Tag Archives: 1952

RIP bell hooks (1952 – 2021)

bell hooks was an American author and social activist, working in the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender.

bell hooks interviewed by Charlie Rose in 1995

She is perhaps best known for Ain’t I a Woman?(1981).

I first came into contact with her work by way of Angry Women (1991), a book in the RE/Search series.

She also wrote on Paris Is Burning (1990) in a vocabulary typical of her corpus:

“Within white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy the experience of men dressing as women, appearing in drag, has always been regarded by the dominant heterosexist cultural gaze as a sign that one is symbolically crossing over from a realm of power into a realm of powerlessness.”

bell hooks on Paris is Burning in a piece published in Black Hooks (1992)

Each of these words, white, supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal, hetero-sexist sounds as meaningful and portentous as vacuous and meaningless. It is a description of a state of affairs that betrays a desire for change. The form of this change, however, is not spelled out. Would bell hooks prefer communism instead of capitalism?

Nevertheless, looking at old interviews on Charlie Rose, bell hooks comes across as a gentle, well-read and smart woman.

RIP Bernard Stiegler (1952 – 2020)

Bernard Stiegler was a French philosopher known for his reflections on technology.

Outside the field of philosophy, he is of interest for his delightful retelling of the Epimetheus creation myth from Protagoras told in the film The Ister (2004).

Bernard Stiegler retelling the creation myth of Protagoras in The Ister (2004)

The transcript of that story (above):

‘One day Zeus said to Prometheus, “the time has come for you, for us gods, to bring into the day the non-immortals.” The non-immortals being animals and men. Prometheus, who is put in charge of this task, has a twin brother named Epimetheus. Epimetheus resembles Prometheus; he is his double. But in fact Epimetheus is his brother’s opposite. Epimetheus is the god of the fault of forgetting. Prometheus is a figure of knowledge, of absolute mastery, total memory. Prometheus forgets nothing, Epimetheus forgets everything. Epimetheus says to his brother: “Zeus has given you this task – I want to do it! Me me me! I’ll take care of it.” Epimetheus is a rather simple-minded brother, and Prometheus is fond of him. He dares not refuse and says, “OK, you take care of it.” So Epimetheus distributes the qualities. He will give the gazelle its speed, for example. […] He distributes the qualities in equilibrium. Epimetheus’ distribution of the qualities describes the ecological balance of nature. […] Now, as Epimetheus is distributing the qualities, he suddenly notices something… […] “There are no qualities left! I forgot to save a quality for man!” […] “I still have to bring mankind, mortals, into the day.” […] but there are no qualities left to give him a form. So Prometheus goes to the workshop of the god Hephaestus, to steal fire. Fire, which is obviously the symbol of technics, but which is also the symbol of the power of god. Zeus.’–Bernard Stiegler retelling the creation myth of Protagoras in The Ister (2004)