Cultural Discourse looks at a broad range of cultural issues.
28th June 2010

Some Thoughts on Anti-Oedipus

Some Thoughts on a First Reading of Deleuze & Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus

by John David Ebert

Published in France in 1972, Anti-Oedipus was the first of several collaboartions between Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. A few years later they would go on to write the even larger and more complex A Thousand Plateaus, perhaps Deleuze’s most famous work. Zizek argues that Deleuze’s collaborations with Guattari represent his weakest work, and that his best books are actually The Logic of Sense and Difference and Repetition, works written in the years prior to Anti-Oedipus. Since I have not yet read these latter two books, I cannot judge their merits, but I must say I was very impressed with Anti-Oedipus, though I think A Thousand Plateaus is the better book. Read the rest of this entry »

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26th June 2010

Virilio’s Latest: On Disaster

On Paul Virilio’s New Book The University of Disaster

Reviewed by John David Ebert

Virilio’s latest book in English is an examination of the state of the planet and the humanities, both under siege by the arrogance of Big Science gone out of control, endocolonizing the body and dreaming of fantasies of exocolonizing outer space. The book is full of the same old brilliant Virilianisms: his wonderful point, for instance, about how the first photographs taken of a city from the air by the French photographer Nadar in 1858, when he floated above the city of Paris in a hot air balloon, created the earliest beginnings of the aerial view of the earth — displacing and replacing Atget’s intimate perspectival view of Paris streets and shops and merchants — that eventually led to the firebombings of European cities in World War II, then to the satellization of the earth during the Cold War and now to our present fantasies of escaping from the earth in order to transform it into a star in the sky of some exotic planet. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th June 2010

“Theory is Dead”: On Sloterdijk’s New Book

Neither Sun nor Death by Peter Sloterdijk:

Reviewed by John David Ebert

Although this book isn’t due out from Semiotexte until November, 2010, I happen to be proofreading it right now and it is fantastic. Any publicity that Peter Sloterdijk can grab at this point in the English speaking world is a good thing, since this theoretician has been writing for decades, and yet only a couple of his books had, up until this past year or two, been made available in English. The Critique of Cynical Reason was a big bestseller in Europe when it came out, but when Sloterdijk shifted into writing a three volume magnum opus entitled Spheres, he immediately fell out of fashion in the world of Critical Theory, since it seemed like he had gone back to recycling the old Euorpean Grand Master Narrative that Lyotard in his Postmodern Condition had pronounced the death of. Read the rest of this entry »

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