Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I plan to resume posting, though I'm not sure when. Next week, next year, or somewhere in between. In all probability it will be here (The Tarpeian Rock), but if it's somewhere else, I'll let you know. (For a new start, but more importantly for a fresh and better way of doing things, I'd like to have another spot somewhere; unfortunately I currently lack the means to have such a place created or the know-how to create it myself—a reality that's partly responsible for my lack of posting / enthusiasm of late. Blogger is also a bit of a dead zone nowadays, but that's another matter...)
Posted by Tyler at 12:22 PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
"The great problem of living in a country where information and education are so tightly controlled is that very little news about our actual situation ever gets through to the consumers. Instead we are assured that we are so hated by those envious of our wealth and goodness that they commit terrorist acts against us simply out of spite. The damage our presidential and corporate imperialists have done to others in every quarter of the world is a nonsubject, as we saw in August, when my realistic overview accidentally appeared on an imperial network and a panel of four was rushed into place to glue mouse ears back on the eagle's head." ―The Nation, September 30, 1996
"Gradually, it is now becoming evident to even the most distracted funster that there is no longer any need for NATO, because there is no enemy. One might say there never really was one when NATO was started, but, over the years, we did succeed in creating a pretty dangerous Soviet, a fun-house mirror version of ourselves. Although the United States may yet, in support of Israel, declare war on 1 billion Muslims, the Europeans will stay out. They recall 1529, when the Turks besieged Vienna not as obliging guest workers but as world conquerors. Never again." ―Vanity Fair, November, 1997
"What will the next four years bring? With luck, total gridlock. The two houses of Congress are evenly split. Presidential adventurism will be at a minimum. With bad luck (and adventures), Chancellor Cheney will rule. A former Secretary of Defense, he has said that too little money now goes to the Pentagon even though last year it received 51 percent of the discretionary budget. Expect a small war or two in order to keep military appropriations flowing. There will also be tax relief for the very rich. But bad scenario or good scenario, we shall see very little of the charmingly simian George W. Bush. The military―Cheney, Powell, et al.―will be calling the tune, and the whole nation will be on the constant alert, for, James Baker has already warned us, Terrorism is everywhere on the march. We cannot be too vigilant. Welcome to Asunción. Yes! We have no bananas." ―The Nation, January 8/15, 2001
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
"It's amazing to me that no one much talks about ... the fact that whatever our founders and framers thought of as a literate, informed citizenry can no longer exist, at least not without a whole new modern degree of subcontracting and dependence packed into what we mean by 'informed.' Hence, by the way, the seduction of partisan dogma. You can drown in dogmatism now, too―radio, Internet, cable, commercial and scholarly print―but this kind of drowning is much like sweet release. Whether hard right or new left or whatever, the seduction and mentality are the same. You don't have to feel confused or inundated or ignorant. You don't even have to think, for you already Know, and whatever you choose to learn confirms what you know. This dogmatic lockstep is not the kind of inevitable dependence I'm talking about―or rather it's only the most extreme and frightened form of that dependence.
"Part of our emergency is that it's so tempting to do this sort of thing now, to retreat to narrow arrogance, pre-formed positions, rigid filters, the 'moral clarity' of the immature. The alternative is dealing with massive, high-entropy amounts of info and ambiguity and conflict and flux; it's continually discovering new areas of personal ignorance and delusion.
"It may possibly be that acuity and taste in choosing which Deciders one submits to is now the real measure of informed adulthood." ―DFW
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
While reading, one of the things I like to collect are definitions―alternate, non-literal, or poetic.
Sometimes an author's words are a few steps removed from what I've fashioned out of their provisions. Take the following excerpt from Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion:
"By making the invisible visible, he confronts the people who exercise material force with a new environment, sets ideas and feelings at work in them, throws them out of position, and so, in the profoundest way, affects the decision."
Lippmann's subject is the role of an ambassador, and his sentence inspired one of the definitions below. But as you'll see, the word I selected has little to do with his original intent.
Other definitions are only slightly altered, with most falling somewhere in between.
Credits can be found at the end.
