spam of the week

The following looks so like some of the stuff that professional networking sites send around that my first reaction was to think this was completely normal junk. We all get a lot of junk. Bombarded with the stuff every day. And that’s before you even step out the door and into the outside world.

It is a sad sign of the times that this sort of thing counts as normal electronic mail, as a regular routine normal integral part of daily interaction with the world around us, our daily normal human and posthuman social interactions (or, as I like to think of it, “life”). Like ads on FaceBook, companies aching to be “liked,” and all the other consumerist commercialised commodifying junk around. A culture of junk. There has, on a more positive note, been a wave of interesting thinking and conferring about junk and junk culture over the last few years.

Quite aside from more political and ethical consideration of disposability and fashion, I’m thinking here of the larger-scale longer-term questions of culture, meaning, remembrance and memory, and forgetting and loss. Some of the best vehicles and venues for this thinking? Speculative fiction, science fiction, alternate history; medieval irrealist and epigonal romance; and satire, for which I strongly recommend reading things like early 13th-century Occitan satirical and burlesque poetry (tensos, partimens, etc.) and watching things like Black Mirror. Side by side or in alternation, to really get that dialogic effect, conversation and commentary across time and outside of time. Literary time is forever, the opposite of junk and resistant to junk. That is one way to distinguish between what is and isn’t “literature”–avoiding the pitfalls of canonicity and classicism, hopefully maintaining their positives–roughly defined as “word-art,” or, art made using words; not necessarily with words as the exclusive material, but as the main one that makes an artefact what it is, underpins and holds it together, gives it structural coherence and meaning.

My junk (so to speak), however, turned out to be mere spam.

Sent to an old / the original email address associated with the Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland, forwarded automatically from there to the Obrienaternal one:


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