Seamus/Bloch/'lit'

Seamus Malone redye at dorsai.dorsai.org
Fri Jun 30 09:48:14 MDT 1995


On Fri, 30 Jun 1995, Elaine Jude Leyda wrote:

> 	Yes, Seamus, Williams is often preferred over Eagleton, his
> teacher and one whom he had to 'overcome'. But Williams collapses the
> base & superstructure, and everything becomes a form of communication.
> Undialectical and, if I recall, a bit 'utopian' in its own way: his
> notions of democratic communication are in a way now sorely dated, but at
> the same time, sorely needed. Jameson is a hard nut, on some counts,
> bringing so much of Heidegger, structuralism, and so on into things. A
> handy book, which everyone may yawn at by now but which I recently found,
> is called _Marxist Aesthetics_ b y Herni Arvon, trans. Helen Lane, NY:
> Cornell, 1973, Intro Fredric Jameson.
Hmm. Well I think Eagleton had a tendancy to reify the relation of base
to superstructure. I think the collapse of base and superstructure is one
of the more common moves in 20th c. Marxist thinking.. and it is done for
strategic (ie in dialectical relation to the needs of its political
moment) reasons... it can as you point out be done in ways which are
either methodologically dialectical (Benjamin, Bakhtin, Lefebvre) or not
(Deleuze...) I think it is fair to say RW come somewhere in between... I
guess I haven't read everything he's done, the books on TV stand out as
guilty ommisions- so maybe you can point out where he would more
explicitly fail. My problems with Jameson are too complex to lay out here
on there own... lately I've been thinki9ng that there may just be a less
torturous (though not less rigorous necessarily) rout across the terrain
he traverses.


> 	Regarding your mention of drug-use in those sub-cultures...you
> say drugs are used for both immediate and totally mediated experiences. ?
> I am somewhat confused by this. As I recall, one of the appeals of drugs
> during the 60s was the possibility of a totally UNmediated
> experience--ie, I'm thinking here of Norman O Brown, RD Laing, etc. [Not
> Marucse, who strongly disapproved of using drugs to 'escape': see his
> 'debate' with NO Brown for that.] One of the problems is that life in
> late capitalism _is_ totally mediated (or 'totally administered', if you
> prefer Adorno).
> 	
Well, that's my point exactly... there are conflicting positons on this.
It comess as early as the slogan "better living through chemistry"... I
think it is more apparent in the new wave of techno-rave-cyber-punk drug
culture than in '60's 70's which as I said at least in its cultural
re-appropriation, largely idealized the agrarian ideal, etc against
alienation.... and thinking about utopianism.... placed the utopia in the
past not the future as a latent possibility, as a goal.
What I am thinking about more specifically is Benjamin's essay on aura
and mechanical reproduction in relation to techno-DJ culture. The way in
which both the discourse of presence/immediacy/primativism are invoked
with absence/mediacy/modernity. Evewn the problem of always having a
kernel of the real.... I am really here watching TV I am reallly here at
my computer typing into c-space.


Seamus Malone
redye at amanda.dorsai.org


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