Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The line on the wall is a waterline.

Lindemann
note taking/posted (by me) elsewhere.  old wine in new bottles.

The Monkey Cage: "Do Israel and the United States Share Values?"

Short answer: No
Peter Beinart: "I'm not asking Israel to be Utopian... I'm not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I'm actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel's security and for its status as a Jewish state."

Beinart's not talking about what Israel became, but about what it's always been; discrimination is at the foundation of the state.   So how can ethnic nationalism ever be liberal? If it's liberal for Jews, why not for blacks? Why not for Germans?   The Palestinians' situation isn't new. Why these earnest questions now and not in 1973? Compare the NY Times in 1947 to what it became.

There is no text without subtext. The rhetoric of value free science elides subtext it doesn't eliminate it.

There are no lines separating the beliefs of the American people, politicians, and college professors. We're all the products of our culture.  If you want to talk about the relation of American and Israeli values you have to talk about the history of immigration to this country (and specifically of Jews in the late 19th century) and about mythology, even your own.

The Palestinians exist now more fully -more three dimensionally- in the American imagination than they ever have. They're no longer just ideas or subject to a blind spot. The shift is similar to the shift in the public presence of Jews, blacks, other minorities, women, and homosexuals.  People who were talked about now speak.

Change happens. Ideas are the product of events, not as you would have it the other way around.
Pressman's response and mine; and another by me to someone else.
--Seth I have a lot of reactions but for the sake of brevity, let me just offer one: I see the place of Palestinian issues in the American imagination as a very different place than that of, for example, LGBT issues today in that same American imagination.

--Who led the the fight for LGBT rights? Who led the fight for the rights of blacks and women? Who led the fight for the Jews? Who led the struggles against colonialism? And who leads the fight for Palestinians? The answer is the same in all cases: themselves.
"From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia."
Who were they? And why would it seem more likely that the author would be named “Pankaj Mishra” and not “John Smith”?

Liberal Zionism is an oxymoron. There really isn’t an argument otherwise, at least logically, and yet the phrase has never gone out of use.
Any argument beyond that point I’ll leave for elsewhere.

--That Israeli Jews are now willing to accept the cultural model of Apartheid is a function of the past unwillingness of self-described liberals (Israeli and Zionist) to admit that they followed already the cultural model of Jim Crow. That blindness has led to other irrational assumptions and actions. A new awareness is being forced upon the Zionist consciousness by outside forces: the Palestinians themselves. Globalization is expanding, Israeli society is blending, and the blending itself is causing the crisis. This is how change works its way, always. As one state or one of two, the state now defined to give preference to Jews will become a multi-ethnic democracy. The only question is how long that will take and how messy it will be.

Exceptionalism as an intellectual model, American, Israeli or academic (economic, philosophical, or political “science”) is based on a fallacious understanding of language and history.
The professionalization of intellectual life.
Cognitive dissonance, two posts by Brian Leiter
"as philosophy migrated closer to the sciences in the Anglophone world over the last fifty years…"

"Why the New York Review of Each Other's Books Asked Freeman Dyson to review a popular work on philosophy is far from obvious"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


"It starts out as just another one of those delightful bits of perverse fake lip-reading… but then, a little past the 2 minute mark, it turns into something much, much greater."
--

For some reason embedding is now blocked for the video. The link slips over to debate highlights. The one posted is still available here

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Servant Problem
Life Was in Chaos for Nanny Accused of Killing 2 Children
She was unraveling. Yoselyn Ortega’s home was an overcrowded tenement that she yearned to leave. She shared the apartment with her teenage son, a sister and a niece, and roamed the halls selling cheap cosmetics and jewelry for extra money. She had been forced to relinquish a new apartment for her and her son and move back. A woman had chiseled her on a debt. Neighbors found her sulky and remote. She seemed to be losing weight.

Nanny Searches, Already Intense, Become More Fraught
The battery of questions that can rain on nannies from prospective employers or agencies often resembles a psychological appraisal, far more probing than mere background and reference checks.

Did the nannies have happy, healthy childhoods? What was their relationship with their parents like? What is going on now in their personal lives?

