Monday, October 30, 2006

"If you want to comment on Southern Appeal [link], you’re welcome to do so. But let’s add something to the discussion other than profanity and historically-ignorant remarks, shall we? When General Lee passed away, his death was mourned by those in both the North and the South. He was a man of profound character and integrity (something you would know if you had ever read something other than the Yankee propaganda you were spoon feed in high school). If you ever refer to the General in a disparaging manner again on my blog, you will be banned. Consider this your first and final warning on the matter."
posted without comment
Cognitive dissonance and Tony Judt
more later

Sunday, October 29, 2006

How do you argue with a closeted homosexual who says to everyone else and to himself that he's not gay? How do you argue with a man who says, and may actually believe [who knows?] that he's not racist?

What's the relationship of language to logic?
What's the relation of abstract reason to politics?
Same shit, different day.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hilarious
Just listen


I jumped in the river and what did I see?
black-eyed angels swimming with me
a moon full of stars and astral cars
all the figures i used to see
all my lovers were there with me
all my past and futures
and we all went to heaven in a little row boat

there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt

I jumped in the river
black-eyed angels swimming with me
a moon full of stars and astral cars
all the figures i used to see
all my lovers were there with me
all my past and futures
and we all went to heaven in a little row boat

there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt
there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PCHR Weekly Report: 12 - 18 October 2006
28 Palestinians, 17 of whom including 2 children and a woman are civilians, were killed by IOF.
Each of the two children was killed together with the father of each.
6 of the victims were extra-judicially executed by IOF in 3 separate attacks.
45 Palestinians, including 14 children and 4 women, were wounded.
IOF have continued to launch air strikes on houses and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip; 5 houses were destroyed and a number of others were severely damaged.
IOF conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 6 others into the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested 48 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children, in the West Bank, and 8 others in the Gaza Strip.
IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF arrested 3 Palestinian civilian at checkpoints in the West Bank
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall in the West Bank; Palestinian farmers have been denied access to their agricultural lands to cultivate olives.
Moral seriousness is not moral responsibility. Manners are not actions.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eid Mubarak

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reporters engage in the objective discussion of the opinions of the electorate and the success or failure of political strategies. Policy experts on the sidelines bemoan the failures of the press and engage in the objective discussion of policy.
Neither are neutral, neither are objective. Both are passive, shallow, incurious, self-absorbed; their logic founded on if obscuring (only sometimes) a crude nationalism.

My fondness for the American people as a whole, mixed always with horror, becomes little else when I look at their elites.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I thought they'd just erased my comment, but they removed the entire post. M.J. Rosenberg: "Stifling Israel Criticism: With Link To Tony Judt Piece That Caused Ban"

[The link above is to google cache and dead. The heading but not the body now at Archive.org]

Rosenberg spends most of the time fighting idiots far worse than he is but he's still good for a laugh:
I want the occupation to end, which means negotiating an end to it with the Palestinians whether we like them or not, and thereby preserving a majority Jewish state called Israel forever
"Whether we like them or not." And on top of the same racial nationalism, straight out of Le Pen, Haider and Botha.

Here's a link to Helena Cobban and from her to Uri Avnery:
"IS IT possible to force a whole people to submit to foreign occupation by starving it?
That is, certainly, an interesting question. So interesting, indeed, that the governments of Israel and the United States, in close cooperation with Europe, are now engaged in a rigorous scientific experiment in order to obtain a definitive answer.

The laboratory for the experiment is the Gaza Strip, and the guinea pigs are the million and a quarter Palestinians living there...

Friday, October 13, 2006

To those of you here courtesy of Scott Lemieux, go back to Tapped.
If you want to understand what's wrong with the Democratic intellectual apparat, you should begin there.

