Concerning Melodrama and Conduct: A Self-Criticism

 

li-zhensheng

Not sure if this is an image of a public criticism, but I think it gets the point across, essentially.

 

In the theoretical tradition which I have immersed myself, there is the concept of a self-criticism; essentially, it is a means for comrades to lay bare their mistakes, air their inappropriate conduct, behavior, and practice, and solicit responses from comrades. It is a chance to admit up to our frail, human status and try to better ourselves. Opportunism

So, it is long, time that I conduct my own self-criticism for an action of mine from a couple years ago. Please keep in mind, though, that the names of the persons involved have been omitted for their privacy.

Anyways, to get on with said criticism.

A couple years back, I was severely depressed. During one such depressive episode, I drank heavily and casually remarked that I was going to commit suicide. A comrade tried to talk me out of it; instead of responding in a neutral, mature, and healthy manner, I derided them and called them horrid transphobic slurs. This was not merely a mistake on my part but a fundamental mis-practice.

I wish to apologize for this behavior: I am sorry.

Though I do not consider myself a Transphobic individual, when I drink, I often become depressed; during this night, that depression reached a great height with my threat of self-harm. When the comrade in question attempted to dissuade me from self-hurt, my transphobic response was that of a melodramatic, Hollywood-esque shenanigan to garner attention—I called them slurs in an effort to drive them away, the understanding being that I would die alone unless they continued to shower me with the rugged ‘I will not leave you’ affection. I wanted to be pitied and cared about as I spiraled into despair.

There is no excuse for this highly bourgeois, individualist behavior. It reflects a personality which must not only strive to combat their reactionary impulses but live in a manner which pushes back against their divergent neurological facticity. Comrades should never play mind games with one another, abuse their personage. Moreover, comrades should especially not engage in such immature and petty stunts, like garnering attention from sappy affectation mining.

Alcohol is not an excuse for my actions. When I slurred at the comrade in question I knew that it was wrong of me, but I did it regardless because I desired to be the center of attention and because I was upset with myself; I decided to take out my existential frustration on another person instead of level-headedly discussing my worldly grievances in an open and honest manner.

I wish to also apologize for taking so long to write this self-criticism.

Obviously, when the incident happened, I was not in a healthy state-of-mind, so I was distracted by not only my own place but also  because of certain issues which came up as a result of that night (which does not concern my own action as much as it does of the action of my comrade in question). During the time I was also a university student, so I had a degree of class work to keep my mind from addressing my rotten behavior; though, it should be said, that this was largely just an excuse to prevent me from internalizing the consequences of that night. Additionally, what impeded me writing this self-criticism, aside from my own hesitancy, was the desire to not have any family or close relations see the dysfunction; a part of me wished to disown that night and forget that it ever existed. But this is not possible—what happened, happened, and I cannot ignore my own ill-conducted practice for the sake of self-aggrandizement.

What I did was wrong philosophically, theoretically, morally, ethically… however, you wish to think of it. My conduct went against my own community and radical tradition. It was inexcusable—period. So, I again apologize for this repulsive conduct. I promise to strive to better myself, not abuse persons when I drink and operate as a level-headed representation of the revolutionary tradition. It will be a long road, but I feel confident in my ability to better myself; and so, with all that said, I wish to beg forgiveness and to simply state that I will do better.

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Another Look at Safe Spaces

 

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‘South Park,’ a right wing Libertarian show which attempts to rehabilitate White Supremacy, attacks the idea of the ‘safe space’ as part of so-called ‘mental gentrification.’

 

Lately, I have been seeing many socially-reactionary posts from Leftists attacking the idea of a safe space; sadly enough, these Leftists often sound like anti-PC reactionaries and right-wing South Park loving teenagers when they rant against safe spaces as exclusory, postmodern-liberalism, or elitist counterproductive measures. Sometimes, these Leftists are afflicted with a severe case of class reductionism, other times they are suspicious of the idea by viewing such a space as middle-class narcissism. Ignorance of these spaces, of course, plays an additional role. More often than not, however, their hostility is due to a misunderstanding of postmodern identity politics.

