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Showing posts from February 25, 2007

I love to jerk off, but I don't love all jerk offs

“But if the personalities weren’t ridiculous by themselves, one wouldn’t be able to make up good stories.” – Rameau Frankly, LI doesn’t like Atrios’ wanker of the day award, because it associates one of God’s greatest gifts – wanking – exclusively with the warmonger and the feeb. I guess it is the last gasp of the great onanism fear that swept over Europe and the States in the 18th century. But it has had one good effect at least – it is obviously driving Time Magazine’s Joe Klein crazy. Today, he published a You can trust a Communist to be Communist post on his blog, and it is a useful map of the parameters of U.S. reporting. Anything that seems to indicate that a reporter will be called a “left wing extremist” is excluded. Since Klein is an insider to these circles, I think we can trust his accuracy. Here are the rules, the things that are tabu for your average thumb up his ass D.C. scribe : A left-wing extremist exhibits many, but not necessarily all, of the following attributes: --

happy texas independence day, pardners!

Happy Texas Independence day! "Today is the 171st anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836." - Houston Chronicle. This is a good time to remember one of my favorite American politicians, Sam Houston - friend of the Indian (they didn't call him the fuckin Raven for nothing), agin that bestial slavery system, pro-Union, and especially pro the bottle. Sammy, what happened? LI is going to commune with his ghost today. Here's a bit of history. On April 19, 1861, Sam went to Galveston, which was like the Charleston of this state, pro-secesh, and from the balcony of the Tremont House Hotel he threw down, which was a dangerous thing to do in Texas. After all, at around the same time, round the Dallas area, Confederate hoodlums were lynching pro-Unionists (always remember, the Confederacy was founded on the blind criminal violence, and was a completely dishonorable enterprise from start to finish - a natio

the art of the lickspittle

“A party of us were together one day – we’d been drinking, it’s true – and suddenly some one made the suggestion that each one of us, without leaving the table, should tell something he had done, something that he himself honestly considered the worst of all the evil actions of his life. But it was to be done honestly, that was the point, that it was to be honest, no lying.” – The Idiot Dostoevsky is perhaps the greatest artist of the ugly story, the shameless and shameful anecdote. There are so many of them in his novels, and of course, Notes from under the floorboards is one big ugly story. It is obvious that Dostoevsky himself considers that he picked up the genre from the French. One usually thinks of Rousseau’s Confessions. Perhaps that is literally the source of the ‘game”, but, in broader historic terms, Rousseau’s Confessions emerge from a whole sub-genre of ugly stories. I could, perhaps, trace the psychology of these stories to the moralistes. But then I’d be here all fucking


LI recommends Gerald Howard’s book review of Philip Rieff’s posthumous My Life Among the Deathworks and CHARISMA: THE GIFT OF GRACE, AND HOW IT HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM US . Rieff’s sociology was entirely in the domain of what Mills called the sociological imagination - rooted in the novelist's sense of the moment, on the one hand, and philosophy, on the other, the latter coming to Rieff via a lifelong engagement with Freud. The review profiles the entire career, and the entire career sounds very much like Herzog’s in Bellow’s novel, down to the young wife – in Herzog’s case, Madeleine - who simultaneously divorces Herzog and starts on the threatening upward academic journey. In Rieff’s case, the young wife was Susan Sontag: It was in a Chicago classroom in 1950 that he met and was instantly smitten with his beautiful student the seventeen-year-old Susan Sontag. Autres temps, autres mœurs, they were married ten days later. In the annals of miserable American literary marriages, on

Don't let it get you down, it's only castles burning...

Like all good Americans – and Russians, come to that – LI harbors apocalyptic fantasies and eagerly looks for the promised horror in the flotsam and jetsam of bad news in the newspapers. In The Idiot, you’ll remember, Lebedev is a buffoon/parasite of the Rameau type who insinuates himself into Salon society with his interpretations of the Book of Revelations. At one point, somebody accuses him of interpreting the star Wormwood as the railroads spreading through Europe. Actually, an excellent interpretation – it was, after all, the contention of the more sober historian, AJP Taylor, that the schedule of those same railroads was the driver for the mobilizations that led to WWI. So – in spite of my worry about my brother’s investments – I got that certain vertigo from the 400 point stock market drop yesterday – although I in no way believe that indicates a permanent trend. And it made me think of posting a little story about the end of Carthage written as one of the Imaginary Dialogues by

sources of disinformation: iran

The anonymous claptrap which, herded through the NYT, WAPO, LAT and the tv news helped Bush and his merry men lead this country into a most satisfying circle jerk of war in 2003, is happening all over again with Iran. But to get the full affect of the war aphrodisiac, you need a chosen set of experts to interpret the wisdom of anonymity. None is better than a man in uniform – and we know how much the media loves a man in uniform – and so who better to push to the front for yesterday’s bogus story about a weapons cache “found in a palm grove just north of the Iraqi capital” than Maj. Marty Weber, who plumbed his infinite wisdom about Iran’s weaponry to explain that this cache, consisting of weapons easy to make in Iraq (and easy to buy, given the money flooding in from the Saudis for Sunni militias) had the high sulfur and brimstone smell of Iranian goods. Yet then there was this: “But while the find gave experts much more information on the makings of the E.F.P.’s, which the American

Locke vs. the Witch

This is a typical story from Edward Wingfield's Discourse of Virginia. Wingfield, one of John Smith's men, is talking about another expedition of starving, quarreling gentlemen up another hopeless river in a country seemingly infinite in expanse and strangeness. He and Smith meet a kyng of an Indian nation, named Pawatah. The Englishmen presented him with a hatchet. “Monday he came to the water side, and we went a shore to him agayne. He tolde us that our hott Drynckes he thought caused his greefe, but that he was well agayne, and we were very welcome. He sent for another Deere which was roasted and after sodd for us (as before). Our Captayne caused his Dynner to be Dressed a shore also. Thus we satt banqueting all the forenoone, some of his people led us to their houses, shewed us the growing of their Corne and the maner of setting it, gave us Tobacco, wallnutes, mulberyes, strawberryes, and Respises. One sheewed us the herbe called in their tongue wisacan, which they say heal