|wood s lot may 16 - 31, 2008|
Carol of WordsLeaves of Grass
We do not need to accept all the arguments for so-called immaterial labour in the work of Lazzarato, Hardt & Negri, Virno, et al., to think that there might be something at stake in the argument that 'waged labor and direct subjugation (to organization) no longer constitute the principal form of the contractual relationship between capitalist and worker' as Lazzarato puts it, or that 'post-Fordist "professionality" does not correspond to any precise profession. It consists rather of certain character traits' as Virno claims. ( ... ) ... it is not of course the case that labour has disappeared into an idealist puff of excitable smoke, but it has certainly become more difficult to work out where exploitation begins and ends (the 9-5 working day bleeding into emails from the boss, taking work home at the weekends, out of hours calls). The service sector is certainly run in the main on those character traits that Virno mentions, and the exploitation of basic forms of sociability and linguistic capacity, but it is also not entirely removed from modes of Taylorism, and the old idea that 'you are not paid to think', as Steve Wright reminds us. In fact, the generally rather impoverished forms of service one receives in the UK compared, say, to the ubiquitous forced (if effective) charm of the US is a mark in its favour – an acknowledgment that actually, no, this is not 'fun', this is work. And it is boring and long and badly paid. Don't have a nice day.
Effective protest causes economic and political disruption. It persists until the just demands of the people are met. The established orthodoxy feels pain and discomfort from it; it feels a palpable threat and understands that the injustice cannot continue. Either it addresses the demands of the people, or it perishes. This is a manifestation of democracy. It is serious stuff that requires enormous sacrifice from those who protest in this way. The Montgomery bus boycott of the 60s was that kind of protest; and it was a protest that was won by the people, despite a constant threat of violence and death.
It's a tale bizarre enough to make Rush Limbaugh blush: intelligence agents from communist China invited to an American military base, where they're allowed to torture political dissidents in American custody, with American soldiers as their sidekicks. In light of China's crackdown on Tibet during the run-up to the Olympics, it's a tasty news tidbit. But it didn't run in The Times--as far as I can tell, it only ran in one newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor.
... as all non-whites the world round understand, white people can be mean. Especially if they feel threatened -- and they feel threatened about everything these days. But when you provide certain species of white mutt people with the right incentives, such as free pork or approval from god and government, you get things like lynchings, Fallujah, the Birmingham bombers and Abu Ghraib.(....)
Looking at Poussin
"Read the story and the painting," Nicolas Poussin wrote in 1639 to his friend and patron Chantelou, "in order to see how each thing is proper to its subject." How to think about that—I've been puzzling to myself these last three years (....)
Jan. 28, 1918
Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime
Are we Americans truly savages or merely tone-deaf in matters of morality, and therefore more guilty of terminal indifference than venality? It’s a question demanding an answer in response to the publication of the detailed 370-page report on U.S. complicity in torture, issued last week by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
They Began to Call YouThey Began to Call You and Other Poems
An essay's swerve can make the trip. First sky. Then the waves. Sky. The edge of the water. Sudden breathless teeming immersion. Then sky again and pray you're not becalmed since the doldrums are an exploration's true danger. Rachel Blau Duplessis's striking new collection of essays, Blue Studios: Poetry and Its Cultural Work, is at its best when it is roving at a clip, when she's doing what she says "interesting essays" do, "offering knowledge in passionate and cunning intersections of material, in ways excessive, unsummarizable, and (oddly, gloriously) comforting by virtue of their intransigent embeddedness and their desire, waywardly, to riffle and roam" (37). Duplessis's is a poetics both of the riffle and of the riff, where an ecstatic, disordering, referential page-flipping and a musical, utopic cat's-paw play with literary and linguistic surface effects long to disrupt more deeply embedded ideological structures, primarily those of gender. Whether readers will find Duplessis's essays "comforting" will depend on their finding comfort in some discomfort, particularly in her challenges to familiar forms of subjectivity and writing.
