Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

On Derek Parfit

This is a very nice piece about the lately departed anti-utilitarian utilitarian.

Monday, January 16, 2017

And On the Subject of Humankind

It turns out (thank Ingrid!) that Tristan Garcia, French OO philosopher and novelist and etc., is putting a book together about solidarity between humans and nonhumans too, addressing Marxism! So this topic is in the air. I really hope one day we can talk about it in public together.

Such a good job, because the books that are currently out there are disturbingly teleological, anthropocentric and even transhumanist (which might be the most insulting adjective I use in the academy lol).

Lecture in Dresden Next Week

On January 28th in the morning, at a theater and performance conference! I'll be detailing a theory of action I've been working out for my book for Verso, Humankind.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Evaporation

The fantasy support of an entire geopolitical and geophysical entity, in a deep sense going back to Puritan ideas of Adamic languages and Providence, has completely evaporated. 

The well, shucks, I guess I found myself sitting atop a gigantic lake of oil idea.

The dignified marble Sam the American Eagle and the lumpen gold plated all you can eat fantasy are revealed (as I argued in my book on spice) to be not just related but the same thing, just as Bill Bailey deconstructs The Edge's majestic wilderness guitar into “She'll be Coming Round the Mountain.” And revealed to the users of the different modes and versions of such concepts themselves. 

The lumpen fantasy has evaporated, the official version has evaporated. Not even the lumpen enjoyment means anything at all. 

By the time you realize you're in a game, you have already lost

The fantasy tablecloth has been whisked out. Sure all the “resources,” the waves of golden corn etc, are still in place--but the reason for them has gone. 

The ecology without nature part of me (like, all of it) is--come on in the water's lovely--really glad this is happening. Despite the local horrors and tragedies and the specifics of the particular actors who got magnetized to read lines that didn't have to be perfectly scripted. And despite whatever intentions the scriptwriters had, conscious or not.  

America has been turned on a shoestring into a gigantic piece of conceptual art. It can no longer think, in any mode at all, in any part of itself, that it coincides with reality. 

Discuss. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to figure out what and whom I'm talking about, which is evidence of the brilliance of the big picture as written by some historian 200 years from now. Some historian of the decadent twilight of post-Cold War USA stuff. (It was amazing arriving in the US in the 90s--more on that soon maybe).

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Masculinity

In the days to come, there were more declarations of acid satisfaction among the Russian élite. Dmitri Kiselyov, the host of “News of the Week,” a popular current-affairs show on state-controlled television, gloated over Trump’s victory and Barack Obama’s inability to prevent it. Obama, he said, was a “eunuch.” Trump was an “alpha male”—and one who showed mercy to his vanquished rival. “Trump could have put the blonde in prison, as he’d threatened in the televised debates,” Kiselyov said on his show. “On the other hand, it’s nothing new. Trump has left blond women satisfied all his life.” Kiselyov further praised Trump because the concepts of democracy and human rights “are not in his lexicon.” In India, Turkey, Europe, and now the United States, he declared, “the liberal idea is in ruins.”--The New Yorker

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"Knowing" Your Right vs Being Helpful

“A recent Urban Institute study estimated that 956,000 people in Pennsylvania and one million each in Georgia and North Carolina could lose coverage under a repeal done through a reconciliation bill. Most of them are among the very population Mr. Trump said he was running to give a voice to — nationally, 56 percent of those who would lose coverage are white, and 80 percent of adults who would lose insurance have less than a college degree.”---New York Times

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I Like This Line from This Essay I'm Proof-Reading

“In commodity fetishism, spoons and chickens don’t have agency: they become the hardware platform for capitalist software.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Is There Anybody Out There

“The overall lack of coverage about the specifics of Trump’s replacement plan represents a fundamental problem in media’s treatment of health care policy and must quickly change now that Trump is the president-elect. A recent study from the Urban Institute showed that 24 million people will lose health care coverage by 2021 if Congress repeals the ACA. Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, is a known foe of the law’s birth control mandate, a regulation that has dramatically reduced out-of-pocket health care costs for women and massively expanded contraceptive coverage. Repeal could also roll back the gains made in reducing the budget deficit, extending the life of Medicare, and lowering health care costs that resulted from the implementation of the ACA.

“While no concrete plan for a replacement currently exists -- due to Republican infighting -- repealing Obamacare remains a top priority for the incoming Trump administration. Journalists must start asking questions about what a replacement plan will look like, how it will affect millions of Americans who gained coverage under the ACA, and what its true goals are. Every interview or panel segment about health care must begin with the question, “What is Trump’s replacement plan?” and include aggressive follow-ups about how it would function in order to hold the Trump administration accountable and educate the American public on the future of health care in the United States.”---Media Matters for America

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Julie Tremblay Talks about Realist Magic

Wow, look at those artworks too.

So Many Essays Are Now on academia.edu

...I've uploaded a bunch, so if you want to download things or whatever, please go ahead. Several of them are from very hard to get art books as well as the usual journals and stuff.

Wow This So just Made My Day

“What incredible riches you have been putting on the web over the last few days- thank you! All stimulating and intriguing papers, which I will send on to my 90 year old father who greatly enjoys your work; I'm sure it keeps him young and his mind nimble (he much enjoyed and appreciated Realist Magic).”

