Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A sitting US Senator asking us to sign a petition to get the owner of a media platform to stop trying to control the news. I emailed Jack Balkin days ago but he didn't reply.
And this is almost impossible to describe, but from what I can see it's not going over well with the common people.

Nicholas Thompson is the CEO of The Atlantic, a position he has held since February 2021. He was formerly the editor-in-chief of WIRED. He’s also a former contributor to CBS News, a frequent public speaker–who gives talks and moderates events around the world–and an occasional musician with three albums of instrumental acoustic guitar music. He was previously the editor of NewYorker.com, a co-founder of the multi-media publishing company the Atavist, and the author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War

Nita A. Farahany is a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies. She is the Robinson O. Everett Distinguished Professor of Law & Philosophy at Duke Law School, the Founding Director of Duke Science & Society, the Faculty Chair of the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, and principal investigator of SLAP Lab. 

Farahany is a frequent commentator for national media and radio shows and a regular keynote speaker. She presents her work to diverse academic, legal, corporate, and public audiences including at TED, the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, Judicial Conferences for US Court of Appeals, scientific venue including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Neuroscience, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, and by testifying before Congress. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Foreign Affairs publishes Kennan's letter to Strobe Talbot on NATO expansion.  The pdf is here

As I am sure you are aware, a side effect of the NATO decision on the extension of its boundaries to the east has been to impose a good deal of instability onto the positions of the various countries which, in contrast to Poland, Hungary, and Czechi, have not yet been invited to become members of NATO. Their governments have been brought to realize that they must now choose between Joining NATO at the cost of the sacrifice of good relations with their Russian neighbor, or accepting what they view as being left helpless, and without western support, in contending with the pressures and attacks on their independence from the east which, as they are assured from a number of western quarters, are to be expected.  

Nowhere, and for very good reason, does th s choice appear more portentous and pregnant with fateful consequences than in the case of Ukraine

A "nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center": Poland is leading Europe’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine   [from Ragozin, with my footnotes]

Polish leadership is helping to fill a geopolitical vacuum created by the declining influence of Europe’s traditionally dominant foreign policy forces. Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, greatly reducing the UK’s ability to shape Europe’s response to the Russian threat. Meanwhile, throughout his reign, Putin has demonstrated an ability to co-opt French and German politicians and businessmen with trade deals, pipelines, and other incentives. It is no coincidence that the Russian dictator handpicked Germany and France in 2014 to participate in the Normandy Format talks to end the war sparked by Russia in eastern Ukraine. This approach resulted in the failed Minsk Agreements* and set the stage for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Poland is now attempting to warn the wider world about the danger posed by Putin’s Russia. “This is not just a regional conflict. Russia’s war against Ukraine is a potential source of global conflagration. This war will affect our countries as well as yours, if it hasn’t already,” Polish President Andrzej Duda** told the United Nations General Assembly in September 2022.

Polish leadership of the European response to Putin’s invasion is forging unprecedented bonds between the Polish and Ukrainian people. These two nations have had their share of fights and historical disagreements in the past. However, they now find themselves united by the existential threat coming from today’s Russia. Ukrainian opinion polls regularly identify Poland as the country’s closest partner.

While the Kremlin cynically cloaks its genocidal invasion of Ukraine in the language of Slavic brotherhood, it is Ukraine’s fellow Slavic neighbors in Poland who have demonstrated truly brotherly support. This will shape the future geopolitical landscape of the region. Once Russia is defeated, Ukraine will likely deepen its partnership with Poland to form a powerful bloc within European politics. Together, the two nations will have an authoritative voice in the wider democratic world. Europe’s geopolitical center of gravity is shifting eastward, and Poland is leading the way.  

* Reuters Dec 9, 2022.

In an interview published in Germany's Zeit magazine on Wednesday, former German chancellor Angela Merkel said that the Minsk agreements had been an attempt to "give Ukraine time" to build up its defences.

Speaking on Friday at a news conference in Kyrgyzstan, Putin said he was "disappointed" by Merkel's comments.

 ** Politico EU July 10, 2020

The take-no-quarter Polish presidential election campaign ended this week with backers of incumbent Andrzej Duda insinuating that his rival would sell out the country to Jewish interests.

