If there is a normality here, it’s a state of near-catatonia. [The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition] seems to have no definition of happiness other than the absence of suffering. The normal individual in this book is tranquilized and bovine-eyed, mutely accepting everything in a sometimes painful world without ever feeling much in the way of anything about it. The vast absurd excesses of passion that form the raw matter of art, literature, love, and humanity are too distressing; it’s easier to stop being human altogether, to simply plod on as a heaped collection of diagnoses with a body vaguely attached.
Sam Kriss, “Book of Lamentations
The regular guy, the popular girl, have to repress not only their desires and insights, but even the symptoms that in bourgeois times resulted from repression. Just as the old injustice is not changed by a lavish display of light, air and hygiene, but is in fact concealed by the gleaming transparency of rationalized big business, the inner health of our time has been secured by blocking flight into illness without in the slightest altering its aetiology. The dark closets have been abolished as a troublesome waste of space, and incorporated in the bathroom. What psychoanalysis suspected, before it became itself a part of hygiene, has been confirmed. The brightest rooms are the secret domain of faeces.
Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia
G-funk differentiated itself from standard gangsta posturing by the way it dissolved the hard ego of the rapper into clouds of Chronic. Beneath the busyness of capitalist realism—and its demands that we never stop selling ourselves—was another mode of being, where time diffused slowly as exhaled smoke. Beyond the phallic machismo, there was a different libidinal economy, defined by a superficially paradoxical combination of deep yearning and a desire to remain absolutely in the sunlight-saturated moment, liberated from the urgencies of business. This is all the more poignant because a gangster’s work is never done, his enemies don’t sleep, and chilled-out bliss could be terminated at any moment by gunfire. To the G-funk celebration of smoking, Rashad adds other affective toners: the lost-in-the-moment exhilaration of the raver, and R&B’s wistful regrets/lascivious moaning. The overall result is, in terms of mood and affect, oddly reminiscent of cool-era jazz—there is the same ambivalence, the same evocation of an harsh yet alluring urban environment, the same combination of sadness and confidence, the same articulation of longing and bliss.
Women are online. Women are intelligent, strategic and incisive. The women who exemplify this story are not the women we are “supposed” to be looking at, according to what mainstream feminism tells us. They aren’t career feminists, and some would hesitate to call themselves feminists at all. But when it comes to addressing the concerns and issues of our lives; they may not be branded, but they are pretty effective. Women focusing on supporting each other could move media in ways that had not yet been seen.

Here’s what I’ll admit: many boys have a really hard time with subjectivity. To grapple with your own subjectivity is to grapple with the subjectivities of others. It’s to see the world not as legible, stable, conquerable but as resistant, shifting, and fundamentally unknowable. It diminishes your certainty and authority. It leaves you vulnerable. This is a human problem, being a person among persons, but one that many boys have trouble admitting even the basic tenets of. And so they call for an objectivity that has no foundation except received opinion, that seeks to diminish individual experience, and that turns out to not even exist.

Objectivity is very convenient for the straight white middle class male gamer. Videogame culture encourages him to see his own subjectivity as the standard, as objective. He’ll invoke science, economics, statistics, and all manner of folk wisdom to defend his little kingdom. He’ll decry any challenge as ‘politics’ or ‘bad business’ or ‘whining’ or ‘here we go again’. He never considers how often objectivity is a cover for a dominant subjectivity, for a subjectivity that stays in power by not being recognized as such. He fears what will happen if the established order breaks down and the Vox take control.

In Deleuze and Guattari’s opposition between smooth and striated, we hear a political distinction, between two ways of occupying space. Smooth space is lived in intimately, and you don’t feel a strong distinction between yourself and your surroundings. This doesn’t have to be the desert or the expanse of snow; smooth space can be your neighborhood, your home, your own rumpled bed. Striated space is divided, striated, in order to conquer: if you take a distance on a space you can mark it out, map it, make it into territory. I hope you get a sense of the political stakes between these two kinds of visuality, haptic and optical, and the two kinds of space they intend, smooth space and striated space.
It was here [in minority cinema, i.e. work by immigrant, exile, and diaspora filmmakers and videomakers] that I first saw works of political cinema that appealed to the senses, while questioning the instrumentality of vision. For example, the videos by Hopi artist Victor Masayesva seemed to deflect the gaze and only partially offer his culture for viewing. The well-known video by Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum, Measures of Distance, offered a kind of close-up vision of a woman’s naked body (her mother in the bath) that invited contact more than distanced observation, across the distance of the family’s exile. And in a short video called Seeing Is Believing by Canadian artist Shauna Beharry, the artist evokes the memory of her deceased mother not by looking at pictures of her but by conveying what it feels like to wear her sari. In this last work especially, it seemed that there was something struggling to be expressed that was too fragile to make it into the image. This fragility had to do with the movement between cultures, the loss and retranslation of meaning. It seemed to me that the meaning that was so important in Seeing Is Believing could only survive if it were translated into another form: in this case, into touch.
Rather than examine the love letter generator in terms of identity, Wardrip-Fruin chooses to view it as a literary project despite the mechanical, even comical tone of these letters. In other words, he attempts to analyze the process of the generator rather than the content of the letters, to understand the materiality of the technical object rather than the meaning of its output. This is a particularly interesting method, one that is especially valuable for the study of computational systems, which function through mechanical processes in which authorship is neither a privileged site to be investigated nor – as Roland Barthes so famously suggested – evacuated.
I love teenage girls because even if they hate themselves, they love other people. I remember how I felt, seeing other girls go through what I was going through. It ruined me. I wanted so desperately to help them out of the muck, but when you’re submerged yourself, there’s not a lot you can do. Teenage girls understand, and they want to make sure no one else feels the way they do. I see it on websites like Tumblr all the time. It’s fucking beautiful.
Well let me tell you why it wasn’t The Internationale [that became the song to unite the human race]! If you think about it, it’s a marching song [taps out a rigid marching beat on the table] – a song with certain kinds of social relations suggested within its structure, and these are social relations emphasising uniformity. A march is a uniform beat: you become one. There’s no space for individuality. And the lyrics are all about the ‘we’: there’s not a single ‘I’ in the song, and I’m quite glad it didn’t unite the human race because I think that’s kind of dangerous as a way of being. Who gets to define that ‘we’? And a nice point of contrast roughly at the same time as the Internationale was being promoted as the song to unite the human race is the musical form of swing. There’s a rather brilliant book by Joel Dinerstein on swing music [Swinging The Machine], and he suggests that swing is a way of accommodating the pace and rhythms of railways and the assembly line, but giving space for the human voice to interact with it. So when dancing to swing there are periods when you dance collectively, but there’s a breakaway moment where there’s space for individuality – and then you come back to it. So this speaks to me as a beautiful culture that acknowledges the importance of collectivity and gives space for individuality, and as a political vision I think that’s a beautiful vision.