Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fairy tales in the pin factory

This has been the spring for the Gothic strain of specters that Derrida stirred up in Marx in the bloggysphere; yet, so far, nobody has mentioned the name, Jack Zipes. Zipes is famous in the folklore field, or rather, literary folklore field, for applying a Marxist analysis to his study of the Grimm Brother’s Märchen. Zipes, who has also translated and written about Ernst Bloch, seems to have taken Bloch’s sympathy for grassroots peasant radicalism and applied it in a field where, usually, research tends towards a Freudian or Jungian end. Well, archetypes r us has a large American market – and perhaps I shouldn’t laugh. The softening of the American imago – stoic, a loner, a killer – owes a lot to an earnest search for a spirituality that isn’t so persistently shadowed by the cross – and don’t we all want a less wifebeater friendly, a less “God is a bullet” national culture? Sometimes, crawling in this mire of shit and sperm through the valley of the shadow of death that I laughingly call my life, I sure the fuck do. At the same time, let’s not pretend there aren’t losses, vast losses – of, for instance, that improvisational scrambling with which the escaping prisoner is supernaturally gifted. I take the escaping prisoner traversing the terrified countryside – Huck and Jim, before the hounds - to be as much an emblem of our psyche as the leatherstocking scouts that were the object of D.H. Lawrence’s remark.

Which gets us back to the violence and hope captured in fairy tales, à la Zipes. LI has been insinuating that as we entered a pin factory at the beginning of the Wealth of Nations, which inaugurates the science of economics, we are entering a fairy tale haunted place. The path of pins leads to Grandmother’s house. But pins are also an integral part of the economy of spinning, as Zipes makes clear in his analysis of Rumpelstiltskin in Fairy Tale as Myth. As he also makes clear, the patriarchal readings of Rumpelstiltskin – a tale classified under the motif of Helper’s Name in the Aarne-Thompson index – are, to say the least, misleading. Helper is the wrong name for Rumpelstiltskin – “he is obviously a blackmailer and an oppressor,” according to Zipes. Well, “obviously” is a strong word to use about any character in a fairy tale: he could be seen, as obviously, as the accursed share, rejected by the ennobled Miller’s Daughter who is seeking, above all else, to elevate her child above the status she was raised in, all the while keeping that status system intact to gain the benefits of it. Much like the American CEO, usually the product of student loans and state funded colleges, seeking to ensure the radical diminishment of public investment so that others are much more burdened down by student loans in less funded universities competing with the Ivies where the CEOs send their own children.

Still, Zipes is right to draw attention to the woman in the story. The Grimm Brother’s version of the tale is something of a disappointment in comparison to the version published by Madame L’heritier in the Cabinet des fees, Ricdin-Ricdon, since the character of the Miller’s daughter is not very developed in the former, while this character, Rosanie, the daughter of a peasant in L’heritier, is an acute psychological portrait of upward social ambition.

Zipes claims that the spinning motif in the Grimm Brother’s tales is, in a sense, a valedictory to the enormous injury done to women in the 18th and 19th century as their cottage industry of spinning and weaving was wrested from them and centralized in male managed factories.

The very first literary form of Rumpelstiltskin, Mademoiselle L’Heritier’s Ricdin-Ricdon, demonstrates that spinning was cherished by the aristocracy at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century. The queen is most eager to employ Rosanie as a spinner and cherishes all the articles that Rosanie magically produces. We know that numerous French courts had constructed spinning rooms for women to produce much needed cloth, and there was a great demand for gifted spinners at the time that Mademoiselle L’heritier wrote her tale. Interestingly, her model spinner, Rosanie, takes possession of the devil’s magic want (i.e., phallus) to create an image that satisfies if not exceeds society’s expectations. She does not spin straw into gold but rather flax into yarn and thread. ...

