Skip to main content


Showing posts from September 14, 2014

blood from a stone

I did laugh at this NYT piece about the former president of the Republic of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.  Saakashvili, in his time, was a favorite of both the NYT and the Bush Whitehouse. Now we know that he fortified his backbone with “bite massage” while he was standing tall for democracy and against the current incarnation of Satan, Hitler and Stalin – Putin is who I’m obviously talking about, for those of you who are behind on today’s fave devils. Of course, being in power and challenging the enemy of all mankind is a tiring job, and we shouldn’t question the perks of office, like the state paying to fly out the  masseuse that gave him the said bite massage, Dorothy Stein. In fact, we shouldn’t question any of the money that disappeared during his time in office. The NYT is, at least, down with the money: “ Since leaving office last November, this George W. Bush favorite — whose confrontation with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia led to a   disastrous war in 2008 — ha

fictionable world

“Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation.” This is one of the wonderful lines in Wallace Stevens “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction” – a poem that makes much of that “toward”, that motion which, seemingly, is oriented towards an endpoint that is itself on an absolute scale – it is supreme – and at the same time – being “a supreme fiction”  – seemingly, diminishingly, not the only one, leaving us rather puzzled about the entire movement and meaning that will be convened in the poem’s sweep.    I am thinking about this poem in relation to Michael Wood’s Literature and the Taste of Knowledge. The book gestures a lot to Empson, since it is made up of Wood’s Empson Lectures given at Cambridge. Levi-Strauss once said that totem’s are good to think with, and one could say the same for this book: it is in that way evidently totemic. Like a good totem pole, it mounts one head on another, beginning with Henry James and ending with John  Banville – it is mostly novelists – and so we

the war of the geriatric fantasists

Going to war with ISIS without even a discussion seems to be the order of the day. Myself, let me play the crow and croak doom upon the whole business. There were two news items recently that made me think that, once again, the war will be fought in such a way that it will be unwinnable. Not that IS might not collapse, but it will only give way to some similar organization. The two news items are: 1.       The NYT story about IS oil that includes this graf: Western intelligence officials say they can track the ISIS oil shipments as they move across   Iraq   and into Turkey’s southern border regions. Despite extensive discussions inside the Pentagon, American forces have so far not attacked the tanker trucks, though a senior administration official said Friday “that remains an option.”   And the hearings today included this passage:       2.     “It really comes down to building a coalition,” Dempsey replied [to senator Lindsey Graham], “so that what the Arab Muslim wor