knowledge itself is a conspiracy and every little perversion of it points toward a greater truth, a truer truth. We are indeed in a zone where one must, but cannot quite, discriminate true from false truths; nor can one prevent these stupid truths from seeping up from their underground domain and saturating thought itself. Maso-science. Let us also, finally, mark out a place for a whole range of more or less stupid appropriations of new science, stupid deployments of scientific metaphors--fractals, chaos, strange attractors, fuzzy logic, black holes, cyberthis and cyberthat--as even more abstractly metaphorical terms in cultural criticism. They are nothing but the ornamental fringes of critical fashion, and yet they indicate the possibility that one might begin to conceive of culture as a space regulated by strange natural (and still quite technical) laws concealed beyond the reigning social and political terms, and at the same time cloud over this possibility with the toxic vapor of myth

LINK: THE REV

15

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik THE “REV” IS A DE-FACTO PLAY THAT NEVER PLAYS OUT INTO REAL AGENCY OR SOCIAL CHANGE. pg…/… of SUCKS US IN…TO NEVER ESCAPE ITS CYCLE OF DEFEAT. the K IT
MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]

The stupid underground further complicates this sickening bind. It is a double surrogate, a mirror- and hence reverseimage of the cultural maps it proposes to leave behind, and a sort of pre-simulation, a virtual model of the revolutionary new world it hopes to achieve, but which it thereby eclipses, displaces, at times actively debases, and always renders surrogate in advance. We might call it a theatrical space--a second world, if you will, but one that already begins to disorient any exit to the world offstage, making it rather theatrical as well, curiously fulfilling the avant-garde ambition of bridging the gap between art and life in an unexpected register. Contra Benjamin: to aestheticize politics and to politicize aesthetics have turned out to be, if not exactly the same thing, then at least coordinated functions of the same mechanism. The stupid underground is thus both a regressive trap and a delusive utopia for those who mistake their play for a revolution that has already occurred. One could say the same for every program of social change. This bind is irreducible; there is no going beyond the delusion to reality and real political agency, any more than garden variety neurotics like yourselves can escape reality and live entirely in delusion. The empirical fact is invisible without the model, but at the same time the model eclipses it without releasing us from its demand. The map and the territory, the model and the real, the fantasy and the fact constitute each other as each other's excluded precondition. Revolutionary virtuality constitutes the very condition of the revolutionary project and guarantees its utter impossibility. The surrogate both constitutes and belies its truth, grounds it and undermines it, and the stupid underground offers a particularly stark instance of this vertiginous spiral of surrogations.

16

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

Kritik Bid For Innocence = Sham [1/2]

pg…/…

We are at a crossroads in critical discoursive theory- it has become part of a war itself, waged on the behalf of political agendas, and intimately linked to the very images that it condemns. The danger is found in its concealment and bid for innocence…this is a sham. Mann, 1996, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture Vol 6 No 2,
We are about to witness a rise of "war studies" in the humanities. On your next plane trip the person beside you dozing over a copy of Sun Tzu's Art of War might not be a corporate CEO but a professor of philosophy. There will soon be whole conferences on warfare; more courses in liberal arts curricula on the theory and literature of warfare; special issues of journals on war studies published not by historians or social scientists but by literary critics; new studies of the culture of the Kriegsspiel; new readings of Homer, Kleist, Crane. Books of gender criticism on the subject of war are already appearing, and essays on Clausewitz are now liable to turn up in literary journals and books of critical theory.1 And we will hear more and more of the sort of moral outrage critics exercised during the Gulf War over the way the video-game imagery of computer simulations displaced grievous bodily harm.

Perhaps this imminent frenzy of production will open another front in the current campaign against the aesthetics of ideology. To the extent that modern warfare depends on the eclipse of the real by images, cultural critics would seem especially qualified to analyze it. Elaine Scarry: "it is when a country has become to its citizens a fiction that wars begin."2 If this is the case, if war arises from an investment in certain fictions, then critics of fiction ought to be able to teach us to read war critically -- and, along the way, to establish the moral and political gravity of their own work. What is at issue here, however, are not only analyses of war but also analogies of it. We will burrow into the archives of warfare because we will see, or at least want to see, criticism itself as a form of warfare. We will project an image of ourselves onto a field of study and recognize our reflection in it. Gender critics already study war discourse in order both to attack its violent phallicism and to conceive gender struggle itself along strategic lines. We have theory wars, PC wars, linguistics wars, Gerald Graff's culture wars, Avital Ronell appropriating the war on drugs for a theory of reading.3 Vast energies will be expended not only on the archives and rhetoric of warfare but on the warcraft of rhetoric and critical inquiry, on the "violence" of the question, on the "mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms" that, for Nietzsche, make up what is called truth.4 We will pursue the subject of warfare because we will increasingly see a relationship between our own activity and warfare. Let me articulate the law that governs this movement: Critical discourse always tends toward the eventual phenomenalization, as objects of study, of the devices that structure it. War becomes a field of critical study when critics come to believe, however obliquely, that criticism has always been a field of warfare. And warfare not only in the narrow terms of intellectual difference, but in the most material terms as well. If, for Clausewitz, war is an extension of policy, for Paul Virilio the reverse is true: politics and culture are, from the outset, extensions of warfare, of a logistical economy that encompasses and ultimately exhausts all of society. Standard critiques of the coordination of scientific research with the "military-industrial complex" are already being extended to include the ideological state apparatus; for Virilio, technology as such is a logistical invention and in one way or another always answers logistical demands, and the same point will be made about technologies of representation.5 The humanities are in a mood to see the complicity of what Enzensberger called the "consciousness industry" in the militaryindustrial-knowledge complex, to see themselves at one and the same time as ideological agents of the state's "war machine" and as warriors against the state.6 I will have more to say about this contradiction. To repeat: The object of criticism is always a symptom, if you will, of the structure of critical discourse itself, always a phenomenalization of the device. But this device tends to appear in a surrogate form, still dissimulated and displaced; it appears and does not appear, makes itself known in ways that further conceal its stakes. And it always appears too late, at the very moment it ceases to function: a kind of theory-death, a death that is not a termination but a particular sort of elaboration. Now, everywhere we

17

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

L: Kritik Bid For Innocence [2/2]

Kritik of the K

look, critics will be casting off their clerical mantles and rhetorical labcoats for suits of discursive armor; the slightest critical aggression or ressentiment will be inflated with theoretical war-machines and territorial metaphorics.7 At the same time, the very rise of war discourse among us will signal the end of intellectual warfare for us, its general recuperation by the economics of intellectual production and exchange. It might therefore be delusional -- even, as some would argue, obscene, given the horrible damage of real war -- to think of this academic bickering as warfare, and yet it remains a trace of war, and perhaps the sign of a potential combat some critical force could still fight.

pg…/…

18

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

L: Margin Center Kritiks (voices etc.)

pg…/…

Trying to move the marginal voice to the center as part of a criticism fails. The marginal force is in fact part of the center, because it is a tool used by the dominant structure to reaffirm itself. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]

The position is surrounded by a "border," a "margin." This circular, flat-earth topography mirrors larger discursive models, which still map everything in terms of centers, lines of defense, and antagonistic margins. It is little wonder that questions of colonialism have become so pressing: here too we encounter a phenomenalization of the discursive device. Modern critical production consistently sees itself as a matter of hegemonic centers (e.g., defenses of tradition) and marginal oppositions. But insofar as one wishes to retain this topography of margins and centers -- and in the end there might not be much to recommend it -- it might be better to see the marginal force as a function and effect of the center, the very means by which it establishes its line of defense. Military commanders might be unlikely to deploy their most troublesome troops along their perimeter, but in intellectual warfare the perimeter is marked out and held primarily by troops who imagine themselves in revolt against headquarters. This is the historical paradox of the avant-gardes: they believe they are attacking the army for which they are in fact the advance guard. The contradiction does not dissolve their importance, it marks their precise task: the dialectical defense and advance of discursive boundaries. It might therefore indicate the fundamental instability of cultural positions, but it does nothing to support the strictly oppositional claims of marginal forces. That is why postcolonial criticism remains a colonial outpost of an older critical form. Without exception, all positions are oriented toward the institutional apparatus. Marginality here is only relative and temporary: the moment black studies or women's studies or queer theory conceives of itself as a discipline, its primary orientation is toward the institution. The fact that the institution might treat it badly hardly constitutes an ethical privilege. Any intellectual who holds a position is a function of this apparatus; his or her marginality is, for the most part, only an operational device. It is a critical commonplace that the state is not a monolithic hegemony but rather a constellation of disorganized and fragmentary agencies of production. This is often taken as a validation for the political potential of marginal critical movements: insideoutside relations can be facilely deconstructed and critics can still congratulate themselves on their "resistance." But the contrary is clearly the case. The most profitable intellectual production does not take place at the center (e.g., Romance Philology), where mostly obsolete weapons are produced; the real growth industries are located precisely on the self-proclaimed margins. It will be argued that resistance is still possible; nothing I propose here argues against such a possibility . I wish only to insist that effective resistance will never be located in the position, however oppositional it imagines itself to be. Resistance is first of all a function of the apparatus itself. What would seem to be the transgressive potential of such institutional agencies as certain orders of gender criticism might demonstrate the entropy of the institution, but it does nothing to prove the counterpolitical claims of the position. Fantasies of resistance often serve as alibis for collusion. Any position is a state agency, and its relative marginality is a mode of orientation, not an exception. Effective resistance must be located in other tactical forms.

19

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K
L: OTHER OF THE OTHER

pg…/…

FEAR OF THE “OTHER OF THE OTHER” IS A SYMPTOM OF PARANOIA- SUBVERSIVE MOVEMENTS ARE OBSESSED WITH FEAR OF THE SYSTEM, SOMETHING THAT IS COMING TO “GET THEM” …SEARCH FOR A NON-EXISTANT TRUTH THAT DOOMS THEIR PROJECT
THE

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

Or to be more precise, a methodology: stupid hermeneutics. All these facts can be collected, indexed, crossreferenced, glossed and reglossed, woven into the dense fabric of the final truth, the big one, the gnostic Big Evil behind all the little viral evils that flicker across the archivist's screen. Everything is evidence for a truth that lies elsewhere; the slightest friction between a number and a name can indicate the deep encryption of a truth that holds the key to a truth that must be organized with other truths that indicate this missing totality. Without the slightest doubt the trajectory of evidence leads to the certain proof of clandestine connections between people in power and, what is more, between seemingly distinct orders of reality: common, household tools conceal super-advanced extraterrestrial technologies linked with the real systems of power behind the apparent political structures, and all these are linked with the dark magic, the secret laws of nature behind those that science pretends to offer us. Everything and everyone is controlled from the outside. Everything is a matter of coding and decoding: a semiocratic delirium. What Bataille calls, in deadly earnest, parody as copula as the illicit copulation of facts: this = this = this.... The chain of evidence is endless and at every point it adds up to the missing One. Conspiracy reflects, or shadows, the hybrid character of the stupid underground itself. It is the place where things that don't belong together do, and it projects-discovers these relations, these transformative maps, under the centers of power as well. It finds the other of its own marginality out there, secretly in charge of the visible forms of authority. If you want them, we already have at our disposal psychoanalytic tools for diagnosing this fatuous hermeneutics. Zizek: The common feature of this kind of ingenious "paranoid" story is the implication of the existence of an "Other of the Other": a hidden subject who pulls the strings of the great Other (the symbolic order) precisely at the points at which this Other starts to speak its "autonomy," i.e., where it produces an effect of meaning by means of a senseless contingency, beyond the conscious intention of the speaking subject, as in jokes or dreams. This "Other of the Other" is exactly the other of paranoia: this one who speaks through us without our knowing it, who controls our thoughts, who manipulates us through the apparent "spontaneity" of jokes. . . . The paranoid construction enables us to ignore the fact that "the other does not exist" (Lacan)--that it does not exist as a consistent, closed order--to escape the blind, contingent automatism, the constitutive 20

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

stupidity of the symbolic order.

(18)24

Kritik of the K

The stupid underground comes closest of all to the constitutive stupidity of the symbolic order. We should always be careful, however, not to conclude that therefore one can live without this error, by a kind of decision, for the subject who would make the decision is constituted in the first place by its relation to this empty order, this hollow other. And who's to say what's really out there? Who's to say that something utterly Other really doesn't exist? Why not demonic saucer masons encoding the destruction of political power into the very symbology of American democracy? Why not the fucking hand of God? Zizek himself repeats the old joke about the man who complained to his analyst that there are crocodiles under his bed; when he doesn't turn up for an appointment the doctor assumes it is because he has achieved a cure, only to discover the man was indeed eaten by crocodiles in his sleep. Perhaps the notion that the other does not exist is the other of psychoanalysis. Isn't the whole point that there are only points de capiton, never a total truth on which to anchor something more real than the Real--that one cannot, in any sense, claim to have possessed the real, not even by means of a symbolic-rationalist dispossession? The stupid underground, once again, proceeds along this line not by analytical distance but by frenzied overdetermination: the only reality is the apocalyptic plot, and the plot is always at one and the same time hidden and omnipresent, vaporous and thick, future and present ("the end of the world is over"), ridiculous and serious, unacceptable and unavoidable, the most grotesque, most immediate, and most conspicuously absent truth.

pg…/…

21

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

L: Taking Stance

Kritik of the K

Because the intellectual is obsessed with taking a stance on something, they begin to identify with that stance and therefore refuse to think flexibly. intellectual kritik closes off thought and makes us ignorant.
Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture Vol 6 No 2]

pg…/…

Nothing is more important to the intellectual than a position. Even the fabled collapse of foundations has done little to change this: economically, discursively, this collapse turns out to be yet another position, something to believe in and hold true, the consolidation of "flows," "drift," etc., into the most familiar academic architecture. You must have a position, and if you do not, one will be assigned to you, or you will simply not exist. The homology of position as standpoint and position as job, budget line, FTE, is a matter of a great deal more than analogy or vulgar marxism. With a position, everything is possible. You are supported by a truth, a discipline, a methodology, a rhetorical style, a discursive form, a mode of production and exchange. You know where you stand, you recognize yourself by your position; you see yourself there because you see yourself seen there. Your position is your identity and value; it authorizes your work, circulates it, constitutes it as property, lends you the security of ownership. But at the same time nothing is possible with a position. To hold a position is to be held by it, to be caught up in its inertial and economic determinations, to be captured by an identity that you might not, finally, believe to be quite your own. Nothing could be more difficult than really, substantively, radically to change one's mind, change the forms in which one works, risk everything by leaving behind a position on which, it seems, everything has come to rely.

IDENTIFIABILITY
22

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Identification with one’s thought and defense thereof has its roots in archaic forms of warfare.

