Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Shall See My Daydreams Walking By with Dogs in Blankets

So, a new edition of Jacques Rancière's essays was on the new book truck yesterday. K, the woman D sometimes brings to Thursday Night Pints and who asks me about blogging, asked me last Thursday if I was familiar with his work, so serendipity and all. I was required to read Rancière in two classes and able to read him well enough at a rudimentary level but again, once the subject > object > subjectobject > objectsubject > subjectobjectsubject bullshit starts, I'm out.

Still, serendipity, and it's the Blog Days of Summer, and I'm both lazy and trying to reestablish that I will post whatever the fuck I want, so here, for your Memorial Day weekend consideration and/or disregard, Rancière's Ten Theses on Politics:

Thesis 1:

Politics is not the exercise of power. Politics ought to be defined in its own terms as a specific mode of action that is enacted by a specific subject and that has its own proper rationality. It is the political relationship that makes it possible to conceive of the subject of politics, not the other way around.

Thesis 2:

What is specific to politics is the existence of a subject defined by its participation in contraries. Politics is a paradoxical form of action.

Thesis 3:

Politics is a specific break with the logic of the arkhé. It does no simply presuppose a break with the "normal" distribution of positions that defines who exercises power and who is subject to it. It also requires a break with the idea that there exist dispositions "specific" to these positions.

Thesis 4:

Democracy is not a political regime. As a rupture in the logic of the arkhé, that is, and the anticipation of ruling in its disposition, it is the very regime of politics itself as a form of relationship that defines a specific subject.

Thesis 5:

The people that comprises the subject of democracy, and thus the atomic subject of politics, is neither the collection of members of the community, nor the laboring classes of the population. It is the supplementary part in relation to every count of the parts of the population, making it possible to identify "the count of the uncounted" with the whole of the community.

Thesis 6:

If politics is the tracing of a vanishing difference with respect to the distribution of social parts and shares, it follows that its existence is by no means necessary, but that it occurs as an always provisional accident with the history of forms of domination. It also follows that the essential object of political dispute is the very existence of politics itself.

Thesis 7:

Politics stands in distinct opposition to the police. The police is a distribution of the sensible whose principle is the absence of void and of supplement.

Thesis 8:

The essential work of politics is the configuration of its own space. It is to make the world of its subjects and its operations seen. The essence of politics is the manifestation of dissensus as the presence of two worlds in one.

Thesis 9:

Inasmuch as the province of political philosophy lies in grounding political action in a specific mode of being, it works essentially to efface the litigiousness constitutive of politics. Politics effects this effacement in its very description of the world of politics. Moreover, the effectiveness of the effacement is also perpetuated in non-philosophical or anti-philosophical descriptions of the world.

Thesis 10:

The "end of politics" and the "return of politics" are two complementary ways of canceling out politics in the simple relationship between a state of the social and a state of the state apparatus. "Concensus" is the common name given to this cancellation.

Gah! Motherfucking arkhé. Un specifica, was künder meat?


Frank O'Hara

        If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35¢, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
      I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
      of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting, up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
      But no more fountains and no more rain,
      and the stores stay open terribly late.


  1. Please please please please please.

    Quitter, Please!

  2. I'm not sure if something that happened 2 or 3 years ago qualifies as serendipity, but I remember in a batch of new books was the English translation of Badiou's Being and Event and, generally avoiding philosophy due to both "check out my obscurantist cant, babe" crap like the above and me being stupid, I decided what the hell. A couple of chapters convinced me my time was better served reading verse and the occasional road sign.

    Yikes, Serie A is worth a chuckle on the tube when there's half-filled curva and acres of pristine plastic in between, but that's sad.

  3. When I saw the link to the 100 least influential bands of all time, for some reason I instantly thought of Gay Dad for the first time in literally ten years, so I was very pleased to see them at #91. I had that album, purchased for $1.99 a week after it came out. I think I listened to it once.

  4. Thanks, man. Serendipitously, as I was standing in a long line in a bagel store this morning for coffee the woman in front of me had a beautiful pink-aura two year old female rescue pit bull, just funny and sweet and smart. She (the woman) said she also had five cats that the dog adored, then gave me the pit bull rescue number she got the dog from and donates to. I don't know that we'll get a pit bull (when we were doing the dog rescue that produced Rudy we were at the MOCO shelter and they tried to sell us on a pit bull that seemed funny and sweet and smart but E & P didn't feel comfortable with a pit bull) but once we're back from England we'll start visiting shelters and rescues.

    Randal, I posted a paragraph from that Badiou at the old place, a (to me) completely incomprehensible passage on the subjectivity of the subset A vis a vis its apprehension of its subjectivity as an object in set theory, or something.

    Ethan, I don't think I recognized, much less listened to, more than 20 on that list. Heh, Timbuk 3 - I got dragged to one of their concerts by a girl I dated that night only.

  5. So many local pits have been bred to aggression that, much as I adore most any doggy, I'd avoid. But that's just me. I avoid Chows too.

  6. I agree, and didn't mean to give the impression that we would have taken the pit bull except for the resistance of E & P - he seemed like a wonderful dog, but, as you say.... and beyond that, we couldn't give a young working dog (pit bull or otherwise) the work and exercise it would need to stay healthy and happy.

    I'd love to find a smart, bigger than little, littler than middle-sized, uniquely ugly mutt with a sense of humor. Our problem, though, is the dog needs to get along with (as in not hassle) cats. That was one of Rudy's best qualities. He and Napoleon were buddies, and he and the house cats coexisted peacefully.

  7. I honestly don't get the problem with calling Laura Ingraham a right-wing slut. Seriously. I mean, there are worse things you could call her and still be well within the bounds of truth. Her truth. Seriously.

    J'accuse! I say you fabricated and nailed to your blog those 10 theses JUST so you could once again embed Feelyat! Prove the negative! Can't? Hah! like Mexican Institute of Sound? I very nearly like Mexican Institute of Sound! Once of us needs to reexamine fundamental principles. It's probably me.

  8. WFMU plays them all the time. Good stuff, and that song is my second favorite cover of all time as of this very second, this being my current favor.

    Hey, Holly Beth makes an appearance tomorrow.