Luke Niebler

Birthday Presence.

Luke Niebler

Q: I have this guy friend and its soon his bday. All of our group of friends agreed to spend 10Euros for a voucher of 200Euros cause we're a group of 20!! Personally I feel It is a bit too much for me (don't think I'm cheap or anything) But I don't know how to tell them that I don't agree without looking cheap infront of my friends+They sur;ey didn't spend 10Euros each for my bday which bugs me a little :/ . How can i deal with this situation? If I get out of the voucher thing, what should I buy a boy for his bday?? No harsh or mean comments please! 

 

A: You reveal a rather ethnocentric view of economics in a number of way:

 

1)   You clearly are bound by the base-ten numerical system, as evidenced by the “round” numbers that your friends are relying on. Why not a 236 “Euro” gift certificate? Your numerical system is tainted by a long history of colonization and oppression that has erased indigenous ways of understanding and calculating numbers. Ten “Euros” each only makes sense within this long history of displaced epistemologies, forming a global hegemony of Westernized numbers. One way out of this conundrum is to demand that your friends adopt a base-four numerical system in solidarity with the Chumash people of North America. Then, you will only have to contribute 4 “Euros.”

2)   Alternately, you can find significant play within the text of this event. Your friends, you say, are purchasing a voucher, or gift certificate. This is a wise way to embrace the eternal deferral of the present—we do not ever fully experience presence itself, but instead find it constantly displaced by another signifier. Indeed, the project of post-structuralism is to eliminate our naïve reliance on this impossible center. Thus, we always find ourselves near, but never in the present moment. Accordingly, your friend will never actually experience this “present,” and you can present him with a certificate for anything. Simply write signifiers such as “Law,” “Justice,” and “Ur-Father” on scraps of paper. He will enjoy them as much as anything.