What is important to remember about identity politics is that it seeks to supplant class struggle with identitarianism. Instead of seeing revolutionary praxis through the interplay of class forces and socioeconomic power, postmodernism, by its virtue of being a ahistorical force, posits individualism as the defining factor; bringing the oppressed to the forefront only to then channel their yearning for liberation away from emancipatory politics, identity politics is a cannibalizing force denying class consciousness on the grounds that individualism can be the foundation for struggle by interlocking with other forms of activism (in this sense, then, it closely resembles movementism). To identity politics, there is nothing beyond identity: with revolutionary fervor supposedly defeated, it sees cooperation as the best solution and so conjures an engorged identity-complex as its substitution for class politics.

The preceding should be obvious to anyone who has been in the revolutionary movement for any substantial period of time. The issue I have been seeing, however, does not lie in ignorance of how identity politics function, per se, but in its application in today’s revolutionary praxis. Comrades have not taken the time or effort to understand the nuances of identity politics as it appears today, how it relates to safe spaces, and how Leftists can support the minority and disenfranchised—those most susceptible to violence—without appealing to a crass class reductionism.

I will argue something new, instead, that a defanged identity politics—an identity politics subordinated to a materialist analysis—is useful in organizing anti-capitalist resistance.

Identity politics is a massive apparatus and has incarnations in both right-and-left-wing social circles in addition to the bourgeois center. So, to narrow down on this post’s focus, I will be focusing primarily on only the Leftist incarnation with some deviation to the Rightist. To accomplish this, I will offer commentary on both ideas insofar as relate to the concept of a safe space while curbing the social-reactionary Left’s vulgar Marxism concerning the idea of a safe place.

  1. Safe Place as Remuneration

Capitalism is a duality. While being the single best thing to happen to humanity, it is also the worst. The destructive nature of so-called ‘late capitalism’ has produced tremendous amounts of alienation among all sectors of society but most powerfully among working class persons, especially youth. Safe spaces are areas which attempt to counter-act this alienation, if only temporarily. A safe place is an area which shuts down the violence of alienation by both reassuring and welcoming those disparate elements (minority and oppressed persons) that their existence matters and that they are not alone in their struggle to survive; oppressive language, hateful micro aggressions and violent assault and battery, discrimination and ‘mansplaining’ and ‘cissplaining’ are kicked to the curb. Bringing together alienated individuals into contact with one another while in a setting which has delineated a stridently progressive code of conduct, thus promising a risk free socialization, ultimately promotes a kind of restoration by building networks of support and mutual aid, concepts which is vital for the proletariat to survive under an increasingly hostile regime of accumulation. Although alienation can only be ameliorated under capitalism, and never eliminated, such spaces are a step in the right direction in terms of community organizing and organization building.

To pretend that the horrors of capitalism are the same for all persons of a certain class or socioeconomic factor, simply because of their inclusion as a free-waged laborer, is to resort to a base class reductionism that erases the histories of struggle which Persons of Color (PoC), Women, oppressed nationalities, and Queers face on a daily basis, a struggle which is more nuanced than an issue of simply class (in this sense, class reductionism is a form of identity politics in itself). Yes, it is true that class is the pivotal factor which must never be overlooked or lost sight of, but neither can it be trumpeted as the end-all identity which all should strive toward.

  1. Safe Places have always Existed

In one form or another, safe places have always existed. It is here that we encounter the safe places on the right-wing. For what are areas such as country clubs, exclusive neighborhoods, and economic summits, or even gendered codes of conduct (if we want to think in grand terms), if not a safe place for the reactionary elements of society? In a de-territorialized form, safe places can be seen as encompassing a vast array of locales which radically diverge from the clichéd image of a safe place, such as the image of it being nestled within a liberal arts university full of supposedly ‘oversensitive’ youth; to name a few additional– men’s clubs, racially specific (usually White) business clientele, gendered restrooms, etc. But since we are concerned in its territorialized incarnation, of those safe places specific to the oppressed, we can cite, just from revolutionary history, the existence of women’s self-defense brigades, Queer vigilante patrols, and anti-fascist militias all as examples of individuals creating safe spaces against the encroaching violence of reactionary safe places.

