Skip to main content


Showing posts from November 2, 2008


In my head, I often string together themes and topics that seem disconnected on the surface, inherently unrelated flotsam. And then I nag at them. So, lately, it has been running through my head that Ruwen Ogien’s idea about the synthetic nature of informal moral sanctions; the de-Christianization of Europe in the 18th century; the elevation of love as a life-defining sentiment during the latter half of the same period; and the Enlightenment war against superstition all form a pattern, fall under the empire of the happiness culture I’ve been tracking. Let’s sort things out a bit. Ogien’s notion of the synthesis between a sanction and a sentiment should give us a sense of the interactional space within which lovers operate. The goal, of course, is to achieve that synthesis – to make it the case that the remark, “I love you’, gears up the sentiment, “I love you” in the person to whom it is addressed. Given the way the interactional space is constituted, its being governed by diffuse sanc


Let’s throw out a few names for the Secretary of the Treasury. LI was startled that Larry Summers is even being considered. Obama owes his election to women, and it is not a good idea to repay this debt by making Summers his first appointment. The other mention is Timothy F. Geithner, who has been the strongman in the current financial crisis. The names floated immediately to the top in the Post – and I think I can be confident that Summer’s friends had something to do with that. But how about some more unorthodox candidates: For instance, how about Esther Duflo, MIT prof and head of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab ? Admittedly, there might be a nationality problem. I’m not sure if she is still French or not – and she is below forty. However, she was named among the top one hundred public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy mag. Here’s a q and a with her. Now, perhaps she would be better as the head of the World Bank. But I like her expertise in poverty reduction, a

I wouldn't stop there...

All the revolutionaries of the 20th century are rusty, and what can we learn from them? Sure, I have a soft spot in my heart for Lenin, who died way too soon, and who, I think, could have led the Soviet Union into the path of being a normal socialist country And Gandhi’s success is undoubted, even if it is picked to pieces, now, by rightwing Hindu nationalists. Still, we have the longer perspective. We can see their beginnings and their ends. Their time has waned. Except for one man: Martin Luther King, Jr. Last night I got to bed at three, and I am tired as I write this, having had five hours sleep, so perhaps I am sentimental. Obama’s campaign, either consciously or unconsciously, took its cues from King. The same long patience. The same attention to the goal. The same shaking off of abuse, of the frivolity of hatred, which, even if it kills, can never be anything but frivolous, in bad faith, repulsive to the hater himself. Last night was a reminder that King changed the U.S. – that

obama day!

For Obama day, some music links: Invasion so succexy – Metric Did you ever think about suicide? – Hanin Elias, War This is a message to persons unknown Persons in hiding. Persons unknown Survival in silence Isn't good enough no more Keeping your mouth shut head in the sand Terrorists and saboteurs Each and every one of us Hiding in shadows persons unknown – Poison Girls I got a letter from the government the other day – Tricky, Black Steel Monsieur le president/ou est mon argent? – Vive la fete, Je suis un ouvrier/ expulsez moi – Tetes raides Monsieur le president – il faut que je vous dira - Le deserteur, Joan Baez We had a communist in the family/ I had to wear a mask – Forest Families, the Knife I swear to god I want to slit my wrists and end this bullshit – Suicidal Thoughts, Biggie Smalls Ağladıkça – Ahmet Kaya Keskin Biçak - Sezen Aksu

News from the Zona

An excellent article in the NYT on the little worldwide web woven within the Greenspan system that is now going down a stitch here, down a stitch there – you in the corner can’t have your retirement, and you in the other corner can’t have your education. The vast game of tag in which you, my friends, my friends, are It – now, try to run for cover! The article takes up a move by a Wisconsin school district to take advantage of what it was assured was easy money in the highflying world of international finance: “Mr. Noack told the Whitefish Bay board that investing in the global economy carried few risks, according to the tape. “What’s the best investment? It’s called a collateralized debt obligation,” or a C.D.O., Mr. Noack said. He described it as a collection of bonds from 105 of the most reputable companies that would pay the school board a small return every quarter. “We’re being very conservative,” Mr. Noack told the board, composed of lawyers, salesmen and a homemaker who lived