Posts Tagged ‘society’

last night on tv:

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

The investigation of Auchan’s role in Rana Plaza by French human rights lawyer at Sherpa (and ten million other things which are embroiled in that),

and a visit to Hazari Bag, the outskirts of Dakar, where leather production is the main source of income (read: exploitation-pollution-poverty-etc.), which you absolutely do not want to see, but you’d better.


Mama, do clothes grow on trees? And shoes, too? Are they harvested and sent to us by flying robots? Just like the iPhone?

be happy

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

*”Capitalism addresses the unhappiness of its workers by leading them to think that the source of their unhappiness is ‘inside themselves’ (as corporate mindfulness advocates would put it) and not outside in the material context in which they work.”
To hell with all those meditation therapies, motivational team-building BS: the real problem is that we live in a money regime where happiness is measured by money.

Review of The Happiness Industry by William Davis, on Tricycle

By the way, sadness is so underrated! (Idleness too!)


Let Them Eat Privilege: the 99% vs 1% is not a myth. They just want you to stay content with the current inequalities, dear bourgeois.


Another sign of cultural retromania: SmartBoy, converting your iPhone into your childhood favourite GameBoy.

Who is Eleni Haifa?




Monday, March 23rd, 2015

“[The Silicon Valley]…excels in the manufacture of the immaterial and the incorporeal. It creates ideas to fill Thought Leader columns, TED talks, and conference circuits. It creates stock market flotations based on shareholder belief, and networked companies whose profits lie in disseminating other peoples’ work. Even the silicon in its name is now often manufactured overseas. So good is the Valley at nothing, in fact, that it’s spun it into a kind of cult—the myth of the “frictionless” world.”


“A single Google search (among the billions executed every day) releases half the carbon of a boiling kettle; the company as a whole produces as much CO2 as Laos.”

The Cult of Nothing, from the Baffler


Welcome to the world, Darling.

“The smartphone facilitates contingent employment models and self-exploitation by linking workers to capitalists without the fixed costs and emotional investment of more traditional employment relations.”

Smartphone Society, from the Jacobin


Bidding farewell to Microsoft, Apple, and even Google? It’s not too late, yet.


Big Brother is watching you! Un oeil sur vous – Citoyens sous surveillance. Alexandre Valenti, 2015.


when will androids dream of electric sheep?

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Why aren’t we having holidays on Mars yet? What about clothes which wash themselves? Or a robot butler which is way much smarter than the slow and stupid Roomba? Of flying cars and the declining rate of profitbureaucratic corporate capitalism, the illusion of post-work society, marketing, privatisation of everything there is, and all those awful things which characterise our societies. From The Baffler, by David Graeber.

“How do politicians who are unresponsive to the interests of the vast majority of their constituents get elected and, more important, re-elected, while doing the bidding mostly of the wealthiest individuals?

A politician who represents the interests primarily of economic elites has to find other means of appealing to the masses. Such an alternative is provided by the politics of nationalism, sectarianism, and identity – a politics based on cultural values and symbolism rather than bread-and-butter interests.”

On How the Rich Rule, from Project Syndicate

Bubble vocabulary: The lazy and pretentious literary show-off in all of us.

Addictive French fries, seductive and sexy Fondant au chocolat. A linguist talks about restaurant reviews à la Américain on the New Republic.



couch potato

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

recent consumptions:

*Vol Spécial, by Fernand Melgar, 2011. Highly recommended by G., documentary on the Swiss illegal immigrant detention centre in Geneva

*Zeitbombe Steuerflucht, by Xavier Harel, 2012. Humourous report on the nasty dealings in tax avoidance of the financial world, in which the skyline of HongKong opens the scene

*And here, from the Guardian today, The rich want us to believe that their wealth is good for us all. Of course it could be, but it definitely is not with the present state of affairs, when the same rich elite own everything that controls everything else.

*How fair is Fair Trade? A journey with Donatien Lemaître, Le business du commerce équitable
And the response from FairTrade, a defence for Banelino against the filmmaker.

in other news…
one night i dreamt that i went *back* to chambana to do a PhD. google confirmed that caffé paradiso still exists, so it might still be an option (ha!). and lo, look at the kids at maker space urbana: the wonderful Electric Waste Orchestra!



for the love of football

Monday, June 16th, 2014

World Cup mon amour.

“The discourse of “the beautiful game” romances the idea that in poverty one’s pleasures have a certain nobility. It is one of the most cynical features of the mega event: a neo-liberal fantasy about the joy of the poor functions as an alibi for an inhuman economy in which stadiums are built not as homes for a team and its fans, but as sets for a handful of televised events; in which clubs are mortgaged into abstraction; in which the obscenity of one player’s income is dwarfed by the cosmic scale of the team-owner’s wealth. The identification of the game with keywords like “universal,” “global” and “beautiful” papers over the exclusion of women from this world. It celebrates the provincialism which assumes that there is no place on earth indifferent to this sport. It turns the scholar of the sport’s globalism into expert testimony justifying development schemes. The larger and the more inclusive these events become, the more media space they take up, the more public resources they use up – and the worse things gets. Resources are not redistributed around the World Cup; they are concentrated and absorbed by a ministry of corruption.”

from the Sport Spectacle, 13.06.2014.


i am not afraid. i am not afraid. i am not afraid.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

After being miserable, being bored, now We are all very anxious according to this article from Plan C. Surveillance, control, security and safety measures, scapegoating, privatisation and bureaucratisation, precarity and self-sensorship. Welcome to the world.


Anxiety is personalised in a number of ways – from New Right discourses blaming the poor for poverty, to contemporary therapies which treat anxiety as a neurological imbalance or a dysfunctional thinking style. A hundred varieties of “management” discourse – time management, anger management, parental management, self-branding, gamification – offer anxious subjects an illusion of control in return for ever-greater conformity to the capitalist model of subjectivity. And many more discourses of scapegoating and criminalisation treat precarity as a matter of personal deviance, irresponsibility, or pathological self-exclusion…

People both conform to the demand to communicate rather than expressing themselves, and self-censor within mediated spaces. Similarly, affective labour does not alleviate anxiety; it compounds workers’ suffering while simply distracting consumers.



take me somewhere nice

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

corporation management, discipline, and control: chomsky on the american university system, education, precarity, and vulnerable workers;

about food, and hunger:
Taste the waste! how food is dumped, in immense amounts, every day in almighty Europa (and meanwhile, on earth…);
Süsses Gift – Hilfe als Geschäft, a beautifully filmed, strong critique on development aid in Africa;

…and how all things are related to each other (profit! profit! profit!).

lastly, how did saving the world become big corporate business? and does it have to? for better or worse?
“Narrow thinking, bureaucratic structures and the overriding priority of fundraising lead NGOs to treat people as donors and consumers, rather than to empower them to struggle for social justice.” Spot on.

<edit 22.07.2014> Raid then Aid: Pretending to be saviours. The “developed” world is but looting from down south.


A propos de somewhere nice, let’s go to the internet black market. Yami-ichi Forever! get the whatever button NOW!

what a wonderful world

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Goldman Sachs, la banque qui dirige le monde


Corporate Coup d’Etat


Raising Resistance


Notre poison quotidien

{p.s. and more on poison américain}


Die akte Aluminium


Prison Valley

oh, darling, i never watched that much tv ever before.

a propos “The Problem with Work”:

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

“Why do we work so long and so hard? The mystery here is not that we are required to work or that we are expected to devote so much time and energy to its pursuit, but rather that there is not more active resistance to this state of affairs…”

Opening lines from The Problem with Work, Kathi Weeks, 2011


“Voluntary,” i.e., unpaid or low paying jobs in the culture or academic industries, for example, are all too often accepted as an unchangeable fact, and nothing else is even demanded. The necessity of pursuing other, less creative, precarious jobs in order to finance one’s own cultural production is accepted. This forced and, simultaneously chosen, financing of one’s own creative output constantly supports and reproduces precisely those relations from which one suffers and of which one wants to be a part. Perhaps those who work creatively, these precarious cultural producers by design, are subjects that can be exploited so easily because they seem to bear their living and working conditions eternally due to the belief in their own freedom and autonomy, due to self-realization fantasies. In a neoliberal context they are exploitable to such an extreme that the State even presents them as role models.

