Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
20200217mikkelkrausefrantzen

Thinking about the relationship between political economy and the psychopathologies of the present is not a matter of epistemology - that might be a bit philosophical, but what I mean by that is I don't think you get depressed because you suddenly see the world as it is. You get depressed because you are indebted, or because you have a shitty job, or three jobs, or because you see the planetary situation is totally bad - but that's not just a matter of perception, it's a matter of materialism - of money, of your bank account, and your waking hours, and your life and your family.

Writer Mikkel Krause Frantzen explores depression and social suffering under late capitalism - as extreme alienation and political powerlessness dominate our lives, we lose track of the ways our deep unhappiness with our lives is collective, and at times realisted, and inflicted by a system that thrives on isolated subjects, en masse.

Mikkel is author of the book Going Nowhere, Slow: The Aesthetics and Politics of Depression from Zero Books.

 


Feb 19
Feb 18
Feb 17
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

The following is a message from the Socialist Leisure Party.

I’m sick of people living their best lives. Can’t you just be average?

I understand the impulse to be extraordinary. I lived the first five decades of my life with that impulse. I thought I had something special, something requiring me to be given space to create. I was living the drama of the gifted child, all the way up to age 50.

I’ve tried being arrogant. I’ve tried being humble. Yes, arrogance gets you more pie, but, as Dwight Yoakam says, “the pie don’t taste so sweet.” Arrogant pie is downright bitter. Humble pie isn’t as bad as they make it out to be in the proverbial world, the world of proverbials.

Listeners to this segment of the show have heard me aver many times that the people you have to watch out for are those with great ambition and great expertise. It goes deeper than that. People with ambition and drive have a vast carbon footprint. And not just carbon. They have footprints of any number of elements and compounds, including, but not limited to, plastic, aluminum, depleted lithium, 99% perspiration, chicken parts, mercury, latex, arsenic, methane, phosphates, acetic acid, essential oils, sputum, xanthan gum, and BHT to preserve color. A plethora of footprints. So many footprints. They’re the human millipedes.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the miraculous product of surgical enhancement, The Human Centipede. On this very show I compared politics to a human centipede. These, though, are the human millipedes. A human millipede is, like the Human Centipede, a collective entity, but made up of more people. It begins with a large head, and thereafter establishes its body, what you might call its “corpus,” or “torso,” or “thorax,” or “fuselage,” and attracts others to it, first with investment opportunities, then luring lesser human appurtenances with wages and, possibly, benefits. And so the human millipede forms: a big head, thorax, and myriad feet.

Of course, the head has the big idea. Sometimes it’s actually a good, helpful idea. Sometimes it is an incredibly horrible, destructive, murderous idea. But most often it’s merely an idea to take advantage of an absence in a market. Not an absence of something necessary, but of something that can be made to... read more

Feb 13
Feb 12
Feb 6
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

In the fall of 1945, the United Nations began pursuing its often-failed mission of preventing armed conflict and aiding economic development in regions impoverished by earlier colonialism. It was a noble effort, and, despite its shortcomings – often blamed on the organization itself rather than the intransigence and bad faith of its members – it has in fact contributed to preventing a third World War, or at least to providing, during the low rumble of constant global warfare, an institution where diplomatic alternatives to violence can at least be entertained. One can only assume it’s better than nothing.

However, rather than welcome participation in a forum for discussing international affairs among the actual participants, some in the USA have viewed the United Nations as a kind of global government usurping the sovereignty of the world’s most active military power. It’s similar to the way Brexiteers kvetch about the EU over in England. Anything remotely unifying, that might challenge the hegemony of the dominant economic interests, is some kind of “committee” that will, by definition, design a failed animal. Unions, consumer-interest groups, boycotts, marches, climate conventions, diplomatic gatherings of nations – they’re all threatening to the iron fist of the world’s policeman, arms dealer, and number one destabilizer of regions.

Those with power want to remain in power, naturally. And part of power is appeasing the people, which requires concessions. But, as the powerful become greedier and more conservative, as the neoliberal consensus has taken greater hold among them, the concessions they’re willing to make in order to appear democratic are dwindling. It’s part of a trend.

Now, the Democratic primary season has just kicked off. The Democrat National Committee are looking for a savior. Who can excite people enough to get them on board against Donald Dump, but not get them so excited that the Democrats end up having to deliver actual change? If they go with someone like Biden, and he wins, and then does the same Democratic right-of-middle- of-the-road betrayal that Bill Clinton pioneered with his triangulation, then won’t the irate, put- upon classes make the Dems pay four years later, maybe even allowing Dump back into power.

No, the DNC reasons. If we can get the... read more