Brian Holmes on Sat, 12 May 2001 07:38:50 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Italy for theorists?

Alan Sondheim's Amerika piece is not just theory, but it is "for"
theorists. Which means it's also a tool for Amerikan theorists - one the
insignificant Bruce Fancher can neither use, nor replicate.

The text says _you_ must understand our meanness. _You_ must understand
it, Amerikan. Our meanness "to those of us whose voice is irrelevant, to
those of us who oppose us." Our inhumanness to ourselves. You must see it,
Amerikan, through other eyes if need be - through the eyes of the beings
you crush, complicitly, with increasing cynicism, through a way of life
that is "not negociable" (as our oligarchy says, down through the
generations). You must root out the marrow of your own killing machine.
With help from others, if need be.

Anyone who lives under the sway of a powerful nation - and which nations
are not powerful? - must turn this kind of theoretical tool upon him or
herself, become a theorist of his or her most intimate subjectivity, from
the feet and the belly and the genitals to the most sublimated thoughts
and ideas. Without doing that work on yourself you can be neither free,
nor clear-sighted, nor solidary with others, but just an amplifier for the
old ideology of Amerikan delusion and disdain, rewritten for the digital
age: the ideology of monetary freedom, "the freedom and wealth, beyond the
wildest imaginings of our ancestors, which _virtually_ everyone in our
society enjoys" (great work, Bruce).

And what about you Italians - getting ready to take the plunge into pure
profiteering and the fascination of total TV? With racism and exclusion
around the edges and a bit of Church-cake in a flag with the caffe? What
makes you Italians able to live with Bossi, with Fini, with Berlusconi?
Why have your protests been useless to this day? Where exactly are you
going to find the strength, the resources, the outreach to "get key people
in the *system* to become aware of the problems and start working from the
inside the system to create and maintain a healtier, more critical and
more aware information society for the future" - in the hopeful words of
Paola di Maio?

Even though "we can communicate at such widespread level," I gotta say I
feel reasonably afraid about the present and future of all our great media
nations, on or off the net. And the thing about theory is it looks so
futile when you don't use it.

Italy for theorists, anyone?


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