Miguel Rivera

BU English MA Graduate. Tufts English PhD Student. Philosophy Hobbyist.

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The Catch: The Bunny-Ears Lawyer Gets a Welcome Makeover In The World of Detection

Ah, Shondaland. What would I do without you? The Catch is the newest addition to the production house’s stable, and a series which I can admit to having some trepidation about. The trailer was a little bit alarming, after all. There were just too many white people. Still, The Catch manages to deliver enough thrills and provocations to fit well with Rhimes’s oeuvre. It is worth noting that Rhimes only serves as executive producer, as is the case with the often mis-attributed How To Get Away With Murder. Maybe someday Peter Nowalk will get his well deserved credit.

But we’re not talking about HTGAWM, we are talking about The Catch which has enormous shoes to fill. The series follows Alice Vaughan, a private detective played by Mireille Enos, who was conned by her fiancé. Vaughan is dead set on revenge, and must balance her quest for extra-legal justice with the daily upkeep of her

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Three Essays in Psychoanalysis: Zizek, BDSM, and the Possibility of Sovereignty

This is the third of my series of essays in, rather than on, psychoanalysis. In preparing these pieces, I hope to provide for myself fertile ground from which to grow additional thoughts and reason through some of the evergreen problems in psychoanalysis and ethics. It is worth noting, also, that these three essays were written in the span of about sixty minutes.

In Zizek’s essay, “Love Thy Neighbor? No Thanks” he gets a number of things wrong. Particularly striking among his errors is the veneration of fascist art objects to which he credits the ability of a certain kind of insurgent potential to the system known as “ideology.” Where one can encounter his error most blatantly is in his rendering of sexual masochism in relation to torture. Zizek writes:

“What distinguishes the masochistic spectacle from a simple scene of torture is not merely the fact that in the masochistic spectacle

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Three Essays in Psychoanalysis: The Jouissance of the Cultural Superego

This is the second of my series of essays in, rather than on, psychoanalysis. In preparing these pieces, I hope to provide for myself fertile ground from which to grow additional thoughts and reason through some of the evergreen problems in psychoanalysis and ethics. It is worth noting, also, that these three essays were written in the span of about sixty minutes

What does the cultural superego, above all else, demand? Or rather, what is its “stated” demand? It demands that one love thy neighbor as thy self. It demands that one enter into a kind of egalitarian relational with the “diverse” subjects interpellated into ideology. The cultural superego effaces difference and suggests that all are equal in content and the same in kind. We are all “one,” units to occupy space in ideology. For the narcissist, or the philosopher, (they are one and the same) there is no contention more odious

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Three Essays in Psychoanalysis: The Categorical Imperative Entrenched in Ideology: Kant and Zupančič

This is the first of my series of essays in, rather than on, psychoanalysis. In preparing these pieces, I hope to provide for myself fertile ground from which to grow additional thoughts and reason through some of the evergreen problems in psychoanalysis and ethics. It is worth noting, also, that these three essays were written in the span of about sixty minutes

In reading Kant, Lacan and Zupančič engage in moderately disingenuous renderings of the Categorical Imperative. Zupančič, at least, is quite up front about this and indeed accomplishes a great deal in her front-loaded critique of Kant’s failures in reasoning. She outlines this in argument in Ethics of the Real: Kant and Lacan (2000). Zupančič criticizes Kant due to the fundamental error in his ethics which, according to Zupančič, are supposed to exist only on the level of the Categorical Imperative. That is to say, all the

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Bernie Sanders & The American Political System: Why We Vote and Why We Don’t

In the previous two election cycles, I advocated for Obama adamantly. I advocated for voting adamantly. In 2008, I wrote about the Sorites paradox in relation to the way voting as a civil responsibility gets diffused, and as an explanation to account for the feeling of impotence voting brings with it. Now, I know I made a mistake. At the very least, I made an ideological mistake. Perhaps, though, not a material one.

