Books
Dubravka Ugrešić

Karaoke Culture

Finalist for the NBCC award for Criticism.
Whether it's commentary on jaded youth, the ways technology has made us soft in the head, or how wrestling a hotel minibar into a bathtub is the best way to stick it to The Man, Ugresic writes with unmatched honesty and panache.
329 printed pages
Original publication
2011
Publisher
Open Letter

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Quotes

    Laura Littlehas quoted2 years ago
    I raise my voice against cosmetic plastic surgery that produces karaoke people; against political plastic surgery that produces mentally identical individuals; against religion, because it produces sectarian lackeys; against karaoke politicians; against karaoke states and state systems; against karaoke ideologies and ideas; against the global karaoke spectacle and the millions of us who are birds of a feather and karaoke devotees. Totalitarianism is dead, long live totalitarianizing freedom! And that’s why, earthlings, complainers of the world—unite! Let’s clear our throats, raise our red fists, and sing without risk. Because even our protest is nothing other than karaoke
    Laura Littlehas quoted2 years ago
    AA is a child of his time, his gestures—irrespective of his occasional self-adulatory revolutionary rhetoric—are neither great, nor powerful, nor subversive, nor mind-blowing. Deep down, AA is just a small-time hacker. He’s not even driven by a powerful and passionate Salieri-like envy. He hardly knows who Mozart and Salieri are—questions of copies and originals are lost on him. He is a sophisticated barbarian, the sophisticated part his mobile phone, the barbaric his message, which he films live and sends to other users
    Laura Littlehas quoted2 years ago
    AA has occupied YouTube and hundreds of similar sites, which were all invented for him in the first place. Don’t even dream they were for you. He is an anonymous creator, editor, contributor, and end-user of his own encyclopedia, Wikipedia. And hey, amazing, he’s now the most consulted global source of general information. Protected by the mask of anonymity, AA establishes his hierarchy of values. He decides whether his Mom is worth a Wikipedia entry, how much space Paris Hilton deserves, and how much Nikola Tesla. AA has his own literature, determines canons, and then does whatever he likes with them. And nobody can hold him to account, because he is nameless. He has his own culture in which others just like him, the nameless, actively participate. He has set up his virtual institutions, developed his forms of education, his information, and his leisure activities. AA doesn’t need existing institutions—he will invoke, destroy, and reference them; AA has created his own parallel world in which everything belongs to him. AA is in the majority. That’s his strength. He controls the most powerful toy in the world, the Internet, that’s where his strength lies. He is fluid, changeable, ephemeral. He is a morph, he is infantile, he is elusive, he is mobile, he “rides” and “surfs,” he moves around, he appears and disappears. He doesn’t have a declared program to contest or dispute. Actually, he doesn’t have a program at all, but this doesn’t stop him from making his fanatical and penetrating voice heard—that’s where his strength lies. You are in his power. You have a first name and last name, you’re an author, you stand behind your work; you are responsible for what you’ve written. He’s not interested in responsibility (To whom? To what? I mean, do the superstars of the contemporary art world show any responsibility?!), nor is he interested in authorship. He

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