A nanny who has children of her own might be a red flag for some: she — or sometimes he — might resent having to mind another’s child, and pine for her own. One nanny might be deemed too old or too indifferent to energetically engage with the children. Another might be deemed too young or attractive, and pique a mother’s jealousy. Still another might be deemed too envious of her employers’ better fortunes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Like Tarantino and von Trier, a movie about actors and the theater;  a moral defense of illusion, fiction, mimesis, lies, the hair of the dog that bites you every minute you're alive.

Kylie Minogue was recommended to Carax by Claire Denis.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Agha/Malley: This Is Not a Revolution - Blog - The Arabist
"...but what they object to is history in motion, which they see as more of loop."
A good description.  AbuKhalil, the well-born leftist, loved the piece; he fell for the the fatalist poeticizing romance:  "This is one of the best things I have read on the Arab uprisings. And so beautifully written too."
Guardian: Israeli poll finds majority in favour of 'apartheid' policies

Haaretz

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rauchway in back at Crooked Timber. Here he is in 2008  [repeats of repeats etc.]
If Kramer’s report is accurate, you can see why the Columbia faculty got frustrated. They wanted Bollinger to offer a traditional defense of academic freedom, which goes something like this: Academic freedom predates free speech. Although Prussia gave constitutional protection to Lehrfreiheit in 1850 (“science and its teaching shall be free”), academic freedom generally does not enjoy legal protection outside of contractual guarantees; rather, it rests on the authority and ability of a community of competent scholars to police their own discourse and on the willingness of universities to affirm this authority and ability.

In other words, the Columbia faculty seem to have wanted the Columbia president to say to Daniel Pipes—who describes himself here as “someone who has left the academy, meets a payroll, lives pretty much in the here and now”—buzz off: this does not concern you, you have no standing to speak. We want to hear what the community of competent scholars say.

Instead of saying something along these lines, Bollinger appears to have said, well, academic freedom = free speech + time. Give it enough time, and the Daniel Pipes critique will fall short in the marketplace of ideas.

I can think of three reasons Bollinger might have said this, instead of offering the traditional defense of academic freedom.

(1) He doesn’t know the history and sources of academic freedom. This seems unlikely, though that phrase “surprised and bewildered” is worrying.

(2) He knows the history and sources of academic freedom, but he thinks it uncongenial to assert them in this anti-elitist day and age. This is an old concern, going back at least half a century in AAUP bulletin dispatches that fret over the question of whether “the people at large … will resent granting special liberties to the teachers of their children,” to quote Fritz Machlup writing in 1955. Maybe they will, and maybe Bollinger has this in mind. This is understandable, if unfortunate: as noted above, the preservation of academic freedom requires institutional affirmation.

(3) He knows the history and sources of academic freedom, but believes them superseded in the U.S. by First Amendment jurisprudence. Which suggests that all manner of opinions will be heard—including Pipes’s, apparently—but he has confidence that the faculty of the relevant discipline will win out in the opinion marketplace. This seems incredible, but that’s what the formula implies: anyone can play this game.
Corey Robin: Age of Counterrevolution.
The last of my comments
I’ll add another example of reactionary academicism, from Eric Rauchway. His reappearance at CT reminded me. Here he is in 2008 writing about academic freedom “in this anti-elitist day and age”.

“Academic freedom predates free speech.” It should apparently therefore not be defended in terms of the free speech of the public, in language rising from below, but in language descending from above, in terms granted in the Kingdom of Prussia, in 1850.

Henry Farrell’s response is to question academic freedom as such.
Rauchway refers to powers of self-regulation; Farrell counters with the need for scholars to justify themselves to the public. From elitism to vulgarianism, from decadence to barbarism, without the intervening period of civilization.
If these are your “revolutionaries” we need something better.
If freedom of inquiry predates freedom of speech then it is foundational to it and thus foundational to the rights of the people. I was about 16 when I figured that out. My parents were products both of academic culture and the culture of legal activism (products and participants) but at this point it shouldn't be that hard for college professors to understand.