Ryan Cooper learns about Ukrainian economic policy.  

The same author, Luke Cooper, in an LSE report in December: Assessing economic risks to the Ukrainian war effort

Ischencko linking to Tooze in late October.

Peter Korotaev in July and Jikhareva and Surber in September, all writing in Hamas.

CNBC, Dec 28th:  Zelenskyy, BlackRock CEO Fink agree to coordinate Ukraine investment

  • BlackRock Financial Markets Advisory and the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy signed a memorandum of understanding in November.
  • Zelenskyy and Fink agreed Wednesday to “focus in the near term on coordinating the efforts of all potential investors and participants in the reconstruction of our country, channelling investment into the most relevant and impactful sectors of the Ukrainian economy.”

WSJ Jan. 29th: Some Western Backers of Ukraine Worry That Time Might Be on Russia’s Side 

Behind the decision to sharply step up Western military aid to Ukraine lies a worry in some Western capitals that time might be on Russia’s side. 

That concern suggests the window for Ukraine isn’t indefinite and it needs powerful Western weapons—main battle tanks, other armored vehicles and more air-defense systems—soon to reinforce the momentum it achieved in offensive successes around Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson last year.

Ishchenko in the NLR in the end of the year, linking to a few of the pieces above. But his blanket criticism of identity politics is—for lack of a better word—Eurocentric. 

no politics but decadence

Design as Crime and "architectural favela porn"

And remember that both Reed and Jäger publish on a site named for a word coined by Robert Smithson, and that Michael Fried is on the editorial committee. Two reactionaries one more honest than the other.
Vanguardism is elitism, and radical snobbery is like liberal Zionism. Rationalists rationalize.  

To read the text in the second pic, right-click and open in a new tab or window.

The publisher's name is Alex Stavrakas. His last failed attempt
Bedeutung is a magazine of Philosophy, Current Affairs, Art and Literature – an intellectually radical, political, engaged, daring and aesthetically captivating publication. The essays and imagery that appear in Bedeutung are intended to be uncompromisingly incisive. The thinkers and artists collaborating with Bedeutung range across many disciplines: philosophers, academics, authors, poets, film directors, composers, documentarists, painters, photographers, designers, architects, critics, actors.

We publish texts and imagery regardless of their contentiousness. We promote diversity where it is really needed: not in social, racial or sexual particularities but in conceptual and ideological struggles. Bedeutung is a magazine that promotes multiplicity precisely by ignoring ostensible constituents: we focus on ideas, we promote commitment, we welcome agendas, we undersign engagement.

Stavrakas was the publisher, editor-in-chief, and "creative director" 

I've found an archive. All three issues. It includes an interview with someone so absurdly pretentious and social climbing that he became a running joke at AFA. That's an achievement in itself.

Wikipedia includes a link to the Guardian. It's not pretty.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Hamas*
An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson 
Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of more than twenty books,
I'm impressed. Rilly.

*"In 100 years a group of earnest right-thinking bourgeois left-liberals will start a journal and name it 'Hamas'".
---

I forgot: The Ministry for the Future was on the 2020 best-of lists of besties Ryan Cooper, Henry Farrell and Barack Obama. 

I'm more than impressed. I'm fucking ecstatic.

---

In Rienzi or Lohengrin or Tannhäuser, Hitler, the rejected Academy candidate sitting over his water colors in the reading room of the home for men, recognized magnified aspects of his own confrontation with the world. Both Wagner and Hitler, moreover, possessed a furious will to power, a basically despotic tendency. All of Richard Wagner's art has never been able to conceal to what extent its underlying urge was the boundless need to dominate. From this impulse sprang the taste for massive effects, for pomposity, for overwhelming hugeness. Wagner's first major composition after Rienzi was a choral work for 1,200 male voices and an orchestra of one hundred. This blatant reliance on mass effects, employed to cover up basic weaknesses, this medley of pagan, ritual and music-hall elements anticipated the era of mass hyp. nosis. The style of public ceremonies in the Third Reich is inconceivable without this operatic tradition, without the essentially demagogical art of Richard Wagner.

