Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Apocalypticism as Mechanical Solidarity

Who knew that there would be such interest in the apocalypse? ;-P

Asking some forbearance for yet another update on how the conversation on apocalypticism continues to percolate across even more blogs, I wanted to post a pointer to Joseph Kugelmass’ thoughtful and provocative reflections, which have been posted to The Valve (as well as to his own site, The Kugelmass Episodes, for those who prefer a cozier venue). Joe’s posts jump off from the earlier cross-blog discussion of how to interpret contemporary apocalypticism, but develop along lines suggested in Joe’s ongoing series of critical reflections on contemporary ethics and aethetics.

Joe’s most recent interventions have been posted in two parts:

“The Poem and the Apocalypse, Part One: Destructive Fantasies” (or, at KE)- which revisits the cross-blog discussion, offers its own analysis of types of apocalyptic fantasy, and draws particular attention to the phenomenon Joe calls “thin slicing” – the instrumental and selective mobilisation of symbolically charged evidence directed to ideological ends, and predicated on the assumption that social connection necessarily requires agreement and sameness; and

“The Poem and the Apocalypse, Part Two: Children of Men and Frank O’Hara’s Personism” (or, at KE) – which moves from an analysis of Cuaron’s Children of Men to an analysis of O’Hara’s Personism, in order to unfold a series of reflections on the potential for a vision of social connection that transcends instrumentalist “thin slicing”.

I’ll apologise to Joe for flattening the content considerably in this synopsis – Joe’s posts, and the subsequent discussion, are worth reading in full to get a proper feel for the points in contention.

Updated 30 January: Yet more apocalypse! High Low & in between has added a fourth installment to the apocalyptic sublimity series of posts on the apocalypticism discussion, with yet another good summary of the cross-blog discussion as well as fresh original observations, while Sinthome has posted the conference presentation inspired by the blog discussion at Larval Subjects.

And now, update-on-the-update, we have our very own carnival… er… sort of: the Unofficial Carnival of the Blogocalypse, assembled by The Constructivist at the group blog Mostly Harmless.

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3 responses to “Apocalypticism as Mechanical Solidarity

  1. Joseph Kugelmass January 30, 2007 at 3:47 am

    N, thanks for the links! I’m looking forward to reading your own further thoughts.

  2. N Pepperell January 30, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Joe – I’m hoping I have further thoughts – today has been a zoo… Employment interview and such – I may be too mired in meaningless careerism to entertain apocalyptic fantasies for a little bit… ;-P But I’m still watching the discussion ticking along. If nothing else, I’d expect eventually to revisit some of your concepts, as I’m committed to writing a conference piece on conflicting understandings of community manifesting at my field site, so I’m quite keen to think more precisely about the broader issue of how we understand our available options for constituting meaningful social relationships…

  3. The Constructivist March 20, 2007 at 11:45 am

    NP. the Blogocalypse Carnival is coming to Mostly Harmless April 1. Submissions due March 31. Sorry for the short notice.

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