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Showing posts from September 10, 2006


When LI was toiling away, learning philosophy back in Grad school, I pretty much focused on Western philosophy. That’s a vast amount of material there, bucko, and I figured that if – by the time I was doddering on the lip of the grave – I understood some of it, that would be enough of an achievement. But such projects belong to the long ago of academia. Since LI became a pirate intellectual – or, less boldly, a dilettante eclectist – we operate under the proud slogan: fuck the context, show me the beef. Or something like that. Which brings us to Mencius’ marvelous question, which is quoted in Yi-Fu Tuan’s Dominance and Affection: the making of pets: “Mencisu asked, “Is it right to force water to leap up?” He was taking the position that human nature is inclined to act in certain ways and not others, using the movement of water as an analogy. “Water,” he said, “will flow indifferently to east or west, but it will not flow indifferently up and down.” Now of course, he added, “by striking

Br'er Rabbit

One of the great American stories, one of the primal stories, is the story of the Tarbaby . I can’t see how you can understand this culture if you don’t know that story. I can’t see how you can understand this culture if you don’t appreciate that story. That it was ripped off by a cracker newsman (albeit a, for the time, moderate cracker newsman) in Atlanta doesn’t matter in the slightest – this story obviously comes from a genius oral source. Uncle Remus, Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Ralph Ellison -- the recording angel of history will gather very few positives about Southern civilization when all is said and done. Well, to refresh y’all’s memory, this is the beginning of it: “One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun w'at he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de new

the decline of the liberal papers

There were zip environmentalists in the old gold rush days in Sacramento, warning about the dangers of gold panning and such. But if there had been, they’d of been given a good listen to, then tied to the horses, dragged to the trees, and properly strung up. Boom times don’t like naysayers. Reading about the Washington Post op ed page hiring Bush speech writer Michael “axis of evil” Gerson to balance out such well known doves as Krauthammer, Mallaby, Hoagland, Will and company, I was reminded of how simple, in a sense, is the driver behind the war on terror. To put it in terms of the headlines of the Greater Washington Organization : “2005 Wrap Up: Washington, DC Region’s Economy is Hottest in Nation” And to think, things were looking grim back in 2001, after 9/11. Back then, the Post reported (November 16,2001): “Although the Washington region is likely to escape the recession that appears to be settling in across the country -- in part because of war-related spending by the governmen


Ann Richards is dead. Those who aren’t Texans might have a moment connecting name to face, or more than a moment. But those who are Texans will be … shocked, I guess is the word. Here are two anecdotes about the former governor from the Houston Chronicle obituary: “After voting early one afternoon at the Travis County courthouse, Gov. Ann Richards held up her Department of Public Safety detail to admire a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Richards carefully studied the bike, admiring its shiny chrome in the October sunlight, its size, shape and color. When a reporter queried the governor about what she was doing, Richards replied: "I am trying to decide whether I want a cruise, or a Harley for my 60th birthday." It was a short news story, accompanied by a photograph, that got noticed by the motorcycle company's moguls. Within hours of publication, Richards had a letter offering her a Harley-Davidson. Richards, 73, died Wednesday after a six-month battle against esophageal cance

introducing the LI sockpuppet

A recent post on ufobreakfast convinced LI that we were falling behind the times. The middle aged man, in this busy, blogorific epoch, is nothing without his own sockpuppet -- a loveable pseudonym/imaginary friend that can lick his ass and attack his enemies. So we've been auditioning sockpuppets. YOURTHEBIGGESTGENIUSEVER turned in a very fine comment on our Kiss me post: "this journalism, not unlike Moses' ten commandments, will change all of human history." However, YOURETC. forgot, in a post that doesn't really get to the heart of our brilliance, that the ten commandments are not journalism. Moses, like Norman Mailer in The Armies of the Night, was a new journalist, and so he reported on himself in the third person in Exodus. However, there is a difference between journalism and what journalism reports -- or at least, that is what they taught me at the Deep Eddie bar I hang around. I don't want to have to be correcting my sockpuppet, otherwise what is the

Nine views of Jean Paul Marat (first part)

Création difforme de la société, Fille sourde de cette mère aveugle. Lie de ce pressoir, Marat c’est le mal souffert devenu le mal vengeur… " - Victor Hugo 1. Of all those revolutionary lives in the 1790s, Marat's has the most symbolic narrative arc -- a hider in the sewers, a brief triumph over his enemies, the moderate Girondists, a death in the bathtub, apotheosis in David's famous picture. Its symbolic perfection is exploited both by those who find Marat a saint and those who find him an ogre. To Taine, he was obviously insane with delusions of gradeur – le delire ambitieux. To his Marxist biographer, Earnest Belfort Bax, he was, as he entitled himself, the “people’s friend,” although untutored in the ways of class – a transitional figure, in short, which nineteenth century Marxists loved the way Darwinians loved fossils of mammoths and pygmy horses. I think he is a prototype of that essentially modern figure, the Underground Man. After all, he literally did hide un

kiss me

Our readers will no doubt call to mind, on this day that seems especially appropriate to survey the ongoing war on terror, how often, and with what righteousness, the U.S. has threatened Iran and Syria for allowing insurgents to use their territory to access Iraq. The Bush administration has also, lately, been in an upbeat mood about its contribution to the w-w-war on terror, to wit, the legalization of torture, and the extension of executive, judicial and penal power to the CIA. And one has to admit, this contribution almost exactly mirrors the soul of this administration: brutish, small, incompetent, and of a piece with the Dixie totalitarianism that runs, a rich vein, through our history: from the pro-slavery freebooters of the 1850s in Kansas through the lynchers of the 1890s to the segregationists of the 1950s. Those who, like LI, believe the war on terror is a farce being performed by madmen, with various subject populations in walk on roles, found confirmation for that view in t