Month: February 2014

Global Warming and Other Hyperobjects |

Via, the Los Angeles Book Review: Global Warming and Other Hyperobjects, we get a pretty lacking review of Tim Morton’s Hypobjects book. There’s this paragraph, for instance:

Theory is not an academic discipline. Philosophers reading Hyperobjects might groan and protest (see Nathan Brown’s review of Morton’s recent Realist Magic), but Morton is not doing philosophy, he is sampling it. Likewise with the most recent advances in theoretical physics, appearing in this book in spades, along with some writing about avant-garde arts and music. It’s a strange mash-up, this theory stuff. You don’t read theory to advance the discipline you might belong to — you read it for stimulation, which is why Hyperobjects will find a broad educated readership across the world. And it is good that it should. The destiny of the planet is his topic, after all.

Well as someone in a philosopher department who does “theory,” let me groan a bit. This is what gives “theory” a bad name–that it’s just “sampling” and not “advancing” ideas–“a strange mash-up.” Also, Nathan Brown is not in a philosophy department–but in English. The review provides a nice summary of many of Morton’s arguments, which seems to suggest it’s not just a “mash-up,” but makes sustained points. (My copy is on a shelf back home so I’ll have something more sustained on it when I get back to it, but my point is more about how theory is [positively] described here.)

Robin James on Race, Social Media, and Resilience

via it’s her factory: Toxic: on race, gender, and resilient labor on social media.

But I think contemporary social media and big-data political economies are using different devices to control women, especially black women. Social media and big data facilitate a specific form of sexist racism, one that controls women through racialized discourses of toxicity and unhealthy behavior patterns. Instead of turning women into objects and/or erasing their agency, social media and big data let non-white women do and say whatever they want, because their so-called “aggressive bullying” produces the damage against which white women demonstrate their resilience. A similar claim has been (in)famously leveled against “feminism,” especially “intersectional feminism”: it vampirically drains the lifeblood of the progressive, radical left.