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Showing posts from October 11, 2009

Your debutante just knows what you need. But I know what you want.

"Addiction is an illness of exposure. By and large, those who have access to junk become addicts." - William Burroughs, With William Burroughs: a report from the bunker [109] In Sweetness and Power, Sidney Mintz tracks sugar from the cane plantations in Sicily and Egypt in the fourteenth century to the Canary and Azores islands (where the Spanish and Portugese developed the prototype of intensive sugar production with a mix of slave and free labor) to the Caribbean. Sugar cane was brought by Columbus, that divine, diabolical harbinger, to the Caribbean on his second voyage. The Spanish attempts to grow and process the sugar cane were not very successful, especially compared to what the Portugese did in Brazil. But the suggestion was, as it were, in the air; it was taken up by the Dutch and the English in the mid seventeenth century, long after the Caribs had vanished, the way blood, bones and skin massively vanishes – pushed into the vanishing act by the European magicians w

Gods and drugs

This is how the story must go. This is how the story goes. There must be a god in the midst of the forest. There is a god in the midst of the forest. In the forest, too, the wisest of men is walking down a path. There is the wisest of men, and there is the path, and there is the forest around him. There there there. As if I had a finger to point to these things. As if you who read me saw the finger. Who must also be a simpleton. Who is a simpleton. Who must be hailed by the god, and shown a divine plant. Who is hailed by the god, and shown a divine plant. Or – as the beginning is always a matter of bifurcation, paths of needles, paths of pins, other encounters, other forests - let us start this in another way: “She’ll mix a potion for you: she’ll add drugs Into that drink; but even with their force, She can’t bewitch you; for the noble herb I’ll give you now will baffle all her plots… When that was said, he gave his herb to me; He plucked it from the ground and showed what sort Of pla

the uncanny life of objects

“The petit bourgeois views [Rücksichten] disappear, Life charms us with all its temptations to enjoyment, and so everyone, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the pious and the worldly, steps quietly out of their relationships. The certainty with which this can happen on all sides has something uncanny [unheimlich], something horrible. It quietly and noiselessly dissolves the bonds without this being perceived from the outside. There is a dualism in this life, that naturally pulls after it the most universal demoralization.” [Berlin, Ernst Dronke] The eye drifts to that moment of the unheimlich, here – although Dronke is writing a good sixty years before Freud. Freud, of course, also located his uncanny in two urban stories – one concerning the Sandman, in which, crucially, one of the characters looks out of his window and sees into another person’s window, and the second of which involves Freud wandering in the streets of Rome. And yet one would think that the gothic tale is