Omigod, I saw and read and heard so much amazing art in 2012. I saw Eileen Myles give an encore reading in a freaking Laundromat. I heard Anne Boyer read not once but twice. I heard Francesca Lisette read one of my favorite poems ever at Woolsey Heights, one of my favorite reading series ever. Alli Warren wrote a book. You know? But lest this opening disclaimer turn into a best-of-the-year list despite my dystentions, I have to tell you that I’m lacking the energy, wit, and critical acumen to do justice to any of these things—and I have to satisfy myself with a couple of brief remarks about that new Ke$ha record.
Not that I’m doing anything resembling justice to Warrior, which is so new as to be almost unknowable. I mean new in the sense that it came out in early December, but also “new” in the sense that Ke$ha and her team of writers and producers address themselves directly to the contemporary, which, as Agamben reminds us, is a dark place. Difficult to see. The only thing I mean to insinuate here is that, for me, Ke$ha’s work is supremely about happiness. Which is to say, it is profoundly concerned with ethics.
I think we’ve been so oversaturated by the semiotics of the modern workplace and its preventive lexicon against malpractice that we’ve forgotten that “ethics” in this history of philosophy basically refers to an inquiry into what makes life good. The Nichomachean Ethics of Aristotle amount to a series of notes about eudaimonia, literally perhaps “being in good spirits.” And this is the mode Ke$ha partakes in, reiterating two of the greatest phrases in English “Come on” and “Let’s Go” as hortatory subjunctives to join her in radiant happiness. Radiant, happy, and in a gold Trans Am.
Now I know many of Disinhibitor’s readers are going to be dissuaded by what Ke$ha’s music sounds like. But if aurally her work hearkens to Katy Perry, the island of Mykonos, and Kid Rock or Iggy Pop (depending on how generous one wants to be), politically she falls in between LaFargue and Blanqui. Seriously! One of the absolutely distinguishing features of Ke$ha’s work is its alignment against the money form and spectacular displays of wealth. Nor does she, in her work at least, herald the work ethic. So in “All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)” (a most Aristotelian of titles) she sings, “Been spending too much energy / on stupid shit when honestly / I wanna get high / just wanna get high / with everyone else here.”