Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A post on Derrida and Europe

Over at Long Sunday. It takes up many familiar themes and, further develops them.

Ticklishly, I have often had cause to wonder (in addition to whether he ever caught his own mistake in reading Hamlet - too closely?), if Derrida's particular conception of 'hauntology' (i.e., glibly, the death contained in images) might help to diagnose The Zizek's terror:

And yet, when asked if he is satisfied about the outcome of his latest media foray… 'I have not seen it', Zizek declares. 'I'm just terrified by myself on screen…' For someone who has already been the subject of several films, including last year's 'Zizek!', which tracked his freewheeling global itinerary, this is a perhaps surprising revelation. But, despite the fact that he appears in almost every frame, 'The Pervert's Guide…' held a particular appeal. 'It's not about me,' he claims. 'Me and Sophie, we have a focus outside ourselves. That makes it tolerable.'


It began shortly after returning home from work. After 500 pieces of candy we had to turn the lights off around 7:30, lock the doors and escape inside for dinner. Not a single kid was willing to perform a trick, though quite a few were asked. In fairness, we didn't perform any tricks either (though we joked about how easy it would be to swindle these costumers like gullible Americans in San Salvador changing money. The temptation to make candy on each exchange was strong but finally proved not strong enough). Some said, yes, they knew a few tricks, but by then they had already gotten their candy and. S and I were dressed up in each other's costumes, or half-assed combinations thereof. (At the adult party on Saturday she was Ann Cultoir or however it spells itself. Double-takes all night- blond wig disconcerting - not to mention the things issuing from her mouth. I was simply a billionaire for Ann, sidekick in other words, stetson hat and pinstripe gel in hair long overdue (for a cut).) But tonight we sat on the swing and S was pinstriped (and to be honest, I wasn't wearing anything, costume-like) drinking beer in bottles. Cameras flashed; parents were recording our hand outs, silly puddy for silly faces, engaging each child just patronizingly enough in brief, adorable discourse.

The boy with "bring them home" duct-taped on the back of his soldier suit got...three pieces of candy. (Some unfortunate grabbers got a photo of Dick Cheney - we'd placed them in the bowl just for the grabbers (as opposed to the reluctant chorus-chanters).) Every animal was asked to roar, and did. (nb. I do believe one carrot also roared.) Too many batmans, princesses and bloody knives, for sure. It was like a cattle drive at moments, or assembly line. Personally I blame the neighbors, who were showing movies on giant screens, with popcorn and (wtf?) pizza. Some had decorated weeks in advance. The dogs seemed to enjoy the carnival (and in fairness, most kids seemed more excited to see dogs, or rather as they summarily insulted them, "doggies"...than any of that other tacky shit).

Composed on a bottle and 2/3 of wine with all rights to re-edit firmly witheld.


DUMBFUCKMcDOESNTEXIST, and, birds chirping...

Bike messengers are on crack

I could watch this many times.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Musical Friday

Not boring at all. And for which with any extraordinary luck (such as, receiving a donation for at least $100 so I can have a free day), I hope to have a contribution ready by, oh, mid-week, maybe. Just as soon as I finish that Balibar translation for no one in particular, those poem translations for a friend, that Murakami review (before others steal my ideas, you know, and fail to take them anywhere), right after that post on Derrida and democracy, that essay on blogging, that inevitably self-congratulatory post on Long Sunday's appearance in the American Book Review, right after unpacking my library and building that bed frame and tree trunk slice table and those bookshelves, and...so on. But for right now, just (barely) time to walk the dogs. Dutch has a small tooth-mark incision on his shoulder (from God knows where) requiring attention (just a dab of antibiotic ointment after cleaning should do it), Lucy still limps a bit and they both have yet to see a vet for a thorough examination, but, otherwise everyone is pretty much bored happy. Or you might say spoiled, in moderation of course. (I work all day, S and I are both permanently exhausted, but the neighbors lend a hand, and every evening we walk, or visit the dog park (about which we are still somewhat endearingly baffled–expect more posts in the vein of dog sociology, shortly), and on weekends we hike and they each get a ridiculously oversized bone of some sort, to be demolished in under an hour.)


Badiou "Homage to Jacques Derrida", lecture at UC Irvine. Not sure it quite measures up against the statements of others let alone the thoughts themselves, but there it is.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

one of many many many

I think it comes off as pretentious still, but there it is: some off-the-cuff (and not brief enough) thoughts on blogging from about a month ago. John Baker responds to his own questions here.

