I began this blog the summer after I graduated from college, the productive collision at least four separate forces:
- A desire to develop a practice of writing. Recognizing that writing is thought and thought is what I want to do, I decided that I should be a writer and that to be a writer one needed a blog.
- A particular historical moment. Like most other blogs, this project emerged out of ashes of the publishing industry brought about by an economic down turn and increasing digitization. Some morn this loss, however, the loss of publishing set thought free, launching innumerable blogs, journals and other projects of public-ation.
- A search for spaces of inquiry outside of institutions. That was the summer I embarked on reading groups, reading theory with others out of a desire to explore thoughts that furthered collective liberation, shed light on (all) our relations, or otherwise helped mark a path or orient us towards a common horizon. One of the first things read that summer was Agamben's What is an Apparatus? The name counterapparatus was chosen to highlight the theoretical path I hoped to set upon, to examine the interface between power and the subject, understand how we become ensnared and captured by the apparatuses power and then begin to understand how to dismantle, district or become illegible to these apparatuses. The blog seemed one sort of space to pursue this line of thoughts, an endless dialogue with myself and conversation for others.
- A desire for a profile, a marketable digital version of myself. I noticed endless friends emerging with sleek sites to market themselves to potential employers. I wanted in, I wanted to create a nice, individualized presence for myself, an unwaged project of creating the digital self. The bio, with a nice picture and edgy description of who I was, linked to all my other digital presences was prominently featured.
And yet, after all that, I hardly wrote. There are many reasons for this, but an important one was the anxiety of professionalization. I had linked my identity so clearly with this, created a private space for public display, a space for me to emerge as an author, a potential employee. But then I began to think about capitalism, individuation, competition and all the myriad strategies of power that the personal blog is connected to. I decided that all the reading I was doing about affiliate links, about micropayments, about monitizing the blog had turned me into a publisher, publishing the self, hoping to cash in on my work. I realized that I hated the digital self, wanted to efface and implode it as much as possible. So, for this reason, I donned the pseudonymous mask and declared the death of the personal blog.
Yet, soon after making this move, I encountered a problem: while notions of authorship, persona and the individual are all odious, I am historical, my writing shaped by my own position. This is not to say that the writing is the product of a creative genius or a singular subversive will, but rather is to say that it is marked by what has made me, that it includes my own determinants.
This problem posed itself through two different related issues: firstly, in writing, I found that I suddenly had, in deciding to be an antinomian committed to the annhilation of the self, created a new law: that of obliterating the self where ever it appeared. This meant that a whole genre of writing, such as the personal essay, was immediately rendered impossible. However much I despise the supposed impartiality or a-positonal super-position of the scientist, I had somehow derived the same anti-personal, anti-biographical rule which governs that mode of supposed empiricism or objectivity. I had effaced the subject but, in doing so, I had also effaced history. I want to write about myself, what has shaped me.
Secondly, there is the problem of my determinants. However much I strive to be disloyal to them, I am shaped by whiteness, by masculinity, by being a settler, by being cis, by being hetero, by being from a cosmopolitan elite that, however aligned with justice and critique, undeniably inhabited a certain class position. Recognizing that whiteness, and these other determinants, have always tried to present themselves as the universal, the unmarked, raised questions about how subversive their effacement could really be. If I did so, was I merely shielding myself from critique which would expose the way these technologies of powers reproduced themselves through my own writing? Did the assertion that representing the self was necessarily a technique of power inadvertently ignore the manner in which power has endlessly robbed others of their ability to represent themselves, to speak, to be authors? Was to refuse that which makes the subject and makes the subject accountable also to be unaccountable for patriarchy, heterosexism, colonialism, whiteness & so much more?
Clearly, however admirable, the anti-bio was not enough. This blog would have to assume a more ambivalent position: conscious of the historicity of its author, while, perhaps impossibly, working for the annihilation of that author and the concomitant determinants that seek to reproduce themselves through that author's own writing.
So, now you know a little more about who "I" am, and that I will, when appropriate, present such personal details as I deem relevant. I will, despite my hatred of the subject, use the first person, resisting the advice of countless teachers who, teaching to tests, stifled my writing by forcing me to conform to the sterile, impersonal voice of empiricism, and pursue the deadeningly boring, horrifically self-contained exposition of a singular thesis.
This is still not a bio.
And this is most definitely not, nor will it ever be, a personal blog.