[-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade Winds

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD mtata at ipublishingllc.com
Thu Apr 2 11:35:46 EST 2009

Greetings, all!  I’m quite excited to share this panel with such an eminent bunch, and look forward to undertaking some important reflection upon what the cultural ramifications of the current Wall Street debacle might be, both domestically and globally. Basically, I’ve written a book about Warhol which is currently forthcoming from Intertheory, so hopefully Warhol’s own relation to commerce, as well as the role he has been slated within pomo-ism proper by people like Jameson, will become a part of the discussion.
Aside from Warhol, the place toward which my mind immediately turns as I think about what Nicholas refers to as the Immaculate Deception is Camille Paglia’s identification of Jacques Derrida as a junk-bond salesman in her “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders” (part of Sex, Art, and American Culture).  I think my mind races to this piece of writing because it does raise the important question of the potential bankruptcy of theory in general (a risk that does not seem to plague philosophy quite the same way). 
Glancing anew at Derrida’s The Gift of Death, I take immense pleasure in the text’s flow, the beautiful post-structural play of surfaces that carry me away on currents of semantic glissement: perhaps she’s right, but without comprehending that the problematic she formulates is wrong because theory is nor philosophy, what it can give transcends the gross objectivity of a fact or datum.  Still, there is Derrida’s love of counterfeit money in Gift and Given Time.  How does this tropism speak to Madoff’s antics?  To the culture that will flourish in the wake of collapse and that has flowered all along during these golden years of HELOC madness and Home Depot grand openings?  To the “cultural logic” of late capitalism in general, and the late, late gerontic capitalism of today’s world?
Places my mind travels to next:

The marvelous bankruptcy of American culture in general—especially in its postmodern instantiation.  Something for nothing, nothing for nothing.

The Dotcom crash of the early millennium as prefigurement to the present real estate crash: the no-there-there of the virtual reasserts itself in the financial sector.

9/11 and the return of a historically meaningful present, pace Baudrillard’s post-history: what is post-postmodernism?  Are we experiencing it now?  Specifically, what comes next, after irony?  The Pecker paradigm.

“Yes We Can” becomes “Yes You Can”; the Obama slogan becomes a Pepsi mantra (or is it the Obama mantra becomes the Pepsi slogan?).  Where do we go with this mutation?  

On a recent trip to Geneva, I stumbled across a department store (Manor-La Placette) built on the original site of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s boyhood home: a little placard, tender yet bearing the weight of history, read something to the effect of “Ice est né le petit Rousseau….’  How do we read this repurposing of Rousseau in light of his “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences”?  How do we connect the cultural bankruptcy Rousseau outlines with recent Wall Street hijinks?  Commerce and culture alike straddle an abyss of currency and meaning: what does each realm have to say to the other regarding risk and venture?
Alright: this little poetic scatter catalogues my various points of inception.  I am looking forward to reading everyone else’s.     

Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA

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