I think Zipes is correct to front the spinning in this tale as at least equivalent to the story of the name of the “helper” – but to make this a tale of spinning as an affectionately perceived craft is a bit of a distortion. He writes: “Throughout the entire tale, spinning and female creativity remain the central concern and are upheld as societal values that need support, especially male support.” This is a reading that fails to capture the irony in Rosanie’s story – to say the least. In L’Héritier’s tale, Rosanie has one abiding characteristic: a total abhorrence of spinning. When she is first spotted by Prince Prud’homme (and surely these bourgeois names for the royals – Prud’homme and Queen Laborieuse – are meant to ironically), she is being dragged around the back yard by her evil hag of a mother, who demands that her daughter spin more. In a crafty move that reproduces the comic gesture from Moliere’s Medecin malgre lui, when the hag is interrupted by Prince Prud’homme – who is taken by Rosanie’s looks and wants to know why she is being mistreated by the hag –she tells him a lie, a neat inversion of the truth – that she is punishing her daughter for spinning too much. Thus, under false pretences, Prince P. takes Rosanie back to the court, where his mother is delighted to receive a top flight spinner. Rosanie, horrified by what her mother has done but unable to face being expelled from the court if she confesses the truth, is going through the park to cast herself off a pavilion set on a cliff and end her life – so much does she hate spinning - when she meets the strange man – a big man, in the tale, with a dark face, but oddly amused face – to whom she tells her tale.

About which, more later.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

eating the flesh that she herself has bred...

By the way – re the price of oil – as I wrote a week ago, the main driver of the oil price spike recently has been insecurity. The threats against Iran by Israel, and the futile campaign, led by the U.S., to stop the Iranians from engaging in the uranium enrichment program that they are entitled to at least as much as India (where the U.S. has loaned technically illegal support) and Pakistan, have a cost. The cost can be computed at about 50 cents to a dollar a gallon. Here, for further proof of a series of events that the press, in its neocon wisdom, has simply taken off the table for consideration, is a Financial Times article about the effect of the sanctions in slowing down the development of one of the prime oil fields in the world – in Iran. Of course, if this was Venezuala taking a field out of commission, there’d be the usual dyspeptic drumbeat. But stories like this about Iran aren’t meant for the morons or the children – they might start doubting the wisdom of our establishment! That would be so sad.

“As energy prices surge, the world is wondering where it will all end. Where will supplies come from in the future? Iran, sitting on the world’s second largest reserves of gas – in addition to huge quantities of oil – is tomorrow’s apparent answer.
Iran should in theory be a magnet for international oil companies, which are cash-rich and searching for ways to replenish their diminishing reserves. But the geopolitical environment, in which Iran is being marginalised because of a refusal to suspend work on its nuclear programme, means this is not the case.
South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, is shared between Iran and Qatar but development from the Iranian side has ground almost to a halt, thanks to the US-led crackdown on business links with Iran. This week the European Union ratcheted up the pressure, agreeing tougher financial measures against Tehran.

This delicate balancing act is exemplified by the decision of Royal Dutch Shell and Repsol last month to withdraw from the development of what is known as phase 13 of South Pars. The lack of new investment from the oil majors means Iran is left to deal with relatively inexperienced minnows that are desperate for the business – companies from the likes of Austria, Croatia and Poland.”

I will go out on a limb and make a prediction: this will not become an issue in the Presidential or even be mentioned by the NYT and the Washington Post. It would, after all, point to a small paradox: the U.S. is pursuing a foreign policy that has become immediately injurious to the economic power of the average American household. It is pursuing this policy solely from vanity and the interest of the defense industry-petro club to churn up wars and perpetual hostility. Those with memories - that brave band! - might recall that the newspapers touted Bush's European tour, which ended with increasing sanctions on Iran, as a triumph. At the same time, the business pages recorded another spike in the future's market for oil. It was like these stories had nothing to do with each other.

On the other hand - maybe we should laugh at all the morons dying on the gas grapevine. They wanted it. Now let them eat it to the last little morsel.

Poor and rich, laborer and boss - let them all eat their fill of the dainty pie, in which so many sweet and tender Iraqis have been well and truly baked.

Oh corrupt and heartless generation... you will eat your heart, several times over, before this is done.

precarious beasts

Well, Mr. Praxis, at least, liked yesterday’s post (sniff, sniff). (I've even lost North, who usually comes in to stronghand me when I emanate self-pity - and by the way, I hope you see that I am emanating self-pity about my self-pity! Trust LI to go Meta!)

To take up yesterday’s thread – we last watched the wolf, or werewolf, merrily hop down the path of pins, and end up, via a Loony Tunes loop traversing space, time and genre, at the pin factory at the beginning of the Wealth of Nations. Of course, the question is – what kind of pin factory is this? It seems to be one that physically exists, one that Smith, our genial author, has seen, according to his own written word. Yet no such factory visit seems to have been recorded elsewhere. Plus, textual cues seem to point to the factory being, in actuality, in France – in the pages of the entry on pin, épingle, in the Encyclopedie. And that pin factory seems to have been in L'aigle, in Normandy. About which we have information that is, oddly enough, never to my knowledge been compared to the account in the Wealth of Nations. Odd, because certainly the model of the pin factory was not just about the efficiency, the marvel, of dividing tasks among laborers, but had an underlying message about labor itself.

