Guillermo Fernandez

Guillermo Fernandez

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  • Guillermo Fernandez
    Published 3 years ago
    Why Study Racist Philosophers but Not Philosophers of Other Races?

    Why Study Racist Philosophers but Not Philosophers of Other Races?

    In January 2017, students from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) launched a campaign called "Decolonise our minds" with the aim of drawing attention to the fact that a school focused in African and Asian studies holds a Philosophy Curriculum formed almost exclusively by white European authors. Although the intention was simply to make a call for the diversification of the study program, the reception in the British media was hostile and biased, accusing the students of wanting to remove all white thinkers from the program and of questioning philosophers that laid the foundations of our society. SOAS was originally created in 1916 to teach to future colonizers the language, history, laws, and customs of the countries to which they were being posted by the colonial enterprise, as a means to strengthen Britain’s presence in these colonies. According to the results of the aforesaid enterprise, it would be said that we do not know if, for lack of enthusiasm of the students or the poor preparation of the teaching staff, this attempt was not very satisfactory. Obviously (and fortunately) the circumstances have changed and today SOAS has an international and multiracial student body, and its mindset and objectives are very different. However, the radical rejection found in the press and in many academics throughout the UK seems to show an intellectual racism that we would like to believe was eradicated.
  • Guillermo Fernandez
    Published 3 years ago
    'The Playstation Dreamworld' by Alfie Bown

    'The Playstation Dreamworld' by Alfie Bown

    In his last book, The Playstation Dreamworld (Polity, 2017), Alfie Bown is not exclusively addressing video game players—whether full-time or simply occasional players—but everyone. He understands that video games can be the perfect tool to comprehend the digital media scenario in which we live. So, in the same way that American cinema from the 40s, 50s and 60s left a footprint in several generations' lives, regardless of whether one watched the movies or not, influencing their clothes, haircuts, the music that they listened to, and the way they walked or smoked, Bown's idea is that video games might be doing the same with this generation, regardless of whether we play video games or not. The digital revolution has arrived and former cultural backbones such as theatre, novel, radio, cinema, and television have been swept away or assimilated by the internet. Video games, however, which were also born before the internet, seem to be a means of expression, cultural asset, leisure activity or whatever you want to call them, which adapts and morphs with technology. Advances in computers allowed games to evolve and designs to become more real. The possibilities of games multiplied, as well as the available offer. The consoles, before the mobile phones, became small and portable and gave the option to play anywhere. The development and implementation of the internet make it possible to play online with people from all over the world, and virtual reality (VR) systems seem to be the last frontier between fiction and reality. In addition to this, with the shift of generations of players, video games have ceased to be a market for children, teenagers, or alternative cultures to occupy an important part of the adult leisure market.
  • Guillermo Fernandez
    Published 3 years ago
    'On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century' by Timothy Snyder

    'On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century' by Timothy Snyder

    Throughout the reading of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Timothy Snyder, Vintage Publishing, 2017)the figure of Victor Klemperer resonates strongly. Klemperer was a humanist, philologist, and Professor of Romance Languages and therefore, a man shaped by language, culture, and books. His testimony of the Nazi Germany shares many features with other witnesses but his condition of linguist makes Klemperer a sharp observer of the nazi's perversion of language. Klemperer filled his diaries I shall bear witness (1933-1945) with personal impressions, objective or subjective descriptions, from a jewish and no-jewish perspective, what represent an evocative narration of daily life under Nazism picturing the entire trajectory from the first years of Nazism after the elections in 1933 to their defeat of the Germans and the end of the war in 1945. But if there is a trait relevant about Klemperer work is his analysis of how the Nazis appropriated the language and enraptured the entire nation in the process. In 1947 he published LTI – Lingua Tertii Imperii: Notizbuch eines Philologen (The language of the Third Reich), a close study of the language of Nazism and how propaganda helped to form individual and collective identities. Klemperer used the book as a resource to keep himself sane, while he was forced to abandon his classes and start to work in a factory. It is remarkable that most of the words used for the nazis were not new terms but existent words that were adjudged with new meanings like for example New Order. Also ‘Umsiedlung’ (resettle) or ‘Aussiedlung’ (evacuation) words for the killing of Jews, while the gas chambers were called the ‘Badeanstalten’ or bath houses. And of course the biggest of the euphemisms used for the systematic extermination of Jews known as the Final Solution ‘Endlosung.'
  • Guillermo Fernandez
    Published 3 years ago
    'Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left' by Ian Parker

    'Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left' by Ian Parker

    Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left (Zero Books, 2017) is an atypical dictionary where one can find 50 relevant keywords for left politics. Already in 1975, the British marxist Raymond Williams published Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. In doing so, he highlighted the importance of language to build a system of thought for the left. In the last essay that works as a conclusion for the book, Ian Parker revises the trajectory of different keywords for the left dividing it in three periods; before the 1917 Russian Revolution, from 1917 to 1967, and from 1967 to 2017. By using as support material Raymond William's book, this catalogue allows us to observe the evolution of the political vocabulary and compare both, how the use of words changes throughout the years and which words enter and disappear from the lexicon. Parker takes over the immense endeavour of updating and renewing that vocabulary, modernising it within the present social framework. The task is gigantic and Parker, who is well aware of that, warns in the introduction of the numerous perils of an self-centred academia isolated in a marble tower, ignoring the real world while debating and discussing aimlessly, and how political activists are generally reluctant to use terms from an academic background for being considered too intellectual and not relevant in the practical field.
  • Guillermo Fernandez
    Published 3 years ago
    'Narcocapitalism,' by Laurent de Sutter

    'Narcocapitalism,' by Laurent de Sutter

    I have this (bad?) habit of reading several books at the same time and hence sometimes ideas from different books interweave in my head creating strange patrons. While reading Narcocapitalism (Polity, 2017) by Laurent de Sutter, I also started reading a book about cinema titled Slow Movies’ by Ira Jaffe. In the introduction, Jaffe explains how Gilles Deleuze encountered in Italian neorealism and later in Michelangelo Antonioni, a more real cinema, closer to the experience of time as we live it, as opposed to Hollywood films and its saturation of time and space, its sometimes but not always welcomed unreality.
  • Guillermo Fernandez
    Published 3 years ago
    The Shipwreck of Grenfell Tower