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Showing posts from October 26, 2008

Writing the Book of Love in Red Ink

“It took the Devil, that ancient ally of woman, her confidant from Paradise, it took the sorceress, this monster who does everything backwards, inversing the sacred world, to be occupied with woman, to crush under her feet their [the church’s] practices, and to care for her in spite of herself. The poor creature thought so little of herself! … She recoiled, blushed, meant to say nothing. The sorceress, adroit and malign, guessed and penetrated. At last she figured out how to make her speak, pulled her little secret out, vanquished her refusal, her hesitations of modesty and humility. Rather than submit to such a thing, she would have liked better almost to die. The barbarous sorceress made her live.” Marguerite Duras once expressed, in an interview, her admiration for Michelet’s The Sorceress: “Do you know the thesis by Michelet about witches? It's admirable. (By the way, I think, and many people think, on the basis of letters and journals, that Michelet did not have a no

coming attractions

LI is finished, for the moment, with the Nemesis thread. We are planning on a love and suicide thread next, starting with the Sorrows of Young Werther. ... We’ve been slowly preparing an index of the posts that constitute our Human Limit thematalooza. When I finish it, I think I’ll download it to my geocities site and put a link to it – for those interested in the Great Work. Going back to 2006, I can see how certain threads silently converged, enter into the thing itself, spirits called out to, spirits that came, spirits that didn’t. It is back then that I stumbled upon what is still my methodological principle, my version of dialectical materialism, my very own Wicca Marxism: “Comment y arriva-t-on. Sans doute par l’effet si simple du grand principe satanique que tout doit se faire à rebours, exactement à l’envers de ce que fait le monde sacré.” From Michelet’s mouth to my ear. There are two great elaborations of this principle – one, Jehovah’s version, is that we see now as in a

All the money in the world

Bubbles are not, contrary to the new CW in the zona, all bad. Law’s system, some think, actually liquidated the immense debts left by Louis XIV and gave a massive impetus to the restructuring of French agriculture and artisanal industry. But the Greenspan system seems to have expanded so fast and gotten to such size that it might well engulf all the gains made along the way and then some. A sign of this: the sinking of AIG. Here is a company that is burning its way through 120 billion dollars in 3 weeks time. In three weeks time, he repeated, trying to sound like the George Segal character in To Die For . From today’s story in the NYT: “These accounting questions [that is, how much of a hole AIG was in because of its position as a counterparty] are of interest not only because taxpayers are footing the bill at A.I.G. but also because the post-mortems may point to a fundamental flaw in the Fed bailout: the money is buoying an insurer — and its trading partners — whose cash needs

Answers to All Your Election Questions

LI has found the leftist reaction (for instance, here ) to Obama this election season a little… puzzling. LI has no qualms about wanting Obama to be president than John McCain. If I made a checklist that included Iraq, Iran, unemployment benefits, dealing with the recession, health care, the environment, Obama would score a 100 against McCain. Hell, if I made the same checklist and contrasted Palin and McCain, Palin would score well above her erstwhile partner. Palin’s lack of experience – that is, her non-processing by the DC factory of conventional wisdom, is a point in her favor. Right, she does wear hick resentment like a uniform, but when she is on her own, making a choice, often her common sense wins out over her talking points. For instance, there’s the cute mistake she made a week ago, in denouncing Obama’s stated policy to talk with Iran without preconditions, when she explained herself by confusing “preconditions’ with “preparations” – coming out solidly against meeting Ahm

The Less-than-Perfect Shame Machine

LI has been meditating on Ruwen Ogien’s article on “diffuse sanctions” for the past couple days. We have seen more and more in this article. Perhaps we should translate the entire thing. Maybe we should write to Ogien. Maybe he has been translated. Ruwen’s comments on the “informal moral sphere”, which he uses interchangeably with the “domain of interaction”, helps us a great deal in thinking about one of the great puzzles of happiness – how did happiness ever become a collective passion? How did it happen that, in the eighteenth century, men and women started to dream of the happy community? And how could they ignore a social fact that stared them in the face every day – that often, the happiness of one person is the direct cause of the unhappiness of another person? To get back to Ogien – Ogien begins with Durkheim’s notion that “sanctions” form a continuum. Whether the sanction is informal, such as being laughed at, or formal, such as being imprisoned, what (negative) sanction

Two divas

LI has lagged the Brit news. And what news! First, the trumped up charges against her for driving without a license, taken to a jury trial – I’ll say it again, a jury trial – by an out of control LA D.A.’s office were eviscerated by the common sense of ten jurors, who, alas, couldn’t persuade the ringer. And then, quite rightly, there was the triumph of Ms. Spears for her Piece of Me video at the MTV awards – the scene of her moment of authenticity last year, when she decided to wander around and make the lipsynching plain, shed the burden of the Mickey Mouse club, of a decade of numbers that she could no longer tolerate – shades of Brecht in her mind - all of which initiated the crazy Brit meme in the press, the panic in the industry. So her return is good news for us Britneyologists, right? Well, the rule of thumb here is to remember that we see now as in a glass darkly. Years from now, Spears is going to look back at this “crazy” interval as her most creative year. As for her re

Diffuse Sanctions

Jeanne Becu, known to history as Madame du Barry, was presented to Louis XV’s court on April 23, 1769. The king was sixty. His old mistress, Madame de Pompadour, was dead. Long before she died, she had become his procurer, along with his valet, finding an endless stream of girls for his majesty to have sex with. Oddly enough, given this history, Louis seemed to be enchanted and surprised by Jeanne’s sexual prowess. Who'd have thought the innocent with the girlish voice would know so many bed tricks? Jeanne herself was a former servant and window dresser. She’d caught the eye of a certain Jean du Barry, a minor nobleman and a major pimp. She was his ticket, the best thing he’d ever bet on. The King’s highest official, Duc de Choiseul, cordially detested Jeanne – or rather, uncordially. That she was a peasant and that her mother was a servant made it impossible for him to like having to tolerate her presence at Versailles. More than that, though, he detested her pimp. Choiseul h