Farrell
I’ve suggested that academic freedom is a good thing on pragmatic grounds, but also made clear that it fundamentally depends on public willingness to delegate some degree of self-governance to the academy. If the public decides that academic freedom isn’t working out in terms of the goods it provides, then too bad for academic freedom.
Comments at the time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Towards a Common Archive/ Filmed Testimonies by Zionist Fighters in 1948
YK: Only one man could – Yigal Allon. And I assume there was no misunderstanding between him and Ben Gurion, no. "So go there with axes, let them get lost, leave no trace. As much as you can, don't use any bullets, so that they won't hear it at the [British] police [station in Yagur] and, so that they won't send them reinforcements.

E: So what did you do?
YK: We smashed the door and throw a grenade…

E: In Balad al-Sheikh?
YK: And indeed it never rose again, it's gone.
Repeats
His full name is Samuel Allon Marshall. We gave him the middle name Allon after my father, Alan, who died unexpectedly in August. The name means 'Oak' in Hebrew. And it was also the name of Yigal Allon, after whom he is also named, who was one of the founders of and later the commander of the Palmach, the elite commando unit of the Haganah, the predecessor of the IDF.
John Quiggin, expert and intellectual know-nothing.
The title of his piece in The National Interest: "The U.S. Lacks Interests in the Mideast"
So clear, so logical, so morally superior, so full of generalizations and ignorant of the details of history so therefore devoid of specifics, so superior, so vain, so self-serving, so utterly useless.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jon Stewart's Theater of the Absurd
Smart takedown of Stewart's relationship with AA's King Playstation (and Queen Youtube).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Haaretz: "The Jewish majority is history"
Amid a dry economic report published yesterday in TheMarker lies an official announcement/acknowledgment of unparalleled importance: The government of Israel confirms that between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River there is no longer a Jewish majority. In other words, in the territory under Israel's jurisdiction a situation of apartheid exists. A Jewish minority rules over an Arab majority.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Talking to idiots
I’m not sure what’s more offensive, the moralizing paternalism, liberal authoritarianism, of earnest bookmen or the barbarism of libertarian fundamentalists: the cult of puritanism or of the frontier.

The socio-economic relations in any country are largely the result of policies which are the products of and which affect culture. But changing policies and changing the results of policy by fiat are two very different things. The author of this post understands I hope that representative government and the rule of law are procedural, not ideational. Democracy is due process not one man’s opinion of due result.

But we do not live in the anarchist non-states of America. If the people and their representatives choose to tax capital gains at 50% and offer free public education through graduate school, those decisions do not in any way question the second law of thermodynamics. Society is an artificial construction. It’s art not science.

In this case laws against child abuse are enough. The decision concerns whether or not they apply. It does not foster maturity among the populace to treat the populace like children. We can allow dwarf tossing, prostitution and public humiliation for cash as we allow the existence of the Nazi party, the KKK, murder ballads, narcocorridos and gangta rap, not because actions are like words or because of some spurious Platonic model of the state, but because at some point regulation becomes counterproductive. We need a public, educated and engaged. We do not need more scholars playing preacher and more lawyers playing John Wayne.
Grow the f*ck up.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

An argument based on assumption is an argument based on faith:
 "There Is No Genuine Principled Opposition To Abortion"

Strict adherence to principle is not non-existant but it's rare. Atrios is mirroring the arguments of republicans who say that everyone intrinsically is greedy or lazy; he's giving us a choice between pedantry and hypocrisy, knowing we choose the latter. As with public parks, Palestinians, gentrification, race or class, issues are treated as obvious or one sided, and with himself on the right side, even when they're not and he may not be, or clearly isn't.

More stupidity.
Quiggin [see previous, and specifically] now here, comment 314
The claims about Art criticised in Art, an Enemy of The People, are very similar to those made by most religions, namely that there is a special category of people (prophets or artists) and a special category of activities (Religion or Art) which yield transcendent insights into the human condition, and which should be accorded special privileges over other people and other ways of finding meaning and enjoyment in life.

