Friday, December 19, 2014


Raw footage, a simple bad grade. No stabilization. Sloppy. Trying to find ways to rig the camera w. different lenses, including lenses much too tight for hand-held or moving around.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Badiou reaffirms his commitment to Maoism..." in a "Lecture-Performance", sponsored by a bohemian luxury boutique in Manhattan.
The boutique owner sees the irony even if the audience doesn't.

repeats The seriousness of art and the seriousness of the academy.


Chris Rock is an intelligent and sophisticated observer of the world; it's fitting he wrote his remake of Love in the Afternoon with Louis C.K. Anglo-American culture doesn't have a great tradition of high art and cultures that do don't have a great tradition of democracy. Our good artists learn from high culture by discovering it, precisely because our academy whatever pretensions it may have to defending it, considers all art unserious. Rock is in the tradition is this sense of Eastwood and Tarantino, the opposite of von Trier, though they meet in the middle as makers of serious popular art, or popular serious art.

Interesting to watch Spiral, (Engrenages) for its observations/criticism/defense of the French inquisitorial system of justice, as opposed to the Anglo-American adversarial system. Characters' arguments for high moral purpose, described by the camera to show both its strengths and limits, have the air of the Church, and the innocence not of the young but specifically of young priests, younger sons from good families. Badiou is a representative of that tradition in decay.

The Anglo-American model of philosophy is less religious but also incapable of irony, which is why the answer to French philosophs is not Oxbridge pedants but playwrights and comedians. The makers of Engrenages are more honest than Badiou, just as the makers of The Wire and Breaking Bad are more honest than partisans of Rawls.

The above is all repeats, old wine in new bottles. Philosophers are rationalists; comedians are empiricists. Better late than never, comedians get their own tag.

Rock with Frank Rich. A theater critic and a comedian, a couple of intelligent, bourgeois, non-leftists.

This post above contradicts the ending of the previous one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The most annoying thing about yesterday was watching Americans howling and tearing their hair out over the "new" "revelations". Irony was left mostly to others, if only because for most of the CIA's history torture was as well: SOAWatch

Most but not all.
---

All confirming the obvious.
Stanley Milgram’s 1963 experiments showed that proximity, of authority to subject and of subject to “learner”, was the main factor in affecting the level of obedience to the command to cause harm. An anthropologist will know why a guillotine is not like an ax and why a governor is not called an executioner even if the man who bears that title is only following orders. Again, such data are treated as irrelevant to philosophy, because once the point of view is chosen it can’t be changed. Rather than seeing the inevitability of competing perspectives of the actor and his victim, the moral issue to be faced is defined only through the experience of one of them and not the other. Philosophy searches for truth and perspectivism just doesn’t fit the bill. [p.13]
endless repeats
Proud liberals are unaware of their own foibles. Philosophers bemoan the fact that we feel our friends' pain and not the pain of strangers, but are loathe to admit the same behavior in themselves. Liberals empathize with those they know; the most they offer strangers is pity pressed up as policy. And in fact they have no desire to change their own behavior, since for the intellectuals that would require them to love their own children less, and for the rest it would require sacrifice, if less extreme. The result in both cases is confused, conflicted, sometimes demonstrative but affectless, passivity.

I spent an hour drinking with an NYPD detective: gang-squad, moving into homicide; Latino, a Marine vet with two tours in Afghanistan. He was convinced I had a history. He didn't believe me what I said my record was clean. Something about anger and code switching, I still do both without thinking. We talked about Garner.

The contempt of educated white liberals towards uneducated whites in relation to blacks: for white trash who have no advantage in life them but their whiteness. No real respect for working class, black or white, or for any group other than themselves, including equally educated foreigners.

