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Showing posts from November 4, 2018


Apollinaire died from the Spanish flu on November 8, 1918. I've been meaning to do a series on Apollinaire's Paris. In the meantime, a translation of Tree from Calligrammes. Tree to Frederic Boutet You sing with the others while the gramophone plays Where are the blind men where have the blind men gone I plucked a single leaf It turned into a deck of mirages Don’t leave me here alone among the women in the marketplace Isfahan exudes a blue tile sky And I hitchhike with you to the outskirts of Lyon I’m not going to forget the coco man ringing his little bell I can already hear the future vocal fry of his voice From the dude who roadtrips with you in Europe While never leaving America A child A skinned calf hanging from a hook A child And this sandy suburb around this central Asian ville A border guard stands like an angel At the gates of this miserable paradise And the epileptic traveler in the first class waiting area foams. Finger-licking Badger Ari

a geneology of "the worse, the better"

The famous phrase, “the worse the better”, is often attributed to Lenin. Supposedly, this is Lenin’s addition to the black book of political strategy, and no doubt in Hell he is discussing it over chess with Old Nick Machiavelli himself. As far as I can tell, however, the phrase appears in Lenin’s works as a quotation from Plekhanov.  In Three Crises, writing in 1917,  Lenin sets himself the task of analyzing the revolution thus far – after the fall of the Czar. He remarks that so far, the demonstration, as a political form, has accrued a peculiar importance. And he backs away from the situation to analyze it: The last, and perhaps the most instructive, conclusion to be drawn from considering the events in their interconnection is that all three crises manifested some form of demonstration that is new in the history of our revolution, a demonstration of a more complicated type in which the movement proceeds in waves, a sudden drop following a rapid rise, revolution and coun

Oana Mateescu: The Romanian family referendum: Or, how I became a sexo-Marxist

This is my day not to read the news, since all the forces in play in the election in the U.S. are now immovably set, and there is nothing I can do but stress. I learned my lesson in 2016, when I kept assuring A. that there was no way Donald Trump was winning, since at the last minute vote counts would adjust to what everybody knew. That was a year after, I believe, I grandly predicted that Brexit was a flash in the pan, no way the UK was going to break away from the EU. So my  predictor of what the masses - at least the masses of voters - will decide is somewhat out of synch with what they, after being sorted out by racist laws and administrators who go the extra mile to preserve Jim Crow, decide. And as to the Jim Crow, the lack of urgency on this issue by the Democratic party is an astonishment that -- I won't go on about. Rather, today I am going to read analyses of the Romanian referendum on marriage. I was unaware that rightwing groups - the usual drooling orthodox churc