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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Other/Cheap Desire

2 responses to Clifford Duffy, from Brian Holmes and Pedro Meyer.

Brian Holmes <106271.223@compuserve.com> writes:

Alas, the rhetoric of the poor is Wearisome. Always the same poor souls,
and ever more Numerous. But do not worry, a lingering Social Conscience
can be dissipated. Just put two ideas together: no majority = no chance
for political action; no escape from capitalism = total freedom to
profit from it. Add that poor people don't want technological traps like
the internet, and that the masses are always fascist. And then branch
out into fiction, preferably science fiction, with bodies in gleaming
armor to tease pernicious Desire. But slip in a little university theory
too, and some apocalyptic High Culture to strengthen your class position
at the end.

Clifford, excuse me for getting straight to the point, but your March 1
post on poor rhetoric and Cheap Desire fits into the majority pattern
among the American elite. Basically you're saying, economic inequality
is no topic for this forum to debate - except if people who can't afford
technology like the internet somehow use it to speak up for themselves.

Cynical individualism is perfect for neoliberalism. Self-reliance is
always a key theme. But today the independence of the individual is a
joke. You know it - that's why you put in the bits about "the global
watch mechanisms stationed Around the planet" and "the perspective of a
context that is already historically for the most part determined." Why
use all your good literature to conform to the status quo, right down to
the theory blurbs and the fashionable noir style? Negative utopia is the
simplest way for an intelligent mind to adjust to corporate domination.

I spent last week up in the old coal-mining regions of northern France,
with mostly unemployed people, unplugged from the internet, and I come
back thinking that Saskia Sassen's work on contemporary hierarchies is
important. She has researched how technological change and economic
deregulation have affected the balance of social power, and she's done
it without neglecting the real democratic institutions, the ones still
governed by the double ideal of freedom AND equality. For me, that's the
right direction. Expand the public sphere. Cross class boundaries. From
the net to the street and back again. Is this desire? Sure is. Does it
involve possible majorities? Right along with conscious conflict and
mediated debate. A transnational public sphere is surfacing in the wake
of the corporations, and with it, the internet becomes an arena of
democratic exchange. Since the rich-poor gap is getting wider despite
all the technological progress, I think it's still worth talking about
inequality. By all possible means and with all interested parties. At a
time when impoverished people all over the world are speaking up, on and
off the internet, for themselves and for others.

Brian Holmes


Clifford Duffy wrote on 3/1/98 11:52 AM

the Poor Dont Need Anyone Speaking for them."

Pedro Meyer <zonezero@mail.internet.com.mx> writes:

I guess that people such as Buddha, Christ, Moses, Mohammed, Lincoln,
Juarez, Gandhi, etc. etc. etc. thought differently.  It's not a matter
of speaking FOR the poor in a patronizing manner or interpreting what
they might want,  rather it's the echoing of what they have already
stated. In other words the poor they are always speaking,  what occurs
is that we don't always want to listen.  

> Never Mind the net: What about TV and Cable and Satellite global
>televion and blah blah blah. Sometime back Lisa Hutton wrote that in
>California she has "access" or "gets" 50 channels or some thing like.
>And still she sees Nothing there. There Ain't Nothing on Folks.  She
>stared at us with the hard gray steel glint she had inherited from her
>old man.

"There ain't nothing on folks".... sounds very much like the nuveau rich
couple where the husband invites the wife for a trip around the world,
and she retorts " honey, can't we go somewhere else this time?"  Lisa
Hutton should probably live for a while where there is only one or two
channels, maybe her taste for diversity would change. 

>Every Day I see the "poor" and they are not Interested in this Web. "The poor 
>You always
>have with You...." "I am the Poor... Said Jean Genet.": They are Not
>interested in Poetry, Art, Beauty. But more commodities. More Wakmans,
>more v.c.r's.

If the web were only about poetry, art, beauty, etc. it might make sense
to make such a sarcastic remark, the truth is that you can "shop till
you drop" on the net as well, but not only that but you can probably get
your walk mans, vcrs, and books etc. at cheaper prices and delivered to
places where they aren't even offered. So take off your mantle of
"holier than though" attitude about the net.  IT pretty closely mirrors
what I see out in the world. So I bet that the "poor" will definitely be
interested in  the net. It also offers something that in the past wasn't
so readily available "freedom of information" and  that is not something
that the poor will refuse.  Imagine finding good sources of information
of how to find a job in a distant land, how to get in and out of a
country, how to find medical support, etc. and lastly making long
distance calls at the price of a local call, is not something that the
poor can afford to dismiss.  What happens is that you are looking at a
model of one person to one computer, and haven't given much thought to
communal use of the Internet, much as the early days of television where
dozens watched ( and paid for collectively) a TV set.  

best regards
Pedro Meyer 

I must say that the email I get daily  from this forum I find riveting.
I am however surprised in reading how for the most part we all seem to
be talking past each other. Every one writing what is solely on their
minds, with very infrequent quotes referencing some one elses comments
before. It's like: Hey! just pay attention to MY thoughts.... the result
is that there is little or no debate or follow up. Just statements that
are broadcast.  We thus are missing out an important ingredient which
the net offers. Wide ranging in concept and geographical diversity that
is interconnected. By having the majority of the statements be solely
unidirectional, we could for that matter be using the radio as a
transmitter of such ideas. No difference.  To create a thread suggest a
continuity in the dialogue, I find what is going on here more as
individual "stitches" rather than any  thread. Just a thought!

Possible reasons for this situation:

1- we are too narcisitic to deal with other peoples ideas.

2- we are not interested in the subject matter being presented and
therefore want to change the direction of what is being said.

3- who ever it is that monitors this forum is not editing correctly.

4- the format of the Internet is less that adequate to create such

5- the problem with different languages ( not only the spoken languages,
but also that of academia who have their own form of communication which
for the most part is obscure and dense to the majority)

6- the way it's now is OK and how it should be and not the reverse.
Wrong expectations. 

7- maybe we are still too analog oriented in our perceived options. 

Pedro Meyer 

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