Individualism is so engrained in American culture middle class and up that collective socialization of any sort seems odd, whether of the American working class or the bourgeoisie in other countries. It's mocked as inferior, celebrated as exotic, or responded to with blank indifference, even face to face. The last is simple rudeness.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Judith Levine in the Boston Review: Feminism Can Handle the Truth

2007. A letter to Emily Yoffe, "Dear Prudence" in  Slate
Dear Prudence,
My husband is kind, supportive, funny, generous, smart, and loving. However, I feel like I must divorce him. Six years ago, when we were in our early 20s and had just fallen in love, after a night of partying and drinking, he woke me up in the middle of the night and started to have sex with me. I was dozing and still drunk and, yes, I took my panties off myself. But when I realized that it was not OK for him to make advances on me in my state, I pushed him away and ran out. He later felt so bad he wanted to turn himself in for rape. I was very confused and thought at times that I was overreacting and at others that I was raped. We painfully worked through this, but the incident made my husband very reluctant about having sex. This led to an agreement that he shouldn't be afraid of coming close to me in similar situations as long as he asked my consent. This made us feel better and I felt secure again. However, we just found ourselves in a very similar situation. After coming back from a friend’s wine tasting we went to bed and he started to kiss me. I liked it and went along, only to wake up in the morning and remember only half of it. Now I am in the same painful spot I was before and I can’t fathom how he could have ignored our agreement. Should I just drop it or am I right about feeling abused?
—Confused
Yoffee's response
...Stop acting like a parody of a gender-studies course catalog and start acting like a loving wife. If you can’t, then give the poor sap a divorce.
Lindsey Beyerstein's response.
Six years ago, Confused's husband did something to her that they both agree was wrong. It felt like rape to her and to him. Depending on the law in their state, it may well have been rape. Regardless, she was traumatized by the experience, and so was he. (I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he honestly thought she was capable of consent and consenting the first time.)
Read Judith Levine.

Also see the previous post. Follow the links at the bottom of the post back to Beyerstein from the same period. I had no idea she was quite this bad.

The neoliberal logic of social life as contract, at Crooked Timber. Read all the comments.
all repeats.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Josh Marshall has kept this on the front of TPM for two days. It amazes me.

"A TPM Reader takes stock of the week and what it means ..."
As someone who defended "Jackie" and the story all week, I felt let down, and then realized with some disgust I was disappointed that she had not been raped. In thinking further about my reaction, it seems what this really is about - and Ferguson and the countless other deaths of young Black teens - is balance of power. And the reason I, and others, are quick to defend the victims in these cases is because it confirms a version of the world we already believe: that young women and African-Americans are often disenfranchised in our culture, specifically with regard to large and traditional bastions of power where the loudest, richest, highest-status voices tend to drown out minority perspectives.

I went to Harvard in the early aughts and spent many late, dark nights in final clubs - their version of frats, as I'm sure you know - and can't say any of these details surprised me or rung false. And while the specifics and veracity of this particular story (and RS' reporting in general) are relevant, I'm worried we're missing the macro point that women are perpetual guests in these establishments and what that does to the overall culture and mentality of otherwise self-respecting men.

I'm sure you remember Lord of the Flies. I don't know how it is with frats but at least at Harvard there was ZERO oversight from the school, (presumably to avoid lawsuits about underage drinking and sexual assault), which only reinforced a feeling that these boys were above the law.

Senior year, I was dating someone in one of the oldest final clubs, where non-members are not allowed past the foyer. One late night, a friend of mine found herself alone in the entryroom with two guys, one of whom was a member, both of whom were in the closet. They somehow made it upstairs, as a threesome, where, according to my friend, the two guys proceeded to hook up. (She felt as though she were only there to legitimize their behavior in their own eyes.) When she shared this story with my boyfriend, he freaked out and called a meeting with the other members in his class. They proceeded to alert the graduate board, who also met and eventually made my friend and the other non-member sign some kind of nondisclosure agreement. And no one was even concerned about rape accusations; this was all because they were worried about being outed.

I had my own murky sexual encounter in one of these clubs - the first time I ever drank and smoked weed on the same night - and the University stopped at recommending a counselor, whom I spoke to on the phone a few times. (To be clear, I have no idea what their response would have been had I been more inclined to pursue the issue.)

