Authenticity and Nostalgia: The Crippling Deadlock of Postmodern Culture

The following images from recent American Apparel campaigns illustrate clearly the links between nostalgia for the recent past (in this case, the 1980s) and playfully sexual content. In our current epoch, the removal of almost all restrictions on sexual conduct has led to a kind of exhausted ultra-liberalism. In such a context American Apparel’s strategy […]

Film Analysis: Peering into the Soiled Toilet Bowl of Contemporary Cinema

Rear Window successfully conveys the voyeuristic experience of witnessing neighbours’ private activities. Jeff, a photographer who is forced to remain indoors due to a broken leg, is able to see inside his neighbours apartments without being himself seen. As the story progresses, Jeff becomes fixated on events occurring in one of the apartments across the […]

Culture Industry and the Production of Need

  In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno and Horkheimer argue: “The stronger the positions of the culture industry become, the more summarily it can deal with consumers’ needs, producing them, controlling them, disciplining them, and even withdrawing amusement: no limits are set to cultural progress of this kind.” (1997; 144) What occurs in the culture industry […]

Further Notes on Liberal Democracy…

  The term ‘liberal democracy’ in its contemporary usage refers to a mode of political organisation with constitutional provisions for both universal suffrage and the protection of human rights. The constitution is normally effective over a given geographical area and serves to protect those individuals considered citizens of that area. With this in mind, Schmitt […]

Contingency, Necessity and the Narrative Function of Ideology: Part II

Insofar as a reliance on ideological misperception actually serves as a kind of support for an individual (either allowing them to wrongly internalise their triumphs or externalise the obstacles to their possible success), an event which confronts the individual with this repressed dimension of their lived experience is likely to cause profound psychic shock. This […]

Contingency, Necessity and the Narrative Function of Ideology

It may be worthwhile to introduce this topic through reference to what I regard as a ‘post-ideological’ definition of ideology. Ideology, that is, as a specific view which confers on historical events a sense of unity and purpose. This might be the triumphant victory cry of neo-liberal hegemony, arrogantly declaring itself the end zone of […]

“The Middle East Conflict will be Televised!”: Impartiality, Objectivity and the Impossible Task of Televised News

  While televised news coverage of events in the Middle East can be up to date and offer the viewer a glimpse of the action only days or even hours after it occurred, there is nevertheless a tendency to offer superficial reports in which the raw facts are delivered amongst vivid images of warfare and […]

Bodies with Organs?: Cinema as a Site of Feminine Empowerment

The female body has, over recent years, moved to the foreground of critical discussions within various disciplines. Its status has been contested by a variety of theoretical positions as a site of constructed identity, of disembodied, fetishized organs, or, as the inert, fleshy substrate upon which various garments and commodities can be brought to life. […]

Stirner, Nietzsche and the Ripest Fruit on the Tree

For Stirner, any investigation into morality and religion must be grounded in a psychological approach to man and his relationship with society. Rather than accepting the conception of man which has been inherited from generations of philosophical investigation, Stirner seeks to expose the ways in which man is limited by this inheritance. It is this […]

Revolutionary Laughter or Bourgeois Sadism: Adorno, Benjamin and the Deadlock of Contemporary Culture

  Theodor Adorno’s fervent critique of mass culture clearly stands in stark contrast to Walter Benjamin’s elevation of mass culture as a site of redemptive utopian hope. The disparity between the two thinkers confronts modern readers of each as a jarring problematic which still plagues contemporary Marxist thought. Should mass culture be unequivocally denounced as […]