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Showing posts from April 20, 2008

More news from the Kingdom of the Great Fly

One of the amusing things about dancing on the precipice in the era of the Great Fly is that every paranoid vision gains a foothold in reality. Take the food crisis. Let’s see, you combine phenomenal growth in former LDCs, climate changes the fact of which are resisted by the moronic inferno, and the richest country in the world making its primo manufacturing objective the export of packaged debt. And whaddya get? Oh, famine and war, war and famine. Norman Borlaug has an opinion piece that is sure to be unread and unheeded until, say, next year, when bread is five dollars a loaf. Borlaug is the great Green Revolution agronomist. Let’s just say that the Green Revolution gave us ambiguous results – while the Soviets collectivized their farms, the capitalist world treated its agricultural sector to a form of shock therapy, agroteching their way to global corporate farming monstrosities, and the resulting flight from the peasant pea patch to the barrio and bidonville is going to rule our

Beauty tips

LI is very interested in beauty. We are a beauty maven. The whole thing, the aesthetic, the striving for it, the failing, the study of it. Hell, at the moment we are working part time copyediting the fashion issue of a magazine, so we are rubbing our nose in the manufacture of it, right down to the ColorU blush in Lilac. Yet, whenever we see calls to bring beauty back into the study of literature or art, it seems like the machine starts out all over again. First, the lament that somehow – through theory or through identity politics – they’ve guillotined beauty and are cavorting in her shambles. Then of course there is the appeal to the canonical and emotional power of beauty. That it soothes the wild beasts and the undergraduate at the same time. And then the whole train of associations are dragged into it – as we see in this article on teaching beauty by Jennifer Green-Lewis and Margaret Soltan at Inside Higher Education. It begins with an anecdote about the idiosyncratic veneration

Chabert is back

LI is psyched to see that Le Colonel Chabert is back at her post , after one of her mysterious disappearances from the blogging world - no doubt, she was in deep confab with the Illuminati. LCC's last round was a full scale attack on the 68 French philosophes, like LI's patron saint, Derrida - and you might think it curious that I have any affection for that. But, at least in the world of philosophy, Heraclitus's words apply: polemos panton men pater esti, war is the father of all things. Most of the philosophes are dead now, and depend on us for their continued existence. How sad it would be if that existence consisted of tedious and bureaucratic applications of them to fill in, like a sort of all purpose tar, the crevasses in tenure track papers, continually churning! Far better the fierce response, the sortie from out of the underbrush! And not, either, of the dismissive, Brian Leiter variety, which is all about sheer ignorance - that's not a sortie, that's the

the apology of Theophile

LI had more fun with our Theophile post than we’ve had in a good while. Thank you, Amie. Now, let’s place Theophile de Viau in context, and get on to the marvelous public letter he wrote Louis XIII – in a tone, and with a frankness, that would certainly have been unthinkable fifty years later. Scholars would place Theophile de Viau in the French Renaissance period. He’s a contemporary of Robert Herrick – of the Cavalier poets. He started out in life with an excellent education – he learned Greek, Spanish, Italian and English at his school, Saumer, and he gained a smattering of the new sciences – or natural magic, as Bacon referred to them. Being relatively wealthy, when he came to Paris, as he confesses in his letters, he fell into vice. Although nowadays he is celebrated as a Gay litterateur – by people who simply sort through history, look for the assfucking, not literature, and pluck out the assfucker – his debauches were, as far as we know from his own words, with women, althoug

Notes for a future study of insanity among the governing class

PARIS — The Credit Suisse Group, the Swiss banking giant, on Thursday reported a first-quarter loss nearly three times worse than analysts had expected as it wrote down $5.3 billion in soured investments. The bank, based in Zurich, reported a net loss of 2.15 billion Swiss francs, or $2.1 billion, in the first quarter, compared with net income of 2.8 billion francs a year earlier. “On balance, I was quite pleased” with the results, said Peter Thorne, an analyst with Helvea in London. “In this market, if an investment bank doesn’t report $20 billion of write-downs, you tend to be quite relieved.” It is no surprise to LI that a system in which inequality of wealth has sharpened as much as it has in the U.S. would spawn a whole new kind of fantasy and reality in the press and the public discourse. So I suppose it comes as no surprise that the Daily Mail - a British tabloid - has a sharper article about inflation than you will read in, say, the NYT. The Daily Mail decided to create its own

