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Nomad, Rhizome - Page 44

Nomad, Rhizome

[36] Intellectual economics guarantees that even the most powerful and challenging work cannot protect itself from the order of fashion. Becoming-fashion, becoming-commodity, becoming-ruin. Such instant, indeed retroactive ruins, are the virtual landscape of the stupid underground. The exits and lines of flight pursued by Deleuze and Guattari are being shut down and rerouted by the very people who would take them most seriously. By now, any given work from the stupid underground's critical apparatus is liable to be tricked out with smooth spaces, war-machines, n - 1s, planes of consistency, plateaus and deterritorializations, strewn about like tattoos on the stupid body without organs. The nomad is already succumbing to the rousseauism and orientalism that were always invested in his figure; whatever Deleuze and Guattari intended for him, he is reduced to being a romantic outlaw, to a position opposite the State, in the sort of dialectical operation Deleuze most despised. And the rhizome is becoming just another stupid subterranean figure. It is perhaps true that Deleuze and Guattari did not adequately protect their thought from this dialectical reconfiguration (one is reminded of Breton's indictment against Rimbaud for not having prevented, in advance, Claudel's recuperation of him as a proper Catholic), but no vigilance would have sufficed in any case. The work of Deleuze and Guattari is evidence that, in real time, virtual models and maps close off the very exits they indicate. The problem is in part that rhizomes, lines of flight, smooth spaces, BwOs, etc., are at one and the same time theoretical-political devices of the highest critical order and merely fantasmatic, delirious, narcissistic models for writing, and thus perhaps an instance of the all-too-proper blurring of the distinction between criticism and fantasy. In Deleuze-speak, the stupid underground would be mapped not as a margin surrounding a fixed point, not as a fixed site determined strictly by its relation or opposition to some more or less hegemonic formation, but as an intensive, n-dimensional intersection of rhizomatic plateaus. Nomadology and rhizomatics conceive such a "space" (if one only had the proverbial nickel for every time that word is used as a critical metaphor, without the slightest reflection on what might be involved in rendering the conceptual in spatial terms) as a liquid, colloidal suspension, often retrievable by one or another techno-metaphorical zoning (e.g., "cyberspace").

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