Skip to main content


Showing posts from November 30, 2008

rogerology day!

We all have read our Nietzsche, and know that it is better not have been born. Who doesn’t feel pressing in, year after year, the serpent’s promise of death to Eve – that was the real temptation. The only way to escape from the life sentence of paradise. But in spite of the death drive, LI is still ticking away, with all the stupidity of a watch set to the wrong time. The watch cannot reach out and set itself straight – birthdays are a reminder that people can’t do that either, although of course the mechanism in some of us makes us repeat the vain gesture, over and over again. It is my birthday today. Here’s my song for today: Ponderosa

the origin of free love: I

We had felt that perhaps we were wrong inside, but we had never imagined it so bad – D.H Lawrence These are some facts about Therese Huber between 19 and 25. She was born in Gottingen, the daughter of a well known professor, Christian Gottlob Heyne, and Therese Heyne, born Weiss, in May, 1764. She was thus a little older than the revolutionary generation, those born in the 1770s. According to Therese Huber’s correspondence, her first memories were of her mother – of her mother being ill. This was when she was three. “I was never my Mother’s favorite, certainly not, I was ugly, bulky and probably never brilliant. Until my thirteenth year, I don’t remember anybody ever tell me I had a mind or that I was droll.” Of her mother she says, further, that she was “no housewife, we were raised in filth and disorder.” Her earliest memories were of her stained clothing. Moreover, her mother had “a lover until she died, almost in her forty fifth year.” Her lover lived in the house. He was a musi

Mr. Summers, let me refer you to Chapter 13: the whiteness of the whale

In the election of 1910, Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. The economy still hadn’t recovered from the bust of 1907. The original impetus for the progressive legislation that had received support and scorn in equal measure from Teddy Roosevelt – America’s most bipolar president – had not died out, which is why President Taft couldn’t block the amendment to the Constitution instituting a federal income tax. Unfortunately, the move to force corporations to incorporate federally, instead of in the states, failed. There was, back in those days, a burning issue that has flamed out so much since that the very word brings an eery blank to the mind: overcapitalization. The reason this figured so heavily as a scare word among the progressives is that the era from the turn of the century to the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in 1914 – which is generally taken to bookend the progressive moment – saw the instantiation of what Lawrence Mitchell, in The

Britneyology day!

Ah, December 2 – Brit’s birthday! All the britneyologists in the house go hey! Go ho! My last post on Britney Spears received a vitriolic response from Dejan, who doesn’t, it appears, like Britney. Well, some don’t. However, Dejan, as an aspiring artist, is all too easily captured by his own likes and dislikes, the charmed circle of his taste. Does no intuition whisper in his ear that this is the path invariably chosen by the minor talent? An early death sentence where the artist is thrown into the circle of the mooks and the haters, infinitely chasing each other in a circle, tearing at each other’s tails – otherwise known as the comments section of You Tube. I’d advise him to heed the wise words of this woman. My brother, Dan, thinks that Britneyology is a goof. He suspects his older brother of hatching schemes in which he claims beliefs and tastes that he doesn’t have. And, in fact, Li has done such a thing once or twice – but Britneyology triumphs easily over sincere and justified

Tanta RIP

Tanta died. I read Calculated Risk only to read Tanta. That woman could write. The mortgage is, from one side of things, the most boring of texts. It is mindnumbing numbers, and as it scrapes away your skin, it sings you songs of amortization that put your frontal lobe to sleep. On the other side of things, though, it is as shot through with the agony and the ecstasy as any romance novel. Or, as in the past decade, as any O Henry story – all of them were tending to that O Henry end. It is not the great literature a nation should wallow in, but under the Great Fly, it so became. It had a poet though, and her name was Tanta. CR and the Times both quote her Let slip the dogs of hell post in 2006. That post might have been the most powerful thing ever unleashed by the Blogosphere into the real world. It kills. Tanta’s patiently unfolds the acid logic of the Street until one sees it for what it is: a monster trying to profit from aborting itself. She analyzed an unspeakable Citi “analysi

On Ludwig Hohl

This is a story from Ludwig Hohl’s Notices – I don’t know if this has been translated. Hohl has his supporters in English – George Steiner calls him the secret master of German 20th century prose. “Story Three men had a fearful fight, each struggling against each. The fight raged over the question of what kind of parts a house is divided into. The first said: “a house falls into: the cellar, the ground floor, the second floor, the third, etc.” The second cried: “out of wood, stone, mortar, metals – this is what constitutes a house!” The third, raging against the first true and treating them as liars and scoundrels, as they collaborated between them and against him, observed that a house falls into lines, and referred to an outline and a profile, on which the length and thickness of every wall, the breadth, length and height of the rooms were giving. Everything else was nonsense, only such projections show the exact parts. Is it necessary to add that the three men fought to the death, b