Ever since James Clifford declared in 1988 that "we are all Caribbeans now living in our urban archipelagoes" there has been a rise in the theoretical cachet of creolization as a term that-- along with its synonyms hybridity and transculturation--might explain the cultural diversity that has emerged with globalization. What distinguishes Clifford's quote is its use of the Caribbean as a site whose experiences might be generalized as a universal concept. The utopian impulse behind Clifford's phrase appears as a leitmotif in the essays edited by Charles Stewart in Creolization: History, Ethnography, Theory which admirably seeks to rescue this term from its status as an epigram and recover its analytical force by turning to its origins in linguistic, anthropological, and historical theories and methodologies. While this interdisciplinary collection does not offer a single definitive interpretation of creolization, it does represent a shared concern with the specific question of what happens when a term that is meant to be descriptive becomes prescriptive. Using Clifford Geertz's terms, they ask how and why scholars collapse a model of into a model for.
"The Singing Man Who Must be Reckoned With":
In choosing the poetry of Christian ethics, Cullen gradually gave up on being the sexualized Pan who is the "singing Man to be reckoned with." But in doing so, he complicated the reading of a man who was a failure to his race. Indeed, what is clearest in this reading of public responsibility versus private desire is that Cullen was a poet who--when he could not find a way to reconcile his private desires--tried to sacrifice them in order to be the public "Voice of the Harlem Renaissance." Rather than abandoning race, in "The Black Christ," he abandons desire and embraces a particular notion of race in the figure of the mother who tells the legends and litanies of the people, a figure of heterosexual reproduction that Cullen tried briefly to embody in his marriage to Yolande Du Bois, a figure of generational passage and biological inheritance upon which notions of race must in some fundamental sense rely. In embracing his role as "THE New Negro," Cullen tried, in the complicated and sometimes noble tradition of Christian self-renunciation, to sacrifice desire in order to be canonized as a saint.
Urban Planning:Most cities are ectomorphic; Ganzoneer is the consummate endomorph.
Case Study the Fifth
Remember that YOU are mostly water yourself, and thus that the polymer-based proprietary hydropolylipidinous compounds that comprise most of the city's architecture are hardly alien to your own anatomical makeup. In fact, you are more like Ganzoneer by far than you are like Paris, Delagotha, New York, or Raedmeon, (unless you are a cement-, metal-, and glass-based sentient creature. In which case, Welcome, Cement-, Metal-, and Glass-based Sentient Creature!). Become, then, more like what you are—where other cities, even those tropical ones beneath lolling fronds, offer up hard corners, horizontals and verticals at every turn, the resistance of straight edges, Ganzoneer offers you naught but embraces, caresses, bouncy jubilant TRULY TROPICAL moments.
All four episodes of John Berger's Ways of Seeing appear to be still up at youtube. Click Opera has the links and this comment:
I actually find it rather disturbing that -- despite our claims to be a culture that's increasing freedom of choice all the time -- we haven't come up with anything quite as astute, subversive or beautiful as Ways of Seeing since. Not on the BBC, and not even -- especially not -- on the internet. Download it while you still can.
Chairs at Margate
The camera is getting smaller and smaller, ever readier to capture fleeting and secret moments whose images paralyze the associative mechanisms in the beholder. This is where the caption comes in, whereby photography turns all life's relationships into literature; and without which all constructivist photography must remain arrested in the approximate. Not for nothing have [Eugène] Atget's photographs been likened to the scene of a crime. But is not every square inch of our cities the scene of a crime? Every passerby a culprit? Is it not the task of the photographer -- descendant of the augurs and haruspices -- to reveal guilt and to point out the guilty in his pictures? "The illiteracy of the future," someone* has said, "will be ignorance not of reading or writing, but of photography." But must not a photographer who cannot read his own pictures be no less counted as illiterate?* the "someone" was László Moholy-Nagy according to this footnote:
(5.) The famous phrase, "The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the pen and the camera alike" is Moholy's. It has gained its considerable currency mainly by way of its paraphrasing --without attribution -- in Walter Benjamin's celebrated "Kunswerk" essay of 1936. Moholy's observation, originally in English, was written in 1932 and first published in "A New Instrument of Vision," Telehor (Brno) I, 1-2, Feb. 28 1936, 34-365 (Reprinted Kostelanetz, ed., Moholy-Nagy, [London: Allen Lane the Penguin Press, 1970], p. 54).in In Focus: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
thanks to Helquin Artifacts
The Author as Producer
via Heading East
Selections from «Heard about the fighting cat?» (Poems 1994–1998)Mi cárcel es azulEight poems from the manuscript «Lingua Franca»
translated by Kristin Dykstra
Poetry Cured of Poetry
Feature: Omar Pérez
Artaud on Youtube
La coquille (seashell) et le clergyman (1926)
Paul Virilio and the Mediation of Perception and TechnologyAre we still free to try and resist the ocular (optic or optoelectronic) inundation by looking away or wearing sunglasses? Not out of modesty or because of some religious taboo, but out of a concern to preserve one's integrity, one's freedom on conscience.
