The Atlanta spree killings are unfortunately a story with structural similarity to events elsewhere. How do we know that Robert Long wasn’t on his way to Mar-a-Lago when the cops performed a PIT maneuver on him after he killed eight people. Darn hypotheticals of the culture wars.

Mar-a-Lago as spa resort hotel retains a family resemblance to the massage parlors near it, not simply because Jeffrey Epstein did some recruiting there. The scale and scope disappear with a law that should govern both because “equal under the law”.
We learned that with Robert Kraft getting away with the rub and tug because lawyers, (not) guns, and money and then there’s all those Asian spies getting access to Mar-a-Lago. Money nearly wasn’t as important as the shame that compelled the spree killer to buy a gun and wreak revenge on his so easily procured adult sin.

There are shared standpoints that do not sit in the false equivalence of symmetry. It depends on the contingencies related to your standpoint. There will be a host of counterfactuals, including that the spas didn’t feature SYG second amendment solutions.

Standpoint theory is a theory found in some academic disciplines used for analyzing inter-subjective discourses. This body of work proposes that authority is rooted in individuals’ knowledge (their perspectives), and the power that such authority exerts.

Standpoint theory’s most important concept is that an individual’s own perspectives are shaped by their social and political experiences. Standpoints are argued to be multifaceted rather than essentializing: for example, while Hispanic women may generally share some perspectives, particularly with regard to ethnicity or sex, they are not defined solely by these viewpoints; despite some common features there is no essentially Hispanic female identity.…

The standpoint theory concerns with the various levels of people’s perceptions. For instance people have similarity in their opinion depending on their demography and it concerns mostly of general issues. The most influential factor that regulates a perception is through experience. The tradition and culture also shape up a person’s perception to a certain degree. One of the basic factors for altering perceptions is the socio-economic status in the society. The geographical locations, the socio-economic position in the society, the kind of job a person is at, the basic gender differences all cater to the difference to the perspectives.

The core concepts of the standpoint theory are to understand the perspective of the marginalised society particularly the women. The standpoint varies from one person to the other but the collectiveness in perspective can be viewed in certain groups where they share common environments. The perspectives can be basically objective and subjective. The person from a higher position in the society usually sees the issues one-sidedly whereas the person from the average or the lower levels of the society takes the issue more practically. The reason for this is due to the dissimilarities in circumstances in which these two sets of people live in.…

Such standpoints require us to rethink law enforcement because “having a bad day” is cop-speak euphemism for criminal acts that do not bias prosecution.

A different version of Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, would be called The Grand Hotel Abyss. The film would open with two Marxist Jewish intellectuals, superficially resembling Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, as they flee across the border from a central European state that superficially resembles Germany, and has recently been taken over by a brutal fascist movement that bears some resemblance to (yet is not, exactly) the Nazi party. There they would take up residence in a massive, opulent art deco hotel, perched at the top of some fictional Alp. Disguising themselves as Slavic dukes taking a rest cure, Wally (Bill Murray) and Teddie (Jason Schwartzman in a bald wig) could have all sorts of quirky adventures as they attempt to evade capture by the fascist Kommandant Herr Schweinficker (Edward Norton). At every turn, our intrepid pair would be on the verge of finally, definitively giving Schweinficker the slip, when they are confronted by some aspect of society and culture that they (in particular Teddie) just can’t resist loudly taking a critical stance towards, in such a way that this casts irreversible suspicion on their assumed personas and causes people to alert the authorities. Eventually the film ends at the Spanish border, where Benjamin-Bill Murray, in a fit of desperation (after Edward Norton the Nazi has caught up to them following Adorno-Schwartzman’s getting into a fight with a peasant about the impossibility of opening doors well anymore), shoots himself in the head as he declares, “I refute it thus!”…

Georg Lukács in 1962 used the colorful image of a fictional “Grand Hotel Abyss” to express his disappointment in the theorists of the Frankfurt School. Here is a passage in which the idea is described in “Preface to the Theory of the Novel” (link):
A considerable part of the leading German intelligentsia, including Adorno, have taken up residence in the ‘Grand Hotel Abyss’ which I described in connection with my critique of Schopenhauer as ‘a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.’ (The fact that Ernst Bloch continued undeterred to cling to his synthesis of ‘left’ ethics and ‘right’ epistemology (e.g. cf. Frankfurt 1961) does honour to his strength of character but cannot modify the outdated nature of his theoretical position. To the extent that an authentic, fruitful and progressive opposition is really stirring in the Western world (including the Federal Republic), this opposition no longer has anything to do with the coupling of ‘left’ ethics with ‘right’ epistemology.)

