Where the original scene was essentially psychological (based on such key distinctions as private vs. public, self vs. other, subject vs. object), the new obscenity is not interested in such a congealed metaphysics, with its reassuring markers of difference and dialectical agon. Thanks to “the narcissistic and protean era of connections” (127), the mirror is replaced by the network: a decisive substitution, leading to a very different way of being human (many would say, to a mode of being posthuman, more in tune with the machine). Gone are the melancholic missed encounters of self-reflection, along with the generative struggles for recognition. In their place appears “a nonreflecting surface … where operations unfold— the smooth operational surface of communication” (126– 27).

There is a particular style of academic writing from which I find it incredibly difficult to actually extract any meaning. It is characterized by:

I’m wary of putting myself in a bubble by refusing to engage with a whole sphere of writing - there are entire fields written like this and surely some worthwhile ideas underneath. But I have no idea how to get to them. If I don’t have some way to tell whether reality looks like your model or not, how do I figure out which models to pay attention to?