Of course, it may turn out that none of these details are true and the story is completely fabricated. But my point is, in our rush to "solve" this rape like journalistic detectives, we're avoiding a larger conversation about the male/female balance of power at these large universities and how the universities themselves address it.
Read the fourth paragraph; you shouldn't have to read it carefully. It's anti-feminism, straight up: women need to be protected not only from assault but from embarrassment, insult and vulgarity on the part "of otherwise self-respecting men". It's the sexual politics of John Mayer, Josh Marshall, Maria Farrell, Belle Waring, et al. See Feminism, etc.

Equality is predicated on agency: on justice, not on mercy (since someone recently pointed to Isaiah Berlin), and not on gallantry or chivalry, or any other form of gentlemanly condescension. Lady Feminist is as oxymoronic as Liberal Zionist.
see also the following post. It's all beyond parody
---

Determinism is what it is. Arguments from exceptionalism are absurd. Henry Farrell argues for sociology over economics, but not for anthropology over both. He chooses Weber over Proust, first order over second order curiosity, technocracy over humanism, self-blindness over irony.
So fucking boring.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A commenter at CT hopes that the choice if image isn't "entirely ironic". Rockwell had a better sense of irony than Brighouse. Look at the bottom right corner of the image.
Challenging some of our most commonly held beliefs about the family, Brighouse and Swift explain why a child’s interest in autonomy severely limits parents’ right to shape their children’s values, and why parents have no fundamental right to confer wealth or advantage on their children.
A confused mix of idealist individualism and statist moral authoritarianism, bound by the imperatives of non-contradictory logic and the need for "truth." So much for instilling a sense of republican virtue in the young.

repeat. Peter Thiel is right.
I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual. For all these reasons, I still call myself “libertarian.” 
But I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.
The Thiel quote originally through Corey Robin (I don't remember where) who (repeats of repeats) doesn't understand the the implications of his own arguments. You can't be for revolution and against disruption. Permanent revolution is Modernist fantasy and capitalism's fantasy of itself.

Democracy is an ideology; virtues are inculcated or they're not. In order for the people to remain free, persons need to be raised into the role of citizens.
Brighouse’s philosophy, like Cohen’s, like all the liberalism of ideas, is deeply anti-social, laced with the melancholy superiority of a schoolmaster of a school for wayward youth. [p.17]
Again and again:
"If her interests have the same value as his, then my interests must have the same value as yours." 
The opposite of virtue. And a license for the state to impose virtue on those without it.

Brighouse and "Legitimate Parental Partiality"
Rockwell, as artist.
Brighouse and Quiggin, (and again) prefer kitsch.

The Golden Age of Ozzie and Harriet, Ken and Barbie.
update, and repeats, for comedy's sake
comment 79 by engels
Congratulations!
My favourite kid’s comment on a book was GA Cohen’s kids on Jonathan Glover’s ‘What Sort of People Should There Be’ (according to Cohen): “That’s easy, they should be like us!”
Cohen, also in the quoted reference above: "I'm not a morally exemplary person, that's all.”
I wrote a book called If you're an Egalitarian How Come You're so Rich? And the final chapter discusses fourteen reasons people give for not giving away their money when they're rich but they profess belief in equality, twelve of which are, well, rubbish. I think there are two reasonable answers that a person who doesn't give too much of it away can give and one of them has to do with the burden of depressing yourself below the level of your peer group with whom you're shared a certain way of life, and in particular, depriving your children of things that the children around them favor. And also, and slightly separately, the transition from being wealthy to being not wealthy at all can be extremely burdensome and the person who has tasted wealth will suffer more typically from lack of it than someone who's had quote unquote the good fortune never to be wealthy and therefore has built up the character and the orientation that can cope well with it.
What an asshole. And what fucking idiots.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Invention of the Jewish Nose
When Christian artists did begin to single out Jews, it was not through their bodies, features, or even ritual implements, but with hats. Around the year 1100, a time of intensified biblical scholarship and growing interest in the past, as well as great artistic innovation, artists began paying new attention to Old Testament imagery, which had been relatively neglected in favor of New Testament illustration in early medieval art. Hebrew prophets wearing distinctive-looking pointed caps began appearing in the pages of richly illuminated Bibles and on the carved facades of the Romanesque churches that were then rising across western Christendom.

