January 15, 2011

The sales potential of this critique is therefore potentially infinite.


As it currently functions in the West, critical discourse thus proves to be astonishingly homogeneous. It is always the same things being criticized with the same arguments. The only difference consists in that the right tends to apply this critique to the non-West (communism and now Islam are principally criticized as ideologies that oppress the body and sexuality), while the left conversely practices this same critique as a self-critique of the West – and, from the middle, the same critique is applied in both directions, as a fair-minded ‘both… and also…’, albeit in moderated form.

The astounding and historically unparalleled homogeneity of Western critical discourse, which never changes its components but merely alters its direction now and then, certainly cannot be explained solely by the ideological pressure imposed on the Western public sphere during the Cold War period. Instead, this homogeneity can be attributed principally to the fact that critical discourse in the West circulates primarily as a commodity on the media market. It is a standardized and sophistical mode of speech available for employment by any political strategy whatsoever. After all, where is the body not suppressed? Where are people not traumatized? Where is the subject who is not seized by contradictory desires? Where is the human not threatened by the machine? The answer is that this is the case everywhere. The sales potential of this critique is therefore potentially infinite.

- Boris Groys, The Communist Postscript


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