Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

15

The exciting thing about Mark's writing [...] was the feeling that he was on a journey: the ideas were going somewhere, a gigantic edifice of thought was in the process of construction. You sensed, with mounting awe, that Mark was building a system. There was a feeling too that while the work was rigorous and deeply informed, it was not academic, either in terms of its intended audience or as an exercise done purely for its own sake. The urgency in Mark's prose came from his faith that words really could change things. His writing made everything feel more meaningful, supercharged with significance. Reading Mark was a rush. An addiction.

—p.15 Foreword (13) by Simon Reynolds 6 months ago

The exciting thing about Mark's writing [...] was the feeling that he was on a journey: the ideas were going somewhere, a gigantic edifice of thought was in the process of construction. You sensed, with mounting awe, that Mark was building a system. There was a feeling too that while the work was rigorous and deeply informed, it was not academic, either in terms of its intended audience or as an exercise done purely for its own sake. The urgency in Mark's prose came from his faith that words really could change things. His writing made everything feel more meaningful, supercharged with significance. Reading Mark was a rush. An addiction.

—p.15 Foreword (13) by Simon Reynolds 6 months ago
24

[...] the animating fibre that underpins the vast collage which he somehow synthesises into an effective and operative worldview opposed to the tedious banalities of a present ruled by the merciless logic of what he came to term "capitalist realism", where alternative possibilities have become increasingly proscribed and reduced to almost nothing. [...] he repeatedly worked out acute readings of popular culture as if piecing together, one by one, the fragmented pages of a lost manifesto of cultural alchemy necessary for challenging the disastrous tyranny of the present. [...]

goals tbh

—p.24 Editor's Introduction (21) by Darren Ambrose 6 months ago

[...] the animating fibre that underpins the vast collage which he somehow synthesises into an effective and operative worldview opposed to the tedious banalities of a present ruled by the merciless logic of what he came to term "capitalist realism", where alternative possibilities have become increasingly proscribed and reduced to almost nothing. [...] he repeatedly worked out acute readings of popular culture as if piecing together, one by one, the fragmented pages of a lost manifesto of cultural alchemy necessary for challenging the disastrous tyranny of the present. [...]

goals tbh

—p.24 Editor's Introduction (21) by Darren Ambrose 6 months ago
38

[...] Kafka, after all, is a writer who doesn't waylay you. He invades subtly, slowly. I imagine that at the time I wanted and expected a more straightforward statement of existentialist alienation. Yet there was very little of that in Kafka. This was not a world of metaphysical grandstanding but a seedy, cramped burrow, whose ruling affect is not heroic alienation but creeping embarrassment. Physical force plays almost no role in Kafka's fictions - it is the ever-present possibility of social shaming that is the motive force of his winding non-plots.

Remember the pitiful scenes in The Trial when K, looking for the court in an office block, knocks in turn on each door, making the pathetic excuse that he is a 'house painter'? Kafka's genius consists in banalizing the absurdity of this: surprisingly, against all our expectations, it is indeed the case that K's hearing is taking place in one of the appartments in the building. Of course it is. And why is he late? The more absurd K thinks things are, the more embarrassed he becomes for failing to understand 'the ways' of the Court or of the Castle. The bureaucratic convolutions appear ridiculous and frustrating to him, but that is because he 'has not understood' yet. Witness the comedy of the opening scenes of The Castle, which are less an anticipation of totalitarianism than of call centres, in which K is told that the telephones 'function like musical instruments'. What kind of an idiot is he, if when he phones someone's desk, he expects them to answer? Is he so wet behind the ears?

It's not for nothing that Alan Bennett, the laureate of embarrassment, is an ardent admirer of Kafka. Both Bennett and Kafka understand that, no matter how absurd their rituals, pronunciations, clothes might appear to be, the ruling class are unembarrassable; that is not because there is a special code which only they understand - there is no code, precisely - but that whatever they do is alright, because it is THEM doing it. Conversely, if you are not of the 'in-crowd' nothing you can do could EVER be right; you are a priori guilty.

