Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/6

Just now—some time between that brief sun shower and the rainbow it died birthing—I was outside of Espresso Royale, chattin’ with a classmate o’ mine about all the usual subjects: politics, academia, financial anxieties, etc. Anyway, a few things that he said to me about professors and their capacity to impress ideas upon their students (every Fox News watcher’s greatest fear) reminded me of something I’d read somewhere at some point, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was or who said it.

Sifting through my quotations log, I now realize that the quote I had in mind comes from Walter Benjamin’s unforgettable essay on Surrealism, which can be found in the collection of his writings entitled Reflections. (Is that title generic enough for ya?) What Benjamin is addressing in this passage is slightly different than what my classmate and I were discussing, but whatever: the quote demands to be posted. Benjamin’s conception of subversive politics as “a sphere reserved one hundred percent for images” certainly resonates with anyone who’s interested in political cinema, namely that of the grand inquisitor of images himself, Mr. Jean-Luc Godard.

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[…] nowhere do these two—metaphor and image—collide so drastically and so irreconcilably as in politics. For to organize pessimism means nothing other than to expel moral metaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred percent for images. This image sphere, however, can no longer be measured out by contemplation. If it is the double task of the revolutionary intelligentsia to overthrow the intellectual predominance of the bourgeoisie and to make contact with the proletarian masses, the intelligentsia has failed almost entirely in the second part of this task because it can no longer be performed contemplatively.

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