How to Survive in Graduate School

A Review of Postmodernism is Not What You Think

Postmodernism Is Not What You Think by Charles Lemert, 1997.

Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 185 pages (first edition)

This first edition of Postmodernism is not what you think was written over 13 years ago, just before the “event” that changed everything. A proud and bright icon of modern architecture stands on the cover, mocking the two lowly constructions which appear to be from a younger age and time. It as if Charles Lemert wants to remind us that the problem of modernism have not yet passed. A simple and rarely refuted thesis dawns upon me: the problem of modernity is the problem that can not be gotten beyond. 1997 .. this was the same year that a lesser known post-anarchist by the name of John Caputo (you will recall an essay about Derrida’s “Responsible Anarchy”) introduced his book Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. Caputo wrote in his book that the “apostles of anti-deconstruction seem to think [in response to] strange readings of odd poems in graduate literary theory classes, [that] when the sort of anarchy that deconstruction perpetrates threatens to spill over into the streets of ethics and politics, that is serious business and it is not to be taken lightly. [They] have to put a stop to it; that is [their] ethical and civic duty, [they, the] Knights of Good Conscience.”

One does not need to get behind the ethics of “responsible anarchy” to appreciate the way modernist ideas have inked their way back onto the pages of the book. Caputo wrote: “Deconstruction is […] the irrepressible anarchy of signifiers, the unmasterable, anarchic event of archi-ecriture.” And here, like so many signifiers spilled across a page, we are confronted with a proud modernism:

The problem of recuperation is precisely the problem of the retroactive powers of the state(ments); they inscribe the history of the text with the powers of the present. This is why Derrida’s responsible anarchy discloses is covered by the image of the state(ment). We have only to approach the image of the cover, in Lemert’s pro-postmodernism book to establish the legitimacy of this thesis and to thereby refer outside of the so-called anarchy of signifiers, and outside of the text, to the “nothing” that Derrida so favourably described (“there is nothing outside the con/text”).

1997 .. this was a time when so-called post-modernists, Derrida as our exemplar, were bitterly critiquing the works of modernist Marxists such as Habermas (and vice versa), proclaiming Marxism to be the shallow language of the university that one will have to learn to speak without speaking, to speak while secretly overcoming, to master so as to give way to the forces of anarchy in the university. This was a time when it was safe to present a cover of a modernist piece of architecture crumbling to the ground and yet Lemert did not take the opportunity. And has he not been validated by history?

2005 .. the second edition of Postmodernism is not what you think was published. This was a time of rational dialogue between postmodernists and modernists .. a time in which Derrida would overcome the differences he had with Habermas so that they might come together, as one, to speak in a single voice against a shared crisis of faith. When the twin towers of “system” and “lifeworld” come crashing down, we are left with the real terror of postmodernity and we run back to our safe space. Speaking in good conscience, Derrida and Habermas defend the ethical project of the Enlightenment. 2001 … three years before the modern towers came crashing down.

The introduction to the book Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (edited by Giovanna Borradori, 2003) explained the significance of this event in no uncertain terms: “This book is the first occasion in which Habermas and Derrida have agreed to appear side by side, responding to a similar sequence of questions in a parallel manner.” 2003 .. one “event”, an “event” that changed everything. Badiou would have us believe that through the witnessing of this rupture, in its (cover-)image, a the smooth ideology of the subject is puntured and s(he) is able to come into being by recognizing the dark face of truth. But here do we not experience precisely the opposite? The rupture of the smooth functioning of the system will always be sutured by the symbolic network of signifiers, the event terrorizes us, frightens us into submission, and we retreat back to a safe time, back to a safe place. The statist logic of modernity thereby is thereby renewed. .. Derrida and Habermas appear to us as the Knights of Good Conscience.

1997 .. 2005 … irony is at play between the two cover images. Whereas the archi-ecriture of the first cover reflects a time of modernity, while the book stands alone in defending the claims of post-modernism, the latter cover reflects a crisis of modernity at the hands of post-modernity: the twin towers of system and lifeworld are crashing to the ground. In a time of hope, Lemert has mocked us. In a time of fear, Lemert has frightened us. Finally, a book that goes all the way.

