Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Charmingly Mediated Alienation" (Notes on Twee #18)

"Precisely because it is lived as a private disposition which absorbs the world situation, the new cynicism is not as strikingly noticeable as would befit its concept. It surrounds itself with discretion, as we shall see, a key word of charmingly mediated alienation. The accomodation which knows about itself, having sacrificed its better knowledge to 'objective determinations,' no longer sees any need to expose itself offensively and spectacularly. There is a nakedness which no longer has an unmasking effect and in which no 'bare fact' appears on whose ground one could stand with spirited realism. The neo-cynical accomodation to the given has an aura of plaintiveness; it no longer is self-confidently naked. For this reason it is also methodologically difficult to render this diffuse, hazy cynicism articulate. It has withdrawn into a mournful detachment (Abgeklärtheit) which has internalized its knowledge, useless for attacks, like a curse. The great offensives of cynical impudence have become a rarity; ill humor has taken their place, and there is no energy left for sarcasm. Gehlen even thought that not even the English can be cutting any more because the supplies of dissatisfaction have been used up and the rationing of stocks has begun. The peevishness which follows the offensiveness doesn't open its mouth wide enough for enlightenment to take a step forward."

— Peter Sloterdijk, "Cynicism — The Twilight of False Consciousness," 194-195 (emphasis mine)