...In the second half of the twelfth century, a new devotional trend promoting compassionate contemplation of the mortal, suffering Christ caused artists to turn their attention to Jews’ faces. In an enamel casket dating to about 1170, the central Jew in the group to the left of the crucified Christ has a large, hooked nose, all out of proportion both to his own face and to the noses of the other figures on the casket. Though this grotesque profile resembles modern racialist anti-Semitic caricature, it does not seem—yet—to bear the same meaning. No Christian texts written up to this point attribute any particular physical characteristics to Jews, much less refer to the existence of a peculiar “Jewish nose.” Instead of signaling ethnic hatred, this Jew’s ugly visage reflects contemporary Christian concerns. In accord with the new devotions, artworks had just begun to portray Christ as humbled and dying. Some Christians struggled with the new imagery, discomfited by the sight of divine suffering. Proponents of the new devotions criticized such resistance. Failure to be properly moved by portrayals of Christ’s affliction was identified with “Jewish” hard-hearted ways of looking. In this and many other images, then, the Jew’s prominent nose serves primarily to draw attention to the angle of his head, turned ostentatiously away from the sight of Christ, and so links the Jew’s misbegotten flesh to his misdirected gaze.
A better title for a better essay, in two parts, would be How Europeans became White, followed by How the Jews Became White. The bottom photo is Sara Lipton


etc

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kajieme Powell: "Shoot me, already!"
Michael Brown, according to Darren Wilson: “You're too much of a pussy to shoot me.”
I don't think Wilson's lying about that.

Watching the anger of white and Jewish liberals who show no more than pity for teenagers in Gaza and the West Bank.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

An old post I never wrote. related to one just below, and one earlier, and back.


To be born and raised in a community is not to have a choice: the world is what it is. We can go on to try to change the order of that world (which in fact is changing always), but "intentional" communities do more than that; they're founded in self-description, denying not only outside interference but outside interpretation, demanding acknowledgement for a world of their own making. At the lowest level it's simple fascism. "Israeli" is more of an invention than "Palestinian",  if less so than "Aryan", but the opinions of outsiders in both cases are claimed to mean nothing.

In fact those claims are merely cover. Any serious definition of fascism puts the lie to them. Self-love and self-hatred are inseparable, the first being merely an ideologized -armored- reinforcement of the basic need for self-respect. The difference between camp and kitsch is the difference between the fat bearded man in a tutu who expects you to laugh and the fat bearded man in a tutu who points the gun at your head and dares you to say he's not a ballerina. Fascism by definition is kitsch. And we're back to Freud
In in a passage from one of the Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis Freud says that as the result of a successful treatment repression is replaced by 'the condemning judgement'. He doesn't explain the difference between the two. What's the difference between "I don't want to kill my father and sleep with my mother" and "I don't want to kill my father and sleep with my mother." Is the first, louder and more nervous? More declarative? More cocksure? I don't know but it's a question conceptualists can't answer.
Conceptualists don't/can't understand performance. They refuse to interpret, or they oppose it. The irony, as I've said again and again, of liberals mocking Scalia's originalism reading the past is their own originalism reading into the future. That written words "mean what they mean" and that I "mean what I say and say what I mean", and that I am "what I say I am", all make make the same argument. Scalia's Catholic anti-individualism and liberal individualism both stand against interpretation, which can only be the interpretation of others, in the present and future: the judgement of outsiders and the judgment of history.

The woman above wants her government to see her as she sees herself. Why does it matter so much to her? She stumbles over the admission that she was born female. Why is she fixated on binaries? Why does she take the government bureaucracy so seriously that she needs it's approval of her self-disgust?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Art of Future Warfare Project A project of the Atlantic Council
Vision
A world in which artists — writers, illustrators, directors, videographers — and creativity enjoy a valued place in the defense establishment’s planning and preparation for the future of warfare and social conflict; in where unconventional, imaginative thinking and expression contribute meaningfully to the study and professional conduct of diplomacy, defense policy, and military operations; in which fiction about future wars hold a regular place on the reading lists of military professionals.

