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Nihil - Page 11


[8]One might find it amusing to assume the pose of someone who states problems with brutal simplicity. As in this little nugget: Every historical form of cultural and political revolt, transgression, opposition, and escape has turned out to be nothing more than a systemic function. The notion of recuperation has encountered a thousand alibis and counter-tropes but still constitutes the closest thing cultural study has to a natural law. Collage, antimelodic high-decibel music, antimasterpieces, romantic primitivism, drunkenness and drugs, renegade sexuality, criticism itself: it is amazing that a single radical claim can still be made for any of this, and entirely characteristic that it is. Every conceivable form of negation has been dialectically coordinated into the mechanism of progress. The future of the anti has not yet been reconceived. That is why it is ridiculous to accuse some poor kid with a bad attitude or some putative grownup with a critique but no "positive program for change" of being nihilistic: strictly speaking, nihilism doesn't exist. What was once called nihilism has long since revealed itself as a general, integral function of a culture that, in all its glorious positivism, is far more destructive than the most vehement no. Nothing could be more destructive, more cancerous, than the positive proliferation of civilization (now there's a critical cliche), and all the forms of opposition have long since revealed themselves as means of advancing it. As for the ethos of "resistance": just because something feels like resistance and still manages to offend a few people (usually not even the right people) hardly makes it effective. It is merely "ressentiment" in one or another ideological drag. And how can anyone still be deluded by youth, by its tedious shrugs of revolt? Even the young no longer believe their myth, although they are quite willing to promote it when convenient. Punk nihilism was never more than the nihilism of the commodity itself. You should not credit Malcolm McLaren with having realized this just because he was once pro-situ. All he wanted was to sell more trousers without boring himself to death; indeed he is proof that the guy with the flashiest "ressentiment" sells the most rags. And if he wasn't bored, can he be said to have advanced the same favor to us?

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