I had the honour and good fortune of listening to Charles Lemert speak at the W.C. Desmond Pacey Memorial Lecture at the University of New Brunswick. He shook the audience up with his words, provoking them. When they offered him looks of disgust, he disgusted them further. He stood unmoved by any of it, firmly in place. He spoke about the importance of coming to terms with death and stood like a corpse in front of an audience with dieing interest. After the lecture there was only one question and it was posed as such: “I respect you, Mr. Lemert, as a learned individual, and I respect that you are on the stage up there and that I am not, but all the same I wonder how you can go about spreading this theory of post-modernism and death and to thereby steal all the hope from our children?” The passionate interlocutor stood there with tears in his eyes as if to beg for mercy. Even I wanted to tell him what he wanted to hear, knowing very well he wouldn’t believe it anyway. Clearly, the interlocutor had not come prepared to engage with Mr. Lemert nor had he spent any time researching the thesis of his book.

A new thesis, rarely refuted, now dawns upon me: postmodernism is “the ability to drive people crazy, even to distraction.” This is what good post-modern philosophy does to people: it obfuscates and distracts them from the smooth functioning of their everyday lives, drawing them into new ambiences, new experiences, new ways of knowing and being. It does not do this by driving a plane into a giant piece of modern architecture, .. there is no reason to waste it all, to hurt so many people, on a strategy that won’t work anyway. But so long as I am alive, and so long as I know the error of the hysterics discourse, I speak through it from some other place of being. Imagine. Should one find oneself in the uncomfortable position of being a sociologist in the academy as well as an anarchist, a business owner and a radical, .. a baseball player and a freak; one nonetheless crucifies those who do the same. Let me reverse. Imagine. One should find oneself in the uncomfortable position of being an anarchist while also being prepared to be sacrificed to and alienated from the milieu for breaking the ethical codes that motivate the tradition, even while one believes these codes more dogmatically than most. Dare I say it? Having said it, I fear, I have already sacrificed too much.

Lemert’s quick on-point anecdotes were captivating. One such story described an incident in which a non-tenured junior colleague of sociology was carefully instructed that his/her department “so hate[d] postmodernism as to [have the individual stand] no chance of promotion should they be seen in its company.” It could similarly be stated as the case for any student of sociology, such as myself, who, after having searched through the archives of radical thought and, after finally exhausting the possibilities as to how to define the present crisis—of which it might well be impossible to doubt—to have finally stumbled upon a body of literature in nihilist anarchism, now finding herself having to defend such an audacious proposal! There is no defence! While reading this book, memories of undergraduate sociology courses vividly haunted me. I recall one debate that lasted for at least two classes in which a professor attempted to convince me that her department was more radical because it was not falling into the popular trap that so many other departments had become victim to: namely, the teach postmodern philosophy. But where does one go, in the university, to learn postmodern philosophy? Surely not Queen’s University.

The book is clearly written and surprisingly comprehensive: including, among several personal stories (even one reprinted love-note), well thought-out and cleverly focused treatments of Saussare, Derrida, Foucault, Debord, Mauss, Durkheim, Simmel, Strauss, Weber, Baudrillard, Lacan, Sivak, Habermas (who, I remember Lemert repetitively denouncing at the bar while we shared a few drinks), Barthes, Said, Rorty, Marcuse, Lyotard, Kristeva, Merton, Mills, Mead, Parsons, among many others. If one can move beyond Lemert’s naive retracing of the New Social Movements (a residue of the modern project) and his seemingly celebratory treatment of identity politics, the book is sure to be a good companion for any radical interested in understanding post-modernism and post-modernity from an academic who writes outside of the language of the university.

Lemert’s central line of argument is that not only is postmodernism not what you think, it is also not what you think. Trained as a sociologist, but be warned that he was also a minister, Lemert brings postmodernism to the sociological scrimmage line and, in the face of the supposed current crisis of theory suggests for us to stop asking “What’s wrong with sociology?”, “What is wrong with the university”, and to start asking “How does one speak the truth?, What truth?”

Perhaps there is something to this postmodernism thing after all. Whether one likes the term or not, one certainly has to admit that, as Lemert puts it, “something powerful, deep, and potentially far-reaching is going on [and this] seems to . . be beyond doubt.” A few interesting distinctions are made which are worth repeating. One of which is the difference between social theory and sociological theory. While the former is characterized by a critical attitude in the face of social life, the latter invokes a purely scientific methodology. Lemert is able to trace, not unlike many other contemporary sociologists, critical, even moral, impulses in such sociological figures as Durkheim, among others. It is this critical impulse that gives Lemert the academic force he needs to advance a case towards critically engaging with theories of the postmodern. Lemert is clearly a social theorist, he is not therefore a sociologist.

