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Showing posts from June 6, 2004
News Somebody came to the site this week and -- deciding that I knew a language or two besides English -- contracted with me to do translation work. This is good. This is not enough. My fault, really. LI's little advert for the RWG Editing service is real, and we should point to it periodically. Check it out. I'm even going to be overcoming my habitual sloth and using the code my friend D. sent me to make the page Mozilla friendly, so that those who are using a better browser can actually use my little drop down table to see some of my work. In the meantime, I discovered, amusingly enough, that some institute in Florida that calls itself the Vargas Llosa Org has stolen one of the reviews I wrote for Newsday. Here is the link.
Bollettino Napoleon once remarked that that, if he had been king, he would have thrown Beaumarchais in prison for writing the Noces de Figaro. “The Marriage of Figaro is already the revolution in action.” Astute of Napoleon to notice – and symptomatic of the tyrant’s syndrome of mistaking the symbol for the fact. The conditions that would precede the revolution in action were happening in the countryside; repressing the symbol becomes, itself, a symbol of the essential narcissism of the court. Figaros in the fields were already claiming equality with his absentee owners by the admittedly less artistic means of putting their houses to the torch. By the time that kind of censorship is needed, it is already too late for that kind of censorship. If the Bourbons had been treated to a collective lobotomy, you might get something like the Sauds. This family arose from wretched origins, captured power through deceit and mass murder, and has kept it the way a pirate captain keeps ord
Bollettino Well, my post about elites seems doomed to perpetual postponement. First Reagan dies, which I had to lament; then there was Schlegel to explain; and lately I’ve been getting epistles from my friend T. honing in with an evil eye on two sentences from the essay of Chaouli’s I quoted. The offending passage reads: “The line of reasoning I propose assumes that romanticism, far from furthering a mutual implication of art and politics (or art and religion, or art and philosophy), promotes their differentiation. With romanticism, art (and not politics, religion, or philosophy) increasingly decides what art should be.” To which my friend, knowing that I was slyly inching towards some beret headed affirmation of the autonomy of art myself, the dangerous doctrine of art for the sake of art, made the following crabby but just remarks: the “for the sake of" is in my craw (wherever that is)....either (i) the artist knows for what it is that the item is executed and such k
Bollettino A few notes on Schlegel Chaoli’s article, as we said, takes off from a reply made by Friedrich Schlegel to an essay, On Perpeutal Peace, written by Kant. The translation of the essay is here: It is interesting that the phrase of Kant’s that attracted Schlegel’s attention, Die bürgerliche Verfassung in jedem Staate soll republikanisch seyn , is translated as The Civil Constitution of Every State Should Be Republican." This disguises the force of bürgerliche, even though civil is a pretty good equivalent, since it derives from civus, OF the city. . However, there is a definite overtone of the concept of class – the class of the city’s worthies, to use the older English term - in the word that is rather lacking in its English equivalent. The citizen is not simply an inhabitant – which the American reader, product of the struggle for universal suffrage, might unthinkingly assume. Schlegel is not well known to American readers. He isn’t, frankly, that well k
Bollettino Wow. There go my twenties… An egocentric response to the death of Ronald Reagan, the man whose presidency defined almost all of my politics between the ages of 21 and 29. I don’t think Reagan ever proposed a policy or a program, espoused a bill or advocated an idea that I didn’t think was shabby, bogus, illegal, immoral, or simply dumb. From supporting the death squads in El Salvador to the money he wasted on the anti-missile defense – a trillion dollar monument to our now dead pharaoh, which will outlive us all, and never, ever work – Reagan’s presidency galvanized me, at least. Not that I don’t have a sneaking affection for the guy. There was something so Hollywood corrupt from the thirties about him, like a Raymond Chandler character who, inexplicably, was NOT involved in a murder. A Terry Lennox with permanently ink black hair and – unlike Lennox – a good woman (and a good woman’s astrologer) to guide him through the rough times. I could never get mad at Reagan