Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Spectacular Interpellation

Readying myself for the seemingly inevitable return, or rather regurgitation, of il Cavaliere once L'Unione cock it up, I am whiling away my afternoons with Paul Ginsborg's useful Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony (Verso, 2004). Alongside the narrative of the systematic project of cultural mutation (or, in Pasolini's more rebarbative terms, "anthropological genocide") that allowed Berlusconi to engender a nation (well, half at least) of Last Men (and women - 44.8% of housewives voted for Forza Italia alone in 2001), there are gems such as the following, culled from an article by Alberto Moravia (of The Conformist fame) in il Corriere della Sera:

Television, I think, is something like sleeping or eating: a physiological need, which reading obviously isn't. In any case, the record for the disassociation that television produces between me as pure image and me as a writer came some days ago in Verona. In the main square of the city, a girl came running up to me and exclaimed: 'How happy I am to make your acquaintance: who are you?'

The Proletariat Wasn't Born in a White Vest

An extract from a 1934 piece by Brecht. I've translated it (from a French version, alas) for inclusion in a book by Badiou. A beacon of communist-nihilist optimism to shine on these dark times.

Briefly: when culture, in the midst of its collapse, will be coated with stains, almost a constellation of stains, a veritable deposit of garbage;
when the ideologues will have become too abject to attack property relations, but also too abject to defend them, and the masters they championed, but were not able to serve, will banish them;
when words and concepts, no longer bearing almost any relation to the things, acts and relations they designate, will allow one either to change the latter without changing the former, or to change words while leaving things, acts and relations intact;
when one will need to be prepared to kill in order to get away with one’s life;
when intellectual activity will be so restricted that the very process of exploitation will suffer;
when great figures will no longer be given the time needed to repent;
when treason will have stopped being useful, abjection profitable, or stupidity advisable;
when even the unquenchable blood-thirst of the clergy will no longer suffice and they will have to be cast out;
when there will be nothing left to unmask, because oppression will advance without the mask of democracy, war without the mask of pacifism, and exploitation without the mask of the voluntary consent of the exploited;
when the bloodiest censorship of all thinking will reign supreme, but redundant, all thought having already disappeared;
oh, on that day the proletariat will be able to take charge of a culture reduced to the same state in which it found production: in ruins.