David Beard and Joshua Gunn
... it is clear that scholars in rhetorical studies require some consideration of the relationship between modes or logics of perception and technologies of representation. In an era where technologies change faster than we can describe them, and the experience of the user under these technologies changes faster than we can theorize, we need a body of theory that can guide our investigations into this terrain. This is the terrain of contemporary communication, and we cannot pretend that rhetorical theories that efface differences in media are adequate. If the rhetoric and sociology of science can only serve as a partial guide, and film theory is too bound to its own disciplinary structure to be appropriated easily, then rhetoricians interested in media technology must look elsewhere, To that end, this essay reviews the work of Paul Virilio as a source of a general theory of media technologies and the logics of perception.
The real danger confronting criticism on the web is that, in the name of "anti-elitism" and "the voice of the people", real dissent (which looks elitist because it is rare) will be drowned out by posturing mobs. So the question is not whither the authority of the critic, but whither the power of resistance that the best criticism represents? And what happens when established critics who take on established taste start trying to please their detractors, in order to save themselves?(....)via Jörg Colberg
UM: But aren’t masses on their way to becoming smart mobs, with the help of these social network technologies?
A memorable night. The only difficulty was that though the universe had been disposed of, I myself was left over. There I lay in my hotel room with my search over yet still obliged to draw one breath and then the next. But now I have undertaken a different kind of search, a horizontal search. As a consequence, what takes place in my room is less important. What is important is what I shall find when I leave my room and wander in the neighborhood. Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion. - Percy, The Moviegoer
Giving the sickness a name:
Surviving His Own Bad Habits
The United States of Dixieland:
Our tragedy: This drive, this eternal appetite that forces life to its zenith, but instead delivers it to dust. This is what Walker Percy wrote of that internal landscape:“Death in the form of death genes shall not prevail over me, for death genes are one thing but it is something else to name the death genes and know them and stand over against them and dare them. I am different from my death genes and therefore not subject to them. My father had the same death genes but he feared them and did not name them and thought he could roar out old Route 66 and stay ahead of them or grab me and be pals or play Brahms and keep them, the death genes, happy, so he fell prey to them.”Yet this variety of tragic consanguinity is not limited to the doomed hinterlands, for it rules the order of the present day as well. The Death Genes lord over the American empire. Accordingly, an empire destroys nearly everything it touches, because, after a time, it begins to exist for no other reason other than to perpetuate its own existence. Within it, its subjects’ lives lose meaning and purpose: meaningless work, petty ambition, and endless appetite define the days, resulting in a decimated (internal as well as external) landscape -- the hollowed-out lives of its populous -- and the concomitant death cult convergence of religious fundamentalism and habitual consumerism that follow.
California or Bust
I am unwinding moments of the past of strangers, a sort of time lapse telescope turned on by our ancestors at the moments they thought would be worth preserving, the cheap moments of vacation, newborns, high-school assignments, military processions, and holidays. These are their voices, their fascinations, their affections, their decisions that family members discarded to garage and estate sales and ebay. A new home movie from the 1920's to the 1980's will be posted each day. Welcome to the 20th century.
The long memory is the most radical idea in America. That long memory has been taken away from us. Listen, you young people I’m talking to, that long member has been taken away from you. You haven’t gotten it in your schools. You’re not getting it on your television. You’re not getting it anywhere. You’re being leapfrogged from one crisis to the next. You know, you can’t remember what happened last week, because you’re locked into this week’s crisis.Utah Phillips links
assembled by Sheila Lennon
quoted in Mary Karr's review of "Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese Haiku and Senryu on Baseball," edited with translations by Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura.empty baseball fieldGeorge Swede
fromKatherine E. Young - Bright Nostalgia: Poems for Osip Mandelstam
The recent autobiographical writings of Thomas Bernhard, Raymond Federman and Samuel Beckett elucidate the paradox of the autobiographical form, i.e., its nostalgia for and its denial of coherence, which correspond to the paradox of modern experience, the nostalgia for a lost presence.2 Although Bernhard, Federman and Beckett are known individually, it might be worthwhile to point out their interconnections, which eventually will permit us to speak of a common autobiographical trend in contemporary American and European fiction. (...)