Another interesting distinction is made between what Lemert calls “radical modernism”, “radical postmodernism”, and “strategic postmodernism”. To put the matter simply: radical modernism is best explicated by Habermas’s defence of enlightenment subjectivity (the self-knowing subject), as can also be found in many of the Frankfurt school thinkers. Thus, one can sense, if not explicitly mark in the pages of such thinkers as Marcuse, the wanting to break away from the ‘iron-cage’ that Weber so dreadfully referred to. Radical postmodernism, as to be expected, is best explicated by Baudrillard and, to some degree, advanced earlier by the Situationists, for such thinkers the current situation is characterized not by the linearity and the reality of the past, but by hyperreality of the present. Strategic postmodernism, more cautious than full postmodernism and more critical than naive radical modernism, is interested in rewriting the history of modernity.

From a lonely, dark, apartment, such ends my one day encounter with Charles Lemert and the dreadfully depressing postmodernism he contends sociologists must be forced to think through. Though one might be in fear of that which is new, critical, and exciting, if one wants to invoke any sort of epistemological rupture, insurrection even, one must take, as Lemert puts it, ‘the mind of the fearless amateur’ — one who is not afraid to not know, to experiment with ugly and dirty ideas, and to face that which is unable to be explained (that which is impossible). Otherwise, one is faced with the likes of anarchism and its loyal servants who, on fear of having to contend with thoughts which bring power and responsibility closer to home, send out hostile emails, protesting the “dangerous” and decidedly infectious postmodernisms, post-lefts, and primitivists, and defending the even more dangerous and totalizing notions of progress, purity, social movements, and popularity.

Up in the Air

I came to anarchism through loneliness. I remember trying to outrun my lifelong feelings of inadequacy expressed through fits of depression and suicidal tendencies. As a consequence, I developed tricks, explored alternating personalities, became a hopper of religions, and committed myself to trendy living, in an effort to gain entry into several of the communities, sub-cultures, and relationships that surrounded me. I was dissatisfied with the pain in my life and I thought that other people could help me to fill the void. I wanted to live because I felt as though I was already dead. The great oppression of my life therefore was my inability to forge successful connections with others. I was always at war with myself.

I came to anarchism through loneliness. I remember trying to outrun my lifelong feelings of inadequacy expressed through fits of depression and suicidal tendencies. As a consequence, I developed tricks, explored alternating personalities, became a hopper of religions, and committed myself to trendy living, in an effort to gain entry into several of the communities, sub-cultures, and relationships that surrounded me. I was dissatisfied with the pain in my life and I thought that other people could help me to fill the void. I wanted to live because I felt as though I was already dead. The great oppression of my life therefore was my inability to forge successful connections with others. I was always at war with myself.




As a result of my ceaseless commitment to finding meaningful relationships, I never had one. What person, community, or sub-culture could ever outshine a great and radiant lifelong phantasy? (Growing up, I frequently reminded friends, family, and partners what love and society were “supposed to look like” — foolishly, nothing in the world could compare to it.) As I matured I began to realize that my visions were the result of phantasy itself, an attempt to outrun the pain at the heart of my existence, and that, finally, I didn’t have an answer or a place to escape – I simply knew that there were problems; problems that neither love, society nor friend could ever pretend to mend because they were first of all problems at the root of my very being. I had only to become acquainted with, rather than outrun, what Dexter Morgan has always called his “dark passenger”.

There is a great truth to the claim that one does not become an anarchist but that one might only realize that an anarchist is what one has always been. If it were as easy as becoming an anarchist, we’d only have left to set our sights on how to make others anarchists too; and, in this performance alone, we contradict the most basic of anarchist ethics, that is, we cease to be anti-authoritarian. And yet, if one were first of all born an anarchist, that is, born into chaos and confusion, then one might only come to terms with the anarchy of life. This is my darkness and it is yours; it is a passenger that remains with us wherever we find ourselves. This is what naturally resists our human interventions because it has always been the general principle of existence. It relates to the profound negativity that frere dupont describes as revolt, but it occurs just as much inwardly as it does outwardly.

I have thus this precise meaning when I insist that anarchists have always been ‘Up in the Air’: we have always been motivated by phantasies. It is here that we understand that being anarchist implies living within the contradictions and the darkness that surrounds us, it means never escaping phantasies except deep within the pits of our being; coming to terms with the phantasies that we have constructed, and will continue to construct, in order to escape the traumatic nature of our birth. Conditions will never change, but our personal, unspeakable, relationship to these conditions can change and with it so much else.