—p.38 Book Meme (37) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

[...] Kafka, after all, is a writer who doesn't waylay you. He invades subtly, slowly. I imagine that at the time I wanted and expected a more straightforward statement of existentialist alienation. Yet there was very little of that in Kafka. This was not a world of metaphysical grandstanding but a seedy, cramped burrow, whose ruling affect is not heroic alienation but creeping embarrassment. Physical force plays almost no role in Kafka's fictions - it is the ever-present possibility of social shaming that is the motive force of his winding non-plots.

Remember the pitiful scenes in The Trial when K, looking for the court in an office block, knocks in turn on each door, making the pathetic excuse that he is a 'house painter'? Kafka's genius consists in banalizing the absurdity of this: surprisingly, against all our expectations, it is indeed the case that K's hearing is taking place in one of the appartments in the building. Of course it is. And why is he late? The more absurd K thinks things are, the more embarrassed he becomes for failing to understand 'the ways' of the Court or of the Castle. The bureaucratic convolutions appear ridiculous and frustrating to him, but that is because he 'has not understood' yet. Witness the comedy of the opening scenes of The Castle, which are less an anticipation of totalitarianism than of call centres, in which K is told that the telephones 'function like musical instruments'. What kind of an idiot is he, if when he phones someone's desk, he expects them to answer? Is he so wet behind the ears?

It's not for nothing that Alan Bennett, the laureate of embarrassment, is an ardent admirer of Kafka. Both Bennett and Kafka understand that, no matter how absurd their rituals, pronunciations, clothes might appear to be, the ruling class are unembarrassable; that is not because there is a special code which only they understand - there is no code, precisely - but that whatever they do is alright, because it is THEM doing it. Conversely, if you are not of the 'in-crowd' nothing you can do could EVER be right; you are a priori guilty.

—p.38 Book Meme (37) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
44

[...] What unfolds is the descent into the maelstrom Ballard has explored since High Rise and Concrete Island, a quest to the outer edges of the human that follows a well-defined sequence:

just thought this phrase was pretty

—p.44 Space, Time, Light, All the Essentials - Reflections on J.G. Ballard Season (BBC 4) (43) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

[...] What unfolds is the descent into the maelstrom Ballard has explored since High Rise and Concrete Island, a quest to the outer edges of the human that follows a well-defined sequence:

just thought this phrase was pretty

—p.44 Space, Time, Light, All the Essentials - Reflections on J.G. Ballard Season (BBC 4) (43) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
60

The moment at which Ballard's 'new proletariat' ('furnished with private schools and BMWs') become real political actors is when they cease to pursue their own class interests. Only then can they come to the Marxist revelation that bourgeois class interests are in no one's interests.

—p.60 What Are the Politics of Boredom? (Ballard 2003 Remix) (57) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

The moment at which Ballard's 'new proletariat' ('furnished with private schools and BMWs') become real political actors is when they cease to pursue their own class interests. Only then can they come to the Marxist revelation that bourgeois class interests are in no one's interests.

—p.60 What Are the Politics of Boredom? (Ballard 2003 Remix) (57) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
66

Desire is construed here in terms of simple appropriation (this equivalence is yet another way in which Kant is in tune with Sade). But what Kant - and those who follow him in condemning pornography because it 'objectifies' - fails to recognise is that our deepest desire is not to possess an other but to be objectified by them, to be used by them in/as their fantasy. This is one sense of the famous Lacanian formula that 'desire is the desire of the other'. The perfect erotic situation would involve neither a dominance of, nor a fusion with, the other; it would consist rather in being objectified by someone you also want to objectify.

—p.66 Let Me Be Your Fantasy (63) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

Desire is construed here in terms of simple appropriation (this equivalence is yet another way in which Kant is in tune with Sade). But what Kant - and those who follow him in condemning pornography because it 'objectifies' - fails to recognise is that our deepest desire is not to possess an other but to be objectified by them, to be used by them in/as their fantasy. This is one sense of the famous Lacanian formula that 'desire is the desire of the other'. The perfect erotic situation would involve neither a dominance of, nor a fusion with, the other; it would consist rather in being objectified by someone you also want to objectify.

