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Showing posts from September 27, 2009

little things and the deathgame

World history, Ludwig Schlözer wrote in 1787, was synonymous with the history of “Erfindung” – a word that can mean either discovery or invention. “Everything that makes for a noble progress or regress among mankind, every new important idea, every new kind of behavior, pregnant with consequences, which the rulers, priests, fashion or accident enduringly bring among a mass of men should be called by us, out of a lack of a more appropriate word, invention.” [67 Weltgeschichte] Invention or discovery – this, Schlözer thought, was the secret hero of history. Not the discoverer, necessarily: “The inventors (alphzai) themselves are mostly unknown. Often they don’t deserve to be eternalized: than not seldom, simply accident lead a weak head to a discovery, that only later generations learned to use.” It was also the secret of Europe’s dominance. For small Europe was the ground zero of discovery. Europe, not coincidentally, defined discovery – the verb preeminently described the European

Time- in qualudes and red wine

Time is waiting in the wings While it may seem that the history of the happiness culture and the history of policing are on two entirely different trajectories, they really aren’t. When the bond between the governors and the governed becomes that of a project of collective happiness – even and especially in the form of a government that permits the pursuit of individual happiness – then Nemesis, the gaze in which the happiness of some is exactly the cause of the unhappiness of others, is going to be at its crack work. That is, even as the edifice of collective happiness is built, the cracks in the edifice give rise to surveillance and order. And this order is embodied in the policeman. The eighteenth century brought about both the outlines of the modern paradigm of happiness and the project of substituting a government hired and supported police force for the old order of private justice, an old order that made do with private thief catchers, private ransoms for goods stolen, and en

this beatitude comes in terror - replay

This April post should really, I think, be on the margin of these Fielding posts. And I don't think it got enough attention at the time. So I'm pasting it here, a sort of onlooker text. "It would be impossible to film this. It would be impossible that is to score the film to a proper time. There is the rhythm of time given by the historian, with its units – “the age”, for instance – of varying duration in which the content somehow determines the boundaries of the unit, and there is the real time, which opens up, upon being represented, to an audience who must trade their own real time for it, and there is slow mo and fastforward, which operate on the object of representation, the film, to create a difference in the content that picks up things unseen in real time. This is a site and an occurrence. The site is London in the eighteenth century – a time cue. Three things happen. One, William Hogarth publishes The Four Stages of Cruelty in 1751. It is another of Hogarth’s