Day 291: Racism in Porn Industry

Next spring I will be teaching a class with the title “Race, Diversity, Neoliberalism.” A friend just forwarded me this video–should I send it out to the enrolled students in order to prepare for my class, I wonder?

Use Of ‘N-Word’ May End Porn Star’s Career

Also, really quickly: when people hear that I’m colorblind I always get the same responses people think are hilarious (“quick…what color is this?”), or questions like “so…what does X look like to you?” (correct answer on my part: “normal!”). To remedy this, here a website that illustrates to the curious the weird ways in which colorblind people perceive what you others still like to claim is ‘correct’ reality (just by majority rule–you just wait until I’m done spreading my genes!).

Day 289: Don’t Forget the Writers on Strike

Just to make sure this doesn’t happen, this is me doing my part on what has come to be referred to as the “viral picket line.” Solidarity!

Here the writers of The Daily Show:

This, of course, triggered a Colbert Report response:

P.S.: I hear Jon Stewart is currently paying the writers of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report out of his own pocket.

And here some massive star support:

Day 287: Brian K. Wood’s _DMZ_

I’ve posted about and expressed my admiration of Wood’s latest graphic novel DMZ before. I just read Vol.3 “Public Works,” which strongly underlines the status of this graphic novel as one of the most daring, politically progressive contemporary cultural works. Instead of writing about the text itself (which, since it is a graphic novel, should really be read/looked at individually) I will provide you with an interesting (angry) section from Cory Doctorow’s introduction to Vol.3:


A few Islamic fanatics who thought of Saddam Hussein as the devil incarnate are delighted to use his toppling as the excuse to inspire another generation of jihadists. Just like the shitkickers who wouldn’t have pissed on Manhattan if it was on fire are nevertheless proud to stick a yellow ribbon magnet on their Hummers and proclaim ‘Never Forget’, even as they forget that the 9/11 attacks were directed at Sodom on the Hudson, a city filled with gayers, women in bifurcated garments and brown people who smell like curry.

DMZ is a special kind of angry comic, the kind of angry war comic that tells the story of the other side of the war. Non-combatants aren’t just cannon fodder or collateral damage. We’ve got every bit as much agency, as much control over our destinies, as the guys with the guns and the satellite photos. But you wouldn’t know it from how we’re depicted in the press–instead, we’re the bodies blown apart on street corners, the shoeless sheep having our hemorrhoid cream confiscated at the airport.

DMZ is an inspiration to we who refuse to be dismembered and unshod. It’s a wake-up call to stop letting greedy profiteers sell fresh wars to cement their authority and profitability.

If I had my way, this comic would be required reading in every civics class in America.

Day 285: Shock Video Craze

Dear all, I dearly wish my return from a brief blogging hiatus could take place under less traumatic circumstances. As I always do, I got up this morning, made some coffee, sat down in front of my computer, and checked my e-mail. One of my friends sent me a link to a website featuring a video he urged me to see. I did. I died a little inside. My day is ruined and my breakfast is standing beside me unfinished. What a cruel start into what could have been an enjoyable and productive weekend. As it is, I will spend it not writing and running but most likely under the covers in the fetal position, silently weeping.

Reason: there is apparently a new global craze revolving around internet shock sites people are forced to watch while their reactions are being filmed and subsequently posted on youtube. The site that kicked off this new trend…well, you know what: I will not provide the link here. Instead, I will provide the link to a collection of reactions to the video people posted on youtube. If you really want to see the video, you can surely figure out the web address on your own. But let me warn you: even though I am trying to look at this from a safe critical distance and actually find the video interesting (as well as the reactions) from a purely psychanalytic standpoint, it is hard not to be “slightly” taken aback. Have you seen Pasolini’s Salo lately? No? Well, then look up the site for a quick recap. Let me know how it went.

Here some reactions–enjoy:

Day 280: Beard or No Beard?

