cynicism: steal this movie


Zizek's critique of the Althusserian concept of ideology in light of the rise of cynicism was interesting to me. It is a pretty intense wrinkle in the seemingly never ending quest to unravel the question of if and how the means of production in our society reproduces itself. He discusses how cynicism looks like a "kind of perverted negation of the negation" (30), in which even though people are able to see the inconsistencies in problematic ideas, they somehow still refrain from acting. He cites pragmatic concerns as being one way of this happening: people reason that it is much easier to stay their hands than attempt to solve what they know are problems, and that they will probably fail anyway. In trying to make sense of his discussion of this phenomenon, I wondered if it might tie back into re-inscription of seemingly subversive ideas that we had talked about before. Perhaps part of the way that the means of production regulates the environment of production is by fostering these doubts, which make change easier? I also wondered if maybe this was what Foucault was trying to get at in his own work with his discussion of decentralized power structures, or rather why he was so adamant that one concentrate studies of power on the individual, nodal, level, and not on any kind of centered pattern. While there are centralized, very structural patterns of power in our society, perhaps it's more useful to discuss the mechanisms that are really guaranteeing enforcement, which are operating at an individual level in this staying of hands. Thoughts?

Also I feel like a total paranoid writing and thinking about this stuff; it makes much more sense to me now how paranoia is such a recognizable and integral aspect of the postmodern "human condition" (scare quotes scare quotes). This theory is so elaborate and it's a strange feeling trying to piece through it and figure out how much I feel I understand well enough to try to apply to my own life.