Quotable (#47)

An already-familiar remark by Graham Harman, which merits (still) more discussion than it has yet received (embedded, with citation details, here):

The brand is not merely a degenerate practice of brainwashing consumerism, but a universally recognized method of conveying information while cutting through information clutter. Coining specific names for philosophical positions helps orient the intellectual public on the various available options while also encouraging untested permutations. If the decision were mine alone, not only would the name ‘speculative realism’ be retained, but a logo would be designed for projection on PowerPoint screens, accompanied by a few signature bars of smoky dubstep music. It is true that such practices would invite snide commentary about ‘philosophy reduced to marketing gimmicks’. But it would hardly matter, since attention would thereby be drawn to the works of speculative realism, and its reputation would stand or fall based on the inherent quality of these works, of which I am confident.

It is with real regret that I am compelled to acknowledge the radical defectiveness of the product under promotion here, because this defense of philosophy as a cultural enterprise, and experiment, advanced without deference to regnant credentialing authorities, is audacious, and admirable. Branding is iconically modern because it disconnects power from authority, and both of these terms are (roughly equally) susceptible to responses based upon ressentiment, glib radicalism, and empty gestures of opposition. If Harman has opened this problem, as an explicit topic of attention, he has achieved something important, and reactions of revulsion by the hygienists of institutional respectability are indeed ‘snide’.

ADDED: Wielding the Evil Eye is difficult, so belated apologies to those fried in the rays of doom.

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