playing video games (i.e. Arbiter, Trixie, etc.)
by Alex Kierkegaard (a.k.a. icycalm)
In this book, 130 years of lies and ridiculousness come to an end — the aftereffect of a Western world abandoned by philosophy, of a culture in the midst of terminal political decay. How could that decay not spread into and contaminate every aspect of life, including, in due course, that of artistic production? How could the values exalted in newspapers and television channels — and even in the classrooms! — not eventually culminate in the production and glorification of despicable, revolting objects such as the one seen on the cover of this book? "None of Nietzsche's predictions that mob rule would result in the vulgarization of thought and life have come true", said Richard Rorty, with the complete cultural ignorance that has characterized Anglo-Saxon philosophasters from Bentham on down. — But those of us who leave our rooms now and then, and have at least some measure of contact with reality, see the disastrous results of Nietzsche's predictions all around us, and view even Richard Rorty himself as a prime example of precisely this vulgarization whose existence he so amusingly, indeed downright hilariously, insisted on denying.
To be sure there was Baudrillard, who had made a belated attempt to expose the "conspiracy", but who has understood him? And that is by no means to disparage anyone, since he had failed to understand himself! on the one hand praising the cinema as "really the place where I relax" (precisely, by the way, what videogames are to me), and on the other not deeming it sufficiently worthy to be included in the term "contemporary art". Paint splotches and shit-filled cans were art — even to Baudrillard! — but Hollywood's stunning spectacles (the only place on earth, by the way, that has so far taken the cinema with the seriousness it deserves—) were not! Such was the blanket dominance of pseudo-intellectual hipsterism and bullshit manufacturing in the twentieth century, that even its greatest thinker was powerless to resist it. As for the alleged conspiracy, if only there had really been one! That would at least have indicated some intelligence on the part of the conspirators, some measure of humanity — some common ground on which to meet, to communicate, to talk some sense into them. As things stand we are forced to acknowledge a complete and utter lack of a conspiracy, of any kind of premeditation, any thought process at all — an instinctively malignant behavior on the part of a breed of creatures that could hardly be called conscious. A monstrous vindictiveness against life, a mortal hatred of beauty, of intelligence, of competence, of power. A flat rejection of 100 millennia of art history, of all the values of the race, of all the ideals of our ancestors. — And in all seriousness, the question must be asked — for it is time we asked it — that if these creatures reject some of mankind's greatest achievements, the hopes and dreams that it is precisely art's purpose to represent and glorify — if they reject mankind's dreams — in what way exactly, can they be said to be human?
Dehumanization, therefore, starts right there; the stripping of a humanity we have so hastily bestowed on them; the dawning realization, at once terrible and hilarious, that the time is well past since bipedalism, lengthened ontogeny and decreased sexual dimorphism sufficed to distinguish men from chimps; that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it may not, for all that, be necessarily a duck; that there is something more than brute physicality, than mere flesh and bones, that is required here — in which, indeed, an orangutan far exceeds even the strongest of humans —; that what happens in the brain — the mental, that is to say, dimension — is just as important as the "physical" one (to employ, for the sake of convenience, a crude duality here — as if the brain were something immaterial, but that's another story...), and in some fields more — that is to say intelligence, and as a corollary of that ideas and consequently values.
It can't "be art" because it's good! This is the upshot of all their argumentation! It can't "be art" because it's rich, because it's engaging, because it's beautiful — it can't "be art" because it's manly! — Fagots may perhaps think that way, would be our reply today; but not everyone is a fagot. In fact a great many of us are not, and it's precisely we who have inherited 2,500 years of Western culture, and we'll be damned if we'll allow you to destroy it. Indeed it's time you learned — it's time we made this clear — that whoever attacks our culture attacks us, and thereby becomes an enemy of mankind, which should be, and soon enough will be, treated as such.
If verbal persuasion, then, has been correctly defined as mental violence, it is another kind of violence we need today, a more immediate, stronger kind of violence, to act where all the subtler attempts have failed. It's no use. Words have never gotten us anywhere: one might as well try to talk a vulture out of devouring corpses. There's only one solution to the problem — not only in the artistic sphere, but everywhere — and I am afraid it is the final one.