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Showing posts from March 15, 2015

being there -NOT

I’ve always been fascinated by lacuna. Existence, it’s a word, we use it pretty easily, even when we ornament it, like a Christmas tree, with various symbolic ornaments. But it always seems there – the being there of Heideggerian lore. Alas, this thereness, when looked at levelly, seems a bit too thick, a bit too simple. It leaves out of account the vacancy which we bear on our journey through life. For instance, tell you what I'm talking about: a couple of days ago, Adam wanted to see Adam. He wanted to see the Adam pics on my computer. There are, of course, many. Hundreds? At least a hundred. From birth until now, the now being precisely two and five months. As we went through them, again – for we have done this before – I notice, as I also noticed before, a small wedgelike sensation of strangeness, of losing my total grasp on this small face and body, the one before the speech  I can understand, the one before the two and five month year old who says Daddy, I racing, and prompt

why it doesn't matter

The fashion for titling books and articles with the aggressive phrase “why it matters” – why sinatra matters, why the middle ages matter, empathy: why it matters, and so on – has begu to itch the retina of my conscience – it is giving me spiritual hay fever.  “Why it matters” is, one would think, the unsaid and the hoped for of any research, any project, which of course must engage the researcher, writer, artist or maker on some desperate level. Whether it engages the reader or spectator is, I think, another matter entirely, and that comes down to both form and content. When I entitle a piece “why it matters”, I am making a rude, bogus, or desperate claim of pre-emptive victory. It is a bullying maneuver, trying to put the reader in a corner. But it is also a ridiculous maneuver, as the reader is unlikely to be convinced by a title alone, and either thinks a thing matters or doesn’t. It is never a good sign to begin with a puff for yourself, because that usually ends badly, in boredom

conspiracy theories

I love reading conspiracy books. I love conspiracy theories. And I also rather love the pained choking sound made by the demystifiers of conspiracy theories. It is in their rhetoric that one can find all the things that characterize our 21st century capitalist society: the identification of seriousness with credentials, the logical inconsistencies that accompany examining social phenomena with an abridged set that excludes members that should be included, and the higher rationality of the technocrat that mystifies the processes of narration.. All of these features are on gorgeous display in the Aeon article about conspiracy theories written by a philosopher (who else?), Quassim Cassam. We already know where Cassam is going when he begins his article by exhibiting a loony:  “Meet Oliver. Like many of his friends, Oliver thinks he is an expert on 9/11. He spends much of his spare time looking at conspiracist websites and his research has convinced him that the terrorist attacks on New

On Robert Durst and Us

I had to watch HBO’s The Jinx, on Robert Durst. I couldn’t help myself.  But I was more impressed with the fourth episode, with the clips of the filming of Durst's murder trial in Galveston, than the famous sixth episode with the cadaver letter. Somehow, I don’t think that letter, or Durst’s ramblings, are going to send him to prison, frankly. After all, his confession that he killed his neighbor, cut up his body, put the torso in a suitcase and the rest in garbage bags, and threw them into Galveston bay didn’t move the jury to a lot more than a yawn. They declared him another aggrieved Texas householder, defending himself as best he could from the ever overlooked Morris Black. Not guilty. It is rare that you see footage that so roundly confirms one’s impression that the American judicial system is a joke and an outrage. If Amnesty international didn’t depend so much on American good will, the US would rank with Iran and Saudi Arabia as a human rights offender. The overflowing pris