The thinkers of the Frankfurt School — Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas, Benjamin, Wellmer, Marcuse — were for Lukács too much devoted to theorizing capitalism and barbarism and too little about changing it. They were like imagined world-weary residents in the Grand Hotel Abyss, observing the unfolding catastrophe but doing nothing to intervene to stop it. They were about theory, not praxis.
Stuart Jeffries uses this trope as the organizing theme of his group biography of these figures in Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, and, in a word, he finds that Lukács’s critique is unfounded.…

The Grand Budapest Hotel draws visually from Europe-set mid-century Hollywood films and the Library of Congress‘s photochrom print collection of alpine resorts. Principal photography took place in eastern Germany over a ten-week period from January to March 2013. French composer Alexandre Desplat composed the symphonic, Russian folk-inspired score, which expanded on his early work with Anderson. The film explores themes of fascism, nostalgia, friendship, and loyalty, and further analysis from critics has focused on the function of color as an important storytelling device.
“Every day I learned to love this country more, and I would not have asked to rebuild my life in any other place after the world of my own language sank and was lost to me and my spiritual homeland, Europe, destroyed itself.
But to start everything anew after a man’s 60th year requires special powers, and my own power has been expended after years of wandering homeless. I thus prefer to end my life at the right time, upright, as a man for whom cultural work has always been his purest happiness and personal freedom – the most precious of possessions on this earth.
I send greetings to all of my friends: May they live to see the dawn after this long night. I, who am most impatient, go before them.”

On February 23, 1942, Stefan Zweig and his second wife Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann committed suicide together in Petrópolis, Brazil.

The end-credits for Wes Anderson‘s 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel say that the film was inspired in part by Zweig’s novels. Anderson said that he had “stolen” from Zweig’s novels Beware of Pity and The Post-Office Girl in writing the film, and it features actors Tom Wilkinson as The Author, a character based loosely on Zweig, and Jude Law as his younger, idealised self seen in flashbacks. Anderson also said that the film’s protagonist, the concierge Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes, was based on Zweig. In the film’s opening sequence, a teenage girl visits a shrine for The Author, which includes a bust of him wearing Zweig-like spectacles and celebrated as his country’s “National Treasure”.[43]…

Do we end our lives because we await a perfect(ly) abstracted historical subject while history passes us by. This explains the purist positions we often encounter and also have, sacrificing the good for the perfect. Policing and crime prevention needs to be rethought at all levels if for no other reason than we see the same ones in different venues.

If there is a logic of scarcity at play here, it is the starved political imagination that fabricates false antinomies in the fashion of opportunity cost. We can demand to tax the rich and reduce our reliance on militarized police.

…it is the response from certain pockets of the Left – encapsulated in this segment of an unfortunate launch episode of a new Jacobin series – that has emerged as one of the most reactionary, entirely cowering to the same facile liberal denigrations launched by the Democratic establishment that many of us so deeply despise.

The rebuttal I offer here is based on the following broad themes identified in these responses. I argue that the absence of political imagination animates the stubborn reticence by certain segments of the Left to urgently seize on this evental moment in the history of movements.


 Although many might find the phrase “defunding the police” jarring, this sense of unease emerges when the choice put forth – as mainstream media, Conservative, and most Democrats have done – is “only police” or “no police.” But no one is actually making this argument.

While the phrase “defund the police” has been distorted, its main impetus has been to get us to rethink the role of police and the persistent investment in an institution that has neither worked to improve lives nor to prevent crime. No, the police won’t be defunded overnight but a gradual shift away from policing towards a meaningful redistributive politics would actually be in line with evidence-based policies that have, time and again, shown that investment in public services and infrastructure, not policing, paves the way for human flourishing.

To suggest that this isn’t a movement or that it isn’t an important policy framework is to re-center and re-commit the parochial interests of a “working-class” that doesn’t suffer (or certainly not to the same fatal degrees) the violence of police brutality outside of the workplace. This stance amounts to both an act of willful abandonment and calculated ignorance.

The bold and revolutionary demands to defund the police, as blunt as they be, are successful precisely because they invite us to interrogate the broader political economic context in which policing in general and police violence in particular are embedded. The friendliest of abolitionist slogans, like “Build Schools not Jails” favored by Vivek Chibber, was met with arrogant derision by VP-elect Kamala Harris. In other words, no amount of slick sloganeering will make radical demands palatable to ruling classes.


Marxists like Dorothy Smith and Himani Bannerji, among so many others who have adopted Marx’s method, have pointed to the value of standpoint theory as a necessary corollary for mapping capitalist social relations. That is, we will always necessarily have a partial understanding of social relations if we don’t interrogate and understand specific standpoints or points of departure that come to comprise the integral whole of society.…

“In The German Ideology, Marx critiqued idealism’s treatment of consciousness as an autonomous social force devoid of material grounding. Marx argued that this philosophical phantasm attributes all human relations, activity, and “their chains and limitations” to consciousness.”

“By giving primacy to consciousness as such, social transformation is erroneously interpreted as merely a task or “a demand to interpret reality in another way, i.e. to recognise it by means of another interpretation,”

“to maintain the chasm between the signifier and the signified, and to remain satisfied with a conviction in interpreting the signifier, or the representation of reality, and not reality itself. Its object of inquiry are “phrases”:

“They [the philosophers] forget, however, that to these phrases they themselves are only opposing other phrases, and that they are in no way combating the real existing world when they are merely combating the phrases of this world.”

Alas, the self-proclaimed “materialists” of today are, in the final instance, the Idealists of Marx’s time, awaiting a perfect(ly) abstracted historical subject while history passes them by.”

Out of the ivory and into the streets……

  • March 19, 2021
Available for Amazon Prime