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15 A digest of an alt.postmodern newsgroup thread on aestheticism,ascism, futurism, Benjamin, and landscape design




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This article is from the Postmodern FAQ, by Van Piercy vpiercy@indiana.edu with numerous contributions by others.

15 A digest of an alt.postmodern newsgroup thread on aestheticism,ascism, futurism, Benjamin, and landscape design

#2709
From: <PRJHC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU>
Re: aesthetics and contemporary culture
Date: Sun Feb 12 09:20:27 EST 1995

In article <3hcb5n$ndg@larch.cc.swarthmore.edu>,
haneef@engin.swarthmore.edu (Omar Haneef '96) says:
>david black f (dblack@mach1.wlu.ca) wrote:
>> The Futurists' oft-quoted slogan from Marinetti's 1909
"Foundation
>> Manifesto of Futurism"--"We will glorify war--the world's only
>> hygiene--militarism, patriotism, the destructive gestures of
freedom
>> bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for
women"--could
>> have been written by any one of the contemporary New Right.
[...]
>>

The futurists glorified war because they thought it would gener-
ate class struggle which would lead to revolution. (see Perloff's
The Futurist Moment.) Perhaps their mistake was being naive
enough to assume they could somehow use the fascists to their own
ends... but then again, who could have anticipated the
holocaust....? Especially if you were a futurist with positivist
leanings and associated technical progress with civilized behav-
ior?
I think it is the luxury of your position, looking backwards
at the futurists through the holocaust, that enables you to
accuse them of supporting crimes they didn't even believe were
possible. There were many circumstances in which the Futurists
DIRECTLY confronted fascist policy. See Robert Motherwell's
anthology Dada. An excerpt from the diary of Mohol-Nagy's wife
(whose name I can't remember) describes a Nazi dinner party in
which Manaretti made a mockery of the occasion by reading
phonetic poetry and tipping the contents of the entire banquet
table onto the laps of the Nazi brass... including Goering him-
self.
I'm not sure what this anecdote really demonstrates besides
an equally valid reading of Futurism as a form of proto-
deconstruction perhaps. I would avoid statements such as
futurism=fascism. Everything the Nazi's touched didn't turn into
fascism... that is giving them far too much credit.

> On the contrary, postmodernity is concerned with a
PROLIFERATION of
>images so that no one image stands out. It is concerned with the
>multiplicity of images, a mass of images. It is anti-fascist in
that sense.
>

On the other hand, Adorno describes fascism (In Freudian Theory
and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda) as relying on the
proliferation of images. It is the tactic of fascism to repeat an
image endlessly and everywhere in order to generate an atmosphere
which will not only make it seem true, but restrict the range of
possible readings.

MTV, it might be added, is radically different than fascism
because it depends on the ability to posture as anti-
establishment. MTV is more concerned with encapsulating rebel-
lion. It is liberal. Fascist propaganda overtly rationalized mass
movements as normative...which means different things if you
really think about it.

#2716
From: gcf@panix.com (Gordon Fitch)
Date: Sun Feb 12 18:51:17 EST 1995

<PRJHC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU>:
| ...
| On the other hand, Adorno describes fascism (In Freudian Theory
and the
| Pattern of Fascist Propaganda) as relying on the proliferation
of images.

I think this is a tactic of all forms of totalitarianism,
including, of course, our own, as a glance at a newsstand or
the supermarket shelves will tell you. The industrialism of
Authority, I suppose. What i[s] the cyberneticization of
Authority?

-- >< Gordon Fitch >< gcf@panix.com ><

#2741
From: <PRJHC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU>
[1] Re: aesthetics and contemporary culture
Date: Tue Feb 14 08:37:24 EST 1995

gcf@panix.com (Gordon Fitch) says:

>| > I think this is a tactic of all forms of totalitarianism,
>| > including, of course, our own, as a glance at a newsstand or
>| > the supermarket shelves will tell you. The industrialism of
>| > Authority, I suppose. What it the cyberneticization of
>| > Authority?

In terms of aesthetic, I imagine it is much "faster" than facsist
propaganda. Jameson, in Late Capitalism, says something about how
the postmodern aesthetic can only be flawed by an interuption of
its ceaseless transformations... this makes me think of a liq-
uid... perhaps able to flow around everything. Fascist
propaganda, which I've seen, was rarely aqueous however.

>Andrew_Perry@Brown.edu (Andy Perry):
>| I
>| would assume that the proliferation of images would expand,
rather than
>| restrict, the range of possible readings, since each image
would be
>| disseminated through more disparate interpretive contexts...

The spewing of propaganda excites and directs... and generates a
sort of backdrop for the leader which not only reinforces
validity, but encourages individualism and narcissism through
identification, which, in turn, limits interpretation. The group,
then, becomes a fragmented collection of little dictators
undermining any kind of interaction which might lead to critical
thinking. The presence of the dictator is a bit like the author
function for all propaganda as well as an author/model for ones
own behavior...which, of course, comes into play when interpret-
ing the propaganda. Advertising functions in a similar way by
making commodities for "you alone" and by appealing to standards
of normalcy... but it is not quite as centralized... I don't
think.

 

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