For glimpses of this “dark passenger”, this darkness that emerges from the outermost inside of the anarchist milieu and then from everywhere else outside of it, one has only to look at the recent lineage of nihilistic films on the big screen. Most recently, a film called “Up In The Air” depicts the sad life of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) who spends his time flying around the world helping large companies fire their employees when they decide to downsize. A number of techniques emerge to help soothe the fired employee upon hearing the news, including but not limited to: constructing comforting and soothing environments, constructing future fantasies (the employee now has time to ‘chase his or her dreams’), technological mediation (layoffs via webcam), creating elaborate discourse to embellish layoff packages, etc. For all of the fancy words, soothing environments and future fantasies, Ryan is still aware of the darkness that exists beneath all the talk but he does little to combat it. Indeed, he builds his empire upon its soil. He helps construct phantasies for other people.

It appears for a while that Ryan has no darkness, that he enjoys his life – he is captured by his phantasy—the phantasies of others—repressing his own darkness. What he thinks he lacks is connection. He is resistant for a while, protecting himself from the light. He eventually submits to the love of a co-worker and, at the end of the film, we are left with an unsettling feeling: Ryan stands alone, still without the connection, he continues his career, he returns to the darkness of his life now aware of it but brutally facing it. This is why we should go to watch movies – movies that reject the happy ending in favour of the more realistic reminder that our lives are lived among the darkest of passengers. Disappointed spectators are faced with the sadness of their own lives, some release the pain with tears, others with bad words, still others remain seated for minutes after the movie, just reflecting. They return, like Ryan, to their everyday world and rebuild phantasies until they are ready, again, to face the darkness of life.

I am brought to tears for the beauty and honesty of film and then question my own love for the film. I realize that being an anarchist, in the political sense of the term, doesn’t mean that I have to be immersed in the milieu, interested in anarchist things, or vocally against everything that currently exists. If it helps, [I] think of it this way: I am an agent from the future; I must live a normal life in the circumstances in which I find myself. There is no need for me to go looking for ‘events’ – they will find me. Any action, for me, is only a running away, a phantasy, and, as a result, I run away from the fundamental struggle of my own life. Anarchism, like all things, is simply a preparation for death during life. And if I die an anarchist, I will have been more prepared than most.

Spoiler Alert!

In the symbolic order, the mind twists. Objects stand naked. They convince you that they are clothed. They are clothed. There they stand, protected by the material properties of the fabric of your ideology. By the fate of paradox they at last stand draped. They were never naked. I am lost in the cloth of this object which has forever been stripped of its sublime status.

In the symbolic order, the mind twists. Objects stand naked. They convince you that they are clothed. They are clothed. There they stand, protected by the material properties of the fabric of your ideology. By the fate of paradox they at last stand draped. They were never naked. I am lost in the cloth of this object which has forever been stripped of its sublime status.



The sublime object, according to Kant, is essentially formless. It becomes an object of utility, a foreign object of exchange, only upon the ground of excess and waste which erupts ceaselessly from within the net of the ontological machines. There are times when the only psychological defence against this eruption is to reveal the eruption itself as if by revealing it its truth has been robbed. Eminem did this during his rap battle, stripping his enemy of his weapon but nonetheless inscribing the truth upon his body – he really is white trash. I did this when I was younger: I have a lisp, I said, my father cleans toilets and my mother takes care of the mad. In the end, my comedy only revealed the truth: I am a lowlife and will always be a lowlife. This is the psychological structure of jokes, as Freud was well aware: “Two Jews meet in a railway carriage at a station in Galicia. ‘Where are you travelling?’ asks the one. ‘To Cracow,’ comes the answer. ‘Look what a liar you are!’ the other protests. ‘When you say you’re going to Cracow, you want me to believe that you’re going to Lemberg, But I know that you’re really going to Cracow. So why are you lying?”

Imagine that. Jude Law, Forest Whitaker and Alive Braga, servants of ideology, revealing themselves for the cameras in Repo Men (2010). Remy, employed as a Repo Man for a high-tech organ producer, eventually succumbs to sickness and and by the fate of irony becomes can not pay the bill for his own heart. Activists, Reactionaries, Politicians and Scholars—servants of the symbolic order, of knowledge—spend a great deal of time writing about the metaphor of health care, nicknamed ObamaCare. But this misses the truth which is right in front of their eyes. Remy, disillusioned by his employer, tries to take down the system. He believes that his unique insider status provides him the unique standpoint upon which to mount his attack, and indeed it does. In the end he wins.

