An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Friday, January 21, 2011

More on depressive hedonia

Ian Bogost and his commentators have some interesting reactions to K-Punk's argument on 'depressive hedonia'. First, Ian connects it to the never-ending debate over 'hard' theory:

Yet, as Fisher points out, when students "want Nietzsche in the same way that they want a hamburger" they miss the fact that "the indigestibility is Nietzsche."

My answer here is probably to say that nothing is inherently worthwhile /because/ it is hard. It can perhaps, though, be good in spite of hardness, and the hardness (if measured in the depth of attention possible/required) can open a door oto stronger feeling/understanding.

Then there is an interesting comment about distraction as a defence mechanism. Of a student wearing headphones in class:

What if the student needed the headphones primarily as a type of anxiety management against the classroom, placing a symbolic barrier of sorts between himself and the room in which he was expected to participate with a degree of fluency, articulateness and incisiveness that, in this society, it's just as likely he would feel eminently unequal to. To me, the headphones seem much more a way to insulate one from the angst of socio-academic participation in than it is "to be denied, for a moment, the constant flow of sugary gratification on demand."

This, IMO, is also true as a much more general rule. The cycle of seeking new things, seeking short-term gratification or acceptance -- it's the result of insecurity. If you have the confidence of being surrounded by love and acceptance, you don't need by-the-minute demonstration thereof.

Incidentally, for reference, this is the post which formed the basis for that section of Capitalist Realism.

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