... in a Murakami novel people construct these fictions and live by them. "On the whole, I think of myself as one of those people who take a convenience-sake view of prevailing world conditions," says the narrator of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World. "More often than not I've observed that convenient approximations bring you closest to comprehending the true nature of things."
CLICK?" So (sans question mark) reads the computer monitor when, in time, "Fred" and "Irma" haul themselves out of bed, wash up a bit, slip back into their undies, and -- still nuzzling, patting, chuckling, sighing -- go to check their E-mail on Fred's already booted-up machine. Just that single uppercase imperative verb or sound-noun floating midscreen, where normally the desktop would appear, with its icons of their several files: HERS, HIS, SYSTEM, APPLICATIONS, FINANCES, HOUSE STUFF, INTERNET, and ETC (their catchall file). Surprised Irma, having pressed a key to disperse the screen-saver program and repeated aloud the word that oddly then appeared, calls Fred over to check it out, but the house cybercoach is as puzzled thereby as she. Since the thing's onscreen, however, and framed in a bordered box, they take it to be a command or an invitation -- anyhow an option button, like SAVE or CANCEL, not merely the name of the sound that their computer mouse makes when ... well, when clicked.(...) The Marquise Went Out at Five (La Marquise sortit à cinq heures) is the title of a 1961 novel by the French writer Claude Mauriac and a refrain in the Chilean novelist José Donoso's 1984 opus Casa de Campo (A House in the Country). The line comes from the French poet and critic Paul Valéry, who remarked in effect that he could never write a novel because of the arbitrariness, the vertiginous contingency, of such a "prosaic" but inescapable opening line as, say, "The Marquise went out at five" -- for the rigorous M. Valéry, a paralyzing toe-dip into what might be called the hypertextuality of everyday life.(...)Three Stories
In the case of the U.S. master, the use of Canadian military material for rogue use is, by careful policy, disguised by both Canadian and U.S. governments. "Canadian" weaponry is killing U.S. "enemies" as I write.
Most of my time as a poet is spent listening into a luminous tumble, a sort of taut cascade. I call it "cadence." If I withdraw from immediate contact with things around me, I can sense it churning, flickering, thrumming, locating things in more shapely relation to one another. It feels continuous, though I may spend days on end without noticing it.(....)
Those who look at globalization in purely economic terms have not understood it. Today, nothing is left that can remain separate from it, neither religion nor science, neither culture nor technology, not to mention consumerism and the media. Which is why its costs are counted everywhere, in every sphere.(....)
Petroglyphs in and out of perspectiveThe archaic is one of the great inventions of the twentieth century.
Though we no longer demand of a painting that it observe the rules of natural perspective, we still like to retain a perspective in our view of non-perspectival art. While we honor the Trecento altarpiece, and celebrate tribal art, our affirmations are compromised. Altarpieces, crucifixes, totem-poles, masks, all become objects in a museum. The museum is .the meeting-place of all the tendencies of universalist ideology: appropriation, comparison, and objectivity. Any thing is welcome in a museum once it has become an object. And the function of a museum is to preserve the objectivity of the objects it contains, to allow nothing to disturb the absolute cognitive security. That cognitive security, that sense of objects harmlessly arranged to be looked at, I should like to call 'second-order perspective'. We would find it intolerably reactionary if anyone expected a modern painting to 'look like something', or required that its pictorial space be continuous with the space we suppose ourselves to occupy. Yet a museum does make all its disparate contents 'look like' things in a museum; and a bland homogeneity of space is precisely what legitimates acquisition and renders comparisons significant. The very convenience of a museum obscures the fundamental problem that all artefacts are not supposed to be looked at in the same way, and that some artefacts are perhaps not meant to be looked at at all, or if at all, then perhaps not by us. It is the absurdity of even thinking of removing petroglyphs — the entire rock, not the sliced image — to museums for safe-keeping (that is, the safety of the spectator, not the rock) that prompts these reflections.
