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the man who went out to find fear

  In the 00s, that time of Bush and theory blogs, I saw a lot of mentions of weirdness and Thomas Ligotti and Lovecraft and the like, and I paid no attention. I’ve never been a horror movie buff, and though I like Georges Bataille as much as your average American working stiff, I took abjection to be a much more hoity toity thing than Friday the 13 th IV or whatever. Give me a meditation on the big toe or give me death! As the old motto goes.   As a kid, I read some weird tales, or so I vaguely remember, but not Lovecraft. And as an older beast, I have pretty much the same reaction to Lovecraft’s prose as Edmund Wilson did, who dissed him in the New Yorker in the1940s for being the kind of writer who imagines the words instead of the thing. In fact, who doesn’t? It is just that some writers imagine, hmm, better words.   However, back in the 00s, I little imagined I would have a boy. I especially didn’t imagine that my boy would adore horror and, at the tender age of nine, become a
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The oracles are not dead

In his History of Oracles, one of the major texts of the early Enlightenment, Bernard de Fontenelle proposed applyng a sort of Efficient Markets thesis to God: “For I conceive that God only speaks to man to supplement the weakness of their knowledge, which is not sufficient for their needs, and that everything that he doesn’t say is of such a kind that they can learn it themselves or it is not necessary that they know it. Thus, if the oracles were given by evil demons, God would have taught us this in order to stop us from believing that it was God himself doing this, and that there was something divine in false religions.” Like the efficient market thesis, which claims that all current information is reflected in the prices of financial commodities, God, in Fontenelle’s view, only gives out information to humans if they need it – having endowed them with reason for all their other information needs. Efficiency is the most secular of concepts, for it quickly purges any disturbance in

sometimes an ugly thought becomes a poem - Karen Chamisso

The penis sadness of so many men Who ran in their youth in packs With fee fie fo and fee fie fum Confusing sex with jumping jacks Settles like a pall on their older faces - The judges, lawyers, the ceo The aging blade’s jowly disgraces The thirty-somes nowhere to go. As pity to pain, so I’ve been taught, Is the tribute we must as Christians pay I try to summon up tears for the lot, Those dogs in their winter play This little piggy went to market This little piggy went home And wrote oink oink oink on his walls Brooding on his sweetmeats all alone. - Karen Chamisso

pain pain pain

  I’m in pain at the moment. In Sete, I made some sudden movement that I cannot now call to mind, review my movements as I will – but I noticed, walking along the seashore, a pain in my back. The next day the pain was double, and I went to the doctor, who – after having me hop up on the cot in his office, which required resolution – poked me here and there and had me raise my legs – easy! The trouble was just sitting there. Well, the doctor concluded, obviously lumbago! He wrote me a prescription for painkillers and a heat treatment lotion, warned me to take the pill for my stomach – he was most concerned with the effect of the pills on my stomach, which I consider very French – and ushered me out of the office. Pain is a strange thing, as it sucks in your ego. Suddenly, the littlest movement becomes subject to a calculus that would have been the admiration of Bentham. A calculus seldom met with in the real world. I have often thought that I would not survive more than a week in the co

stabbed by the stalactite

  Stabbed by the stalactite There was a fad, in the eighties, for comparing the French Revolution unfavorably to the American Revolution. In that illwind of a decade, the reasoning was reliably coldwar-ish: the French Revolution led straight to the Gulag, whereas the American revolution led to: America! In hindsight, and even then, one could see what was bogus about this judgment. For instance, its in your face racism. Black people simply didn’t count for the Francois Furet kind of historian. For another thing, the genocide necessary to create a white nation on the North American continent didn’t count. And finally, the judgment was really not about the Gulag, but about the great countervailing egalitarianism of the post-war years. It was that egalitarian that the cold war historians were particularly eager to dismantle. Of course, this dismantling was never put so crudely. In fact, a synthesis between in-egalitarianism and egalitarianism was established, under the aegis of neo-liberal

The evil supreme court: a reaction

  I'm reading - and it make sense - that Alito's text makes room for the court to overturn the Obergefell - no more gay marriages - and would make state laws outlawing gay sex legal. The wall of shit is coming. Meanwhile, the Democrats, after a fast start, have twiddled their fingers. Biden has shown more energy about Ukraine than he ever showed about abolishing student debt. It is going to be a debacle in November for Biden's party. As long as the lifesucking centrist party machinery in D.C. has its grip on the party, it will continue to sink - as it did under Obama, who threw away his 2008 win and went on to preside over these losses: "Their share of seats in the United States Senate has fallen from 59 to 48. They’ve lost 62 House seats, 12 governorships, and 958 seats in state legislatures." Thus completing a historic pattern starting with Clinton in 1994, after which Clinton saved himself by turning right and threw his party overboard. The pattern is the same

on the Adam's Apple

  Although the “body” long ago became an intangible asset of academic study, certain body parts lag behind in the race for recognition Who, for instance, has written a definitive study of the Adam’s Apple? I went to Ebsco, naturally, for the latest gender scholarship, but was disappointed. Aside from an article in something called Pastoral Psychology, the Adam’s apple article that was the longest was, actually, about the apple in Eden that was depicted in Jan van Eyck’s painting of Adam and Eve. Thomas Browne, in the Seventh book of Pseudodoxia epidemica, devotes a chapter to the inquiry into what fruit, exactly, hung from the tree of good and evil. He goes through the responses of scholars, and even inquires into why, in the Bible, sometime a detail is given, sometimes it is withdrawn – an inquiry pursued in different texts some four hundred years later by Roland Barthes. However, Browne is not a disturber of the critical peace, but bids us be content with outlines and the general mor