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Showing posts from November 16, 2008

Intimations of Further Fall

Well, now that we have shot a hole in the economy by highhatting the auto companies, a sort of collaboration between the incredible mummies of this ancien regime, the brainless auto barons and the brainless congressional barons (as the zona whips itself into a frenzy outside), and as Paulson’s ass is licked in precise proportion to his ideologically driven incompetence – the Post would have absolutely loved Andrew Mellon! – we hear the creaking of the largest bank collapse in history – oh, just ahead of us. Nothing to worry about. While the terrible, terrible UAW clowns, making their 26 an hour and destroying their economy with their greed, are about to fall into the toilet, our pity goes out, now, to the upper management of Citi, where the per hour is what, 1,000? 2,000? – but only because of the amazing skills they display, on a historic scale. That Ayn Rand could have lived to see her hero caste in all its glory today. Weep a little on her tomb, will ya? What we are discovering

Love and territory

In 1965, John Hajnal, published an essay with the very dull title, European Marriage Patterns in Perspective. This essay seems, at first glance, to project a Cold War paradigm back upon the pattern of European demography, as Hajnal proposed that, in essence, starting with the end of the 16th century, you could draw a line from Trieste to St. Petersburgh and allot two different household formations to each side. On the West, you have what Hajnal came to call the simple household formation, in which one and only one married couple were at the center of the household; in the East, you had what he called a joint household formation, in which two or more related married couples formed the household. Hajnal claimed that in the sixteenth century, the Western type of household was new, and characterized by a demographic shift in which marriage occurred significantly later in life. For women, for instance, the average age moves from 20 to 25. Meanwhile, in the East, the marriage age remained v

How We'll Miss the Golden Years of the Great Fly

LI was thinking that as the Great Fly leaves us something to remember him by – the destruction of the U.S. economy on a Katrina like scale – that it might be nice to go back and pick up comments about Bush by some of the great minds of the past eight years – you know, people like Fred Barnes, whose inspiring work, Rebel in Chief, will be read until the very heavens break, as it is to ass licking what the kamasutra was to gymnastic sex. Then, perhaps, Elizabeth Bumiller, whose analysis of Bush after the election of 2004 was spot on – the brilliance, the oratory that was so, so moving, the ideas. Perhaps scouring the WSJ in 2005, when Bush’s awesome notion that we should destroy social security was giving the country club crowd an estrus overload – in their frenzies there were understandable cases of them beating their caddies and servants, as the idea was that soon we would be reforming all the way back to Alexander II and re-institute serfdom. But alas, as I looked back for suitabl

the Auto-cracy - who are these suits?

NYT As pissed as LI is about the refusal of congress to bail out the auto industry from the dragon’s horde of money already committed to the Treasury – a move of unbelievable blindness, which will undoubtedly make this a much, much worse recession – I am as pissed at the Soviet style Auto-cracy, flying on their fucking private planes to make a used car salesman’s pitch. LI supported the 25 billion as a much much better use of money than feeding it to the AIG monster. But ultimately – and the performance of the Auto-cracy shows this – the Government needs to intervene far beyond the usual American capitalist model. The upper management needs to go; the companies need to invest seriously in R and D that would, actually, provide them with a reason for existing – which, at the moment, they don’t have; environment and energy saving concerns can no longer be considered frills to be satisfied at a car show, using the model of a car that no manufacturer has any intention of building. In

You can't guillotine the fairies

Vernon Lee was in her early twenties when she wrote her book of essays about 18th century Italy, and among them, a famous – though some say distorting – essay about Carlo Gozzi, the Venetian playwright who took Italian fairy tales and made them into theater. Gozzi did this partly just in order to get up the nose of the enlightened crowd around Goldoni. Gozzi’s plays, notably Love for three Oranges and Turandot, served as the basis for famous operas – and though I looked, I could not find other videos of this seemingly amazing performance of Prokofiev’s L’amour pour trois oranges which, I am betting, the Colonel probably saw - and are of interest to us here at LI for ending the 18th century on a fairy note – just as it began with Perrault’s fairy tales, those most modern of ancient relics. Lee tells a story – which is too good to be true – that Gozzi wrote The love for three oranges because he’d been driven crazy by Goldoni’s bragging about his success – and with plays that, in Go

Happier News for Northanger!

Since North has been unhappy about my suicide thread, I interrupt it here to link to happier news! The inside out theory of pyramid building! This is happy news to those of us with the Wiccan view that most things are backwards in this world. The old view is that the pyramids were built from the outside in, with frames and an external ramp, which is a complete, as you say, bordel de merde. Main non, say the brave band that has seen in this magnificent structure the obvious signs of an inside out job – a ramp spiraling out from the center, that would make the moving of two million 2.5-ton blocks such a snap of the fingers that voila, and you have time to make the nice biftek for dinner with the little woman. Who is always talking your ear off about this new thing, bronze, that the neighbors in the hut across the street have. Bronze bronze bronze. Good for earrings. Who gives a Hittites pet , as they say? Can’t a man get a little peace after moving two million 2.5 ton blocks? And, be

My syphilis

The suicide note is an enlightenment genre. Werther, before he died, burnt many of his papers, and sent others to his friend Wilhelm, who – completing the exchange of friendship – then published all the notes and letters as “The Sorrows of Young Werther”. But, of course, as a man of fashion – so fashionable, in fact, that he is concerned with that the clothes he wears into the grave represent his look – Werther was not going to lose the occasion to write a last letter. And so he writes it to his “dearest one” – Charlotte. As I’ve pointed out, love and suicide in the Sorrows of Young Werther overlap, in a way – they both are imagined in terms of circles, and those circles in turn are the forms in which something is distributed to elements that are substitutable – variable places, in fact. However, Werther’s suicide itself is told in terms not of a circle, but of a line. Werther sends his servant to borrow the pistols from Albert, Lotte’s husband, who is in a foul mood – and we do re

The Bullet we missed

The NYT has a piece on ex Senator Phil “I love a billionaire” Gramm, whose career in the Senate is an epic of corrupt practices and a vile ideology, which all resulted in the economy we know and love today. They even, as a sidenote, print the emails that the ever irrepressible Enron people were sending each other as Gramm was passing the Enron provision in the bill barring the regulators of commodity futures from even thinking about derivatives – a provision that allowed Enron to spiral into a gigantic fraud whose clawmarks can still be spotted in California. How Beautiful! And they print his remarks on the wonders and charms of subprime mortgages, which, in the grand forgettery of the rightwing spin machine, have been tossed aside for insane fantasies about Barney Frank. Gramm is the man who was within a whisker of being the secretary of the treasury. LI has long considered Gramm among the vilest of the vile. Here’s what we wrote in 2001: Friday, January 04, 2002 Dope Some fur

The Modern way to commit Suicide

“In 1718, at Chateau-Gontier, a young pregnant girl having poisoned herself, the cadaver, from the time of the beginning of the trial, was exhumed and imprisoned in a jail”. Then it was dragged, head down, through the streets of the village, hung by its feet, and at last “placed on a bonfire and reduced to ashes.” I don’t know of another case where the penalty of burning was applied. The sentence of Chateau-Gontier specified that the ashes would be thrown to the wind and the child would be, before this, extracted from the cadaver to be buried with the stillborns. The is even examples of condemnation in cases of suicide attempts. In 1777, the Journal of Paris told the story of a man who, having tried to hang himself, was condemned to the galleys for life and was only acquitted on appeal. Voltaire, in the Philosophical Dictionary, speaks of a man who, having “made several light cuts on himself with a knife, like the charlatans, in order to obtain some recompense”, was condemned to be h