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Showing posts from January 10, 2021

the collective fugue

  “It is precipitated not by a mechanical breakdown but by the descent of an emotional block  . Its gravest form , which science has come to call fugue, embraces three classically dramatic phases.   The first of these  is a brief  interval  of  complete dissociation , closely resembling somnambulism . This is eventually followed by a period of lighened oblivion, in which only certain facts and events remain beyond the reach of the victim. The final stage, which may occur spontaneously or as a result of psychiatric manipulatin, is a return to full-functioning consciousness. But, whatever its pattern, an attack of functional amnesia is seldom susceptible to either a ready or a reassuring explanation.” This is a passage from Berton Rouech é s classic article on the fugue, Lost, which was published in 1954 in the New Yorker.   Historians have long   been fascinated by   collective memory, following in the trail first marked out by Maurice Hallwachs in The Collective Frameworks of Memory

The curious case of the missing dogs

 Sometimes, a writer finishes his text. Sometimes, the text kicks the ass of the writer so hard that the writer has to stop. This text is one of the latter. It is part of a series of true/fiction Cold War stories that I've been playing around with. With some suggestion from Sebald, some from the classic use of historical fact - from Merimee to Tolstoy - and some from my own dumb curiosity.  I have substituted, for the protagonist, the first letter of his last name. This is a warning to the reader: character N. is the equivalent to, but not the representation of, the historical personage from whose biography I have ripped these facts.  The complete work is over on Medium.   - A photo is taken in the Bois de Boulogne, January 25, 1937. It is published in  Excelsior , a Paris newspaper. Excelsior was in the avant garde of newspapers, trying to combine the photogenic style of  Life  with the quotidian pace of your usual daily. Its archive is a treasurehouse of photos. This one has a ce

False flags - the 2020 strategy of tension

  I'm sorta interested in the false flagging, by rightwing groups, of leftwing groups. It has been a common thread in rightwing extremism since at least the 1930s, and flowered into the strategy of tension in Italy in the 1970s. The explosion that destroyed the Bologna railroad station and killed 85 people in 1980 was plotted by extreme righwing groups with the intent that the government and media would blame the left. There has been a long struggle in Italy to hold the neo-fascist perpetrators responsible. In the U.S., the strategy of tension has fallen into the hands of clueless militia members and the like. However, aided by high officials in the Trump administration and rightwing cops, this will eventually work some pissant masterpiece of a massacre here. Starting with the famous "umbrella man" who tried to provoke a looting riot during the protests in Minnesota this summer - who turned out to be connected to a white supremicist group, as was suspected by protesters a