t byfield on Tue, 2 Dec 1997 18:33:28 +0100 (MET)

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Re: <nettime> Richard Barbrook and Luther Blissett

richard@hrc.westminster.ac.uk (Sun 11/30/97 at 11:48 PM +0000):

> <...> People should know about the disastrous role which Guattari played 
> in the free radio movement in France - and therefore question whether 
> his and Deleuze's ideas should be adopted for the Net. <...>


It seems that your argument is (very reasonably) predicated on the (very
reasonable) idea that people should get their facts straight--historical
facts, in this case. Here's a historical fact for you: radio != the net.
So how can one accept this "therefore" of yours? If the circumstance has
changed so much (and I think it's fair to say it has), then perhaps this
misapplication of Dolce and Gabbana's ideas to radio might be seen as an
argument that they *should* be applied to the net. After all, if there's
one idea whose time may have gone, it's this idea that attenuated philo-
sophical "implications" should be accepted too easily: the social fields
in which they play out are becoming far too heterogeneous and ambivalent
(or "omnivalent," to use my own coinage) to sustain the mechanical links
that were more predictable when, say, bungling a catechism was a certain
road to ruin. It really isn't so any more. And so I'm not sure how some-
one would even go about "adopting" D&G "for the net." Now, if the boards
of BT and AT&T or vast swaths of middle managers started to babble about
"rhizomes," I'd be worried, or maybe just amazed; but we're nowhere near
*that*. OTOH, if nettimers galore started to babble about Popular Front-
ism, I'd be worried about that, too, and amazed again. But it just isn't
happening. So in your quest to get the Facts straight, please don't lose
sight of the Fact that the attenuated implications you espy from far off
are much less decisive at any given moment than are other's sloppy sense
of the poetic structure of the world: it really does matter that the net
is an impossible tangle of cables, conduits, and paths. It's a fact; and
it's also a fact that it'd have been impossible for someone as recent as
Stalin to begin to imagine such a thing. Rest assured, this structure'll
produce its own Menaces, but they won't be Stalin however hard they try.


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