“Writers must oppose systems. It’s important to write against power, corporations, the state, and the whole system of consumption and of debilitating entertainments. I think writers, by nature, must oppose things, oppose whatever power tries to impose on us. … You know, in America and in western Europe we live in very wealthy democracies, we can do virtually anything we want, I’m able to write whatever I want to write. But I can’t be part of this culture of simulation, in the sense of the culture’s absorbing of everything. In doing that it neutralises anything dangerous, anything that might threaten the consumer society. In Cosmopolis Kinski says, “What a culture does is absorb and neutralise its adversaries”. If you’re a writer who, one way or another, comes to be seen as dangerous, you’ll wake up one morning and discover your face on a coffee mug or a t-shirt and you’ll have been neutralised.” Don DeLillo (Panic #1, Nov. 2005, pp. 90-95.)
And is it not at the same time a cynical paradox and the hybris of writers, artists and maybe even lawyers, yes, now that I mentioned it, certainly lawyers as well, that in striving to be effective, successful, sharp, persuasive, unveiling, exposing, revealing, uncovering the workings of the machine we also strive for the kind of recognition that neutralizes our very effort. This is still the romantic idea of the individual rebel, the genius writer, the brilliant artist, a sly title afforded with societal approval by the very system that is being accosted, criticized and opposed just because this honor neutralizes, even castrates the very effort it lauds. Don DeLillo writes accordingly in Underworld that true proof of existence lies with the recorder not the recorded, the one who does not have a name but the authority to write the code which makes time tick. My words, his idea, by the way.
If you did indeed value the corrosive of your intellectual ability you would choose to remain unknown behind a work that was known for its efficiency. you would not buy the idea of the genius writer who ends up on a t-shirt or, for that matter, on Facebook where you can democratically and to no specific end be approved of by the click of a button, but you would anonymously and in a group of like-minded minds labor towards the specific end of a realization of your ideas.
this is, coming round from yesterday’s etude on the privacy of data, another appeal to keep private if you can and claim the right and authority to do so.