Monday, June 20, 2011

Commonplace digest 2

More links to nice quotes!

William S. Burroughs, from Naked Lunch, on a campaign of bureaucratic demoralization, on the nature of democracy (and, surprisingly, being genuinely funny while referencing both monkeys and pirates), and on, well, everything, sort of.

Susan Sontag, from On Photography, on photography. Ha ha! On cameras as both mediation and work-mimics, and as stand-ins for guns in our relationship with capital-N Nature. On the uses of photography in bureaucratic systems of control. On the endless co-optability of photography. And on the bureaucratic uses of photography again, but with more of a focus on capitalism and consumption.

Raoul Vaneigem, writing A Cavalier History of Surrealism as Jules-François Dupuis, on imperialism, nationalism, artists, and intellectuals and on the phases of the decline of art (and where it should be going).

Robert Sheckley, from Immortality Inc., first gives us a long, sometimes awesome, sometimes misguided (and I think that's on purpose), always interesting, revolutionary speech of the future, then puts life in its proper perspective.

Étienne de la Boétie, from "The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude," on situational leadership and how it should never be allowed to be permanent. On complicity. On bread and circus and how that bread is really just the partial return to its rightful owners of what has been stolen. On the use by rulers of pretty words to cover up ugly deeds. On delegation and bureaucracy. On the increase, rather than decrease, of servitude as you move higher up the hierarchy and get closer to the ruler. And on how true friendship is inaccessible to rulers. Unfortunately most of de la Boétie's humor, which is really fantastic, is too much of a slow-burn to really come across in those quotes; the essay's definitely worth a read; it's short and easily accessible in many places online--here, for example.

Still more to come.


Anonymous said...

thanks again, ethan. very good stuff.

Ethan said...

Glad, again, that you're liking 'em.