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Showing posts from February 3, 2008

Activision is Your Vision

People sleeping in the streets I hear they want to be there From nearly everyone I meet at restaurants and parties cos happiness is relative that would be my theory perched up here above the world so desperate and so greedy “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the high-octane antiterrorism thriller developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision, took top honors on Thursday night at the 11th annual Interactive Achievement Awards, the video game industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.” LI is thrilled for Activision. There are those who say that America has forgotten it is occupying Iraq. Our gamer warriors, though, are semper fi – not our brave, not our proud. Bobby Kotick is the CEO of Activision. You can’t fault him for ingratitude. He knows the cultcha that fed him... “In addition, a handful of Bush Pioneers and Rangers who now give heavily to Republicans have a history of giving almost exclusively to Democrats in past elections. Activision CEO Robert Kotick gave $25,500 to Democra

the social animal/ the animal society

“There was a time when all the body’s members/ rebelled against the belly;” Thus begins Menenius Agrippa’s speech, in the first act of Coriolanus, Wyndham Lewis’ favorite among Shakespeare’s plays. Agrippa’s speech in praise of the belly is directed at the plebes, who are clamoring for bread, and threatening the aristocracy. Usually the aristocracy is thought of as the noble head – not the glutton’s paradise of the belly. But in Shakespeare’s time, it was the belly, distributing the wealth, rather than the head, commanding the commons, which was the tendency of the time. This gives the speech that odd twist in a play in which Coriolanus will flame out as a head, a severed, noble soldier, even though, ideologically, Coriolanus’ entire being is caught up in the most extreme version of the aristocratic ideal. Menenius Agrippa’s speech is a variant on the old notion of the chain of being – the notion that informs another speech directed at rebellion, this one given in Troilus and Cressida

Shandian Hacking, part 2

So far, the essay as I’ve laid it out is pretty straightforwardly philosophical. But after Hacking makes the case for Canguilhem’s case for seeing tools and machines as organs, he goes off the tracks – or rather, he goes on a lot of interesting tracks that involve things like Voodoo, cyborgs and UFOs, Donna Haraway’s thesis that in the late twentieth century the line between machines and organisms have been irreparably blurred, and what kind of thing a man on a bicycle is – is he a cyborg? Actually, if one goes back to the inventor of the word, he definitely is. Cyborg’s came out of space travel – as I’m sure our friend Northanger knows. The word cyborg was first used in print in the September 1960 issue of Astronautics. It came with the definition: for the exogenously extended organizational complex functioning as an integrated system unconsciously, we propose the name Cyborg (Clynes and Kline) The name was made up by Manfred Clynes working with Nathan Kline. Kline was a distinguish

shandian Hacking

There’s nothing LI likes better than a good Shandian essay. Robert Merton used that phrase to refer to his essay concerning the origin of the phrase, “on the shoulders of giants” (as per Newton’s mock humble saying, if I have seen farther, it is only because I was standing on the shoulders of giants), and what he means by it is that the essay is the correspondent of the kind of search you might go through looking through your personal papers for one particular paper. Such searches tend to get go into odd corners – one finds oneself reading a diary entry, when you meant to be looking for your passport – that are constrained by the fact that you are going through one loosely organized jumble. The grandfather of the Shandian essay is surely Plutarch, whose inquiries into the “word ei graven over the gate to Apollo’s temple at Delphi’, or the origins of Isis, tend to swallow up vast masses of ancient learnedness on the way to solving rather trivial problems. Given this debauched taste of m


Giants Giants Giants! To my far flung correspondent, Tom S., to Amie, to all LI NYC readers - have fun at the parade!

A fly as big as a blue whale

“I met murder on the way He had a mask like Castlereagh” Saint Augustine remarked that man is born between a shit and a piss; it is the ambition of the Bush administration to die there. The shit, of course, has been amassed over eight shameful and inglorious years, that began in an act of supreme and criminal negligence – the Bushian indolence as our nineteen gremlin hijackers were able to pretty much do what they wanted (a crime so foretold that they could have put an advertisement in the fucking newspapers), followed by the shock and awe of a paniced president who came to his senses when his advisors pointed out the political advantage he could reap by not doing his simple duty to crush the very crushable al qaeda. The murder of Americans – and the numbers mount, from the incompetent war in Afghanistan to the crime of Iraq – was a small price to pay for robbing the wealth of the country and putting it in the pockets of the few and unscrupulous; as for the massive death toll inflicted

That high mercury Jesus

LI has pursued, as one of the subthemes of our happiness project, the notion that alienation shows up in things like, oh, alterations in the song culture of the 19th century. We came across a strange instance of song and dance yesterday, in the Acts of John. This is a Gnostic gospel. It contains a story that is also referred to in a text we couldn’t find, The voyages of the apostles, attributed to Leuce Carin by Clement of Alexandria. The story is that Jesus, after the crumbs had been wiped from the table of the Last Supper, had his disciples hold hands and dance around him as he sang a song. The song goes like this, according to the the translation made by M.R. James – the same M.R. James who wrote the classic Edwardian ghost stories, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. Now before he was taken by the lawless Jews, who also were governed by (had their law from) the lawless serpent, he gathered all of us together and said: Before I am delivered up unto them let us sing an hymn to the Father