Saturday, September 25

Topic of the day

Leo the spine What did he publish this Saturday? Fabián Casas, one of my favorite writers not of this newspaper but of the world and of life. I read it because I like it and also to see if I steal something from it; not a theme, rather a tone or a spirit. I am torn between writing about my personal obsessions and writing about what happens, as if something like that existed, “what happens”, a shared present that is increasingly an illusion. The covers of the newspapers are no longer what they were: very rarely does something happen (literally: a pandemic has to come) that deserves to be in all of them at the same time, something that really is what happens for everyone. I almost always win personal obsessions. They have at least one undeniable virtue: they are things that someone is very interested in, even if only me. The topic of the day, on the other hand, doesn’t really interest anyone; it only matters a little to a lot of people. And so and all I cannot help but, at times, look outside, fill myself with daytime remains, fill my eyes, mind and heart with inconsequential events, forgettable statements; nor forgettable: forgotten, words and images that are born forgotten, as if they were painted with a waterproofing that prevents them from adhering to anyone’s memory for more than 24 hours. I have an inelegant vice for the present. There is nothing more elegant than talking about something else.

And then I thought I had to go back to one of Mark Fisher’s most famous rehearsals, ‘Leaving Vampire Castle’ (available in K-Punk – Volume 3, edited by Black Box). Published in English in 2013, it has since reappeared from time to time in discussions about the culture of cancellation, the differences between the old left and the new left, the quality of public debate and other issues that this text is supposed to touch on and even predicted; It is a kind of sacred text, as if written in a prophetic past, that somehow always talks about the topic of the day. Many times I have read it looking for an argument about the differences within progressivism, or a defense of the category of class that does not make it the only category of oppression, although it does become the one most ignored by the discourses of progressivism cool North American; but in this last rereading, in which he was looking for nothing more than a clue (as some do with the Torah, those who are not going to look for answers to questions they already have but answers to questions that they still do not know how to formulate), the concept What remained in my head was that of the bourgeois modes of subjectivity. When today we talk about the problems of the public sphere, it often seems that the question is in the content, but Fisher hits the key when he emphasizes the forms: the problem is not in feminist or anti-racist ideas, but in the the way in which a subjective structure turns those ideas into things that are carried on the skin, that cannot be touched or manipulated or used to play anything because they hurt, because they break. That is why I think that Fisher does not actually denounce something that happens only within the left or the new left, not even only within the youth; what he finds there is a vintage mark that can also be read in the center and on the right. It is the tone that sets the political discussions that occur today on the Internet, beyond colors and even countries; the war of indignation, the game of the offended goose.

I once heard, especially from anti-populist perspectives, that the problem with politics and political discussions is when they get emotional; I don’t think that’s true. Emotions in politics are motor and are parameter, compass and talisman; But outrage is not an emotion. What does it feel like to be outraged? What wound does it produce? Before whom, as Spinetta would say? A candidate talks about fucking; Who does it harm? Unless you believe in things like the integrity of public morals and good manners, nobody. The public debate is not damaged by this content, nor by any other content, not even the statements of another candidate stigmatizing marijuana users who have the misfortune of not living in Palermo; the damage occurs when someone answers and someone answers again and all the media reproduce infinitely the imprecise word and the imperfect smile, when the bloopers (outtakes) they become the whole chapter; the damage occurs, in the end, when everything is taken so seriously. The paradox, of course, is that nobody takes anything seriously; nobody cares, nobody is offended. It is a kind of eternal theater of indignation, a passing the ball to cover the void, the uncertainty, the feeling that talking about what is really lacking or what needs to be done would be too overwhelming, too distressing, too hard. The feeling, too, that if we get to talking seriously we have many chances if we are wrong, in a public conversation in which making mistakes is increasingly expensive. That extreme susceptibility in which everything turns into a scandal (you no longer need a affair, a crime or anything; It is enough with a tweet, a badly chosen adjective, a bad gesture since it is reproduced infinitely), which makes speaking publicly more about an obstacle course than the possibility of a discussion, is a contradictory trap: yes everything is important, nothing is important. The public withdraws from this discussion: it becomes a matrioshka of sayings, images and notes raised to infinity and people simply stop paying attention. As if we weren’t, after almost two years, tired enough.

In ‘Leaving Vampire Castle’ Fisher, an advocate of cyber conversation, wonders about the limits of our interactions on the internet; rather, it even affirms the inevitability of those limits. You are right, but there is a sad truth; left parties can meet in face-to-face assemblies, full citizens cannot. The way out to be found from the trap of a discursive world full of content but completely devoid of meaning, to this court of indignant white popcorn to which deep down everything does not matter, it cannot be “there is no wifi, talk to each other. you guys”. I think of solipsism as an individual way out, stop paying attention to noise and read poetry in response to everything. What was public debate good for when it seemed like it was good for something? I cling to the memory of the abortion debate like Winslet to the Titanic plank, but it is a memory that drifts away, lost between quotes surrounded by exclamation points and poorly made memes.

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