Skip to main content


Showing posts from September 17, 2023

creatures of the simulcast

    Andy Kaufman did a funny stand-up routine back when he was funny and, even, alive. He would come out and stand, shifting from one leg to another, his eyes bright and idiotic, and in that funny unplaceable high pitched foreign accent he would tell the audience that he was going to do some imitations, as comics do. Then he says: this is my aunt X, and proceeds to do an imitation of a figure from his, or at least his persona’s, household. The humor here, like most of Kaufman’s schtick, is all about pranking the routine of the prank – about stripping away the comic staple and making comedy of it. Here, of course, the expectation that is disappointed into laughter is that the imitation will be of a celebrity. That the aunt is not a celebrity sort of misplaces and transduces the motif. It is a de-vaudeville vaudeville act. The imitation is parasitic on celebrity culture, which is a good entrance into celebrity culture and our “episodic, anonymous relations” with celebritries – to q

Hypochondriaque lecteur - mon semblable

  The temperature of the Golden Mean is 98.6 F. Or is it 97.5F?   Surveys differ. The point, however, is that the warmth of my body and the warmth of your body, when healthy, dips lower or higher only by a decimal point or so. Our warmths are a community, and even a bond between us. I don’t have to touch you to know this. “You are going to make yourself sick.” This is a common enough parental warning. My Grandfather used to worry about wearing a sweater or coat inside, because, according to his calculations – or some advice handed down from some shadowy figure in his background, back in the 1910s – the protection against the cold aided by these vestments was nullified if they were worn in the heated inside environment. I still half believe this is true, though I have never googled it for a fact. To make yourself sick is an interesting, and multiply implicating phrase – it is perhaps our entrance into neurosis. Sickness, we like to think, is exterior – it is the invading germ, or

Poem by Karen Chamisso

  The merveille comes gloved and heavy Over the bone cobbled streets To reckonings and money And spots of blood on the sheets.   Full fathoms five in headlines drowned We waken, drained – your mule vigor Carmelized, ridden up and down Unti we agree on its mortal rigor   That has left us speechless for another day. What pound of flesh did you want So much that this is the price you pay? So to absence and this awful can’t.

arcanii imperium and us

      The scope of covert action could include: (1) political advice and counsel; (2) subsidies to an individual; (3) financial support and “technical assistance” to political parties; ( 4) support of private organizations, including labor unions, business firms, cooperatives, etc.; (5) covert propaganda; (6) “private” training of individuals and exchange of persons; (7) economic operations; and (8) paramilitary [or] political action operations designed to overthrow or to support a regime (like the Bay of Pigs and the programs in Laos). These operations can be classified in various ways: by the degree and type of secrecy required [,] by their legality, and, perhaps, by their benign or hostile character. - Richard Bissell, ex deputy director, CIA, in a secret conference, 1968. In French, there are two words corresponding to conspiracy in English: conspiration and conjuration . All analogy hunting is imperfect, and I will

Dreams of the Neoliberal Reich

  When I was a callow youth – or even, one might say, a stupid one – I used to take great pleasure in making up prank tapes for my answering machine. I made one which I considered a true chef d’oeuvre in which, after saying I was not in, I said: today we are having a great sale on heroin and cocaine! Its our way of saying thanks to our many customers. Kilo of H at a mere 100 bucks! We must be crazy to sell it so cheap, but we can: cause of Volume! My roommates at the time did not think much of this prank. It was soon changed. Freedom of speech has always been a bit of a compromise. Freedom of thought, freedom of speech – both, as we well know, are freedoms you have to pay for, one way or another. In the lectures to the introduction of psychoanalysis, Freud uses the image of the customs office as a support for the observation that the “eigene Ich” – the Ego itself – enters into every dream, “even where it has hidden itself under the manifest content”. The dream involves a man who is