"Why do we call all our generous ideas illusions, and the mean ones truths? Isn't it a sufficient condemnation of society to find one's self accepting such phraseology? ...I know how names can alter the colour of beliefs." ―Lawrence Selden in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (1905)
Art: a parenthesis within the real world
Artist: someone who makes the invisible visible; someone who confronts the people with a new environment, sets ideas and feelings at work in them, throws them out of position, and, in the profoundest ways, affects them
Chance: the name given to our ignorance of causes
Charisma: the power to persuade without the use of logic
Common sense: the foundation of the bourgeois statement of fact; truth when it stops on the arbitrary order of him who speaks it
Duty: a term used by the the bourgeois to mythify strength
Education: the freeing of the mind through the discipline of wonder
Love: to desire someone else's happiness over your own, no matter the cost to you
Maturity: a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists
Nationality: that core of images and devotions without which man is unthinkable to himself
Order: the name the bourgeoisie gives to itself
Plastic: the excrement of oil
Rich: when one is able to meet the requirements of their imagination
War: the legal return to a state of savagery
Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New); Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion); Lamarck (via Philippe Soupault's Last Night of Paris); Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly (Dandyism); Barthes (Mythologies); Ibid.; Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book); (?); Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle); Lippmann (Public Opinion); Barthes (Mythologies); Norman Mailer (video interview); Henry James (Portrait of a Lady); Paul Leautaud (via Dan Franck's Bohemian Paris)
Thursday, April 11, 2013
"Their ideas are perpetually conversant in lines and figures. If they would, for example, praise the beauty of a woman, or any other animal, they describe it by rhombs, circles, parallelograms, ellipses, and other geometrical terms, or by words of art drawn from music, needless here to repeat. [...] And although they are dexterous enough upon a piece of paper in the management of the rule, the pencil, and the divider, yet, in the common actions and behaviour of life, I have not seen a more clumsy, awkward, and unhandy people, nor so slow and perplexed in their conceptions upon all other subjects, except those of mathematics and music. They are very bad reasoners, and vehemently given to opposition, unless when they happen to be of the right opinion, which is seldom their case. Imagination, fancy, and invention they are wholly strangers to, nor have any words in their language by which those ideas can be expressed; the whole compass of their thoughts and mind being shut up within the two forementioned sciences."
—Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
"In the beginning is the scream. We scream.
"When we write or when we read, it is easy to forget that the beginning is not the word, but the scream. Faced with the mutilation of human lives by capitalism, a scream of sadness, a scream of horror, a scream of anger, a scream of refusal: NO.
"The starting point of theoretical reflection is opposition, negativity, struggle. It is from rage that thought is born, not from the pose of reason, not from the reasoned-sitting-back-and-reflecting-on-the-mysteries-of-existence that is the conventional image of 'the thinker'.
"We start from negation, from dissonance. The dissonance can take many shapes. An inarticulate mumble of discontent, tears of frustration, a scream of rage, a confident roar. An unease, a confusion, a longing, a critical vibration...
"Our anger is directed not just against particular happenings but is against a more general wrongness, a feeling that the world is askew, that the world is in some way untrue. When we experience something particularly horrific, we hold up our hands in horror and say 'that cannot be! it cannot be true!' We know that it is true, but feel that it is the truth of an untrue world...
"That is our starting point: rejection of a world that we feel to be wrong, negation of a world we feel to be negative. This is what we must cling to...
"Our anger is constantly fired by experience, but any attempt to express that anger is met by a wall of absorbent cotton wool. We are met with so many arguments that seem quite reasonable. There are so many ways of bouncing our scream back against us, of looking at us and asking why we scream. Is it because of our age, our social background, or just some psychological maladjustment that we are so negative? Are we hungry, did we sleep badly or is it just pre-menstrual tension? Do we not understand the complexity of the world, the practical difficulties of implementing radical change? Do we not know that it is unscientific to scream?" —John Holloway (Change the World Without Taking Power, 2002)
|Guernica (Picasso, 1937)|
"If the moral fire of anger were not capable of being identified with all forms of Fire, visible or invisible, it would not be worth the trouble of living and for that matter we would never have been able to live, for after all, of what else are we made?
"Between the anger of a furious mind and the devastating force of all fires, there is in reality no distance. But there is something to be found. I have found this something and this is what permits me always to speak with complete assurance." —Antonin Artaud (Letters, 1937)
"To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards of deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death." —Jules Henry (Culture Against Man, 1963)