Between the Madness and the Wisdom of Crowds
Inge Baxmann (ed.), Timon Beyes (ed.), Claus Pias (ed.)
Social Media—New Masses
The book tells the story of Lili and Siegfried Kracauer’s close working relationship – from the early 1930s following their marriage in Germany, to exile in Paris and the war and post-war years in the USA.
I said “Would you like a rope? You know that haul you have is not secured properly.”
“No,” he said, “but I see you have string!”
“If this comes into motion—” I said, “you should use a rope.”
“Any poison ivy on that? ” he asked me, and I told him my rope had been in the barn peacefully for years.
He took a length of it to the bedside table. He had no concept for what wood could endure.
“Table must have broken when I lashed it onto the truck,” he said.
And, when he was moving the sewing machine, he let the cast iron wheels—bang, bang on the stair.
I had settled down to pack up the ﬂamingo cookie jar, the cutlery, and the cookware, but stopped brieﬂy, for how many times do you catch sudden sight of something heartfelt?
I saw our milk cows in their slow...
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience.
“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.
Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...
Mad Men not only speaks about the history of war that weighs on the cultural memory of America, but also recalls how we continue to be haunted by the images of this national violence as well.
Mad Men makes use of personalized war remembrances, regardless whether they cannot or must not be forgotten, to negotiate the collective haunting of the nation. These war stories make up a shared cultural space that includes everyone, even while it also constitutes a consecutive series. If the founding of America was predicated on a war of independence, its subsequent history, punctuated as it is with further wars, finds, in the 1960s, a logical continuation of this violent struggle for self-definition in the war in South-East Asia. The notion of historical re-imagination negotiated in Mad Men thus also speaks to the repetition compulsion inscribed in America’s military interventions.
A continuation of war in peacetime, however, also surfaces in the way that military jargon (and indeed military codes of conduct) not only informs the work environment at Sterling Cooper, but also helps shape the competition amongst the agencies on Madison Avenue. Early...