I had a little fun, but Lemieux is an idiot. He's not serious, politically or intellectually. He doesn't want to waste his time communicating with the irrational -though that's what politicians do for a living- and he isn't interested as an academic should be in understanding the roots of irrationality. I may say that Zionism is racism, and logically it is, but it would do no good to argue the point with a defender of the Jewish "right of return" without my first having an understanding of the events of 20th century Europe.

Read my comments at Tapped and see if someone with a clear head would not see my arguments as anything but simple and direct.
---
I reread his post and caught the reference to rational action. If I'd read more carefully I would have caught it earlier.
Chicago School liberals.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Manu Chao - La rumba de Barcelona

Manu Chao - Desaparecido

MANA - Mariposa Traicionera
note taking
I’d think it’s really more intersting, to those of us who are not and never have been geeks, that a show on American television is portraying suicide bombing as an option worthy of debate.
And the language and imagery on last nights show was more akin to Gaza than Iraq.

“I think the show is relevant and is trying to do what science fiction is supposed to do, which is to examine society through a different prism.”

All good literature or not does that “serious” or not. Science fiction spends most of its time on big generalizations and big toys, not on details and precise (and self-aware) observation. Why else would this thread devolve into a debate between teenage boys about Lorne Green and wanting to make it with a chick who can turn into a cheetah. (You think the ersatz irony changes anything?) Edward James Olmos put it well (roughly from memory):

“The last thing I wanted to be doing was science fiction on cable, but if they keep writing it like this I’ll do it for the rest of my life.”

The question is why should sci fi be the apparently necessary vehicle for such discussion. Why are our best political pundits a stand up comic, a sportscaster and a theater critic? The answer should be obvious to anyone who doesn’t follow “political-science” fiction.

This country lags behind others in so many ways; and this country’s academic elite follow behind the rest.
So fucking stupid.
---

Read Baudelaire on Alfred Rethel and “Philosophic Art”
Or just google Alfred Rethel. I’m sure you’ll find his graphic work shockingly contemporary.
The link could fit here as well.

Rethel was an illustrator, nothing more. Baudelaire tries to examine what that means though he doesn’t use the term illustration. Battlestar Galactica is not an illustration; is not written as illustration but popular theater. It is not “philosophic art’ though the interest in it here is based on an outward similarity.

Illustration -”lit up”- is an image of something else. A work of art is a thing in itself. To see language as transparent is to use it to describe other things, as a geologist describes a rock (or as a philospher describes an idea). To see language as material is to use it to describe itself and what we perceive as its relation to the world: not to know what words mean but to ask.

Philosophic art – illustration- is an art of rules. Unphilosophic art as art is a record of their undoing in experience.
“BSG” is pop entertainment; but it’s miles ahead of most political commentary in this country simply because it’s honest.
“What’s Liberal About The Liberal Arts?”
Wrong question
“What Makes a Hit TV Show More Liberal than Brad DeLong?”

Better.
---

“A stand-up comedian, sports commentator, and theater critic are our clearest political editorialists these days because American politics are entertainment not governance. It’s theater, bad theater, not the application of ideas and ideals to power.”

No. A stand-up comedian, sports commentator, and theater critic are our clearest political editorialists, because sports writers have historically been the best writers in the daily press and because comics and theater critics are skeptics who are capable of an ironic distance not only from others but from themselves. That’s their speciality.

But DeLong wonders about the neurochemistry of the people who still support Bush. Adult Europeans have been making laughing at pedants of his sort since the invention of the bourgeoisie.

Here’s Tyler Cowen on New Orleans:
Shantytowns might well be more creative than a dead city core. Some of the best Brazilian music came from the favelas of Salvador and Rio. The slums of Kingston, Jamaica, bred reggae. New Orleans experienced its greatest cultural blossoming in the early 20th century, when it was full of shanties. Low rents make it possible to live on a shoestring, while the population density blends cultural influences. Cheap real estate could make the city a desirable place for struggling artists to live. The cultural heyday of New Orleans lies in the past. Katrina rebuilding gives the city a chance to become an innovator once again.
You tell me if he’s playing this straight. I really can’t tell. When people are desperate they sing like they mean it and isn’t that something we enjoy? Isn’t that a “good.”
Here’s DeLong after I made a comment that he pulled from his site:

“Bullshit. You said things that were false. Hezbollah and Hamas are not “moderating.”
Look in the mirror, if you can.”

