The Matter at Hand, part 3: A Funny History Needs Its Justification in Theory.

Satire. One always should keep a good humor in one’s pocket for those times when something hits a little too close to home. It seems a little too obvious why such American shows such as “The Daily Show” and “The Cobert Report” Arose when they did: With the generation after the post-moderns, after the hippie eternal happiness, after the disco bliss and the punk rock sarcasm, what was left to do? We repeatedly come across the strange social childish reaction that has to do with being different than the parents, topping or rather absorbing and retreating the same situation that is being human in the contradicting urban world by enacting attitudes and fashion opposite to the previous generation. Or at least we like to think (as children) that we are being ‘different’ or enacting our individuality. Then the so called adults love to go on a about the similarities of when they were kids, and differences. The new and the old. But it does seem that the new generation is always trying to be the different that is now the new different. The problem is they never quite achieve the new newness; it’s always a rehashing of the old, and because young people tend to have such a myopic view of the world and then as young adults behave and act and even force this ‘new view’ out upon the world to have everyone then believe it is that way, that this new is indeed cooler and more hip than the last new new, that this new is thus better.

Might we take a moment and offer a funny picture of the last 150- so years. Factories and farms. Young people go to the cities and find the harsh situation of small freedom, a new struggling freedom condensed from stretches of slow landscape, to boxes of fast frustration. They get pissed and want to assert themselves and so, as children do, pick fights. World War One and Two. In all this industrial technological speed, sex becomes likewise more intensely viewed. Men get the business suit, women get the bikini. So some dude is looking for a chemical to promote weight loss. He finds LSD and goes rides a bike around town. The urban testosterone Wars end and there’s a bunch of kids with nothing to do now that industrial freedom has allowed for the suburban image of large freedom again. The adult kids of the Wars now feel good with their new buddies, who in their winning group have established a type of secure utopia, the good fight has yielded the good life. They have kids and these kids become rapidly bored since the utopia of the Wars have brought the Beaver Cleaver serenity. But these new generation kids have to be discontent. They they find drugs. Jazz and Rock, Roll, the Beats and the Hippies; their frustration is not in confinement but the opposite. They are all high in their new large conceptual landscape. They assert their war against what seems to them in their childish myopia to be the aggravating problem: The limitations put upon humanity by systemic norms. But there is no norms; the ‘norms’ are really just that the stressed out city life pressed up against itself for some room, and got it. Now the children don’t appreciate this roomy environment of contentment; this roomy environment is actually conceptually confined because there isn’t really room for everyone, but only the bullies who won the World fight.

Post-Modernism. What was modern was merely one or two generation’s idea’s put into practice, of humans dealing with industrial technology. Post-Modern is thus a further War on the Peace that the previous War achieved. Humanity takes on a dynamic never seen before. Being comfortable is not allowed to be comfortable. The ends have to be rerouted to the means; we cannot stay in ends because we’re really pissed off about our lack of freedom, which is really a traditional type of childishness reinstated as a real determinator of what is allowed to be real. We cannot rest in a peaceful adulthood because we have to justify our situation to the kids, who perpetually demand a newness in the face of freedom, such that what is freedom and happiness cannot be so because of the industrial deferment to the childish view. This is capitalism: The move to the city allowed for an intensity of competition that needed be justified against the degree of frustration required to negotiate the factory life style (production as real imperative). The route of justification is passed down to the child because it is the childish attitude that needs be upheld if the peace of the new is to be justified for its effort.

So the hippies had an experience. This experience is revolution. But the revolution never came to pass in the world, but always had to be foreshortened and qualified against the real standard already in place. It seemed that the standard was the problem that could never be removed. Disco then dealt with it by avoiding the question and doing lots of cocaine. The more intense, sincere and honest portion of the children saw that the revolution failed in the face of reaction. Punk, or urban rock and roll, dealt with it by being pissed off and sarcastic, getting drunk and belligerent and dying in heroin sulk. But neither did peace, avoidance nor anger rid the problem; so those who were not so concerned with things in general as freedom, instead focused their efforts in how to be happy given the urban condition. They found it in money. By neatly avoiding the community effort towards freedom, which leads to war (a true community of self righteous children fight) they instead concentrated their efforts for themselves (why not be just self righteous without the implication of community). Cocaine became crack, and crack reflected money.

So this situation needed to have a new against it. Whoever got the most toys may have won, but what was left was a whole population who were not getting very many toys. We needed a route whereby the most possible children got to at least have a shot at getting the toys they want. The avoidance and sarcasm allowed for small group of insensitive psychopathic people to get one over on everyone else. We needed a new route to be new against the previous attitudes of justification: satire. The traditional justification of childish want for the new has gotten us to where we do not take our seriousness seriously. This is the middle route. This is the route of moderation. As long as we justify our childishness by not taking so seriously that we indeed have no control over our attitude then we can have our toys and be happy in freedom because we are attempting to allow everyone to have toys. As Barak Obama said, we have to make it to everyone who wants it and is willing to work had and make the effort can have an equal shot at getting it (the American Dream).

But this sincere satire will be trumped also, because it still is a childish justification. Perhaps it is a type of last resort of justification of that which can only be justified, but it is that justification is based in a denial of what is truly occurring. What is truly occurring is the process of coming to terms with the reality that there is no freedom but in justification, that we are determined by objects, and that such justification is inherently a local function, a function of social locality of the individual and that the extrapolation of such justification outside or beyond the ambiguous locality yields the ethical contradictions that Zizek notices.

What we have then in the discussion of the philosophical revolution, the move of rejection of Object Ontology and the new realists, has to do with not some reconciliation of the Real, as the post-post-moderns (Badiou, Laruelle, Zizek) would have it, where ideology and the individual obtain a sort of truce and combine in some effective agency, but more in the divergence that the Significant Event recalls. That ideology is a particular enforcement of reality, but that what is true is even more strange than what Graham Harman would have (but I would have to read more of his to qualify this opinion). And that history is the process of coming to terms with this truth; reality the vehicle for this process…

…but that this, in the end, is never comprehended, because its conveyance of meaning is always usurped in the conventional rhetoric of Faith.

No wonder we need satire.

*

Ok; next part 4 we will get to the relation between the PMG and Zizek.

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