The power of the symbolic order is its ability to retroactively inscribe meaning where before there was resistance and victory. Viewers are eventually brought back to an early moment in the movie when Remy was knocked unconscious (what was it, for the fourth or fifth time?): like a cruel joke, viewers witness the magic trick: the majority of the movie was a figment of Remy’s and our imagination, a post-ideological ideology – Remy’s brain was replaced with a neural net device invented by his employer. His resistance was a manifestation of the system he meant to defeat. The symbolic order possesses us and then repossesses us.

Althussar once said that “those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology: one of the effects of ideology is the practical denial of the ideological character of ideology by ideology,” he continued, “It is necessary to be outside ideology […] to be able to say: I am in ideology or: I was in ideology […] ideology has no outside, but at the same time that it is nothing but outside.” Radicals eventually reach a point of saturation at the hands of ideology. Despair sets in. Let us look to the fantasies of cinema to see how they manage their affairs! They put all of their cards on the table and so should we. They play magic tricks with our minds, renewing their tricks in still purer forms. Perhaps its time we play a few tricks of our own.

Strike the Iron While it is Hot: A Review of “The Anvil”


“I should have said why I thought the Anvil was a ‘good direction to go’. I think many of us are at the stage where it is easier to talk about the thing we are really talking about (the transformation of human relations) when we talk about something else […] it has become easier to infer or extrapolate from objects and experiences than to theorise […] as you say, theory really does feel very uncomfortable now” (over_the_water_to_charlie, anti-politics.net).


“I should have said why I thought the Anvil was a ‘good direction to go’. I think many of us are at the stage where it is easier to talk about the thing we are really talking about (the transformation of human relations) when we talk about something else […] it has become easier to infer or extrapolate from objects and experiences than to theorise […] as you say, theory really does feel very uncomfortable now” (over_the_water_to_charlie, anti-politics.net).



The anvil confronts us from the extimacy of possibility and provides us with four surfaces with which to produce the tools of our trade: (1) the face, (2) the horn, (3) the step and (4) the hardy/pritchel holes. The production of four subjects which occurs on the inside, from the outside, in this shared space we call a home. The anvil as habitus, constituting the very essence of the radical subject today, suturing the symbolic system of radicalism. Four micro-tools from the master, each productive of a variant of subjectivity expressed through an epistemological schema. The answer which has only to be elaborated reveals the omnipresence of the system outlined here – the question relates only to the relationship I have to my own dogma rather than the dogma with which one relates; how could it be that I speak of anything but anarchist theory, when, anarchism has been my stumbling block for so many years? Look here, for you, but for others, they will find possibilities in other metaphors and dogmas. The answer is to begin where one stands; one must first be ready to give birth to a dancing star before one can actually dance like a star.

This is the meaning of engagement. Foolish to entertain the thought of championing subjects of “the” or “a” movement (the former rely on strategic revolutionary ends without means and the latter rely on tactical reformational means without ends – but where are those without means and without ends?)—this is the hegemonic pair passed to us from Gramsci—but this is the barrier that anti-political anarchists are up against. That one does not feel obliged to join the hegemonic movements of the past which are graft onto the present does not imply a lack of engagement. But neither does it imply detachment from the world of direct action. The basic requirement of engagement today is direct action, and this is action which occurs first in thought and then proceeds by extension to the production of difference in the existing structure: through meditative direct action I transgress the boundaries of structure, I emerge out of structure. Transgression requires that I be engaged to my own dogma according to the relationship I put myself into with it, direct action at the level of being, it requires, first, a consciousness of becoming, and then, of course, I can dance like a star. It is therefore the strategists (revolutionaries) and tacticians (micro-politicians), both of whom will be forgotten in the years to come, that suffer from a lack of engagement, they have failed to perform the most foundational of radical actions upon which all subsequent radical gestures naturally rely.

Is not freedom from structure the most foolish of propositions? There is only freedom in structure as that which transcends, transgresses, naturally, by necessity, through the excess of base matter. The battle against the State is nothing more than the particular battle against structure; are we that shortsighted? Today’s radical subject must pass through her rejection of the world of structure as it currently exists through and beyond the crucial phase of tension where she experiences hopelessness, rejection, and disillusionment. She must define herself by her ability to handle this hopelessness. This is the sadness we experience when we read the work of Max Stirner (what was not supposed to be his concern?) and Guy Debord (everything has become representation?), and is this not the reason for despair in the work of Frankfurt School Marxists – a longing to retain the subject as the locus of revolutionary consciousness in the face of a libidinal late capitalist economy? Engagement, whose meaning can only be contemplated, much less understood, implies a third stage of sacrifice to any number of structural metaphors. The tensions of our times are defined by a relationship to the tensions of all times (our tension is the human condition) but through engagement we concern ourselves finally with our own condition and give word to it through the structure of the enemy: is not language as worthy a sacrifice as any?