Mission
The Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project is driven by the Scowcroft Center on International Security’s mandate to advance thinking and planning for the future of warfare. The project’s core mission is to cultivate a community of interest in works and ideas arising from the intersection of creativity and expectations about how emerging antagonists, disruptive technologies, and novel warfighting concepts may animate tomorrow’s conflicts. We will create a platform for this community — the Art of Future Warfare web site, activate social media around this mission and host live events. The project will curate artistic renderings of future warfare through crowd-sourced “war-art challenges,” and publish collections of these works. The project also will cultivate an audience within the traditional defense community for this creative approach to understanding the future of warfare and social conflict.
August Cole
Dave Anthony and Call of Duty
Dave Anthony, former writer and director for the megahit video game franchise Call of Duty, wants the U.S. government to explore stationing soldiers in schools.
repeats and repeats. Instrumentalism and illustration, left and right, literally. "It is painful to note that we find similar errors in two opposed schools: the bourgeois school and the socialist school. ‘Moralize! Moralize!’ cry both with missionary fervor."

Fascism is military moralism. Conceptualism is reactionary, always. It's fantasy.

"Literature as art is the discussion of values as manifest in actions. That the actions are fictional is irrelevant."

The element of fantasy is secondary. More repeats, and relevant.
"But art is not essentially content. Art is essentially form. Art is object, not subject."
So Ursula Le Guin, a fantasy author, of all people, is the first to say the obvious.
also
War can be used as entertainment in two ways by two groups of people: those who treat it as a game played by choice -a deadly game but one that can be left and rejoined- and those who know only war. The most important difference is that the former have never been the victims of a war, only the warriors. They didn't learn to kill by feeling pain.
Jack Webb, cardboard, and "Collegiate Gothic"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When we ask the reason for this curious separation between classical motifs invested with a nonclassical meaning, and classical themes expressed by nonclassical figures in a nonclassical setting, the obvious answer seems to lie in the difference between representational and textual tradition. The artists who used the motif of a Hercules for an image of Christ, or the motif of an Atlas for the images of the Evangelists acted under the impression of visual models which they had before their eyes, whether they directly copied a classical monument or imitated a more recent work derived from a classical prototype through a series of intermediary transformations. The artists who represented Medea as a mediaeval princess, or Jupiter as a mediaeval judge, translated into images a mere description found in literary sources.

This is very true, and the textual tradition through which the knowledge of classical themes, particularly of classical mythology, was transmitted to and persisted during the Middle Ages is of the utmost importance, not only for the mediaevalist but also for the student of Renaissance iconography. For even in the Italian Quattrocento, it was from this complex and often very corrupt tradition, rather than from genuine classical sources, that many people drew their notions of clasical mythology and related subjects.

Limiting ourselves to classical mythology, the paths of this tradition can be outlined as follows. The later Greek philosophers had already begun to interpret the pagan gods and demigods as mere personifications either of natural forces or moral qualities, and some of them had gone so far as to explain them as ordinary human beings subsequently deified. In the last century of the Roman Empire these tendencies greatly increased. While the Christian Fathers endeavored to prove that the pagan gods were either illusions or malignant demons (thereby transmitting much valuable information about them), the pagan world itself had become so estranged from its divinities that the educated public had to read up on them in encyclopaedias, in didactic poems or novels, in special treatises on mythology, and in commentaries on the classic poets. Important among these late-antique writings in which the mythological characters were interpreted in an allegorical way, or "moralized," to use the mediaeval expression, were Martianus Capella's Nuptiae Mercurii et Philologiae, Fulgentius' Mitologiae, and, above all, Servius' admirable Commentary on Virgil which is three or four times as long as the text and was perhaps more widely read.

