Posts Tagged ‘Marxism’
WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP SHITTY JOBS?
Louis Althusser has the situation pegged. The (repressive) State Apparatus keeps things status quo because they can beat you into submission with their repression ‘machine.’ Ideological forces lead us to believe we have a choice even though they dictate the social norm. All this exists in an effort to ensure reproduction of labor power for the capitalists. “Relations of exploitation” contributing “generously to its own reproduction” (1492).
Damn, I want to quit and I don’t even have a job!?That’s it. I’M NEVER GOING TO WORK AGAIN.
IDEOLOGY IN PROGRESS
I saw the perfect ideological example in the documentary, The Myth of the Liberal Media. Noam Chomsky said that journalists are groomed in school to churn out information in a particular format after years of conformist instruction at Universities across the nation. When they enter the work force, they don’t have the freedom to write what they wish, although they believe they will. Instead, they must honor the capitalist machine, careful not to offend advertisers or people with connections to the boss. Each of these outside influences are considered filters on our media, preventing truth from being told.
The film?describes a journalist who investigates and writes an article about the lack of “trustworthy” used car salesmen in the area. He caught several in lies. When the article went to print, the newspaper lost thousands in advertising per day. Since used car lots provided the bulk of the paper’s advertising revenue, they had pulled out in protest until the paper wrote a retraction. When the paper rescinded it’s backing of the article, did it mean the salesmen were any less snakey? Obviously not. But the ideological pressure to conform was surely present for the journalist.
BACK TO ALTHUSSER
The intricasies of the dance between repressive and ideological State Apparatuses is intense. They are completely reciprocal. The RSA exists in the public legal realm, is unified, can survive shifts of power in government, and functions first by repression/violence and secondarily by ideology. The ISA exists in the private sector, is plural (although unified beneath the ruling ideology), and function first by ideology and secondarily by force…
Land of the free, huh? Who are we kidding. We can’t even up minimum wage without giving CEOs a tax break because THEY drive our capitalistic society and want to KEEP US DOWN. (<-She said?with a morning voice that resembles Rorschach’s.)
BEATING THE SYSTEM
That’s it. I have?to quit school. And I’ll protect my kids from the oppression of kindergarten by?not having any.?Not that I was going to anyway…?
(Well, I was – until I spent a?week with my husband’s family of 26 for Christmas. The two year old screamed, “No!” The 11 year old asked “Why?” THe 5 year old beat up the 6 year old, and the 19 year old tried to hop in the 24 year old’s car for hard night of drinking.)
My husband just walked by my office. I yelled, “Honey, I’M A MARXIST!! This stuff is everything I bitch about: standardized testing?, the administration… and … and… It’s one more we reason we shouldn’t have kids!”
The only reply is the sound of his shower water flowing down the drain.
I’M?NOT DEAD YET! RUN AWAY!
If ideology is socially constructed, a dream, pure illusion, why don’t we, as a human race,?envision better for ourselves??Must the greedy bad guys always win?
All in all, I’m ready to run off to my own island and govern it the way I see fit, just like the Bates’ family?on?Sealand. It went up for sale a few months ago for $998 Mil. This is my kind of situation… If only it had the land it sports in it’s name. I know, I’ll dream some up.
In terms of defining literature, what the heck is ‘it’ anyway???(From what I gather, it’s certainly not?San Francisco’s?Original Ice Cream Treat.) Raymond Williams’?use of?the term ‘it’ in reference to literature,?complete with single quotes for emphasis on?pages 1568 and 1573 of the excerpt from Marxism and Literature, seems quite relevant to his argument that?’it’ has been rendered inatimate rather than a living, breathing organism.
As?Williams explains,?literature’s broad beginnings in the 14th Century?referred to?both the ability and act of reading. Since then,?the meaning has been hacked, chiseled and vastly narrowed through time. By the 19th Century?”literature” pertains to the highly specialized reading and printing of the social elite.?Reducing literature to “formal composition within the social and formal properties of language” (1568), is the utmost abstraction.?
William’s certainly pooh-poohs this constraint.?To be specialized in such an ideological way leaves little room for outside criticism.?Who could do it??Never the elite! In doing so, they would?destroy the?very structure?which allows their?exclusive access.?Thus “criticism” as the practice of faultfinding devolved into the “exercise of ‘taste’, ‘sensibility’ and ‘discrimination.’” (1570)?By?noting this abuse of categorization and abstraction, and abstraction’s power to distill?literature into sterility, Williams believes ‘it’ becomes less than a living, breathing thing.
Marxist criticism stretched the concept of tradition, giving literature to all people by including pop culture. Then there was the reconstitution of bourgeois social practice. Without challenging the practice in it’s own right, social history?was widened to include “conceptions of ‘the people’, ‘the language’, and ‘the nation’.” (1573)?
So what was born from Marxist criticism? Ray thinks that democratization or putting literature in the hands of “the people” again brought it to life in new ways. Everything from the State of the Union to smiley’s on the Internet have become forms of literature. No longer limited to print, technology has been an historical development that, once again, helped to shift?literature’s meaning back to something full of life as an ever growing and changing entity.
TANGENT: When I think reconstitution, bourgeois social practice or otherwise,?I think?orange juice. To my spoiled ass it doesn’t taste as good as fresh squeezed, it’s cheaper and widely available, but?it does make?me ask questions like, “How do they?take water out? And how does it get back in? What makes it taste different afterward? What’s the point?” …And then?I drink it anyway because it’s the new technology in orange juice and it satisfies my thirst.
AS FOR DELEUZU AND GUATTARI’S RHIZOMES
I am all about these little tubers. I love to plant?peonies, ferns, and dahlias and have?suffered invasions?from hostile bamboo. When peonies eventually grow beyond?their boundaries, I dig them up, divide their carpeting mass of bulbous material, and replant the smaller?hunks in new places. This is not always an easy task as the mass can be a mess. This system is not as cut and dried as that of a tree, which is what makes it so relavent.
We’re taught early on about seeds and trees. Roots grow down. Shoots grow up. End of story. As Deleuze and Guattari point out, there are limitations when applying this cliche to the analysis of literature. Rhizomes are not limited to this up and down movement. They grow up, down,?left, right?and on every possible diagonal. One bulbous center produces willy nilly outcrops of root strands and shoots that criss-cross and jut out at random. Choas, yes.?Still, the?central orb?is important to the theory as it ” is by no means an average; on the contrary, it is where things pick up speed” (1609). The tree analogy provides no pulpy?center, no central? and multiple plateaus. A tree just doesn’t cut it.
Clearly, the rhizome analogy makes?far more sense when applied to the ways in which literature can be approached. The multitudinous lines of study?stemming from?one body (wO- “without organs”) of work is, quite possibly,?infinite.