Of interest: The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is set to come out soon… looks like there is going to be a whole series of Pervert’s Guides (I think that the next one is going to be Pervert’s Guide to Opera). Also, check out the article, ‘A Pervert’s Guide to Family’ in Lacanian Ink.

* In relation to the Family Myth of Ideology, has anyone read Jameson’s article, ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’? There is some crossover in this article with the family narrative in cinema.

Communism will win!

August 19, 2008

Q&A with the Z

The End of the world…

August 18, 2008

There’s an article on the CBC website today about the world’s largest particle accelerator, and although it’s very short, there are a couple of interesting things in it. First is the notion that there is a “God particle” that lies at the base of particle theory – no one has every measured/seen this particle directly. It’s assumed to exist and founds the entire theory. If this particle is proven not to exist, the entire theoretical edifice will fall down and a new one will have to be built. That is, there’s a lack that belies the entire system and can only be felt in it’s supposed effects (giving weight to all other particles), and a name (master sig?) given to that lack: the Higgs boson.

doomsday collider

"doomsday" collider

The second thing I found that was interesting is that there is a political movement that is trying to have the experiments shut down, using the argument that they could bring about mini-black holes that would spell the end of the world. In the comments section someone with the handle ‘jetsdude’ makes a remark much like Z would make: “We consume 10 times as much as we should, we drive around in giant gass guzzlers, we pour polution into our fresh water lakes…yet we’re worried that a black hole is going to eat our planet…” (and I would add – cough cough – capitalism to that list). That is, there are far more important things to get political about, yet people are displacing their energies onto an object whose preservation is needed to maintain the world the way it is.

Third is the comment by “animesux” that we should “Just kick back and put your trust in science.” So, in place of a religious God, we have a “God particle” to be discovered by science, a discipline into which we should put our total trust. First comes God (religion) then comes Nature (Marquis de Sade replacing God with Nature…) then comes Science filling the same old role…

Except the Physicist from McMaster being interviewed about the collider says that one of the major roles of particle physics as a discipline is not to find the meaning of the universe, but to produce people who can join the market economy:

Physicists are really in demand outside academia, and the reason they are is that the portable skills you get as a physicist are rare. You learn how to analyze problems from first principles, to translate that into mathematics, to solve the mathematics and then to translate it back into implications for the thing you are trying to solve. And that’s really useful everywhere in the economy.

My students that go out into the workforce are bankers, insurance people, engineers and software people. These people are going into a very useful place in the economy, but they wouldn’t have gone there directly. The reason they learn these skills is because particle physics is cool and you get to think about the universe as a whole, or you get to think about what matter is made of. And they are drawn by that in a way they wouldn’t be drawn naturally into something like banking.

 Through the cunning of reason, a physicist becomes a great capitalist…

Though, it could totally go the other way: the question, I suppose, is why do psysicists become bankers, and not social workers or Lawyers (and perhaps they do…)?

And even if the “God particle” is found to exist, is there anything that prevents that particle from being further being studied to show that it is in fact composed of other particles? In place of God, then, you get the constant refinement of Wissenshaft

Leo Panitch…

August 4, 2008

In Defence of Lost Causes Zizek again declares his interest in Chavez’s actions in Venezuela, and speaks against Negri’s enthusiasm for Brazil. In this video of a talk given by YorkU prof Leo Panitch about workers movements in Brazil, we get a glimpse of the reason why: The government of Brazil has made no anti-capitalist policies…

And here’s an interview where Panitch talks about the relevance of class struggle and makes a short commentary on the failings of Laclau and Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy.