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gabby's playhouse

David Harvey quote


Or, why alt-lit stinks, from David Harvey’s helpful The Condition of Postmodernity:

But postmodernism, with its emphasis upon the ephemerality of jouissance, its insistence upon the impenetrability of the other, its concentration on the text rather than the work, its penchant for deconstruction bordering on nihilism, its preference for aesthetics over ethics, takes matters too far. It takes them beyond the point where any coherent politics are left, while that wing of it that seeks a shameless accommodation with the market puts it firmly in the tracks of an entrepreneurial culture that is the hallmark of reactionary neoconservatism. Postmodernist philosophers tell us not only to accept but even to revel in the fragmentations and the cacophony of voices through which the dilemmas of the modern world are understood. Obsessed with deconstructing and delegitimating every form of argument they encounter, they can end only in condemning their own validity claims to the point where nothing remains of any basis for reasoned action. Postmodernism has us accepting the reification and partitionings, actually celebrating the activity of masking and cover-up, all the fetishisms of locality, place, or social grouping, while denying that kind of meta-theory which can grasp the political-economic processes (money flows, international divisions of labor, financial markets, and the like) that are becoming ever more universalizing in their depth, intensity, reach and power over daily life.

It is always satisfying when someone slightly more British than you gives voice to feelings you’ve had on an issue. But, what can you do. This is the state of the world, and pushing against pomoTM one feels they might as well try to push back the ocean — or capitalism, for that matter. Which we here at this pathetic website will continue to do, in our useless, off-putting way, until humanity strips our artistic flailings of their last calorie of potency with its strenuous and persistent apathy, and we’re finally forgotten & swept into the round file of existence like an empty, rotten avocado peel — while progress marches on [the mangled bodies of the dispossessed millions]!

6 Comments on “David Harvey quote”

      • Harvey often comes back to Marx’s idea of the “spectral” nature of capital and the ways it works. So, yeah, “hallucination” is apt. Have you watched his “Reading Capital” lectures?

        • No but thanks for the rec! I’m still plowing through TCoP, i’ve enjoyed it a lot so far but i’m still nervous he’s going to finish with some annoying ridiculous conclusions about What’s To Be Done (academics writing about culture usually do) but everyone seems to like him so i’m interested in how he wraps it up. I will check out the lectures!

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