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Showing posts from October 29, 2017

a magisterial sigh

Ah, the great magisterial sighs of the 19 th century bigwigs! One way to explain the cultural critique in Nietzsche is his exasperation with the high culture of mandarin resignation. It is the side of Nietzsche that can be summed up by the theory of the eternal return (a theory that leads inevitably to parody, or even to parody as the very principle of worldmaking) or by a phrase that never occurs in the papers of that son of a Lutheran pastor: fuck you! Jules Renan was a great magisterial sigher. He had the highest reputation in the 19 th century. Reviewing his “Reminiscences of Childhood and Youth”, Henry James wrote, Jamesianly: “It is not enough to say of him that he has the courage of his opinions: for that, after all, is a comparatively frequent virtue. He has the resignation; he has the indifference; he has, above all, the good humor.“ There is something to this. To be indifferent to your opinions is as comparatively rare as it is frequent to have the courage of them. One

non-disclosure agreements: the trick the mafia missed

In Leopoldo Sciascia’s crime novels, there are always two solutions. One is the true solution, patiently assembled by the inspector or researcher (who either has too much integrity to be allowed to function after a certain point, or has too much naivete to realize that he is putting himself in mortal danger), and the other is the solution most convenient to the representatives of the State – the same State whose laws define the crime that is supposedly being punished. Such was and is Italy, from the 60s to the 90s. The genius of American corruption is elsewhere. America is a country of laws, so corruption first operates by unmaking the law to suit the perpetrators. It allows such things as non-disclosure agreements, for instance. For a certain sum of money, the perpetrators can either not be tried at all or their trials can’t be accessed. It would seem, at first glance, that such things are counter to any principle of the legal order. To allow a crime to be hidden by a non-discl