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).

209

Not: Marxism as 'Organised Sarcasm'

2
terms
2
notes

well-written obviously & interesting conceit, but not my fave of his writing

Seymour, R. (2017). Not: Marxism as 'Organised Sarcasm'. Salvage, 5, pp. 209-220

210

So in what sense is sarcasm being referenced by Gramsci? In Note 29 from Volume 1 of Joseph Buttigieg’s translation of The Prison Notebooks, he distinguishes Marx’s sarcasm as a ‘passionate’ or ‘positive sarcasm’. Marx wants to ‘mock not the most intimate feelings’ associated with worldly illusions ‘but their contingent form which is linked to a particular “perishable” world, their cadaverous smell, so to speak, that leaks from behind the painted façade.’ He even aims to ‘give new form to certain aspirations,’ the better to ‘regenerate’ them.

But these ‘new conceptions’ are only germinally in existence, somehow not susceptible to being expressed in ‘apodictic or sermonic form’. Thus, if Marxism is to be effective, it must create new tastes and ‘a new language’ – sarcasm is ‘the component of all these needs which may seem contradictory’.

Gramsci’s claim is that, somehow, without sarcasm these new conceptions would be utopian. Sarcasm, that is, is a language for the not-yet-fully-realised, for that which struggles to be born, against that which resists death. Indeed, it is difficult to detach sarcasm from a half-occluded utopianism; the things we are sarcastic about tend to be those that outrage our sense of what should be.

—p.210 by Richard Seymour 2 months, 4 weeks ago

So in what sense is sarcasm being referenced by Gramsci? In Note 29 from Volume 1 of Joseph Buttigieg’s translation of The Prison Notebooks, he distinguishes Marx’s sarcasm as a ‘passionate’ or ‘positive sarcasm’. Marx wants to ‘mock not the most intimate feelings’ associated with worldly illusions ‘but their contingent form which is linked to a particular “perishable” world, their cadaverous smell, so to speak, that leaks from behind the painted façade.’ He even aims to ‘give new form to certain aspirations,’ the better to ‘regenerate’ them.

But these ‘new conceptions’ are only germinally in existence, somehow not susceptible to being expressed in ‘apodictic or sermonic form’. Thus, if Marxism is to be effective, it must create new tastes and ‘a new language’ – sarcasm is ‘the component of all these needs which may seem contradictory’.

Gramsci’s claim is that, somehow, without sarcasm these new conceptions would be utopian. Sarcasm, that is, is a language for the not-yet-fully-realised, for that which struggles to be born, against that which resists death. Indeed, it is difficult to detach sarcasm from a half-occluded utopianism; the things we are sarcastic about tend to be those that outrage our sense of what should be.

—p.210 by Richard Seymour 2 months, 4 weeks ago

(German for worldview) a particular philosophy or view of life; the worldview of an individual or group

216

One of Freud’s few reflections on Marxism [...] described it as a Weltanschauung – world-view – comparable to religion, an intellectual construction that through its totalising work resolved all problems in a uniform way, thus leaving no questions open

—p.216 by Richard Seymour
notable
2 months, 4 weeks ago

One of Freud’s few reflections on Marxism [...] described it as a Weltanschauung – world-view – comparable to religion, an intellectual construction that through its totalising work resolved all problems in a uniform way, thus leaving no questions open

—p.216 by Richard Seymour
notable
2 months, 4 weeks ago
218

However irresistible, it is of course resisted. If the form of prophesy is invoked, it is also to tacitly admit that we cannot be prophets. There is no Word of God to which we, mere flesh, could or should be subjected. And so we must analyse our situation with ruthless scorn, not sentimental illusions. We yearn for salvation, rapture, but we must not yearn so. We are down here among the garbage, and it is out of our rubble, the conditions of our existence, that we have to fashion new embodiments of these old aspirations.

Sarcasm, in this sense, is both this-worldly and other-worldly, both secular and divine, disillusioned and devoted. Organised sarcasm is yearning, bitter disappointment and still more yearning raised to the level of praxis.

not entirely sure i agree or even get what it's saying but it's lovely nonetheless

—p.218 by Richard Seymour 2 months, 4 weeks ago

However irresistible, it is of course resisted. If the form of prophesy is invoked, it is also to tacitly admit that we cannot be prophets. There is no Word of God to which we, mere flesh, could or should be subjected. And so we must analyse our situation with ruthless scorn, not sentimental illusions. We yearn for salvation, rapture, but we must not yearn so. We are down here among the garbage, and it is out of our rubble, the conditions of our existence, that we have to fashion new embodiments of these old aspirations.

Sarcasm, in this sense, is both this-worldly and other-worldly, both secular and divine, disillusioned and devoted. Organised sarcasm is yearning, bitter disappointment and still more yearning raised to the level of praxis.

not entirely sure i agree or even get what it's saying but it's lovely nonetheless

—p.218 by Richard Seymour 2 months, 4 weeks ago

(noun) the act of performing more than is required by duty, obligation, or need

218

the totally supererogatory outbursts of Capital

relateable tbh - i write this way too, when editors don't stop me

—p.218 by Richard Seymour
notable
2 months, 4 weeks ago

the totally supererogatory outbursts of Capital

relateable tbh - i write this way too, when editors don't stop me

—p.218 by Richard Seymour
notable
2 months, 4 weeks ago