Notes on culture (via Twitter)

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Note to self: culture is not co-extensive w/ a healthy, social, spontaneous life – at least not under capitalism.

Culture carries that possibility – the watered-down excitement of pseudo-bohemia testifies to that – but its reality lies beyond capitalism.

Or perhaps rather it lies beyond the world wh/ capitalism hides itself as & the celebration of spontaneity affirms (affirming injustice too)

One can live a healthy, social, spontaneous life [as far as is possible under a regime of the exploitation of labour] & engage w/ culture (more fully even), but culture cannot be a means to the former.

Culture, in its being-in-itself, is fundamentally misaligned w/ the ‘health’ of capitalism – straight teeth & youthful excitability…

– wh/ are aligned w/ the maximisation of production by the subject cast adrift in post-Fordism (‘dynamic’, ‘engaged’, ‘networking’ actively)

Culture is not, in Ben Watson’s phrase, “the icing on the cake of middle-class life”. Even in its positive intensities it damns that life.

Two nostalgias: 1) 2) at the back of an open-mic night, a friend’s v. good folk band playing, the crowd pleased…

(& pleased w/ themselves for being so pleased), trying & failing to sell magazines all night, enjoyed their set despite not being able to…

see them, I leave in frustration. Months later, seeing a friend’s photos of that night, nostalgia for what I was, fundamentally, excluded from.

In the case of 1) I was at a stuffy smalltown 6th form, closeted, mentally ill. Part of the latter was contrast between promise of this stuff

(that culture entailed life rather than simply opposition thereto) & the unredeemability of that promise. Needless to say, am still waiting.

Eventually, you choose not to wait any longer (see 2)). Let life come as it comes, haphazardly & horrifically damaged.

Culture, in ‘silence, exile, cunning’, will keep its other promise.


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