As I said above, I don’t have a problem with people finding meaning in an experience they call God, or if they find it in Mozart. But if they find it in cooking, I’m cool with that too.
So the works of Plato have objective value and whether or not you like Sophocles is simply a matter of taste. Some forms of language use get the stamp of approval, some do not.


We live by experience, and we tell stories to ourselves and to each other. The problem's not in story-telling but in fundamentalism.

I don't have to love tv to prefer history and the arts to philosophy, and Shakespeare to the Pope.


“...the central event of the last century for the majority of the world’s population was the intellectual and political awakening of Asia.”

We're creatures of experience and sense. If reason were what it's claimed to be, the argument in that quote would be taken as a given by white moralists and everyone else, and there would have been no need for Mishra to write his fucking book. Reading it I can’t help but hear John Quiggin’s voice in the language of colonial administrators. The arrogance is identical. It has the same beginnings, and the same justification.

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Leviathan  a film by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
(From Jim Hoberman)

The Sensory Ethnography Lab
The Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard supports innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography that deploy original media practices to explore the bodily praxis and affective fabric of human and animal existence, and the aesthetics and ontology of the natural world. Harnessing perspectives drawn from the arts, the human sciences, and the humanities, works produced in the SEL encourage attention to the many dimensions of life and the world that may only with difficulty be rendered with words alone.

Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, the SEL provides an academic and institutional context for the development of creative work and research that is itself constitutively visual or acoustic — conducted through audiovisual media rather than purely verbal sign systems — and which may thus complement the human sciences’ and humanities’ traditionally exclusive reliance on the written word. It opposes the conventions of visual anthropology that mimic the discursive inclinations of its mother discipline, those of documentary that mimic those of broadcast journalism, and those of art that are not deeply infused with the real.
The language of science imposed on art; the rhetoric of objectivity to justify subjectivity; similar to but even more disjunctive than the oxymoronic "experimental philosophy" in relation to experimental psychology; more, and once again, the language of the Holy Roman Church to justify its opposite.  The language is ridiculous, the science is nonexistent, the romanticism transparent, but in the end, finally (and its been a long process) the art is real.
repeat
The technocratic hero analogizes himself in his claims to universal knowledge as a God. Experience is narrative, and a craftsman does no more than try to respond gracefully to imposed limits, to physical forces that are predictable to some degree but over which he has no control, and to an imposed end, an inevitable conclusion: death.

The cerebral and overdetermined intellectualism of the technocrat has its parallel and antithesis in the visceral anti-intellectualism of solo extreme sport.
The Modello for the Fountain of the Moor was "rediscovered" when its owners chose to sell it. It came on the market in 2002, was bought at auction by Salander and sold to the Kimball (for 18 million) in 2003.

It's back in NY for a few months. Bernini: Sculpting in Clay, at the Met.


I've added a new tag for Bernini and I've also tagged this post as "fabric and form", for obvious reasons.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Hobsbawm.
El Amrani posts the death in a weekly link list adding only, "Alexandria-born".

As an Arab journalist writing in english, anti-Zionist or not, he reminds me of Josh Marshall.
On Obama's debate, a repeat from 4 years ago, and from another: Obama is a black man who's lived most of his life in a white man's world. He's a Prep School Negro. He's been a politician his entire life.

On whether Obama was at least partially "affirmative action hire":  After the election a story got linked around (an email to TPM[?]) about a man who went to vote before making up his mind, finally choosing Obama because he didn't want to be "on the wrong side of history". This was noted with approval.

On the hyped video. No one comments that both Clinton (Arkansas) and G.W. Bush (Texas) tailored their accents to fit their audience.

Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Jews as the highest of high yella. I've imagined Rahm's oration to his boss about how to play the game and win. "Keep your head down, motherfucker!"
---

Agnotology, again, (and context).

A commenter at the second link: "STOP IT. This is becoming like a thread of vaccine deniers arguing about the doctors who are pooh-poohing them."

"Quiggin",  "The irrationalism of others", etc.

"...represents the worst of Crooked Timber, maybe their greatest exemplar of Taylorism and Fordism: a fundamentalist technocrat more left wing and less polished than DeLong."