  1. Safe Places and the Revolution

Because of the definition in point ‘B,’ we can say that safe places are one in the same with pushing for a revolutionary rupture. In identifying safe places with realms of safety for minority and oppressed persons, the creation of safe places is identical with revolutionary struggle. In this sense, not all safe places should be respected; those areas of safety on the right-wing, for instance, which run the range from conferences, fairs, meetings, demonstrations and the like, should be targeted by the forces fighting for Left-wing safe places. Although somewhat abstracted as a conceptualization of safe spaces—where places are defined outside of the expected middle-class milieu– this macro-understanding is what will eventually be a reality, and so should be approached by revolutionaries as a serious facet of communist praxis; to understand safe spaces, that is, as a cornerstone of intersectionality which is irrevocably tied to revolutionary emancipation. Without doing so, the movement risks falling into class reductionist outlooks and right-wing deviations. In the short term present, however, the safe places of minorities and oppressed persons, in however delimited a form they appear, should be respected as possible nuclei of struggle; after all, during a revolutionary period, should those individuals associated with that safe space convert to an internationalist outlook, as they likely would, considering how the materiality of their interests would push them in that direction, especially, if their own members adhered to revolutionary theory, then the end-result would be a great influx of liberated areas and staging grounds for the continuation of the liberation struggle.

  1. Anti-Infiltration & Self-Determination

By this, I do not imply that safe spaces disavow counterrevolutionary elements from infiltrating the group. This would be absurd. Police and agents of the state will always infiltrate left-wing groups. To believe that any group is free of such agents is to endorse idealism. No, I mean that a safe space is an area where the minority and disenfranchised express their concerns without privileged Leftist saboteurs co-opting the purpose of the group for their own narrow end-game. The safe space is democratic insofar as it is the participants themselves who decide in what manner the group operates, whether it is merely a support group, an activist group, or Leftist cadre. Revolutionary elements which adhere to the safe space’s conceptualization may participate in the direction which the group drifts toward, but those elements which do not adhere, people who identify otherwise, will necessarily be pushed out since they lack the identity principals for which the place exists in the first instance. Such basic codes of conduct prevent the privileged, non-oppressed, elements from wrecking the purpose of the group and enable the downtrodden to exercise their right to associate without being pressured to automate according to some arm-chair revolutionary’s idea of praxis. It is important, especially in conjunction with point ‘C’ to understand that every space and possible realm of revolutionary struggle, but decide for themselves to enlist in the revolutionary movement, and not be coerced or guilt-tripped into it by middle-class dogmatists who view it as the responsibility of every super-exploited and oppressed person/group to join, or otherwise be at risk to be labeled a class collaborator, traitor, etc. When such middle-class dogmatists attempt to enforce such practice from above, they become agents of sabotage to the oppressed liberating themselves as they are forcing a mode of struggle which may not be compatible with the space’s idea of struggle, goals, or purpose.

  1. Anti-Safe Place as Disguised Conservatism

                More often than not, anti-safe place Leftists espouse a conservative ideology disguised as leftism. It is not hard to see this in practice; online, it is common to view memes which compare political correctness and preferred pronouns to fascism. In the real world, it manifests as an anti-Marxist a-historicism which devalues struggle outside of the class struggle (forgetting, in the process, that gender and sexual orientation are directly related to the economic base since capitalism as a mode of production directly relies on biological determinism and heterosexism to defend the nuclear family and the industrial reserve labor army). Often, these Leftists come from privilege (heteronormativity, cis-cum, White mythology, middle-class settlers, racial supremacists, etc.) and so they fail to see how letting the minority and oppressed to speak for themselves is of vital importance to the revolutionary movement. Such Leftists lack the history of struggle and (self-)education to understand how these oppressed histories diverge in forms of struggle from their own histories and in ways other than class; yes, class is shared and is ultimately of paramount importance, but to shut-down the lessons learned from these struggles outside of the purview of class—their victories and defeats, theory and practice—all out of a desire to elevate class to the highest pedestal, is to reproduce bourgeois supremacy; to repudiate revolutionary rupture and stitch together an elaborate mythos concerning class struggle as the only facet of the revolutionary struggle that matters, is to legitimate antiquated ideology: anti-feminism, cissexism, white supremacy, American exceptionalism can all be rehabilitated through the denial of non-class factors since it ignores the real legacies and experiences gleaned from engaging the bourgeoisie in circles of life specific to how the base and superstructure have become intertwined.