Wolves were things of the past in Scotland when Smith made his (non) outing to the pin factory. How far past is another affair wrapped up in some controversy. According to some accounts, the last wolf in Scotland was shot by a hunter named McQueen, who tracked the beast to his lair in Findhorn after the beast had attacked and eaten a woman and a child crossing a nearby moor. Shapeshifting, as would be expected by those who know something of the path of pins, has infected every part of this story. Did the wolf really attack the pair and eat them? The last wolf? What was the sex of it? The size? Or was the last wolf slain by Sir Ewen Cameron in 1680? Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, in 1904, devoted an article to the last wolf in Scotland. According to the writer, many Scottish districts lay claim to the be scene of the shooting of the last wolf. However, Blackwood’s goes with the shooting in the “wild valley of Findhorn” in 1743, since there are detailed accounts. The area was the home of the last wild pack. Here’s the Blackwood’s story:

“The most active carnach in their destruction was MacQueen of Pall a’ chrocain, an immense duine uasail who stood 6 feet 7 inches in his brogues. To this worthy, one winter day in 1743, came word from MacIntosh that a great black beast had come down to the low country and carried off a couple of children near Cawdor, and that a tainchel or hunting-drive was to meet a Figiuthas, where MacQeen was summoned to attend according to an act of Parliament.

Next morning in the cold dawn the hunters were assembled: but where was MacQueen? He was not wont to be ‘langsome’ on such an occasion, and his hounds, nto to mention himself, were almost indispensable to the chase. MacIntosh watied impatiently as the day wore on, and when at last MacQueen was seen coming liesurely along, the chief spoke sharply to him, rebuking him for wasting the best hours for hunting.

“Ciod e a’ chabhag?” (What’s the hurry?”) was the cool reply, which sent an indignant murmur through the shivering sportsmen. MacIntosh uttered an angry threat.

“Sin e dhiabh! (“There you are then!”) said MacQueen, and throwing back his plaid, flung the grey head of the wolf upon the heather. The company had lost thier sport, but they forgave Pall-a’-chrocain, whose renown stood higher than ever as a hunter, and Macintosh “gave him the land called Sean-achan for meat to his dogs.”

Surely LI is showing his own bent for irrelevance and the scaring of all rational like beasties, going so langsome into the thickets of Smith’s prose with a cock n bull hunting tale about a fairy wolf, for Jesus’ sake! Man, where’s your models, your references to the fine theorists, and all that train! But as the disappearance of the wolf seems, to us, magically connected with the appearance of the pin factory, we thought it might be a fine thing, worthy of a carnach from Cawdor (you remember the Thane of Cawdor?), to clear the area so that we could travel across it all safe and sound and snug. And in our search for pin factories, we might just find that, in spite of Smith’s celebration of the division of labor – upon which rock is built so much – that in fact, the celebrated pin factory in L’aigle, Normandy, from which – although it is murky – the encyclopedists might have drawn their information about the pin industry, was still governed by a mass of laws concerning master pinners, and who was allowed to work on pins, and problems with the weight of pins in each envelop of pins, so that the social function of pinmaker, and the needs of the state, and regulation from the state, might have had as much to do with the division of labor as the fabulous productivity of the pin factory, which can only be exampled by ... well, by Rapunzel of course, spinning straw into gold.

MacQueen told more of the story of the hunt than was reprised in Blackwoods. Here’s how he told the tale:

As I came through the slochk (i.e., ravine) I foregathered wi' the beast. My long dog there turned him. I buckled wi' him, and dirkit him, and syne whuttled his craig (i.e., cut his throat), and brought awa' his countenance for fear he might come alive again, for they are very precarious creatures.

Very precarious creatures indeed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

and the wolf shall lead us...

Half a pound of heroin
half a pound of treacle
that's the way the story goes
out comes the evil...

LI has been contemplating one of the great lines of English verse over the course of the last couple of days, to wit, Rochester’s “And with my prick I'll govern all the land....” from the play, Sodom. But I’ve contemplated myself temporarily blind, vis a vis my Dom Juan thesis, so I’ll do Rochester at another time. Instead, today’s lesson from the book of LI (written by the archangels in seraphic blood) is about pins. As in how many economists dance upon the head of a pin? You know the answer – all of them.

