Monday, December 13, 2004


Anyone else find it unfortunate that the opening and closing refrains of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana so entirely overwhelm the parts in between? Also a bit hard to listen to the music, or just to the side of the music, without being constantly assaulted by all sorts of Hollywood war-epic fantasies, Mel Gibson's on the cross, etc. Maybe this is why the folks at Left2Right don't watch much TV? We were however silently pleased with ourselves for letting in a urine-stained, sockless, probably homeless woman to the packed hall of artsy fartsies at the last minute (we were ushers, very important ushers*). To their credit, nobody seemed to mind once she settled down with her crinkly plastic bags. Truly distracting were the enormous, amateur stencil drawings of bloody scenes being projected onto the opposite wall. Sort of reminiscent of Giacometti, but Biblical. An orchestra concert is not the best time for a slide show. For one thing it turns the spectators into those of a tennis match. The grey heads vigorously bobbing and nodding is bad enough. There were a lot of young people too though, which was nice, for a classical concert.

*Actually she was an important usher; I was a more impish, cynical usher ("look, the tight turtleneck potbelly is back, 2 O'Clock. Why do his black pants have shiny stripes down the sides, is he British?")

Moving abruptly away from pictures of old men and somewhat shallow attempts at humor, certainly there is something to be said for the slower rhythm of postings at sites like N+1 (a journal) and This Space (a blog). What makes certain blogs truly peerless, it seems to me, is a certain refusal to merely entertain. But for the moment continuing to merely entertain, perhaps: a snippet from a first English translation of Alexander Kluge, courtesy (truly) of N+1:
-- What is the problem?
-- The state must be able to restore reality at any moment. But how is that possible after an unreal event like the terrorist attack?
-- Didn’t the U.S. administration do anything at all?
-- They protected their own leaders. They kept watch on the roof of the White House in case of further attacks. They tended to the burning Pentagon. They called up the fleet that has been stationed at Pearl Harbor since 1941, brought it through the Panama Canal to the coast of New York. Two days later, aircraft carriers and battleships were lined up there. What is real about that?
-- What are you suggesting?
-- The U.S. administration has to find something, no matter the cost, a handle that gave it some hold on reality. They have to find an enemy to suit the weapons.
-- So you think there was never a LOGIC OF WAR, but rather a LOGIC OF FINDING REALITY?
-- Something like that.
-- When there is no reality, we have to invent it?
-- Otherwise we would be left exposed, so to speak.

Becker, the productivity expert, counted this dialogue as part of the 0.8% of the conference that could be described as CRITIQUE, as opposed to the 99.2 percent consisting of INTELLIGENCE AS SERVICE. However, he allowed a margin of error of 0.9%, because he included effort devoted to FORMALITIES under the heading of intelligence, although strictly speaking they represent a different kind of labor.

No comments: