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Showing posts from August 3, 2014

thoughts en route

The last time I walked the streets of the Marais, Adam was ten pounds lighter and I don’t know how many unimaginable inches smaller. Today, we strolled him around the territory that will be his later, after we return from Santa Monica: the Notre Dame, the Hotel de Ville, Rue des Archives, the park on the street off Blancs Manteaux. I could feel him getting an excess of the sense of it all: the buildings, gargoyles, statuary, crowds, small sidewalks, streetlife, bridges, river, high windows, store windows – taking it in. “Taking it in” is a phrase that, perhaps, comes from our stone age psychology. Since the 19 th century, the instruments that measure the senses have become the template for what the senses are – sensitive recorders – but long before that we felt the activity of the senses, not their passivity – we took in the sensate, the eye grasps, the smell and taste extract and send down into the dark tunnels their discoveries, the touch is everywhere, everything material is a

cockburn versus berman - party like its 1985

Paul Berman has always been a NYT Mag kinda leftist – it is a leftism that is to leftism what cottage cheese is to Stilton – the former is a delight only to the diet-er, without any of the odors, flavor, or texture of real cheese and,in political terms, the former is only a delight to the neo-lib, rid of any suggestion of price controls or, heavens, a stripped down Pentagon and unilateral disarmament (which immediately leads to Munich, don’t you know!) There’s been some buzz among the usual journalists about Berman’s  “takedown” of Alexander Cockburn in The Newrepublic – which is where cottage cheese goes to die, and be transformed into the sort of rancid stuff that eventually stands on its hind legs and demands that we invade Syria and arm the Ukraine and privatize social security at the same time. Berman’s article was better written long ago, in a letter to the Nation in 1985, when he pretty much said the same thing about Cockburn in a long complaint that Cockburn had distorted

at cassis

I woke up about four in the morning. There were still lights glowing in the pines out back. For a while I filled my head with stupid thoughts and worries, and then had the happy idea that this was living besides the point. I found my glasses on the table and being careful not to wake A., I put on my bathrobe and walked out on our terrace and looked beyond the pines to the sea. The lights had final ly gone out. I could hear the sea booming. The Mediterranean! Endlessly defaced, defouled, overfished, and still the loveliest thing, its blue the primitive symbol of beauty, before beauty was industrialized, commoditized, reified, and beaten to death in a billion images! And Cassis, too, is in the countryside where they are continually finding grottes where neolithics or perhaps plain lithics painted the walls and did mysterious things, piling up stones in certain ways. I’d read of an underwater cave near here, recently discovered, with wall paintings. One of the first places, then. Mostly