I need some input on physical appearance in the context of academic job interviews, videlicet (I guess in the US you say viz) facial hair. I am contemplating shaving off my beard. What began as an exercise in laziness now has taken on experimental forms and I do want to see how long I can grow it. However, I am getting mixed reactions on my beard (including from myself). I personally find it rather annoying, except for the times I go running by the lake (makes my face warmer, which is important when running in Chicago) and when I want to be cozy (old jeans, flannel shirts, a book and, well, my beard as face blanket). Then, I heard that beards are all the rage for Hipsters at the moment (guess I haven’t been over in Wicker Park in a while). Some of my students told me they liked it, but then those students also live in Wicker Park. At the conference this weekend, someone told me that I looked like an 18th century German thinker with the beard while giving my talk, which, I believe, is in the US still an insult (regarding the difficulty of Hegel’s Phenomenology and such–which was technically published in 1807–but I think the remark was intended to go into the Hegelian/Marxian, hence 19th century, rather than into a Kantian, direction–actually, I have no idea, if Kant had spectacular facial hair at some point). So: I cannot really decide and figured I would make my decision contingent upon the job market.

Should I get some interviews, I wonder if beardless, or very beardfull would be the better way to go. Do schools want young and fresh (i.e. cleanly shaven), or serious and contemplative (i.e. bushy bearded). I guess it depends on the school–for some traditional programs I should probably add a pipe to the beard and for other schools I should shave and show off some of my tattoos (well, actually that may not be the case except for two schools I am applying to that do VERY non-traditional stuff).

So, I may just defer to the majority. Any suggestions: beard or no beard for the job market?

Day 279: No Underwear

After a few weeks that were very busy again (and after another weekend spent at a conference–this time here at UIC) I took a close look at my apartment today, something I haven’t done in a long time. Result: I really need to do some cleaning and a LOT of laundry (since it is getting too cold here to keep going commando). After this conference, I was actually looking forward to having some time for other kinds of writing again (i.e. an article I have to finish, as well as further revisions to my dissertation). It seems, though, that I will first have to devote some time to housekeeping and grocery shopping (which will probably also be good for my health, since pizza by the slice and other forms of takeout, the only food I have been eating for the last few weeks, probably does not contain the nutrients my body needs at this point).

Quick report on this conference: my argument that biopolitics is an analytical paradigm utterly unsuited for the analysis of contemporary power structures (and the ways they are exercised) did not keep people from giving papers on contemporary power/political issues that were based on an uncritical use of this very concept, there were some scary talks fetishizing empiricism and reducing issues of power in governmental information gathering to a problem of trust and informed consent, and some male participants insisted on being referred to as “she” (which I sadly could not consider as revolutionary an act as I was apparently supposed to). Overall, it was a good conference, however annoying the overall praise of a politics of diversity may have been (which too many people still seems to think results in some form of liberation, not realizing that it is actually the politics of neoliberalism).

I will now go grocery shopping and buy some healthy things that will hopefully help me finally get over my cold, which, per Anna’s suggestion (my favorite this far), means: brandy. cheers y’all

Day 275: Another Conference

Last week’s conference went relatively well. The presentations on the panels I organized turned out to be very interesting, the people were nice, and I actually got some valuable feedback on my own presentation. No rest for the wicked, though, as the next conference is coming up this weekend. I will be giving a presentation and moderating a panel on Friday, which means that I should really get my talk together. This, however, is being complicated by two things: 1) I am still sick as a dog (whenever I begin to feel better, I have to pull an all-nighter, or spend a few days with only three or four hours of sleep per night and the flu comes back because my body seems to be too tired to kick it out completely) and 2) I am beginning to wonder if giving a paper on the end of biopolitics (as a valuable/contemporarily suitable hermeneutic principle) was the best choice for a paper at a conference where biopolitics is the dominant analytical paradigm (the Project Biocultures conference). But then again, the organizers felt they should include my paper, so I guess I should not worry about this too much. Upside: it is rather unlikely that no one will want to ask questions/have comments after the talk.

Other than that there is really not much new to report that does not revolve around my efforts to get rid of my cold (I am taking vitamins, airborne, drink lots of fluids, and even eat fruit (yes, fruit–me!), but I still seem to be unable to get healthy–I have been trying to do things my sports coaches would have advised me to do back in the day, hence I tried to “run it out” by the lake for the last three days, but surprisingly this did not work either–I may try rubbing some dirt on it a little later, usually a coach’s second universal remedy.).