“So as to give them courage we must teach people to be shocked by themselves.”

Who’s Buying What

Which version of consumer capitalism do you prefer?

1. Smug and entitled

2. Socially conscious

3. Los de abajo

Alienation (HUM415/HUM425)

Manchette’s 3 to Kill (HUM303/ HUM415)

I just received this email from  Green Apple Books:

Hi Sean!

If your students want to come into our main store at 506 Clement to pay for and pick up their copies, we will give them a 10% discount off of the $13.95 list price. I’ll have them up at the front counter and will let our staff know. Just have your students let us know that they are in your class at SFSU, and we’ll take care of them.
Thanks again!


This means that Jean-Patrick Manchette’s totally cool Situationist crime novel Three to Kill is now available at three locations:

City Lights Bookstore in North Beach

Green Apple Books in Inner Clement

and the rather lamentable bookstore on campus


A meaningless term improperly derived…. There is no such thing as situationism, which would mean a doctrine for interpreting existing conditions. The notion of situationism is obviously devised by antisituationists.


Hawkes on the Radio (HUM415)

A really interesting interview with Hawkes which will likely improve your comprehension of Ideology:

KpopCollection (HUM415)

Derek emailed me a link to this playlist of Kpop songs collected by RiceyRain. As youtube viewer Haya Kim remarks, “SO MUCH CUTENESS!! <333333″:

The Flames of War (HUM425)

You might want to look at what is purported to be the new ISIS video titled “Flames of War”. Youtube is apparently taking it down, but it keeps popping up. Notably it is much more visually complex than the recent videos of Foley and others. It is also somehow less disturbing I would argue because it seems to participate within a whole tradition of hyperreal war cinema. Frankly, it feels like a trailer for some War on Terror action flick. Matthew Weaver, at the UK Guardian, provides a formal analysis:

Abolition (HUM415)

You are not a loan.

Strike Debt abolishes $3.8 million in student loan debt.

“The ideology of debt is one of the most powerful tools ever created to justify situations of violent inequalities and not only make them seem moral, but also make them seem as if it is the victim who is to blame.”

Idols and a Revision (HUM415)

Note I’ve tweaked the readings slightly for Week 4. I want to make sure that by the end of class on Thursday we’ve achieved a substantive understanding of Chs. 1-5 of Hawkes’s Ideology. That means we won’t get to Ch. 6, Postmodernism, until 9/23.

These clips will help.

1. An adaptation of the Allegory of the Cave from Plato’s Republic:

2. Slavoj Zizek’s analysis of John Carpenter’s They Live from a recent documentary by Sophie Fiennes, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology:




On Race and Voice (HUM425)

Is it diction? Elocution and inflection? Rhythm? The timbre or grain of the voice? Do voices have races or can a race have a voice? I’ve been thinking about this for days, in part because the race/voice connection brings together visual and aural registers, but also because to claim that a voice “sounds [insert racial marker here]” is to automatically gesture at the fact that our senses are not simply natural but culturally constructed. I hear what I have been taught to be able to hear just as I see what my education tells me is visible. Roaming the net, I came across this interview with the authors of Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the US:


Read more of this post

Invisible Empire (HUM425)

This isn’t required, but for those of you who are interested in the relationship between image production and geopolitical power, here’s an essay by a major figure in the field of visual culture studies, Nicholas Mirzoeff: mirzoeff.invisible.empire. Note the title of his article. If you know your US American history then you’ll recognize it as a major provocation.


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