Another point in common was a kind of cunning knowledge of the popular mind along with a remarkable insensitivity to banality. This combination resulted in an air of plebeian pretentiousness in which again they were remarkably similar. Gottfried Keller once called the composer a "barber and charlatan"; similarly, a contemporary observer described Hitler, with the acuteness born of hatred, as having "the aura of a head-waiter"; another spoke of him as a speechmaking sex murderer. The element of vulgarity and unsavoriness that phrases of this sort tried to catch was present in both Hitler and Wagner. They were masters of the art of brilliant fraudulence, of inspired swindling. And just as Richard Wagner could call himself a revolutionary yet pride himself on his friendship with a king ("Wagner, the government bandleader," Karl Marx said scornfully), so Hitler, in his vague dreams of mounting the social ladder, reconciled his hatred of society with his opportunistic instincts. Wagner dismissed the patent contradictions in his views by declaring that art was the goal of life and that the artist made the ultimate decisions. It was the artist who would intervene to save the situation wherever "the statesman despairs, the politician gives up, the socialist vexes himself with fruitless systems, and even the philosopher can only interpret but cannot prophesy." His doctrine then was that of the aesthetician who would subordinate life entirely to the dictates of the artist. The state was to be raised to the heights of a work of art; politics would be renewed and perfected by the spirit inherent in art. Elements of this program are clearly visible in the theatricalization of public life in the Third Reich, the regime's passion for histrionics, the staginess of its practical politics—a staginess that often appeared to be the sole end of the politics.

---

Since the German word Bildungsbürger, let alone Bildungsbürgertum, is probably untranslatable, Martin Chalmers wisely leaves it in the original and explains the meaning in a footnote. Briefly, a Bildungsbürger was a member of the pre-war bourgeois German elite whose status was marked less by birth than by a solid classical education. Some of the proudest Bildungsbürger were Jews. If sportsmanship, good manners, and fine tailoring were the vaunted signs of the English gentleman, the minimum requirement for a Bildungsbürger was a sound knowledge of Latin and Greek, the classics of European literature, and of course German classical music. The gentleman was shaped by the English public (meaning private) school, the German bourgeois by the Gymnasium.

All of which is to say that Joachim Fest, the acclaimed biographer of Hitler and Albert Speer, cultural editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from 1973 to 1993, and conservative scourge of the postwar German left, was a paragon of Bildungsbürgertum. His politics were not of the far right; there was no hint of revanchism. Fest was a liberal in the classical European sense, a believer in free-market economics with the habitus of a cultivated banker and a taste for Mozart operas and Italian Renaissance art.

His childhood education during the Third Reich is the subject of Fest’s extraordinary memoir, written in a polished style full of irony and wit, not all of which survives in translation. It is also a trifle self-regarding. Ich Nicht, the German title, conveys this a little more clearly than Not I. Perhaps it should have been Not Me, as it is in the British edition. The point made is that Fest was not one of the vulgar mob that cheered for Hitler. Fest’s nemesis, Günter Grass, whose memoir Peeling the Onion appeared in the same year (2006), may have volunteered for the Waffen SS—“not I.”

Fest points out early in his book that the values of the educated German bourgeoisie were already old-fashioned before the war and discredited after 1945. Leftists who saw fascism as the logical culmination of bourgeois capitalism partly blamed this upper-middle class for the rise of Hitler. Fest responded that “this accusation merely reflects the resentment of spoiled children intent on being morally superior to their parents.” He meant the student rebels of 1968 and their literary mentors, such as Grass. Fest didn’t think much of them, nor they of him.

In fact, the rise of Hitler’s Reich was also the end of Bildungsbürgertum. But the left-wing criticism of that class started much earlier. A prime example was Heinrich Mann’s novel Professor Unrat, better known in its cinematic version, The Blue Angel, directed by Josef von Sternberg, the film that made Marlene Dietrich’s name. The downfall of Professor Raat, ruined by his liaison with a nightclub dancer, is a satire that sticks the knife into the moral pretentions of a typical bourgeois pedagogue. The novel was written in 1905, in the Empire of Wilhelm II, when the prestige of a classical German education was at its height. A devastating world war, a chaotic and weak republic, and the ensuing Nazi catastrophe left the world of Professor Raat in ashes. 

