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Showing posts from August 9, 2009

News and evil

Today, LI must brag that we high styled it on our News From the Zona piece. And in the next week, we are going to take a radical turn towards soap and water before we march on to Mde de Stael and Jane Austin. In the meantime, here's our funding plea. Please give to LI. And our song for what is obviously a Ladytron day: Use your evil

a walk of her own

I have not been entirely happy with the way I am developing the theme of solitude in the previous posts – perhaps I am simply bumping against the limit of developing an idea in the hit and run of a blog. I have been concerned from the outset not to make this another totalizing history – that melancholy child of universal history, but here and there, I do just that, or make just those gestures, impose unconsciously the manicheanism of the sides, of the bad and the good in deathgrapple. To shake this out of one’s head is an intellectual victory that is never enough, for it creeps back in the next day. So it goes. I started out with Marie D’Agoult’s account of the revolutionary tradition in achieving women’s rights – which, appropriately enough, is found in her history of the revolution of 1848. The trend line, here – in as much as the trend line is under my control – is to try to show something about women and the culture of happiness. This is vitally important, as, from one perspec

Fund drive post

My aim is to make 200 dollars during this fund drive – then I’m cutting its throat. But I'm not near the throat cutting point yet. Contribute to LI and to News from the Zona! And - Ladytron Obliterate the sunday you've been cherishing all week...

the end of the nineteenth century: November 8, 1998

The nineteenth century ended on November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Following this supposed death blow to the state’s central management of the economy, the intellectual fashion of the nineties was to pretend that the long nineteenth century – 200 years long! – was a huge mistake. The French Revolution was immediately followed by the Gulag, Freud was a crackpot, and Rational Choice would reign as queen of the human sciences forever and forever. Thus, there was a move back to the 18th century, before the French Revolution, when, under the newly mythified ancien regime, something called the public sphere happened. Instead of dwelling on enclosures and factories, prisons and madhouses, the new fashion was to dwell on coffeehouses and newspapers. Sociability was the new phrase. The birth of sociability. Not, never, solidarity, because solidarity implies action of the masses, which leads to the French Revolution and the Gulag, of course. LI gests. We joke. We have a little joke.

Rousseau and Mrs. Bennet

“But I can assure you,: she added, ‘that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, and not at all worth pleasing.” - Mrs. Bennet, commenting on Darcy’s behavior at the ball at which he and Elizabeth Bennett met in Pride and Prejudice. According to a German sociologist, Harald Uhlendorff, Einsamkeit – which we can translate as solitude, or loneliness (although Alleinsein might work better for the latter) had a mostly positive use in the fifties. In the sixties, however, it began to accrue negative meanings, and is now, Uhlendorff claimed, seldom used except to denote something sad, some condition from which one would want to get away. (Wege zum Selbst, 226-227) My notes on solitude seem to entirely ignore this, besides going against the notion that the self is a social construct. Unless I have to, I don’t like lifting a word from the mainstream of ordinary life and endowing it with special meanings. In the case of solitude, however,