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Showing posts from March 18, 2007

Why LI Hates the Left (echo echo)

LI has very simple reasons for hating the Left (there should be an echo effect every time that nasty little term is uttered): whenever the Left (echo echo) is part of the title of some essay, the alleged Leftist is surely going to use the occasion to support the war in Iraq, or support stuffing the Washington Consensus down the throat of Latin American, or denounce Chavez, or do variations on the power elite dance that are indistinguishable, in the end, from policies advocated by the Cato Institute (which is, actually, more antiwar than the Left (echo echo)) or the Heritage foundation. Take a gander at a magazine like Dissent (or, if you have a stronger stomach, Democratiya – which by the way, what fucking dick came up with that title? do those people entirely lack a sense of humor?). The current online issue offers for your entertainment and progressive reading pleasure an article analyzing the Mexican elections (you guessed it – Lopez Obrador is an authoritarian, the future is in mar

A troop of baboons in hummers

John Dupre, in an nifty little takedown of the use of rational expectations theory as the master key to all the social sciences in Human Nature and the Limits of Science, noted the convergence of the ideology of the theory with the ideology of evolutionary psychology – both emanating from a conservative view of human nature, the one derived from Adam Smith’s notion that we are designed to truck and barter, the other finding justificatory fables in nature for social hierarchies which, in reality, we see dissolve all of the time. There’s a nice article by Amanda Rees that explores the primatology behind evolutionary psychology in the Fall issue of the History of Science. As anybody knows who has read comments threads on feminist sites, or any site that ventures into that classic boobish trope, men vs. women (why do women do this? why do men do that?), sooner or later the male as hunter and sperm sprinkler will emerge – extra points for the comedic effect of those whose only experience of

what the world needs now is... more about Joseph Joubert!

“God is God; the world is a place; matter is an appearance; the body is the mold of the soul; life is a beginning. All being come from little, and it would only take a little for them to have come from nothing. An oak comes from a gland, a man from a drop of water. And in that gland, in that drop of water, how much superfluity! Every seed occupies only one point. The too much contains the enough; the former is the necessary place for the latter, and its indispensable food, at least in the beginning. The enough must suffer nothing in itself; [Nul ne doit le souffrir en soi] but it is necessary to love it in the world; for nowhere would there be enough nothingness, if there had not always been a little too much of each thing in each space.” – Joubert LI’s animadversions about Blanchot, in yesterday’s post – the humble pointing out of a codicil that was wrong here, and perhaps not enough attention paid to this point here, cher maitre – received a couple of emails yesterday boxing our ears

Ceasefire in Iraq now

Zeyad at healing iraq has pictures of what is in the garbage in Baghdad. Take a look. The most important thing that can happen in Iraq is a ceasefire - because the violence will have no military end. The enemy will never be thoroughly killed. And of course, we don't even know who the enemy is, although if I was Iraqi, I would suspect that foreign power that invaded four years ago. An American escalation simply tests the fungibility of violence. The main thing is to stop it. We are headlining this post with the traditional lefty imperative, such as you shout during demonstrations, thus demonstrating to all and sundry the disconnect between the infinite resources of language and the powerlessness of the demonstrator. Everybody is happy about that. At the moment, however, the tantrum has become the standard verbal form for ... well, peace love and understanding. That rather condemns the current state of the civilization, don't it? The current state of civilization... Let's sp

what maurice blanchot never told you...

LI has been thinking about life and letters. As we said in the last post, Maurice Blanchot and Paul Auster both wrote about Joseph Joubert in terms of the solitary writer, the man who goes back to the beginning, over and over again: dreaming of the great book that never comes. What comes, instead, is fragments that point towards that book, fragments that may, in the end, actually be that book, or as much of that book as there can be, in the same way that the man who sits before the gate of the law in Kafka's story discovers, in the end, that the gate was just for him, which in a sense is a triumph of the man over law - or, perhaps, is another trick of the law, erecting an impenetrable portal. This is one of the heroic images of writing, with the heroism arising within the writing itself, rather than being impressed upon the writing from the outside – as, for instance, in the heroism of Byron or Shelley or Hugo. And, as we all know, Derrida pitched his tent there, on the notion of a

joubert and a troubled family: a story

“The world was made like a spider’s web: God pulled it out of his breast, and by his will he carded the filaments, unrolled them, and strung them up. What we call nothingness is his invisible fullness; his power is a ball of thread, but a substantial ball, containing an inexhaustible whole, which divides itself at every moment, in remaining always entire. In order to create the world, he needed merely a grain of matter; for all that we see, that mass which terrifies us, is nothing but a grain that eternity created and put to work. By its ductility, by the hollow that it punched and the art of the worker, it offers, in the decorations that came out of it, a sort of immensity. Everything seems full to us, everything is empty; or, better, everything is hollow. The elements themselves are hollow; God alone is full. But where was this grain of matter? It was in the breast of God, as it remains.” - Joubert. Joseph Joubert - as I pointed out in the last post - wrote in such a way - as though

an audience of madmen

Ensor, les bons juges I am not dying this year and may not even die the next year. Waiting for death year in and year out, I am growing restless. While death does not come, woes are approaching. Yet those woes are not approaching fast enough! – Li Chih (Li Zhi) “You would even have agents, inspectors, who would send back to their houses those people who did not have the grimace of happiness stamped upon their lips.” – Baudelaire LI likes to think that this blog follows certain secret themes, and that I invent those themes. I am the master. But any being that follows is, in one respect at least, not the master – viz, that it follows. This is not merely a play on rhetorical convention, as that random master who wakes up to his throat being cut by his footman, his maid, his garbageman, any of that lower level host, finds out in the end. So I have been following a theme recently that is not even strong enough to be a theme. That is, strong enough to be subject to the truth table, where the

Ceasefire in Iraq Now

Northanger left a comment in my last post (i think this is the first time i've ever heard anyone use the word "ceasefire" for the Iraq war) that made me ashamed. I haven’t paid the attention to the War that I normally do. At least, I haven’t been writing the war posts. This is due to fatigue. But let’s say a few things here. - I have no doubt that there will be American troops in Iraq in 2009. - While it is a good idea to demand the unrealistic – withdrawal of American troops now – there should be a broadening of unrealistic demands. As I’ve said over and over, in LI’s view, politics is about setting conditions. Or at least, the kind of politics LI can do. Movement politics. - The unrealism is wholly political, and has nothing to do with American or Iraqi 'security'. The political elite in this country have a death grip on their favorite mistake. See the Washington Post editorial yesterday on Iraq. There is no one way to break that death grip. But it is impo