Thursday, 2 October 2014


Poster Boys of Critical Theory also known as I make weird collages when I'm bored.

But not actually, and I'm sick of people finding ways to work in Walter Benjamin into an article about Instagram. Not everyone studies this stuff! Not everyone has the privilege of studying this stuff! And I find it so unnecessarily alienating to shove it in just so three people can get the reference. To be honest, if you are inspired by these people a better way to continue their work would be to make your own theory, your own thoughts, thoughts that can be shared and discussed by all. Philosophy, theory, is rooted in invention, not repetition. Reproducing art in the age of mechanical reproduction is kinda ironic no?

I can't change these systems, not on my own at least, not right now. When I have a beautiful media empire of positive pop culture discussion maybe then! But today I can at least break down who these people are, to share the knowledge, and realise that their work isn't actually as much of a big deal as ppl in the new yorker or w/ever make out.

This quote from Vice for their 'Slob's Guide to Critical Theory' pretty much says it all tbh: 

"A year after you leave education you’ll have no idea what it means but you’ll have a better, instinctive (i.e. borrowed) understanding of society and for a brief moment you’ll be able to say: “I read Roland Barthes and I sort of got where he was coming from.”

Coz okay this stuff is all about 'deconstructung reality' but that's the contents of the book and who reads the inside of books? So the notion of borrowed lip synching criticality is contradictory and bizarre, a new sort of unreality, which is interesting in itself...I suppose.

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin

"Remember, the “j” in Benjamin is silent. People have been ruined in academic society for fucking that up."
-Slob's Guide to Critical Theory 

There are two Uncle Walt's, Uncle D, and Uncle B, both made their careers in the moving pictures. 

Ways of Seeing, John Berger

"John Berger is either super feminist or super not feminist, I forget, but the book has more pictures in than words so that's cool."
-Me being deep

"I have a lot of problems with the academic queer community because it's a community that exists completely removed from reality," he says. "Those kids who are selling their bodies on the West Side Highway, on Christopher Street, they don't even know what the fuck queer theory is."

-Mykki Blanco may be clueless when it comes to Terry but this is yesss

And the rest! Denigrated in image in a mood board on a blog! Oh no! (Also I've written on Baudrillard here, and Deleuze here, so there's that....


  1. YES! As someone who is in the very early stages of the CCC dissertation and currently struggling to work my way through Gender Trouble, I FEEL THIS SO STRONGLY. There's a point in the preface where Butler essentially says something along the lines of "I know this writing is inaccessible, I don't care," but WHY. WHO ARE YOU WRITING FOR?! AHH. Though it's important stuff and I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend six months researching something I'm interested in, I sometimes wonder how much it all matters if I can't then translate that information/understanding into something more helpful/positive/useful to those who don't have the privilege of attending CSM or university in general. Basically, I'm a lucky girl but Butler is kicking my ass this week.

    1. OMG I KNOW EXACTLY WHICH PART U MEAN!!!! I read that when I was in 2nd year ccc and i was just! Whether in image or text communication is the end goal, and whilst its fun to fuck with structure joycean style, creating semantic circles that alienate the people who constructions of gender sharp most harshly against is just pathetic and embarassing tbh. If she's not here for non-academic people I'm not here for her quite frankly. Also Butler's critique of Paris is Burning is fucked up so.... And omg how is is you diss going? What are you writing about? And shhh csm grad secret but, there is no secret rule you have to use a set amount of super academic, super difficult white ppl writers in your diss lol! If you're not feeling it I say ditch it! Read Toni Morrison! Read Julia Serano! Read Audre Lorde! Like there are a ton of a+ rad writers whose work is *as* important as Butler (I mean in my opinion more but I'm biased haha) without being super dense!!! And yes! There's a great quote by Fred Hampton which goes: "theory’s cool, but theory with no practice ain’t shit."

