"...a Cantonese genre called "moleitau," verbal nonsense comedy that relies on quality writing of rapid-fire dialogue, witty ripostes and punning, exemplifies the form even while expanding it to include ribald repartee, broad and low-brow humor, anachronistic gags and biting satire of every social convention and custom."
Doozers are small, communal creatures in the land of Fragglerock, and make a living building architectural masterpieces out of radish dust (and, presumably, a little doozer spit, sweat and blood). Although small in stature (6″ tall) doozers are big on work ethic: they build as long as there is space to build. However, since Fragglerock consists a series of underground, confined tunnels, space is very limited. Fraggles, on the other hand, love to eat the doozer buildings. But the thing is, Doozers dig the Fraggles - otherwise, they’d have no more space to build, cooperate, and otherwise sing songs of the working class.
The call centre experience distills the political phenomenology of late capitalism: the boredom and frustration punctuated by cheerily piped PR, the repeating of the same dreary details many times to different poorly trained and badly informed operatives, the building rage that must remain impotent because it can have no legitimate object, since – as is very quickly clear to the caller – there is no-one who knows, and no-one who could do anything even if they could. Anger can only be a matter of venting; it is aggression in a vacuum, directed at someone who is a fellow victim of the system but with whom there is no possibility of communality. Just as the anger has no proper object, it will have no effect. In this experience of a system that is unresponsive, impersonal, centreless, abstract and fragmentary, you are as close as you can be to confronting the artificial stupidity of Capital in itself.
Instead of being cowed by the relentless demands for viewer participation, both cultural producers and the much-derided ‘gatekeepers’ need to find new ways of asserting the primacy of production over consumption. They need to find ways of stepping outside seamless circuits in which ‘everyone’ is implicated but no-one gets what they want. In another catalogue essay for a couple thousand short films…, curator Steven Bode argues that Arcangel’s installation is ‘less an advert for networked participatory culture than an index of people’s increasing atomisation.’ If postmodern culture presents a kind of networked solipsism, perhaps what Gould can now teach us most is the value of disappearance from the screens that eagerly seek our image. Gould, who famously retired early from concert playing, showed that sometimes it is necessary to withdraw in order to find better ways to connect.
Markets go too far: ingenious people take bigger and bigger risks, with more and more clever strategies, some of them sound, some of them, it eventually emerges, spectacularly not. Just because this is the worst bust in decades doesn’t mean it will be the last. Somewhere out there, some bright spark is toying with an idea for a new kind of investment, a new trading strategy, which will in a few years’ time be the cause of the next crash. By then most of us will have all got poorer for a bit, then, if we’re lucky, we’ll all have got richer again. This is how capitalism works. It is the way we live now.
Once you get interested in the way capitalism works, you notice that the stories it throws up have two features: they’re always the same; and yet they’re full of amazing details that no one would dare invent.
The grinding of MMORPGs spring to mind here. The next time one of my friends blows off a fun evening of imbibing fermented vegetable bi-products because they “have to” go skin two thousand mutant vampire bunnies in the Forests of Terrifying Cliché in order to advance their lvl 32 hippy gnome mage’s leather working skill I’m just going to push them to the floor and give them a comprehensive shoeing right there and then.
Over-use of the precautionary principle is the mark of a society that doubts its ability to transcend its conditions, make progress, break through. It’s a kind of constitutional paralysis. Boldness, experiment, risk: all out the window. We need to push back, get the foot back on the accelerator. If we don’t, the economies where the only principle at work is the principle of ‘fuck you’ are going to be in charge and then it won’t matter which principle we apply. We’ll be remembered as the crowd of fussy eaters who used to live on that little island in the North Atlantic.