Friday, December 30, 2016

Delegitimation

The content of the Russian-hacked emails was actually remarkably unexplosive. Probably the biggest news was that Hillary Clinton had expressed herself in favor of a hemispheric common market in speeches to Wall Street executives. Otherwise, we learned from them that some people at the Democratic National Committee favored a lifelong Democrat for their party’s nomination over a socialist interloper who had joined the party for his own convenience. We learned that many Democrats, including Chelsea Clinton, disapproved of the ethical shortcomings of some of the people in Bill Clinton’s inner circle. We learned that Hillary Clinton acknowledged differences between her “public and private” positions on some issues. None of this even remotely corroborated Donald Trump’s wild characterizations of the Russian-hacked, Wikileaks-published material.

“These Wikileaks emails confirm what those of us here today have known all along: Hillary Clinton is the vessel for a corrupt global establishment that is raiding our country and surrendering our sovereignty. This criminal government cartel doesn’t recognize borders, but believes in global governance, unlimited immigration, and rule by corporations.” [Trump]

Or:

“The more emails WikiLeaks releases, the more lines between the Clinton Foundation, the secretary of state's office and the Clintons' personal finances—they all get blurred … I mean, at what point—at what point do we say it? Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency.” [Trump]

Without Trump’s own willingness to make false claims and misuse Russian-provided information, the Wikileaks material would have deflated of its own boringness. The Russian-hacked material did damage because, and only because, Russia found a willing accomplice in the person of Donald J. Trump.
Many questions remain about how the Russian spy services did what they did. That includes Putin’s motives for ordering the operation. But on issues from Crimea to Syria to NATO to the breakup of the European Union, Trump’s publicly expressed views align with Putin’s wishes.

Over Trump’s motives for collaborating so full-throatedly with Russian espionage, there hangs a greater and more disturbing mystery—a mystery that Trump seems in no hurry to dispel. And maybe he is wise to leave the mystery in place: as delegitimizing as it is, it’s very possible the truth would be even worse.---David Frum

Call Your Representative and Demand that Obamacare Not be Scrapped

If James Comey, the F.B.I. director, hadn’t tipped the scales in the campaign’s final days with that grotesquely misleading letter, right now an incoming Clinton administration would be celebrating some very good news. Because health reform, President Obama’s signature achievement, is stabilizing after a bumpy year.

This means that the huge gains achieved so far — tens of millions of newly insured Americans and dramatic reductions in the number of people skipping treatment or facing financial hardship because of cost — look as if they’re here to stay.

Or they would be here to stay if the man who squeaked into power thanks to Mr. Comey and Vladimir Putin wasn’t determined to betray his supporters, and snatch away the health care they need.

To appreciate the good news about Obamacare you need to understand where the earlier bad news came from. Premiums on the exchanges, the insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, did indeed rise sharply this year, because insurers were losing money. But this wasn’t because of a surge in overall medical costs, which have risen much more slowly since the act was passed than they did before. It reflected, instead, the mix of people signing up — fewer healthy, low-cost people than expected, more people with chronic health issues.

The question was whether this was a one-time adjustment or the start of a “death spiral,” in which higher premiums would drive healthy Americans out of the market, further worsening the mix, leading to even higher premiums, and so on.

And the answer is that it looks like a one-shot affair. Despite higher premiums, enrollments in the exchanges are running ahead of their levels a year ago; no death spiral here. Meanwhile, analysts are reporting substantial financial improvement for insurers: The premium hikes are doing the job, ending their losses.

In other words, Obamacare hit a bump in the road, but appears to be back on track.

But will it be killed anyway?

In a way, Democrats should hope that Republicans follow through on their promises to repeal health reform. After all, they don’t have a replacement, and never will. They’ve spent seven years promising something very different from yet better than Obamacare, but keep failing to deliver, because they can’t; the logic of broad coverage, especially for those with pre-existing conditions, requires either an Obamacare-like system or single-payer, which Republicans like even less. That won’t change.

As a result, repeal would have devastating effects, with people who voted Trump among the biggest losers. Independent estimates suggest that Republican plans would cause 30 million Americans to lose coverage, with about half the losers coming from the Trump-supporting white working class. At least some of those Trump supporters would probably conclude that they were the victims of a political scam — which they were.

Republican congressional leaders like Paul Ryan nonetheless seem eager to push ahead with repeal. In fact, they seem to be in a great rush, probably because they’re afraid that if they don’t unravel health reform in the very first weeks of the Trump era, rank-and-file members of Congress will start hearing from constituents who really, really don’t want to lose their insurance.

Why do the Republicans hate health reform? Some of the answer is that Obamacare was paid for in part with taxes on the wealthy, who will reap a huge windfall if it’s repealed, even as many middle-income families face tax hikes.

More broadly, Obamacare must die precisely because it’s working, showing that government action really can improve people’s lives — a truth they don’t want anyone to know.

How will Republicans try to contain the political fallout if they go ahead with repeal, and tens of millions lose access to health care? No doubt they’ll try to distract the public — and the all-too-compliant news media — with shiny objects of various kinds.

But surely a central aspect of their damage control will be an attempt to push a false narrative about Obamacare’s past. Health reform, they’ll claim, was always a failure, and it was already collapsing on the eve of the G.O.P. takeover. When the number of uninsured Americans skyrockets on their watch, they’ll claim that it’s not their fault — like everything, it’s the fault of liberal elites.

So let’s refute that narrative in advance. Obamacare has, in fact, been a big success — imperfect, yes, but it has greatly improved (and saved) many lives. And all indications are that this success is sustainable, that the teething problems of health reform weren’t fatal and were well on their way to being solved at the end of 2016.

If, as seems all too likely, a health care debacle is imminent, blame must be placed where it belongs: on Donald Trump and the people who put him over the top.---Paul Krugman