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Archive for the ‘crisis’ Category

the next five minutes

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It’s another one of those times when things actually start to look like Ballard’s “next five minutes.” In some cases, exactly like it. They’re putting up riot fences around the giant Westfield shopping mall today in West London….(via here). Elsewhere, the other night, there was this:

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August 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

the genealogy of obama’s ‘grand bargain’

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There’s a terrific article up at n+1 by Stephen Squibb on the origins of the current crisis. The piece loses none of its pertinence – in fact, probably the opposite – due to the “resolution” of the debt ceiling issue yesterday. Go take a look…

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August 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Posted in crisis, economics

low futures

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Feels like the old days, sitting here typing away at an academic review in my flat with the CNBC Europe playing silently on the television. Dow Futures are down 130 or so…. Suggests that things are about to get nasty and interesting in about 22 minutes when the NYSE opens. Shall I go buy a six pack of lager and settle in for the show?

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July 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Posted in crisis

3 for 2 for you: james miller’s sunshine state

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Hint: you might want to get yourself down to your local Waterstones* and grab yourself a copy of this. It’s on 3 for 2, so the price is right. It’s post-Ballardian eco-catastrophe cut to follow the lines of Heart of Darkness - just right for reading in the here and now. Perfect for the beach, the bath, the garret, the park, the couch, the sweaty summer bed, the well-worn scholar’s desk or anywhere else you might care to read it. And if you come by the Fitz afterwork on selected days of the week with your copy, I will, I promise, secure you an autograph from the esteemed author himself. **

* Obviously you can also buy it from your local independent. I think the author gets more if you do, you get ethical-hipster points, either way James Daunt will flourish even more than he’s flourishing, blossoms will bloom, etc etc. Or just grab it on 3 for 2. That’s the beauty – it’s your call.

** If you buy me a Taddy Lager, as Alpine is out of stock for the summer. But it’s Sam Smith’s, and therefore only £2.41.

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July 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Posted in crisis, dystopia, novel

homestate (rat + pig)

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In my home state, things are starting to get quite dire… and to kick off….

Since I’ve left, the Huge Inflatable Union Rat seems to have made a friend:

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June 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

Posted in crisis, new jersey

don’t need a weatherman…

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Strange situation: not all that long ago, it seemed to me obvious that dystopian speculative fiction was one of the genres if not the genre best adapted to a left political stance. The drawing out of the inevitable ramifications of all this, the dramatic revelation of the crisis whose traces were already starting to streak the screen of things-as-they-are, the warning that the relatively bearable everyday was already pregnant with something much, much worse – these seemed to be close to the best one could do with narrative art today.

I even started writing some myself, a project that I’m constantly tempted to return to…. But honestly it’s feeling increasingly wrong-footed, if one would be even a mildly political narrative writer, to head in this direction given the way things are now.

Given that the fact is that the world over austerity measures, privatizations and rationalizations, and other efforts to starve out what vestiges of the welfare state remain are being sold to the public under the very brand of inevitable and interminable crisis. People sort of vaguely accept, I think, that things are bad and something needs to be done as it’s only going to get worse. 

Depicted catastrophes tend to blur together into a generalized air of imminent expectation of the worst. We’ve seen two phases of this already, lately. Roughly the first stage with its quiet but persistent stream of “untimely” bleak visions amidst the high water marks of post-Cold War affluence, globalization, and tech bubbling. The second, much less discrete, came amidst the televised events and wild market swings of the first decade of the 21st century. The generalization of this atmosphere of imminent catastrophe – through films and books, news reports and editorials, the web, whatever – has served as a distributed and as if automatic PR machine better than any the right could have paid for in service of its quest to cut away the remainders of soft socialism. Even depictions of dystopian situations born of capitalism itself play into, I think, the message that those who administer capitalism need to have distributed right now…

Not a hard and fast position I’m taking here – just an inference, an intuition, that I’m trying to think through a bit. Of course I’m painting with too broad a brush, even if I’m just speculating at this point…

(Perhaps worth mentioning that I’m going to write something soon about Evan Calder Williams’s new book soon, once I’ve finished it….)

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April 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Posted in aesthetics, crisis, dystopia

“give yourself an enema…”

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Quite something this:

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April 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

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