—p.66 Let Me Be Your Fantasy (63) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
78

Counterfactuals are largely the preserve of the reactionary Right, and Peace refuses the temptation to change the facts. He writes his retro-speculative fiction in the spaces between the recorded facts, extrapolating, inferring, guessing. Yet the question the reader cannot help but pose is: what would have happened if the miners had won? (A question that has added piquancy since subsequent revelations have shown that the government was much closer to defeat than was ever suspected at the time.) The narrative in which the Strike is now embedded - the only narrative in town, the story of Global Capital - has it that it was part of a receding ebb tide of organised working class insurgency. Defeat was inevitable, written into the historical passage from Fordism to post-Fordism. The hard Left are outflanked, fighting under the banner of the Past for "the history of the Miner. The tradition of the Miner. The legacies of their fathers and their fathers' fathers."

But such a narrativisation is question-begging, since the very credibility of this story relies upon the events of the strike unfolding as they did. What if they hadn't? Under the aspect of eternity, everything is inevitable and we are all Spinozists. But life has to be lived 'forward', making us Sartreans. Reading the book now inevitably dramatizes the tension between these two positions, between knowing that everything has already happened and acting as if it hasn't.

—p.78 A World of Dread and Fear (77) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

Counterfactuals are largely the preserve of the reactionary Right, and Peace refuses the temptation to change the facts. He writes his retro-speculative fiction in the spaces between the recorded facts, extrapolating, inferring, guessing. Yet the question the reader cannot help but pose is: what would have happened if the miners had won? (A question that has added piquancy since subsequent revelations have shown that the government was much closer to defeat than was ever suspected at the time.) The narrative in which the Strike is now embedded - the only narrative in town, the story of Global Capital - has it that it was part of a receding ebb tide of organised working class insurgency. Defeat was inevitable, written into the historical passage from Fordism to post-Fordism. The hard Left are outflanked, fighting under the banner of the Past for "the history of the Miner. The tradition of the Miner. The legacies of their fathers and their fathers' fathers."

But such a narrativisation is question-begging, since the very credibility of this story relies upon the events of the strike unfolding as they did. What if they hadn't? Under the aspect of eternity, everything is inevitable and we are all Spinozists. But life has to be lived 'forward', making us Sartreans. Reading the book now inevitably dramatizes the tension between these two positions, between knowing that everything has already happened and acting as if it hasn't.

—p.78 A World of Dread and Fear (77) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
81

In GB84 the result is more poetic than most poetry; it is, naturally, a poetry stripped of all lyricism, a harshly dissonant word-music. Peace is a writer particularly attentive to sound: the unsleeping vigilance of state power is signified by the 'Click, Click' of the telephone tap , the massed ranks of the police by the Krk, Krk of boots and truncheons beaten against shields, both sounds repeated so much that they become background noise, part of the ambience of paranoia. [...]

cool

—p.81 A World of Dread and Fear (77) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

In GB84 the result is more poetic than most poetry; it is, naturally, a poetry stripped of all lyricism, a harshly dissonant word-music. Peace is a writer particularly attentive to sound: the unsleeping vigilance of state power is signified by the 'Click, Click' of the telephone tap , the massed ranks of the police by the Krk, Krk of boots and truncheons beaten against shields, both sounds repeated so much that they become background noise, part of the ambience of paranoia. [...]

cool

—p.81 A World of Dread and Fear (77) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
86

Once Tom can no longer sustain his fantasy identification with Dickie, the logic of his psychosis insists that he will only be able to resolve his existential crisis – his lack of Being - by killing Dickie. That is partly because, in Ripley’s mind, Dickie is already dead: a soulless shell who illegitimately possesses wealth and social status that the more tasteful and refined Tom feels that he rightfully deserves. Tom is sure that he can be Dickie better than Dickie himself could be, and Dickie will be the daub that Tom will use as the basis for his masterpiece, the new Thomas Ripley. There is also a sense in which, by killing Dickie, Tom "earns" his place in the unproductive leisure class. Even before he is elevated into the leisure class, Tom shares its disdain for "drudgery". The difference between Tom the common thief and con artist and Tom the member of the leisured elite is a successful act of violence. Veblen argues that "leisure class society" is founded on the "barbarian" distinction between exploit – "the conversion to his own ends of energies previously directed to some end by another agent" - and industry (or drudgery) – "the effort that goes to create a new thing with a new, ('brute') material". The Masters must always vampirise, never produce.