Kritik of the K

Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2] The standpoint, identification with and defense of one's own thought, the demand that one be on one's own side, that one stand by one's word, is so standard a feature of intellectual ethics and politics that it has been taken completely for granted. But the entrenched position is a vestige of archaic forms of warfare. The Tofflers argue that the Gulf War demonstrated the failure of entrenchment -- Iraq's older, industrial, sedentary strategy -- against advanced military technologies of speed, stealth, and coordinated intelligence. "[T]he allied force was not a [conventional military] machine, but a system with far greater internal feedback, communication, and self-regulatory adjustment capability. It was . . . a 'thinking system'" (80). For Napoleon as well, Virilio notes, "the capacity for war [was] the capacity for movement" (WC 10). In the same manner, those bound to intellectual positions remain blind to the tactical advantages of mobility and secrecy, and the new war studies will be used to suggest strategic figures outside the position's fortified walls. I will return to the precisely oxymoronic, self-canceling figure of secrecy in a later section. Here, I will proceed by suggesting that the new war studies should come to quite rigorous and unromantic terms with the nomadology of Deleuze and Guattari.20 In their work, the war machine is essentially exterior to the state, even if the state appropriates it. The problem is, therefore, how to pursue exteriority in disciplinary and epistemological structures that are themselves entirely defined by their institutional interiority. It will certainly not be through any of the current specular and spectacular modes of narcissistic identification with the "other." One should treat every text that peddles its vicarious nomadism while elaborating the most conventional analyses with the greatest suspicion, and at the same time with some confidence, perhaps quite groundless, that an intellectual nomadology might still be carried out elsewhere.21 It is necessary to comprehend the force of extremely difficult ideas: the nomadic warmachine's exteriority to the state and its precise relation to battle; the nomads' territorial engagement with smooth space, without "striation," interiority, or chrono-historical organization; their indifference to semiological systems and their particular epistemological orientations (ornament instead of sign, ballistics and metallurgical science, numbering, speed, etc.); the strange relation of A Thousand Plateaus to texts that would seem to treat the same matters in a more disciplinary way -- its relation, for instance, to psychoanalysis and philosophy (and what is the strategic connection between this book and Deleuze's extraordinary and in many ways quite scholarly treatments of the history of philosophy?); indeed, the very ontology of the nomadic idea itself: all of these must be explored in considerable detail, without ever descending to any merely exegetical commentary, and without reducing what is at stake in this book to an intellectual position. Deleuze and Guattari challenge us to rethink our whole relation to books and to writing, to the very order of our thought -- a task in which they themselves often fail. One must begin by reading them at a loss, but a loss that is not only the result of their work's difficulty, which careful analysis would eventually overcome; rather, a loss that reaches down into our deepest epistemological attachments. It will be necessary, for instance, to reconceive the very notion of intellectual rigor (the order of argument, demonstration, proof) and communicative clarity: not to abandon them for the sake of some impressionistic indulgence, but to relocate them outside the striated space of the state apparatus that has always provided their structure. One might find oneself, for instance, no longer putting forth positions, outlining, defending, and identifying oneself with them: one might find oneself engaged in an even more severe, more rigorous discipline of affirming ideas without attaching oneself to them, making them appear (as Baudrillard suggested in another context) only so as to make them disappear.22 One might find oneself developing a logic that is no longer striated and arborescent (a trunk and its branches) but smooth, rhizomatic, turbulent, fractal, self-interfering, labyrinthine, subterranean. I am fully aware of how treacherous, how complex and self-contradictory a gesture it is even

pg…/…

IDentifiability

23

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

to refer to these ideas in such a form and such a forum as this one, how properly absurd it would be to pursue writing, Kritik of to pursue knowledge itself, in the following manner: the K The hydraulic model of nomad science and the war machine . . . consists in being distributed by turbulence across a smooth space, in producing a movement that holds space and simultaneously affects all of its points, instead of being held by space in a local movement from one specified point to another. . . . The nomadic trajectory . . . distributes people (or animals) in an open space, one that is indefinite and noncommunicating. . . . [S]edentary space is striated, by walls, enclosures, and roads between enclosures, while nomad space is smooth, marked only by "traits" that are effaced and displaced with the trajectory. Even the lamellae of the desert slide over each other, producing an inimitable sound. The nomad distributes himself in a smooth space; he occupies, inhabits, holds that space; that is his territorial principle. It is therefore false to define the nomad by movement. . . . [T]he nomad is on the contrary he who does not move. Whereas the migrant leaves behind a milieu that has become amorphous or hostile, the nomad is one who does not depart, does not want to depart, who clings to the smooth space left by the receding forest, where the steppe or the desert advance, and who invents nomadism as a response to this challenge. (TP 360-380-81) How shall we read this passage, which so clearly bears on the organization of thought itself, even in respect to the question of the historical, empirical factuality of its account? How shall we read work that conceives nomadism in a way that has nothing to do with the standard distinction between stasis and movement, that never defines nomadism simply as movement opposed to sedentary positions? Can we ourselves move and distribute our thought across a deterritorialized discursive field, now conceived as smooth space, living off it without attachment to or support of any state form? And how can one write nomadically, since Deleuze and Guattari consign writing to the state apparatus?23 What then is writing to them? One's very attempt to appropriate nomadology in a critical essay serves as another instance of the state's never quite successful appropriation of the war machine, and of the never fully addressed logistical-economic order of one's own thought.

pg…/…

IDENTIFIABILITY= NO SOLVEY

IDENTIFYING WITH A MOVEMENT IS LIKE TATOOING YOURSELF AS A SUBVERSIVE- THIS LABEL IS A GUISE UNDER WHICH CAPITAL THRIVES WHILE APPEARING SUBVERSIVE- YOU CAN’T CONTEND WITH THIS COMMODIFICATION…YOU.JUST.CAN’T…SUCKAS.
24

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

How much can be made of a brightly colored scar? Only yesterday the tattoo was presented--and who was there who would have Kritik of the K bothered to argue against it?--as a radical form of self-expression, an intense and immediate pg…/… means of repossessing the body, taking it back from all the social systems that, one believes, have stolen it. In various claims, developed more through repetition than through thorough investigation, the tattoo is a risk, an adventure, a gamble with permanence (although these days, laser treatments may make even that decision reversible, if you can afford them); it resexualizes and resacralizes the body and is hence an attack on a desacralized culture, a culture that separates spirit and body, purity and sexuality; it is transcendentally abject (so much going down to go up!); it is a provocation aimed at the straight world (we could begin to speak of something like critical atavism); it is a way to link those who have undergone the ritual of tattooing in a sub-community, and therefore a mode of communication as well; it is also, as we shall see, a peculiar and stupidly characteristic instance of fun. Or so it is claimed. But for all its "modern primitivism," for all its stupid rousseauism and wannabe identifications with fringe subcultures (biker, carny, sailor, con), it is quite likely that the resurgence in the late '80s of the tattoo and the piercing--within a few years adorning insurance brokers and high-schoolers in the most fashion-remote suburbs-owed its genesis most of all to the T-shirt. The proliferation of tattoos followed upon the proliferation of insignia and logo clothing, the T-shirt emblazoned with band or team trademarks (functionally, the rock band and the sports team are quite close: fantasy identification with groups of ersatz heroes to which one does not in fact belong), art reproductions (the dissolution of Benjamin's aura taken to its limit), kitsch signs, slogans, and clichés, tourist-sites, commodities, etc. One attaches oneself by means of this insignia to the apparatus of fandom; every T-shirt is the sign of an advocacy, even if one is not particularly invested in the product. One is identified with a product or image, one feels oneself so identified in the eyes of passersby and it is not, after all, so horrible a feeling. One is recognized, even if it is by proxy. It might even be amusing to associate oneself with a product one loathes, or to lend one's image to the debasement of a product (imagine skinheads wearing polo shirts). The T-shirt is thus a dream object for culture critics, what they would call a space or surface of mediation between the individual and mass culture (have we discovered interactive advertising?), and hence, according to the logic of cultural criticism, a site for its détournement. We could refer here to Dick Hebdige's notion of "confrontation dressing" (actually, Vivienne Westwood's phrase), epitomized by the punk swastika, riot grrl grunge, and middle-class girls decked out in the "sluttiest" gear (hooker chic, or underwear worn as outerwear, made famous and hence evacuated by the stupid icon named Madonna).31 One submits to the objectification of the human body by the fashion industry but, in Hebdige's view, exaggerates it and thereby "detourns" it. That nothing comes of this confrontation and reversal goes, for the moment, without saying. Such projects are still caught up in a completely unconsidered modernist mythology of media manipulation and image subversion, and of the dialectical exposure of truth. However uncomfortable a few London punk girls managed to make a few pillars of the City during rush hour on the tube, business went on as usual; the confrontation was ephemeral and proved nothing but the inanity of both parties, who a few hours later were happy to forget that the episode ever occurred. In the great ocean of T-shirts, a few with swastikas cause an uproar only if it is convenient for all parties that they do so; and in the end, what difference does another uproar make in the spectacle? Surrogate revolt meets surrogate shock in a "space" that has already shrunk to nothing. In the movement toward the sub of all signs, T-shirt and skin converge. Despite all the claims are made for the neo-tattoo--again: that it is a way to repossess one's alienated body, that it connects one symbolically with more integrated societies, that it is a sacralizing sacrifice, that it is a spiritual record, that it is a protective charm against spiritual and political demons, that the subjective intensity of the experience subverts cultural anaesthesis--the very proliferation of the tattoo indicates that, like just about everything else proposed as an exercise of difference, it too

links the individual with the "economy of signs" in his or her most intimate dimensions. If we have not yet been subjected to the tattooed corporate logo, its time is doubtless imminent. Nor should we underestimate the way stupid inflations of the sacred serve finally to trivialize it, and guarantee it for this economy. That is perhaps the real importance of the influential handbook that gave us the phrase, Modern Primitives: it signaled the end of the radical

25

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

tattoo simply by announcing its appearance. Skin is marked as yet another staging area for recuperation. At the same time, however, Kritik of the K one should not dismiss the tattoo as merely recuperated. The tattoo, like the T-shirt, pg…/… transforms the body into another agora, a corporeal mini-mall, but for what we might call fuzzy capital, part of the same "black market," the underground economy shuttling at a dizzying velocity between dreams of high finance and vows of poverty, that we witness in small scale drug dealing, in marginal rock bands, in various parasitical recycling enterprises (used clothes, used CDs), in the distribution of stupid "knowledge" (Amok, Loompanics, et al.), in stolen technologies, in freelance sex-industry workers. Fuzzy capital is an economy that is neither simply capital nor effectively subversive, neither recuperated nor liberated, but the collapse of any dialectical tension between them. The tattoo retains none of the critical distance someone like Hebdige or Orridge would like to claim for it, but nonetheless this peculiar embrace of the apparatus of recuperation, forcing oneself down the maw of commerce as if one were really indigestible, is not the production and circulation of a commodity like any other. The tattoo makes the skin a zone in which capital thrives under the aegis of its subversion and mutates even as it survives. Lingis proposes a distinction between western or Japanese tattoos that turn the body into a sign and those "savage," scarrified, African bodies on which tattoos are not signifiers, not semiotic, but forms of intensification that extend or distend the body's surface.32 The rhetoric of the stupid tattoo, however, as played out in Modern Primitives and a burgeoning fanzine and e-mail network, may render such distinctions unstable. It is no longer simply that, under capital, everything becomes a commodity and hence a sign (as in Baudrillard), nor that the underground is a space in the interstices of a power that is no longer hegemonically absolute but fractured and therefore open to the oldest sorts of oppositional agency and resistance; it is a question precisely of stupid space, fuzzy space. The tattoo is recuperated as a commodity, a sign, and yet it indicates that there is something primitive and non-signifying about the sign, something utterly atavistic about the commodity; stupid signification and stupid intensification converge and, by this means, inhibit an outmoded political critique. Is the girl on the tube subversive or recuperated? Hebdige would have us believe the former, in part because in his critical imaginary he wants to identify his own "radical" discourse with her lipstick; someone else would see her as a mere pawn of the culture industry. But what if she is both at the same time, and neither? A strange sort of disruption occurs. It is not revolutionary; it is trivial, utterly inane; and yet the moment the banker's eyes attach themselves to the tattoo of the rose (it is never much more than a rose) on this girl's breast, a stupid liminality dissolves, just for a moment, the clarity of a certain historical opposition, a certain recuperation and a certain critique. If the critical has always relied on the clarity of distinctions, on "exposing contradictions," it gives way at this moment to a sign that is not a sign, a disruption that is already smoothed over by capital, a fuzziness with which no criticism has yet been able to contend.

SUBVERSION= FANTASY [POLITICAL AGENCIES]

26

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K…IT IS DELUSION, AND IT FAILS… IMPOSSIBILITY
THE

BEING “SUBVERSIVE” IS TO ENDULGE OUR FANTASY OF BEING POLITICAL AGENTS, THIS IS AN

pg…/…

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

Stupid Undersound Everything significant takes place below. Nothing has changed: in the most primordial epistemological topography, truth has always been subsurface. One must dig down for it, one must not be distracted by superficial effects. Power itself works subversively, under cover, indeed under the cover of one's own consciousness. It burrows under one's skin, insinuates itself parasitically within the human organism, eating away at its autonomy and transforming it into a parasite as well, affixing it symbiotically to the host apparatus. One must be vigilant without rest: in the slightest lapse of attention, the slightest weakening of one's defenses, at the very moment when one thought oneself alienated to the point of immunity, some viral bit of advertising, some invisible hook, some cultural lure one had never even noticed before expropriates ones's desire and turns one forever into one of them, lusters after supermodels, foreign cars, stock portfolios, leather jackets, sculpted delts and pecs. It is always the case that one swallows the lure before one notices that it is a lure; and that is why the mechanisms of the lure, reaching into us under our defenses, tunneling under every critical Maginot Line, must be decoded and catalogued relentlessly. It is here that we encounter the other sense of the subliminal: not only the zone of the id, the unconscious, the underground itself, but the subliminal means that what we call capital uses to colonize us, its technologies of suggestion. If stupid research is especially alert to mechanisms of subliminal manipulation, it lags behind the Christian fundamentalist who knew years ago that satanic lures were coded into the lyrics of the pop albums spinning endlessly in their teenagers' rooms, driving them to drugs and suicide, which of course their parents could never do. Whole court proceedings have hinged on the possibility of turning these fleeting backwards messages into hard evidence; and no doubt the paranoid projection of such messages onto what may in some instances have merely been noise--though it is axiomatic in the stupid underground that there is no such thing as simple noise, that signal to noise ratios are absolutely overbalanced, that noise, indeed the unheard, the interval between noises, is dense with information that has simply not been decoded yet--no doubt the imagination of such forms of subliminal suggestion only inspired bands and recording engineers subsequently to put them there, in the technique referred to as "back masking." And long before Judas Priest went from marketing Satan to paying his dues, Muzak Christmas carols droning in mall elevators indicated to certain hypersensitive ears that the most banal is also the most insidiously powerful--more terrible because of its prevalence than the vague threat of criminal violence, always there, eroding our self-control, indeed our very being. "We managed to get hold of some Muzak records..., and they had the whole chart of frequencies and tempos and things like that you should use at particular times of the day."25 Key words can be distributed fractally through a cover text in such a way that you are manipulated by messages you don't even know you are reading. Sexual organs and the mere word sex are not-quitehidden in billboard gestalts all along the freeway, in commercials, in magazine ads, perhaps in the textbooks you once brought home from school. The certainty that these messages are out there trying to get in puts the stupid underground on a particularly aggressive defensive, caught up in a perpetual double reading and double interpretation of an already overloaded screen, subjecting itself to the ceaseless vigil in which absolutely nothing can be taken for granted lest, in a weak and passive moment, the crucial message gets in and reduces one to an automaton of the commodity (which in any case has long since occurred), or of even more nefarious and perhaps extraterrestrial forms of mind control and body snatching. There is an extraordinary recurrence of this theme in fanzine interviews with a certain cohort of musicians (Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV/Chris and Cosey, SPK, Non, Cabaret Voltaire, Monte Cazazza), who therefore take it as their mission to alert listeners to the menace of

subliminal overcoding, and to provide strategies for countering it. Actually, only a few specific strategies are ever proposed: adaptations of the William Burroughs-Brion Gysin method of cutups ("cut word lines . . . trailing to the better half," rearrange control texts at random in order to disrupt them; here we are not very far from the avant-garde 27

