Kim Cooper Interviews for AH’s Upcoming Article!


 

Kim Cooper—one of LA’s greatest historians and preservationists, finished interviewing with Archive Humanitas for an upcoming article. Jeffrey Lucas II announced today that he’s working on presenting ideas related to: “Art Deco Architecture and it’s role in the hermeneutic underpinning of Los Angeles Noir: what role, and to what degree, do these historico-architectural sites, e.g., the Bradbury, or the Oviatt, and so-on, play in constituting such unique, aesthetic iconography? In what ways might they ground our very sense of LA style, despite the city’s heterogenous designs, myriad incompatible motifs, and vastly diverse peoples, churches, and monuments? How essential is a building, e.g., Union Station, to this collective-thematic sense many of us have come to indistinctly perceive from the very geography and infrastructure —those mad-love-monochrome spectacles that reduce our experience of the metropolis in 1940s celluloid?” (From AH Headquarters; an unknown location somewhere in Los Angeles California.) Subscribe now! @archivehumanitas.com

 


Works by Kim Cooper

On the Tired Platitudes of Philosophical Apologia

“…and novelty, when it becomes standardized, is the only moral currency we have—hermeneutically speaking. Truth–simply is…a moral concept.”

J. Lucas II. a.k.a. Aesthetarchon


My POV begins somewhere around one-to-two steps after Rorty’s liberal ironism–a self-inaugurating moment of ‘philosopher-as-critic’—which afforded him the wherewithal to subsume a portion of Derrida’s later work under the guise of something he liked to call “private ironism” e.g., with books such as, “Postcard,” “Glas,” etc. These ironists, Proust and Nabokov especially fit this category, turned away from Platonism and classical metaphysics by way of refusing any dialectical stage that would loop back to the Hegelian-like-helix: thesis, antithesis, synthesis: that is, rather than making the same mistakes later Nietzsche, later Heidegger, and early Wittgenstein had, private ironists simply took up their own projects, creating evermore interesting vocabularies–that didn’t so much resolve the older aporias or familiar binary-camp arguments…but such new language-games seemed to obsolesce the old questions, altogether, via supplementing newer and more innovative ways of talking that spawned a whole taxa of different questions. Rather than relapse into The Speculative Turn (our current cultural milieu), Metaphysics, the Absolute, etc., this line of reasoning postulates that there is a time to stop doing traditional philosophy. Here’s where the distinction between Philosophy and Literature, Sophism and Philosophy, for example, ceases to be of any use. However, private projects were never enough for Rorty, and a large part of his concern resided in a democratic liberal utopianism that centered on contingency. He could never allow Nabokovians, or proud aesthetes to leave Ethics well enough alone if that was their theoretical taste. See, here’s what happened behind the scenes (if I may infer after years of studying Rorty’s work): “cosmopolitanism” works too well with “contingency” and “irony” —to not work well with “solidarity”—and thus, we’re tempted, inadvertently back to systematic philosophy rather than the edifying-hermeneutic approach Rorty praises (See: “Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity”). This is where Rorty loses me. And this is the climate Meillassoux, Graham Harman, Brassier, Latour, and Garcia are exploiting — and to immense commercial success. My position, on the contrary, involves importing more of Nietzsche’s notions of “self-creation” and “giving style to one’s character,” and “aesthetic redemption through singular taste,” where Rorty had emphasized liberal utopian Democracy, i.e., “Liberal Ironism.” For me, even his cosmopolitan “solidarity” is teleological, i.e., the amenability of democratic institutions only secures an “Ethics” or a “Politics” iff it is demonstrated, via metaphysical self-coronation, to be the ultimate, meta-comparative “best for ALL.” And for Rorty, recall, there are no “final vocabularies” or “hidden secrets the ironist can hope to find […] there are only little mortal things to be rearranged by being re-described” (CIS, 99). For my part, I refuse to give “ironism” a genuine substantive “-ism,” e.g., this notion remains consistent only in the event that it refer to a unique object for every utterance-act: the (or indefinite article) ironist. Undoubtedly then, I am weary of today’s philosophico-commercial band-wagon: Speculative Realism/Materialism; Flat Ontology; Object-Oriented-Ontology, and so on. Rather than re-enter ontology via a newly-wrapped first-science, i.e., (post-) cantororian set theory, I opt for a neo-perspectivism and aestheticism (what I believe to be an extension of Nietzsche’s canon that exceeds even Nehamas’ Proustian reading of his bibliography, outright) that places “pedagogy” in front of “Truth”: the notion of a capital-w “World” (capable of deciding, independent of humans, the truth-value of sentences purporting to refer to ‘the “World’” as a criterion-specific epistemology; thus, you might say, I’m a ‘P-P-P-Modernist’ (i.e., triple-p Postmodernist): anti-New Speculativism and O-O-O-Harman-brand philosophy. What I’m after is nuance, idiosyncrasy, and a a turn of phrase altogether different from the history of ‘obvious Western platitudes.’ …If Marxists and Frankfurt Cultural-Theorists think that’s immoral (e.g., an originary illusion resulting in capitalist complicity)—then, I’m already asleep. Mediocrity is worse than falsity; and novelty, when it becomes standardized, is the only moral currency we have—hermeneutically speaking. Truth–simply is…a moral concept. There is no final vocabulary of Being, Reality, or Goodness; there is innovation and there is the influence of one’s predecessors to worry about. My pursuits are non-epistemic, but unwaveringly tenacious in employing new means, methods, and vocabularies conducive for optimum critical play. This is a manifesto against liberal apologia! …. I make no apologies. I’m here because I’m mad for the phrase; for an orgasmic panorama of ink and vellum in textual montage–pleasures shared among curators, archivists, and bibliophiles; a lust for the rare; and a mad-love fire for the intoxication of intertextual play.