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Showing posts from March 6, 2005
At the end of Un, Multiple, an examination of Deleuze’s work in response to critics of his book on Deleuze, the Clamor of Being, Badiou gives his sotie/enemy (G-D) a backhanded compliment: “Let’s recall that in our eyes, one of Deleuze’s cardinal virtues is to have hardly ever utilized, in his own name, all the ‘modern’ deconstructionist train [tout l’attirail déconstructiviste"moderne"] and to have been, without the least complex, a metaphysician (or, more than this, a physicist, in the presocratic sense of the term).” There’s a cautionary note for the writers of a blog named after one of Derrida’s essays. In fact, we are going to put in place some of that deconstructive machinery in spite of Badiou’s evident horror of it. Reader, beware. As we said in our last post, Badiou’s theses on art interest us as much for what they tell us about Badiou’s peculiar sense of truth as for his aesthetics. Formally, what Badiou might object to here is that, once again, deconstruction
Frege ridiculed the formalist conception of mathematics by saying that the formalists confused the unimportant thing, the sign, with the important, the meaning. Surely, one wishes to say, mathematics does not treat of dashes on a bit of paper. Frege's idea could be expressed thus: the propositions of mathematics, if they were just complexes of dashes, would be dead and utterly uninteresting, whereas they obviously have a kind of life. And the same, of course, could be said of any propositions: Without a sense, or without the thought, a proposition would be an utterly dead and trivial thing. And further it seems clear that no adding of inorganic signs can make the proposition live. And the conclusion which one draws from this is that what must be added to the dead signs in order to make a live proposition is something immaterial, with properties different from all mere signs. But if we had to name anything which is the life of the sign, we have to say that it is its use. – Wittgens
Who was it who described wrote about the “melancholic tradition of mimeticism” which gave us all those Greek anecdotes about pigeons pecking at Apelles paintings of fruit and the like? One of those anecdotes is Leonardo da Vinci’s claim – which LI culled from Schiller’s article in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences – about an artist who painted a picture that was so vivid that anyone who stood in front of it was bound to yawn – since it was a picture of a yawning man. Yawning is, of course, one of those mysterious mimetic behaviors – Aristotle compared its apparent contagiousness in men to the donkey’s irresistible inclination to urinate if it spots another donkey urinating. Which, given LI’s limited contact with donkeys lately, we haven’t been able to scientifically validate. However, there is something entrancingly meta about a painting of a behavior that is popularly considered mimetic framed by a discourse that considers painting to be modeled on certain canons of imi
In the last two or three months, you could squeeze the NYT as hard as you like but you wouldn’t produce a tenth of the news about Iraq that you get from, say, one visit to the daily war news blog . The new propaganda phase re America’s loveable situation comedy version of the Chechnya war, set in a Mesopotamia far, far away, where darling women show their little purple smudged fingers and are surely preparing to embrace Jesus if we only let them, is not to report it at all. So, for instance, where is the report that the British transport plane that was shot out of the sky in December might have been brought down from a height of 15,000 feet? –the first example of the use of the shoulder mounted anti-aircraft missiles that we all know are out there, distributed like popcorn to various jihadists by the CIA in the Afghan liberation thing (remember how we were all for Islam back in the day? ah, our sweet semi alliance with Osama, before islamo-anticommunism – so good, and good for you,
LI’s NYC correspondent, T., went to a Fortean meeting – or rather, a meeting of a dissident Fortean group. The meeting was, he thought, scheduled to be held in a Times Square bar he fondly remembered. Here is the report: Oh my, was I wrong. First of all, I had this image in my mind of the joint - that I had been there, drank there.... - nope. Generally non-descript Greek diner and non-descript "bar" that looked just like the mauve/floral print/fake redwood diner. The "meeting" was not; it was, rather, a couple of people getting together for dinner. I mean: I prepared some material! So, after three of four minutes of disappointment, I began to enjoy the company. I met and had some very nice conversations with, in particular, Joe and Sam [not their real names- ed.]. Joe is a big fine kind gentlemen who has a particular interest in the vagaries of the human condition. Specifically, he told me about his meetings with Otherkins - those who believe themselves to b
“T he raccoon penis is a reminder of his hustler times at truck stops across southern America - the pendant is a sexual talisman in the southern states…” – The Observer. Umm. The British still don’t quite, shall we say, understand primitive peoples outside their island. But LI does like the idea that the good bourgeois in the Red States, after fixing up the raccoon stew, have just that special use for the thang bone. While the Observer goes on to celebrate the cult genius of a writer, JT Leroy, who seems to be spooning out the usual mixture of prostitution and transvestitism – closing that infinitesimal gap between Jerry Springer and William Burroughs – LI has been reading another Stephen Wright novel, Going Native. Stephen Wright has not had a large output: Meditations in Green, M31: A Family Romance, and Going Native across a stretch of thirty years. The first novel won the Maxwell Perkins award, the very name of which has an antique air of virtue – one imagines a mix of John O’Hara