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Showing posts from July 23, 2006

Bela Tarr

Taking advice from our reader, Amie, LI went out and rented Damnation, the Bela Tarr film, the other day. We’ve watched it twice. … I’m a reviewer of books, not film. I don’t know how to approach the medium. But let’s say something about Damnation anyway. Or one sequence. The sequence begins in a torrential rain – the rain beats down upon the coal mining city where the film is located, with few let ups, all through the film. You see the lights – this is a b&w film -- announcing the Titanik Bar. A car pulls up. A man gets out of it. We see all this from a camera that is mounted just behind the back of another man’s head, which looms in the shadows of the foreground. The camera is watching the bar at approximately his angle. Then the camera goes into the bar. In Goodfellas and Mean Streets, Scorcese made going into a bar or club a virtuoso fugue for camera, fluidly moving into the Copacabana (I think it was, in Goodfellas) through the kitchen and out into the show area with the faces

the tora bora conspiracy

"Osama bin Laden turned Blackwater into what it is today," Clark said. – Virginia Pilot, series on Blackwater, the mercenary company, July 24, 2006 In one of his weirder essays, “Secret Societies,” De Quincey claimed that at the age of seven (an important age for de Quincey – the age when his father died, and the age when he started dreaming vividly), he was introduced to the literature on secret societies – specifically, the dreaded Illuminati – by a thirty four year old woman. She loaned him Abbe Barruel’s Memoires pour servir a l’histoire du Jamcobinisme, a book that recounted the “dark associations” of a vast society organized to over throw Christianity. De Quincey was particularly – or perhaps morbidly – fascinated by Barruel’s use of a disease metaphor that has perennially clung to the conspiracy discourse “I had already Latin enough to know that cancer meant a crab; and that the disease so appalling to a child’s imagination, which in English we call a cancer, asoon as

stuff about lebanon, israel, and why the washington post editorial page is to laugh

LI must confess that we haven’t been doing the rounds of the blogs lately. We go to the news, and wonder how to make comments that are at all equal to the task – watching the rightwing in Israel, which has grown in tandem with the right wing in the U.S., commit the kind of crimes and blunders that are so characteristic of the Bush era, is painful to watch – more painful, I imagine, if you are watching from under the burning wheels of a van struck by an Israeli bomb, after the kindly dropping of pamphlets to tell you that Israel is going to violate the sovereignty of Lebanon and destroy all you possess, so flee down the road. Then we go to our new secret vice, the Google Book search. We look at Walter Savage Landor, or Ruskin’s Praeterita, instead of looking at Atrios, or Crooked Timber. So: the best opinion piece about Israel/America’s war against Lebanon is, surprisingly, an op ed on the NYT: The Tribes of War by Abbas El Zein. He does a coldly angry rundown of Israel’s last war with

rwg communications

He was a shiftless person, roving and magotieheaded, and sometimes little better than crased. – Anthony a Woods on John Aubrey. LI is jonesing due to lack of customers for his ‘umble writing services. Unlike Tom Taylor the Water Poet, who liked to take trips without carrying a single pence in his pocket and see who’d put him up for the betterment of all mankind and the sweet English language, LI has so far not convinced Austin power to contribute to the deathless tradition of literature. So, we’re going to advertise two things today. One is the writing service, about which we’ve written a new flyer. And the other is this gig we are doing Sunday. First the gig, for which this is the official flyer: PRESS RELEASE July 26, 2006 Contact: Robert Hicks (512) 936-4600, TEXAS AUTHORS SHARE THEIR PASSIONS AT WRITER'S BRAGGIN' RIGHTS AT THE BOB BULLOCK TEXAS STATE HISTORY MUSEUM ON SUNDAY, JULY 30 What: Writer's Braggin' Rights When: Sunday July

if the blind lead the blind...

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” – Matthew, 15:14. The phrase comes out of a society and historic period in which the sight of the sighted leading the blind must have been no uncommon thing, just as glaucoma, the effect of parasites, the wear and tear of age, and the clinamen of the genetic arc must have sprinkled the blind and nearsighted over the landscape pretty abundantly. Jesus’ saying has a characteristic starkness – it is in the decisiveness of his inversions and metaphors that one feels the messianic impulse, the making of the first last and the last first. Brueghel’s painting, which multiplies the number of the blind into a small band, much like the bands of beggars one would encounter in the war ravaged low country during the long Dutch revolt against the Spanish, thrusts upon the observer the utter violence of Jesus' phrase. Yet the observer is himself in a peculiar posi

dogs, considered philosophically

I usually comment on Long Sunday symposiums, but a symposium on democracy is a little bit too much like high school civics class book reports for me. I think those guys are, at the moment, symposiumed out. Since these are the dog days of summer, the time when, traditionally, LI’s financial life passes before our eyes – summer is Motha Hubbard bare indeed around here – we are more interested in the philosophical topic of the dog. As in – when you walk a dog, whose free will is exercised, yours or the pooch’s? And does this depend on the size of the dog? We’ve been reading Roger Grenier’s The Difficulty of Being a Dog (we have a sideline interest in the literature devoted to dogs, from Cervantes Colloquy to Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip). Grenier’s first essay, enigma, begins with a nice anecdote about Paul Valery. It seems that when people would come to see Paul Valery’s grave, the man who ran the cemetery would tell his dog, “Paul Valery,” and the dog would guide them to the sacred spot. Th

our bright and shining lie in Iraq - or, stabbing this war in the back, let me count the ways

First, a beggin’ preface: anyone who has been thinking about supporting LI should do it in these dog months. Keep us up with the phone and electric bills, and we will keep writing the bad trip prose that makes reading this site as pleasurable as a visit to a cold fingered proctologist! Check out the pay pal button. Now, onto today’s s…s…s…schmatter – which is this WAPO article by Thomas Ricks , analyzing the American military failure in Iraq. Ricks details the chronicle of errors, shadowing, all unconsciously, the LI storyline. We are happy to report that he actually captures a few home truths. Unfortunately, at the moment he’s screwed himself to the sticking point, he… unscrews himself. He can’t quite get past the one big conventional D.C. lie, the motherlode of American misadventure. In the end, he stays tamely within the precincts laid down by D.C.’s court society. Like the court society of many a past declining empire, it has crystallized around a few gross misconceptions about t