Ho ho. In the 1760s, there was a controversy in Britain about a supposed Scots epic, Ossian, which had been “found” by a poet and published. Ossian was a forgery. Meanwhile, the real Scots epic was a-forging – that is, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Smith provided the Homeric theology to this thing we be callin’ capitalism. So, unsurprisingly, small academic industries have grown up around his famous images. The invisible hand is the most famous of these; a small group has worked on the famous pin factory.

The Wealth of Nations begins like this:

“The greatest improvement*17 in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour.
The effects of the division of labour, in the general business of society, will be more easily understood, by considering in what manner it operates in some particular manufactures. It is commonly supposed to be carried furthest in some very trifling ones; not perhaps that it really is carried further in them than in others of more importance: but in those trifling manufactures which are destined to supply the small wants of but a small number of people, the whole number of workmen must necessarily be small; and those employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected into the same workhouse, and placed at once under the view of the spectator. In those great manufactures, on the contrary, which are destined to supply the great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work employs so great a number of workmen, that it is impossible to collect them all into the same workhouse. We can seldom see more, at one time, than those employed in one single branch. Though in such manufactures,*18 therefore, the work may really be divided into a much greater number of parts, than in those of a more trifling nature, the division is not near so obvious, and has accordingly been much less observed.

To take an example, therefore,*19 from a very trifling manufacture; but one in which the division of labour has been very often taken notice of, the trade of the pin-maker; a workman not educated to this business (which the division of labour has rendered a distinct trade),*20 nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it (to the invention of which the same division of labour has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry, make one pin in a day, and certainly could not make twenty. But in the way in which this business is now carried on, not only the whole work is a peculiar trade, but it is divided into a number of branches, of which the greater part are likewise peculiar trades. One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; to make the head requires two or three distinct operations; to put it on, is a peculiar business, to whiten the pins is another; it is even a trade by itself to put them into the paper; and the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by distinct hands, though in others the same man will sometimes perform two or three of them.*21 I have seen a small manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed, and where some of them consequently performed two or three distinct operations. But though they were very poor, and therefore but indifferently accommodated with the necessary machinery, they could, when they exerted themselves, make among them about twelve pounds of pins in a day. There are in a pound upwards of four thousand pins of a middling size. Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day; that is, certainly, not the two hundred and fortieth, perhaps not the four thousand eight hundredth part of what they are at present capable of performing, in consequence of a proper division and combination of their different operations.”

Few books give you the main course right away like this. Smith was rightly proud of the phrase, division of labor. In one stroke, it divided an old way of looking at labor as a particular social function from looking as labor as one abstract thing. It was the discovery of a universal, accompanying the universal-to-be of the capitalist system itself.

Such a vast discovery, such a trifling object. Smith taught rhetoric, and knew all the magic tricks. It is as if Columbus had set sail with the Owl and the Pussycat in a pea green boat. The pin! The very emblem of smallness, a sort of atom of social matter – associated, too, with frivolity. Jesus had already used the needle as a (miraculous) stick with which to beat the wealthy – and here the wealthy fire back with pins. Then of course there is Little Red Riding Hood – I’ve done a previous post on this, so let me quote here from Teasley and Chase:

“As the original tale opens, a dominant concern is the path to be chosen:
Once a little girl was told by her mother to bring some bread and milk to her grandmother As the girl was walking through the forest, a wolf came up to her and asked where she was going. "To grandmother's house," she replied. "Which path are you taking, the path of the pins or the path of the needles?" "The path of the needles." So the wolf took the path of the pins and arrived first at the house.
Although Darnton usually investigated the meaning behind puzzling elements, he has dismissed the reference to the paths of the pins and the needles as nonsense. Yet, here is the first example of a symmetry that provides a clue to the tale's meaning.[6]
Each character's selection of one of the paths reveals a destiny. Red Riding Hood's choice of the path of the needles is synonymous with her decision to become a prostitute. The meaning of the line is revealed in an obscure nineteenth-century history that explains that among "women of doubtful virtue . . . bargains were struck on the basis of a package of bodkins or lace-needles, or aiguillettes, which they normally carried as a distinctive badge upon the shoulder, a custom surviving to Rabelais' day."[7]
The meaning of the wolf's choice of the path of the pins is found in the term bzou, which was used interchangeably with loup in the original French version. Although loup is the common French word for wolf, the definition of bzou is more obscure. Paul Delarue, the editor who has compiled thirty-five versions of the folktale, found that bzou was always used in the story for brou or garou, which in the Nivernais was loup-brou or loup-garou. All these are variations on the French word for werewolf, a supernatural being associated with witchcraft. Early modern Europeans held that Satan had the power to take the form of a wolf.[8]
Sixteenth-century French society believed that the presence of a devil's mark on a witch's body proved her allegiance to Satan. Since the mark was a blemish on the skin that was insensitive, the discovery of the mark through the use of pin pricks became a standard feature of witch hunting. Just as Red Riding Hood revealed her true identity through her selection of the path of the needles, so the wolf revealed his identity as a witch by choosing the path of the pins.”

