As the official keepers and interpreters of The Prison Notebooks of Phoenix Quinn, the staff here at "Radio Free Dixie" would like to offer up our thanks and best wishes to the famous literary character ad-vitam-eRepublika, the ol' player piano himself, Comrade Paul Proteus, for his astounding recent public announcement.
The well-liked veteran player recently made the terribly exciting announcement in his excellent newspaper, "Goodbye Blue Monday", in the article But What About the Mensheviks?.
By the way, the RFD cultural editors, in consultation with certain proletarian trapeze artists and revolutionary tongue twisters associated with the Socialist Freedom Party's secret "inner ring", have agreed to award to brother Paul ten (10.0) Socialist Equity Points, redeemable at any performance of the Peoples Theater Offensive for that remarkable title! Its sly allusion to Chicken-Lenin's sadly unironic mis-use of a famous Bolshevik phrase is the kind of stuff we like to see.
He chattered on, like he does, you know, with a bunch of rather silly nonsense concerning something or another ... real Congresses, fake Congresses, stuff about forum management, whatever, game mechanics, blah-blah-blah, his love for horses of course, that always comes up, et cetera ... all aimed at refuting some other silly nonsense that'd been hucked up by Chicken-Lenin.
As for all that, he could've simply quipped a line from the great man and said, “CG would make a good lamp post if he'd weather better and didn't have to eat.” That would've been funnier.
Anyway, readers throughout the Seven Kingdoms of e-Stuff then roared with excitement like coke-addled fans at an Andy Kaufman-emceeded women's mud-wrestling event when Citizen Proteus broke the wall of boredom with an utterly audacious -- and perhaps even rash -- assertion...
"In the next edition of Goodbye Blue Monday, in order to go after Phoenix Quinn I quit my job and dedicate 100% of my time to reading post-Marxist theory so I get 10% his references."
The Great Anarcho-Socialist Bear who guards the gates to Bear Mountain paused when he heard this great news.
As the great man also once said, "Pick out something impossible and do it, or be a bum the rest of your life.”
Paul Proteus, you have made your pick. And we're tickled pink about it! Congrats on this life-changing decision!
Hmmm. You know. Come to think of it. The great man also said, “Well, it just don’t seem like nobody feels he’s worth a crap to nobody no more, and it’s a hell of a screwy thing, people gettin’ buggered by things they made theirselves.” So yeah, think about that too, Paul, 'cause, well, you know, PQ was pretty damn gay. You never know where this might go. LOL. Guffaw. Snicker. Yeah. Just kidding. No. But really.
Of course we all remember when the great man ALSO said, “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Yeah. Dang. Taking on PQ... Awesome. That is edgy. Kudos, man.
If anybody who's not in the SFP can get to Ten Percent with PQ-Thought, it's probably you dog.
A Warholesque take on the iconic "SFP Bicycle Brigade" meme evokes an unfetterable sense of beauty, longing and social solidarity.
As most of you probably know, PQ is thought to have studied the great revolutionary thinkers relentlessly, day and night, for years on end. So no doubt PP is speed-reading to catch up.
(Though evidence is emerging, somewhat shockingly to some, that RL PQ was just an average guy with a regular 9-5 job who happened to read a lot of weird stuff, mostly in French, and that he enjoyed reading Buckminster Fuller and Chogyam Trungpa as much as Raymond Lotta. Mais non! C'est impossible! Oui! C'est vrai!)
It's been a week or so now since Mr. Proteus has no longer had to pimp his RL labor to a capitalist exploiter. (We're so proud of him! All of you should quit your jobs and study PQ-Thought!!!)
We know he's a bright one who reads actual books. Probably plays a musical instrument too (but not the cello?, maybe something more boogie-woogie we're guessing).
Given his bold statement, there can be no doubt that, along with having re-read everything Phoenix Quinn/Silas Soule ever published in eRepublik, along with the voluminous commentaries on PQ-Thought thougtfully provided by this journal, he's probably also read through most of the Marxist basics by now too. You know, the Tao Te Ching, the Gospels and Paul's Letters, Adam Smith, Bakunin, Proudhon, Rousseau, Marx, Engels, Bogdanov, Lenin, Trosky, Mao and Mariátegui De La Chira.
(LOL. It's a joke! The T doesn't go to P-Town.)
So. By now he's likely motoring through the Frankfurt School in the original German.
And maybe a few other Euro-Marxists too. Gramsci, obviously, because Italian is fun.
But hopefully he'll pay attention to the Irish too. Connolly, of course, is a must. Taste great. Lots of flavor. Gets you hammered.
We hope he'll remember to take a refreshing dip into the early North American socialists and anarchists too, and get well-grounded in the traditions of the centuries-long armed Black Resistance movements in the Americas while he's at it.
Before too long he'll be knee-deep into the turbulent waters of the modern revolutionary anti-imperialists, the anti-revisionists, the situationists and left-post-modernists, the autonomists, the libertarian-communists, the new-communists, the social-ecologists, the post-socialist neo-post-retro-hegelians. And.
And, of course, the modern west's foremost modern Marxist thinker, Kim Stanley Robinson.
Bogdanov's heir, the RL chief of the ministry for the future, KSR
Since the inestimable Mr. P's probably just now passing through the Gates of Adorno...
To help get his PQ-critique sharpened, we're presenting for a limited time only, but completely free of charge, a curated collection of just a few notes assembled from examining many marginal pages, stickies, cut-and-paste montages, partial librettos, smudgy charcoal drawings with penciled-in annotations, and hand-scrawled memos from the Prison Notebooks that seem to relate PQ's work to the dour musicological musings on the problems with positivism that characterized so much of comrade Adorno's immortal contributions.
