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).

1

Tiqqun can insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the Young-Girl is “obviously not a gendered concept” because it knows that we know that it knows this. Tiqqun uses works of Continental philosophy in the same way that schoolyard bullies use in-jokes: as passwords that grant access to a protected inner circle. Tiqqun assumes that readers will assume that writers so well versed in texts that have spoken truth to ­power could not really hate women. The prestige of the theoretical vocabulary that Tiqqun’s members have mastered bolsters their credibility.

At the same time, Theory of the Young-Girl adopts a playful pose that prevents real Young-Girls, or any Grown Women who might find time to read books published by Semiotext(e), from calling them out. Because Tiqqun’s collage does not attribute sources, we can read any given passage in disavowing quotation marks, as a lightning bolt of original insight, or as both. Publishing anonymously is only a backup measure for evading responsibility. Lift out any one line to object to it—“Wait a minute, how has all the concreteness of the world taken refuge in my ass?”—and you would be sure to look foolish, even if you did know whom to ask.

[...]

Even when adopted by radical theory, this knowing posture is conservative. Knowingness is the attitude that allows sexism to persist in progressive institutions that you would expect to know better, precisely because you would. When casual sexism pervades leftist theory, one assumes it is ironic; when progressive institutions ignore gender politics, one assumes this is because struggles for equality have already been won, or must be deferred so we can attend to more pressing political needs. Intellectuals tend to show class allegiance, bracketing or ignoring casual sexism in their own circles. They project misogyny outward, onto Middle America megachurches and racialized others, or onto the powerful men that pander to those masses.

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago

Tiqqun can insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the Young-Girl is “obviously not a gendered concept” because it knows that we know that it knows this. Tiqqun uses works of Continental philosophy in the same way that schoolyard bullies use in-jokes: as passwords that grant access to a protected inner circle. Tiqqun assumes that readers will assume that writers so well versed in texts that have spoken truth to ­power could not really hate women. The prestige of the theoretical vocabulary that Tiqqun’s members have mastered bolsters their credibility.

At the same time, Theory of the Young-Girl adopts a playful pose that prevents real Young-Girls, or any Grown Women who might find time to read books published by Semiotext(e), from calling them out. Because Tiqqun’s collage does not attribute sources, we can read any given passage in disavowing quotation marks, as a lightning bolt of original insight, or as both. Publishing anonymously is only a backup measure for evading responsibility. Lift out any one line to object to it—“Wait a minute, how has all the concreteness of the world taken refuge in my ass?”—and you would be sure to look foolish, even if you did know whom to ask.

[...]

Even when adopted by radical theory, this knowing posture is conservative. Knowingness is the attitude that allows sexism to persist in progressive institutions that you would expect to know better, precisely because you would. When casual sexism pervades leftist theory, one assumes it is ironic; when progressive institutions ignore gender politics, one assumes this is because struggles for equality have already been won, or must be deferred so we can attend to more pressing political needs. Intellectuals tend to show class allegiance, bracketing or ignoring casual sexism in their own circles. They project misogyny outward, onto Middle America megachurches and racialized others, or onto the powerful men that pander to those masses.

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago
1

Tiqqun offers an edgy update to such misogynist metaphors deployed for the purposes of demystification. At times, it speaks longingly of women who have not been utterly corrupted by capitalism. But when it learns what it knew all along—there is no outside; all human relationships have become reified—its disappointment at finding no one authentic to grow old with intensifies its vitriol. “It wasn’t until the Young-Girl appeared that one could concretely experience what it means to ‘fuck,’ that is, to fuck someone without fucking anyone in particular. Because to fuck a being that is really so abstract, so utterly interchangeable, is to fuck in the absolute.” Tiqqun’s language may be obscene, but its point is nothing new. The failure to see women as “anyone in particular,” or as subjects endowed with their own ends, has allowed men to fuck women over for centuries.

love the writing

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago

Tiqqun offers an edgy update to such misogynist metaphors deployed for the purposes of demystification. At times, it speaks longingly of women who have not been utterly corrupted by capitalism. But when it learns what it knew all along—there is no outside; all human relationships have become reified—its disappointment at finding no one authentic to grow old with intensifies its vitriol. “It wasn’t until the Young-Girl appeared that one could concretely experience what it means to ‘fuck,’ that is, to fuck someone without fucking anyone in particular. Because to fuck a being that is really so abstract, so utterly interchangeable, is to fuck in the absolute.” Tiqqun’s language may be obscene, but its point is nothing new. The failure to see women as “anyone in particular,” or as subjects endowed with their own ends, has allowed men to fuck women over for centuries.

love the writing

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago
1

The Man-Child has two moods: indecision, and entitlement to this indecisiveness..