I sent him the USG reports that said otherwise. I’m still banned. And will someone explain DeLong’s Chomsky pathology? What’s DeLong’s ‘neurochemistry’ What the fuck is Cowen’s?

Consciousness is flawed. Theater critics understand this more than scientists, and certainly more than “political” scientists.
We need more theater critics, not less.—-

Again: “so fucking stupid”

done
---

This is a site where I regularly find qualified defenses of Ayn Rand’s literary abilities, so lets just end the discussion of sci fi as such there.

But still, maybe you should read Baudelaire on “philosophic” art; maybe you should read Anthony Grafton on what it was the renaissance left behind; maybe you should wonder at the persistent taste for systematic oversimplification in times of crisis: at the diminution of methodology over time into decadent formalism, internally consistent but describing nothing outside its own consistency; pure brittle logic ill fitted to a vulgar world.

Political Science is to Political life what “Law and Economics” is to economic life, what Literary Theory is to literature, and what Analytic Philosophy is thought. Should I add: what sociology is to careful observation? What documentary is to film? What the myth of objectivity is to newspaper reporting?
What’s missing from all these things?

Knowledge is not wisdom, erudition is not judgment, and self-awareness is necessary for emotional and intellectual maturity. Can someone tell me how Tyler Cowen could be so stupid? So arrogant and unaware? So Rumsfeldian?

I’ve run into shitloads of such stupidity over the years. I had a little fun here at the expense of Donald Davidson, and Richard Dawkins and the “Dims.” At DeLong and Leiter and Posner. Do you think Rumsfeld or Cheney would be any less oblivious to their failure if they proclaimed atheism? I’m not going to go into the brittleness of Weimar.
Troll, at this point, maybe.
Stupid, no.

My stockbroker/doctor wants to start giving me blood pressure medicine. I have to give up on this shit.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How are scientists, as technocrats, any less dangerous to a democratic form of government than generals? Mad scientists are as common in American popular mythology as mad Generals are in others'.

Scholasticism noun - the system of theology and philosophy taught in medieval European universities, based on Aristotelian logic and the writings of the early Church Fathers and having a strong emphasis on tradition and dogma. • narrow-minded insistence on traditional doctrine.

Technocracy noun - ( pl. -cies) the government or control of society or industry by an elite of technical experts. • an instance or application of this. • an elite of technical experts.
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from Greek tekhne ‘art, craft’ + -cracy .

Republic noun - a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch. • archaic figurative a community or group with a certain equality between its members. ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from French république, from Latin respublica, from res ‘concern’ + publicus ‘of the people, public.’
Scholasticism

The Weimarization of the political life of this country is held in check not by radicals or reformers, and not by academics, but by popular culture.

Tyler Cowen
"Shantytowns might well be more creative than a dead city core. Some of the best Brazilian music came from the favelas of Salvador and Rio. The slums of Kingston, Jamaica, bred reggae. New Orleans experienced its greatest cultural blossoming in the early 20th century, when it was full of shanties. Low rents make it possible to live on a shoestring, while the population density blends cultural influences. Cheap real estate could make the city a desirable place for struggling artists to live. The cultural heyday of New Orleans lies in the past. Katrina rebuilding gives the city a chance to become an innovator once again."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland
Hitler, a Film from Germany

not very interesting article by a woman who became an un-ironic defender of Syberberg. Sontag was intent on separating the Fascist Kitsch of Weimer Germany from today's variety; but that's not really possible.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crossman Gallery. University of Wisconsin Whitewater. October 19.