Volume 5, Number 2 (July, 2008)
Author: Jeff Roberts and Alex McVey
“I want to be a machine”1
Not unique in the realm of those machines,
I dream and become, through affectation –
the anagram of this great nation,
acting-out towards those places, races, and faces I know nothing about.
Yet I will to spout pontifications
about these objects
in relation to each and other,
without father or mother – cloned sisters and brothers.
Connected at the hip with a vice-d grip on land mass,
and the masses that pass through the crystal automata
chaining politics to the slick which flows in connection
to the reflection I disperse as the diamond…
Signaling the hearse
with mere annunciation of fatality in strategy,
directing this an-other machine
without intelligence from elsewhere…
To spare towards the corpse of a system
whose only function could be (re)production
of the production it automatically produces –
itself without apparent desire or will to tire
…day in and day out …
As it complicit-ly commits itself to the suicide
of its own drive,
seduced into taking a ride,
apparently subjective and subjectively apparent…
Without ability to hide behind that which
since its own a-sexual inception
symbolically lied and denied pride
from bubbling up and erupting into the realm of the Real.
Breaking symbolic law,
and revealing the position of this position
which became caught up
in intuition, screaming, yelling and selling essence for infinite presence.
As in the death in Samarkand
the crystal always gets its revenge –
you thought you had the best of me…
well played sir.
In the attempt to sidestep destiny
it caused that ray of light
to put lil’ half dead
in the sight of the hearse driver…
one day away from his scheduled pick up date
for the remains of the man whose body was to perspire and life retire.
Yet, at this very moment another ray shot out,
or possibly the same refracted,
blinded and distracted
he stumbled into the middle of the street…
Unable to retreat
from death a day early under the wheels
of that same carriage he was to float above
the next day on his way to his eternal resting place.
I shall say it again: “I want to be a machine”.
I “have found the formula of maximum snobbery here”2
My only will is to decline my will
and the initial shall never be heard
for it is never spoken.
Nothing which is spoken is ever what is truly said3
we attempt to speak “of” a resolution
in the creation of a plan
or position symbolically representing a pose struck by that resolution…
Enframed in its finality,
a production of the resolution
which is more real than real,
more good than good, more true than truth itself.
Today we have lost our shadows
“we live in a culture which strives
to return to each of us
full responsibility for his own life”.4
These symbolic portraits of a resolution
arise from the position of the subject
who authentically speaks a bidding of the good
believed to be bound up in the resolution itself.
The most thought provoking thing,
in our thought provoking society,
is that we are still not thinking,5
and thinking evil we are most certainly not, as we dare not even speak it.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled
was convincing the world he didn’t exist”6
And so be it,
we no longer think
evil… nor do we speak it.
“Smart went crazy,
Truth went trendy,”7
and debate… went Banal.
We can only speak
from the position
of the authentic subject
striving to escape this bitter world with representations of a better one.
We participate in a form of bad consciousness,
one which denies thinking evil,
in denying that we are all complicit…
With everything that happens to us, be it misfortune or death.
We seek to produce meaning everywhere,
using a given resolution as a springboard
to derive meaning of all worldly events,
to chain us to the singularity, of our own subjectivity…
To halt us,
to even ourselves.
Where did evil go?
A minstrel said:
Where the cold winds blow,
in the pines.8
Cast off in exile or annihilation
self immolation or personal deprivation,
deposited in the bottom of a prophylactic
on a ship setting sail upon the sewers of modernity.
and tossed out by liberationists
who can’t face the defacement
of their given space within the sacred community soon to be erased.
Rules without impunity
by those weak souls
their own lack of immunity.
Silence has set in
but evil refuses to go
gentile into that good night
in a society where it is no longer possible to speak it.
Evil has metamorphosed
into all the viral
that obsess us.
the accursed share
without the consequence of catastrophe.
The management of blasphemy
with hyperbolic positivity
can only hope the ink dries
on the death warrant it signed before the reaper calls “time”.
“I want to be a machine”
I want to be
I want to be
This is my affirmation,
of the resolution as it is
the evil form of the resolution…
an affirmation that comes about only through a fatal strategy of thinking evil.
An affirmation from
a position of affectation,
“that affective state
in which one becomes aware of the artificiality of one’s own condition…
In this state
we create a kind of artificial double…
an artificial shadow into which we enter –
an artificial automaton produced from our own essence…
to externalize ourselves,
thanks to signs, as other”9 – as the resolution itself.
of the resolution
and therefore it participates in the very form and Intelligence of Evil.
Acknowledging that we are great enough
for our own Evil genius,
that there is nothing that happens to me that I am not an agent of, nor anything that I am fully responsible for.
and completely seduced
by the resolution at hand
there is no demand for it to strike a specific pose…
all it knows of the world
and the world to be
no thinglyness revealed in prose or plain clothes…
As the thing itself
holds the essence
of our subjectivity concealed
externalized behind this sign…
Of the resolutional thing
lies the acute awareness
of my position in submission
to the world at large.
I consume it all,
embracing my individual and systematic downfall
or the psychoanalytic plight to locate kernels of identity hidden from sight.
and without power,
all forms of external alienation
become devoured as I complicit-ly divert my agency towards dis-alienation.
to be free …
from both my life and death
in one breath.
By assigning himself, as a unique machine, to the realm of machines and machine-made objects, by employing just a touch more simulation and artificiality, Warhol out-maneuvers the very machinations of this system. Whereas an ordinary machine produces objects, Warhol produces the object’s secret aim – which is to be reproduced. He reproduces the object complete with its ultra-purpose, cloaked in the secret non-sense that emanates from the very process of object-generation. Where others seek to add a little soul, Warhol adds a little more machinery. Where others seek a little more meaning, he seeks a little more artifice. Less and less himself, more and more affected, he reaches the machine’s magical core by reproducing the world in all its trite exactness. Less and less the subject of desire – closer and closer to the nothingness of the object.”10
Andy Warhol said
“I want to be a machine”
when painting Brillo.
I also want to be a machine… to be that resolution before me…
About the Author
Jeff Roberts is Assistant Instructor of Argumentation and Academic Debate at Baylor University where he recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. He is currently focused on the integration of Jean Baudrillard’s writing into academic policy debate and the rhetoric of artifice.
Alex McVey is an undergraduate student in Communication Studies at Baylor and a member the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum.
1 – Andy Warhol. Quoted by Jean Baudrillard in The Transparency of Evil. New York: Verso, 1993:171.
2 – Jean Baudrillard. The Transparency of Evil. New York: Verso, 1993:171.
3 – See Martin Heidegger. Poetry, Language, Thought. New York: Harper Colophon, 1975.
4 – Jean Baudrillard. The Transparency of Evil. New York: Verso, 1993:165.
5 – Martin Heidegger. What is Called Thinking? New York: Harper and Row, 1968.
6 – See the film: The Usual Suspects. MGM Studios, 1995.
7 – See artist Atmosphere. “Smart went Crazy,” Album: You can’t imagine how much fun we’re having. Rhymesayers, 2005: Track 9.
8 – See artist Nirvana. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” Album: Nirvana Unplugged. Geffen Records, 1994: Track 14.
9 – Jean Baudrillard. The Transparency of Evil. New York: Verso, 1993:170-171.
10 – In Ibid.:171.