The Man-Child tells a racist joke. It is not funny. It is the fact that the Man-Child said something racist that is.

[...]

The Man-Child breaks up with you even though the two of you are not in a relationship. He cites his fear of settling down. You don’t want marriage, at least not with him, but he never thought to ask you.

[...]

If the Man-Child could use his ironic sexism to build a new world, would you want to live in it? Would anyone?

amazing

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago

The Man-Child has two moods: indecision, and entitlement to this indecisiveness..

The Man-Child tells a racist joke. It is not funny. It is the fact that the Man-Child said something racist that is.

[...]

The Man-Child breaks up with you even though the two of you are not in a relationship. He cites his fear of settling down. You don’t want marriage, at least not with him, but he never thought to ask you.

[...]

If the Man-Child could use his ironic sexism to build a new world, would you want to live in it? Would anyone?

amazing

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago
1

Like the nice guy from your grad-school program who tries to cover up his hurt feelings by concocting a general theory that explains why he never got a text after his one-night stand, the book portrays the Young-Girl as vain, frivolous, and acquisitive. She serves the traditional female role of reproducing the population and social order, but here, the social order is corrupt. Therefore, Tiqqun suggests, their intervention requires an ironic performance of misogyny. [...]

We believe that Tiqqun has mistaken its object. The real enigma of our age is not the Young-Girl, who, we submit, has been punished enough already for how commodity culture exploits her. It is, rather, her boyish critic. Forms of crypto- and not-so-crypto misogyny have proved startlingly persistent not just within the radical left but also in the bourgeois-left spheres of cultural production: the publishing world, the museum, and the humanities departments of liberal-arts universities. We propose that a particular type is responsible for perpetuating such bad behavior. Call him the Man-Child.

hahahha

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago

Like the nice guy from your grad-school program who tries to cover up his hurt feelings by concocting a general theory that explains why he never got a text after his one-night stand, the book portrays the Young-Girl as vain, frivolous, and acquisitive. She serves the traditional female role of reproducing the population and social order, but here, the social order is corrupt. Therefore, Tiqqun suggests, their intervention requires an ironic performance of misogyny. [...]

We believe that Tiqqun has mistaken its object. The real enigma of our age is not the Young-Girl, who, we submit, has been punished enough already for how commodity culture exploits her. It is, rather, her boyish critic. Forms of crypto- and not-so-crypto misogyny have proved startlingly persistent not just within the radical left but also in the bourgeois-left spheres of cultural production: the publishing world, the museum, and the humanities departments of liberal-arts universities. We propose that a particular type is responsible for perpetuating such bad behavior. Call him the Man-Child.

hahahha

—p.1 Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child by Mal Ahern, Moira Weigel 3 months, 1 week ago
1

There is an untold story of what happens away from the streets, the rallies, the skillshares, and the gatherings. When our attempt to hold onto the connection has failed, and dirty dishes become as destructive to movements as state co-optation. The wave of insurrectionary hope has reached a lull, and another world no longer feels possible.

That social fallout, which nobody warns you about, shows us that the revolution is about tearing down not just the hierarchical systems that control us but those within ourselves. When people caught up in a movement are unable to do that collectively, or when we have trouble being our best selves, the communities we attempt to build devolve into something else. Bonds are broken, and there’s a new layer of trauma you must deal with.

The way that we have internalized systems of hierarchy means that we hurt each other in familiar ways even when we claim to strive for the same political goals. We are hurt people, and in this world where we are born and taught violence, it is important to remember that no matter how much you try to deconstruct, the ways we have absorbed power dynamics mean that we do and will continue to cause others harm.

This is not an excuse for people to treat each other in fucked up ways, it just seems to be what happens. We throw political labels loosely; at this point, what do “radical” or “revolutionary” even mean? I regret ever allowing myself to be labeled these things. It’s almost like a self-sabotage, a level or an idea that one can never truly live up to. There’s a lot of back-patting when people christen themselves radicals or revolutionaries, and too little self-reflection.

—p.1 Hurt People by Bobby London 3 months, 1 week ago

There is an untold story of what happens away from the streets, the rallies, the skillshares, and the gatherings. When our attempt to hold onto the connection has failed, and dirty dishes become as destructive to movements as state co-optation. The wave of insurrectionary hope has reached a lull, and another world no longer feels possible.

