October 3rd, 2011 | Published in Shameless self-promotion
I’ve been preoccupied with moving out of the apartment I’ve lived in for 6 years and now I’m in the process of moving to Europe for three months, so today’s post is a clip show; regular programming will resume next week. My last post was somewhat controversial, and elicited responses from both Marcy Wheeler and DJW at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Those deserve serious responses, but that will have to wait until I have some more time.
Meanwhile, we’re in reruns. Most of this blog’s readers have discovered it in the past few months, due to the much-appreciated publicity of folks like Matt Yglesias, Mike Konczal, and Henry Farrell (and with a special hat tip to John Boy for being the O.G. of promoting my writing when I couldn’t be bothered to do it myself). But I’ve actually been blogging on and off for years; until recently, I wrote mostly for myself and a few friends, indifferent to the possibility of finding a broader audience. But as long as you’re all here, I figured I’d point out a few of my favorite posts from this site’s pre-history, which I think at least sort of hold up. There are some elements of style and content that I wouldn’t repeat now, but I still hold to the core ideas.
On the Mode of Production. This one is quite old, but it’s still the best attempt I’ve come up with at expressing something I think about Marxism, and about theories of history in general, that I think is both unusual and important. The short version is that I think Marxism is a theory of capitalism, not a theory of history, and I’m skeptical that a fully trans-historical account of human societies is even possible. (Although David Graeber’s new book on debt makes a good run at one; more on that later.)
The Game Beyond the Game. My case for a radical rather than liberal interpretation of The Wire.
Idiocracy‘s Theory of the Future. This is actually high up on the list of my most-viewed posts of all time, but all of that traffic seems to be from search engines. It’s my reckoning with a movie that’s both under-appreciated and deeply fucked up, a post that belongs in the same lineage of arguments that produced my break-out hit single “Anti-Star Trek”.
Marx’s Theory of Alien Nation. How capitalism is like an alien invasion.
Art as Art, Anti-Art, Post-Art. My one and only attempt at art criticism, which is probably going to seem foolish or old hat to people who actually know about this stuff. But for what it’s worth, I once put this argument to Ad Reinhardt’s grandson (who’s a theater director), and he found it at least plausible.