Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
57

It's a Boy Brawl! Mark Ames v. Malcolm Harris

Well, here's a mildly misguided takedown of someone you've likely never heard of. Are you in the mood for that? It's Wednesday, why not! So it's Mark Ames—of the eXile infamy—on the topic of Malcolm Harris, who writes for The New Inquiry. Have you had enough already? Walk away! Be free! Otherwise… Ames' point is basically like this: Occupy was kind of irritating, then kind of amazing, but then really irritating, and that's all because pretentious, obnoxious twits were trying to use Occupy as a platform. "To me," Ames writes, "the Occupy Movement will always be conflated with Malcolm Harris and the brand of marketing-concocted 'anarchism' that he represents." Ames' central complaints are that 1. Harris pulled the "Radiohead is performing at Occupy!" prank/scam and 2. this remarkable marketing sheet for Harris, which goes like this: "Often called the Naomi Klein of the 21st century, Malcolm’s sharp and prescient critiques carry weight—unlike other theoriests, Malcolm makes his stand outside the establishment." [sic, etc.] My beef is that's true and not true.

It's not true in the sense that you could go to endless Occupy meetings (sorry, "people's assemblies") and never see the likes of a Malcolm Harris, and you could go to plenty of demonstrations and never catch a whiff of him or his ilk. The people across the country who did the real heavy lifting of Occupy were, you know, busy doing the heavy lifting. (Just like in every political movement: it's the people behind the scenes getting people fed and working out logistics who are the real backbone of these organizations.)

But then it is also a good point Ames makes, in that Malcolm Harris is a force of chaos and surely ambition, and also a terrifically catty and unfiltered piece of work, as you can see from his Twitter. Should you want more, by the way, takedown publisher Paul Carr and others were going at it on Twitter all night. Then for several hours they were getting their beauty sleep while people with square jobs were doing things. But seriously boys, can't we all just do cocaine-Adderall halfsies together in Bushwick and get along? (No? We can't? Okay.)

UPDATE: Oh good, everyone's awake and back at it!

UPDATE UPDATE: And here's another side of the story.

57 Comments / Post A Comment

rook (#4,214)

It seems like Malcolm Harris' entire 'career' has been prologue to the NYTimes Mag cover article in which he's called 'enfant terrible' a minimum of four times.

I'm glad I wasn't alone in watching this unspool and feeling the douchechills ALL OVER.

Ugh. Now that I've read that, I'm just going to go pop in my DVD of Primer to clear my head.

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ericdeamer (#945)

Oh fercrissakes, I just finished figuring out what was going on between this dude and Glen Kenny. Would it really be worth the effort it would take to try to parse this? Oh and having read none of it: #teamAmes #teamolds

City_Dater (#2,500)

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SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

The more twits I come across (or whatever they are called), the more I realize, never was a platform more aptly named.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

I feel like the alternative universe version of me who knows what the hell is going on here has already written a very strongly-worded Tumblr post about it.

KristaJulieva (#588)

His depiction of an Occupy movement consisting of a legion of faceless Malcolm Harris-like creatures and led by Malcolm Harris himself would be horrifying if it bore any relationship to reality.

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