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

belief in the subversive agency of collage, which is difficult any longer to support); a kind of détournement in which one Kritikreseeds theK of the semioscape with one's own anarchic messages (a project now entirely without effect); or pg…/… experiments in sub- or hyper-sonic transmission. One might find Mark Pauline or Genesis P-Orridge or members of Cabaret Voltaire poring over obscure technical journals (where, they report, Burroughs believes the only creative writing is to be found) for information on the construction of subliminal-effects generators. There is in this something like the acephalic materialism of Bataille, a sense that control and its disruption happen not only ideologically, by semiotic dissemination, but also in the form of the drone, the too-high or too-low frequency, that communicates viscerally before one even knows one is hearing it, purely, one might say, at the level of the signifier, indeed of sound that cannot strictly speaking be called a signifier because it has no direct relationship to a signified, to a concept other than the mechanics of control itself, since it encodes its relation to power in another form altogether. "Subliminals" are thus both overcoded and empty. Self-control is obtained by breaking control, by wresting oneself from it, by a rigorous discipline of subversion. The conspiracy is vast, the signs penetrate one faster than one can resist them; even so, that never inhibits one from stupidly exaggerating one's outlaw autonomy. Let us recall that we have already encountered the subliminal in the form of the trace, which is not the source of control but there in its place, obscuring access to it, covering over a ground that cannot even be said to exist, "there," according to a certain now-standard logic, only as the supplement of an originary differance, neither absent nor present but the constitutive space (and time) between them. Disruption of control is a reaction to a control grounded on its own disruption. Behind the record company, the government. Behind the government, Satan, or the extraterrestrial. There is always some crime, some transgression, something deeper and more primordial than the forms of control one manages to discover. The absolute is out there, down there, indicated by the very fact that one can disrupt this level of control, or this one. No matter how deeply one penetrates, absolute control lies deeper. Subliminal transmission demands it.

…[NEXT SECTION OF ARTICLE]
There is a certain justice to giving the task for discovering the silent forms of control to those whose primary mode of operation is enormous volume. The trajectory from loud rock music to even louder industrial music (Boyd Rice/Non plays too loud even for much of the stupid club scene) to experiments in subliminal sound is continuous. There is, in a certain sense, no difference, no line between sound so loud it is all one can hear and sound so deep and pervasive it cannot be heard at all. Loud is critical. Or perhaps we should put the same matter differently: if we have taken critical to imply a certain distance, a certain non-identity with the object, loud proceeds, as the stupid underground always proceeds, in the opposite direction. Rock music, after all nothing more than the prattle of a banal hybridization of capital and adolescent (male) fantasy, becomes, in intensity, at the most extreme volume, the stupid reduction of that constructed reality, the limit of its tolerability. Critical then not through distance but, as we have seen, through proximity, through what would appear to be the most uncritical embrace. Here again Zizek is helpful: "Although functioning as a support for the totalitarian order, fantasy is then at the same time the leftover of the real that enables us to 'pull ourselves out,' to preserve a kind of distance from the sociosymbolic network. When we become crazed in our obsession with idiotic enjoyment, even totalitarian manipulation cannot reach us" (128). Zizek's example here is precisely popular music, the inane ditty that anchors the fantasy, that runs endlessly in one's head; what one wishes to add here is the criterion of force, of

intensity, of sound so loud that, even though it is a cultural product from top to bottom, it nonetheless enfolds the audience and isolates it within the symbolic order. The intensity of loud drowns out the Other. It is the limit of the symbolic, its null point, experienced in the very onslaught of its signs. Perhaps we could appropriate a 28

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Lacanian term for this fantastic volume that goes beyond fantasy: the sinthome. Zizek calls it "subversive," but that, unfortunately, Kritik of the K is to offer it to those who wannabe subversive, to see themselves seen as subversives, to be pg…/… 26 (to fantasize being) political agents in an older and ever more current sense. Let us nonetheless pursue the concept for a moment. Zizek: [T]he signifier permeated with idiotic enjoyment is what Lacan, in the last stage of his teaching, called le sinthome. Le sinthome is not the symptom, the coded message to be deciphered by interpretation, but the meaningless letter that immediately procures jouis-sense,"enjoyment-in-meaning," "enjoy-meant.". . . [W]hen we take into account the dimension of the sinthome, it is no longer sufficient to denounce the "artificial" character of the ideological experience, to demonstrate the way the object experienced by ideology as "natural" and "given" is effectively a discursive construction. . . . What we must do . . . on the contrary, is to isolate the sinthome from the context by virtue of which it exerts its power of fascination in order to expose the sinthome's utter stupidity. . . . [It] produces a distance not by locating the phenomenon in its historical totality, but by making us experience the utter nullity of its immediate reality, of its stupid, material presence that escapes "historical mediation" . . . . [I]t is a little piece of the real attesting to the ultimate nonsense of the universe, but insofar as this object allows us to condense, to locate, to materialize the nonsense of the universe in it, insofar as the object serves to represent this nonsense, it enables us to sustain ourselves in the midst of inconsistency . . . . (LA 128-29, 134-35) One might be used to the leaping and screaming frenzy of rock concerts, but unless one has experienced, at the same time that one experiences its destructive frenzy, the utterly euphoric, calming, peaceful effect that electric music at extreme volume can produce, one cannot grasp the possibility that it might fall into this category. What is merely social, the stupidest string of pop signifiers, becomes intensely material, becomes an exaggerated idiocy, a sub-ideological cocoon, a tear in the fabric of the social world within which it might still be possible to endure it, if one can endure the volume itself. What we must ask, then, is whether, at its most intense, loud is a thought.27

29

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K pg…/… SUBVERSION MEANS FOLLOWING AN UNDERGROUND CULT, A DISCONNECTED BODY THAT
PROMISES US SOME DELUSIONAL HOPE- THIS IS NOT COMING TO GRIPS WITH THE

SUBVERSIVES = FANTASY

REAL, IT

IS ONLY SERVING TO PROP UP THE FANTASY THAT WE CAN SOMEHOW TRANSGRESS THE SYSTEM- IT JUST RESULTS IN AN ENJOYMENT, A HIGH OFF OF SUBVERSION THAT DOESN’T ACTUALLY ACHIEVE ANY REAL CHANGE.
THE

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

The fashionable mathematics of fractals, precisely in the reduced form pilfered by what once were humanists and who know virtually nothing about it, provides us with the figure of a sort of zeno-graphically receding infinitesimal repetition--the sub-cell reproducing the topography of the whole organism, which can therefore no longer be defined simply as whole. A fractal and still quite vulgar marxism is there to translate this process into the most familiar critical terms: the market reproducing itself morphologically in the stupid underground, as the base always reproduces itself, but in its movement into that alien space also mutating, deformed, transformed.15 So also a fractal etc. psychoanalysis could translate the same movement into terms grounded in the structures of identification. We find this fractal descent, for instance, in the cult or fandom, which reproduces the ideological body of the leader or hero through specific sorts of identification, in the beliefs, clothing, and ritualized gestures of the disciple, the wannabe, the wannabelong. There would be no underground if someone did not lead us down there, if we were not conducted by a desire to be and belong to the one we recognize there, behind whom even more shadowy and indeterminable figures and forces are concealed. We would not be driven there if the underground did not offer us a stupid imaginary, the delirious hope of parasitical symbioses, vampiric feasts (of course the arrangement is reciprocal: leader and follower feed off each other), spectacular plagiarisms, personality implants, image clonings, synthetic transference, absolute interpellation, stupid communion with the one. But this communion is not a matter of recognizing oneself in a fixed image, identifying with an ontologically consistent other: the body of the stupid guru, the cult leader, the rock star, the media fantasm, is itself a fractal deformation. That is to say, one must be careful not to reduce identification to any simple dialectic between stable and determinate entities, between isolable masters who are either true or false and slaves who are or are not about to become free. Kenneth Dean and Brian Massumi argue that the body of the leader (in their case the despot) is a "body without an image," and its "infinitization" is also its disintegration, its evacuation.16 Their claim is that one's relation to that image is not a matter of strict identification, since one attaches oneself to increasingly fragmented gestures, features, images, that never add up, never amount to a whole body, an identity, that are always partial arrangements of a social apparatus that is absolute without being singular. The stupid guru too is this one who is not one, and who stands for the one that is nothing, the constitutive nothing around which, according to a model we have already employed, the Symbolic is organized; who dissolves into a thousand points or pixels of light distributed across the screenscape of certain economies (subcultural economies that are themselves fractal homomorphs of larger symbolic economies), and serves as a loose network of junctions or terminals to which stupid disciples may attach themselves. In psychoanalytic terms, a Thing. As Zizek writes, "while it is true that any object can occupy the empty place of the Thing, it can do so only by means of the illusion that it was always already there, i.e., that it was not placed there by us but found there as an 'answer of the real'" (LA 33). Not a body, then, but a sort of vapor catching the light of an oblique projection that conceives of itself as a mechanism of discovery. And it is no different for you: any cultural (political, philosophical, critical, artistic) activity orbits elliptically around such null points: one is a Freudian, a Marxian, a Derridean; a Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen scholar; one becomes a New Historicist not only for considered methdological reasons but because one has already recognized something of what one might call oneself, were it so conscious a recognition, in reading Greenblatt or McGann; one becomes a performance artist because, sitting in the audience during a performance, one saw without seeing (through a fundamental meconnaissance, through stupid recognition) oneself on stage, as the other of one's desire. Stupid saints, das Ding in incarnations from William Burroughs to Charles Manson, loom up everywhere in the stupid underground. There is no culture without these 30

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

relays, catapults, necessary points (de capiton) of stupid transference. One might suppose that any spiritual leader worth his salt would devote himself to blowing this vapor away, revealing the empty spot where he stands, for the disciple, in place of an object that doesn't exist, awakening us to the emptiness of the real. For the guru, however, this is often the very order of the impossible; and it is also why I would argue, if you want to call it an argument, that the stupidest guru is better than the most enlightened master. I once attended a talk given by quite a prominent spiritual teacher who exhorted his audience not to see him as a guru, but to be their own gurus, and they all assented: yes master, I won't take you as a guru, I will be my own guru. One would have to be an enlightened being not to go mad from frustration and humiliation over a career spent in such futile gestures. Nor could it be otherwise: the thing will not be divested by asking us to divest it. Then will it be divested through critical means? Dean and Massumi propose such a critique of the body-without-images of Reagan or Bush, but in their work too criticism reverts to the illusion that reason itself might someday establish a secure distance from the Thing. The stupid underground, however, in one of its most characteristic gestures, abandons criticism and embraces the same body, plays the same game, relates to the stupid guru through an aggressively stupid affirmation. One might call it a parody of identification, but parody suggests its own sort of critical-ironic distance and thus is not a term precise enough for this procedure. The Church of the SubGenius, for instance, explicitly rejects the suggestion that what it does is a parody (of religion, commerce, art movements, the American family, etc.). It insists on its truth. It demands that we take it literally even as it elaborates the most exorbitant absurdity. Psychoanalysis might recognize in this insistent absurdity the functional truth of fantasy, the empty truth of the Thing; it is presented to us here as empty, but without offering any pretense of distance from it. Hence I wish to insert here two figures, two hollowcore gurus, two Things as Thing: Monty Cantsin and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the stupid gurus of "Neoism" and of the Church of the SubGenius.17 The Thing called Monty Cantsin is an explicitly empty figure, a name open to occupation by anyone who wishes to stand in the stupid guru's place in order to see that it doesn't exist. There is, in fact, no such individual as Monty Cantsin; he is a pure alias. In principle, anyone who wishes to adopt this false identity, this identity as falsehood, and for whatever motives, whether it be to preserve the strictest anonymity or from the most venal bandwagon opportunism, can claim to be Cantsin. Canadian 'total media artist' Monty Cantsin is something between an enigma and an institution. He is a being around whom a vast contemporary mythology has accumulated. Nemesis seems to dog his footsteps; retribution is incapable of tracking him down. He is voracious of appetite, prolific of explanation, eternally on the brink of affluence yet forever in the slough of debt. He is, moreover, a prince among parasites, a model of optimism, and a master of obtuseness. He can achieve more, and at less cost to himself, than a gypsy. He is as ancient as the hills, as genial as the sunshine, as cheerful as an expectant relative at the death bedside of wealth. He is unthinkable, unforgettable, unejectable, living on [in] all men for all time. Nations die and rise again; Kings come and go; Emperors soar and fall ... but Monty Cantsin lives on and on.18

pg…/…

31

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

The stupid guru is always a locus of exaggeration: a "vast mythology" surrounds the leader of even the tiniest sect. Here, the purposely vacuous description could apply to any guru, and that is its point: it is offered as a null set, and hence as the proper set of the guru himself. He lives on and on because he never existed, just as no guru, no king, no pop star has ever existed. But that is not to say that one can ever go beyond him. In the very act of evacuating this figure, his sovereignty is reconfirmed. The history of Neoism demonstrates that once one stands in his place one can easily forget one is standing nowhere: Cantsin becomes a disputed figure, as certain Neoists claim to be the real Cantsin in the very act of inviting others to partake of Cantsin's persona (a rather messianic offer: this is my body), as if mere contact with this name was enough to erase the memory that there is nothing at stake in the name, that emptiness is all that was ever at stake in it.19 One is reminded of the wars for possession of the term dada, equally vacuous and equally invaluable. Thus Cantsin is not only an anarchistic be-your-own guru, a figure of a poesie fait par tous, but both the attempted subversion of this structure and the immediate failure of that subversion in a proprietary struggle.

pg…/…

32

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

SUBVERSIVES = FANTASY [DESIRE FOR LEADER]

pg…/…

YOU’LL NEVER FULFILL YOUR DESIRE FOR A LEADER, ALWAYS CHANNEL SURFING FOR A
MOVEMENT TO IDENTIFY WITH ONLY SERVES TO STICK US IN AN UNCHANGING CYCLE OF CONSERVATISM
THE

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

Dobbs, the all-American salesman messiah, the avatar of modernist simony, is constructed in that same empty place, but by a sophomoric priesthood who pretend-believe that he is real and never either abandon the illusion nor mistake themselves for him. He is always other and never a joke, no matter how ludicrous the limits to which he is pushed, because those who promote his absurdity insist on its literal truth even at those moments when they are most outrageously at play. SubGenius claims that Dobbs is the only truth, and indeed he is. Stupid force, stupid necessity. What I wish to mark here, in part, and as usual, is a perversion of criticism itself. Although everything one needs for a critique of the stupid guru is noted in the Dean-Massumi critique of the despot and leader, here we find none of the distance, separation, and rejection traditionally necessary for even so radical a criticism as theirs. The stupid guru of SubGenius is the image, the juncture, of criticism as dumb embrace, a delirious, mocking, hysterical, literal, fantastic embrace that in effect squeezes the life out of the Other (Dobbs has been assassinated at least twice) without ever admitting that it does so (he never quite dies); the cult of Dobbs crystallizes a rabid overparticipation in the stupid spectacle of the real that goes far beyond any "blank parody" or "postmodern pastiche."20 We cannot leave this icon without noting another of its elements: the serial character of the stupid guru, the rock star, the "role model": never an absolute master, because he can be exchanged at any moment for another figure, another other; he is a place holder for a rapidly shifting field of empty, ephemeral, and tenuous attachments. No viable cult will ever grow around him, only an ever-shattering hall of mirrors, a high-velocity phase-space of weak and yet perpetual narcissistic identifications. One surfs through stupid gurus, as one surfs through cable channels or the channels in the video-porno booth, in a process that is the very model of the entropy of such attachments, always in search for the next one, the true and proper identification, which never arrives, which the process itself realizes as unrealizable, until desire is distributed and dissipated across the entire field. I have on my desk a volume entitled Threat By Example, a series of brief interviews with "inspiring" figures from the "punk underground."21 The format of the book--pictures and interviews lasting no more than a page or two, followed immediately by another, and another, and another--formalizes the linear movement of this narcissistic guru-surfing: continuous deferral to the promise of a greater imminent satisfaction that never occurs, until the velocity of selection itself becomes the empty signifier of the Other. The accelerated substitution of figures of power, authority, and identification reveals, by a kind of cinematic effect, the hollow at their center, but without thereby releasing us from their hold. The fabled abyss is flattened out, but it is no less fantastic or fatal.

