“Doucouré’s film is an aesthetic and moral failure, for it participates in the very evil it claims to expose, and thereby further dissolves the structure of values necessary for resistance.”

It is thus a “deathwork.” 1/x arcdigital.media/defenders-of-d…
"Deathworks," according to Philip Rieff, promote anti-culture, the unraveling of shared norms that make civilization possible. Whereas most deathworks do this consciously (e.g. "Piss Christ"), Cuties seems to have done so unwittingly. How this could happen is worth exploring. 2/x
There's a sense in which Cuties isn't "transgressive" at all. The sexual commodification of children's bodies has long been normalized in the west; it is a prominent feature of our anti-culture, kicked off in earnest by the sexual revolution. 3/x
From bronies to beauty pageants, child sexualization is a signal case of the transgressive ceasing to be transgressive for large swaths of the population. 4/x
How does one create art that effectively "transgresses transgression"?

This requires a clear, coherent, non-relativistic moral vision. Dramatizing such a vision in the context of anti-culture is a transgressive act. 5/x
In an ironical dialectic, secular feminism was produced by—& helped to produce—the sexual revolution. Its embrace of sexuality divorced from procreation lowered the mental barrier to the sexualization of prepubescent children. 6/x
To clarify: if sexual being isn't teleological, it makes little sense to restrict its exercise to the reproductively mature. Secular feminism implicitly rejects this teleological understanding of sex. 7/x
Bc secular feminism was (however unwittingly) complicit in normalizing the sexual commodification of children, it cannot provide the moral vision necessary for art to transgress this particular transgression. It is of course effective at transgressing other troubling norms. 8/x
The Cuties director's worldview undermined her stated intent. When one conceives of autonomy in terms of mere immanence, one cannot coherently exclude self-degradation as one of its licit modes. On such grounds, all expressions of autonomy must be considered licit. 9/x
The sort of critique Doucouré intended cannot be effectively executed w/out participating in a transcendent order of reality. Absent such participation, "transgressive" art merely magnifies what it intends to transgress. 10/x
We urgently need serious artists capable of "deathworking the deathworks," so to speak. Doucouré isn't yet such an artist, but her film's moral failures might point the way for others. 11/11

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More from @justindeanlee

12 Jun
Everyone, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, & read @Musa_alGharbi's analyses of how the good intentions of white progressives are harming the cause of antiracism.

Below, I explain how his work has helped me process what I find so disturbing about our nat'l crisis. (THREAD) 1/x
His latest essay links to others of a connected series, the goal of which is to push the professional-managerial class (i.e., culture-driving elites of the upper quintile) to practice reflexivity & "ascetic antiracism" (see end of thread). 2/x
publicseminar.org/essays/amy-coo…
In a previous piece, Musa explains how white progressives, like Amy Cooper & other "Karens," become more likely to act in the interests of other whites the more they engage in antiracist liturgical performances (my phrasing, not his). 3/x
publicseminar.org/essays/amy-coo…
Read 25 tweets
5 Jun
Everything is awful and I am angry all the time. Whenever I open my computer I am confronted by some fresh hell that makes my face veins move in gnarly ways and I am overwhelmed by a desire to lash out.

In that spirit, I have a few things to say about @Apple's Tim Cook. 1/x
Today, Cook posted the now-requisite corporate genuflection to Apple's website. Like most people, I share the sentiments expressed in the document. But I believe neither Cook nor Apple actually gives a damn about the downtrodden. 2/x
apple.com/speaking-up-on…
During the Hong Kong democracy protests, Apple removed an app used by demonstrators to avoid police. Tim Cook's vision of "a better world for everyone" was cast by Xi Jinping & the CCP. 3/x

nytimes.com/2019/10/09/tec…
Read 10 tweets
4 Jun
WHO halted hydroxychloroquine trials after a Lancet study proved it dangerous. Turns out the authors falsified data to smear the drug. (Thread) 1/7
theguardian.com/world/2020/jun…
The data was provided by Surgisphere, a company founded by Sapan Desai, one of the study's authors. Surgisphere employs only 2 other people: a sci-fi writer & an adult entertainer. 2/7
Two of the authors, Mandeep Mehra & Frank Ruschitzka, have prior relationships w Gilead Sciences, creator of Remdesivir. A third author, Amit Patel, is working w Merck to promote ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. 3/7
nypost.com/2020/04/14/hea…
Read 13 tweets
18 May
I promised @bernybelvedere, @NGrossman81, & others a thread elucidating my claim that Liberalism is *incoherent.* Here it is.

But first, two notes:

1) I love & respect all of you, regardless of our disagreements;
2) the focus here is metaphysics; please don't misdirect. 1/x
Since Berny loves him some Rawls, I’ll take “Liberalism” to mean a political philosophy which holds that individual liberty is normatively basic & the proper role of political authority is to equally protect each citizen’s exercise of liberty to the fullest extent possible. 2/x
Is liberalism, so defined, coherent? The answer depends on how one defines liberty. Isaiah Berlin identified “Two Concepts of Liberty”: negative & positive. Negative liberty is *freedom from* restraint or coercion, understood as the “deliberate interference of other... 3/x
Read 28 tweets
1 Dec 19
I highly recommend this Matthew Rose essay, which scrutinizes (& then pulverizes) the thought of racialist political thinker Samuel Francis. Francis is a case study in "mimetic doubling" & the way ressentiment degrades even the sharpest minds. (THREAD)
firstthings.com/article/2019/1…
Francis analyzed (& vociferated against) the "managerial revolution"—the transition of power from bourgeoisie to technocratic, administrative elites. He fixated on Pareto's distinction between ideology's "formal" (conceptual ideals) and "real" (intended consequences) meanings.
For Francis, writes Rose, "disagreements between liberalism and conservatism were a mock battle of ideas, reflecting antagonisms between rival elites and their supporters." "Liberalism does what all ideologies do: It rationalizes and justifies the rule of an elite minority."
Read 13 tweets

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