Indeed, the shapeshifting wolf was knocking at the door in 1776.

Economists, however, get the shivers when fairy tales are mentioned, being the wolf’s dumbest children for the most part. A true disappointment to the Loup-Garou, that’s for sure. While the wind howls outside and the stormclouds gather, they soothe themselves with more technical and standard questions. Which are addressed by Jean Louis Peaucelle in an article in the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought entitled, Adam Smith’s use of multiple references for his pin making example. I will post about that next.

Those interested in the Derrida/Marx controversies of late, hosted here and at the Colonel’s site, should check out the current post at Rough Theory.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ysa Ferrer!

Sundays are the days when we in the LI office lounge around, order out for margaritas, and have long, intense conversations with Brit on our cellphone. For a Britneyphile, this has been a crammed week – but aren’t they all? The baby. The disturbing advice from Mel (if we’ve told her once, we’ve told her a million times – check anything he tells you in the Kabbalah first!). And of course her Mom’s book. This Sunday, though, we mainly chatted about the whether Tracy Feith’s rather busy print dresses were for her, although of course, such conversation is tres confidential.

Instead of our Britney Sunday, we will address another subject. Most people come to LI for one reason and one reason only: nude pics of Lady Bitch Ray! That there are no nude pics of Lady Bitch Ray on this site hasn’t seemed to discouraged the hordes of horny lemmings, who apparently can’t live another day without seeing LBR’s pussy.
Oh don’t ask why!
Oh, don’t ask why!

Now the singer we’d really like to promote in the States is Ysa Ferrer. It is a puzzle to me that To bi or not to bi is not playing from the grocery store sound systems near you (as I just heard Santogold’s LES Artistes). It is that inveterate American problem with languages other than English, perhaps. But I’ve been pleased to see Ysa’s fans in France now sing along with her when she gets into the song – or maybe pleased isn’t exactly the word. But it is sucha catchy jingle that LI has decided to help it along in the states by translating the lyrics, which in French go

Si je choisis je perds
La moitié de mes repères
Le sens de l'équilibre
L'impression d'être libre

C'est une partie de moi-même
Attirée par les extrêmes
Par ce monde invisible
Où tout semble possible

Laisse-moi vivre ma vie
Aimer qui j'ai envie
Je suis comme je suis
Libre de corps et d'esprit
To bi or not to bi
Pas besoin d'alibi
J'aimais Ken et Barbie
Je me sens aussi
Bien avec elle qu'avec lui
To bi or not to bi

Un peu d'il un peu d'elle
Enfin je me sens belle
Si l'amour est intense
Le sexe n'a plus d'importance

La meilleure façon de marcher
Ma tenue de soirée
Mon plus beau théorème
Pour te dire que je t'aime

Laisse moi vivre ma vie
Aimer qui j'ai envie
Je suis comme je suis
Libre de corps et d'esprit
To bi or not to bi
Pas besoin d'alibi
J'aimais Ken et Barbie
Je me sens aussi
Bien avec elle qu'avec lui
To bi or not to bi

Ysa has never claimed to be Georges Brassens, so this isn’t exactly what you’d call a deep song. But fuck it – for a woman who is half manga, it is deep enough. Anyway, here’s the translation:

If I chose I lose
half my M.O. goes
my equilibrium
and my freedom

Attracted by extremes
part of me it seems
by a world invisible
where everything is possible

Just let me live my way
I am I anyway
My body and my mind are free
To bi or not to bi
No need for alibis
I loved Ken and Barbie
Feeling good don’t you see
with him or her or her or me
To bi or not to bi

A little of he a little of she
At last I feel pretty [I changed the french to make sense of this line]
if the love is intense
sex has no importance

I’m walking like I know how
My clubbing dress it says wow
This is my best proof
to tell you that I love you

Etc. I sorta bent a few lines to get to the rhymes, or most of them, which will disturb you purists out there – that is, if anybody really, really feels intensely about Ysa Ferrer’s lyrics.