During the Middle Ages these writings and others of their kind were thoroughly exploited and further developed. The mythographical information thus survived, and became accessible to mediaeval poets and artists. First, in the encyclopaedias, the development of which began with such early writers as Bede and Isidorus of Seville, was continued by Hrabanus Maurus (ninth century), and reached a climax in the enormous high-mediaeval works by Vincentius of Beauvais, Brunette Latini, Bartholomaeus Anglicus, and so forth. Second, in the mediaeval commentaries on classical and late-antique texts, especially on Martianus Capella's Nuptiae, which was annotated by Irish scholars such as Johannes Scotus Erigena and was authoritatively commented upon by Remigius of Auxerre (ninth century). Third, in treatises special treatises on mythology such as the so-called Mythographi I and II, which are still rather early in date and are mainly based on Fulgentius and Servius. The most important work of this kind, the so-called Mythographus III, has been tentatively identified with an Englishman, the great scholastic Alexander Neckham (died 1217); his treatise, an impressive survey of whatever information was available around 1200, deserves to be called the conclusive compendium of high-mediaeval mythography, and was even used by Petrarch when he described the images of pagan gods in his poem Africa.

Monday, November 17, 2014



"The demimonde by definition is anti-humanist and anti-democratic. Modern libertines are libertarians, though some grow out of it. Most rebels as they grow older, if they make it, retire as liberals."

She's had connections at the Vatican for decades, a mutual friend of Jimmy DeSana

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"My mental health file whirs to life in 1969 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’d recently left Opus Dei, the Catholic religious order to which I’d committed my young soul, and a major depression had followed. "

I told Scialabba at some point that his early experience with Plato and Opus Dei had done lasting harm to his imagination, that he had a weakness for authority. He responded, like a Jesuit, that since his opinions were unpopular he didn't have authority on his side.
Patient is seen as a courtesy visit because he is no longer actually eligible for consultation here, as he graduated here from the college [Harvard] in June of this year. He has plans to attend Columbia Graduate School.

He comes with very intense questions regarding Catholicism. In the last several months he has begun to question increasingly whether he can support a body of thought which stresses orthodoxy and lack of investigation. He approaches the problem with me and with himself quite intellectually, but he is indeed, in spite of intellect, feeling in much emotional turmoil over this. Support was given to him to move towards a middle ground, which, in his style, is very hard for him.

He has felt frightened of the loss of the church, and, therefore, it was clarified that he need not give up the church, or an organization to which he belongs in the church, to pursue his questioning, and that he would not be able to be content in any position he took until he opened up the questions with himself and others. He was also concerned that some of his actions have been inappropriate, and I did not feel that they were inappropriate save that they were indicative of a young man in considerable turmoil over some very important questions in life, and this was stated to the patient.
Search [in Shakespeare] for statesmanship, or even citizenship, or any sense of the commonwealth, material or spiritual, and you will not find the making of a decent vestryman or curate in the whole horde. As to faith, hope, courage, conviction, or any of the true heroic qualities, you find nothing but death made sensational, despair made stage-sublime, sex made romantic, and barrenness covered up by sentimentality and the mechanical lilt of blank verse.
Scialabba hates literature. He's the perfect literary critic for readers of Max Weber
Consider a discipline such as aesthetics. The fact that there are works of art is given for aesthetics. It seeks to find out under what conditions this fact exists, but it does not raise the question whether or not the realm of art is perhaps a realm of diabolical grandeur, a realm of this world, and therefore, in its core, hostile to God and, in its innermost and aristocratic spirit, hostile to the brotherhood of man. Hence, aesthetics does not ask whether there should be works of art.
"Scialabba's jeremiads are celebrated by technocratic readers only because they won't change a thing: technocracy wins regardless. There's a nastiness behind that, a hidden nihilism, their bloody valentine to the humanities that can offer nothing in return."

"Literature as art is the discussion of values as manifest in actions. That the actions are fictional is irrelevant."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Technocracy and the individual imagination, atomism and the Bomb, Weber, and Daniel Bell


It started with a glib comment elsewhere about Stella and Murakami, but it makes sense to continue



Spilled Aluminum appliqué.
Zhang Yimao, Gursky, and Kubrick







and Koons