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Showing posts from December 10, 2006

gott mit uns

In the First International Dada Fair in 1920, one of the exhibits, a collaboration between John Heartfield and Rudulf Schlichter, was entitled Prussische Erzengel. It was a dummy, dressed in a military uniform, surmounted by a pig’s head. A note on the dummy read: “in order to understand this work of art, go on a daily twelve hour exercise on the Tempelhof Field with full backpack and equipped for maneuvers.” Alas, the simple and direct attack on the military that characterized the Vietnam war protests and help shrink the American military in the seventies has not materialized, so far, in the Iraq war. The American archangel has yet to be attacked for its brainlessness, its threat to our liberties, and its criminal waste of resources. The good side is that recruitment – which, by relentlessly manipulating numbers, the Bush administration has tried to portray as being excellent – is, in reality, in trouble. While re-enlistment is high (for the same reason that, in the 1890s, the coal co

the borderline between white and black magic

‘In a sense, it is the market that free-rides on extra-market values that make our market society a bearable place, by tempering the relentless opportunism that the market model commends. Norms of civility are a public good. Without them, the world would degenerate into a society of relentless mutual suspicion.” – Robert Kuttner LI’s last post breezily went on about the social imposition of money as the supremely cathected object. To understand that, I thought it would be nice to turn to a product that is on the twilight borderline between white and black magic – blood. You know, the substance the wine turns into during mass. That fascinating liquid with the color that serves no evolutionary purpose – pure accident, that red. As a matter of fact, blood and its sale was the object of one of the most cited books in defense of the welfare state by Richard Titmuss, who correctly saw that white magic depends on inverting a fundamental human fact – that the gift relationship logically and hi

strength through joylessness

“When it happens that a person has to give up a sexual object, there quite often ensues an alteration of his ego which can only be described as a setting up of the object inside the ego, as it occurs in melancholia; the exact nature of this substitution is as yet unknown to us. It may be that [by] this introjection, which is a kind of regression to the mechanism of the oral phase, the ego makes it easier for the object to be given up or renders that process possible. It may be that this identification is the sole condition under which the id can give up its objects. At any rate the process, especially in the early phases of development, is a very frequent one, and it makes it possible to suppose that the character of the ego is a precipitate of abandoned object-cathexes and that it contains the history of those object-choices.” – Freud, the Id and the Ego. LI did not plan to write anything about Pinochet. But the astonishingly fascist Washington Post editorial, which bears all the hal

tilting towards SCIRI

When the obvious becomes obvious, it becomes news. The headlines in the NYT and the scuttlebutt on the political blogs is that the U.S. is trying to create an anti-Sadr coalition, centering around SCIRI, to replace the coalition that currently supports Maliki. Two months ago, on October 08, LI pointed out that the U.S. was leaning heavily towards SCIRI, and explained why: “The last couple of weeks have seen the reintroduction of a push to ‘federalize’ Iraq – which is a long way to say, SCIRI wants to break off Southern Iraq and use its Badr brigade militia to create a state as autonomous as the Kurdish state, under SCIRI rule. Really, that means under the rule of Mohamad Baqir Al Hakim. This, it might seem at first glance, is counter to the Bush junta’s interests. After all, Hakim is notoriously close to Iran. But in the dirty war, nothing is what it seems. From the start of the war, the idea of breaking off Southern Iraq and creating a neo-liberal slave state has been floated around a

random notes - completely weimar free!

IT is now a Doctor . (I think.)Congratulations from all of us here at Limited Inc! … Someone asked LI if we were going to say something about the death of Pinochet. No, we have nothing much to add. Pinochet was not only a dirty murderer, but he has also become a ritual object for abuse by lefties who long ago took the don’t-look-back rightist turn – the Jorge Castenedas and Christopher Hitchens. Kicking that corpse gives this group the illusion that they are still fighting the good fight of their youth – when of course they long ago joined the side of the Chicago Boyz and the ‘third way.’ Kicking Kissinger is another thing this group likes to do. It is rather like the boss airguitaring to “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.’ You really, really don’t want to see it, be in the room with it, or have to talk to the boss about the rock n roll giants of his youth later. Give me the fascists of yore, who didn’t wrap the iron fist in the Winnie the Pooh language of the winds, the winds of free

an instinct has always told me: it is senseless to be a martyr without effect

Mir hat das mein Instinkt immer gesagt: Märtyrer ohne Wirkung, das ist etwas Sinnloses. – Tucholsky Eric Kastner said that Tucholsky was a “fat little berliner who wanted to stave off a catastrophe with a typewriter.” Although Karl Kraus’ name has penetrated beyond the Germano-sphere, so that even people who have never read him have read about him, Tucholsky hasn’t been as fortunate. So here are a few things I like about Kurt Tucholsky. - He was eminently modern. There was not a shred of false nostalgia in his makeup. In an essay in which he talked about a French essayists phrase that, in Europe, they waste people and spare things, and in America they waste things and spare people, Tucholsky writes about the peasant that spends hours trying to bang out some crookedness in a metal flange and says that it isn’t exactly the height of civilization that we can brag about this banging peasant against the American response – to throw the flange away and get a new one. The elevation of the ban

a message from a reader

Peter Beinart, Nude Model, here. I was relaxing in the hottub the other day with my good friend, Johnny Chait. It had been a hard week, let me tell you. However, the production values on “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me, muscular liberal?” have truly been marvelous. Scruggs+Limitedinc+Gulf and Western have really gone all out on this film, which comes in at a cost of 7500 dollars – we even rented a new apartment! I was so getting tired of the couch in producer’s pad that we used in the previous fifty films, let me tell you – I have the polyester burns to prove it. I, of course, play the Pool boy. Well, enough plugging! Chait asked if I had seen the story about the Democrats meeting our President. As my many fans know, I have been trying to avoid D.C., since I made that little booboo in advocating liberating a certain Middle Eastern country. But, as Johnny quickly noticed, every time our President is mentioned, there is something about it that causes Petey to ris