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Showing posts from November 23, 2008


Love is the end of ends of world history, the amen of the universe – Novalis The first time I went to Mexico, it was with my roommate, H. I was 27. H. was a militant in a Trotskyist party in Monterrey, product of a middle class household, ironist, rock climber, and drinker. He was learning English by watching Red Dawn, Rambo II, and, in particular, Blue Velvet, over and over again. There was nothing he enjoyed more than repeating Dennis Hopper’s immortal words, Heinecken! Fuck that shit! Pabst blue ribbon! And of course saluting the tv with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Irony was a lot cheaper back in those distant days. So we were talking about this and that on the drive down to Mexico. We stopped to take photos of wild blue bonnets. And at one point, he told me, quite seriously, that he thought the most important thing in life was love. This, for some reason, astonished me – which is why I can even remember it to this day. I think H. might have been the first male ever to express th


“You say I’m crazy/ I got your crazy” So, the Britney issue of Rolling Stone is out, just before her birthday, December 2. Britney is in official return mode. What is she returning from? What everyone agrees is an off the charts craziness. For instance, she got drunk a few times. She might have walked around naked in front of her children, infants at the time. She shaved her hair off. The cops came around, she was making a disturbance. For this, she received the following punishments: the court took her boys away. The court gave her father control of all her money. The court gave her father control of all her possessions. Apparently even her phone calls are supervised. I am the Leon Bloy among Britneyologists, I think. In the introduction to the Exegesis of Common Places, Bloy writes (as though presciently seeing, one hundred year ago, the sin the press commits daily in writing of Ms. Spears): “The true bourgeois, that is to say, in a modern sense and in the most general of possib


I’ve been meaning to link to this for some time. Thanksgiving marks the start of the shopping-time, although as we all know, the charge it spirit is a little weak this year. Anyway, my friend Kiyoko, a jeweler in NYC, has started her own biz. I like her jewelry, I like her eye for minutia, I like her energy, I like her sense of what hangs and sparkles and needs to have an eye cocked at it – I like her intuition of the inner human Bird. Check out her site at Bookat NYC if you - oh fashion mavening reader – feel like buying jewelry. I should figure out how to put a picture on my sidebar for her. I should know how to do these things!


"Whence is that knocking? How is't with me, when every noise appals me? What hands are here? Ha, they pluck out mine eyes! Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red." As I said and will continue to say, since there is nothing sweeter than a word grown so bitter in your mouth that it makes your tongue cancerous - that is, to a certain degree of madman, such as LI - the bailout is perhaps the most foolish project ever mounted by a state since Darius decided to whip the sea. The figures are mounting, sweetly sweetly up into complete fantasy. Readers are urged to go see how 7.6 trillion dollars have been pledged by our lovesick Treasury and Fed - come back, SIVs of 2007! We want to light the cigars with the hundred dollar bills again! PS – LI is thinking that there is some virus that went around the liberal blogs after the Obama victor

Financial Cryptozoology

Because History is a poet, the idea of resurrected the financial sector of 2007 is rubbing elbows, in the press, with the idea that scientists are now able to genetically recreate the Wooly Mammoth. And there is a certain resonance between the big American banks and the Mammoths: “ Preserved frozen remains of woolly mammoths have been found in the northern parts of Siberia. This is a rare occurrence, essentially requiring the animal to have been buried rapidly in liquid or semi-solids such as silt, mud and icy water which then froze. This may have occurred in a number of ways. Mammoths may have been trapped in bogs or quicksands and either died of starvation or exposure, or drowning if they sank under the surface. They may have fallen through frozen ice into small ponds or potholes, entombing them. Many are certainly known to have been killed in rivers, perhaps through being swept away by river floods; in one location, by the Berelekh River in Yakutia in Siberia, more than 9,000 bone

My review of Outliers

I was talking to a friend last night, who told me she read my Malcolm Gladwell review. I didn’t even know it was out yet! So I looked around this morning, googling myself, and I found myself listed on the NY Mag site as a Gladwell hater Now, that isn’t right – Michiko Kakatani, that enigma wrapped in a puzzle (the puzzle being: why is such a poor reader and writer kept on to review books, year after year, for the Times?) is a Gladwell hater, and her review of Outliers is argued with in her usual way – which is this – Kakatani has a prejudice, the writer under review contravenes it, thus the writer under review is wrong. As well as bad. As well as a bad influence. And the worst thing ever. Etc., etc. So Gladwell shows – as any sociology 101 course would show – that the social and the individual so interpenetrate that the notion of the self-reliant individual has to be considered a myth. To which Kakatani replies: “Such assessments turn individuals into pawns of their cultural heritag

In the cage: Obama's Team of Losers

Like any other liberal, I’m appalled by the rightwing tilt of Obama’s economics team. Any team that is hailed by libertarians and Bushites like Greg Mankiew is obviously not a team I want to play with. And yet, in some ways, I’m indifferent. When I use the term rightwing, some explanation needs to be put in place. The terms rightwing and leftwing are often used as markers of rhetoric. It is as if we should bracket the social context of these comments, and discuss them as “ideas”. Myself, I think that the rhetoric only makes sense when embedded in a robust sense of the sociology of a situation. Rhetoric is part of the way a society dreams itself, and like all dreams, should be subject to psychoanalysis – but psychoanalysis is no substitute for history. The history of the last thirty years was about the growing power of the parasitic Dixie model, in which heavy public investment elsewhere – in the Northeast U.S., say, or in Japan – produced an economic activity that could be successfully
The girls are crying the boys are masturbating I. We dive down through the ocean of statistics to find, at the bottom, the carte d’amour that has foundered there. Diving into the wreck is a pretty good definition of this history, and LI has been aiming to be one of the deep divers Melville talks about in his famous letter on Emerson: “Now, there is a something about every man elevated above mediocrity, which is, for the most part, instinctuly perceptible. This I see in Mr Emerson. And, frankly, for the sake of the argument, let us call him a fool; -- then had I rather be a fool than a wise man. -- I love all men who dive. Any fish can swim near the surface, but it takes a great whale to go down stairs five miles or more; & if he don't attain the bottom, why, all the lead in Galena can't fashion the plumet that will. I'm not talking of Mr Emerson now -- but of the whole corps of thought-divers, that have been diving & coming up again with bloodshot eyes since the wo

Tyler Cowen's country club guide to economics: don't tip the caddies!

Bateman takes out his wallet and pulls out a card. PRICE (Suddenly enthused) What's that, a gram? BATEMAN New card. What do you think? McDermott lifts it up and examines the lettering carefully. McDERMOTT Whoa. Very nice. Take a look. He hands it to Van Patten. BATEMAN Picked them up from the printers yesterday VAN PATTEN Good coloring. BATEMAN That's bone. And the lettering is something called Silian Rail. McDERMOTT (Envious) Silian Rail? VAN PATTEN It is very cool, Bateman. But that's nothing. He pulls a card out of his wallet and slaps it on the table. VAN PATTEN Look at this. They all lean forward to inspect it. PRICE That's really nice. Bateman clenches his fists beneath the table, trying to control his anxiety. VAN PATTEN Eggshell with Romalian type. (Turning to Bateman) What do you think? BATEMAN (Barely able to breath, his voice a croak) Nice. PRICE (Holding the card up to the light) Jesus. This is really super. How'd a nitwit like you get so tasteful? Batem