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Showing posts from April 10, 2011

notes on paris

So: I walk down rue Rambuteau past the Beaubourg to a Lebanese sandwich stand; I buy a chicken Shawarma to go; I notice, with pleasure, that they have put the fries inside the sandwich, like I like it; I pay for it and press on with my quest to find a bike stand, all the while eating my sandwich and feeling an immense satisfaction that I am walking, this morning, in Paris. Heres’s the thing: I am, for once in my life, impressed with myself. Here’s the other thing: I realize that this feeling is quite absurd. I have stuffed my mouth with sandwiches in other villes – in Santa Fe, Austin, New Haven, New Orleans, Atlanta. But Paris is different. The difference, no doubt, is due to the fact that I stuffed my head with literature and Paris since I discovered serious novels and masturbation, when I was 13. Or perhaps I discovered serious novels second. If I hadn’t read Pound, Baudelaire, Stein, Hemingway, Henry Miller, and Balzac, perhaps I wouldn’t feel the ordinary sights beat down

another 30 and we're done!

There is a crap statistic that is often passed around on the right about taxes, summed up in this headline form Heritage Foundation: “The Top 10 Percent of Income Earners Paid 71 Percent of Federal Income Tax.” I am always tickled by this meme, because at the same time, when the Right isn’t thundering about taxes, they will also crow about the benefits of the American economy in the age of freemarket globalisation – among which is the enormous increase in wealth of the top ten percent. Or, as the right likes to put it, the normalization of the millionaire next door. Put these two memes together and it becomes obvious that the wealthiest can pay 70 percent of the U.S. income tax without breaking a sweat. Their enormous engrossment of higher and higher percentages of the national wealth – the latest figures show that the top 1 percent control some 36 percent of the national wealth. This is a stat from the uber-right Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent hold an astoni

The Nietzschian we

As I wrote in the last post, Nietzsche’s preface to Daybreak begins on a note of anaphoric ambiguity. Although the English translators have decided that the subterranean is a subterranean “man”, the German is not so inexorable – in fact, it seems to softly bore its way back to the animal, to the mole. The mystery of the pronouns, here, is not confined to the first paragraph. To make my next move in uncovering the logic of the subterranean, I need to reference a few lateral ‘philological’ issues to show that the pronoun has a philosophical weight. In one of the most famous essays in linguistics, Shifters, verbal categories, and the Russian verb , Roman Jakobson presented a schema of four reflexive relations between code – some particular symbolic form – and the message – some content or signification: 1) the message that refers to the message - which gives us all kinds of reported speech; 2) the code that refers to the code – which gives us proper names; 3) the message that refers t