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Showing posts from April 3, 2022

Macron, too clever by half, and oh so dislikeable

 The garbage analyses of the French election in the Anglo press are predictable - and silly. Le Pen is the opponent Macron wants and needs - he himself is a much disliked man, with at best a 30-35 percent base. Le Pen is a candidate who is almost stamped loser - she is even more disliked than Macron. In this election, Macron has run by being above it all, to avoid the flops that happened in his first run, like the debate among the candidates where he was easily bested by Melanchon.  So, how to get re-elected as a rather disagreeable individual peddling "reforms" that have polled, forever, to be against the desires of the electorate? The best chance is to campaign so as to let the next candidate, Le Pen, with her solid 20 percent, have plenty of room to top the list of runners up. Which is exactly what he has done.  His aids and fans in the press - and one thing about Macron is, his most ardent fans, Macronie central, are in the press - have floated the story that, preoccupied

an allegory of politics

  I am not a great fan of the left-right distinction. The reason is not that my “opinions” don’t fit within it – the reason is that its very grounding, in   opinion, and not in practice, is a right tending structure. As a right-tending structure, it finds the end of politics is in voting, and the end of ideology is in arguments over the dinner table. Far be it from me to diss arguments over the dinner table – I was raised among them! – but politics and one’s leftness or rightness is as much a matter of practices. Many of those practices are embedded in situations that severely limit one’s degree of freedom. If I administer a workforce or invest in a 401K or do any of the innumerable things that constitute living a middle class lifestyle, that style is going to chose my politics much more than I am going to chose it. Which means that saying whether I tend “left” or “right” is a matter of existential analysis, more than a survey question about who I think is a greater human being, Donald

Mirror violence - from Bucha to Fallujah to Grozny

  In William Everdell’s the First Moderns,the author explores and extends the notion of the modern by exploring the “vortices” of modernization, the various conjunctions of theory and practice not only in the obvious places, the big metropoles, but on the periphery. And, indeed, even in the metropoles modernization was a negotiation between outliers and the establishment. One of the monuments of the modern, a triumph of modernist architecture with form totally following function Everdell claims, was invented by Weyler y Nicolau, the Spanish overseer of Cuba: the concentration camp. Or campos de reconcentraciòn, as he named them. It is an interesting story. According to Everdell, Weyler y Nicolau, fighting against the Cuban insurgents in 1897, decided to experiment with an American invention, barbed wire. Why not string barbed wire around areas that were insurgent strongholds? Since insurgents weren’t formally organized, it seemed like a good way to contain them, a sort of cordon sanita


  Spirit enough to be bored  — Whoever doesn’t have enough spirit to be able to find himself and his work boring is certainly not a spirit of the first rank, be it in the arts or sciences. A satirist who was, unusually, also a thinker, could add to this, taking a look at the world and history: God must not have had this spirit: he wanted to make and did make things, collectively, too interesting.” – Nietzsche, Human all too H. I am unsure about the jab at God at the end of Nietzsche’s bit here,   but every writer knows the moment that comes upon him like negative inspiration, when he detaches and to find himself and his work boring. That’s the moment that Bely cuts his masterpiece, Petersburg, by a third; that may be the moment when Rimbaud said fuck it, although I am too little devil or angel to venture there into that affair. However, I’ve been pondering the economist’s version of happiness and their refusal to understand the intricate dance between repletion and boredom. Economist