“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, November 2, 2012

"We Talk about the Weather": Underground Ecocriticism Liveblog 1

Joshua Schuster: the German socialist party's poster, "Others talk about the weather. We don't." The green party comeback: "We talk about the weather." The irony being, what if the weather was the way that capitalism became ungrounded?

Joshua then gives a very beautiful evocation of ground, underground, underground. The porous Earth. Anthropocene as disturbing fusion of earth and sky.

So much we call ecocriticism ends up just trying to be a bit more moral than other forms. Ecology as a turn to ethics; notion of clear moral pathway. Where do these morals come from? Must we make moral claims? Are we being too affirmative?

Foucault, Discipline and Punish, image from Nicolas Andry's Orthopedia (1741), tree bound to a stake to make it straight. Tree prevented from being a slouch. But what if the tree does need to be staked? When is an ethical ecology needed?

Let's consider how things that are awkward, broken, dark and gawky works as ungainly agents.

Subcultural model of "underground." Yet how can we be committed to planetarity thus? How avoid dogmatism, and powerless fora in which we just let whatever happen happen?

Pressure and responsibility to come up with something provocative.

We should be wary of our engagements turning us into beautiful souls. And the beautiful soil! The earth knows best or is the definition of righteousness. The moral low ground rather!

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