That social fallout, which nobody warns you about, shows us that the revolution is about tearing down not just the hierarchical systems that control us but those within ourselves. When people caught up in a movement are unable to do that collectively, or when we have trouble being our best selves, the communities we attempt to build devolve into something else. Bonds are broken, and there’s a new layer of trauma you must deal with.

The way that we have internalized systems of hierarchy means that we hurt each other in familiar ways even when we claim to strive for the same political goals. We are hurt people, and in this world where we are born and taught violence, it is important to remember that no matter how much you try to deconstruct, the ways we have absorbed power dynamics mean that we do and will continue to cause others harm.

This is not an excuse for people to treat each other in fucked up ways, it just seems to be what happens. We throw political labels loosely; at this point, what do “radical” or “revolutionary” even mean? I regret ever allowing myself to be labeled these things. It’s almost like a self-sabotage, a level or an idea that one can never truly live up to. There’s a lot of back-patting when people christen themselves radicals or revolutionaries, and too little self-reflection.

—p.1 Hurt People by Bobby London 3 months, 1 week ago
1

Fame offers many temptations. There’s a pervasive idea that if you become a celebrity, everyone will instantly become your friend. Fame seems to negate the tedious, daily work of making people value us, love us for some reason. Fame, if we can achieve it, seems to take care of love in one grand gesture, like paying a year’s rent up-front in cash. Daphne Merkin described the desire for fame as a form of vengeance. The “oh, they’ll see!” at the heart of every fame-seeker is what loneliness looks like when it comes out swinging, a strident—and tenuous—bask in hypothetical glory. This promise of microcelebrity as a quick cure for loneliness was what LiveJournal originally offered its users. You could make your diary public, and strangers would read it. And care. And tell you that they cared.

—p.1 Open Secrets: Literature as Gossip in the Digital Age by Helena Fitzgerald 3 months, 1 week ago

Fame offers many temptations. There’s a pervasive idea that if you become a celebrity, everyone will instantly become your friend. Fame seems to negate the tedious, daily work of making people value us, love us for some reason. Fame, if we can achieve it, seems to take care of love in one grand gesture, like paying a year’s rent up-front in cash. Daphne Merkin described the desire for fame as a form of vengeance. The “oh, they’ll see!” at the heart of every fame-seeker is what loneliness looks like when it comes out swinging, a strident—and tenuous—bask in hypothetical glory. This promise of microcelebrity as a quick cure for loneliness was what LiveJournal originally offered its users. You could make your diary public, and strangers would read it. And care. And tell you that they cared.

—p.1 Open Secrets: Literature as Gossip in the Digital Age by Helena Fitzgerald 3 months, 1 week ago
1

IX

If there’s supposed to be a take-home message from all of this, it must run something like: “Yes, the system is corrupt, but it’s all we have, and anyway, figures of authority can be trusted if they have first been chastened and endured terrible suffering.” Normal police let children die on bridges, but police who’ve been buried alive for weeks can employ violence legitimately. Charity is much better than addressing structural problems. Any attempt to address structural problems, even through non-violent civil disobedience, really is a form of violence, because that’s all it could possibly be. Imaginative politics are inherently violent, and therefore there’s nothing inappropriate if police respond by smashing protestors’ heads repeatedly against the concrete.

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago

IX

If there’s supposed to be a take-home message from all of this, it must run something like: “Yes, the system is corrupt, but it’s all we have, and anyway, figures of authority can be trusted if they have first been chastened and endured terrible suffering.” Normal police let children die on bridges, but police who’ve been buried alive for weeks can employ violence legitimately. Charity is much better than addressing structural problems. Any attempt to address structural problems, even through non-violent civil disobedience, really is a form of violence, because that’s all it could possibly be. Imaginative politics are inherently violent, and therefore there’s nothing inappropriate if police respond by smashing protestors’ heads repeatedly against the concrete.

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago
1

The economy collapsed. Not because of the manipulations of some secret society of warrior monks, but because of a bunch of financial managers who, living in Nolan’s bubble world and sharing his assumptions about the endlessness of popular manipulability, turned out to be wrong. There was a mass popular response. It did not take the form of a frenetic search for messianic saviors, mixed with outbreaks of nihilist violence: increasingly, it took the form of a series of real popular movements, even revolutionary movements, toppling regimes in the Middle East and occupying squares everywhere from Cleveland to Karachi, trying to create new forms of democracy.