I'd never seen anything like it in the State of Texas

I love a millionaire -- The congressional investigation of the credit agencies that looked over the pool of steroidish securities that were pumped into the financial industry and gave them all triple A ratings starts today. The biggest of those agencies is Moody’s : “Over the last decade, Moody’s and its two principal competitors, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, played this game to perfection — putting what amounted to gold seals on mortgage securities that investors swept up with increasing élan. For the rating agencies, this business was extremely lucrative. Their profits surged, Moody’s in particular: it went public, saw its stock increase sixfold and its earnings grow by 900 percent. By providing the mortgage industry with an entree to Wall Street, the agencies also transformed what had been among the sleepiest corners of finance. No longer did mortgage banks have to wait 10 or 20 or 30 years to get their money back from homeowners. Now they sold their loans into securitized poo

Everything is fucked up, I'm dying of the pox

In 1619, a collection of poems by different authors was published in Paris under the title: Parnasse satyrique. The star poet in the group was Théophile de Viau. The poem he published went like this: Par le sieur Theophille Philis tout est f…tu je meurs de la verolle Elle exerce sur moi sa dernière rigueur : Mon V. baisse la teste et n'a point de vigueur un ulcére puant a gasté ma parole. J'ai sué trante jours, j'ai vomi de la colle Jamais de si grand maux n'eurent tant de longueur L'esprit le plus constant fut mort à ma langueur, Et mon afficlition n'a rien qui la console. Mes amis plus secrets ne m'osent approcher, Moi-même cet estat je ne m'ose toucher Philis le mal me vient de vous avoir foutue. Mon dieu je me repans d'avoir si mal vescu : Et si vostre couroux a ce coup ne me tuë Je ne fais vuex désormais de ne …tre qu'en cul. The translation goes like this: “Philis, everything is f..ed up; I’m dying of the pox which

honeyed drops of spiritual delight

“They don’t enter into their system by the door, they enter in by the window…” Bayle, article on Epicurus My sometimes commenter, Chuckie K., asked a very good question about my last Bayle post, which, you will recall, ended with a question about whether belief guides behavior. To which Mr. K. said: “Today I'll ask a real question. Is this, "if belief makes no difference to your behavior" this question, or is "if belief does not always completely determine significant behavior'" Well, that’s a good, hard question, and a hatcher of other hard questions – for instance, do beliefs stand in some apologetic relation to behavior? Do we seek out beliefs to excuse our desires? In fact, defending Epicurus, Bayle opts for the idea that we could, that it is possible, to construct our beliefs according to the facts as we see them, regardless of what we would want to be the case: “ The doctrine that rejects the providence of God, and the immortality of the soul, steals a

Advice for Britney

LI, making a play for information domination on the Britney issue, has been bluesing about the People story that Brit is going to be starring, again, on some forgettable tv sit com. What is up with this? I know what is up. The artiste in the mouseketeer is being callously starnapped back into the profit stream by her pa - and are we, spectators all, expected to put up with this abhorrent strangling of Britney’s desires in, so to speak, their cradle? No wonder she is bored with her life! My advice – are you listening, Ms. Spears? - is to read about Patty Hearst, or at least listen to this Stereo Total song about Patty Hearst, romantic terrorist. And remember, Tania was never an exceptional earner – you could kick that bitch around the block! You have more revolutionary potential in your little finger than she ever had. Take back your kids, boot your dad, go to Vegas and act like Frank Sinatra to your heart’s content – which means applying the maxim that has an eternal currency a