Calabash is not an easy audience. Even the “home-boy” Derek Walcott is uncertain. He says that he is nervous. The crowd is noisy before the my interview with him on stage. There is a palpable exciting in hearing Walcott but with Jamaicans it is sometimes hard to distinguish a festive audience of supporters from a mob about to rise up against you unless you know the people. At high noon, Walcott smiling wryly and looking cooler than he claims begins to charm the audience with witty remarks, with a generous outpouring of advice and encouragement for Caribbean writing and a free ranging discussion about film, theater, poetry, song writing, and the landscape. When I ask him what he thinks about when he comes to Jamaica, he says, “I think of my friend the late John Hearne…. It is now as if the landscape is beginning to look like his fiction. He is gone now, but he is still here.”
1. The translation should say, as closely as possible, what the original says.To demonstrate the way these guidelines function in practice, I shall detail my work on one poem. That poem is El general Quiroga va en coche al muerte by Jorge Luis Borges.
CalqueGeneral Quiroga Goes Toward Death in a Carriage
a journal of literature in translation, published in print tri-annually and continuously on the internet.
via Green Hill
A Note From Utah
Utah Phillips & Ani Difranco - Fellow Workers
Labyrinth in my Atelier
AbstractPapers of Surrealism
It’s a sad story. A daily sad story. I wonder if our time will be remembered as a period, a terrible period in human history, in which money was free to go and come and come back and go again. But people, not.(....)
Let's have a look at what still distinguishes the USA from Europe. Bernard Chazelle, a computer scientist at Princeton University, writes in his devastating essay, 'Saving The American Left: The Case For A New Progressive Creed': "By virtually any measure, the United States is the least progressive nation in the developed world. It trails most of Western Europe in poverty rates, life expectancy, health care, child care, infant mortality, maternity leaves, paid vacations, public infrastructure, incarceration rates, and environmental laws. The wealth gap in the US has not been so wide since 1929. The Wal-Mart founders' family owns as much as the bottom 120 million Americans combined. Contrary to received opinion, there is now less social mobility in the US than in Canada, France, Germany, and most Scandinavian countries. The European Union attracts more foreign students than the US, including twice as many from China. Its consensus-driven polity, studies indicate, has replaced the American version as the societal model to which the developing world aspires."nthposition
I guess my fear is that the age of working class art is over. That there won't be another Woody Guthrie comin' down the pipe.
John Schooley's blog
A Walk in the Magic Garden
Kant is of course partly excused by the fact that, as is generally known, he never left Konigsberg (though he speculated whether after our death we would inhabit other heavenly spheres), so that he quite certainly never encountered a Komodo lizard; on the other hand, however, he might surely have devoted at least a couple of lines to a creature as remarkable as the three-metre-long monitor lizard. Maybe this lizard is now pursuing him across the endless empty plains of some other star.Slavonic Studies
School of Modern Languages and Cultures
University of Glasgow
Now that Variety is being made available to the whole World Wide Web, we offer the following glossary of terms, most of which you're likely to see while scanning this site.
Congratulations and thanks Andrew.
Homage to Max Beckmann
IntroductionIt's not always easy to determine when we have surrendered our judgment to someone else.
Coercion: Why We Listen to What 'They' Say
If we stop to think about this invisible hand working on our perceptions and behavior, we can easily become paranoid. Although we cannot always point to the evidence, when we become aware that our actions are being influenced by forces beyond our control--we shop in malls that have been designed by psychologists, and experience the effects of their architecture and color schemes on our purchasing behaviors--we can't help but feel a little edgy. No matter how discreetly camouflaged the coercion, we sense that it's leading us to move and act ever so slightly against our wills. We may not want to admit consciously to ourselves that the floor plan of the shopping center has made us lose our bearings, but we are disoriented all the same. We don't know exactly how to get back to the car, and we will have to walk past twenty more stores before we find an exit.via Dialogic
This country was founded on violence. So its kind of like karma coming back to haunt us, you know. When the Spaniards came into the towns here they killed more Indians than Hitler killed Jews in his ovens. It's a greater holocaust here than there was in Europe during World War II. That's a historical fact. America is a schizophrenic country. On the one hand, it purports to be the peace loving center of the universe. On the other hand, it's got everything it has from violence from taking and taking.
