Thursday, January 6, 2011

Evil as the sincere non-ironic attachment to a belief

I'm still sorting through stuff that accumulated in the past few weeks. Back before Christmas, Aaron linked to this comment on Metafilter*. The poster, AlsoMike, responding to that silly Bruce Sterling piece about Julian Assange, makes some very good points about Wikileaks' actually stated goals (boiled down: justice), rather than the ones people state (in this case: transparency for transparency's sake), though I wish he wouldn't conflate Wikileaks with Assange, since that's almost as serious a misconception as the ones he's debunking.

*Which is one of those very internetty sites that I never look at because I don't understand them** so I'm glad of the link. I also admit I haven't bothered to read any of the rest of the thread. If you do and it's worth reading, point me at it.
**And, probably, vice versa.

Anyway, right now I'm more interested in this part (disregarding the embarrassingly worshipful opening), which comes after:
Assange sticks his head above this bland crowd of empty slogan-chanters and dares to stand for something, and this cannot stand, liberals and progressives shout him down because they've accepted Hollywood's ideological framing of evil as the sincere non-ironic attachment to a belief. Every movie villain believes in a cause, the good ordinary people ultimately defeat him, but not in the name some other true belief, but simply to preserve the status quo, so that the neoliberal capitalist system should continue unmolested.
Hah! Wonderful bit of cultural criticism! I'd like to meet that man, shake his hand.

I don't know, maybe it's not that big a deal to anybody else, but I love it when I read something like this. When I do, it's like there's almost an audible click of things falling into place.

For further reading on related matters, an excellent addition to my favorite of Justin's modes: the multi-subject, stream of consciousness, lucidly discursive essay. This one is about New Years, drugs, identity based in consumption, hipsters, irony, judgmentalism, conformity, nonconformity, not taking other people's abstentions personally, sincerity, and much much more.


Justin said...

Ha, I was thinking I'd leave a quick note about the clicking part, I have those moments too when reading stuff like that. It's like, damn, that makes so much sense, why didn't I see it?

And then you wedged in some kind words for me, thanks.

Anyway, I am trying to give away as much of my painting as I can, I remember you liked the fractals and figures one and it needs a home. I am not sure if I can give it away this minute, but if you stake a claim then it is yours. I'll have a post to make clear exactly what I am trying to do with my art and why even though I am giving stuff away, I am not sure about giving away certain pieces immediately. Let me know if you are interested in that, it can wait until I post and you can leave a comment.

Ethan said...

Wow. I think I will wait until your post just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, but for now, thank you!

Justin said...

Ethan, Section I of this post explains where I am coming from.

Ethan said...

Thanks again Justin--I'll be there soon.