When a Leftist falls unwittingly to conservative ideology, it is easy to see. Think of a Men’s Rights Activist ranting against women’s shelters, of them screaming that it is a sign of matriarchal elitism for there to be shelters which cater exclusively to abused women. Now ask yourself this: how is a Leftist belittling the idea of safe places for Queers and racial minorities any different than our MRA? Both individuals see only the surface and ignore the material reality for why these places exist; just as a woman’s shelter exist because of systemized patriarchy, safe places for gay, trans gender, and non-white persons exist because of institutionalized heterosexism and white supremacy. For a Leftist to attack such a safe place is to coopt conservatism while splashing it with a red veneer.

Conclusion

Anti-safe place Leftist want a new conservatism. They want a socialism stripped of its emancipatory qualities and reduced to the class binary; where workers own the means of production, yet the quality of bourgeois civilization, of sexual and gender distinction, racial and ethnic difference, remain. Whether this is a desire that is unconscious or conscious is of little concern since their ideology reproduces the conditions of subjugation (it may be useful here in thinking of the Communist Party of Greece’s (KKE) recent homophobic co-habitation document argues for biological determinism concerning the gender spectrum[1]).

To end, all of these points are merely precursors to future content. In the future, I will be posting more content which deepens the issues raised here. For the time being, then, I hope these points raise some points of discussion and assist in helping people move beyond outdated and reactionary beliefs concerning safe spaces.

[1] http://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/On-The-Cohabitation-Agreement/

Snitch Culture

In politics as well as sociability there is a problem. This problem is persistent but despite being nearly reviled in most walks of life and ideological groups, it not only persists but also is upheld by the vast majority of people to be helpful, something which cleans up the community of undesirables, enables the police apparatus, and supposedly even saves lives. I am, of course, talking about snitch culture. The culture of the snitch. That germinating fluid which allows troublesome home-wreckers and pushy moralists to flourish.

The aim of this post is not to discuss snitch-jacketing in Leftist movements. There are many other able commentators able to provide a handy list of reasons why it is never a good idea to rat on a comrade regardless of the circumstance. Instead this post is focused more on the cultural aspect of snitching: whether it be over a conspiracy to commit a crime, the selling-out of those who committed a crime, informing the authorities on those people who tried, or are desiring to commit suicide, or what-have-you. I aim here to sketch out some reasons why people behave the way they do in regards to delegating these matters to the state; matters of morality and control will be utilized as each are co-dependent on one another. Suicide and state control are utilized as the vehicle to which the examination is propelled both of which are articulated as political reflections.

Strictly speaking, yes, it is politics (against the irrational, revisionist musings of some comrades who believe it is a pro-life matter (to repatriate a nascent term)): if you are relying on the police in order to resolve the moral issues valued (bourgeois, existentialism, theism, etc), and if the police are the enforcers of the bourgeois state, then the problem of how to resolve this quandary of opposition is a political one, as it demands a solution without one falling-back on state power. The two are intimately connected, especially insofar as life post-state: if you are, as a suicidal person, forced into a “treatment” program, and fail to comply with the ruling of the court/doctor, then the police are the ones who come looking for you (this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone engaged in actual struggle). Penultimately, It is a question of authoritarianism: stopping someone’s suicide is a enforcement of will, one person forcing their views on another; when discussion fails then the tactic switches to brute force, a force which also happens to prop up, through legitimization, the state apparatus. Socialist society, with its spiraling towards decay, naturally emphasizes a weak state but strong enough to combat the counterrevolutionary armies: the issue is not one of micromanaging peoples lives as a revolutionary government will not have either the resources or the manpower to allocate such materials towards when fascists and conservative and liberal saboteurs are hacking away at the foundation of genuine democracy. While In post-capitalist society there may very well be a force similar to the police in terms of hauling people away who were suicidal this society is 1. Nothing that I want to do with, and 2. unlikely to transpire as this issue is one connected deeply to power and legitimization: If you are arguing that a anti-suicide force is present in society by what material and immaterial basis is this force founded upon? Many so-called “revolutionaries” fail to answer this point, instead pointing to vague, reformist-bourgeois talking-points regarding the sanctity of life (presumably as means to ensure the continuation of the mode of production post-capitalist). Such a position enables the capitalist(s) by vindicating their laws and moral guidance: so as long as it appears that the police, capitalists, and ruling functionaries have a place in society, the oppressive and repressive nature of the capitalist class will forever be in power.

