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Showing posts from October 1, 2006

killing a writer is easy

Anna Politkovskaya, RIP Our criminal time has materialized itself in a vast hitman’s hand that slaps us and slaps us and slaps us. And we – we are still asleep. We’ll die asleep. This news simply makes me sick. From Mandelstam’s Tristia The asphodel’s transparent grey spring is a long way off. Sand is rustling, really the waves are breaking white. But here, like Persephone, my soul enters the sphere of no-weight and there are no beautiful tanned arms in the kingdom of the dead. Why trust a boat with a funeral urn’s weight, and why make holidays of black roses over amethyst water? My soul pulls there, past Meganom’s misty cape, where the black sail will come from, after the funeral! Quick black clouds run by unlit, and under this windy moon flocks of black roses go flying. And, behind the cypress-stern the bird of death and mourning-tears drags itself, a huge flag of memory. And the fan of buried years opens, rustling, toward the amulet, where once, with a dark shuddering it bu

Es war einmal ein Fischer und seine Fru…

Well, LI has been on a tear this week. 1. First, we proposed that there is a dialectic in history, which can be seen in the divergence of form and substance over time – over, that is, human time. And that form goes ‘wild’ – that the form in which substance is presented can spread in unpredictable ways, capturing other seemingly unrelated issues and themes. (When the fisherman went home to his wife in the pigsty, he told her how he had caught a great fish, and how it had told him it was an enchanted prince, and how, on hearing it speak, he had let it go again. ’Did not you ask it for anything?’ said the wife, ’we live very wretchedly here, in this nasty dirty pigsty; do go back and tell the fish we want a snug little cottage.’ The fisherman did not much like the business: however, he went to the seashore; and when he came back there the water looked all yellow and green. And he stood at the water’s edge, and said: ’O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill Will have her own wil
“But I hear the voice of nature which cries out against me.” – Montesquieu LI is a bit gloomy. Our quote, by the way, is from Montesquieu’s chapter on the question of torture in the Spirit of the Laws. Here’s a bit of a Q and A, posted by In these Times, with Trevor Paglen and A.C. Thompson about their book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights . “What did you learn from getting so close to the “black sites” in Afghanistan? "Nobody was talking about or thinking about this issue. The Afghans would say, “Why are you so concerned with such a small number of prisoners from other countries that have been dragged here?” The justice system in Afghanistan is ad hoc. There are warlords who have secret jails in their houses. The U.S. military runs a network of 20 different detention centers that is essentially secret. These are jails that are publicly acknowledged, but the Afghan officials cannot get into them, the United Nations cannot get into them, the human righ

a speech by my favorite terrorist

Another day in cornpone coup country. The fisher king’s dick has failed to rise again in Iraq (although ten Gis died this weekend, or to put it in Bushspeech – ten commas were added to history) and the fisher king’s subs all pretending like they heard different things at that meeting in 2001 – instead of Al Qaeda, they kept hearing Alky? Da, (Rice thought it was just an answeri to a question about the President's character) and like that. And we discover, today, the only joyous thing to happen in the house of representatives since the impeachment of the prez - Representative Foley quietly masturbating and messaging (multi tasker that he is) while voting for another scandalous piece of sleazy legislation. The world is so upside down that it is Foley who is resigning. It should be the rest of congress. The country would be safer today if all of our reps concentrated on messaging their lolitas, rather than divvying up the spoils and digging the pit in which to bury our liberties. In

satanic historiography

De telles contradictions apparentes n’embarrassaient guère un jeune artiste, de foi arreteé, mais candide, and sans calcul, sentant peu le peril d’être tendre pour l’ennemi. – Michelet, preface to L’histoire de France (Such apparent contradictions hardly embarrass a young artist, with his closed, but candid and uncalculating creed, barely feeling the danger of being tenderhearted for the enemy.) Comment y arriva-t-on. Sans doute par l’effet si simple du grand principe satanique que tout doit se faire à rebours , exactement à l’envers de ce que fait le monde sacré. – Michelet, La sorciere Another truth: I said that Michelet is not concerned to describe the rites themselves; he deals rather with their destination, their effect (summoning the dead, curing the sick). This suggests that he makes little differentiation between rite and technique, a correspondence ethnology has adopted in its assertion that magical gestures are always sketches of a technology – Barthes on Michelet’s La sor

peckerwood dialectics

In my last post, I asked what Bush and Co. are afraid of. I think that is a good question, but instead of answering it head on, I am going to make a long detour in this post to talk about the dialectics of American history. For the empiricist, substance and form denote intellectual abstractions, extrinsic to real events. But this won’t do for the philosophically minded historian, who is prodded, by his subject matter, into assuming the dialectical point of view by the fact that, logically, the externality presumed by the empiricist dissolves into the emptiness of the variable when looked at closely. In the empiricist version of history, ultimately, nothing happens. So, starting over, our dialectical historian begins by taking substance and form to be divergent – and possibly, even, antithetical. So keeping that in mind, let’s think about our problem: how is it that a peculiarly Southern kind of tyranny has achieved success in the U.S. under the mask of the Republican party? This wou