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Showing posts from January 18, 2015

amnesia versus memory as geopolitics

Amnesia versus Memory - chose your marks! In 2003, just as the US was occupying Iraq, the leftist-with-a-conscience Paul Berman published a small “intellectual history” of Islamic radicalism that traced it all back to the Nazis. Even for Paul Berman, this was hack work of an extraordinary cheapness.  I admit, I love nothing better than  the slagging the ever deserving Paul Berman. I did a little cutwork on him in 2007 that I must quote: “Berman has accrued a lot of media capital over the years by being a conscience. A conscience is such a great thing to cast yourself as. Especially when you can be the conscience not of the powerful, not of the CEOs, not of the plutocracy, but the conscience of dissent - indeed, he's an old Dissenter dinosaur. Being the conscience of dissent means that you get to whack away at, say, the crimes of the Sandanistas as the Reagan administration arms narco thugs in Honduras. It means that you look out at the old and established mafia of CIA ties and

Religion: the purloined letter of modernity

Thus, if man does not use the organs which  his Creator has given him in this abode, when his soul leaves the body it cannot find [any of those organs] again and therefore it remains perplexed, like someone who has neither eyes, ears, heart nor tongue; one can imagine how anguished and torturous his condition would be. But if man sees with his eyes that which he is commanded to see, hears with his ears that which he is commanded to hear, walks on that path which the Prophet has commanded him to walk, speaks with the tongue that which he is commanded to speak, and knows with his heart that which he is commanded to known, then when his soul leaves his body [it retains the faculties of] eyes, ears, heart and tongue, so that in the abode of delights he will possess them in their entirety.” Nasir Khusraw, Knowledge and Liberation. “Paradise is still locked up and the Cherub is behind us; we must make a trip around the world, and see whether perhaps it isn’t still open somewhere in the ba

how they celebrate MLK day at the New York Times: "lets get David Duke to write an op ed..."

Wow, the New York Times has a jump the shark moment: they invite Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, founded by her father explicitly on the fascist model, to write about Islam today - on Martin Luther King day. Hmm, I'm surprised they didn't invite David Duke to write about MLK, just to make things nice and cozy. Of course, there is no explanation that the FN actually liked to beat up CharlieHebdo journalists in the nineties and sued the journal repeatedly - but what the hell, ignorance is such bliss! I'm expecting an op ed piece on how the Holocaust didn't happen from her father, Jean Marie Le Pen, for Rosh Hashanan. Here is a link to the history of the FN's relationship to Charlie Hebdo that the NYT, in its infinite ignorance, never bothered to share. "Remembering Charlie Hebdo in the 90s MARK LEE HUNTER 8 January 2015 "Charlie Hebdo was about more than its fiercely satirical cartoons. It changed the French media and legal landscape forev

the instituted day dream

Because Marx’s opium metaphor has been seen as implying either that religion is simply an hallucination or a supplement to heal the pain of daily life, his more extended idea of the function of religion, and indeed its genesis, has been cast in the shadow. There are those who have picked up in Marx a certain complicating tendency that changes this story – notably, Ernst Bloch. Bloch, in The Principle of Hope, emphasized the fact that ordinary thinking is often not the kind of closeted reflection we find in philosophy: it is, instead, day dreaming. One could say that, religion, for Marx, in as much as it stems from a vulgar, popular impulse, is day dreaming writ large. It deals, as ordinary calculative thought does not, with the real media in which human life takes its shape and movement: “Man, that is to say, the world of persons, state, society. This state, this society produces religion, an inverted book of world consciousness, because it is an inverted world. Region is the general