Constituent power had reappeared, and in an imaginative, radical, and remarkably non-violent form. This is precisely the kind of situation a superhero universe cannot address. In Nolan’s world, something like Occupy could only have been the product of some tiny group of ingenious manipulators who really are pursuing some secret agenda.

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago

The economy collapsed. Not because of the manipulations of some secret society of warrior monks, but because of a bunch of financial managers who, living in Nolan’s bubble world and sharing his assumptions about the endlessness of popular manipulability, turned out to be wrong. There was a mass popular response. It did not take the form of a frenetic search for messianic saviors, mixed with outbreaks of nihilist violence: increasingly, it took the form of a series of real popular movements, even revolutionary movements, toppling regimes in the Middle East and occupying squares everywhere from Cleveland to Karachi, trying to create new forms of democracy.

Constituent power had reappeared, and in an imaginative, radical, and remarkably non-violent form. This is precisely the kind of situation a superhero universe cannot address. In Nolan’s world, something like Occupy could only have been the product of some tiny group of ingenious manipulators who really are pursuing some secret agenda.

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago
1

V.

What does all this have to do with costumed superheroes? Well, everything. Because this is exactly the space that superheroes, and super-villains, also inhabit. An inherently fascist space, inhabited only by gangsters, would-be dictators, police, and thugs, with endlessly blurring lines between them.

Sometimes the cops are legalistic, sometimes they’re corrupt. Sometimes the police themselves slip into vigilantism. Sometimes they pursue the superhero, sometimes they look the other way, sometimes they help. Villains and heroes occasionally team up. The lines of force are always shifting. If anything new were to emerge, it could only be through such shifting forces. There’s nothing else, since, in the DC and Marvel universes, neither God nor The People really exist.

Insofar as there is a potential for constituent power then, it can only come from purveyors of violence. The supervillains and evil masterminds, when they are not merely indulging in random acts of terror, are always scheming of imposing a New World Order of some kind or another. Surely, if Red Skull, Kang the Conqueror, or Doctor Doom ever did succeed in taking over the planet, there would be lots of new laws created very quickly, although their creator would doubtless not himself feel bound by them. Superheroes resist this logic. They do not wish to conquer the world—if only because they are not monomaniacal or insane. As a result, they remain parasitical off the villains in the same way that police remain parasitical off criminals: without them, they’d have no reason to exist. They remain defenders of a legal and political system which itself seems to have come out of nowhere, and which, however faulty or degraded, must be defended, because the only alternative is so much worse.

They aren’t fascists. They are just ordinary, decent, super-powerful people who inhabit a world in which fascism is the only political possibility.

i love the structuring of this essay. the last sentence in this section has such a powerful buildup

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago

V.

What does all this have to do with costumed superheroes? Well, everything. Because this is exactly the space that superheroes, and super-villains, also inhabit. An inherently fascist space, inhabited only by gangsters, would-be dictators, police, and thugs, with endlessly blurring lines between them.

Sometimes the cops are legalistic, sometimes they’re corrupt. Sometimes the police themselves slip into vigilantism. Sometimes they pursue the superhero, sometimes they look the other way, sometimes they help. Villains and heroes occasionally team up. The lines of force are always shifting. If anything new were to emerge, it could only be through such shifting forces. There’s nothing else, since, in the DC and Marvel universes, neither God nor The People really exist.

Insofar as there is a potential for constituent power then, it can only come from purveyors of violence. The supervillains and evil masterminds, when they are not merely indulging in random acts of terror, are always scheming of imposing a New World Order of some kind or another. Surely, if Red Skull, Kang the Conqueror, or Doctor Doom ever did succeed in taking over the planet, there would be lots of new laws created very quickly, although their creator would doubtless not himself feel bound by them. Superheroes resist this logic. They do not wish to conquer the world—if only because they are not monomaniacal or insane. As a result, they remain parasitical off the villains in the same way that police remain parasitical off criminals: without them, they’d have no reason to exist. They remain defenders of a legal and political system which itself seems to have come out of nowhere, and which, however faulty or degraded, must be defended, because the only alternative is so much worse.

They aren’t fascists. They are just ordinary, decent, super-powerful people who inhabit a world in which fascism is the only political possibility.

i love the structuring of this essay. the last sentence in this section has such a powerful buildup

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago
1

IV.

Costumed superheroes ultimately battle criminals in the name of the law—even if they themselves often operate outside a strictly legal framework. But in the modern state, the very status of law is a problem. This is because of a basic logical paradox: no system can generate itself.