JOUISSANCE 33

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik DILLETANTES MAY HAVE SOMETHING USEFUL TO SAY, BUT UNDOUBTEDLY IT WILL ONLY BE WITH THE TELOS OF GETTING AN of the K pg…/…
INTELLECTUAL HIGH, ONE THAT ALLOWS THEM FOR A EUPHORIC SECOND TO IDENTIFY WITH THE SYSTEM, TO JOIN THE

OTHER, TO SUBVERT THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS, BUT IN REALITY- THE TELOS IS RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW- YOUR K LAYS THINGS OUT AS ON AN INTELLECTUAL SALE TABLE, THEY HAVE NO MEANING.

MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
Apocalyptic cults and youth gangs, garage bands and wolfpacks, collèges and phalansteries, espionage networks trading in vaporous facts and networks of home shoppers for illicit goods; monastic, penological, mutantbiomorphic, and anarcho-terrorist cells; renegade churches, dwarf communities, no-risk survivalist enclaves, unfunded quasi-scientific research units, paranoid think tanks, unregistered political parties, sub-employed workers councils, endo-exile colonies, glossolaliac fanclubs, acned anorexic primal hordes; zombie revenants, neo-fakirs, defrocked priests and detoxing prophets, psychedelic snake-oil shills, masseurs of undiagnosed symptoms, bitter excommunicants, faceless narcissists, ideological drag queens, mystical technophiles, sub-entrepreneurial dealers, derivative dérivistes, tireless archivists of phantom conspiracies, alien abductees, dupe attendants, tardy primitives, vermin of abandoned factories, hermits, cranks, opportunists, users, connections, outriders, outpatients, wannabes, hackers, thieves, squatters, parasites, saboteurs; wings, wards, warehouses, arcades, hells, hives, dens, burrows, lofts, flocks, swarms, viruses, tribes, movements, groupuscules, cenacles, isms, and the endlessly multiplied hybridization of variant combinations of all these, and more.... Why this stupid fascination with stupid undergrounds? What is it about these throwaway fanzines and unreadable rants, these neo-tattoos and recycled apocalypses, this mountainous accumulation of declassified factoids, these bloody smears, this incredible noise? Why wade through these piles of nano-shit? Why submit oneself to these hysterical purveyors, these hypertheories and walls of sound? Why insist on picking this particular species of nit? Why abject criticism, whose putative task was once to preserve the best that has been known and thought, by guilty association with so fatuous, banal, idiotic, untenable a class of cultural objects? Why not decline, not so politely, to participate in the tiny spectacle of aging intellectuals dressing in black to prowl festering galleries and clubs where, sometime before dawn, they will encounter the contemptuous gaze of their own children, and almost manage to elide that event when they finally produce their bilious reports, their chunks of cultural criticism? No excuse, no justification: all one can put forward is an unendurable habit of attention, a meager fascination, no more or less commanding than that hypnosis one enters in the face of television; a rut that has always led downward and in the end always found itself stuck on the surface; a kind of drivenness, if not a drive; a critique, if you can forgive such a word, that has never located any cultural object whose poverty failed to reflect its own; a rage to find some point at which criticism would come to an end, and that only intensified as that end-point receded and shrunk to the size of an ideal. Then if one must persist in investigating these epi-epiphenomena, perhaps compelled by some critical fashion (no doubt already out of vogue), perhaps merely out of an interminable immaturity, why not refer the stupid underground back to all the old undergrounds, back to the most familiar histories? Why not cast it as nothing more than another and another and another stillborn incarnation of an avant-garde that wallows in but doesn't quite believe its own obituaries, and that one has already wasted years considering? Why not just settle for mapping it according to the old topography of center and margin, or some other arthritic dichotomy that, for all their alleged postness, the discourses we are about to breach always manage to drag along behind them? Why not simply accede to the mockheroic rhetoric of cultural opposition (subversion, resistance, etc.) that, after a generation of deconstructions, we still don't have the strength to shake; or to the nouveau rhetoric of multiplicity (plurality, diversity, etc.), as if all one needed was to add a few more disparate topic headings to break the hold of a One that, in truth, one still manages to project in the very act of superceding it? Nothing will prevent us--indeed nothing can save us--from ransoming ourselves again and again to the exhausted mastery of these arrangements; nothing will keep us from orienting ourselves toward every difference by means of the most tattered maps. But at the same time we must entertain-doubtless the right word--the sheer possibility that what we encounter here is not just one more margin or one more avant-garde, however impossible it will be to avoid all the orders and terms attendant upon those venerable and ruined cultural edifices. We must remain open to the possibility that this stupid underground poses all the old questions but a few more as well, that it might suggest another set of cultural arrangements, other topographies and

34

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

other mappings, however unlikely that might be. In any case, whatever vicarious attractions the stupid underground offers the bored intellectual groping for a way to heat up his rhetoric, if not his thought, whatever else we might Kritik of the K pg…/… encounter here, it is important to insist that you will not find these maps laid out for your inspection, as if on an

intellectual sale table, and rated for accuracy and charm. No claim is being staked here; no one is being championed, no one offered up on the critical auction block as the other of the month. There is nothing here to choose; all the choices have already been made. One can only hope, in what will surely prove an idle gesture, to complicate cultural space for a moment or two, for a reader or two, to thicken it and slow one's passage through it, and, as always, to render criticism itself as painful and difficult as possible. Indeed, let us suggest that this tour of the stupid underground is above all else designed--according to a certain imaginary, a certain parody, the curve of a perfectly distorted mirror--not to give us an opportunity to rub elbows with the natives and feel some little thrill of identification with them, but to expose to criticism its own stupidity, its impossibility, its abject necessity. Why go there at all? To pursue a renunciation of culture past the limit, where it precisely leaves us behind, where criticism can no longer observe it, no longer recuperate it; and at the same time to witness the turning-back and collapse of the critical into the very form and function of everything it would seek to distance and negate: a double negation that will end up--what else?--reinvesting in the stupidity of culture. No venture could be more idiotic. Shades have been distributed, the bus is leaving, our stupid-critical theme-park tour is about to begin.

35

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

YOU = RESSENTIMENT

pg…/…

ANGER AT ESTABLISHED INSTITUTIONS IS GROUNDED IN RESSENTIMENT, A HATRED OF INSTITUTIONS FOR THEIR SUCCESS IN THE FACE OF THE SUBVERSIVE’S ASCETIC LIFESTYLE… THEY ARE USING THIS AS A BLATANT EXCUSE TO DO NOTHING IN PURSUIT OF SOCALLED “GREATER, MORE PROFOUND DUTIES” SLACKERS!!!!
THE

MANN IN 1995 [PAUL, BALLER PAR EXCELLENCE, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POMOCULTURE5.3, MUSE]

Best of all, furthest along its trajectory, is "zerowork," the refusal to work, the refusal to bid for equal alienation, disappearing from the tax rolls, from the very category of the unemployed.28 But how then to survive? By hook and crook, and the stupid underground is rife with pipedreams and proven scams. Loompanics Press offers the libertarian illusion, at least, that one can get by in the American economy without ever having to hold a job, and they'll send you info on how-to (theft, phony credit, welfare scams, scrounging freebies, various black market economies). Or maybe you'll try dealing drugs (too many down sides). Or being in a band, the archetypal boy-dream of play as work (as it turns out, too many down sides as well: venal managers, if you can even get one, larcenous promoters, an overpopulated market, weird compromises with industry and stupid audiences, and, after all, too much work). Not working isn't easy, no matter how hard you work at it. Hence, as has always been the case for the underground, the phenomenon of the day job. A perfect epitome of stupid. In a slightly older bohemia, the artist's dream: uninterrupted time for the real work. Or rather, what came to be seen as the real work, that painting or writing which was by force an avocation in a world where one was slave to the day job. Each day demanded the most intense struggle to steal or conserve time from the world of the job for yourself, your spirit, your art. You came home from the shop or office exhausted, gulped down some dinner, fought off fatigue and drove yourself to canvas or clay or rehearsal or page for a few hours of real work; you labored so far into the night that the next morning you could barely drag yourself back to the office or kitchen or ditch. The cycle was constant and increasingly enervating, a losing battle. Laundry piled up, appointments were missed, one skimped on meals and exercise and risked one's sanity and health. What are called, in an exemplary generic coinage, relationships also suffered: lovers felt they had to compete against art for your attention, however much you tried to reassure them, and you tacitly resented their demands for your time; intimacy itself had to enter the strictest economy. You learned not to take trips or wish for a better apartment or attend films or buy new clothes because every dollar could be invested for a few free months later on, before you had to submit to the next day job. A thousand petty tasks and distractions staged endless raids on your energy and attention, until it seemed that art itself was at war with everything else. The pitiable heroism of each momentary victory-each painting or poem finished--was belied by the triviality of its manifestation in a world in which, after all, a poem is merely a poem, and therefore a sign that a much more pervasive defeat had already occurred. You came to hate those born wealthy enough to avoid this struggle, although you also tried to persuade yourself that their work must be impoverished because they did not have to come into daily contact with the hard common truths of a world that, in this instance, you decide to call "real," as if these grotesque burdens could still be seen as sources of enlightenment; you also hated those romantic demons like Van Gogh who (you told yourself) were more committed than you, willing to sacrifice more, to suffer more, to give up their last few francs for tubes of paint even though they were starving. In either case, accusations you continually brought to bear against yourself for having to live an ordinary life in the midst--in spite--of grander aspirations. The horror of the day job was thus the violence of life divided in half, a violence that cut through art itself and lent it a shadowy existence, made it the ghost, the phantom limb of what you might have accomplished, had you only been able to devote yourself to it entirely. The awful dissymmetry of this arrangement summons up a variety of analyses, most of them passing through historical marxism. The deadly drudgery of alienated labor is there grasped dialectically: although one suffers at the master's hands, although one's very humanity is denied, history is on the side of the worker no less than on that of the Hegelian slave; if wage slavery is oppressive, degrading, destructive of everything that it means to be human, it is also ennobling insofar as the truth seized from this alienation informs a struggle against the power it represents. The immersion of the artist in the world of common labor was thus both an indictment of a society that steals time from the true mission and real work, and a means by which day job and real work came into another sort of relation that the wealthy and the dropout could not possibly express. But the compromises of this division could not be so neatly resolved. One continued to hope for future resolution, for a life of art; or one abandoned art and lived its imaginary and no less painful loss; or one tried to accept one's divided condition through some kind of self-hypnosis, through the image of a resignation one was persuaded to identify as maturity;29 or one turned the struggle itself into the subject matter of a series of neocritical art commodities; or one "succeeded" in the artworld enough to establish some sort of sinecure (steady royalties, corporate patronage in the form of commissions, a university appoinment), under whose aegis one had to force oneself to remember that even though the labor wasn't as bad as it once was, the day was no less divided. If the working class romantic bored you with creaking clichés about the dignity of labor, if the idea of total sacrifice for one's art grew embarrassing even for those who pretended to believe it, sinecured artists, however "critical" they remained, through an ability to set aside the material conditions of their lives even in the act of seeming to account for them, bored you even more. Furthermore, the division of day job and real work, of alienated and integrated labor, frequently gave rise to another sort of collusion. The

