On Friday, the folks at Repeater Books decided to hold a little competition. To be in with the chance of winning 1 of 3 copies of Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures of Mark Fisher ahead of its official January release, you just had to quote-tweet the tweet below with your favourite Fisher quote:
Attention – Fisher fans! 📢📢
To whet your appetites for POSTCAPITALIST DESIRE, we’re giving away 3 x copies ahead of official publication on 12th January 2021
Retweet this post along with your favourite Fisher quote before midnight on 6/12 and @xenogothic will pick the winners
Competitions like this are pretty common. All things considered, it’s a good way to promote something and make it more visible. It’s easy to be cynical about that sort of marketing strategy when Mark Fisher’s posthumous legacy is involved — and some people weren’t shy in expressing that — but what I really loved about this little weekend comp was that it served to illustrate, beyond the cliches and usual go-to’s, the consistency of Mark’s project and his often-searing sense of humour.
It’s with those two things in mind that the three winning quotations I chose for the competition are as follows:
“The reason focus groups and capitalist feedback systems fail is that people do not know what they want. This is not only because people’s desire is concealed from them… Rather, the most powerful forms of desire are precisely cravings for the strange, the unexpected, the weird”
@JimiCullen was one of the first to respond to the competition, I think, but his chosen quotation continued to resonant over the weekend. It is a line from Capitalist Realism, but one which complements Mark’s later work wonderfully, particularly The Weird and the Eerie and the sentiments expressed in the new Postcapitalist Desire lectures.
Similarly, @feldwerk’s chosen quotation, from the unfinished Acid Communism intro, published in the 2018 K-Punk anthology, further emboldens how the strange, unexpected and weird do not necessarily lie in front of us.
“The past has to be continually re-narrated, and the political point of reactionary narratives is to suppress the potentials which still await, ready to be re-awakened, in older moments.”
Our history is a vast archive of paths untaken and re-establishing the suppressed potentials of supposedly vanquished mo(ve)ments, particularly following “the end of history”, is a point that illustrates the complexity of Fisher’s hauntological thinking. The negative and obstructive ways in which the past haunts the present are one thing, but there are other, more positive and generative ways of operating here — be they accelerationist or salvagepunk.
Nevertheless, this is often obscured by the contemptuous relish of Mark’s critiques of postmodernity, and it is this that @gouldp7070 reminded me of in selecting this blistering one-liner from an old k-punk post, “Postmodernism as Pathology, Part II”.
Tony Blair and Robbie Williams seem to exist only for the gaze of each other.
PoMo is a nefarious enemy. It’s hard to evade its capture. In many ways, we might be better off accepting its enclosure and plotting ways to puncture it. In the 2000s, that was what k-punk was best known for: adeptly sketching the finer cracks in the firmament. “Williams and Blair are two sides of one Joker Hysterical face”, he argued: “two cracked actors, one given over to the performance of sincerity, the other dedicated to the performance of irony.” With the Joker today being an icon for those who are, at all times online, either ironically sincere or sincerely ironic, it demonstrates one more way in which Mark’s view of an alternative present was painfully prescient, and how even that pop-political construction has collapsed in on itself. But recognising that trajectory is the first step towards getting ahead of it.
I hope the winners enjoy their books and thank you for reminding me — and, I hope, others too — of what Mark still has left to offer us.
Huge congratulations to the winners of the POSTCAPITALIST DESIRE competition, as selected by its editor, and author of EGRESS Matt Colquhoun (@xenogothic)