Cleveland High School of the Arts
[T]he growth of online publication venues has stimulated rather than retarded the quality and diversity of public intellectuals. The criticisms levied against these new forms of publishing seem to mirror the flaws that plague the more general critique of current public intellectuals: hindsight bias and conceptual fuzziness. Rather, the growth of blogs and other forms of online writing have partially reversed a trend that many have lamented – what Russell Jacoby labeled the “professionalization and academization” of public intellectuals. In particular, the growth of the blogosphere breaks down – or at least lowers – the barriers erected by a professionalized academy.
The trial of the Catonsville Nine altered resistance to the Vietnam War, moving activists from street protests to repeated acts of civil disobedience, including the burning of draft cards. It also signaled a seismic shift within the Catholic Church, propelling radical priests and nuns led by the Berrigans, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day to the center of a religiously inspired social movement that challenged not only church and state authority but the myths Americans used to define themselves.
Outdoing the Soviets in Afghanistan“There is no mistake made by the Soviet Union that was not repeated by the international community here in Afghanistan.
Who is the Enemy?
Given the huge advantages over the Soviet experience, and given the possibility to learn from Soviet mistakes, there really is no excuse for the current tragedy unfolding with no end in sight. But then, in carrying out their invasion of Iraq, the Americans apparently learned nothing from the British invasion of the 1920s, repeating to the letter all the horrors the Brits inflicted on the Iraqis.
A Conversation with Hellen Van Meene
My smallest photos are 29 by 29cm [11 by 11”], and my larger photos are 39 by 39cm [15 by 15”]. What I really love of these sizes is that when you look at a photo in an exhibition, you have to stand in front of it, and your head is about as big as the photo you're looking at. It also means that when you're looking at the photo only you can look at it at that moment. Another person has to wait until you are done with it.
"There is not so much Life as talk of Life, as a general thing. Had we the first intimation of the Definition of Life, the calmest of us would be Lunatics! "
Notes on Emily Dickinson's "Terrible Simplicity"The Brain, within its Groove
J. S. Porter
Her honesty and sensitivity to the mind's fragilities seem so much more "real" in our time than her contemporary Whitman's braggadocio.
Dirty secrets of a translator"A word is a bridge built between myself and another... a territory shared by addresser and addressee."
Bakhtin might say – I'm sure he does somewhere – that all dialogue is an act of translation. Locked into our tiny Leibnizean monads, we realize ourselves by shaping personal identities out of everything from the sound of our mother's cooing to the clichés of Hollywood films. According to Bakhtin, the creation of individual language – which is really the creation of the self– is an act of willing submission: "One's own discourse is gradually and slowly wrought out of others' words that have been acknowledged and assimilated, and the boundaries between the two are at first scarcely visible."
Between New York City and Washington DC
via Horses Think
The psychiatric fallout from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached epidemic proportions, but it is a largely silent epidemic, poking its hydra head into our lives only when a returning vet loses his sh*t and shoots up a convenience store or you notice the flashing lights of an ambulance down your quiet suburban street and see the body of a returning vet on a gurney being wheeled from a garage after he ended it all by sucking automobile exhaust fumes.
Here's how the figures add up, just for Americans. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have thus far produced 300,000 psychological casualties, 320,000 brain injury casualties, plus 35,000 (probably understated) officially reported "normal" casualties. This adds up to 655,000 US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, an average of just under 101,000 Americans killed or wounded every year since the wars began. If the idea of 101,000 casualties for every extra year in Iraq and Afghanistan gets out and infects the voting public, imagine the effect on the currently torpid national debate over leaving in five years versus fifteen years!
soldier in an alylum
When, forty years on, the memorable moments of the Prague Spring and the Paris Spring – not forgetting Berlin and Warsaw – are recalled in conferences, debates and publications, there emerges a striking contrast between East and West, to borrow the terminology of those times. In Paris, in commemorations of the May 1968 "psychodrama" (Stanley Hoffmann), the self-congratulation of one generation tends to get mixed up with the desire on the part of the next to claim for itself the legacy of those days in May. They are all the more keen to do so because it has been denounced by a new French president who was ironically described by Daniel Cohn-Bendit as an unwitting soixante-huitard – all Sarkozy is said to have retained of those heady days of May '68 is the celebrated watchword: "enjoy without restraint" (jouir sans entrave). In Prague, meanwhile, people are less inclined to commemorate what was a painful defeat. While Alexander Dubcek was, admittedly, an inspiring figure, he was also a symbol both of shattered hopes and of a surrender that was to herald twenty years of "normalisation".Part of Eurozine's 1968: Beyond soixante-huit roundup.
