Thursday, August 10, 2006

present order of things will be transformed, but only slightly

Nice we get a new book from Walter Benjamin every 20 years or so. This review from David Kaufman in the Forward got me thinking about how successful has been the right-wing attempt to re-write history. But I am not going to dwell on that. I think the result has been as much the total nullification of history, and that, as much as anything has acted to stop the USA dead in its tracks.

As Kaufman puts it:

The fatefulness of suffering is nothing but an illusion. Social institutions — like all forms of human endeavor — are susceptible to destruction and transformation. We must learn to see in them the emancipatory traces of decay.
Social institutions do indeed collapse. It surprises me, here in Mexico, to see the fashionable kids dancing in their Chuck Taylors, dancing Salsa with serious intent and expertise. There is not a moments pause when Bill Haley and the Comets starts playing. It is as if the whole world inherited some version of "Americana" that the Americans forgot, or that the American's simply had erased out from under themselves. And now the Americans exist, cut off from everything, in this sort of teal and magenta bank lobby, trying to make withdrawls, depositing popular culture and always there is this flashing error message. And even those Chuck Taylor sneakers, which the whole latin world has inherited, remain symbolic and ubiquitous, but it is a symbolism the Americans no longer recognize.

No comments:

Post a Comment