This situation of self-precarization is connected to experiences of fear and loss of control, feelings of insecurity through the loss of certainties and safeguards, as well as fear and the experience of failure, social decline and poverty. Also for these reasons, “letting go” or forms of dropping out and dropping off of hegemonic paradigms are difficult. Everyone has to remain “on speed” otherwise you might fall out. There are no clear times for relaxation or recuperation. This kind of reproduction has no clear place, which, in turn, results in an unfulfilled yearning and a continuous suffering from this lack. The desire for relaxation to “find oneself” becomes insatiable. These kinds of reproductive practices usually have to be learned anew. They are lacking in any self-evidence and have to be fought for bitterly against oneself and others. In turn, this makes this yearning for reproduction, for regeneration, so extremely marketable.

Isabell Lorey, Governmentality & Self-Precarization: On the Normalization of Cultural Producers, 2006


Extract from the review of Yann Moulier Boutang’s Le capitalisme cognitif from Steven Shaviro’s blog at

“The book ends…with an excellent proposal. Boutang argues for an unconditional “social wage”: to be given to everyone, without exception, and without any of the current requirements that welfare and unemployment programs impose on their recipients (requirements like behaving properly, or having to look for work, or whatever). This social wage — he gives a provisional figure of 700 euros per month, or about $1000/month at today’s exchange rates) would be paid in recompense for the fact that “general intellect,” from which corporations extract profit, is in fact the work of everyone — even and especially outside of formal work situations. Boutang spends a lot of energy showing how this proposal is fiscally feasible in Europe today, how it would rejuvenate the economy (and thus lead, in the long run, to enhanced profits for the corporations whose tax payments would finance it). What he doesn’t say, however — and perhaps does not recognize — is that, even though this proposal is perfectly feasible in terms of the overall wealth of the world economy), if it were really adopted universally — that is to say, worldwide, to all human beings on the face of the planet — it would severly disrupt the regime of appropriation that he calls “cognitive capitalism.” This is yet another example of bat020’s and k-punk’s maxim that (reversing a slogan from May 1968) we must “be unrealistic, demand the possible.” The unconditional social wage is entirely possible in terms of what the world can economically afford, but it is “unrealistic” in terms of the way that “cognitive capitalism” is structured. Demanding it pushes the system to a point of paradox, a critical point — at least notionally.”



Thursday, April 11th, 2013

“Up to a century ago the people who thought about progress were the people who had the power to bring it about. Until recently new ideas originated with the powerful; with princes, industrialists, public benefactors. Today the men with power have ceased to be benefactors of mankind; at best they do things that benefit certain individuals. Today all the new ideas come from the poor and powerless. The men with power to change anything have stopped thinking. So no change is possible.”

Peter Handke, Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a/M, 1972 (1974, English Edition)



happiness begins

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The agent of the spectacle placed on stage as a star is the opposite of the individual, the enemy of the individual in himself as well as in others. Passing into the spectacle as a model for identification, the agent renounces all autonomous qualities in order to identify himself with the general law of obedience to the course of things. The consumption celebrity superficially represents different types of personality and shows each of these types having equal access to the totality of consumption and finding similar happiness there.

The Society of the Spectacle, 61, Guy Debord, 1967.


why care?

Saturday, May 26th, 2012


“What interest does the modern individual have in being represented – the individual of the networks and the virtual, the multi-focal individual of the operational sphere? He does his business, and that is that. What does he care for transcendence? He lives very well in immanence and interaction. What does a political will mean to him, a collective will, that glimmer of sovereignty he delegated to the social organization? There is no longer any delegation of the will, or of desire. The screen of communication has smashed the mirror of representation. Now only statistical shadows circulate – on the opinion-poll screens. There is no social contract any longer: on the media screens, only the image-playback functions. The citizen’s only symbolic capital is that of his disaffection and political poverty, that very poverty managed by our official representatives (that is the secret of their corruption).”

Jean Baudrillard, Impossible Exchange, pp. 139-140.


Alien Nation!

Monday, March 14th, 2011


“Capitalist relations increasingly shaped artistic production itself. Ideally, artists control their output, they create objects in accordance with the laws of beauty, humanising the natural world by transforming matter in a way that expresses their own human essence. The activity of the artist attempts a self expression that is denied in alienated labour. But once artists are at the mercy of the market alienation is reintroduced. The market separates producer from consumer. Ours is a social species that emerged precisely through co-operative labour. The fact that an artist must present a finished product to an audience who passively and privately consume it disrupts the free flow of ideas that are essential to real creativity.”

Chris Nineham, “Art and alienation: a reply to John Molyneux”, Issue 82, International Socialism Journal, March 1999