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Showing posts from March 13, 2016

It's all your fault! (and Trump is still funny)

Some genius at the AEC, which successfully suppressed its studies of the toxic effects of the radiation produced by above ground nuclear bomb tests (thus giving the lie to those conspiracy theory debunkers who claim that it can’t happen here – yes, Virginia, if you have the judicial power to seal as top secret any papers you feel like, you can mount a conspiracy at the highest levels), wrote a memo in the fifties in which, after considering the bummer of fallout, concluded hopefully that at least it was falling on the “low use segment of the population.” This phrase gives us a sort of x ray of the mindset of our betters – the governing class that extends from the plutocrats to the politicos and the high profile journalists and pundits. The low use segment of the population is regularly hauled out for public beatings whenever the governing class feels threatened, or at low ebb, or needs some sportive relief. Yet of course all is not bleak for the low user – or loser – crowd. Since, a

hypnosis and description

Flaubert once said that if you gave your full attention to any object for long enough, it would become interesting. In this, Flaubert, whether he knew it or not, was certainly breaking with the old classical vision of the world. For Plato and Aristotle, there was an inherent hierarchy of worth in the world, an ontological as well as ethical hierarchy. The philosopher was he who ignored trivial objects and plastered his attention to worthier ones. Hair, or dirt, or dogs, or the way a candlestick looks on a piano, were unworthy of noting, of memorializing. Well, while Flaubert was opining, with a rare uplift, about the value of attention, another Frenchman was experimenting with what had once been called mesmerism, and was now being called hypnotism. Charcot was discovering that you could lull a subject into hypnosis by having them fixate their attention on a bright object until they were, as it were, captured by it – entranced, or at least tranced. Between the attention that increa