36

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K
YOU = RESSENTIMENT

pg…/…

day job provided an alibi for the poverty of the so-called real work one actually managed to accomplish ("if only, if only..."), and the real work provided an alibi for slacking on the job. Failure in each was the champion of the other. The division between them also produced the fantasy, in its own way quite functional within the reigning economy, that integration is really possible, that if only we could abandon the day job fulfillment would be ours; what is concealed here is the alienation attendant upon artistic production itself, both in respect to its social position and, even more fundamentally, insofar as it is a form of sublimation, a practice of culture as surrogation, through and through. All jobs are day jobs. That is why, in the stupid underground, work embraces its stupidity. Bike messenger, cappucino puller, cabbie, purveyor of used books and rags, health food bagger, record store peon, hip waiter or fast food shoveler, proofreader, phone-sex hustler, sub-programmer, security guard, venal rock-band manager, nouveau-entrepreneur: the day job still means a life carved in half, but now without the old cachet of noble struggle, without the slightest belief in fulfillment somewhere down the line, without the slightest romance of labor, however dialectical the sweat of thy brow, and with the certainty that the other half is permanently missing; one rarely bothers to yearn for it any more, and when one does, it's usually as a joke. Even the consolations with which one tries to beguile oneself for having to work are aggressively inane. The only bonus offered by fringe subsistence is stupid proof that one really is fringe (i.e., happy confirmation of one's ressentiment), an alibi drained from the outset by the certainty that fringe employment is central to the economy. Shit work is never anything but: the sheerest experience of personal waste, slow torture, indeed slow murder of limited time and energy that might be given over to music or art, but that is now precisely to say: to nothing at all. For art has become shit work too, and anyone who still falls for its false gratifications is merely and perhaps willfully blind to the fact that the apparent division between day job and real work only concealed a deeper unity, between art and society, on the very ground of alienation. That is why the avant-garde's committed refusal to work as a means toward self-realization--in the language of Berlin Dada, "Poetry Demands Unemployment"--gives way to the dully heroic limbo of slacking. The revolutionary fades into the slacker, itself now the figure of a widespread and, for the moment, profitable cliché; a figure who haunts even the most energetic promoters of the old paradigms of critical resistance and new world vision, and whose own most prominent lunge toward that new world amounts to not much more than erasing a few files on the boss's computer. For every Genesis P-Orridge still clamoring sub-revolutionary enthusiasms about the power of pop there is a Bob Black or Hakim Bey insisting, in terms quite as archaic, that one must also renounce art; and for every one of them there are a million kids staring off into space while some industrial band drones in the background. The avant-garde's notorious attempt to bridge the gap between art and life on art's side of the line, or the committed artist's desire to bridge the gap on the side of the real world of politics, are displaced by blank exercises in reactive art and workplace "sabotage," usually nothing more than the pettiest acts of vandalism. There is now, in fact, a considerable literature devoted to chronicling these acts of worker micro-aggression.30 Office supplies are pilfered, hard-drives purposely crashed, man-hours lounged into oblivion, fast food rendered even more inedible than usual. The pointlessness of such revenge on the boss and whatever forces he is presumed to represent is mitigated by the fact that it feels good, for a moment, to indulge it. Any surviving luddism about grinding the machine to a halt or the revolutionary implications of hackers' viruses is merely window dressing for the immediate and miniscule satisfaction of ripping off the owners, slowing down the assembly line, or actually (horror of horrors) giving the customers what they want. Nearly invisible gestures of détournement, pilfering, waste, explorations of the limits of employer surveillance, petty cruelties intended to alienate the boss's clientele, tiny experiments in polluting work with play, all of these acts are promoted with a sort of lukewarm, half-hearted rhetoric of resistance, as if the practitioner not only didn't really believe the rhetoric but secretly wanted to show how inappropriate it was to the occasion. The notion that the American work force at large is given over to acts of sabotage, slacking, and stealing to get by focuses the stupid underground's resentment and serves as an apology, which no one believes for an instant, for working at all. The violence that labor inflicts on the individual justifies microscopic destructions that pass the time until one punches out and goes home to squander one's time on one's own. Cultural negation, where it still exists, seizes on the opportunity to turn stupid labor into a political opportunity, but the stakes turn out to be so low that the stupid saboteur cannot sustain the effort. It's all just a spasm of resentment; in the end, one would rather be in a band. And not even that, really.

AT: NIHILISM [doesn’t exist] 37

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

NIHILISM DOESN T Kritik of the ’KEXIST- EVERY CONCEIVABLE FORM OF NEGATION IS ALREADY RECUPERATED.
BUNCH OF COLLEGE KIDS WHO KNOW THAT THIS ACTIVITY IS ONLY A GAME

I.E. WHAT IS OCCURING HERE- A pg…/… STILL USING IT TO PROPOSE SOCIAL CHANGE…OUR WHOLE LIVES ARE NIHILISTIC PAR EXCELLENCE, AND THEREBY NOT NIHILISTIC AT ALL. MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
One might find it amusing to assume the pose of someone who states problems with brutal simplicity. As in this little nugget: Every historical form of cultural and political revolt, transgression, opposition, and escape has turned out to be nothing more than a systemic function. The notion of recuperation has encountered a thousand alibis and counter-tropes but still constitutes the closest thing cultural study has to a natural law. Collage, antimelodic high-decibel music, antimasterpieces, romantic primitivism, drunkenness and drugs, renegade sexuality, criticism itself: it is amazing that a single radical claim can still be made for any of this, and entirely characteristic that it is. Every conceivable form of negation has been dialectically coordinated into the mechanism of progress. The future of the anti has not yet been reconceived. That is why it is ridiculous to accuse some poor kid with a bad attitude or some putative grownup with a critique but no "positive program for change" of being nihilistic: strictly speaking, nihilism doesn't exist. What was once called nihilism has long since revealed itself as a general, integral function of a culture that, in all its glorious positivism, is far more destructive than the most vehement no. Nothing could be more destructive, more cancerous, than the positive proliferation of civilization (now there's a critical cliché), and all the forms of opposition have long since revealed themselves as means of advancing it. As for the ethos of "resistance": just because something feels like resistance and still manages to offend a few people (usually not even the right people) hardly makes it effective. It is merely ressentiment in one or another ideological drag. And how can anyone still be deluded by youth, by its tedious shrugs of revolt? Even the young no longer believe their myth, although they are quite willing to promote it when convenient. Punk nihilism was never more than the nihilism of the commodity itself. You should not credit Malcolm McLaren with having realized this just because he was once pro-situ. All he wanted was to sell more trousers without boring himself to death; indeed he is proof that the guy with the flashiest ressentiment sells the most rags. And if he wasn't bored, can he be said to have advanced the same favor to us?

38

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

KRITIK = CONSERVATIVE

pg…/…

EVERY CRITICISM IS ALWAYS ALREADY A NEO-CONSERVATIVE POSITION. THE BIRTH OF ONE PROGRESSIVE CRITIQUE GIVES WAY TO YET ANOTHER, YET THE FIRST KRITIK NEVER ACTUALLY RECOGNIZES THAT IT HAS BECOME OLD AND STALE, AND THEREFORE KEEPS PUSHING FORWARD- UNTIL IT ACTUALLY STUNTS PROGRESS INSOFAR AS IT IS A CONSERVATIVE REACTION AGAINST THE NEW LEFT.
MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]

In what one could call, not without historical cause if perhaps too casually, the standard modernist map, the relation between hegemonic center and oppositional margin is more or less constant. Marginal groups are suppressed almost to the point of invisibility, or at least to a theoretical position of "silence"; centers might seem to disintegrate, and parties consigned to the margin in one generation might rise to power in the next; one even speaks of multiple "sites" (all women are marginalized, although caucasian women are more likely to occupy a hegemonic position in relation to women of color; one can be white-male but gay, straight-female and Asian, etc.); but the general structure of center and margin remains in a sort of hypertense steady state.1 The limited exclusion of the margin constitutes the center's defining boundary. Margins exist insofar as they are held in an orbit, placed at the constitutive limit of whatever power the center consigns itself. We are hardly breaking any new ground in stating that this dialectical topography underlies almost all of our cultural criticism, often in the most tacit manner; it has been exceedingly difficult for anyone to propose more sophisticated models. It is here that we find the first relevance of the stupid underground. While it readily lends itself to this topographical reduction, it cannot be simply constrained to an orbit. It is deployed--but by what force? by some hegemonic "Power" or by another, undetermined order of cultural physics?--as a means of carrying every mode of cultural activity past its limits, to its termination. At times this termination seems merely symbolic, as they say: an end-point that might indeed be fatal but is nonetheless reflected back into the cultural economy as a series of still quite spectacular and profitable images. The death of painting as a mode of painting, etc. And yet the trajectory of the stupid underground also begins to make the notion of the margin rather uncertain. One is reminded of the blank spaces at the edges of archaic, flat-earth maps, the monsters that lurk past the edges of the world. Cartoonish monsters, hardly worthy of a child's nightmare, and yet marking the place of an unimaginable destruction, of the invisible itself. Not marginal spaces, strictly speaking, since they cannot be mapped, since they are precisely beyond the limit: but at the same time an extra-cartographic reach that is preserved as a kind of threat, if you will, or seduction, if you would rather, to the very adventure of marginality. The stupid underground is not only the newest post-avant-garde, it is also, beyond that, the very image--quite critical, in its way--of the imminent and perhaps immanent suicide of every marginal project, a suicide that is not a demonstration, a gesture accompanied by notes to the Other, but the most rigorous renunciation of the symbolic order.2 We move from the masterpiece to avant-garde artagainst-art to non-art (folk, brut, etc.) to the end of art (autodestructive art, art strikes) to the most vigilant refusal, a refusal that never puts itself on display at all; from mainstream rock to punk to industrial music to experiments in subsonic effects generators (Survival Research Laboratory, Psychic TV, Non) to utter silence; from rock-tour T-shirts to skinhead fascist costuming to criminal disguise and disappearance from every spectacle and every surveillance; from sexually explicit art to pornography and soft or "theoretical" S/M (masocriticism itself) to hardcore consensual sadism and masochism to pedophilic aggression to the consequent "knowledge" of the most violent sexuality carried out in the
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strictest secrecy.3 The stupid underground is the immanence and extension to fatality and beyond of becoming-sound, becoming-animal, becoming-libidinal, becoming-machine, becoming-alien, Kritik of the K pg…/… becoming-terror; it is the exhilarating velocity through cultural space of this fatal and yet never simply terminal movement. We should also note that even as one pursues these trajectories, the underground lends this Deleuzian rhetoric of becoming-X its most abiding cultural form: becoming-cliché, becoming-stupid. In the stupid underground any innovation can be, at one and the same time, utterly radical and worthless in advance. The trajectory past cliché is at stake here as well, a trajectory that takes us not into further innovation but into repetition itself: the repetition of a cultural adventure long after its domestication, but as if it were still an adventure. The trajectory is thus seldom a straight line into the beyond, a singular line of flight through becoming-imperceptible, into the invisible. The complexity of these movements suggests four trajectories, or four dimensions of the trajectory as such: to the apotheosis of stupidity, as sublime becomes ridiculous as if without transition; to the violent limit of the tolerable, the very limit of recuperability; to disappearance past the boundary of cultural representation, a disappearance so critical that it gives the lie to every other form of criticism; and to what turns out, in the very midst of an innovative frenzy, to be stupid repetition, an autonomous, automatic repetition that drains cultural forms of every meaning, even that of parody: the stupefying force of repetition, which, we are told, is the very trace of the death drive.

K= Conservative
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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Much like political conservatism entails using armies to maintain the status quo order the K Kritik of of things, our opponents are fortifying the texts that they employ. Critical pg…/… theory is officially the established order of things, containing and preserving via the use of a self-proclaimed army of “superior beings.” Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]

The position is a fundamental form of civilization. Recall Virilio's remark that the city itself originates in a position, a garrison, a defensive posture, a logistical form.17 To adopt the terminology of A Thousand Plateaus, the position is a "sedentary fortification" of "state armies"; it is entirely contained by the state apparatus.18 In academic criticism, the symbolic place of the state is occupied and held by the text or oeuvre, around which the defending force of commentaries is deployed; in a field such as English or Comparative Literature, the state or national form of the text is clearly and hence problematically manifested. The critic defends the text by the elaborate construction of interpretations around it; at the same time, in a kind of fractal homomorphism, the critic's own position is defined and defended by the construction of the paper circle of his or her own works. The more forces occupy a position, the stronger it will be. The barrage of words projected from the most heavily fortified strongholds (currently: New Historicism, postcolonial criticism, certain orders of gender and race theory) can repel critiques by sheer force of numbers. Indeed, conflict between positions is itself one of the chief means by which they are defined. As Rose points out, for Freud war "not only threaten[s] civilization, it can also advance it. By tending towards the conglomeration of nations, it operates [not only] like death [but also] like the eros which strives to unify" (16). In intellectual warfare, the strategic form of this erotic unification is the discipline, in every sense of the word.19 Mechanisms of regimental identification are crucial here. It would be impossible to overestimate the importance of esprit de corps to garrisoned forces. Healthy competition keeps troops battle-sharp and singles out the most effective officers, but such conflict must be contained and focused toward strategic goals.

RESISTANCE TURNS ITSELF

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

REVOLUTIONARY ATTEMPTS BECOME WHAT THEY BEHOLD, THAT IS, THEY BECOME THE VERY IDEOLOGY THAT THEY OPPOSE AS
THEY ARE STUCK BETWEEN A RESENTMENT OF CULTURE AND AN INABILITY TO MOVE BEYOND IT Kritik of the K

pg…/…

MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
The horizontal extension of the trajectory tilts along another axis, much older, much more deeply embedded, much more stupidly anthropomorphic, and precisely the logic that gives rise to the term underground. The space of tunnels and hence also of communication--subways, fiberoptics, sewers--and of escape under the walls; of burrowing animals and carriophagic worms; of roots and imminent growth, and at the same time of death, indeed death as eternal punishment. Underground lies fecundity and decay; the foundation and everything that would erode it; the deepest truth or exclusion from the light; eternal torment or libidinal indulgence and its threat to repressive order. All of these habitual and mutually cancelling tropes attach themselves dumbly to the stupid underground, even in its most brilliant elaborations. Bataille, for instance, cannot avoid what one might cautiously call a metaphysics of verticality in his very attempt to construe the basest materialism: the piston of fucking turning the earth; the burst of orgasmic laughter from the upturned pineal eye of the Jesuve; the descent from the head--or from the blank, acephalic space left by the decapitation of reason and the king--down through the obscene, grotesque comedy of the big toe digging in the mud; the descent from the rotting flowerhead of the heliotrope into the obscenity of roots and Marx's "old mole." In Bataille's formulation, one might say, the proletariat becomes revolutionary by being stupid, by being blind: the marxian mole at the opposite pole from Enlightenment reason becomes, for Bataille, the figure of revolutionary criticism itself. For Bataille, in other words, despite every attempt to go beyond good and evil, to ruin the very order of morality itself, everything depends on an inversion that retains the structure of the moral axis, and, indeed, repeats its historical reversal: the repressive ethical order of the straight world versus the perversion and hence pleasures of hell, or at least of bohemia. Evil be thou my good; perversion be thou my knowledge. But the inversion is never constant. It is never a matter of simple reversal: the poles are not stable, value is determined by opposition alone. Either pole can be good, either pole can be evil: up and down are indiscriminately positive or negative, so long as they remain counterposed. The fixed form of the vertical axis provides for a certain abitrary migration of value up and down the line. It is a question of what one Blake critic calls "perspective ontology."4 In Blake's terms, "the eye altering alters all"; an angel consigns us to the inferno of his own imagination, which becomes a pastoral paradise if we believe it so; heaven is thus recast as an oppressive zone of paternal law. "They became what they beheld," but what they beheld is what they projected, either through an active or a reactive imagination. What one must emphasize here is not romantic faith in the power of the imagination, which one might well find rather dubious, but the pure phenomenality of this binary mapping and the ease with which, it appears, the poles can be reversed, flipped back and forth endlessly from hell to heaven to hell, from suffering to pleasure to suffering (a masocritical vacillation in its own right), from ressentiment (and hence complicity) to revolution and back to the order of the Same. The stupid underground is available to any ontological or ideological reformulation, and hence a place to test the following paradox: all cultural zones are both overdetermined and blank.