The performance of productive work, or employment in personal service, falls under … odium. An invidious distinction … arises between exploit and acquisition by seizure on the one hand and industrial employment on the other. Labour acquires a character of irksomeness by virtue of the indignity imputed to it.

Hunting has always been one of the activities upon which the leisured elite has prided itself, and Ripley is a consummate hunter (prey is one of the meanings of Ripley’s Game).

The use of homicidal violence to achieve and protect a position of privilege is very far from being aberrant, and Tom is no more likely to face justice than are the brigands of our real life ruling elites. (Highsmith’s refusal to impose a justice in the novels that is conspicuously lacking in the world is one of the most subversive aspects of her depictions of the character.) If Tom is pathological, his pathologies are the pathologies of a class; it is only the freshness of the blood of his victims (and his willingness to spill it himself) that separates Ripley’s exploits from those of his new peers. Yet Ripley is not a Slasher who enjoys killing. On the contrary, he is horrifying because he treats murder as a practical task devoid of any special existential or affective charge. Ripley’s commission of murders are remarkable for their their coldness and lack of cruelty; famously, Ripley only kills because he needs to, not because he enjoys it. Ripley kills out of cold, utilitarian logic, eliminating those who stand in his way or threaten to expose him. Again, far from being aberrant, a carefully maintained distinction between a violent, obscene underside and a bland, official front is the normal practice of power and privilege. It is not moral scruples that motivate Ripley (he notoriously has none), but a fear of humilation. [...]

—p.86 Ripley's Glam (83) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

Once Tom can no longer sustain his fantasy identification with Dickie, the logic of his psychosis insists that he will only be able to resolve his existential crisis – his lack of Being - by killing Dickie. That is partly because, in Ripley’s mind, Dickie is already dead: a soulless shell who illegitimately possesses wealth and social status that the more tasteful and refined Tom feels that he rightfully deserves. Tom is sure that he can be Dickie better than Dickie himself could be, and Dickie will be the daub that Tom will use as the basis for his masterpiece, the new Thomas Ripley. There is also a sense in which, by killing Dickie, Tom "earns" his place in the unproductive leisure class. Even before he is elevated into the leisure class, Tom shares its disdain for "drudgery". The difference between Tom the common thief and con artist and Tom the member of the leisured elite is a successful act of violence. Veblen argues that "leisure class society" is founded on the "barbarian" distinction between exploit – "the conversion to his own ends of energies previously directed to some end by another agent" - and industry (or drudgery) – "the effort that goes to create a new thing with a new, ('brute') material". The Masters must always vampirise, never produce.

The performance of productive work, or employment in personal service, falls under … odium. An invidious distinction … arises between exploit and acquisition by seizure on the one hand and industrial employment on the other. Labour acquires a character of irksomeness by virtue of the indignity imputed to it.

Hunting has always been one of the activities upon which the leisured elite has prided itself, and Ripley is a consummate hunter (prey is one of the meanings of Ripley’s Game).

The use of homicidal violence to achieve and protect a position of privilege is very far from being aberrant, and Tom is no more likely to face justice than are the brigands of our real life ruling elites. (Highsmith’s refusal to impose a justice in the novels that is conspicuously lacking in the world is one of the most subversive aspects of her depictions of the character.) If Tom is pathological, his pathologies are the pathologies of a class; it is only the freshness of the blood of his victims (and his willingness to spill it himself) that separates Ripley’s exploits from those of his new peers. Yet Ripley is not a Slasher who enjoys killing. On the contrary, he is horrifying because he treats murder as a practical task devoid of any special existential or affective charge. Ripley’s commission of murders are remarkable for their their coldness and lack of cruelty; famously, Ripley only kills because he needs to, not because he enjoys it. Ripley kills out of cold, utilitarian logic, eliminating those who stand in his way or threaten to expose him. Again, far from being aberrant, a carefully maintained distinction between a violent, obscene underside and a bland, official front is the normal practice of power and privilege. It is not moral scruples that motivate Ripley (he notoriously has none), but a fear of humilation. [...]