Any power capable of creating a system of law cannot itself be bound by them. So law has to come from somewhere else. In the Middle Ages, the solution was simple: the legal order was created, either directly or indirectly, by God. God, as the Old Testament makes abundantly clear, is not bound by laws or even any recognizable system of morality, which only stands to reason: if you created morality, you can’t, by definition, be bound by it. The English, American, and French revolutions changed all that when they created the notion of popular sovereignty—declaring that the power once held by kings is now held by an entity called “the people.”

“The people,” however, are bound by the laws. So in what sense can they have created them? They created the laws through those revolutions themselves, but, of course, revolutions are acts of law-breaking. It is completely illegal to rise up in arms, overthrow a government, and create a new political order. Cromwell, Jefferson, and Danton were surely guilty of treason according to the laws under which they grew up, as surely as they would have been had they tried to do the same thing again twenty years later.

So, laws emerge from illegal activity. This creates a fundamental incoherence in the very idea of modern government, which assumes that the state has a monopoly of the legitimate use of violence (only the police, or prison guards, have the legal right to beat you up). It’s okay for police to use violence because they are enforcing the law; the law is legitimate because it’s rooted in the constitution; the constitution is legitimate because it comes from the people; the people created the constitution by acts of illegal violence. The obvious question, then, is: how does one tell the difference between “the people” and a mere rampaging mob?

There is no obvious answer.

The response, by mainstream, respectable opinion, is to try to push the problem as far away as possible. The usual line is: the age of revolutions is over, except perhaps in benighted spots like Gabon or Syria, and we can now change the constitution, or legal standards, by legal means. This of course means that the basic structures will never change. We can witness the results in the US, which continues to maintain an architecture of state, with its electoral college and two party-system, that—while quite progressive in 1789—now makes us appear, in the eyes rest of the world, the political equivalent of the Amish, still driving around with horses and buggies. It also means we base the legitimacy of the whole system on the consent of the people despite the fact that the only people who were ever really consulted on the matter lived over 200 years ago. In America, at least, “the people” are all long since dead.

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago

IV.

Costumed superheroes ultimately battle criminals in the name of the law—even if they themselves often operate outside a strictly legal framework. But in the modern state, the very status of law is a problem. This is because of a basic logical paradox: no system can generate itself.

Any power capable of creating a system of law cannot itself be bound by them. So law has to come from somewhere else. In the Middle Ages, the solution was simple: the legal order was created, either directly or indirectly, by God. God, as the Old Testament makes abundantly clear, is not bound by laws or even any recognizable system of morality, which only stands to reason: if you created morality, you can’t, by definition, be bound by it. The English, American, and French revolutions changed all that when they created the notion of popular sovereignty—declaring that the power once held by kings is now held by an entity called “the people.”

“The people,” however, are bound by the laws. So in what sense can they have created them? They created the laws through those revolutions themselves, but, of course, revolutions are acts of law-breaking. It is completely illegal to rise up in arms, overthrow a government, and create a new political order. Cromwell, Jefferson, and Danton were surely guilty of treason according to the laws under which they grew up, as surely as they would have been had they tried to do the same thing again twenty years later.

So, laws emerge from illegal activity. This creates a fundamental incoherence in the very idea of modern government, which assumes that the state has a monopoly of the legitimate use of violence (only the police, or prison guards, have the legal right to beat you up). It’s okay for police to use violence because they are enforcing the law; the law is legitimate because it’s rooted in the constitution; the constitution is legitimate because it comes from the people; the people created the constitution by acts of illegal violence. The obvious question, then, is: how does one tell the difference between “the people” and a mere rampaging mob?

There is no obvious answer.

The response, by mainstream, respectable opinion, is to try to push the problem as far away as possible. The usual line is: the age of revolutions is over, except perhaps in benighted spots like Gabon or Syria, and we can now change the constitution, or legal standards, by legal means. This of course means that the basic structures will never change. We can witness the results in the US, which continues to maintain an architecture of state, with its electoral college and two party-system, that—while quite progressive in 1789—now makes us appear, in the eyes rest of the world, the political equivalent of the Amish, still driving around with horses and buggies. It also means we base the legitimacy of the whole system on the consent of the people despite the fact that the only people who were ever really consulted on the matter lived over 200 years ago. In America, at least, “the people” are all long since dead.

—p.1 Super Position by David Graeber 3 months, 1 week ago