screen machine issue three

I just had a short article published here: http://www.screenmachine.tv/issues/issue-3/ It’s a small independent film journal, and I’m writing about Southland Tales.

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the problem of ‘the poor’

How do I talk about the poor? In all seriousness, they are a politically important group, in the sense that they have historically always existed in one form or another, and they are what most political programs attempt to separate society from. The reduction of ‘the poor’ is a problem that some choose to solve through welfare, and others through economic etoliation. The goal seems to be a perpetual attempt to escape the historical problems of ‘having’ and ‘not having’, which seem to be inescapable. I think the poor needs to be defined as something other than the working class, other than the indebted, other than the slave, other than the precariat (someone whose ability to shift into temporary or marginal labour affords them periodic income; which, despite its recent popularity, is not nearly as abjectly excluded as the poor) and something other than those who are politically excluded along other lines – such as queer sexualities or alienated ethnic groups. I never come into contact with the poor, except in those brief moments where they ask for spare change. I give, sometimes, but this is not a solution. At this stage, for me, the problem is how to discuss a group that is outside the political frame that I work in – that is, outside possessing enough property or money to access networked communications.

a busy time of year

It’s been a busy year this year, I’ve been incredibly prolific in terms of doing what I essentially see as self-development work. Beginning to see the light as to what a future as an academic might hold for me. It is both a frightening amount of work, and also incredibly exciting. The opportunity to become someone who might be able to both engender new ideas in people, as well as to develop new ideas of my own in the context of learning and research is excellent. I love it. I want to do it for the foreseeable future. The chance to collaborate with people whose intelligence I respect and admire is something I’m enjoying doing now, and hope to do for the rest of my life.

Which brings me to the fact that I’m recognizing an increasing need to upskill myself as an educator, and potential academic. There is a lot to do if I expect to be able to continue to discuss the artforms of cinema, games, and literature, as well as to be able to educate myself to a doctoral level in the concerns of media and communication, Marxism, the autonomists, and political philosophy in general. As someone who is intimidated by the skills, knowledge, and intelligence of those encountered in reading groups, workshops and seminars, I recognize that the near-pastoral educational environment of my old institution is a combination of both idyllic low-stakes country bliss, with very little in terms of opportunities both within the institution itself, as well as its ability to provide opportunities elsewhere. In other words, I’ve been doing a lot, and have a lot left to do.