March 2009


Is there anything more humiliating or frustrating then looking for a fucking job? Of course there is, but, its still fucking horrible.

First there is your reduction to marketable experience and qualities in the language of gibberish marketing. Experience is always a prerequisite but never defined. Other terms like multi-tasking etc. are always requested. And shit brained notions such as a love of ‘coffee culture’- what ever the fuck that is- are slipped in.

Then there is your willed reduction of yourself to these idiotic terms. Even though your not sure what they mean- cuz they don’t meant anything- suddenly you are full of experience, attention to detail and, of course, love coffee culture.

Finally,  there is the cruel irony that even though you have prostituted yourself and used their language, your powerless and vulnerable to any type of slap the invisible hands of the bearers of capital deem necesesary. Here the bullshit criteria can be shrugged of by the owner or manager’s whim. Because they can hire whoever the fuck they want.

An example. I had a job interview at a coffee shop on Saturday. I had gone through the already mentioned steps of totally degrading myself. I had even thrown in some embarassing drivel about having been imersed in coffe culture from my years in seattle.

So guess what happened– the fucker didn’t show up! I was told he was caught in traffic. So I waited 20 minutes. Then the manager had a short talk with me. He told me the owner wouldn’t make it but that he would call me and set up a trial shift. I left assuming this would happen.

Cut to today. Its two days later. i haven’t heard from the guy. I’m wondering if he lost my number and decide to call tomorrow. Then I check Gumtree and theres a fucking listing for the coffee shop minus one of the positions. FUCKER.

The even more pathetic thing is that I’m so desperate for a job, I’m starting to fret whether I did something wrong– Should I have stayed until the owner showed up even though the manager told me to leave? Was it some kind of psychotic test where I had to prove how much I wanted it? Should I have called the next day? I’m even planning on calling tomorrow where I’ll pretend I didn’t see the ad and I’m checking in to make sure he still wanted me to come and have a trial shift. How fucking pathetic.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to become the ‘new man’ then it would be to meet the criteria deemed desirable to wash fucking dishes, make a coffee etc.

I just finished a busy week and I felt burnt out. So I decided to take the weekend off. But, I don’t quite know what to do with free time.

My usual free time is spent resting or recovering. I spend the day walking about and then usually watch a movie. Lately, Ive been watching tv shows like The Wire.

But this is usually a few hours at the end of the day or sunday. So i don’t really have much energy. I certainly don’t have expectations.

Taking a weekend off is different. I have two whole days. I can plan and do things. Except, I don’t know what to do.

I can’t do what most people do– consume– because I don’t have any money. So, instead my weekend– my free time– has been intermittently relaxing but also restless and boring with flashes of anxiety and ennui.

How did i get here? has constant work suppressed the emotional content of unfreedom which has surfaced in my extended free time? Is this dread the realization we all feel when free but unable to consume? Or have I become so conditioned to produce or adapt to my craft that the world feels alien without reading and thinking about particular things? I think the answer is probably both, which is why I want to devote my free time to doing something I love that I am terrible at. Not a hobby but a practice where I remain an amateur that resists free time and professionalization.

Taken in its strict sense, in contradistinction to work, as it at least used to apply in what would today be considered an out-dated ideology, there is something vacuous…about the notion of free time. An archetyptal instance is the behaviour of those who grill themselves brown in the sun merely for the sake of a sun-tan, although dozing in the sun is not at all enjoyable, might very possibly be physically unpleasant, and impoverishes the mind.

in the sun-tan, which can be quite fetching, the fetish character of the commodity lays claim to actual people they themselves become fetishes. the idea that a girl is more erotically attractive because of her brown skin is probably only another rationalization. The sun-tan is an end in itself, of more importance then the boy-friend it was perhaps supposed to entice.

if employees return from their holidays without having acquired the mandatory skin tone, they can be quite sure their colleagues will ask them the pointed question, ‘haven’t you been on holiday then?’ the fetishism which thrives in free time, is subject to further social controls.

It is obvious that the cosmetics industry with its overwhelming and ineluctable advertisements, is a contributory factor here,

but people’s willingness to ignore this is just as great.

Free time is tending towards its own opposite, and is becoming a parody of itself. Thus unfreedom is gradually annexing ‘free time,’ and the majority of unfree people are as unaware of this as they are of the unfreedom itself. TWA Free Time 190

Almost a perfect description of the basis of Brighton’s economy. Now that its sunny thousands of people head down here. Their getaway managed by the same forces that make them want to get away. By the niche markets of indulgence, through which the pasty masses try to escape. As a foreigner fishes and chips on the beach will never appeal to me or make sense.

Popular culture would make you believe there were plenty of freaked out jesus cults in the 60s. Jesus cults that dropped acid and sold health food. But this is the only Jesus cult I know of that made incredible fucking music;

p.s their jesus- father yod- also died in a hangglider accident.

In our time of total economic clusterfuck, think of it as the perfect radical academic holiday– an Adorno conference by the sea, or, critical theorizing on a budget anyone can afford. See you at the Grand Abyss Hotel with sea view. Please circulate widely.

callforpapers1

The Centre for Social and Political Thought (University of Sussex) is hosting a one-day conference on the 6th August 2009 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the death of Theodor W. Adorno.

Anyone interested in presenting at this event is invited to submit either a paper proposal or abstract (no more than 500 words) to

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Please include with proposals/abstracts your full name, email address, institutional affiliation, and position within institution.

We welcome papers on any issue directly related to (or influenced by) Adorno’s work – areas of interest may include aesthetics, memory, technology, ethics, politics, ideology, literature, theory/praxis, fetishism, culture and critique, as well as Adorno’s legacies, influence and contemporary relevance.

The dealine for submissions is the 31st May 2009.

Decisions regarding the final programme will be made shortly after the deadline.

For any further information, please contact either Simon Mussell s.p.mussell@sussex.ac.uk or Chris O’Kane co41@sussex.ac.uk

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing something that plays on Nietzsche’s writing on history called something like On The Uses and Abuses of Theory for Life. The piece would examine how theorists are used in theory and what the ramifications are for using say Adorno or Adorno’s concept of x in your writings.The piece would start from the following problem; theory’s sophisticated language is supposed to demystify but the fairly standard theoretical practice of utilizing a vareity of different theorist’s concepts in your theory can become mystified and obtuse in-itself. In the worst cases this theoretical mystification becomes a substitute for critical thinking. Its incoherent drivel also gives theory a bad name because its language operates in such a specialized way that although it may be incoherent to somebody who has studied theory, anyone who hasn’t will find it incomprehensible, thus totally divorcing theory from any hope creating widespread demystification. But, this is not to condemn the practice wholesale because I obvously think it has value, only to call into question the sort of practice of people like say Agamben who sometimes seem to think being obscure is critical in its own right as well as remind ourselves that although it may be aesthetically pleasing to try to decipher what the fuck Agabmen is talking about with his ‘anything whatever’ there is more important shit going on right now that we should be criticizing. If the blame for the current global economic clusterfuck gets shifted to the Madoffs of the world and capitalism is not demystified and held to account then we only have ourselves to blame. I’m not really saying anything here that isn’t obvious, but, perhaps we should also be looking to theorists like Korsch who use theory and try to engage people. I read his Theses on Marxism the other day and found them very pertinent. They sorta reminded me of what Badiou is developing, but without Lacan. We gotta do something.

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