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Showing posts from January 30, 2005
Juliette, the debauched sister of Justine, is traveling in Italy with Clairwil, her monstrous male counterpart. It is the usual Sadean tour, orgies in churches and castles, delicious tortures on technologically superior racks, etc., etc. Coming into Naples, Juliette falls in with the court of the Bourbon king there, Ferdinand. Of course, the hot chocolate and the fucking flows easily. But, this being Sade, the crowded intervals of passing bodily fluids back and forth are interspersed with philosophic dialogues. At a country retreat, the King, Juliette, and the Prince Francaville are stirred by a question not posed in Plato’s Symposium: “In a word,” Juliette asks her companions, has the Supreme Being put you on earth to be fucked?” The response to this question from Prince Francaville is quoted by A. and H. in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, as well it should be. We’ve already seen Francaville, in his temple to Priapus, abundantly sodomized with that strange ritual choreography th
LI has fallen into the habit of quoting ourselves. Such are the ignoble patterns that mark the shut in and the braggart. We are going to do it again As the NYT’s John Burns writes: “A second round of preliminary election returns released today by Iraqi authorities showed that 67 percent of the 3.3 million votes counted so far from Sunday's election went to an alliance of Shiite parties dominated by religious groups with strong links to Iran. Only 18 percent went to a group led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite who favors strong ties to the United States. Few votes went to Sunni candidates. Although the early votes were drawn primarily from Baghdad and from southern provinces where the Shiite parties were expected to score strongly, and from only 35 percent of the 5,216 polling stations, the scale of the vote for both religious and secular Shiites underscored the probability of a crushing triumph and a historic shift from decades of Sunni minority rule in I
“The emperor was devoted to the worship of the gods, to the study of magic, and to the belief of oracles. The prophets or philosophers, whom he revered as the favorites of Heaven, were frequently raised to the government of provinces, and admitted into his most secret councils.” Bush’s Social Security plan, the NYT intones with all the solemnity of a eunuch’s mass, will establish his place in history. This is rich – the issue isn’t, as you might have thought, the wholesale robbery of your social security, already borrowed against to provide tax breaks for the investor class, but whether, in the future, some school textbook will mention Bush II. The paragraph devoted to him composes itself, no? “Lucky pinhead, elevated by corrupt court, takes vacation and allows U.S. buildings to be blown up, blows up wrong Middle Eastern country in retaliation, blows up national pensions, blows up U.S. economy at large, ascends to heaven from banks of Potomac in the midst of angelic choirs, de
Computer melt downs, sex manuals My computer did the old Microsoft Dive last night, so I was up to four putting it back together again. Thus, the excruciating thought of gluing together my “thoughts” on any topic has the allure, for me, that getting engaged had for Bertie Wooster. Luckily, I’ve had some letters about my Adorno and Horkheimer posts. My friend H. wrote me to say that he liked the posts; however, he did ask why, in that the link I gave to the post on, my comments on said post were so ‘mean to that old fellow you linked to.’ Mean? The cause is in that graphomania, that intoxication with words, that has carried me to many a nadir. What can I say? Some are alcoholics out of a bottle, and some get drunk on their own verbosity. I try to combine the two vices. Mr. H. also wrote: “you can't close these set of posts without also treating us to K.Korsh's critique of the Frankfurt school. Especially since yours truly has been dreaming of reading it
Ignorance Mais depuis qu’on entrevoit la nature, que les anciens ne voyaient point du tout; depuis qu’on s’est aperçu que tout est organisé, que tout a son germe; depuis qu’on a bien su qu’un champignon est l’ouvrage d’une sagesse infinie aussi bien que tous les mondes; alors ceux qui pensent ont adoré, là où leurs devanciers avaient blasphémé. Les physiciens sont devenus les hérauts de la Providence: un catéchiste annonce Dieu à des enfants, et un Newton le démontre aux sages. – Voltaire “Since we have examined nature, which the ancients didn’t see at all; since we have perceived that everything is organized, that everything has its seed; since we have discovered that the mushroom is as much the work of an infinite intelligence as worlds are; since then those who think have adored, there where their predecessors blasphemed. The physicians have become the messengers of providence; while it is the catechist who tells children about God, it is a Newton who demonstrates him to the
The U.S. has so successfully projected an image of its power that even its critics, even its enemies, unconsciously accept it. In Robin Wright’s book, the Last Great Revolution, about post Khomenei Iran, she reports that certain Iranians assured her that Khomenei was set up by the U.S. That he was a CIA asset. This kind of thinking has leaked into the anti-war perspective. When the U.S. first occupied Iraq, LI issued vitriolic post after vitriolic post mocking the very premise that a bunch of outside know nothings could take over Iraq and transform it to their liking. We were especially amused by the idea that Field Commander Bremer would huff and puff and infuse an everlasting, privatized ally of the U.S. into Mesopotamia. In the event, Bremer couldn’t even keep his accounts straight , much less create neo-con heaven on earth. As we put it on April 3, 2004: “From the beginning, we have maintained that the top down implementation of civil change, such as was envisioned by al
Sixty percent of the eligible electorate in Iraq voted, according to the report in Liberation. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Washington Post, the administration is signaling: no timetable, no withdrawal. “The Bush administration has for now ruled out creating a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq after today's elections, but military commanders have charted a plan to have Iraqi security forces begin taking the lead in combat operations in certain parts of the country as early as spring.” Such blind and expected venting of Bush imperialism goes well with the Bush version of democracy, on display in this article about the way the Bush people are pressuring Qatar to cripple Al Jazeera. And it should lead us directly to Fiske’s pessimistic take on the whole thing, as a vast farce: “The media boys and girls will be expected to play along with this. "Transition of power", says the hourly logo on CNN's live coverage of the election, thoug
Post two This post follows up on yesterday’s. There is another fold in A and H’s interpretation of Kant. As we’ve been emphasizing, the system of the Enlightenment sacrifices what we want to be true to what is true. The oddity of this transaction is that the truth of psychology, with its dense casuistry of material motives, leaves little place for the unmotivated desire for truth. How, THEN, does the discovery of the truth account for itself within the Kantian system? Interestingly enough, there is a space in the Kantian system for this apparent contradiction. It is a moment of abasement and glory, a moment of reflection on wanting what we don’t want. This crops up in a sort of Kantian baroque – self annihilating phrases, like purposive non-puposiveness [in the Critique of Judgment]. In the Critique of Practical Reason, this is sussed out by elevating one feeling, and one only, to a primary moral status: humility. But Kant’s interpretation of the background sacrifice tha