Joachim Fest’s father, Johannes, the hero of his son’s memoir, was in many respects the perfect example of a Bildungsbürger. He taught at a good school in Berlin. He took pride in his complete works of Goethe, Shakespeare, Heine, and Lessing. A bronze bust of Dante stood in his study. From a solid Prussian family of minor officials, Johannes Fest was also a devout Catholic, whose idea of decent Prussian values included a lack of sentimentality and a sense of irony, which may not be everyone’s idea of Prussianness, but to the old man was “the entry ticket to humanity.”

And yet, as Fest points out, his father’s various qualities did not always fit together easily. For example, he could never forgive Thomas Mann, whose literary talent he acknowledged, for writing Reflections of an Unpolitical Man (1918). Mann’s notion of the Bildungsbürger was that he should stay away from politics, which was a sordid business, unworthy of a civilized humanist. Kultur is what mattered, not politics. Most members of his class would have agreed. Johannes Fest did not. Mann’s prejudice, he maintained, had done more to alienate the bourgeoisie from the Weimar Republic than Hitler. 

---

Yet it is here if anywhere that a valid criterion may be found for distinguishing the elite from the mob in the pretotalitarian atmosphere. What the mob wanted, and what Goebbels expressed with great precision, was access to history even at the price of destruction. Goebbels' sincere conviction that "the greatest happiness that a contemporary can experience today" is either to be a genius or to serve one,[57] was typical of the mob but neither of the masses nor the sympathizing elite. The latter, on the contrary, took anonymity seriously to the point of seriously denying the existence of genius; all the art theories of the twenties tried desperately to prove that the excellent is the product of skill, craftsmanship, logic, and the realization of the potentialities of the material.[58] The mob, and not the elite, was charmed by the "radiant power of fame" (Stefan Zweig) and accepted enthusiastically the genius idolatry of the late bourgeois world. In this the mob of the twentieth century followed faithfully the pattern of earlier parvenus who also had discovered the fact that bourgeois society would rather open its doors to the fascinating "abnormal," the genius, the homosexual, or the Jew, than to simple merit. The elite's contempt for the genius and its yearning for anonymity was still witness of a spirit which neither the masses nor the mob were in a position to understand, and which, in the words of Robespierre, strove to assert the grandeur of man against the pettiness of the great.

in re: "The fascism debate" 

Goebbels' sincere conviction that "the greatest happiness that a contemporary can experience today" is either to be a genius or to serve one,...

The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself.
We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Martha Nussbaum 

It simply is not among the goals that make up the form of life of these creatures to be eaten by predators. Their form of life is their own, and they seek to live it undisturbed, just as we do, even though at times we too are also prey for aggressors. These species would not have survived if they were not pretty good at escape. To say that it is the destiny of antelopes to be torn apart by predators is like saying that it is the destiny of women to be raped. Both are terribly wrong, and demean the suffering of victims.

Yes, it's stupid, but par for the course.

Nussbaum in 1999, attacking Judith Butler. 

Feminist thinkers of the new symbolic type would appear to believe that the way to do feminist politics is to use words in a subversive way, in academic publications of lofty obscurity and disdainful abstractness. These symbolic gestures, it is believed, are themselves a form of political resistance; and so one need not engage with messy things such as legislatures and movements in order to act daringly. The new feminism, moreover, instructs its members that there is little room for large-scale social change, and maybe no room at all.

and 2007

I do not plan to discuss the specific facts concerning boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and individuals. There are three reasons for this silence. First, I believe that philosophers should be pursuing philosophical principles—defensible general principles that can be applied to a wide range of cases. We cannot easily tell whether our principles are good ones by looking at a single case only, without inquiring as to whether the principles we propose could be applied to all similar cases.

Butler defended Ronell. Stock defended Tuvel.

It's amazing what you're able to rationalize sitting alone in a room.

The unfairness of caring for your own children

These relationships appear inegalitarian in deep ways. The parties to partial relationships may exclude others from the mutual benefits their association yields and have special responsibilities to one another that give them the right, and sometimes the duty, to further one another’s interests in ways that may interrupt equality. Scheffler calls this observation (when made in an appropriately hostile manner) the ‘distributive objection’ to special responsibilities: ‘the problem with such responsibilities is ...that they may confer unfair benefit. ...special responsibilities give the participants in rewarding groups and relationships increased claims to one another’s assistance, while weakening the claims that other people have on them’.4 Indeed, participants in these protected relationships benefit twice over. They enjoy the relationship itself, and they enjoy the claims that it enables them legitimately to make on one another, to the exclusion of those outside the relationship.

