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Showing posts from September 16, 2007

Here’s to the naked years, Takeo-chan!

If Douglas Sirk had worked in the Soviet Union, he would have made Slave of Love, the 1976 movie by Nikita Mikhalkov I saw last night. The movie depicts a film crew trying to make a melodrama starring the silent film star Olga Voznesenskaya in the South of Russia, on territory still held by the Whites. The camera man, Victor Pototsky, a handsome, Lermontovian dandy type with a car, obviously has a thing for the actress, who is publicly involved with her co-star on other films, a man named Maksakov. Maksakov is held up in Red Moscow, but expected to arrive momentarily – although he never does. During the course of the film we learn that the supposedly devil may care Pototsky is actually filming White atrocities. Well. There is a small scene in the film in which Olga and Victor go walking through a park. The two are wearing Great Gatsy-ish clothing, and the light is falling at the right angle for sundrenched love love love, and they have gotten to that point in the age old ritual when V

a rough passage

One of the great contributions of Greimas’ semiotics to the world at large, or – more to the point - to the petty world maintained here by LI, is the notion of modalization, which is, briefly, that there are instances in discourse in which modals overdetermine descriptive utterances. Now, those of you who have taken a foreign language know what modal verbs are. They are verbs of ability, obligation, necessity, belief, and knowing, which usually take as their objects other verbs. Thus, ‘he goes’ can be turned into ‘he can go’, ‘he needs to go’, ‘he wants to go’, ‘he may go’, or even ‘he knows that he can go’, ‘he believes he needs to go,’ and so on. In logic, modals are about degrees of possibility, which highlights the linguistic modals around ‘can’ in our example – but in Greimas’ scheme, possibility leads us to the objective and subjective theories of possibility, which in turn leads us to knowing, believing, desiring, feeling – the propositional attitudes. Now, LI is making this f

The Boxer resolution on the enormous size of President Bush's penis

LI had a full report from one of our far flung correspondents about today’s exciting session of Congress. Surely it is a day that will go down in history! In the past, some have criticized the Democrats for not doing enough to help support our troops. The Washington Post, clinging to the moderate consensus, has accused Senator Reid of high treason and asked, rhetorically, whether it is not high time to remove his testicles. They also pointed to the unbelievable Democratic Party interference with the project of destroying the Earth’s atmosphere by 2020, an initiative being organized in the Vice President’s office by the Committee on Atmospheric Reform and Counter-Terrorism. Well, there are those who have bewailed the apparent deafness of the Democrats to what the wiser heads in Washington are saying, but I think today, the Democrats lashed back loud and clear. Senator Boxer and Senator Levin, two of the most respected moderates, offered a Senate resolution, the so called “Our President

Deutsche Herbst

It is thirty years. Thirty years since the Deutsche Herbst – the attack by the RAF in Germany that was meant to free their imprisoned members. Spiegel, which is falling all over itself with nostalgia and comparisons to 9/11, labels it the war of “six against six million”. The fall brought the assassination of General Siegfried Bruback, an attack on the government offices in Karlsruhe, the kidnapping and execution of Hanns Martin Schleyer, the head of the German Employers Association, and the hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181 in which the hijackers coordinated their demands with the Schleyer kidnappers. The airplane eventually landed in Mogadishu, after the hijackers had killed the pilot. The plane was stormed by a special commando force from the BDR and all of the hijackers were killed. That night, Death Night, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe supposedly committed suicide. The one survivor, Irmgard Möller, who nearly died of stab wounds she supposedly inflicted on he
Usually, histories of the radical enlightenment wind through the philosophers and the natural scientists. May LI suggest another path? A primal scene of resistance, no less – which, like all primal scenes, begins with the opening of the eye – although in this primal scene, there are only shadowy proxies for Daddy fucking Mommy. It begins like this: “Don Quixote raised his eyes and saw coming along the road he was following some dozen men on foot strung together by the neck, like beads, on a great iron chain, and all with manacles on their hands. With them there came also two men on horseback and two on foot; those on horseback with wheel-lock muskets, those on foot with javelins and swords, and as soon as Sancho saw them he said: "That is a chain of galley slaves, on the way to the galleys by force of the king's orders." "How by force?" asked Don Quixote; "is it possible that the king uses force against anyone?" "I do not say that," answer

NYT - in the genteel psycho tradition

LI has to point our readers to a fine, fine example of media contempt, brought to us by our good friends at the NYT, a newspaper that has showcased so many of the great intellects of our time: Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Condi Rice – you name it. Intellects like sounding brass and organ music to the ever sycophantic promoters of the current elite. Yet outside of the magic circle, occasionally some upstart Gunga Din figure creeps in. One who isn’t with the program! One who isn’t on the page! Such, of course, is Mohamed ElBaradei. The wog won a Peace Prize, which marks a man as a deluded leftist, unless the man is a distinguished op ed contributer, like the blessed Henry Kissinger. And here he is again, in fuck up mode, keeping the Bush administration from rolling out their next war! The latest round of negotiations with the Iranians is described in these intro grafs: “Late in August, Mohamed ElBaradei put the finishing touches on a nuclear accord negotiated in secret with Iran. Th

polarity and PAM

As one would expect, LI’s researches into the origin of the positive/negative classification of affect [I’m calling this the polarity of affects model – PAM] is forcing us to modify our original hypothesis. Our original hypothesis was modeled, to an extent, on Philip Mirowski’s history of the constituting metaphors of economics. Economists, around 1870, began to adapt a physicalist language to defend a rigorously mathematical equilibrium model of economics. Now, it struck us that the experimental school of psychology was doing the same thing. This would make psychology fit very well as a module within the capitalist field – or its cognate, after 1917, in communism. Accordingly, LI held that PAM diffused outward from the scientific high culture into industry, education, and the sphere of personal relations. However, further research has made us see that this story, as it stands, can’t be right. While it does focus on the problem correctly – how is it that PAM became, in the twentieth c

A warning to UFOB

Convalescing means watching a lot of YouTube, which is how I came across this alarming video of a Democratic Fund Raiser that makes me fear for Mr. Scruggs life . I hope the crewe at UFOB resisted that invite to the Hilary-Ralph Reconciliation Potluck. Oh, it might look like a fun time, and you all might have been thinking, what the heck. We'll let bygones be bygones. That Hil has a dazzlin' plan for the Middle East, too. And talk about your single payer plan reconciling the legitimate interests of insurance company with the needs of the little guy! Why, I'm seein' stars. I'm seeing security and victory in our war on terrorism and being able to afford getting Betty Sue's appendix yanked! Sure, now, she's had that there appenddycitus for nigh on to two years. She made an awful moaning in the back house, couldn't get to sleep. Lately she does seem to have settled down, though... But let me tell ya, fellas, it is a trap.