For one, there is no way any individual should have to, or even can, reconcile their decision to cast a vote with the massive loss of life that a United States president is almost necessarily implicated in. I candidly bear a sense of responsibility, as a voter and an American, of someone who in some small way contributed to the death of innocent people in Syria, in Afghanistan, and in other parts of the Middle East and the world. There is simply no way the moral subject can

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Derrida, Differance, and the Fundamental Unknowability of the Human Subject

To give an account of Derrida’s Differance is to do what many scholars consistently fail to achieve. Indeed, there is much about Differance that must be elucidated outside of an academic context as much of Derrida’s work defies the conventional academic register. However, to what extent Derrida’s playfulness is necessary to the larger point at hand.

What immediately becomes clear in reading this text is that Derrida is intent on being playful. He repeats phrases as incantations rather than explanations (“Differance is neither a word nor a concept”), he toys with words meanings, and often combines these two types of play — just mark all the time “present” and “presence” are used throughout the essay.

A key function of the non-word/non-concept Differance is that of temporalizing. Differance describes the process of signification where an object, idea, word, or concept is supplanted —

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The Greatest Albums, EPs, and songs of 2015

2015 was a spectacular year for music. I listened to more music this year than I have during any other time in my life. I was overwhelmed by the quality, the emotional depth, and the innovation of artists across genres. There’s far more good shit than I can outline here. When I usually write things like this, I worry that it will disproportionately favor releases from later in the year that are more fresh on my mind or that it will not accurately reflect my listening habits. In this case, neither of those things are true. This is, perhaps, the most accurate “best of” list I’ll ever make in terms of reflecting what I actually listened to throughout the year.

Oh, and this also seemed like the year where everyone started talking shit on making best of lists. Enjoy.

 Albums:

 Sicko Mobb - Super Saiyan Vol. 2

Generally, the kind of music I listen to is for a person of a specific

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The “Zero Degree of Social Conceptualization”: Flesh Outside Ideology in Hortense Spillers and Louis Althusser

Hortense Spillers and Louis Althusser have a lot in common. They have both published monumental works that cast a long shadow. They both engage with notions of psychoanalysis and redeploy those ideas along innovative trajectories. However, Spillers is often left out of crucial conversations about gender (where she is supplanted by Foucault, Rubin, and Butler) and ideological interpellation (where she is supplanted by Althusser). Spillers’s “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” (1987) must be put into the broader conversation with these theorists. In this case, specifically, Spillers exposes fundamental blind spots in Althusser’s “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” (1970).

When Spillers writes:

I would make a distinction in this case between “body” and “flesh” and impose that distinction as the central one between captive and liberated subject-positions. In

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The Decentering of White Experience in Cornelius Eady’s Brutal Imagination

Cornelius Eady’s Brutal Imagination is a poetry series reminiscent of Kamau Brathwaite’s The Arrivants in terms of scope and timelessness. Eady’s formulations speak to the heart of the issue of racial injustice and provide a compelling account of how white fear of the (unjustly and incorrectly) criminalized Black body results in alteration of white sensory perception. This alteration precipitates the perpetration of violence and terror onto Black bodies, whether at the hands of police or armed vigilantes (à la George Zimmerman).

Brutal Imagination is told from the perspective of the, to borrow Jung’s verbiage, collective unconsciousness of fictional Black “subjects” created by white minds to serve a certain purpose — whether it be in the furtherance of an advertising or criminal scheme (and, really, what’s the difference?). The most significant subject is the fictional Black “phantom”

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Kero Kero Bonito’s Intro Bonito: A Nastolgia Fueled Fever Dream

I wish I had discovered Kero Kero Bonito last year. If I had, their record Intro Bonito would have been a shoo-in for my prestigious TOP WHATEVER OF 2014 list. But, my ignorance means they didn’t make the cut, so I owe it to them to give this release a comprehensive analysis.

KKB comes from an interesting new generation of musicians who have their roots in electronic music, production, and remixing. Emerging from the same crowd as Spazzkid, Meishi Smile, and Maxo (whose excellent Dragon Ball / Hokuto no Ken theme song cover can be found here) KKB manages to channel nostalgia for retro video games and fandom of Japanese pop music into something wholly unique.

Despite the trappings of contemporary pop music, KKB sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before. The sing-alongs and call-and-response pull me into the songs in a way few other bands do. The figurative audience participation is

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