Snitching has appeal in modern culture because it is seen as a virtue; snitching is not an evil because is spreads truth, that moral which theists so cherish. Snitching enables the enforces of property to punish those who transgress against Biblical law: violent criminals are jailed, suicidal persons committed, and those sinners which evade the light of that higher power discovered. While it may not be immediately perceptible this is the same reason why in postmodern society, however degenerate it may be in this late hour of capitalism, advances snitches as doing the work of society: because the people being snitched upon are portrayed as “other”. The snitches are merely helping society locate the ne’er do wells, those individuals who need “help” (whether it be political, religious, or health) but cannot find it for themselves. The theistic undertones line the whole conceptualization of snitches, with the false-dichotomy of “Good Vs. Evil”, as one which keeps society in check; monetary rewards, think of “most wanted” posters, back-up this reinforcement as drilling into the populace that snitching has its material benefits in addition to the supposed moralistic ones.

The point is, however, that whether a group or individual, snitching is never a good idea. The cops have no purpose other than to be abolished. Anything, any activity which places them on a pedestal is something to be critiqued seriously with peoples liberty and-personal-existential self-determination in mind; the hero narrative, regarding the halting of murders and thieves, are to be confronted with the same fever that the media pundits give to “terrorists”. Meaning, that at every turn imaginable the revolutionary forces must muster a revolutionary morality which enables the peoples to live according to their own personal law (so as long as it does not infringe upon another person’s life). An alternative needs to be offered; one with ties to reality and the material conditions prevalent in that person’s epoch.

Self-Criticism on Mental Health Services

(A self-criticism, for those not aware, is much on how it sounds: a criticism done by the person speaking as part of a ideological “cleansing” of mistaken attitudes, assumptions, and modes of thoughts upon the introduction of new facts which, upon introspection, dramatically alter the previously held conviction. In revolutionary China self-criticism was a manner for revolutionaries to engage in their mistaken assumptions and move beyond their hold, reactionary habits. Following in this manner I will be engaging my attitudes on the state and some of the mental health services offered by the state. This criticism will be terse as I wish to get into the meat of the idea)

This past summer I read through Dorothy Day’s autobiography The Long Loneliness. While the read was a fascinating insight into the Catholic Workers Movement, as well as its terrible politics as far as theism and industrialization was concerned, the one thing which I remember leaving an impression was how the radical Catholics shunned and actively fought against all forms of state aid, state services. At the time I argued against such a persuasion under the reasoning that any aid which assisted the working class in getting-by was something which should be preserved, so as long as the organization surrounding working class politics followed a revolutionary anti-capitalist line, I believed that state aid should be maintained. While I do not uphold the radical Catholic sentiment that humanity should begin a process of “returning to the earth” I have moved towards an embrace of leaving the care of individuals to the community itself, that medical, emotional, and psychological treatment is something best left to (1) a community of skilled professionals unaffiliated with the state apparatus, and (2) to the individual’s own preference on how to seek assistance when in need.

I now know my previous position to be reactionary and false: the existence of mental health services as they exist presently are to oppress and domineer communities of psychologically different persons;that, as odd as it sounds to say, the radical Catholics were correct in arguing against means of state aid which, when examined on the concrete, legitimatizes the state function (oppression, control, dependency, etc). In offering services attached to contracts, insurance, and a whole slew of red-tape and bureaucracy, the state is able to extend their power into the private sphere: re-definition of health, eligibility, and legality mark an intrusion into the personal lying beyond that of merely offering services. Take hospital procedure, as it is a perfect example of what I am discussing: upon evaluation, an evaluation that they create and are enabled to change, the state gives itself the authority to forcefully detain individuals who are deemed a “threat” to themselves or others; a major obstacle to someone who falls under the “needs some help” category but not the “needs a lot of help” category; if you need some help but do not wish to be held against your will and/or have a history which may hinder you in life advancement, then obviously you will not seek treatment. Such a decision will likely impact your happiness but, even so, it is something which must be maintained in order to peruse long-term happiness. Obviously the state is not interested in legitimating neutrals or grey areas. All is acclimated with the guiding principal of numbing control in mind. An alternative which presupposes anti-authoritarianism, as what would be observed in a socialist state, is something which is repugnant to the capitalist and bourgeois-oriented worker shuffling within the power systems of the ruling class.