—p.86 Ripley's Glam (83) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago
97

The question that kept recurring when I was reading both Oryx And Crake and The Year Of The Flood was: why do these books not succeed in the way that The Handmaid's Tale did? If The Handmaid's Tale was an exemplary dystopia, it was because the novel made contact with the Imaginary-Real of neoconservatism. Gilead was 'Real' at the level of a neconservative desire that was operating in the Reaganite 80s; a virtual present that conditioned the actual present. Offred, the handmaids, the Marthas, the Wall - these names have the resonant consistency of a world. But Atwood does not have so assured a handle on neoliberalism as she did on neoconservatism. Atwood gives every appearance of underestimating the cheap poetry of brands, banal as it is; her corporate names are ugly and clunky, no doubt deliberately so - perhaps this is the way that she hears the absurd infantilisms of late capitalist semiotics. AnooYoo, HelthWyzer, Happicuppa, ReJoovenEssens, and - most ungainly of all - Sea(H)ear Candies: these practically caused me physical pain to read, and it is hard to conceive of any world in which these would be leading brands. Atwood's mistake is always the same - the names are unsightly plays on the function or service that the corporations offer, whereas capitalism's top brand names - Coca Cola, Google, Starbucks - have attained an asignifying abstraction, in which any reference to what the corporation does is merely vestigial. Capitalist semiotics echo capital's own tendency towards ever-increasing abstraction. (For the Imaginary-Real of neoliberalism, you'd be far better off reading Nick Land's 90s texts, shortly to be re-published.) Atwood's names for genetically-spliced animals - the pigoon, the spoat/gider, the liobam - are also examples of linguistic butchery; perhaps she was trying to provide a parallel in language for the denaturalising violence of genetic engineering. In any case, these linguistic monsters are unlikely to roam far beyond Atwood's texts (they certainly don't have anything like the dark sleekness and hyperstitional puissance of, say, Gibson's neologisms).

—p.97 Atwood's Anti-Capitalism (93) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago

The question that kept recurring when I was reading both Oryx And Crake and The Year Of The Flood was: why do these books not succeed in the way that The Handmaid's Tale did? If The Handmaid's Tale was an exemplary dystopia, it was because the novel made contact with the Imaginary-Real of neoconservatism. Gilead was 'Real' at the level of a neconservative desire that was operating in the Reaganite 80s; a virtual present that conditioned the actual present. Offred, the handmaids, the Marthas, the Wall - these names have the resonant consistency of a world. But Atwood does not have so assured a handle on neoliberalism as she did on neoconservatism. Atwood gives every appearance of underestimating the cheap poetry of brands, banal as it is; her corporate names are ugly and clunky, no doubt deliberately so - perhaps this is the way that she hears the absurd infantilisms of late capitalist semiotics. AnooYoo, HelthWyzer, Happicuppa, ReJoovenEssens, and - most ungainly of all - Sea(H)ear Candies: these practically caused me physical pain to read, and it is hard to conceive of any world in which these would be leading brands. Atwood's mistake is always the same - the names are unsightly plays on the function or service that the corporations offer, whereas capitalism's top brand names - Coca Cola, Google, Starbucks - have attained an asignifying abstraction, in which any reference to what the corporation does is merely vestigial. Capitalist semiotics echo capital's own tendency towards ever-increasing abstraction. (For the Imaginary-Real of neoliberalism, you'd be far better off reading Nick Land's 90s texts, shortly to be re-published.) Atwood's names for genetically-spliced animals - the pigoon, the spoat/gider, the liobam - are also examples of linguistic butchery; perhaps she was trying to provide a parallel in language for the denaturalising violence of genetic engineering. In any case, these linguistic monsters are unlikely to roam far beyond Atwood's texts (they certainly don't have anything like the dark sleekness and hyperstitional puissance of, say, Gibson's neologisms).

—p.97 Atwood's Anti-Capitalism (93) by Mark Fisher 6 months ago