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Showing posts from March 18, 2012

Newspapers - from lento to presto

“Such a book, such a problem has no hurry: on this question we are both friends of lento , myself as well as my book.” So wrote Nietzsche in the preface to Dawn. Lento, of course, is the opposite of the speed at which, supposedly, both Fama and the mass media moves. In fact, Nietzsche was dead when his books – especially Thus spoke Zarathustra – began to move at a much faster speed. A sort of legend claims that 150,000 copies of Zarathustra were produced for a special field edition in World War I, thus introducing a generation of German soldiers to Nietzsche as a German thinker next to Goethe and Luther – Goethe’s Faust and Luther’s Bible being the other books put out by this soldier’s press. A Nietzsche scholar, Richard Krummel, has recently suggested that this legend was based on some misunderstood remarks in certain memoirs of the war. Nietzsche, of course, took Fama’s course and   spoke, in his books, in many voices and tempos. He spoke in presto as well, showing a mar


I was obviously born generations too early . I lost my interest in cars somewhere after my father bought a Ford LTD. In high school, I had many arguments with my poor parents about getting a driver's license - I didn't want one. And failed my first driver's licence test. But then I was forced to go to driver school, so I surrendered, and on the next test, I correctly identified what the stop sign was for, and all the rest of it. After that, I had a friendly enough relationship with an old Galaxy 500,  one motorcycle, and a Chevette. The Chevette took me to Santa Fe, and then gave up the ghost. It was replaced by the most disastrous purchase I ever made, a AMC matador. That AMC was long bankrupt and that the used car dealer who sold it to me was practically wearing a sign around his neck saying "crook" did not deter me from buying this folly. However, its engine block soon cracked and that did it between me and cars. Since 1993, I've not owned a car and haven&#

the kind of JOBS bill that only a crook or a legislator could love

In Paducah, the beauty parlor operator and the kitcat café owner are besides themselves. In Louisville, they talk about it on sidewalk corners and at bus stops. In Lexington, the subject of horse races has been dropped, and it is the theme of knitting circles and barroom conversations. I’m talking, of course, of the ardent desire of millions of Kentuckians to see IPO law changed to remove regulation, transparency, and accounting standards that impede the simple pleasure of rentseeking and fraud. The man with his hand on the pulse of Kentucky is Kentucky senator Mitch Mcconnell. Many doubt that Paduchians, for instance, are more fascinated by the possibility that the less than one percent of ‘small” businesses – the American governing class loves the word “small” as much as Starbucks loves the word “tall”, and applies it to all things bright and beautiful – who actually do have an IPO than they are by the fact that, for instance, a prominent Middle School principle was recently

Once again with the Nagelian voter

The East coast political pundit is a reliable product. Every four years, when the presidential candidates do their greyhound around the track thing, their is sure to be a section in the stands where they moan and gibber for moderates. This year is no different. The punditocracy is viewing the GOP race through moist eyes, because obviously with such extremism, it is the end of the GOP and all things bright and beautiful. This is the tenor of Ryan Liazza’s recent piece in the New Yorker, which surfs the poli sci lit for explanations of how extremists capture parties. In the case of the GOP, the extremists that lead the GOP to that massive 2010 defeat in Congress seem to be in control… or, er, wasn’t that a massive GOP victory? A good pundit, however, has a tough hide, and can ignore counter-evidence if it gets in the way of the narrative. Joan Didion uses the nice phrase, the   “self-created and self-referring” class, for the administrators of public opinion who take it upon them

kill chain nation

In this week’s London Review of Books, by a happy juxtaposition, there is a review, by Thomas Powers, of two books on Joseph Heller, and a review, by Andrew Cockburn, of Obama’s drone wars. That America spent 2.59 trillion dollars on the military over the last five years, and that the Obama administration, which has long signaled its desire to get tough and cut America’s entitlements (medicare, social security, etc.), proposes that we spend 2.725 trillion dollars on the military over the next five years, exactly defines the place of liberalism in American politics – as a zero. The zero is a crucial number. Perhaps the most crucial number. The zero promises that anything can be quantified, including nothing at all. Similarly, that post-Vietnam liberalism has exerted exactly zero degree of power over American foreign and domestic policy, yet hold the system together by providing a convenient domestic enemy, whose peacemongering and welfare-for-all attitudes can be triumphed over ag