American Cartographies 3: Neoregionalism

Back for round three! A brief recap of the Leslie Fiedler-D&Gian literary psychogeography of America: East—Decoding from/recoding with Europe—Henry James, Eliot, Pound North—Capitalist decoding—Dos Passos, Dreiser South—Overcode of the slave system, post-Civil War ruin—Faulkner, Caldwell West—Line of flight, escape, madness—Kesey, beat generation, etc with further correspondences to East—Desire as Jouissance; phantasy North—Desire as lack; castration […]

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Greil Marcus on David Lynch

A wonderful description of David Lynch in The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice by Greil Marcus—notable in particular for the reference to Natty Bumppo, invoked by Leslie Fiedler to describe the sort mythical figure that arises in the Westward direction: …for thirty years Lynch has been as much a frontiersman as Natty […]

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Kentucky Degree Zero

…what characterizes these spaces is that their nature cannot be explained in a simply spatial way. They imply non-localizable relations. These are direct presentations of time—Deleuze, Cinema II. I’ve recently been replaying the now well-known adventure game Kentucky Route Zero in preparation for the recently-released final act (for those unfamiliar, the various acts of the game’s stories have […]

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Strange America Round-Up

For the sake of organizing the various bits and pieces scattered around this blog on ‘weird America’, the ‘West’, etc—to try and build them towards a more cohesive project?—here’s a little index of what’s been scribbled so far: The New Religion and Its Schisms The Invisible Landscape American Cartographies Everything Calls Out The Humor of […]

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Empire at the End

Last night realized that I missed a golden opportunity in my last post—which began with the relationship/contrast between the delirium of the West and the imperial ecumenon as described by Deleuze and Guattari, and which ended at the weird of the 1970s—to mention Philip K. Dick and his time-scrambling suggestion that us (post)moderns are, in […]

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American Cartographies 2

In the beginning of the second chapter of The Return of the Vanishing American, Leslie Fiedler wrote: For a long time, Europeans thought of themselves as inhabiting a world without a West: a threefold oecumene made up of Europe itself, Asia, and Libya, which is to say a ruling and redeemed North plus a subsidiary and […]

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Nostalgia for the End

Hypertelia: “a process of something surpassing its function or objective”. “With systems of economy, knowledge, and production, if they go too far in one direction they get carried away and over-reach their own limits, and at this moment lose themselves in reversal” — Baudrillard, Selected Interviews  Kojève’s provocative suggestion was that the US, at its mad-Fordist […]

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The Humor of Surfaces

A few stray thoughts continuing off from the last post on roadside attractions and kitsch Americana as ‘vernacular surrealism’— If America, with its complicated approach to the depths of history and focus on self-cultivation (in the face of ‘symbolic deficiency’) can be most immediately understood through the notion of the surface, then the relationship that […]

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Everything Calls Out

The Library of Congress has just entered some 11,000 photographs of roadside attractions, gas stations, old buildings, and other obscured American novelties into the public domain. It’s a testament to the camerawork of architectural critic and photography John Margolies, whose life’s work was to criss-cross the country over the span of decades to capture these […]

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American Cartographies

I think I’ve written about this before—and if not on the blog, then at least on twitter—but one of the bits in A Thousand Plateaus that has fascinated me for years now is a footnote to the introduction (on the rhizome). It takes place in the context of a short discussion of America, identified as a “special […]

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