You know when you write poetry you find the architecture of your lineage your teachers like Robert Duncan for me gave me some glue for the heart Beats which gave confidence and competition to the Images of Perfection . . . or as dinner approaches I become hasty do I mean PERFECTION? Joanne Kyger
The Changing Land
In this issue, purpose presents the photographs of people hemmed in by borders, populations in precarious situations, adolescents in search of identity, and a woman who cultivates many identities. These photographs, like those that show the urbanism of the city outskirts or the spreading of a city into the countryside, raise poetic and political questions about situations at the margin, moments of transition, "in-betweens."
Morgan Meis introduces Péter Esterházy“But seeing, or at least supposing, that there was something which connected Ulm with Vienna, and Vienna with Belgrade, and not wanting to call this something the Danube, that metaphysical, imaginary, hotch-potch of a river, he would arrive at the conclusion that it was he himself who connected Ulm with Belgrade, he the traveler. …But the boat was carried by the Danube, and the Danube by the weight of lived-out lives, that unbearable weight we carry with us, we travelers. That is why the Danube comes before he does. And that is why he sits on the bottom step of the quayside, watching the melon rind float away downstream—if that means anything to anyone.”
You could say... that Esterházy has been producing a literature of the nooks and crannies. This is not a small thing. It is a giant thing. It means, simply, (and I hope you take this in its full ethical implication) producing a literature that is on the side of life.(....)
Capitalism is a system that requires the majority to have no control over their lives and to believe that this condition is normal. Therefore, all reactions to inequality and deprivation must be viewed as signs of personal inadequacy, biological defect, mental illness - anything other than reasonable responses to unreasonable conditions.(....)
There was a village called SireenFrom Sadder Than Water: New & Selected Poems by Samih al-Qasim, translated by Nazih Kassis
The Changing Land
heads up from ReadySteadyBlog
Poems by Marjorie Agosín
Tarkovsky and Levinas: Cuts, Mirrors, Triangulations [PDF]
The nature of film is such that it is difficult to feel that one takes it in completely; no sooner is one frame mentally captured than it is succeeded – in a process that could be called ‘jaillissement’ – by another. Film moves too fast for even the cinematographer to be in full control of the things that it throws up (over and above the way in which any kind of text may be uncontrollable by its author). Directors and editors can choose to minimise these characteristics of the medium, manipulating both images and audience so as to create a final sense of semiotic order and unambiguous declaration: such, according to a somewhat sweeping and antagonistic Tarkovsky, was the practice of Eisenstein, who ‘makes thought into a despot’. But Tarkovsky himself does his best to accentuate the life of its own that film, with its density and speed, possesses. And often, as in The Sacrifice, it is the very profusion and inexhaustibility of the sequence of images and the possible implications and offshoots of narrative that give hope to an otherwise generally bleak set of representations of human existence.
ARTstor, JSTOR, Project Mute and other pay-per-view dispensers turn human knowing into cognitive lap dances.
