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Showing posts from February 6, 2022

on Kristin Stewart's Diana

  I saw Spencer last night, and a miracle happened: my heart opened up and I had a little sympathy, a trickle of blood or some other humour, for Diana. I have a strong sense that the reactionary culture of the eighties began with the marriage of Charles and Diana. It was like rock n roll heaven for reactionaries. Of course, I am more of the school that the royals and the aristocrats are spongers who sit on piles of blood money exacted from the skins of millions of peasants by their horrific ancestors. So I am not exactly unbiased. I have more sympathy for Ulrike Meinhof than for Diana. Until I saw Kristin Stewart's performance, and realized that Ulrike and Diana were closely akin. Of course, being plunged into the Windsor family must have been like being thrust nightmarishly into one of those Goya portraits of the Bourbon family in Spain: all the awful faces, all the inbred attitude. I've read the reviews: of course, the movie takes reality on a joyride, and there are some - su

oh brother

  If you look up the literature on jokes – which ranges from Bergson to Freud to analyses of the Gricean implicature of jokes, and so on – you will notice that the joke is always connected to laughter. Without laughter, it would seem, there is no joke. Even the feeblest joke is defined as such because it fails to provoke laughter. Myself, I think jokes are often about laughter. But jokes are sometimes not about laughter at all. This seems to be a paradox from the mainstream point of view, but from ordinary converse it is obvious – at least to me, and I believe to almost everybody – that jokes are sometimes not meant to provoke laughter at all. There are many intentions packed into a joke. Sometimes they are meant to bother. Sometimes they are intentionally meant to waste time – to delay. Sometimes they are tics, like cracking your knuckles or stripping the cuticle from the side of your fingernails (a particularly bad habit in my opinion). You could say here that the laughter function

Nobody likes political correctness

  Nobody likes political correctness. Which puts us in the position that it isn’t correct to defend political correctness. It is like picking your nose or flashing in a park – not the kind of thing you want to be associated with. I think the phrase – and its villainizing character – goes back to a Cold War liberal discourse, in which the Communist figures as an authoritarian personality and the Western liberal figures as a groovy dialoguer. However, it occurs in a few places before World War II. Arnold Bennett submitted a novel of his to Lord Beaverbrook, who looked it over for “political correctness” – as Bennett’s diary puts it. However, I think this simply meant that it was realistic with regards to the political processes and political characters that it described. Political correctness jumped majorly into the major outlets of the media with the civil rights movements and the New Left. The media, which had subserviently gone through the anti-Communist 50s with nary an op ed by a co