One can imagine an anvil at war with itself; the phallic horn is at first seduced by the hardy and pritchel cunts but is immediately blunted by the smooth surface of the face, while the step cuts the face of some shine in order to rebuild the horn once again. Upon which surface does the empty subject construct her own subjective structure? The cunt, separated twice from the cock, is ever mediated by the smooth sexual linguistic relationship – Marxists concern themselves with matters of the face, anarchists with matters of the horn. The economy of language has always been just a step away from the domain of the master (if one wanted to produce another anvil using only this anvil as a toolkit, one would begin by setting the unformed product upon the face, cutting it with the step, and bending it into shape with the horn). The question then becomes, if I am at war with myself, who is in me more than I am – who is breaking at the foundation of my own subjective structure? The answer at first appears paradoxical, for it is the hardy and pritchel cunts that are the foundation of the structure, remaining there, on the smooth face, as a token – the holes in fact surround the entire structure. Deleuze was correct, in fact, we should never trust a smooth space. Neither should we trust the facticity of the sexual relationship: the cunt and cock are always separated by the smooth surface. What have we to trust but the pritchel and hardy holes?

As anarchists we speak as if out of four mouths—layered, like a matryoshka doll set—the subject of the holes speaks through the smooth face of language which only the step can bring back to the master. It is this layering, this paradoxicality, that provides for engagement today. It most certainly is not distance from one’s dogma but rather a reconfiguration of the relationship one already has to one’s dogma. I prefer the Anvil because I enjoy the relationships I have with the people involved, it is not the movement of a mark but the mark of a movement and my anvil is too heavy, so much a burden, that it chains me to this place. And where might your anvil be? I dare not say, the anarchy within me is more than the anarchist subjectivity forced upon me and the only authority I know is my own!

She who works herself out purely on the surface of the face thinks like a tactician. She rides the smooth flows of the capitalist libidinal economy and believes that the insurrectionary perspective implies an interrogation of every structure – but she limits herself to every other structure, rather than structure itself. In other words, whatever action, platform, or problem that arises “hot-topic” deserves a response, each in its turn. Such subjects are hysterical, they proclaim as their object the holes but they, in fact, desire the horn. Through their refusal to process themselves on the holes they have selected as their object the horn. This subject “gets off” on the sexual relationship, on matters of economy, exchange, and language itself (have you read Politics is not a Banana?). The subject of the face wishes not to remove the horn but to push the horn where it is lacking, through the cut in the step, and to keep climbing back and forth – endlessly, she may say, I am a radical … endlessly. She will soon enough wither away, climbing herself to death up and down the step while the horn sits on its side without eyes to see or care.

“The Anvil is a place to temper tools for digging and cutting our way out,” it is a place, like any other, from which to mount an attack. It is not enough to rest our subjectivity upon the holes, we must occupy this place within our habitus, we must walk through the holes onto the smooth plane and speak through the hysterical language of our enemies: the revolutionaries and tacticians. Our desire is to produce subjects capable of occupying the holes and speaking through the smoothness of language. Our contest is against friendship, and our friendships are built on contestation. We have no longer to be-come, or to speak of beginnings, because we already came and we know how much more painful that has been. Without means and without ends, we return to animality as best we can. Silently.

The Anvil is not a good direction to go, it is the direction we are already facing. My Anvil is structurally proportionate to yours, and by judging my own I hence judge yours. What the Anvil provides is a shared habitus: unfortunately, it is where folks go to forge reviews in the service of an author, an image, a television show, a movie or piece of music; or is it in the service of a dogma thought through the promotion of various cultural forms? But is it not also, and primarily, a place where people go to forge new structures of the self — striking the iron while it is hot?

Getting Lost in Anarchism: Post-Anarchism Anarchy on Screen for Idiots

I respond to accusations of postanarchism’s elitism and offer an alternative conceptualization. Here I connect postanarchism to a broader cultural movement and demonstrate how this movement plays out in the hit American television show Lost.


I respond to accusations of postanarchism’s elitism and offer an alternative conceptualization. Here I connect postanarchism to a broader cultural movement and demonstrate how this movement plays out in the hit American television show Lost.