And – extra for the Lady Bitch Ray nude crowd – if you really comb Dailymotion, Ysa just made her own nude vid! Exciting, eh? But you will have to find it yourself. Ha ha ha.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What has caused the spike in the price of oil

LI has been immensely irritated with the thumbsucking pieces in the papers about the runup in the cost of oil. The conventional wisdom, in a gesture of blind self-protection, has so molded the issue so that its setpoints are: either the price reflects speculation, or it reflects demand. This is a very convenient way to ignore the drivers of the recent spike in oil prices. What are they? There are two of them. One was the infusion of credit into the financial institutions managed by the Fed for six months now – which, not coincidentally, is the period of the biggest spike in oil prices. Fed policy, as well, trashed the value of the dollar. So, as consumer credit tightened and the largest sector of the credit boom dried up - securitized mortgage instruments - money, understandably, sought a new outlet. Thus, the futures boom in the commodities. However, the underlying structural reason for the price rises has been security. It was due to the tight tie between oil production and security that LI concluded, in 2005, that the Bush regime, however criminal it was, was not going to attack Iran. So far we’ve been right. The reason is entirely due to oil prices.

However, there are two other variables at play: Israel’s increasingly threatening policy, and the U.S. strategy in Iraq that is directed, seemingly, at finding excuses to attack Iran and maintaining bases to make that threat a long term project.

The amazing Yves Smith, at nakedcapitalism, a site we’ve been going to daily, finally pierces the CW wall with a post about Iraq oil. We have been drumming on this drum in comments here and there across the web (since we decided to make LI a mostly non-political blog – it seems sorta silly to get on a soapbox when obviously we are never going to have an audience that numbers more than one hundred souls, and we do so now, as in this post, because sometimes our loquaciousness overwhelms our sense of futility), namely, that the underperformance of the Iraqi oil fields, to say the least, over the last five years effectively cut out the potentially third largest oil supplier out of the supply line even as demand was increasing exponentially. It is another cost of having invaded Iraq. If, in 2001, the U.S. had pursued a rational policy – dropped sanctions against Iran, recognized the government, poured aid money into Northern Iraq, thus creating conditions that would make the long range survival of Saddam’s regime impossible – oil’s price would now be around 60 to 80 dollars per barrel. The future’s market is a bet that, in the future, political forces – say, the bombing of Iran by Israel – will have an effect not only on Iran, but also on every oil producer in the region, since this would madden the populations of Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc. to a degree that the tyrants in charge could not afford to ignore. To say nothing of its effect in Iraq.

Yet, week after week, the thumbsuckers ignore this. Why? Because this chain of events casts into doubt the entirety of the establishment view of foreign policy. Not only is the foreign policy we are pursuing immoral, but – simply in terms of material benefit – it has been highly injurious to the average American. Conversely, it has been highly beneficial to the average petro company, defense company, or the huge host of government contractors – which, not coincidentally, are the circles in which the media punditocracy runs. It’s the oligarchy of the filthiest. And, to be a little more nuanced, the filthy circle does employ a huge number of people. This is the high end engineering sector. This is where the most money is poured into R and D (absurdly enough – the R and D devoted to green technologies, to energy efficiencies, to alternative power – it is comparatively non-existent). This is the heart of Bushdom, the real supporters. And they are determined to keep their talon like hold on the power of the American state. The result of which is the production of a discourse in which there is no egress to any of the issues that are, actually, shaping our current economic circumstances.

There are good signs, though, too. For instance, establishment media is taking tremendous economic hits as subscriptions go down and down – which I view as a sort of instinctive reaction by the public to being massively lied to. Even if, on the conscious level, that public wants “good news” and seemingly revels in great moronic fetes celebrating mendacity, torture, and short term greed, instinctively the animal inside stiffens and tugs when being pulled towards the abattoir. It is on the unconscious level that the populace knows that we are seriously fucked, while on the discursive level, the very words in their mouths have been carefully and systematically shit upon by the gatekeepers. It is that dying fecal taste in the mouth that has made the past seven years so unforgettable. Only in our dreams do we retain the language of freedom, words that smell of fresh bread, of sperm, of spring, of earth.

The ethics of integrity or the Baker at Dachau

    Throughout the 19th and 20th century, one stumbles upon the lefthand heirs of Burke – Red Tories, as Orwell called them. Orwell’s inst...