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Showing posts from August 19, 2007


When LI goes out hiking with our brothers, the scene partly resembles the chapter in which Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedelus slope towards home. Questions are raised - notably, the question of how it could possibly be the case that the intervals between the hour when the shadow points due east, the hour when it points due north, and the hour it points due west could be uneven. This involved much diagramming with sticks, calculations about preserving the percentage of the average day between sunrise and sunset as a circle with a greater or lesser diameter, representing the variation of the day over the year, and a few counterfactuals, one involving a world made entirely of glass, which sorta went over my head. Then there is the traditional argument about the pre-Columbian population of North and South America, which is always, for some reason, heated. The scene also resembles tradition redneck fiestas - for instance, back at camp, we all sing along to Freebird when its turn comes on th


Atlanta. LI successfully made it past the e-ticket, the woman who tells you to get into the big line that wends around just like it used to pre e-ticket, the man telling his wife that he thinks they should go home and call up American airlines and get their money back, the harried smiles from the multiple service monster snorting up information and baggage, the doffed shoes, the metal detector and involved search of the old Mexican guy in the wheelchair including his stretched out socks, the niceness of tvs not hanging everywhere unlike Dallas, the airport where tvs are as thick as passenger pigeons used to be in the autumn skies of Ohio, the tracking of hurricane Dean through holiday resorts, the Delta plane with barely any passengers within which one could settle back and enjoy the two count em two packets of peanuts to make this trip an enjoyable one since the pilot and the Delta organization he represents know (regretfully) that we have a choice when buying tickets showing that old

wasting time

Damn. LI is going to Atlanta today. So we don't have time to post a long translation from Stendhal's 1826 preface to On Love. As we've been saying and saying, the 19th century experienced a change in emotional customs, following behind a change in the positional structure that derived from the emergence - or imposition - of the market society. What makes Stendhal such a great witness is that his early life was dedicated to the proposition that happiness in Europe was born out of the the French Revolution. This was what Napoleon's soldiers brought with them. If you remember the great opening chapters of The Charterhouse of Parma, he describes there the irresistibly joyous result of the contact of modernity - Napoleon's soldiers - with the petrified order of the ancien regime in Italy. Although the irresistibility was, in fact, resisted and rolled back in the 1820s. This was the decade in which Standhal saw political oppression in Italy first hand, in the career of th

would the underground man approve of psychological experiments?

C'est la raison qui engendre l'amour-propre, et c'est la réflexion qui le fortifie; c'est elle qui replie l'homme sur lui-même; c'est elle qui le sépare de tout ce qui le gêne et l'afflige: c'est la philosophie qui l'isole; c'est par elle qu'il dit en secret, à l'aspect d'un homme souffrant: péris si tu veux, je suis en sûreté. Il n'y a plus que les dangers de la société entière qui troublent le sommeil tranquille du philosophe, et qui l'arrachent de son lit. On peut impunément égorger son semblable sous sa fenêtre; il n'a qu'à mettre ses mains sur ses oreilles et s'argumenter un peu pour empêcher la nature qui se révolte en lui de l'identifier avec celui qu'on assassine. – Rousseau, Second Discourse “It is reason which engenders amour-propre, and it is reflection that strengthens it; reason shoves man back upon himself, and it is reason which separates him from everthing that discomforts and afflicts him;