Thinking Cap Moment

Posted: October 4, 2006 in All and Sundry

talk about “thinking cap” moments in the “post-modern” age. ms. bette’s blog  entry today caught my attention and the attention of some of my colleagues at the university this afternoon.

entitled pop-perfect diplomacy, the entry is a witty take on the tenuous relationship between periphery-center, Self and Other, and the whole carnivalesque world of power positionings served in your most palatable pop song.  in the trendy world of pop, what matters is what sells, what people are willing to gobble and then spit out once the newest thing comes along.

the lines below made me laugh and nod in agreement several times:

 “If there’s anything that comes close to a complete waste of column space, it’s the scheduled tiff between Malaysia and Singapore.

The elites of these two nation-states need it to occur ever so often. The battle between Self and Other, whichever point you may want to stand on. Bangkok needs South Thailand to define itSelf, as much as Manila needs Mindanao…..

Everyone plays their part….to the beat of their designated rhythms. We clap our hands in concert. There is a beginning, a chorus, an interlude and a conclusion.

The perfect pop-song can be accomplished in four chords. ( me: true, true, true)

This is our pop-perfect moment. Until the next round.

i told my students who are currently taking a subject on popular culture and cultural studies theory to read this short entry and ponder at how theory can be applied in short pieces like this without sounding like a prententious pseudo-intellectual (like some people in this university) mouthing jargon like you had them for breakfast. 

 one of my colleagues (who’s a closet neo-marxist) laughed to see toni negri in ms. bette’s blogroll. toni negri is short for antonio negri, who happens to be my colleague’s favorite author right now. we spend so much time discussing negri’s multitude and empire that every time we’re over, i’d always feel like eating a pint of rocky road and watching chick flicks. he wants to meet ms. bette. i smiled.

of course, there’s something more to this piece than meets the eye. one is that it allows you to ponder on the requisite pop-perfect moments that you have to create as an individual in your own piece of earth, in your own locations and specificities because you will be constantly haunted by the need to maintain an illusory equilibrium.  

i told my students to kiss a stranger after.   someone replied: “i’d rather kiss Said and wake him up from the dead.”

  1. aisan says:

    i can only nod in agreement!

  2. :O
    Mati! (Die) You showed yr students the piece? Aiyo – typos, grammar argh!
    ps. Hope the Negri fan is cute 😛

  3. Oh, another thing – Negri’s best work is still Marx Beyond Marx: Working Notes on the Grundrisse. His later ones like Empire, Insurgencies – phooey.

  4. reefer says:

    for eli: my students liked your piece. hehe
    and yes, my coleague is cute. he’ll be reading a paper in KL this coming may. and he’s into islamic studies too. *grin*
    yeah.. i agree. that’s negri’s most riveting work so far. but empire was for me, very timely… i wonder what’s his relationship with hardt. hehe..

  5. Alas, the pop-perfect post comes once in a blue moon.
    Your colleague can drop in to say hi and debate Negri over wine 😛
    Negri n Hardt … Hmmm!

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