On this glorious 4/20 (Hitler/Stoner Day), two of my articles have been published around the web. While I normally don’t do this, since it’s hard to promote two different ones in the same day, I have aggregated them here as well. Check them out!
The Moral Conservative’s Case Against Torture (Right On)
It is not uncommon to see image macros online (particularly amongst mainstream conservative circles) that display a picture of a wounded solider with the caption, “This is why I don’t care how we interrogate terrorists.” If one buys the often touted conservative claim of “Western morality is the best system of values to follow,” however, then we as a society ought to eschew the practice of torturing suspected terrorists. As a society, we ought to refrain from torture as a method of information gathering, not because the methods used are ineffective, but rather because claims to the superiority of Western morality rest upon a meta-moral high ground that must be maintained.
In his book, Death, Todd May argues, among other things, that death is not an accomplishment. It is not “the fullest expression of life” nor does it “bring a life to what it most characteristically is”. May argues that death is, quite literally, the opposite of this.1)Todd May, Death. (New York: Routledge, 2014), 25-26. During the course of this post, I will attempt to show that May’s argument is not correct and that death is a structuring principle of existence that serves to affirm, as opposed to negate, meaning in life – in other words, death is the “fullest expression of life”. To achieve this, I will look at life and death as structuralistic binary opposites wherein the meaning of either one is conferred upon it by the existence of the other (its opposite).2)The full paper I wrote from which this post is excerpted contains a Jüngerian analysis that I am still working on fleshing out.
Are knowledge and introspection enough to sustain man? That is the question I ask. If a philosopher were placed on a deserted island with no means of communicating with the outside world, yet had no need to worry about corporeal issues, is thought alone enough to sustain him? Or, to be more specific, a philosopher is placed on a deserted island with all his corporeal needs met and given an infinite amount of time and access to the treatises of Hume and Locke and Kant and the likes. He has everything he could need with one limitation: he has no means of communication and no one to share his theories with save for himself. Is isolated philosophizing enough to sustain him or will he feel a compelling, but unfulfillable, urge to share his thoughts with another?
I do not purport to know the answer, but I feel like the question is an interesting one.
With the semi-recent release of the 24th James Bond film, Spectre, there have been renewed calls to kill off Bond. Some think that Spectre ought to be the last Bond film while others think his work his obsolete going so far as to say “[e]xcept for the occasional Seal Team Six operation, we send drones after those [enemies that didn’t learn how to code] kind of terrorists; not a lone-wolf alcoholic”.
Ignoring the critiques of racism/sexism that are leveled at Bond, I want to examine a few issues brought up in Cracked’s short video, “Why the World No Longer Needs James Bond”. Among the main points, apart from the quotation above, are that cyber war is the future and classic spy techniques such as those employed by Bond are obsolete in the face of hackers and drones, Bond fights old villains and ignores the geopolitics of today, and is a “bad role model”.
I argue in this short piece, however, that as the world changes, Bond changes as well ignoring the entertainment value of blowing things up, Spectre serves as a critique of the way in which national security is going. It should go without saying that this post may contain spoilers and thus I suggest you don’t read ahead until you’ve seen the film. Until then, here’s Cracked’s video:
As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted much over the Summer. This is due to the fact that I have been working on a research paper about the geneaology of urban planning and securitization, smooth and straited spatial constructions, and more as well as a case study (looking at my hometown) of urban planning being utilized to create quasi-gated communities. After all this time, I have finished the paper and revised it to the point that I am happy. Below this is the abstract and embeded below that is the paper in its entirety. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it and I would love to hear your comments. I give you Planning and Spatiality!
In this brief paper, I attempt to start filling the holes in critical geographic theory by providing a genealogy of urban planning and critical infrastructure discourse, tracing historical manifestations of theoretical modes of spatiality, applying the understanding of the modes of spatiality by problematizing the seemingly innocuous planning and layout of my hometown, and finally, providing options for resistance to domination.