    2. ahhh thank you!!! "If she's not here for non-academic people I'm not here for her quite frankly." feel that 100% and think i need to raise it in my next tutorial. diss is sort of just starting because i spent the summer having visitors and then visiting home and then working in a restaurant so the first day back is tuesday and i'm a lil embarrassed about how little i'll have to show for the last 3 months but thats ok, i've gotten back into it now in the last two weeks so progress is being made!!! i haven't exactly come up with a title or specific question yet but something along the lines of representations of femininity/feminism in pop music (videos? live perfomances? lyrics?) and also sort of this idea of feminism as a trend and negotiating this idea of "feminism is for everybody!" when theres still so many marginalised groups that aren't represented in the mainstream. also beyonce and twerking and miley and nicki minaj. OH GOD i just don't know really! there's too many things i'm interested in and just not enough time. and thanks for the tip about the academic writing. i guess i felt the need to try to read it because its *so important* but to be honest, a graph with pictures of cats on the internet is finally what broke down her theory for me and i've read + gained so much more from other books i've been working through simply because i can actually grasp what's being said. i've got a massive reading list of things i'd like to explore but if i spend the next month trying to read this book there's no way i'll be able to get through so many of the things i'd like to read. if you don't mind me asking, what did you write about/who was your supervisor? x

    3. Of course! My tutor was Mark Irving and I wrote about the Hamas children's TV show Tomorrow's Pioneers, the second chapter is up on this blog actually!


      Actually who IS your tutor, is it Roger? Or Ben, as I know he does pop music stuff?

      Also omg re: Miley, I am like Miley obsessed and actually wrote a paper on her at Oxford, which I think was my fave thing I did that year:

      And seriously dw, as your work develops like 80% of the early stuff will get binned anyway so its whatever, and I didn't come up with my title till 2 weeks before the hand in so it's all good!!

      Me and Cassie were talking about Beyonce and Nicki actually, the idea of white women consuming her, appropriating **Flawless for their own gains.... Also me and Eline were discussing this also the idea that the myth that existing as a white woman is somehow inherently a feminist statement, and how reductive that is. (Joan Rivers is a good example of this!) Also just white feminism is general lol. Have you read Toni Morrison's What the Black Woman Thinks about Women's Lib? It's one of my all time favourite essays I think, it just nails it. I mean critiques of white feminism is something I'm really into, so I could think of like a million texts but don't wanna like SWAMP u, but if u want any cool reading recommendations hit me up!!!

      Good luck with ur next tutorial ^__^


    4. U CAN BE MY TUTOR TOO!!!!!!

      my tutor is nathalie khan, totally didn't expect it but i think it's going to be a really good fit actually. the tutorial at the end of the summer term was super intense but in a good way, she's gonna make me WORK and that's a good thing.

      your ideas are so interesting!!! YES about joan rivers, i struggled so much when everyone was celebrating her, like wait, remember? she was racist and v cruel to women just bc its funny does not make it ok. she was a successful woman in a male-dominated industry but that sort of happened at the expense of a LOT of other women...

      i'll find that toni morrison essay ASAP and please don't worry about swamping me, give me everything you got! obviously can't promise i'll get through everything but i love love love being recommended resources! so i will GRACIOUSLY accept. my email is, don't feel pressured to send me anything unless you've got the desire/time and thank you so much already for everything you've said. i'm really excited about the project but i'm finding it hard to find anyone else in my year who is interested so it's nice to freak out about these things with someone! :) xx

    5. Ooh I don't know Natalie, but I know Shikha had her and I heard good things!


      OMG I have to tell Roger!!

      Helping people with academic research is honestly my fave thing and this is the only time since 5evar when I'm not doing it, because in CSM I helped Roger with the pop culture reading which was super fun, and generally just with other ppls thesis research, and then in the year between CSM and Ox I worked at a uni as a fellow so it was literally my job, and then at Ox I helped Craig with his reading lists for the class he taught and now I'm freelancing so no institutions so I'm so happy to have a lil thing to help out on ^__^

      Will email you later!! I am literally on my way out rite now!


    6. Haii! Sent you an email of books and things, hope it was useful! ^__^