Hannah Arendt’s studies and essays on totalitarianism revealed that in the concentration camps of the National Socialists, human life reached a limit that teaches us something about the human being. Giorgio Agamben took up this insight and developed it further in his ethics of bare life.3 Are there indications in Arendt’s work that the human being can approach the limit of human life in other contexts as well? This essay will show that poverty also constitutes such a limit, a wall at which we experience something about the human being, about the possibility and impossibility of a public life.Parrhesia: Issue 4, 2008
Just as Gottschall isn't the first to cede authority to utility and rationalism, Barthes wasn't the first French literary thinker to distance the author from his work. Fourteen years before The Death of the Author, Maurice Blanchot published The Essential Solitude, an essay on the literary work's neutrality.(....)You can read Blanchot's "The Essential Solitude" in The Space of Literature, translated, with an Introduction, by Ann Smock
full text download here
The Death of the Author
Our herd instincts are creating media monopolies.Beth Coleman, Free Culture, and the Network Effect
Business plans for startups are based on a very low threshold for participation, uploading is made very easy. People contribute videos, blog entries, wall posts, bookmarks, status updates, and photos but none of this material can be exported. An active user becomes more valuable over time, not unlike a bottle of wine in the wine cellar. All those “friends” with whom we reconnect, sometimes after quite some time, and all those media and texts are literally locked up. Try to delete Flickr photos (you’ll have to go one by one; try that with the 2 GB that you just uploaded). Or, try deleting your Facebook (FB) account. You can't. Attempt to export blog entries on MySpace or photos on Facebook. Not accidentally, the export option does not exist. Groups are locked up in these social milieus. Weak-tie-communities are entrapped; it's a corporate confiscation of attention, creativity, and time. Steve Chen, co-founder of Youtube understands how much he owes the "community" when he thanks Youtube users shortly after being acquired by Google for $1.6 billion. Chen: “Thanks to everyone of you guys that have been contributing to YouTube, to the community. We would not be anywhere close to where we are without the help of this community.” Within three years the site had achieved popularity and that user community directly translated into Google stocks.(....)
As the initial setting makes clear, Perlstein is after something other than biography here. And wisely so. The world almost certainly has enough Nixon biographies; few subjects have tantalized writers more than the troubled soul of Yorba Linda's favorite son. Instead, he tells the story of Nixon's America, a country of division and resentment, jealousy and anger, one where politics is brutal and psychological, where victors make the vanquished suffer. Perlstein, who covered some of this ground in "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus," aims here at nothing less than weaving a tapestry of social upheaval. His success is dazzling.
The Hatred of DemocracyThis thesis of the new hatred of democracy can be succinctly put: there is only one good democracy, the one that 'represses' the catastrophe of democratic civilization.
trans. Steve Corcoran
Reviewed by Barret Weber
Guided by his denunciation of a limited or repressed sense of democracy, Rancière turns to current debates regarding the U.S. led war in the name of democracy in Iraq and ongoing European interventions in the Middle East. In doing so, he rejects the reigning theoretical definitions of democracy that tend to conflate it with technocracy and oligarchy, authority and obedience. However, the main target of Rancière’s polemics is not the Iraq war, or the ongoing struggles in the Middle East more broadly. Rather, Rancière turns his attention towards French debates on pedagogy and “the School”, to outline, in turn, his own theory of politics, a politics that comes near to the question of “limitless” democracy (as we will see below) in the last two chapters. Because of its ethos of equality, democracy is a politics that founds a constituent power of “heterotopy, the primary limitation of the power of forms of authority that govern the social body”. The limit of authority, in this sense precisely, is democracy.
The reigning presumption about the American experience, as the historian Lawrence Goodwyn has written, is grounded in the idea of progress, the conviction that the present is “better” than the past and the future will bring even more improvement. For all of its shortcomings, we keep telling ourselves, “The system works.”
Baby on Cucumber Machine
Eye of the Storm
Towell’s work is above all about seeing: seeing what is there, seeing (or at least glimpsing) what it means to be a person. “We decline the artificiality of invention,” he writes in his introduction to The World from My Front Porch, “in exchange for the privilege of witness and the power of seeing.” And that is surely what the aesthetic of photography — and especially black and white photography, from Paul Strand and Walker Evans to Diane Arbus to the present, with its combination of precision and tactile sumptuousness and intimacy — is all about.Larry Towell at Magnum Photos
The Thing That Eats The Heart
Photo by Marnie Crawford Samuelson
The idea we’ve ascribed to Marilynne Robinson—that plausibility is an aesthetic matter—lies, for me, at the heart of the fictional enterprise. It pushes back against all the assumptions that circumscribe our narrative process. It permits. And, in the case of my own writing, it permits not only (or even chiefly) diversity of geographical setting, but diversity of structure, style, plot, character, mood, voice, etc.
Featured Poet: Lynnell Edwards
Translators in Conversation
Cartographies of Silence
The Magic of the State
from The Testing-Tree Stanley Kunitz In a murderous time the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. It is necessary to go through dark and deeper dark and not to turn. I am looking for the trail. Where is my testing-tree? Give me back my stones!