A Going the and Postal: of psychoanalytic reading media social death drive

"If the punchy, claustrophobic anti-sociality of programs in the first lockdown recommended a particularly black perspective for the future, the Motion for Dark Lives road uprising of the late spring thought like its joyous opposite—another in which programs were answering and being organized by the events on the ground, as opposed to these events being structured by and shaped to the demands of the platforms. This was anything value our time and commitment, something that surpassed our compulsion to publish, something that—for a moment, at least—the Twittering Equipment could not swallow.

Perhaps not that it wasn't trying. As people in the streets toppled statues and fought authorities, people on the systems altered and refashioned the uprising from a block motion to a subject for the use and reflection of the Twittering Machine. The thing that was happening off-line must be accounted for, identified, judged, and processed. Didactic story-lectures and photos of well stored antiracist bookshelves seemed on Instagram. On Twitter, the usual pundits and pedants sprang up demanding details for each motto and justifications for each action. In these issue trolls and reply people, Seymour's chronophage was literalized. The cultural market does not only consume our time with countless stimulus and algorithmic scrolling; it eats our time by producing and promoting individuals who occur and then be told, visitors to whom the entire world has been made anew every day, people for whom every settled sociological, scientific, and political discussion of modernity must certanly be rehashed, rewritten, and re-accounted, this time making use of their participation.

These people, making use of their just-asking questions and vapid open words, are dullards and bores, pettifoggers and casuists, cowards and dissemblers, time-wasters of the worst sort. But Seymour's book suggests anything worse about people, their Facebook and Facebook interlocutors: That we need to waste our time. That, however significantly we might protest, we find satisfaction in endless, circular argument. That people get some kind of achievement from monotonous debates about "free speech" and "stop culture." That people find oblivion in discourse. In the machine-flow atemporality of social media, that may seem like no great crime. If time is an endless reference, why not invest several ages of it with a couple New York Times op-ed columnists, rebuilding all of European thought from first concepts? But political and economic and immunological crises pack on each other in series, over the background roar of ecological collapse. Time is not infinite. None of us are able to invest what is left of it dallying with the ridiculous and bland."


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