TOTW: a e s t h e t i c

Rarely do ideas speak for themselves - the aesthetics of the pathetic socialist paper being handed out at a rally (and the person doing the handing out) as well as the medium of the paper itself can do more to sell or repel the audience than what’s actually inside. We wrap our ideas in art, fonts, paper, podcasts and videos, and the choices we make about how we speak themselves speak to our own influences, who we are and who we’re trying to reach. Tough to say, but the time’s running out on your “timeless style,” which will soon look just as much an artifact as flatcaps and newsprint. Newspapers and magazines give way to YouTube videos and comments sections on Facebook, which in turn give way to Discord chats and 15 second clips of dance and robot voices set to music.

Do you keep up?

This is a topic about how we dress ourselves, as well as how we dress what we're saying for who we're addressing. Trends can be fun, finding new ways of expressing yourself and your ideas can expand your range of experience as well as the range of people you can communicate with. But relevance has its own costs - trends are often driven and quickly consumed by corporations, and often live on platforms hostile to communication by anarchists. Messages can get lost in the medium. Changing with the times can mean ending up even more irrelevant than before, especially if done badly ("how do you do fellow kids?"). And for trendy people, you can easily end up consumed as just another look or fad among many (as overheard in a bookstore recently, “I’m buying a book by Karl Marx, isn’t that so like me?”).

So how flexible is your aesthetic? Do you jump into the pool and play when new mediums like TikTok come around, or are you more prone to holding to what you've been doing and letting “those who know” come to you? How do you do your own thing without becoming dated or out of touch, or how do you embrace the new without getting lost in the static?

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It’s only book anarchists that wraps your idea in paper and fonts aesthetic.

We wrap our ideas in actions and attack.

Anarchist news is the hostile platform to anarchist communication. See all the deleting of communications.

Fuck aesthetic, just fight!

Nope there's a reason for aesthetics, its so someone can see beauty in deformity and ugliness in lies.

bold of you to assume your actions and attacks aren't informed, indeed an outgrowth, of aesthetics ]

Is not bold. Is knowing words and deeds. Bold is not hiding in theories and fashion trends. Bold is sticks and fire.

an aesthetic.

also... communication is not the lowest common denominator of comments. sorry not sorry.

No comrade you are confused. Learn what means αἰσθητικός. Anarchist action is not this. Only faking cares about aesthetic.

which nietzsche?

the co-opted-by-nazis blowhard one or the went-crazy-when-he-realized-what-a-jackass-he-was one?
early or late fred?

Interesting how the topic begins with how aesthetics are tied to relevance & medium.
I'm not concerned with relevance to an abstract or hypothetical mass of would-be converts, or readership, but these are still personal concerns.

"Do you keep up?"

By mere circumstance of being in time, in some ways more than others, only proactively in very few ways. I'm not trying to catch up, but curiosity does lead to some of that.

"So how flexible is your aesthetic?"

I play around with the aesthetics that seem fun to me at the moment, I don't commit to a singular aesthetic forever, though I'm drawn to similar elements, traits, genres, tropes, typologies throughout time. In speaking & forming narratives & thoughts, & in moral judgment, one paints everything with an aesthetic, whether unaware of it, or very deliberately. Mixing and conflating our senses and notions of good & bad with ugly & pretty. Is ripe fruit pretty & a rotten fruit ugly? Is a healthy person beautiful & a rotting corpse with maggots, flies & cockroaches horrible? Our brains developed instinctual aversion to "gross" things that might cause illness, in a similar way that fear conditions responses to threats, and not quite unrelated to how physical appearance relates to inciting lust.

I find some aesthetics infatuating, others repulsive, but the great majority is meh & easy to ignore & overlook, in the same way that all the skyscrapers in cities scream out their style to deaf ears of most people who don't give a fuck about architecture. It's just the interchangeable background to the petty dramas of their daily life. But people love making themselves pretty & getting pretty things, it's the economy, status & aesthetics are inextricable. You don't give a fuck about the font of a billboard unless graphic design is your passion, & increasingly more people are freelance or makeshift graphic designers because everyone uses the internet & makes websites & memes. Not to mention the bloated population with art or design degrees etc. Images, spectacle, your mom.

What's attractive to me, what appeals to my senses, overrides concerns of being relevant or not, or the opinions of others. I enjoy these things, but I'm also wary that it may be used against me. Among what's repulsive to me, there's a little bit of the phenomena described as juvenoia & "cringe" thrown in the mix.

"Do you jump into the pool & play when new mediums like TikTok come around, or are you more prone to holding to what you've been doing and letting “those who know” come to you?"

I'm not opposed to novelty in mediums. I don't like TikTok in particular. I don't want anyone to come to me, I want them to stay away and leave me alone. Selectively alternating (when you give a fuck) between assuming and presenting different aesthetics, including but not limited to pleasant, innocuous, the unremarkable, unappealing, and the outright repulsive, can help keep people at bay. Nothing new about scare tactics or shock factor, sometimes that's even used for attraction, a lot depends on context. I'm not engaged with seduction, nor marketing, nor some outward facing publicity stunt. Other people are, therefore hone their aesthetics to suit their goals.

"How do you do your own thing without becoming dated or out of touch, or how do you embrace the new without getting lost in the static?"

I'm always-already becoming-dated and out of touch. I'm lost in the static. I'm not being poetic, just answering the question by sticking to its terms. What I'm mean is that I'm getting older and I'm often out of the loop, increasingly so, and I don't care. I'm fine with dying and being forgotten. I don't mind not being able to relate, if there's reciprocity in how off-putting others find me and my choice or lack of aesthetics, it's fair. Although becoming senile or getting Alzheimer's is scary and very normal these days, hopefully I don't get that.

