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Showing posts from July 8, 2018

Trump - a name that gets harder to say with each passing day.

Well, my prediction predictably came true.  On July 10 I wrote on facebook, "Given that Trump jerks off at the thought of betraying a friend, a supporter, or a woman - especially a woman - I think he will interrupt the schedule of his UK tour to see Boris Johnson and give him support. Or, if that proves impossible, express his support at a press conference or, best, in some joint meeting with May. It is pretty easy to see how the sadistic tension would build up in this depraved man until he could not resist it." Even a peanut such as myself could see that 55 years of unblemished misogyny and a delight in betrayal were in the cards for this visit. That May didn't see this astonishes me. Politicians are so stupid.  Today, the Sun is publishing an interview in which he says Johnson would make a "great prime minister," warned that if it isn't hard Brexit the special trade deal with the UK - upon which May was fixing delusive hopes, at least in public - is o

Poetry and the ordinary: the politics of the lyric

Ferdinand Kürnberger has achieved a paltry kind of fame in the English speaking world for a phrase that Wittgenstein chose as the motto of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: “...whatever we know, and have not simply heard among the rumbles and the roars, can be said in three words.”   In Austria, it is a bit different: Kürnberger claimed to have invented the feuilleton in Vienna, and he wasn’t lying. He was one of the revolutionaries in 1848, was arrested in Germany in 1849, spent years then in exile, coming back to Vienna and becoming a popular writer of essays in the 1860s, opposing both the liberal left and the monarchist right. Out of his pocket, so to speak, sprang the whole lineage of Vienna wits – from Altenberg to Friedell to Polgar to Kraus to, in part, Musil and Wittgenstein. Certain of these names are known, others are the joy of specialists. All of them traded in names and references that grow dimmer and more obscure the further one moves from Schulerstrasse, the Vi

what to do tomorrow? and the next day? Male anguish

The larger effects of sexism appear in curious places. Take the inexorable eight hour day. In the nineties, an historian, Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, interviewed workers – mostly retired workers – who had participated in a famous experiment in shorter work time. The Kellogg cereal company in 1930 adopted the six hour day as the standard, raising the wages of the workers to compensate. Hunnicutt’s research resulted in a book: Kellogg’s Six Hour Day. Interesting material there. The plant was unionized in 1940, and the workers were polled. Most of them voted to keep the six hour day, although some departments voted for the eight hour day. After schedules were scrambled during the war years, Kellogg’s returned to the six hour day. “In mid-1946, employees reaffirmed their commitment to the short workday, with 87 percent of women and 71 percent of men voting for six hours.” Yet in ten years, the vote had totally shifted. A majority of men voted to bring back the eight hour day; only