[N]othing is farther from Marxism than the stress on invention and technique as the primary cause of historical change. Indeed, it seems to me that such theories (of the kind which regard the steam engine as the cause of the Industrial Revolution, and which have recently have been rehearsed yet again, in streamlined modernistic form, in the works of Marshall McLuhan) function as a substitute for Marxist historiography in the way they offer a feeling of concreteness comparable to economic subject matter, at the same time that they dispense with any consideration of the human factors of classes and of the social organization of production.
Frederic Jameson, Marxism and Form (via fourwindsshotgun)
tangential but: add this to the list of reasons I mostly roll my eyes at “digital humanists”
selections from pgs 57-58:
In the network, as in the swarm, participants must comply with the rules embedded in the program if they want to continue to participate in the game. The connection demands operational compliance, not any reciprocal comprehension on the level of meaning, or affection
Connection is interoperability and it makes possible the circulation of abstract information. It involves conscious and sensitive bodies, but the conscious and sensitive body is only a passive carrier of connection. Consciousness is only an operational ability to react. And sensitivity is slowness hindering acceleration and competition.
The machine pretends to be neutral, purely mathematical, but we know that its procedures are only the technical reification of social interests: profit, accumulation, competition — these are the criteria underlying the automatic procedures embedded in the machine. Human volition is reduced to a procedural pretense.
Virtual Utopia has eaten the future, removing it ot the sphere of imagination and willpower. Virtual Utopia culminates in the dystopian totalitarianism of the Logic of Necessity.