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Showing posts from March 4, 2007

LI apologizes for the poor quality of the programming this week, surfers

It is nice to see that, according to the NYT, the author of “Party Til You Puke” – Andrew W.K. now wants to discuss the merits of Martin Buber with his fans. “ Mr. W. K. — the initials stand for his real last name, Wilkes-Krier — is a connoisseur of excitement, as anyone who has seen his hair-flinging performances or videos can attest. Lately he’s been exuberant about ideas, like the nature of coincidences and paradoxes and solipsism. Also pancakes. Over lunch near his apartment in Midtown, he ordered a stack of blueberry-banana-chocolate-chip-walnut, a blend of every flavor the restaurant offered — and slowly made a mash of them as he talked about his new passion: thinking. He has been reading the works of the philosopher Martin Buber, among others, and contemplating consciousness. “I have been very into the idea that the only way the external world exists is by you observing it, and that the only way you can interact with that external world through that observation is to intend it

some more errant scribbles

I have noticed that no matter how many cups of coffee I drink in the morning, I am still sleepy. Hmm, I wonder if this has something to do with my overuse of sleeping pills? I guess eventually they get you if you don’t watch out – look what happened to Evelyn Waugh. But to return to … the preface. Yesterday I figured out how to tightly describe Silja’s argument. Today I have to assess her argument, first about the continuity of mainstream economics – is it true that equilibrium models are at the center of economic theory, and is it plausible that the elevation of equilibrium models is an expression of the underlying ontological bias towards substantivism in economics? I’m going to point out that the exceptions prove the rule. The great exception is Keynes, of course. Keynesian economics begins with a grand gesture – the kicking over of Say’s law. In a sense, that is what you have to know about Keynes. Say’s law is the notion that production equals demand, or as the neoclassicals like t

practice exercises

The death of Jean Baudrillard was marked by an obituary in the NYT that reminded its viewers how important the man was – why, he was quoted in a popular movie, the Matrix. That settles that. Surprisingly, though, the Guardian had two posts about him in their Commentisfree section, stirring my competitive and patriotic juices. What the fuck is happening? England, the land where the phlegmatic philistine was born and suckled, is now more intellectual than our Purple Mountain’s Majesty in these here states, where the masses go to classes? How low have we fallen in this age of Cheney? The comment threads in the Guardian piece here and here are pretty good, although they eventually peter out in that futile and bizarre controversy that pits the unscientific and wild French against the scientific and rational Anglo-Americans. The many levels of ignorance involved in this controversy continue to astonish me. While the Anglo-Americans do read as though they were scientific and rational, i.e.

more leftovers!

More leftovers, I'm afraid. And where are those editing jobs that my readers were supposed to find me, eh? Poor LI, mired in poverty and an article about the philosophy of economics! So, if you want more interesting fare, go to UFOB , where Mr. Scruggs is lamenting the decline of the yellow ribbon industry, or go to IT, for the post on Jean Baudrillard's death . Or go to the KinoFist essay on Brecht , which I would probably be writing about except that I'm not. It is long and well argued, yet it contains a couple of assumptions that I'd like to thrash out - but I can't! Gotta run. And now, without further ado: a post from October of 2001! Sometimes you come upon a fact that you know has an essayistic depth to it, if you only had the time, or the mental capacity, to write the essay. For instance: last night I read this anecdote about Hans Christian Andersen. Since he lived in fear of awakening in a coffin, "he always carried a card with him saying, "I am no

Cheney: even sociopath's sometimes feel sad

I am trying to procrastinate, looking around the web, and I come across the NYT story about whether Cheney, in the tumor he calls a heart, felt pinpricks of sympathy for Scooter Libby - or whether it was a fuck him and fold him like a Dixie cup situation - the usual m.o. of our sociopathic VP. The article ended with this startling graf: "With a career in politics that goes back to the Nixon White House, Mr. Cheney is no stranger to Washington scandal and how to weather it. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he went hunting with the vice president late last year and did not sense that the trial was bothering him." No doubt. The reporter failed to ask Graham how much time he spent pondering the VP's mood, and how much time he spent thinking, if the son of a bitch plugs me, I'm going to shoot him back!

my humble prayer

Well, I am still stuck in this unremunerative task, writing this preface to Silja's book. God is punishing me for all those times I said the Lord's Prayer sideways. Come on, God, don't be like that, dude. Send me that angel of inspiration. I promise I'll, uh, be better. How about: no cocaine for a whole year? How about: I'll get back in contact with the old man?... No, don't think I'll do the latter. Probably I should - oh well. In the meantime, I'm going to cheat and recycle a post from 2005 on La Salamandre. Here it is... My friend D. sent me a little CD the other day. It had the Rage against the Machine song on it, Killing in the Name of. D. is an old Metallica fan, from before they had an on-call psychoanalyst. Myself, I love noise, but I am not a metal person. I particularly hate the voices that a lot of metal music features, in which some singer has to assume the precise sound that would be made by the Cowardly Lion on meth – a fake monster voice,

Menger mania

I am going to be trying to write this preface to my translation of Silja Graupe’s Basho of Economics. So I might not be too on the mark this week. However, it is a good time to beg – I’m really looking for some editing jobs this month, which is lookin’ kind of Mother Hubbard bare. The dog wants a bone. LI wants a bone. The Landlady wants a bone. The phone company wants a bone. All God’s children want bones, want bones. So – if you want editing, research, proofreading, the whole deal, know somebody who wants same, know somebody who knows somebody, etc. – send them to me, please. In the meantime, I’m going off to think about Carl Menger’s curious notions concerning the foundations of economics.

Goodbye 20th century, it was good to know you

Prospect Magazine did a survey for this month’s mag. This was the question they asked, and their sense of the response they got: “We asked 100 writers and thinkers to answer the following question: Left and right defined the 20th century. What's next? The pessimism of their responses is striking: almost nobody expects the world to get better in the coming decades, and many think it will get worse.” Admittedly, the thinkers they asked seemed somewhat random. David Brooks gets his say, and Joe Boyd, a music producer, gets his, and apparently what qualifies one to have a view of the next one hundred years best is to work for a bank or business or write an opinion column. There were no H.G. Wells, that’s for sure, and few seemed to disagree with the premise of the question. LI, however, thinks the premise is wrong. Left and right did not define the twentieth century. The century was defined, in our view, by two things: first, the treadmill of production – that system which is falsely d