Happy Mortal

This life, well-lived.

We are All Mad!: Black Friday, Nas, and Foucault

Shootout at the Mall

Foucault spends most of the two-page preface to The History of Madness (1972) critiquing the idea of the preface. His parting words read:

–But you just wrote a preface.
–At least it is short.

This hyper-critical nod raises an interesting question. Can we ever stand fully outside of that which we critique? True, Foulcault could have written about the tyranny of the preface in the body of his work, but to write about the preface at all is to somehow engage it, touch on it, face it.

High Intensity Debate

In Nas’ song, “Sly Fox,” the rapper goes after the Fox News network for . . . well, for being Fox, and gives this line in the third verse:

I use Viacom
As my firearm
And let the lyrics split you
Who do you rely upon?

While attacking a major news network, Nas willingly admits he relies on another media conglomerate to fire his missiles. In fact, Nas also raps, “I turn on CBS and I see BS,” in spite of the fact that CBS and Viacom belonged to the same conglomerate until 2006. Do Nas’ offensives actually have the potential to burn “the media” or do they just fuel the corporate fire? Did Foucault pave the way for a preface-less world, or did he just put a new mask on it?

I ponder these questions as I ponder the following: What is my investment in American consumerism when I dry-heave at the news of the man trampled to death at Wal-Mart on black friday?


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