Ministry of Truth

From the IOC web site:

Athletes who wish to use authorised inhaled beta2 agonists at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin must submit a specific request to do so to the IOC Medical and Scientific Department using the on-line Therapeutic Use Exemption request form.

It is important that we can depend on Authority when faced with a panic.

Informatics of Domination

I am a sucker for these sorts of thought frameworks, so today I wanted to post this sample from Donna Haraway's seminal watershed essay "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century."

(Don't just take it from me … listen here.)

"comfortable old hierarchical dominations" "scary new networks"
Representation Simulation
Bourgeois novel, realism Science fiction, postmodernism
Organism Biotic component
Depth, integrity Surface, boundary
Heat Noise
Biology as clinical practice Biology as inscription
Physiology Communications engineering
Small group Subsystem
Perfection Optimization
Eugenics Population control
Decadence, Magic Mountain Obsolescence, Future Shock
Hygiene Stress Management
Microbiology, tuberculosis Immunology, AIDS
Organic division of labour Ergonomics/Cybernetics of labour
Functional specialization Modular construction
Reproduction Replication
Organic sex role specialization Optimal genetic strategies
Biological determinism Evolutionary inertia, constraints
Community ecology Ecosystem
Racial chain of being Neo-imperialism, United Nations humanism
Scientific management in home/factory Global factory/Electronic cottage
Family/Market/Factory Women in the Integrated Circuit
Family wage Comparable worth
Public/Private Cyborg citizenship
Nature/Culture Fields of difference
Cooperation Communications enhancement
Freud Lacan
Sex Genetic engineering
Labor Robotics
Mind Artificial Intelligence
World War II Star Wars
White Capitalist Patriarchy Informatics of Domination

(Pat)ronizing

ESPN's Don Barone writes about the NFL's new policy to physically pat down every patron that attends a game before entering the stadium. An excerpt:

Kickoff. Bills winning. Losman turns out not to be the kid in front of me with the backpack, and plays well. People in my section describe him as "Kelly-esque." Anointment.

Still, with visions of the mass pat-down in my head, and worrying about the memory etched into 16-year-old minds, I lean over and shout: "So guys, you OK with the pat-down?"

Not taking their eyes off the game, they shake their heads, thinking something like, "Stupid dad, please, dear God, don't let him talk about Thomas Jefferson again — not here."

"Yeah, it was no big deal …"

Cheers. Bills up by three more.

"… no one touched my balls."

And there you have the late modern sportocratic condition in a nutshell: complicit in normalizing behaviours that erode personal and political freedoms, while buttressing a hegemonic heterosexuality in the process.

Seeing Without Eyes

Official NBA Merchandise

I was in a client's office recently that featured an "official" framed photo of Antonio Davis, then with the Toronto Raptors, on the wall.

What made it official?

Besides the photo of Davis himself, taken during the 2002-03 season, there was a swatch of game-worn jersey, an NBA-logo hologram, and a 9-digit serial number prominently displayed within the frame. The requisite Davis signature and number seemed far less conspicuous.

Sampling Deleuze may offer us a theoretical underpinning (italics are his, boldface mine):

The disciplinary societies have two poles: the signature that designates the individual, and the number or administrative numeration that indicates his or her position within a mass. This is because the disciplines never saw any incompatibility between these two, and because at the same time power individualizes and masses together, that is, constitutes those over whom it exercises power into a body and molds the individuality of each member of that body. (Foucault saw the origin of this double charge in the pastoral power of the priest–the flock and each of its animals–but civil power moves in turn and by other means to make itself lay "priest.") In the societies of control, on the other hand, what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password, while on the other hand disciplinary societies are regulated by watchwords (as much from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance). The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it. We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become "dividuals," and masses, samples, data, markets, or "banks."

In this case, the numerical language of control grants us access to the authenticity of "Official NBA Merchandise".

Administrative Numeration

Like me, many athletes tattoo their jersey number to their skin, a ludic identification unmindful of its sinister antecedents. Lest we forget.

my tattoo

tattoo on my ankle of a basketball with my university number inside.

my tattoo

detail of tattoo.