Features / Series: Against Orthodoxy

A regular series by Robert F.

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Subverting Authority

Regular Columns / Against Orthodoxy • December 22, 2018

With startling revelations our systems of authority are thought to be illegitimate, God dies, and the state cannot be justified. The burden of life is too great as our knowledge of suffering increases, to the point where our beliefs crumble and our gods buckle. Beings as a whole take precedent over Being. Democracy aims at the citizens’ first, rulers subject to them. Workers control means of production. How many different expressions of sublimated power can I come up with? I don’t know, but what is clear is there is a great skepticism in everyone who’s felt the strap, the wooden spoon, the sting of authority on our bottom. With particular irony we still feel guilty, and much of that guilt gains expression in our youth, in our art, and in our music—hardcore punk is no exception. What a serious problem: our love-hate push-pull for authority. What’s miraculous is Title Fight, in so few words, both describe the psychic malaise infecting like the Black Death, and chant the mantra to preserve, if not actually heal, the wound in their song “Secret Society” from Floral Green. “Promises” unkept, “locked [doors]” and “lost [keys]” signify mental weakness (for what do doors, locks, and keys mean but mental doors, mental locks, and mental keys). This and “[lying] through [one’s] teeth,” “[losing] all of [one’s] self-respect,” and “[leaving one’s] friends behind” are blamed on the one inordinate unmovable motivator, the greatest of all punishers, the house fire eating up the air and pushing us to … Read more

The Anxiety of Influence

Regular Columns / Against Orthodoxy • July 16, 2018

In February 1996 late novelist David Foster Wallace released a modern masterpiece, Infinite Jest, uncovering a wellspring of contemporary criticism and psychological diagnosis. Granted his prose is maddeningly bratty to … Read more

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