There's something tragically hilarious about Alzeimer's though, like turning a steering wheel in one direction and going in the other. The uncertainty, a return to infancy within an old shell, like a butterfly emerging from its dead cocoon, beautiful by my own aesthetics.

Just stay away from Benadryl as well as Costco frankenfoods and this might not happen to you.

Attraction not promotion. There's not a lot that's attractive in this world anymore. Capitalism and civilization is looking pretty ugly because of its impact on the environment and the suffering underclasses. People are driven to direct action by desperation and necessity. So I think there will always be a certain attraction to the circle a. Especially if it represents DIY and communal spirit and a collective struggle for survival.

Due to sensory/touch issues I find a lot of clothing too irritating to wear as-produced. Shoes in particular do not fit on my very wide feet without modification. Those who know me know my dress looks a bit unusual, it does because it has to for me not to be distracted by itching or pinching sensations. I pay zero attention to fashion.

I wear cheap comfortable clothes, fashion is a secondary consideration but I do think aesthetics matter. Some didn't like the aesthetics of eco-extremism with its indiscriminate attack and others didn't like the aesthetics of antifa and street brawls with the alt-right. So obviously there is an anarchist aesthetic in there somewhere. We don't always know what it is but we know what we don't like. It's kind of like the Drake meme with the cringe and based reactions, I know it when I see it.

I still walk around as if I teleported here from the 90s and every few years, it comes back in to subcultural chic anyway, except with new spins on gender! delightful. also, fashion trends bore me.

what's more interesting is whether fashionable, hegemonic nihilism can contain all the earnestness and anxiety of the younger folks? the dam is already majorly cracked and spraying rivers of give-a-fucks! if only they knew anything about fighting ...

lumpy spends so much time in anews comment section, that he calls nihilism hegemonic, since it’s what irritates him the most while being here as the cape crusader of “to be fair” defense of leftover leftism waiting to be reheated and served to some hungering masses.

people believe in many things, most have at least heard of anarchism in the USA because of the news, and equate it to ANTIFA and rowdy protesters. the last term gave it much publicity as a boogeyman and scapegoat. nihilism remains obscure, it’s less popular and renown than atheism. protestantism even if secularized is still more hegemonic than atheism which is not yet close to nihilism.

kitsch pastiche is always the hegemonic aesthetic

oh I didn't mean that nihilism, the cute little anti-political theory that nobody gives a shit about outside anarchy land haha

i meant the real shit that prevails like a sleepy dark god over all of society: the unconscious nihilism of late capitalism, the one with the gravitational pull of a planet, the result of a half century of relatively comfy material conditions for a select few, that steadily nears the end of its shelf life cuz climate collapse, etc

the mark fisher shit! that nihilism. anyway, happy to clear up any further confusions you have!

so true. if the socialist newspapers used burning cop cars and forest animals with bolt cutters i'd take one

you’re in luck, some of them now do.
i usually take whatever people are handing out so that they’re done with it sooner. i read it while mocking it, then make a paper airplane, see how it fares, then deposit it in the nearest trash bin. also, if it has a blank side it can serve for taking some quick notes. also for ripping a corner and getting rid of some gum, idunno, kindling, drying a wet table. hey, it’s free paper.

the bottom of my bird's cage is lined with free copies of black seed

A well crafted aesthetic is also an attack.

I don't at all keep up fashion-wise, though I do appreciate how a well dressed person can gain access to places not otherwise accessible.

A text, likewise, can get (in)to eyes that might not be ready with an appealing aesthetic.

Aesthetics are important and worth paying attention to, until they aren't. Sometimes looking past the presentation is best, especially when all there is is presentation.


Got as far as "We tend to think of technology as politically neutral..." and had to dip.

i feel more attacked when the aesthetic is not well crafted. like some ugly monument that's an eyesore and i have to see everyday
which reminds me of public art and the recent taking down of monuments and the burning of churches.

don't judge a book by its cover.

oh wait, the whole point of this thread is precisely the opposite.

No, the point is that people will judge your cover, and so what do you do with that.
Something something the male gaze and the normie gaze.

While plausible deniability is a pretty mindless logic, there's assuming the gaze of others in society, there's also what your mind makes of it... as a potentiality not a an actual reality. I won't start this whole chapter about cameltoe leggings in public, but here's a contentious topic when it comes to PD.

There's also the patterns of consciously using aesthetics as social/group identity, which is basically conformity; or of less consciously reappropriating these identitarian aesthetics and emptying them of their social/political significance.

I constantly size up for potential threat (or lack there of) and objectify literally everyone at all times! it's this automatic and vile thing that my reptile brain always does and the only thing worse would be to pile some bullshit guilt and shame response on top!

The human mind is an ugly thing, more often than not.

this makes sense and says alot about lumpy brain. there is plenty of ugliness to be found in human minds, but they are dynamic and not static prisons.

Cute tiqqun ref….. the first thing that came to mind for me was the trends and sub subcultures within anarchism. I remember I would see people a few years apart and they had morphed from corny FNB activist summit hopping type kids into crusty , Native-fetishizing primitivists into flat brimmed social insurrectionists. Aesthetics seeming to come packaged with politics, lifestyle choices etc.
I’m not sure how it fits the theme except for pointing to aesthetics as a part of the social /cultural fabric(/fluid?) that we’re always in, through which we understand ourselves and each other.

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