Must We Run?

February 25, 2008 at 11:09 pm (Music)


In the Bright Eyes song “At the Bottom of Everything” Conor Oberst sings:

We must blend into the choir
Sing as static with the whole;
We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul;
And in this endless race for property and privilege to be won
We must run, we must run, we must run.

It’s parody, obviously, but it got me thinking….

Must we progressives be resigned to simply toe the line with respect to the way the wind is blowing in the popular culture? Must we dissidents “blend in to the choir,” add to the “static,” and reduce ourselves to a statistic in the cultural matrix? Must we participate in the American Dream and run after all the property and privilege to be won?

And of not, how do we rise above it?


  1. Johnny T said,

    Pundit, I’m not sure what you are asking.

  2. The Pundit said,

    I am asking if we must simply bow to the hegemony, or can we counter it. And if so, how?

  3. Julay said,

    We live within the reason of our age, and of course we can criticize it, but boundaries of those criticism are formed by the conceptual tools we have, which are formed of the language in which we already live. Fortunately for us, thinking allows us a way to push into the boundaries of our reason, of the rationality of our age, to try to find new dimensions of the world and possibilities to live out. Yes, we all have a social security number. Yes, we are all being reduced to commodities in ways never imagined. However, we have one last bastion of hope: thinking. Through it we imagine selves and societies that do not nor have ever existed, We imagine our selves as living lives never known. They can be better places. And then we must try to create those imaginary worlds and make them real. If not, we are doomed to another rendition of Groundhog Day, except it won’t be in the imaginary realm of the movie; it will have become our reality.

  4. Julay said,

    To be clear: thinking is not the assertion of a dogmatism or the construction of an argument to prove a pre-determined end, like an ideology. Thinking frees itself from the demands of the will, and as it meanders it can stumble into wonderful and good things.

  5. Johnny T said,


    Another word for “thinking” that might fit better with your idea is “imagination.” The imagination is our faculty of creation; first we need to imagine a solution or a plan of action before we can attempt to execute it.


    Oh, yeah, I knew that.

    That’s a pretty big question for a little blog post. Without getting into specifics, which would make this a really long comment, I would say one way to counter hegemony is to do whatever little acts of subversion one finds within their power.

    Another thing I would say is that resistence should not take the shape of that which it is resisting. More specifically, we should not seek a centralized a movement but should cultivate decentralized and various nodes of resistance. The Rhizome rather than the Arbor, if you know what I mean. If not, check out Deleuze and Guattari.

  6. The Pundit said,


    I find it interesting that a more libertarian socialist vision still only exists in the realm of, well, vision. It has not been put into practice with any real success. This is why I, for one, really wish that artists would help us more cerebral types to “imagine” what this type of world would look like. So for example, a series of novels or even a television series that took place against a backdrop of a more peaceful and decentralized society. It wouldn’t need to be “preachy” since the backdrop is just that, a backdrop. But it would help people put some flesh on the bones as it were.

  7. The Pundit said,

    Johnny T,

    Yes and amen to you, sir.

    Little acts of defiance, of subversion, of treason against the norm, that’s what we need more of.

    And your reference was totally lost on me, by the way.

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