Now maybe my irony-detector is down, but for me there is an essential difference between recognizing Badiou as an essential philosopher of our time/couple of decades, and turning to him for specific advice on how to fast to walk. The Master’s Word cited by the Godmother of Speculative Realism:

To an epoch such as ours, nothing circulates as fast as capital, its merchandise and its communications, it exists as a particular oppression bearing time which is translated as the normal speed to which the subject must bend. I speak purposefully here of a structural speed. It is very different from the capacity for a sudden decision as is necessary for the subject exposed to an event. To this imposed rapidity, I oppose this maxim: ‘go slow/ be slow/slowness’. A maxim which, remember, was already explicitly to the fore in certain workers struggles of the 1970s. ‘Go slow down the imposed speed of production needed for it to work its proper rhythm.

Whooooaa there. Maxims and imperatives? That sounds a bit too much like it belongs in a little red book. (Now I’m being facetious but my mentioning it makes it better right?). It’s a personal-past thing that left me with an allergy to anything that smacks of reification of individual count-for-one’s.

Personally, I like walking as fast as I can. And running for trains. And practicing control of body through an alternation of speed and slowness. (And running up stairs instead of taking elevator, and tying shoelaces with stretched legs; but those I got from Mastah Bruce).


The Slow poetry people seem to be on the same page as Badiou here, in calling for slowness as an antidote to capitalism. Seems re-actionary to me. I don’t see the harm in either speed or slowness as long as both are used for the value that is immanent to them (and not as a reaction to the coffee-to-go-stockbroker who saves time by shaving on his way to work).

As an afterthought, let me add Poetix‘s take on poetry as having a nuisance value. At least that has some noise in it:

Poetry has a nuisance value…More generally, then, nuisance value is a measure of the noise in the system. In the case of language, poetry presents what may be frivolous demands on the hearer’s time and cognitive powers. Its claims are not transparently resolvable. There may after all be something in it. You will have to pay a certain amount of attention in order to find out whether there is or not. (Even poetry that is limpidly accessible, forthright and direct may actually be disguising an underlying vacuity). A poem is a bid for the share of attention needed to look into the matter. Its value is precisely what would pay the poet to shut up, go away and stop bothering you instead.

3 thoughts on “

  1. hear hear j. Be the master of your body and go as slow, or as fast, as matters require. Like, when you’re really hungry, and there’s a giant BIG falafel in front of you. You’re gonna quaff that boy down , no questions.

    liking the blog, keep it going!!


  2. This reminds me of the situationist act of détournement (http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SI/en/display/315), and should thus maybe be interpreted precisely in the spirit of play and parody.
    Also see this nice article(http://www.groene.nl/2001/0145/sp_spektakel.html)(sorry for the Dutch) on Guy Debord, in which is stated he actually tried practicing such a sublimated and opposition based life (dérive)(http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/2.derive.htm) as a form of renunciation of capitalist society. Maybe slowness is just Badiou’s compromise to actually taking this decisive step…

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