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Showing posts from July 8, 2007

meditation on Infinite Thought's modernist porn

IT continues her interesting series on porno today. I’m not sure where she is going with this. She has consistently interrogated the money shot as the truth of cinematic porn, finding it even back in the days of vintage porn (filmed). One aspect that she has not explored, however, is one that seems obvious to me from a narrative level. To film a man and a woman or a man and several women or several men and a woman or several of either sex fucking is to have a narrative problem. How do you keep this interesting. Now, there is an interest we all feel in fucking (wasn’t it Jane Austin who said that it is a truth universally acknowledged that we all like to watch some dick and pussy action on whatever screen is handiest, given favoring circumstances?), but the interest in art divides neatly into two registers. There is the interest of the artist in the art, and the interest of the spectator or audience. And while it is hard to imagine an artist working without any sense of what interests
Come on, just, tie me to the wall! – Hanin Elias LI streamed the press conference via the Washington Post site this morning. My reaction to it comes in words can’t really be released from my tongue, because they are long words, in Hittite or something, leaden, chthonic, expressing a hatred and loathing that is older than I am for the creature whose oozing and gurgling at the podium embodied the wadded up effluvium of a million chamber of commerce assholes all shoved up and out one crusted old seamy lead pipe at the Veterans Disease and Fetch Fuck Festival in Tinytown, Applachia; it reminded me of nothing so much as the tune piped by ET spermatozoa colonizing a brain that had caught a fatal dose of athlete’s foot and was eating its syphilitic spinal chord for dinner. This is my gift to my presidroid: a killer, a moron, a pool of drool.


One of the funnier delusions that the D.C. elite like to perpetrate on the American people is that the Bush administration is genuinely fighting for democracy. To perpetrate this, the media has to segregate what the Bushies actually do in the world from what they do in David Broder’s head – and then, of course, report on what they do in David Broder’s head. So – the same administration that is putting money in the pockets of Pahlavi-connected Iranian dissenters, all in the name of democracy, hails as one of its great breakthroughs the new relationship with Libya, a dictatorship for thirty years that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Libya has held in its jails, on the flimsiest of pretexts, a number of Bulgarian nurses that are under death penalty for spreading AIDS, which is Qaddafi’s way of pretending that AIDS doesn’t spread in Libya as it does in the rest of the world, via sex. That would be an admission too far – so why not line up some innocent Bulgarian women against a wall an

the omissions are part of the text

Li is such the summer sluggard that we didn’t bother to connect our previous post to the posts on war. My point in claiming that routinization is a great and central historical fact, extremely difficult to understand – the object par excellence of historical fantasia – was to return to the logic of the state, war and debt in the emergence of the liberal state. If we ask ourselves what it means that 50% of Britain’s taxes were going into paying long term loans that financed past wars, we have to imagine that half of Britain’s taxes had no visible public effect at all. For the taxpayer, those taxes as good as disappeared. And when you get used to the state taking your money and providing zip in return, you begin to think that the state is basically a robber. In the case of Britain, work that could have been done by public investment – in land improvement, schooling, transportation – was either done poorly, then, by the state or by private forces. This isn’t, of course, just true of early

the motor of history goes into the shop

The hardest thing to recover from the wrecks of history is the horizon of expectation that the actors presupposed. Those expectations, that imagined future, all black on black, was intrinsic to the routines and habits that made it the case that people accepted x and came to reject y. The historian can make it easier on him or herself by simply borrowing the economist’s toolkit. It doesn’t really explain expectation, but it gives you a nice labels that you can paste over the gaps – for instance, you can talk about marginal disutility and make a graph. A more sophisticated stab at the mystery was made by Marx, who assumed class conflict. By assuming an intrinsic violence that exceeded exchange, he opened up history to ethnography. His followers often have a hard time with this – they have a tendency to revert to the economic models of the neo-classicals, with the difference that, for the Marxists, profit is a dirty word, and for the neo-classicals it isn’t. This kind of Marxist will tel

America: still number one!

"He is now so enthusiastic about the assignment of resurrecting NBC’s fortunes that he brings a small set of chimes along with him to meetings so he can play the three-note N-B-C jingle whenever a happy moment occurs." – NYT story about Ben Silverman, the newly appointed co-chairman of NBC’s entertainment operations. Let it never be said that America lacks business self-helpiness. We fucking rule the world in business self-helpiness. And how do we do it? Oh, they’d like to answer that question in the capitals of the Axis of Evil. In Pyongyang, in Teheran, in Beijing, you can fucking bet your bongos, where they ponder: how is it that America became the biggest and the best? Yes, we know they buy the books: Tom Peters for Dummies in Farsi, Who Moved My Cheese in Korean – they import them, the intelligence services pore over them, they try to come up with that winning formula, that American flow . What they don’t understand, what they will never understand, is that a thing lik

Loot 2

LI’s post on loot was fortunate enough to attract some comments from P.M. Lawrence. We disagree about the reasons for the progress of empire, but Lawrence makes a strong case for viewing the different parts that came together in Great Britain between 1688 and 1789 as parts not of some general ‘program’ or the expressions of class interest, but as, in a sense, a concatenation of independent and contingent developments. LI’s point is not to deny the place of contingency. However, we’d claim that accident and program are related to one so that elements advantageous to one sector of a society – say the income from the slave trade going to slave traders and their financiers and the plantation owners and their financiers and the merchants of the products produced by the plantations and their financiers - are built upon to maximize and prolong the sectorial advantage in the face of opposition from other sectors and unpredictable, contingent factors – shifts in the environment, or unexpected