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about this blog

As it says on the front page, this is a blog about myth, politics and desire.  It’s a blog of critical public commentary about public affairs.  Its main concern, I guess, is with the myths we are asked to live by, the stories we are told and that we tell ourselves; the stories that lull us to sleep or that wake us up; that obscure reality or reveal it; that cut us off, from others or connect us —  that enable or disable what I think is the crucial thing: the need to be present, here, at the ending of the West’s great self-congratulatory dream of mastery.  Sometimes my focus will be on life here in South Africa; but as often my concern will be with the broader circuits and the greater global processes of which we here at the Southern tip are part.

As you will see, this means my focus is both narrow and eclectic. This blog is intended to be about politics, about society, about how power figures in our everyday lives, and  shapes what we do and what we desire.  But as you can see, my concern is very often with stories, with literature, with mythmaking and fantasy.  This is partly just because I love stories — even (and especially) those non-serious genres (children’s books, science fiction, comics, fantasy) that are not taken seriously.  But it is also  because I believe (along with many others!) that stories, movies, even music, are how society dreams;  that,  like dreams,  they say in oblique, metaphorical ways what often is not explicitly said; and that they are therefore worth appreciation and critique.

So this blog will be a hodgepodge, but a very specific one.  Here, you are likely to meet both Gollum and  Gramsci (excuse the alliteration!); both Frodo and Foucault.  I might write about social policy or politics; about Zuma or Obama;  but I am as likely to write about the latest movie I have seen.  What will hold it together is that I will be trying, all along, to wield Manjusri’s Sword, the sword that punctures illusion, Will’s subtle knife, the blade of fine discernment that might open doors to other ways of being.

I hope you enjoy.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Gaylard permalink
    September 7, 2009 4:55 pm

    It’s nice to have ‘a subtle knife’ rather than the broadswords and knobkieries we usually get bludgeoned with in the public domain!

  2. Matthew Littlewood permalink
    September 13, 2009 1:37 pm

    Hello, I found your blog after someone linked to it and it’s fascinating stuff. I’m a New Zealander so I don’t know a lot about South African politics, but I really enjoy your writing, and found your piece on District 9 highly illuminating- I was wondering whether there were a lot of smaller nuances I missed. Keep up the good work, are you a journalist or writer by trade, or is this something you do in your free time?

    • andries du toit permalink*
      September 25, 2009 12:17 pm

      Thanks Matthew. This blog is a private, free-time project. I am a social science researcher, so my day job is about hustling money from the big donor institutions to do policy-relevant research about rural development in South Africa. But my training is in philosophy, anthropology and critical theory. This blog is in part an attempt to re-weave together what specialisation and the institutionalisation of disciplinary knowledge have sundered. And in part just a way of having fun.

  3. April 11, 2010 9:53 pm

    Hey, found your blog through a series of links while discussing District 9. I was quite taken by your writing and insights, but more so by the subject matter you cover;

    I’m a huge advocate of what most consider “pop media” and I’m glad there’s someone like you who’s not only skilled at revealing their complexities but actually takes the time to do it.

  4. Nadeema permalink
    December 1, 2010 5:28 pm

    For whatever reason many people around me (friends, family etc) shy away from politics. Working in education, & specifically language in education, I’m not afforded that luxury.
    I’ve just stumbled on your blog & having read a few paragraphs I already know that we need more of what you are offering.
    I am a storyteller, a teacher, a mother, a South African, among other things, & I believe in the power & the worlds of possibility & imagination contained within narrative. How important it is then to have authentic narrative, in our fairy tales & all its siblings & antecedents – fables, folk tales, myths, legends, histories, biographies, critiques………
    I look forward to reading more.

  5. sandroid permalink
    May 29, 2011 9:36 am

    Hi, I am enjoying reading your blog. It would be nice to have a twitter account to notify readers about updates and stuff.

  6. Musaed permalink
    August 22, 2012 8:07 pm

    hey Andries. Love the blog and commentary, happily stumbled upon while googling “hidden messages in Coraline”…and now pleasantly surprised that you’re a fellow South African. I had just forwarded your review to my wife as we discuss Coraline, Sprited Away and Pans Labyrinth often…and yet…not together. Thanks for illustrating the links. btw (We have many of the same tastes in movies!)
    Will be waiting for further posts.

  7. March 6, 2015 11:32 pm

    Your writing is beautiful. Came across you while looking for inspiration on an essay (which I chose to write on District 9), thank you so much for giving me some ideas to expand on.
    I wish you well and much more interesting things to write about!

  8. andries du toit permalink*
    March 7, 2015 7:37 am

    Thank you for your kind words. Good luck with the essay!

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