Skip to main content


Showing posts from October 27, 2002
Remora LI rather trailed off on our post before the last post -- as you might have noticed, LI is an incorrigible meanderer. This is, we suppose, a vice, but surely one of the salient differences between weblogging and real commentary, such as is published in a newspaper, is that the endings aren't so neat. The topics, too, are a bit more variegated. For instance, I imagine the local rag would not publish an op ed piece that begins with a consideration of Bishop Butler's Analogy. Yes, they are warned about such things by the marketing department. In any case, we were talking about Diane Coyle's exhibition of the deficiencies of common sense and the excellencies of economics -- which exhibition, we claimed, was marred by a severe misconstrual of categories, and a parochial vision of economics. (Coyle's comments, on the Financial Times website, has now been closed off to non-subscribers). Ms. Coyle is a great one for tearing down tariffs and promoting the benefits o
Dope Last night, LI's friend S. came to the door with two pumpkins. S., I think, likes the ritual of carving the pumpkin because of it seems so American to her -- and thus, slightly outlandish, the way American names are outlandish -- all those first names that don't mean anything, unlike Turkish names. It is an American habit to assume that our rituals are self-explanatory, whereas in other cultures the rituals are often all about explanation, are occasions in which memory is culturally ritualized. For Americans, a memory that is transmitted by ritual is, by its very nature, inauthentic. We mourn the lack of the individual rememberer -- we want experience to be located, and we think that location is in the individual. For LI, carving a jack o lantern is the kind of thing associated with childhood's clumsy arts and crafts -- fitting stubby fingers into dull scissors and snipping out circles from orange construction paper (ah, the feel of construction paper! its dist
Remora First, a note. LI begged the Enigmatic Mermaid to post about the Lula election. She did so . In Brazil, we believe, the feuilleton is called the cronica. It is a form known to Americans from the translation of Clarice Lispector's cronicas, of which a review is here . Well, we don't want to flatter the mermaid (well, maybe we do, a little), but while we sometimes find Lispector's cronicas a little, shall we say too caught up in their own sentimental intelligence? a bit too self appreciative? we feel that E.M. would rather buy a used Che Guevara bikini than aphorize hollowly. Although perhaps we are being unfair to Lispector. Someday we are going to do a post about the influence of Jules Renard's writing, especially the journals, on the cronica/personal essay format. And now for our feature presentation. "The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural
Remora There's an election day coming up -- which fills LI with about as much enthusiasm as an arachnophobe contemplating a new species of tarantula. The election process this year has been particularly grim, seemingly run by the utterly braindead for the utterly braindead, and processed by the utterly smarmy. In the meantime, the electorate is completely left out. DC decides what is important -- the war with Iraq, for instance --and decides how people should feel about it, and then gets all surprised when they don't feel that way. Wellstone, before he died, was pulling ahead of his opponent partly because of the war issue -- Wellstone voted against it. Now, to you and me, that might mean he'd tapped into ambiguity, to say the least, about the upcoming war. But not for the press. No, that was about Wellstone being kinkily independent, and people voting for him expressing himself, in spite of their own limitless enthusiasm for what DC decided about Iraq. For the DC line i
Dope LI moves slowly but surely � admittedly, sometimes we go off the track all together, but it is all in the interest of the Grand Plan. Not to worry, gents and ladies. Our consideration of Bishop Butler, in the next to the last post, was meant to tie in to the our criticism of Christopher Hitchens � hard as that may be to see. What Butler�s Analogy has to do with the upcoming war in Iraq, or at least the arguments that are being made about it in the American and English press, will become clear in good time. Let�s go back to the Butler quote, with its play on likelihood. What Butler is doing here is at the heart of one of the great controversies about probability. Is probability about events themselves, or is it a measure of the observer�s consciousness of events? Is it true that, in some non-subjective sense, tomorrow�s sunrise will be like today�s � insofar as it is a sunrise? Are conditions of identity dependent on a likeness of events in nature, or is this likeness m