The alternative, which presently does not exist, is to seek assistance in the community of individuals dedicated not to bourgeois fixations (control, imprisonment, criminalization, etc) but to actual existential, humane, betterment: in both subsistence and living. Therefore I am now able to see why the radical Catholics embraced an absolute opposition to such services on the grounds that these “options” are a thinly veiled disguise for authoritarianism but as well as a means of self-legitimization through propaganda (think of the constant repetition of the high number of “mentally ill” persons in jail and mental wards whenever the issue of prison abolishment is discussed) and control; why they sought to build grassroots communities built from the ground up within a alternative stemming more from use-value (mutual aid, self-determination, co-operative, etc) in opposition to the state’s exchange-value system of the prison-industrial and mental-health complexes.

My previous understanding of the state’s function I now understand to be idealist, reactionary, and counterrevolutionary. With the completion of this admittedly brief self-critique I hoped to have adequately tackled this lurid position. I feel like I have made a qualitative leap in terms of personal dialectics.

Future entries on this blog will build upon this new footing.

This understanding of facts does not alter my fundamental orientation: I still support the erection of a socialist state and I still believe in the necessity of this proletarian state offering the nucleus of such pivotal mental health services as a prelude to the dissolution of said socialist state into communism; the self-criticism here was focused entirely on bourgeois society and its intent on determining working class lives to serve capital accumulation.

Bourgeois Existentialism: Musings on the Anti-Suicide Mentality

(Part One: Music)

It needn’t be a large controversy that existentialism in general is largely a bourgeois phenomenon. From Heidegger to Sartre (perhaps problemtizing some of his later works), there exists this large trend of moralism which, despite the supposed emphasis on surmounting societal chains, shuns the ultimate in self-determination: suicide. This post, however, is not about the classical philosophers themselves, rather, how the theory which they have peddled has finally made its way into a full-fledged “under-ideology” (or, said another way, a ideological current which defines a part of society but in a subdued manner which the followers themselves are not aware of). As such, this post is focused on contemporary Western culture and how the capitalist mode of production fuses with reactionary moralism to negate actual-revolutionary-existentialism.

Existentialist titans Sartre and Camus both were vehemently against suicide. Each considered it as anathema to actual living, a retreat by which the true life was forfeited in exchange for permanent satisfaction. Outside of the religious inspired anti-existentialism of Mill, Kant, and Chesterton, this brand of bourgeois existentialism, that a person can overcome their hardships, is the most prevalent in contemporary society. Accordingly this is why you see phrases such as “suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.” Thinking such as this stresses the moral position of a specific situation: e.g., a person may be going through a hard spell due to a crises, but is suicide really the only way out? If this action was universalized, if suicide was the commonly accepted escape method for people the world over, then what would become of the world? The answer is something else than desirable; suffice to say people as people would cease to be autonomous and would exist merely as a means to an end. Of course, to any bourgeois, or pre-bourgeois thinker, this is unacceptable as the twin pillars of capitalism and religion demand something more of humanity, that humans exist either to worship or produce surplus-value; anything to the contrary negates this all-might mandate and accordingly is dismissed. The trappings and theory merely serve to camouflage, poorly, the real intent: that the higher classes, the capitalist and clergy, depend on the worker to make their life palatable.

For these reasons Hume and Locke argue that it is natural that men should desire life; presupposing material and emotional and mental anguish, it is but the natural state which propels people to enjoy life to its fullest. Obviously from a Marxist position this stance has severe limitations. Aside from being filled with moralist augmentations have no basis in reality (God and natural providence being the strongest features of the position), these positions are counterrevolutionary: they exchange concrete social-materialism in exchange for destructive idealism; the pursuit to ensure a means of mass-survival, in a situation which warrants no such conduct, guarantees that individuals who wish to end their suffering are targeted as part of a witch hunt.

