This is a Current Times post where I post a bunch of links (mostly from tabs I have open in my browser.) If you want to read past Current Times, click here.
1. Sparky Clarkson has a piece up on “the preacher loop” in video game design. It is some spot on theory, and he characterizes the preacher loop as a kind of repetition device that causes a specific visual and spacial argument to resonate in the player. He writes:
The preacher begins by telling the audience the ultimate point of the sermon, then (often) launches off on what seems like a tangent to this idea, centered around a personal anecdote or current event. Through the application of a scriptural reading, the preacher reaches the promised conclusion. He then emphasizes how that conclusion was really evident all along, if we only paid attention to the words and deeds of the Lord. Rhetorically, this structure reassures the audience that the surprising conclusion is sound. Moreover, the repetition of the intended lesson ensures that it will be remembered.
In no uncertain terms, the popular arbiters of radical political theory are at an intellectual impasse. There is either no room in the contemporary struggle for those who would theorize a new subject of resistance and begin to visualize an alternative future on the one hand or for those who prefer to act, here andnow, without waiting for a political program to be handed down from on high on the other. The opportunity for theoretical input to stultify and divide the energies of radical thought and practice in this context is extraordinary—Žižek, Hardt and Negri, perhaps unwillingly, draw a line in the sand where the future of the manifesto and the future of resistance is of concern, potentially damaging the very movements they wish to encourage. And yet, this is precisely the juncture at which Adorno and Horkheimer’s dialogue has contemporary purchase.
3. Steven Shaviro has a great talk here where he works through Maureen McHugh’s “The Kingdom of the Blind,” which is a beautiful short story about the nature of nonhuman knowledge and being. Really, read the short story.
5. Progressive Radio Network has a podcast up of Eugene Thacker talking about the kinds of things that Eugene Thacker talks about. As always, he is engaging and brilliant–check it out.
6. Poly-Pedantic Peon points out some real tensions at the heart of Diablo 3 and tries to parse out why there has been such a diverse reaction to a maybe-not-good-game.
7. Dylan Trigg, a truly amazing scholar and a nice guy, has a new book coming out with 3 am / Press called Body Parts. The cover looks awesome, and if his track record is anything to go by, this book is going to be off the hook.
8. David Banks, writing at Cyborgology, has a response up to Levi Bryant’s response to McKenzie Wark’s interview from a couple weeks back. It is smart work, and it puts us in a weird place politically–it becomes about “what is political enough?” Is politics just jamming up the machinery of capitalism in grand ways? Or is it stealing to feed a baby?