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Showing posts from July 9, 2023

Jokes in the cold war

  Since Kundera’s death was announced, I’ve been thinking about the eighties – his great decade in America – and about rereading The Joke, his four times translated first novel. The idea of a joke that pursues the joker and ruins his life has a lot of attraction for me. I am fascinated by jokes. But I don’t hear many anymore. When I was in my twenties, I often found myself in the midst of a joketelling orgy – that is, I found myself among joke tellers. I’d tell some jokes myself, but I did not have the rhythm of the great joke teller. I was equipped with one advantage, however: I was a great laugher. I could laugh until, literally, I ran out of breath. Not only that, but I laughed not only at the punch line – for the punch line, for the great joke teller, is only the final touch on the whole artistic edifice, the last gargoyle, so to speak, on the cathedral of shit – but I would laugh even more at the absurdities that the joke piled up, especially if it was an obscene joke. Obsce

the hammers have boxes

  “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”     While the division of labor increases the productive power of labor, and the wealth and refinement of society, it leads to the impoverishment of the laborer until he sinks to the level of the machine. While labor incites the accumulation of capitals and thus the increasing well being of society, it makes the laborer ever more dependent on the capitalist, thrusts him into a greater competition, drives him into a rush of overproduction, from which follows an equivalent slump.” - Marx   Kolakowski has correctly written that Marx, unlike the socialists of the 40s, had a firmer grasp of the fact that capitalism was rooted in de-humanization. His economic analysis does not marginalize this insight, but builds upon it – which is why Marx never puts the market at the center of economic analysis, even as he is able to represent the reasons that mainstre