KRITIK= INSTITUTION
Intellectual movements are institutional and static, advancing their goals by colonizing the intellectual terrain of free thought.
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Mann the [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, pg…/… Culture Postmodern Kritik of 1996K
Vol 6 No 2] If, on one hand, it is a mistake to refer to intellectual movements, since their force is always institutional, static, on the other hand it is the fixity of the intellectual position that proves to be illusory. A position must not only be held, but advanced. The surrounding territory must come under its influence and control. Furthermore, as Clausewitz indicates, defenses tend to become offensive. It is not simply that the best defense is a good offense; defenses, like attacks, exceed the limits of strategic reason. The escalating, offensive character of nuclear deterrence has long been noted. So also for the provocative force of the most striking cultural formations: defensive postures escalate beyond the power of whatever threat they face. More importantly, the position is never more than a temporary establishment: once consolidated, its termination is assured; the more force it generates, the more certain that its walls will be breached. That is Virilio's brief against deterrence: it exhausts its own resources, it destroys the societies it defends. There is no indefensible position, and no position that can be defended for very long. At the moment a position is founded, its destruction has begun. Defections to other positions, other cities of words, are doubtless already under way.

Kritik=Master/Slave The ___ is a soldier in an intellectual war, mediating between the master who dictates the cause (i.e. the philosophers they site) and the slave who must have the thought imposed on him or her, the judge, the other team, etc. This is how they
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avoid coming to terms with their own mortality and implication in the dominant scheme…by constantly being the “tool” of someone or something else. Kritik of the K pg…/… Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]
The quasi-conflictual structure of the colloquium; the nationalization of intellectual outlooks (e.g., French vs. Anglo-American feminism, English studies vs. German philology in the wake of the First World War); the "diversification" of disciplines carried out as the conquest and colonization of discrete areas of academic territory, and all the ensuing turf wars between departments, methodologies, etc.; rising concern about the invasive, "violent" force of interrogation and argument in even so innocuous an act as literary interpretation; all the petty jockeying for personal advantage that will pass for intellectual combat: these are horizonal phenomena, indications of more prevalent and insistent orders of conflict that structure intellectual work and, perhaps, work in general. Beyond these familiar instances, imagine for a moment (it is a fable, not philosophy) that Hegel, or at least Kojève's Hegel, was right: consciousness, history, civilization begin with combat: "man, to be really, truly 'man,' and to know that he is such, must . . . impose the idea he has of himself on beings other than himself," in a fight to the death in which no one dies, and in which the stakes are only recognition, the establishment of a certain narcissistic regime, the invention of nothing more than the subject.12 Perhaps then the first violence is the formal and ideal reduction of the complexity of conflict to a dialectical system. Let me modulate the fable a bit further: When imposition is collective, the fight becomes battle. When it is strategically directed, it becomes warfare. When we fight to impose not our own idea but an idea that has been imposed upon us, and with which we identify so intensely it is as if the idea were our own, we become soldiers. The soldier is essential to the dialectic: neither master nor quite simply slave but the device that mediates between them. The soldier is slave as hero, risking death in order to impose the master's will on another slave. Perhaps intellectual soldiers too are not slaves who can comprehend their slavery and still revolt but hoplite phalanxes marshalled in order for the day of intellectual battle; Plato's guardians in the chariot of reason, and a chariot is, after all, a military transport. It is not even precisely that some specific other has imposed his idea on us: the master is always in part a figure out of our own imagination, out of our desire and fear, a stand-in for a "true" master we can never quite locate and who need not even really exist, and we confront "death" in his name, in various surrogate forms, so that we will never have to confront our death. Any veteran of combat could testify to the folly of this project, even though the veteran might only have shifted his or her own allegiance to another ideal. The slave's fear of death is thus overcome as a warrior fantasy, itself in the service of a master the slave has to some degree invented. For the intellectual warrior as well, fear of death -- of not being recognized, and thus of not being -- is not overcome but displaced, sublimated, pursued through a vast array of surrogates, including the sublime study of death. Intellectual warfare is not a culmination of the master-slave dialectic but its proxy, its aesthetic. The sentimental violence of dialectics

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

*!*: Simulations / Auto-Aggression

Discoursive warfare is like virtual warfare, dropping smart bombs on Libya on your Nintendo Game system. No consequence- just turn the game off when it is over. Warfare is turned into a ritual and becomes autoagressive- we sacrifice ourselves for the game and become the enemy that we started out fighting Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]. Much of what we will be given to read in the new war studies will be rehearsals of older critiques of representation, heated by a certain love-hate toward cyber-technology; critiques of aestheticized violence as violence against real suffering, with the critic posing heroically beside the figure of the real. This moral reconnaissance of video games and smart bombs will be accompanied by historicist accounts of the spectacular aspects of warfare, perhaps along the lines of Virilio’s War and Cinema, in which, it is argued, “war is cinema and cinema is war,” a “deadly harmony . . . always establishes itself between the functions of eye and weapon” (26, 69). This facile but suggestive conflation of military and cinematic epistemologies into a single logistical project will also lend itself to the familiar critique of the phallic violence of the cinematic “gaze.” The limit of these reflections is liable to be the logic of the “simulacrum,” greatly reduced from its development in either Baudrillard or Deleuze. Let me suggest that the problem before us is not, however, only the spectacularly telegenic appearance of the Gulf War but the fact that these critical reflections on spectacular screens are produced on the spectacular screens of critics’ computers. It will be necessary to investigate the cybernetic and epistemological apparatus of critical debates in the light of developments in military technology and the conduct of actual warfare, but it will be some time before the extraordinarily complex ways in which their integration occurs can be adequately described, and one should avoid collapsing differences between these networks. They are not to be mapped onto each other in any sort of simple homology; the means by which intellectual “cyberwar” serves the state remain, to some degree, obscure. I would hope that enough thinkers soon become sufficiently bored with the standard critical tropes about military simulation to move on to a more incisive critique of the connections between our software and the military’s. For the moment, this one observation: simulation means that intellectual warfare is always fought on other grounds. It is precisely the sort of virtual war it condemns. It is not a pure extension of politics but a form of ritual warfare, a phenomenon of the ritual dimension of politics and of the political deployment of ritual. War games of every kind present us with modes of simulation, of surrogation, that should not be addressed solely by reference to some terrible, displaced reality that criticism can or cannot locate behind the veil of the video image. 28 What we witness is rather the oblique necessity of virtual violence itself, of surrogate conflicts even in the very critique of surrogacy: the necessary satisfaction of a demand for warfare that war alone cannot fully satisfy. So perhaps we still face nothing more than a Mirror: All discursive warfare is autoaggressive. We sacrifice ourselves in the name of an ego-ideal and become the enemy that we behold.

pg…/…

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Kritik of the K

*!*: Auto-Aggression [1/2]

pg…/…

We can never destroy the war machine, it is autonomous and powerful. To delude ourselves into kritiking it only makes its seem desireable, causing the kritik to destroy itself, to destroy reason and un-reason alike, making war inevitable. This is why we need the alternative. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]. Is this what Pierre Bezukov hoped to observe when he climbed a fortified hill to gaze down on the Battle of Borodino? Kant: "War itself, provided it is conducted with order and a sacred respect for the rights of civilians, has something sublime about it, and gives nations that carry it on in such a measure a stamp of mind only the more sublime the more numerous the dangers to which they are exposed, and which they are able to meet with fortitude."30 Perhaps that is what Tolstoy would have us believe Pierre did see: all the sublimely ennobling horrors of war. But let us imagine that he also witnessed the sublime from another perspective, that he saw the flatness of the abyss, a flat figure of lofty visions of bottomless depths. In Daniel Pick's account of the war machine, two contending forces are in play: the increasing technical efficiency and rationalization of warfare, and an insistent figuration of war as a destructive energy that surpasses every effort of rational control. Warfare "assumes a momentum of its own which is difficult, even impossible to stop. . . . Battle is now nothing more than the autonomy . . . of the war machine," the "unstoppable engine of war" (11). It is as if this machine obeyed the familiar logic of the Frankenstein mythos, in which the most rationalized human technology must eventually reveal its madness and destroy everything, including its creator. War too is reason's war against itself: "nothing less than a catastrophic eclipse of sense, a bestial and mechanical descent into anarchy" (20). No Kritik can ever master it; one can never rise to the exact height above battle, high enough to see but not so high that one loses its detail, because the exact height doesn't exist; it is an ideal standpoint. In respect to war, thought always shoots past its mark. That is why there is a war in On War. "Questions of friction, illness, madness, morals, fear and anarchy continuously need to be mastered by [Clausewitz], converted back into manageable currency which enables decision-making. He presides over and marshalls his thoughts, like a general seeking to retain control over potentially wayward troops" (40); and, as every reader of Clausewitz, including Clausewitz himself, knows full well, the war in On War gets out of hand. That is part of the attraction of the new war studies: even as warfare becomes a function of knowledge production it reveals itself as the transgressed limit of knowledge, as the very agent of its destruction. The thought of war is the sublimely desirable experience of thought's abyss. War is sublime.31 The theory-war in Clausewitz's text, the war between knowledge and everything proper to it that surpasses and destroys it, signals the way war takes its place beside tragedy as a sublime for philosophy, theory, and critical studies. The sublime of war study is one of theory's recuperated figures of its own imaginary abyss, an abyss in which it seeks its deepest reflection. Whatever the truth of war, what we witness here first of all is thought's fascination with an imaginary and quite compelling depth projected out of an obscure "drive" for its own "death." If the self-destruction of the family in classical tragedy is an interior form of this paper abyss, the contemplation of warfare serves as one of its public forms, as the sublime for a political criticism, already scaled down from the recent, imaginary apocalypses of nuclear criticism.32 "The issue," Rose writes,

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seems to be not so much what might be the truth of war, but the relationship of war to the . . . Kritik of the dissolution, fluiditycategory of truth.defiance of pg…/… Friction, K . . . surface in a resistant totalization. . . . In Clausewitz's text, war seems to figure as the violent repressed of its own rationalization. It becomes, so to speak, the unconscious of itself . . . an intruder or foreign body that fastens and destroys. It is the perfect image of the alien-ness that Freud places at the heart of human subjectivity, the alien-ness whose denial or projection leads us into war. In Clausewitz's text, the theorization of war seems finally to be taken over by its object. The attempt to theorize or master war, to subordinate it to absolute knowledge, becomes a way of perpetuating or repeating war itself. (23-24) Under the aegis of a critique of war technology, critical discourse becomes a machine that both rationalizes the contests of thought and surpasses rational control. The end of this conflict, of intellectual warfare as such, is a terminal image of reason's self-destruction, of the Endlightenment, an ideal we will fight to the death to fall short of. Hard critical knowledge will no more lead us past this end than knowledge of war leads humanity past armed conflict.

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Kritik of the K

*!*: Auto-Agression/Colonization

pg…/…

We are coming to fight a war against ourselves when we engage in intellectual warfare, engaging in mock combats that do nothing but colonize our intellectual terrain. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]. When the notion that knowledge is not only power but a mode of warfare has gained sufficient currency, criticism will take it upon itself to develop the strategic implications of thought, and to combat the coordination of the "knowledge industries" with the military-industrial complex. Here, however, on this final ground, already razed by the self-consuming turbulence of battle, the project of war study is neither to serve the state nor to oppose it, but rather to trivialize the very idea of war, as we trivialize everything we take up as sublime. Even as it imposes itself with unprecedented force, intellectual warfare is already dead. It is death carried out by other means. Do not mistake this claim. It has nothing to do with saying that war talk will stop; on the contrary, we will be subjected to it as never before precisely because it is dead. Let me repeat this essay's fundamental law: The object of criticism is always a phenomenalization of some systemic device of discourse, and it always appears in a surrogate form at the very moment it is no longer functional. The task in respect to the knowledge and critique of war is thus not developmental but simulacral, a term whose own recent fate attests to its truth. Everything that Baudrillard's theory of simulation was about happened to the theory itself: the sublime disappearance of its own referent through its obscene overexposure, its precipitous reduction to a mere bit of intellectual currency that quickly expended all its value and force. But what if that is the task of intellectual warfare as well: not to advance and defend the new truths of war but to ruin them in the very act of construing them, to level whatever criticism has assigned to itself of war's sublimity, to recast it in the proxy forms of mental war toys and pitch them about in mock combats, in ritual battles for possession of the dead, waged in the name of the dead and on dead ground, and most of all to cast their shades across the future. We -- and who really is speaking here? is it the dead themselves? -- we come to fight discourse's war against itself. We are soldiers of an intellectual "suicide state" that practices the politics of its own disappearance (PW 90). War for us is no longer an idea, a historical object, or even a sublime image: all these are only symptoms of an autoaggressive drive, a rage for self-destruction, a turbulent movement that distributes and evacuates every image and idea. We are like Kleist's Kolhaas or Penthesilea, in a question posed by Deleuze and Guattari: "Is it the destiny of the war machine, when the State triumphs, to be caught in this alternative: either to be nothing more than the disciplined, military organ of the State apparatus, or to turn against itself, to become a double suicide machine?"36 It is certainly one task of A Thousand Plateaus to avoid reducing its field to such alternatives, such ethico-political choices -- to project and affirm different possibilities. But here, at this moment and on this ground, imagine Kolhaas on the scaffold, reading the future of the state in a text that he always carried close to his heart but never before considered, and swallowing it without uttering its truth at the very instant he expires.