During the modern millennium this witch-hunt takes the shape of media. Media which modulates mass perception and the attitude of the person who encounters the (suicidal) individuals who push against the conformist sway. I will best illustrate this point by demonstrating how such ideology manifests in the popular culture. Seeing as how such media has been shaped by the ideology-previously-described, I will illustrate how the reactionary palimpsest has engaged the bourgeois superstructure to create a self-absorbed construct capable of voiding even a revolutionary’s consciousness.

– – – –

Ex. #1

Pay attention to the lyrics: “Send it in a letter, make yourself feel better.” This line is the epitome of selfishness. Provided, the entire song is reminiscent of a greedy “I” centered mentality; nearly the whole edifice of the song is spent mourning over the passing of a beloved paramour; so while we may sympathize with the speaker over their loss and subsequent loneliness, we must oppose their ultra-individualism, their absurd whining over how they feel when their partner, the one who committed suicide, was obviously feeling such profound thoughts of depressing that they elected to take their own lives and become at peace. The ignoring of the “other’s” personage, however, is a hallmark of the bourgeois existentialist position as this stance is centered purely in the Objectivist sphere of “fuck everyone else” (even if a faction of Objectvists deplore the concept of suicide as counterproductive to capital accumulation). The goal here is to circumvent the other, which ironically, negates the other, and establish them as something external to you (“I”‘s) happiness. This hereby brings the entire project back to the Individualist centered praxis.

“There’s a devil in the church and this is going to hurt” & “A self-inflicted murder… you say it’s all a crisis… that is’s all a blur.”

What do these lyrics evoke? (1) Religious delusion (2) Theist morality, and (3) disregarding of the Other’s existential situation. All parts considered it is but a continuation of the previous section’s morality albeit in a new genre: hard rock, signifying that alternative rock does not stranglehold counterproductive metaphysics; that anti-existential self-determination is an enemy of multiply genres. The second quotation has profound impact on the lyrical meaning: here, though the genre is hard-rock, a kind of Christian morality has infected the song which leads the writers to proclaim that suicide is tantamount to murder, that penultimate sin. Additionally we see in this song promotes a negation of the Other in the form, which is common in anti-suicide songs, of the suicidal person being unreasonable, being mentally distraught, unable to make rational decisions, and simply being melodramatic; this sort of commentary adds to the reactionary social-commentary by reinforcing bourgeois notions of superiority, of one class of persons capable of articulating more than another and so able to shoulder the responsibility, not unlike that of “the White Man’s Burden”, of bettering their lesser man. And so the interpenetration is prominent on a level which transcends mere musical preference when combined with the god delusion.

“I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend. You could cut ties with all the lies you’ve been living in; and if you do not want to see me again I would understand” & “The angry boy a bit too insane icing over a secret pain, you know you don’t belong.”

Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper” is a anti-suicide track that while more sympathetic to the suicidal person, still treats them like a wounded child (as the constant references to youth indicate). References to a troubled childhood display a attitude towards suicide which is something more than merely a overly dramatic person making an irrational decision; it shows a understanding of interpersonal relations which goes beyond mere allusions. Even so, however, the content of the track still remains firmly in the bourgeois camp- “Jumper” retains the stereotypical “mentally ill underling needing to be saved by a superior mentor” of the preceding track while advancing a social dynamic that attempts reconciliation after the suicide attempt has been dealt with (aka- the lyrics pertaining to “not wishing to see me again”), a fusion of holier-than-thou sentiment validated by a seeming understanding of how a existentially determined person reasons.

– – – – –

Regarding musical musing on how bourgeois existentialism manifests in music, we have reached the end of our lecture. While only a small sliver of what it is possible to critique has been explored I hope to have at least opened some tiny avenues of interpretation and reasoning as far as the unjustified, reactionary reasoning for many of these opinions rest upon. There will be other entries in this mini-series of posts, entries which deal with other societal segments. Until then please feel free to comment and submit your own theoretical pieces regarding suicide and contribute to a important field countering a growing field of revisionist thought.