joanne richardson on Sun, 7 Jul 2002 23:21:34 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> the language of tactical media

Dear Michael,

Wow, it's not every day I get compared to a Slovenian skinhead
aggressively singing a dispassionate anthem. I find it hard to reply since
you're right: I have nothing to say, offer no original ideas or
conclusions about what is to be done, and only cite a few names and ask a
few questions - about some things I think are often passed over in

> Are we beyond the obvious here? Didn't "Here & Elsewhere"
> already signpost an alternative to what you call the apocalyptic vs.
> utopian "sense" of the media, 30 years ago?

Well, yes, that was the reason I used the example. Your reply seems based
on a misunderstanding that I'm "accusing" Godard of having nothing to say.
When I said that Godard became embarrassed about his past and started
making films that had "nothing to say" I was at least ironic, and at best
serious. Apologies for not being obvious and straightforward enough, and
at the same time too academic. The contrast was between having something
to say  --  in the sense of making absolutely declarative statements like the
one's we're familiar with from the history of manifestoes - and telling a
history by way of asking questions. So I am neither ambivalent nor
uneasily fascinated by H&E, and I would agree with you that the film is
one of the better examples of conveying the complexity of the
Palestinian/Israeli disaster, maybe because it asks a lot of na´ve
questions, presents contradictory perspectives on the event, and instead
of offering easy answers, leaves it up to others to draw inferences and
conclusions. The contrast was also meant to suggest that it is maybe too
easy to criticize something like the 'anti-globalization' movement for
being merely negative and lacking any positive demands. It's not just a
question of having something to say, but how you say it, how convinced you
are of the correctness of your theory, who participates in it, how open it
is to criticism and recognizing its contradictions, and probably a lot of
other things which can't be listed in advance.


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