“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, May 15, 2003


In a previous post, I recommended checking out the New Yorker profile of Zizek. In this season's Critical Inquiry there's a heated joust between Zizeck and Harpham. I must admit, as is often the case, I only read one side: Zizek's defense of himself as, to quote Harpham, a "symptom." In the course of doing so, he quotes this beautiful line from Deleuze, which is especially apropos at this moment:

�There�s no democratic state that�s not compromised to the very core by its part in generating human misery.�

We would almost like to make that a motto, but it would be unfair to the serpentine weight of the phrase -- serpentine because the weight of it is redistributed in unexpected ways as one repeats it.

However, in keeping with one version of the phrase, let's talk kingship.

It seems that the Pentagon mini-Metterniches are lusting to do for the rightful heir to the Peacock throne -- that's right, his solemnity, Prince Reza Pahlavi -- what they have done, so abundantly, for Ahmad Chalabi -- provide him with a little uniform, a little stipend, and a cohort of blackshirts.

Well, since we are lusting to restore ancient kingdoms, why don't we act on an abuse that we can cure right here at home? I mean the unlawful annexation of Hawaii, of course. LI is presently engaged in writing a review of Van Tilburg's biography of Katherine Routledge, the Easter Island anthropologist, so we've been interested in all things 19th century and Polynesian. There's a nice article about the downfall of the Hawaiian kingdom in Counter Punch.

And there is an Hawaiian independence movement. It has a nice collection of articles about the abuse to which Hawaii has been subject since the wily Yankees illegally annexed the place, way back in the 1890s. As Robert Louis Stevenson put it long ago, in the South Sea Letters, speaking of a native Hawaiian who was marooned by his captain in the Marquesas (back in the old whaling days, Captains often marooned crew members in order not to pay them), and had petered out in Samoa, longing for home: "I wonder what he would think if he could be carried there indeed, and see the modern town of Honolulu brisk with traffic, and the palace with its guards, and the great hotel, and Mr. Berger's band with their unifroms and outlandish instruments; or what he would think to see the brown faces grown so few and the whtie so many; and this father's land sold fro planting sugar, and his father's house quite perished, or perhaps the last of them struck leprous and immured between the surf and the cliffs on Molokai. So simply, even in the South Sea islands, and so sadly, the changes come."

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