Skip to main content


Showing posts from September 13, 2020

reading the classics

  Calvino begins his essay, Why read the Classics, by defining them in terms of a characteristic phrase: “I am re-reading x” The classics are haunted, as it were, by re-reading. We re-read in the classroom to answer questions (a site Calvino, I think mistakenly, throws out of consideration – an awful lot of reading is tied to the classroom, and it often seems that when we re-read on our own, the ghost of a classroom desk trails behind us, with its pencil groove and its slight, metallic smell – mixed in my case with the smell of a brown bag and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in wax paper ). We re-read outside of the classroom because, a, we are defensive about not having read,and want to make it known that we, too, have already read, and b, (the meat of Calvino’s theme), even when reading the first time, the classic imposes it scale on us, one that suggests an infinity of re-readings. When reading a classic, we cannot “escape” its design. In this sense, the classic is the opposite o

Poem by Karen Chamisso

  Nouveau venu qui cherches Rome en Rome   O greenhorn who looks for Paris in Paris Who comes to my house and looks for my home Know: before the closed door our lares Crouches, quiet as a, hungry as a tomb.   It guards the groans, ruckus future, ruckus past. I pretended for years to be the ghost Of my parents’ marriage. Also, Last Of the Mohicans, hostess with the most                                                                            -est.   Until I came at last to be the proud proprietor Of my own closed door. To the Census: “Troubleman. Feed Pump Man. Field Operator.” This quorumed I sez  to sleep: you are a bore.

Notes on Neoliberalism and the New Class

  Why is the Left is either disorganized or a minority in every country where it used to form that one real opposition party or, sometimes, even the governing party. From the 40s to the 70s, even in countries like Italy, where the Christian Democrats tenaciously held onto power, the tide was to the left. From social policies to real advancement towards economic equality between the working class and capital, this was the direction the world was moving in. But since the 80s, the movement is all the other way. And instead of forming an opposition, the Left has taken on a role as facilitator. It is no wonder that a recent headline in the Guardian formulated the political situation in France as the center vs. the extreme (by which was meant Le Pen). Melanchon is almost unknown outside of France. Inside, the former Left is riven by personal domain issues. The absence of a Left response to Macron’s farcical “Great Debate” was painful. I suspect that the alt right moment is the result of this