It is our sincere hope that this will be of some small utility to Paul as he starts his critique. Not, you know, not like "utilitarian" in some vulgar, uber-positivist way that worships "rationality for rationality's sake", of course, but in a liberating, operatic, unfathomably "hanging off the edge just a wee bit looking wa-a-a-a-a-ay down into the canyon" kind of way, like you feel when Yo-yo Ma hits that note just so.
Paul Proteus. On the Edge. Pondering the vastness of PQ's e-Thoughts.
The following note was found on the reverse side of a completely smudged charcoal drawing.
"Imagine a drawing of what seems to be Kierkegaard and Kant having a conversation, sketched in a pop art style, looking something like one of those situationist cartoons. Kierkegaard is saying, 'What labels me, negates me.' Kant is replying, 'Tenderness between people is nothing other than an awareness of the possibility of relations without purpose, a solace still glimpsed by those embroiled in purposes; a legacy of old privileges promising a privilege-free condition.' Of course this is not a quote from Kant at all, though it does capture some sense of the categorical imperative without all the later existential rubbish.
Use this in article explaining why the 'Friend Request' button is the only beautiful thing in eRepublik."
Man playing cello for a cat.
The following somewhat scattered but evidently associated notes were found on a series of yellow stickies stuck on pages of the 7th notebook, attached only to pages with prime page numbers.
1 "Beauty is not a passing thought or feeling. The response arises from deep within our minds. From somewhere very old and mysterious. From the ancestral past."
2 "Conceptualism. Modernism. Performance. The art of ideas. All of this kind of thing replaced beauty as the primary concern of artists in the second half of the 20th century."
3 "Both prior to the modern turn, and especially afterwards, political art (and now 'memes') have reinforced the assault on beauty, which has been relegated to being kitsch, peripheral and totalized to a large extent as an industrial fetish-commodity."
5 "Edgar Allen Poe wrote about the interconnectedness of strangeness and beauty in Ligeia, Short Stories ( 1838 ). A visionary and extraordinary writer in many ways, Poe was on to something whose moment is now re-emerging."
7 "Beauty must be occupied and preserved from capitalism, from consumerism, from the fashion industry. We cannot abandon beauty to the glamour business. Everything which is beautiful has to come from the inside, from myself, from myself in confrontation with the world. I want to work with what belongs to me and I want to stay free."
11 "The enlightenment cult of rationality does not merely dissolve all the qualities that beauty adheres to, but posits the quality of beauty in the first place. This explaining of beauty is just as problematic as the Freudian attempts to explain pleasure in rational terms. It attempts to understand beauty as a category which can be 'scientifically' defined and systematically pursued."
13 "Pleasure is intangible despite epistemic norms that wield immense social power independent of any objective truth value. The 'beauty' and 'pleasure' of modernist rationalism has brought world war, ecocide, endemic poverty and outrageous inequality. eRepublik is an imitation of the worst of modernity. To 'play' it on its own terms is an act of ethical suicide and philosophical self-castration."
One of the ravens who guard the SFP Enclosures in South Dakota. And some guy from Baltimore.
The following note was written on memo paper, with the subject, "Use This in an Article". As far as we can tell, it was never used. It is almost entirely a pastiche on Adorno, or on summaries about Adorno.
"As atomized players we are always expected to be accountable for our actions. We are encouraged to maximize efficiency and productivity by cutting out any and all activity which cannot be justified in cold economic (or military) terms.
Genuine e-pleasure exists only in the shriveled e-spaces where unproductive, non-rational behavior is still possible. Total purposelessness gives the lie to the totality of purposefulness in the world of domination games.
Interrupting the mechanical processes of everyday e-life reveals the extent to which player behavior is subjected to control, deprivation and domination. By being unproductive, we recognize how productive we are expected to be.
Just as in real life, where walking has become a run to catch the bus, to avoid being late for work, or a luxury. Meandering, wandering, strolling about at a contemplative pace, as we did for millenia, is programmed as oddball behavior by the terror-ble command, which condemns such as lazy and inefficient.
Art means recapturing your childhood sense of wonder. Once the world is 'understood' systematically, you lose your magic. The circus is enjoyable to children because they don't realize the performers and animals are being exploited. Capitalist exchange relations make child-like wonder impossible.
Games when played by young children do not accomplish tasks instrumentally and efficiently, but rather return circuitously to begin again in non-progressive cycles. These traits lay bare the fact that the real game (in the mostly deadly ironic sense) is the accepted reality of adults. The capitalist insistence on constant production, progression, accumulation, and growth is ultimately unreal and unjustifiable. The kind of hysterical pleasure, completely foreign to adults, that children derive from games is precisely a reflection of their purposelessness. Unplanned activity, free of restriction, without the demand for justification is a privilege which society affords only to very young children.
Is there potential for creative leisure that is unstructured and unregulated? Can there be, in the late, decaying Anthropocene, purposeless activity that amounts to neither work nor consumption? An activity, which leaves the participants no richer for their sacrificed time and fails to produce anything quantifiable, is purposeless and undesirable from the standpoint of capitalist reality? But has the same qualities of beauty and joy observed when a child blissfully watches an animal.
Moments of pleasure are moments of freedom from systematic repression."
Two birds on a beach (Marta Olowska).
Though we anticipate Mr. Proteus' first critique with a calm sense of wonder and excitement, we welcome all of our dear readers to quit their dull, boring everyday routines and instead engage fully with PQ-Thought at their earliest opportunity!