To clarify something, if only slightly: the scene in "Mulholland Drive" when the parents walk in shreiking and shrunken, under the door...or, not dissimilarly, the first appearance of the midgets in "Time Bandits," or for that matter the giant exiting the sea. The way such radical changes in the scale of one's vision unsettle the world, or more precisely, unsettle the larger gaze that orients "the world" as we inevitably contain it/shrink it/curtain it off (forgetting for instance, to include an awareness of the space behind our heads)...these moments make me laugh. Moments that do strange things with time, as well. The world as möbius strip and Escher painting, someone once said, referring to such films. So these are among the moments that make me laugh in--what is rather unusual for me--spasmodic and inhaling gulps, almost as if it wasn't myself laughing. The laughter comes from outside and overwhelms, impersonal and foreign. It is not in honor of something "funny" exactly, or at least certainly not as we popularly debase the term--so much as strangely neutral. And yet vigorously affirming the experience, one of displacement, otherness, and yes, uncanniness. Fiercely and ruthlessly autonomous, I want to say, where there is no chance for a laughter in harmony, no echo and no adequate response. It is a great relief.

Likely I haven't said it very well. In other news, Naked Punch Magazine now has a blog. More magazines should, really (though I understand why they do not). Do check out their latest issue on Latin America, because it sure is sexy looking and the writing's also good.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Via 3QD comes this reminder:
It would be an oversimplification to say that all forms of nationalism are the same, even in their mental atmosphere, but there are certain rules that hold good in all cases. The following are the principal characteristics of nationalist thought:

OBSESSION. As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort [...]

The bigoted Communist who changes in a space of weeks, or even days, into an equally bigoted Trotskyist [or the obvious example in our time, the bigoted Trotskyist into the bigoted Neocon...or Neosocialist] is a common spectacle. In continental Europe Fascist movements were largely recruited from among Communists, and the opposite process may well happen within the next few years. What remains constant in the nationalist is his state of mind: the object of his feelings is changeable, and may be imaginary.

But for an intellectual, transference has an important function which I have already mentioned shortly in connection with Chesterton. It makes it possible for him to be much MORE nationalistic--more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest--that he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge. When one sees the slavish or boastful rubbish that is written about Stalin, the Red Army, etc. by fairly intelligent and sensitive people, one realises that this is only possible because some kind of dislocation has taken place. In societies such as ours, it is unusual for anyone describable as an intellectual to feel a very deep attachment to his own country. Public opinion--that is, the section of public opinion of which he as an intellectual is aware--will not allow him to do so. Most of the people surrounding him are sceptical and disaffected, and he may adopt the same attitude from imitativeness or sheer cowardice: in that case he will have abandoned the form of nationalism that lies nearest to hand without getting any closer to a genuinely internationalist outlook. He still feels the need for a Fatherland, and it is natural to look for one somewhere abroad. Having found it, he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself...


Saturday, October 07, 2006

A la faveur de l'automne

Deux, Trois, La ballade de Oogie Tsuggie (Les temps changent)

A toi qui naguère professais
La dissidence et le maquis,
Tes cres de guerre
Qu'en as-tu fait?
L'hymne et la carte du parti...

Et ces manières si policées,
Toutes ces danses de salon,
Ces airs qu'avant tu vomissais,
C'est comme un gant qu'ils te vont.

Les temps changent

Tu as troqué tracts et slogans,
Mots d'ordre et manifestations,
Pour des choses plus élegantes
D.R.H., golf et stock-options...

Tu l'as vite apprise la chanson
Qu'importe, puisqu'il est de bon ton
Autant se mettre au diapason
C'est pour le bien de la nation.

Les temps changent

L'ami je ne te salue pas
Ni ne te félicite, d'ailleurs,
Tu as ta conscience pour toi
La chose est affaire de valeurs

Okay, c'est un peu démago
Je te le concède, je l'entends
Avoue, c'était bien trop tentant
Entre gauchos on se comprend...

Les temps changent

Translated, hurriedly:

To you who not long ago professed
dissidence and resistance*
Your war cries
What have you done with them?
The hymn/belief and the map/card/calling card
of the person who left...

And these affects of the revolutionary/policed mannerisms (also archaic: civilized)
All these ballroom dances
These mannerisms that you regurgitated/vomited up
They fit you like a glove/mask.

The times are changing

You traded tracts and slogans
Commands/decrees and demonstrations
For more elegant things
D.R.H. (?), golf and stock options...

You quickly learned the song that matters
It's a good tune
Many put themselves in pitch with the tuning fork
It's for the good of the nation.

The times are changing

Friend, I don't wish you well/salute you
Nor congratulate you,
You have your conscience to reckon with
It's a question of values

Okay, so it's a little ideological/pedantic
I'll concede that, I hear you
Admit it, it was much to tempting
Among leftists we understand each other.

*reference to the French resistance to the Nazis

Some more eclectic new stuff at Mountain*7...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Some Reading

in The Valve.

And just for the hell of it, a reminder of things past.

(Re: the ever-too-easy generalizations regarding a homogenous Thug Theory Brigade(!), et cetera – Yes, I know it is a joke.) Update: Ah, peace (of sorts) at last. People...just don't know each other well enough, is all. Or, each other's otherness, sometimes.