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Kritik of the K

*!*: Kritik  Haunting by Bad S#*+ [1/2]

pg…/…

The object of their critique will only resurface in the form of a haunting figure. The war against it is therefore useless, for it cannot be defeated through intellectual warfare. Kritik literally defeats itself via its own fiction. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]
Today almost everyone seems to believe that, at the end of this struggle, what we confront is not the triumph of absolute reason but the collapse of the entire project, the idea, the hope and dream of the absolute. I would argue that this theoretical collapse is the event-horizon, the phenomenal threshold, of intellectual warfare. The theoretical abandonment of the absolute is rarely accompanied by its disappearance: the absolute returns in a ghostly form, haunting precisely those discourses that claim to have left it behind, and that continue to orient themselves around its evacuation. Nevertheless, this half-waking from the halfdream of absolute reason returns us to a primal dialectical scene, to a war for recognition now without stakes. In the farcical relativism that results, dominance is ever more explicitly a matter not of truth but of force. And if we discover that we have never gone further, that force is all that ever mattered, can we say that the dialectic ever occurred at all? This self-consuming conflict is visible from another perspective. If war, as an extension of logistical, tactical, and strategic knowledge, is an extension of thought, it also ruins thought. It exceeds every effort of dialectical containment. The same forces that drive military conflicts past the limits of rational control, in Clausewitz's view, drive the idea of war past the limits of conception. As Daniel Pick observes, For Clausewitz, war is always to be understood as subordinate to political will. That is an iron law. But it also slips out of control, threatening to become jubilantly and anarchically autonomous. It is willed, but all too prone to chance and accident. . . . The practice of war, Clausewitz contends, can be shown to undermine the consistency of thought and theory upon war. . . . [War is] an idea, an abstraction, a supposed structural necessity; but also . . . an impossible subject, the subversive force in the account that seeks to master it.13 The "friction" of war can never be reduced to a system. That is why Clausewitz distrusts theory, even as he engages in what would seem to be a theoretical exercise. According to Garry Wills, that is also why Clausewitz insists on the distinction between theory and Kritik, the broadest empirical assessment possible in any strategic or tactical situation, without reference to absolute laws of warfare that the realities of battle may well disprove, with disastrous results for those who adhere to them. It is not that Clausewitz refuses any generality -- his dictum about war as politics is certainly theoretical, and rules of warfare are proposed everywhere in his text -- rather that tactical and strategic considerations should never be determined by rules alone; rules need to be tested, and what is most important is close critical observation of the field of battle from the highest empirical ground available. But if Wills believes that the distinction between theory and Kritik resolves the problem of analyzing the friction of war, Pick is just as adamant that theory and Kritik themselves are at war in Clausewitz's own analysis, in any consideration of warfare, and the notorious inconsistencies of On War reflect the truth of this conflict. Kritik is compromised by its own forms of friction. As Peter Paret observes, in published studies of war even the most factual descriptions of battle ought to be printed in a different colored ink to indicate the discrepancy between a battle and every account of it. 14 War is absolute force pushed past the limit of dialectical recuperation; it involves the theoretical experience of the destruction of theory, which cannot be alleviated by any resort to empiricism. Jacqueline Rose makes a similar point in respect to Freud. As a fundamental instance of human aggression, war could be said to constitute a proper field for psychoanalytic investigation, an object of scientific knowledge. The problem is that

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[

Kritik of the K
if] Freud offers . . . an explanation of war, he does so by means of the death drive. But the death drive, and hence the truth of war, operates, it has so often been pointed

pg…/…

out, as the speculative vanishing point of psychoanalytic
theory, and even more boldly, of the whole of scientific thought.15 Hence war is not only an object of knowledge but its "crisis," its proper logomachia, "the instability, the necessary failure, of knowledge as resolution that [Freud] places at the foundation, or limit, of all scientific thought."16 War . . . operates in Freud's discourse, and not only in that of Freud, as a limit to the possibility of absolute or total knowledge, at the same time as such absolute or total knowledge seems over and again to be offered as one cause -if not the cause -- of war. . . . The end of war [is] the end of knowledge. (16-17) What is most challenging about this formulation is that the destruction of knowledge, its vanishing point, is both its foundation and its limit, the condition of its existence even as it destroys it. The impossibility of knowledge becomes the very order of knowledge. This device too must eventually rise into discourse and manifest itself as a proxy object of inquiry

50

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

*!* Kritik Calculation

pg…/…

Critical discourse requires us to calculate and can be inserted into the system of calculation as can political systems Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]. If discursive combat is decided by might more than by right, we should allow for the remote possibility that intellectual warfare can be quantified, measured, calculated, perhaps with the sorts of empirical tools that have been developed in recent years by such social scientists as J. David Singer, K.N. Waltz, and Magnus Midlarsky, in their studies of international conflict.29 Given the friction and fog of war and the difficulties it poses for any sort of analysis, however, it might also be advisable to entertain the folly of empirical, systems-oriented research in this area. The contradiction is vital: intellectual warfare is just as quantifiable as any form of military engagement, which is to say, absolutely and hardly at all. In the critical discourse of war, number operates exactly as Kant predicted in the analytic of the sublime. The determination of quantity is overwhelmed by a Clausewitzian escalation of force past its measurable limit, which is then taken as its true destination. The mathematical sublime is the suppressed dream of every empirical study of warfare. Hence the intellectual war machine will pursue the potential of number in Deleuze's sense as well, no longer a quantity in the striated space of the state, the university, the discipline, but a determining movement or speed through smooth, nomadic space (TP 381); a mode of transit rather than a measured sum. Deleuze's "numbering number" could be said to begin at the point where the mathematical sublime leaves number behind for x, for the infinite; number then rediscovers itself outside striated space, no longer the perpetual trace of the imminent loss of numerical representation, but a singular space in which one actually moves -- a space still entirely outside the current occasion.

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

SU CLOSES OFF HISTORY TO KRITIK

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CRITICISM CLOSES OFF OUR ABILITY TO VIEW THE TRAGEDIES OF HISTORY, TO ACTUALLY REJECT THEM BECOMES IMPOSSIBLE WHEN THEY ARE SUGAR COATED AND SUPPRESSIVE OF FACT. MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
Nothing could be more quintessentially American than the stupid underground. It is more basic, more historical, than all the structures and pseudo-guarantees of liberal democracy. If America as such can be mythologized as a nation of dropouts and a shadow underground of Europe, it also immediately begins to generate its own dropouts--a subunderground that is the "first" of the stupid undergrounds, of those who went "native," which is to say: disappeared. The stupid underground is the latest bordertown, the liminal scene of this disappearance, and of the becoming-imperceptible of American history itself. This history has always moved simultaneously toward the spectacle and toward the invisible; that is why there is a familiarly native intensity to the figure of the solitary, hermetic hacker jacked into the so-called Net. It is also why two stories could be told by those who found this legend carved into a tree at Roanoke: Gone to Croatan. The standard history text tells us that no one knows what "Croatan" means, that the settlers disappeared. But other accounts claim that everyone knew Croatan was the name of a local tribe, and the message quite clearly stipulated that the settlers had gone to join it; the official suppression of this fact is only a sign of the sort of racism that was as likely to execute people who had lived with Indians as it was to "rehabilitate" them.8 It is as if someone stood before that tree and deliberately misunderstood its message, didn't want to know or admit where the colony had gone. We have, in other words, two thin myths: the racist one and the romantic-racialist one, wherein going native and mixing races is by itself a kind of Rousseauian good. Now it will be argued that the revisonary account is not only truer but better, since it liberates a suppressed fact and casts the native other in a more positive light. But perhaps we should not abandon the old textbook version too quickly. If it functions, at one level, merely as further proof, as if we needed one, of the racist suppression of the facts of American history, it remains, in another way, quite seductive: it might once have been possible to disappear from the screens of history, to leave only an indecipherable trace, only the mark of a secret that points toward an invisibility that we should not be too quick to correct. But once again critical intelligence has stupidly closed off an exit.

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

AT: NO ALTERNATIVE [bird and asshole]

pg…/…

ALTERNATIVES ONLY DELUDE US INTO BECOMING MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF THE CRITICAL INTELLECUTAL- FOREVER DAMNED TO BELIEVING IN OUR OWN LIES. TO BE SUBVERSIVE IS NOT TO FIND A WAY TO OVERTURN THEIR ADVOCACY, BUT RATHER, TO AGGRAVATE IT, TO BE AGGRAVATED AT IT, AND TO STOP FLYING IN UNENDING CIRCLES AROUND OURSELVES… MANN 1995 [BALLER, STUPID UNDERGROUNDS, POSTMODERN CULTURE 5.3]
Intelligence is no longer enough.5 We have witnessed so many spectacles of critical intelligence's dumb complicity in everything it claims to oppose that we no longer have the slightest confidence in it. One knows with the utmost certainty that the most intense criticism goes hand in hand with the most venal careerism, that institutional critiques bolster the institution by the mere fact of taking part in their discourse, that every position is ignorant of its deepest stakes. Each school of critical thought sustains itself by its stupidity, often expressed in the most scurrilous asides, about its competitors, and a sort of willed blindness about its own investments, hypocrisies, illusory truths. And one can count on each critical generation exposing the founding truths of its predecessors as so much smoke and lies. Thought, reading, analysis, theory, criticism has transported us to so many Laputas that we should hardly be surprised to encounter a general--or perhaps not general enough--mistrust of intelligence as such. What is most "subversive" now is neither critical intelligence nor romantic madness (the commonplace is that they are two sides of the same Enlightenment coin) but the dull weight of stupidity, spectacularly elaborated, and subversive only by means of evacuating the significance of everything it touches-including the romance of subversion itself. To abandon intelligence because it has been duplicitous or built such grandly inane intellectual systems might seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but if rejecting intelligence is rejecting too much, never underestimate the stupid exhilaration of too much; and flying babies are a nicely stupid image, quite suitable for a record cover. Let us insist that we are not arguing for poetic madness breaking out of the prison of reason, nor for the philosophical acephalism of Bataille and his university epigones, still helplessly playing out the dialectic of the enlightenment. The rationalization of unreason is not much of a remedy; that is why we took the trouble to diagnose the recuperation and critical evacuation of Bataille. What confronts us in the stupid underground is also the rationalization of unreason, but it is accompanied by a much more naked idiocy, sheer stupidity posing as value, as the last truth of culture, value without value, and an irresistible lure for suicidal reason. That is, for us, the value--precisely worthless--of the expansive, aggressively sophomoric network of the Church of the SubGenius, of these exaggerated revolutionary claims for a few noisy CDs and nipple piercings, or of the posturing of the so-called Hakim Bey: "I am all too well aware of the 'intelligence' which prevents action. Every once in a while however I have managed to behave as if I were stupid enough to try to change my own life. Sometimes I've used dangerous stupifiants like religion, marijuana, chaos, the love of boys. On a few occasions I have attained some degree of success."6 The only undergrounds that surface any more are moronic: cross-eyed obfuscators, cranks, latahs,7 deadly-serious self-parodists, adolescent fraternities of deep thinkers riding the coattails of castoff suits. What animates the stupid underground is not merely heroic madness or libidinal ideology or a drooping IQ against reason, although we still have to listen to all of that repeated, precisely, past the point of endurance; it is something like stupid intelligence, the manic codification of the inane, the willingness to pursue, absolutely at the risk of abject humiliation, absolutely at the risk of making oneself a perfect fool, lines of inquiry that official intelligence would rather have shut down. The dismissal of some dubious scientific fact or method by official intelligence is taken as a clear sign that the powers that be are hiding something important, and that by this very means assumes the status of truth. Enormous labors will be devoted to unlocking its secrets and locating it in a worldview that is as logical as it is laughable, and that sustains the force of truth in large part by giving the lie to official truth. Reactive research, parody of science. Or of the mission of art and cultural commentary. Once it was crucial to separate high and low, art and kitsch, for the very good of the human spirit; then one tried to "transgress" these distinctions, without quite managing to get rid of them. But to copy comic books on vast canvases or laminate a few thriftshop tchotchkis and exhibit them in a major museum is not what used to be called a critical gesture, no matter what the catalogues say. It is not a critical reflection on the commodification of art, but a means of rendering the very distance required for such reflection null and void; not a "deconstruction" (sic) of the institution of art but the evacuation of criticism itself. In this zone, criticism is stupid, hence only stupidity can be critical. The illogic of this proposition cannot entirely eliminate its force. We are caught up in culture's inability to purge itself of the inanity utterly native to it. The patent stupidity of certain postmodern works of art, and of the commentary that tags along behind them, is a symptom of a virulent truth that infects everything and everyone, the holy blood of Van Gogh, Cezanne at his sublime labors, the Sistine Chapel englobing a void, empty frame after empty frame, vast libraries of special pleading, the whole dumb hollow of culture.

AT: NO ALTERNATIVE 53

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

[bird and asshole]

Kritik of the K

pg…/…

Criticism as stupidity; the inanity of intelligence and the intelligence of inanity; the absurd hybrid of critical theory and blatant foolishness that today constitutes all that is left of the critical. One must assess the force of this stupidity without simply reasserting for oneself, however tacitly, the superiority of critical intelligence. Stupid is no more a term of derision here than it is a term of praise; it is crucial not to mistake this epithet for a gesture of rejection, an attempt to mark out and claim for oneself any critical distance. It indicates a cultural condition that can hardly be embraced but that the pathetic enterprise of criticism is powerless to overcome by the application of more rigorous intellectual tools. We are pursuing a logic for which we have no taste; it binds and tangles one's writing in the most maddening ways; but ultimately the stupid underground constitutes a critique of criticism that must be taken up, however aggravating it is, precisely because it is aggravating. The spectacle of the masocritic trying to give stupidity its due while thinking it through with all the proper rigor, using it to judge himself judging, to judge judgment itself, humiliating himself, elaborating his own discourse as the vehicle of a death that is anything but heroic or sublime: let us take this as the true spectacle of criticism. Stupid vigilance, resistance to what one has already made certain would occur, and would have occurred in any case. Such a project will appear to you merely frivolous, self-indulgently self-defeating, like the course of the fabulous bird that flies in tighter and tighter circles until it disappears up its own asshole. Masocriticism must not defend itself against this perfect and proper charge. What it seeks is precisely guilt by association, stupid abasement. If it is therefore impossible for me to be either on the side of this essay or at any remove from it, that is, for me, its "value." Its ethical value: its stupid value.

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Alt: Work Within System of Tactics

Kritik of the K

We must detach our work from the institution and its rhetoric in order to escape the ivory tower and the atomization that their pseudo-intellectual kritik relies upon. This is called the “assemblage,” distinct from the disciplinary system currently employed by the academy, and it employs outlaw tactics to overturn the system. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2] Let me advance here -- as a preliminary gesture toward work being carried out elsewhere and precisely in other forms, and perhaps only in order to help put an end to the delusional use of such terms as nomadology, deterritorialization, and the rhizome in almost every academic forum that tries to employ them -- a tactical figure that has nothing to do with sedentary and fortified positions: the assemblage. I am concerned here with the "numerical" organization of intellectual work.24 Such work is of course highly institutional, hierarchical, regimental: intellectuals labor as individuals but their individualism is for the most part the atomic form of social and discursive systems entirely reliant on this atomization. The assemblage represents a mode of intellectual organization quite distinct from the pyramid scheme of individual in the service of discipline (whatever its ideological orientation) in the service of institution, etc., under which the professional intellectual currently labors. The notion of the assemblage can be traced, along one of its lines, to the nomad on horseback. The constellation "man-horse-stirrup" is a primary instance of an assemblage: a technological extension that transforms the subject it would seem to have served, installing the subject in another sort of instrumental relation and, in effect, in another ontology. "[T]here are no more subjects but dynamic individuations without subjects, which constitute collective assemblages." 25 Even so subjectivist a notion as desire is transformed here: assemblages are "passional, they are compositions of desire," but desire "has nothing to do with a natural or spontaneous determination; there is no desire but assembling, assembled, engineered desire" (TP 398). What is at issue is the projective movement of desire, its ballistic force out of anything like a subject-position into something more like a "relay" on an extensive line of flight across smooth, nomadic space. "The problem of the war machine is that of relaying, even with modest means, not that of the architectonic model of the monument. An ambulent people of relayers, rather than a model society" (377). We are confronted with a different order of logistics itself: in a sense, the importance of lines of communication overtakes the importance of the strategic positions they were once thought only to support. There is clearly room here for a certain kind of analysis of cybernetic developments in critical exchange, although here too one must avoid indulging in any romance of technological transformation. If the assemblage of writer-software-network offers nomadic possibilities, no one would deny that the state has already recuperated this technology (the Internet is the home shopping network of the knowledge industries). That is why it is crucial to focus not only on the technological assemblage, but on its mode of circulation: the network's accessibility for packs and bands that in their assembling do not serve institutional interests, whatever their day-jobs and unavoidable investments. Clearly the role of the hacker is suggestive here, not because of the quite trivial outlaw romance of hacking, nor because of any particular damage hackers might manage to inflict on this or that data base, but because of the form and force of the relay itself. Imagine banding together with others in temporary, mission-oriented, extra-institutional units, with specific, limited, tactical and strategic goals. Not the death or transcendence of the subject (not any metaphysics at all); not a postbourgeois utopia of drifts; surely not the establishment of any new isms; rather the transitory platooning of specific on-line skills and thought-weapons in mobile strike forces in the net. Perhaps the resurgent interest in the Situationist International will be less valuable for its polemics against the "spectacle," which only serve an already over-represented critique of representation, than for the organizational models offered by its particular forms of intellectual labor: the Situationist council as a nomadic war machine. The practice of such organization would affect the forms of thought itself. Assemblages will serve as the auto-erosive becoming-machine of what was never exactly the intellectual "subject." The transformation might already be occurring, on-line, even as the network surrenders to the apparatus of the newly transformed state.

pg…/…

55

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Alt: Work Within System

Kritik of the K

We must develop a war machine without war as its object using a nomadic form of organization that communicates as does the state military-industrial complexlearn from your enemy. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2] The task is to develop a war machine "that does not have war as its object." It is a persistent theme for Deleuze and Guattari: the war machine only takes military conflict as its primary object when it is appropriated by the state; nomadology indicates other directions and ends. Reducing the war machine to warfare: in the realm of intellectual warfare, that would involve reducing it to conflicting binaries, to dialectics. If warfare as such indicates the most reduced dialectical forms of positionality and negation (no use imagining oneself "beyond dialectics," since the beyond still drags the dialectic along with it), even the state army's distribution of its forces might already suggest a more nomadic form of organization: deployed like a herd across a whole field, communicating rhizomatically, etc.26 Witness then this strange twist on Clausewitz:
the distinction between absolute war as Idea and real wars seems of great importance. . . . The pure Idea is not that of the abstract elimination of the adversary, but that of a war machine which does not have war as its object, and which only entertains a potential or supplementary relation with war. Thus the nomad war machine does not appear to us to be one case of real war among others, as in Clausewitz, but on the contrary the content adequate to the Idea, the invention of the Idea, with its own objects, space, and composition of the nomos. . . . The other pole seem[s] to be the essence; it is when the war machine, with infinitely lower "quantities," has as its object not war, but the tracing of a creative line of flight, the composition of a smooth space and of the movement of people in that space. At this other pole, the machine does indeed encounter war, but as its supplementary or synthetic object, now directed against the State and against the worldwide axiomatic expressed by States. (420, 422)

pg…/…

It is crucial to note that Deleuze and Guattari are not critics, of Clausewitz or anything else. For all its talk of "against the state," very little about their work has to do with critical dialectics. They are committed rather to a certain affirmation, generated perhaps most of all out of their nomadic encounters with Nietzsche's thought. In that sense, a proper approach to their work will never take the form of elaborating critical objections to it, even when they would seem to be warranted. Nonetheless, I would argue that the greatest obstacle to deploying nomadology in a smooth space outside the state lies in the fact that nomadology, or something like it, might also represent the current form of the state's own development. Sedentary armies are being defeated and replaced by nomadic strategies still directed toward warfare, in the service of deterritorializing states. 27 If the end of global deterrence has hardly resulted in anything resembling a more pacific internationalism, but rather in a more ferocious and, it is often claimed, atavistic nationalism -- represented in western eyes, as usual, by Africa (e.g., Rwanda) and the Balkans -- at the same time we are also witnessing a reorganization of the state apparatus through the movement of multinational capital, information technologies, and high-tech international military interventions, as in Somalia and the Gulf. It is

56

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

tempting, for some, to see these changes as signs of a shift from an old world order to a newer, braver one, but one ought to and the same Kritik of see them instead as the most complex of knots. The Bosnian conflict represents at onepg…/… time an the K especially vicious nationalism and the resurgence of nomadic war machines; the allied forces of the Gulf War represent interests at one and the same time external to the state and entirely in its employ; multinational capital represents at one and the same time a nomadic form of deterritorialization and the state's attempt to survive what it believes to be its imminent demise. In the light of these events intellectual warfare confronts the complexities of its own appropriations and lines of flight. It also confronts massive proof of its utter triviality.

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

Alt: Must learn from the war machine

pg…/…

It is possible for the genre of critical writing and though to learn from the war machine that it criticizes. Mann, 1996, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture Vol 6 No 2,
It would be a mistake to assume that this metamorphosis of discourse as war into discourse on war has occurred because criticism has become more political. On the contrary, criticism has never been more than a political effect -- "policy" carried out, and in our case dissipated, by other means. The long process of seizing politics as the proper object of criticism is one more tardy phenomenalization of the device. What we witness -- and what difference would it make even if I were right? -- is not proof of the politicization of criticism but an after-image of its quite peripheral integration with forms of geopolitical conflict that are, in fact, already being dismantled and remodeled in war rooms, defense institutes, and multinational corporate headquarters. War talk, like politics talk, like ethics talk, like all critical talk, is nostalgic from the start. While we babble about territories and borders, really still caught up in nothing more than a habitual attachment to disciplinary "space" and anxious dreams of "agency," the technocrats of warfare are developing strategies that no longer depend on any such topography, strategies far more sophisticated than anything we have imagined. And we congratulate ourselves for condemning them, and for our facile analogies between video games and smart bombs. I would propose two distinct diagnoses of the rise of war talk. On one hand, war talk is merely another exercise in rhetorical inflation, intended to shore up the fading value of a dubious product, another symptom of the imaginary politics one witnesses everywhere in critical discourse, another appearance of a structural device at the very moment it ceases to operate. On the other hand, war talk might still indicate the possibility of actually becoming a war machine, of pursuing a military equivalent of thought beyond all these petty contentions, of realizing the truth of discourse as warfare and finally beginning to fight. It will be crucial here not to choose between these diagnoses. In the domain of criticism they function simultaneously, in a perpetual mutual interference; there is no hope of extricating one from the other, no hope of either becoming critical warriors or being relieved of the demand that we do so. The real task of this prediction is thus not to make any claim on the future, but rather to pursue a sort of genealogy, in Nietzsche's or Foucault's sense, in reverse: a projective genealogy, so to speak: an account not so much of the future as of the present, of the order of knowledge at this very moment. War here is a way to theorize discourse as collective behavior, to reconceive shifting positions, alliances, defenses, attacks, casualties and losses, logistical strengths and weaknesses, the friction and fog of discursive conflict. I will sketch out nine grounds of intellectual warfare: Logistics, Logomachia, Fortification, the Desert, the Screen, Number, High Ground, Chaos, and the Cemetery.8 These grounds are not exhaustive and do not constitute a singular field; they are not arranged in a logical sequence and do not amount to a single argument moving toward a single conclusion. War looks different from the vantage of each ground. During a given campaign an army or a writing might find itself, at different times, in different tactical situations and encounters, occupying several or all of these grounds, and deploying its forces in different arrangements. In this essay, the nine grounds do not amount to any telos, any whole, nor even an intellectual position, but in my movement among them I hope to indicate, in the most preliminary and doubtless futile manner, strategies for a critical writing that might actually learn from the war machines it studies.

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

ALT: Must learn from the war machine [1/2]

pg…/…

We can never truly be critical warriors, fighting a literal war on the behalf of some cause that we believe in- this ultimately fails, it never actually stops the war machine and only serves to indulge a fantasy. We must learn to incorporate the tactics of the war machine’s logistics into systems of resistance. Mann 1996 [Dept. of English, Pomona College, The Nine Grounds of Intellectual Warfare, Postmodern Culture
Vol 6 No 2]

It is commonplace to reduce intellectual production to economic terms. There is a vast, indeed a surplus critique of the commodification of thought, but critics are only just beginning to believe, as perhaps our travelling CEO has long believed, that there is some advantage in seeing their own business as warfare, and that it is possible to do so because culture, business, and defense are always to some degree integrated.9 Any executive who entertains the notion that he or she is a corporate warrior is no doubt engaged in a fantasy, but one should not be too quick to dismiss the utility of such fantasies, their ability to inspire performance. And perhaps we too should make a more rigorous accounting of our own investments in various critical ideologies, which so often presume to combat the institution while sustaining its discursive economy by the very means of our attacks. Everyone is aware that thought has been reified and transformed into a commodity, but that awareness has never inhibited production. The critique of the commodity produces perfectly marketable commodities. The half-conscious fantasies of the truthwarrior energize the intellectual economy quite as much as the samurai fantasies of the corporate factotum fuel the marketplace. Virilio would argue that they are not fantasies at all; stripped of narcissistic ornament, we would still have to see ourselves as soldiers. Writing in the high years of the Cold War, Virilio developed a theory of "pure war," global war so efficient it never needs to be fought, rather like William Burroughs's notion that a functioning police state needs no police. What is most crucial for Virilio's conception of the warfare state is his extreme emphasis on logistics. "Logistics is the beginning of the economy of war, which will become simple economy, to the point of replacing political economy" (PW 4). The invention of the city as such lies in logistical preparation for war. War is not an aberration, the negation of the truth of civilization, so much as its origin; or rather, civilization depends on an origin and order that forever threaten its destruction. And in a sense we have returned to this logistical origin: If we can say that war was entirely strategic in past societies, we can now say that strategy is no more than logistics. In turn, logistics has become the whole of war; because in an age of deterrence, the production of arms is already war. . . . Deterrence is the development of an arms capacity that assures total peace. The fact of having increasingly sophisticated weaponry deters the enemy more and more. At that point, war is no longer in its execution, but in its preparation. The perpetuation of war is what I call Pure War, war which is acted out . . . in infinite preparation. [However,] this infinite preparation, the advent of logistics, also entails the non-development of society . . . , peace as war, as infinite preparation which exhausts and will eventually eliminate societies. The Total Peace of Deterrence is Total War pursued by other means. (PW 91-93, 139, 25) One could argue that the stakes have changed: the Cold War is over and smaller wars are heating up; one could also argue that this is merely another case of total deterrence, and not yet achieved. In any event, to whatever degree a discrete militarization of

59

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K has occurred, in Virilio's model this logistical "endocolonization" depends on thepg…/… technical the peacetime economy production of
knowledge. Indeed technology has its very origin in logistical demands: technology arises from the need for weaponry, "from the arsenal and war economy" (24). But it is not a matter of armaments alone: "the war-machine is not only explosives, it's also communications, vectorization. It's essentially the speed of delivery. . . . It's war operating in the sciences. It's everything that is already perverting the field of knowledge from one end to the other; everything that is aligning the different branches of knowledge in a perspective of the end" (20). There is, here, no viable distinction between defense research and peacetime applications of science. Technology as such is a function of total logistics. Every form of knowledge supports the warfare state. Analogous if less exaggerated claims have been made by Alvin and Heidi Toffler in War and Anti-War, a lay account of the reliance of post-Cold War strategy on increasingly sophisticated weapons systems. It would seem that the end of the Cold War and the collapse of Virilio's global deterrence, which has resulted in drastic cutbacks in defense budgets and damage to the American economy as a whole, only exacerbates the logistical demand. Weapons now have to be smarter because we cannot afford so many of them; fighting forces now have to be more skilled, more mobile, and more cybernetically coordinated to deal with the realities of post-Cold War conflict. Tactical advantages are measured in technological terms rather than by sheer force of troop numbers. War, the Tofflers argue, is now about technical knowledge, increasingly fought by means of knowledge, and perhaps, in the future, over knowledge, over technological capabilities. "Cyberwar" is no longer science fiction: the acquisition, systematization, and deployment of technical knowledge have become the ground and stakes of bloody wars.10

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K
2nc biznez

pg…/…

In the 1999 French film “Protest,” some elephants decide to stage a protest by jumping off buildings. In 2 minutes (and believe me, that’s enough), the message is clear: shaking your fist at things, jumping off things, and acting all crazy isn’t going to get you far when you’re trying to beat your worst enemy: in this case, the pavement. The affirmative is a lot like a pair of protesting elephants, and no, we’re not commenting about their weight. Raising their fists at something known to all of us only as the “system” they’ll only get run over by tanks, standing parallel to their aggressor, and losing the ultimate battle. Stop protesting! Instead of bad French (pardon me…freedom) filmmaking, we should look to the Manchurian candidate in which Denzel Washington is captured and brainwashed in a plot to make Liev Schreiber president of the United States. No, we’re not telling you to brainwash people, we’re telling you that the state, that the powers “Out there” are stealthy, tactical, and operate on the invisible, most insidious level. Now imagine if Denzel had been aware of what technology was used to brainwash him, he could have averted the scheme and exposed it for what it was.

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“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K

pg…/…

B l o c k

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

L i n k 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LINK BLOCKNESS

“Demanding” that we act against the structures of violence is a call to arms that casts us as agents and allows us to indulge in fantasies of power. This battle is a black hole, it never approximates the system we fight, it is not warfare, its is the status quo. Convincing us all that the ballot means something, that we are agents in this war is to disempower five people- if we are busy indulging our fantasies with kritik we destroy the value of thought itself. As we speak, the technocrats of warfare are developing tactics that we cannot see, and as we shake hands and congratulate each other for critiquing them, we are being beaten by them. We must relieve ourselves of the duty to be critical warriors. The very nature of debate means we don’t identify with the same cause, and it is this non-identifiability that is irrelevant to the state. As singularities who fight the system, we become its enemies, expendable beings who can be sacrificed at a moment’s notice. Plan- laying out a strategy of resistence is passivity in the face of the fog of war, it is like begging to have somebody figure out how to beat your plan. Its like the avant-gards and having a manifesto- stop explaining yourself and the movment will be successful.

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Kritik of the K
1.

Permutation:

pg…/…

In rejecting the identity of the affirmative by merging it with that of our kritik, the aff becomes a singularity (even if that singularity is composed of a hybrid identity), rendering it susceptible to the state’s gaze, becoming what Agamben calls “identifiable” and “exterminable.”

2.

Intellectual movements are linked to the power of the system and therefore cannot effectively deploy stealth in order to subvert it, at least half the permutation will be in servitude to that which it tries to fight, turning the case and the K, so it’s a negative solvency issue at this point. [Insert “you are the system” ev] 3. Sure they can appropriate tactics, but the 1ac speech act has already functioned as a protest which means that by the time they get their hands on the tactical weaponry they need to create an effective war machine, they’ll already be pancakes under the wheels of tanks.

63

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

Kritik of the K
Another overview

pg…/…

We don’t have to be afraid of what we can see, it is what we can’t that is most dangerous. Denzel learned this in the Manchurian Candidate, as it was that which he couldn’t recall that nearly destroyed the world. Once we become identifiable resistors as we do when we demand against the state, when we make our intentions clear, we have already lost. Instead, we must invert this deterrence principle, stealth equipment can only function if its existence is clouded with uncertainty. We cannot have a plan, we cannot lay ourselves out there to be mowed down by someone’s tank. It is like in the first grade when I was having a milk carton “fight” with this little punk named Freddy. He threw the carton, and I threw it back, each time, his aim got better and he hit me harder, until I realized that the best thing I could do would be to hold on to the carton. I held on to the weapon, in this case a milk carton, in the case of the round “information” and completely disempowered him. I was probably weaker, I had worse aim than he di

64

“Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.”- Mitch Hedberg

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