A new one: In all my ignorance I had no idea Jameson was this stupid. It still amazes me that subtle readers of the past, or present, can be desperate babbling idiots about the future.

Specifically military fears include issues of violence, of hierar­chy and discipline, of regimentation, and ultimately of aggressiv­ity itself, as that is fantasized to be a fundamental feature of human nature or the human "essence" (feminism has thematized this conception of aggressivity as patriarchy or male violence). It is worth reminding the reader that the universal army here proposed is no longer the professional army responsible for any number of bloody and reactionary coups d'etat in recent times, whose ruth­lessness and authoritarian or dictatorial mentality cannot but inspire horror and whose still vivid memory will certainly astonish anyone at the prospect of entrusting a state or an entire society to its control. Removing such justified and visceral fears would certainly be the first task of any utopian therapy, were it not for the situation of dual power from which the new universal army emerges, which begins life as a parallel force alongside the state and its official army and finds its first tasks, and indeed its vocation, in the fulfillment of neglected social services and in a coexistence with the population of a wholly different type. The "nation at arms" which emerges from this situation is above all a general population in which everyone participates and a principled reac­tion against just such enclaves which enjoy Weber's "monopoly of violence" and have come to lead an autonomous life independent of society in general. (Current American reactions against isolated police forces present ready-made analogies.)

An American Utopia, edited by Zizek. Zizek's a clown and I like him as a clown. He's a liberal trying to give liberalism a foundation in faith of something better. I've always ignored his religious shit, but unlike Americans he's a social animal.

Jameson, 

In fact, the possibilities for utopian thinking were always bound up with the fortunes of a more general concern, not to say obsession, with power. The meditation on power was itself an ambiguous project. In the 1960s this project was a utopian one: it was a question of thinking and reimagining societies without power, particularly in the form of societies before power: here Levi-Strauss's revival of Rousseau gave rise to the utopian visions of early Baudrillard, of Marshall Sahlins in his Stone Age Economics, of Pierre Clastres, and of that supreme utopian vision, The Forest People by Colin Turnbull.

Turnbull's book wasn't a vision, let alone a supreme one; it was a description, maybe oversimplified, of a culture where individualism was suppressed, perhaps because it was unnecessary. It's the closest thing I've ever read to a description of actual utopia, but its the opposite in every way of modern individualism. 

From the book that includes his essay on Fukuyama, Perry Anderson's review of Marshall Berman:

Any compressed reconstruction of its general scheme must sacrifice the sheer imaginative sweep, the breadth of cultural sympathy, the force of intelligence, that give much of its splendour to All That Is Solid Melts into Air - qualities that over time will make it a classic in its field. Let us simply say at the outset that a stripped-down analysis of the principal case of the book is no adequate measure of the importance, and attraction, of the work to hand.

Berman's visionary argument starts as follows: There is a mode of vital experience—experience of space and time, of the self and others of life's possibilities and perils—that is shared by men and women all over the world today. I will call this body of experience "modernity" To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world—and, at the same time, that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are. Modern environments and experiences cut across all boundaries of geography and ethnicity of class and nationality, of religion and ideology: in this sense, modernity can be said to unite all mankind.

A friend loaned me Berman's book in the 90s. She loved it and reminded me she wanted it back. We had a falling out a few months later and I've had it ever since. I hated it. And I realized reading through it that she misunderstood my arguments about almost everything we'd ever talked about. But that was because she misunderstood or refused to face her own preoccupations. She was deeply conservative. She loved Kubrick and was an expert on Warhol's films. 

Berman celebrated individuality and individualism. It's stupid. This goes back to Graeber's asocial, pseudo-social, anarchism, the loneliness that craves community only if it controls it, and the culture of illustrated fantasy.

Streeck wrote this in 2013, reviewing Mair. I was watching it in the 70s in high school, thinking about the fucking hippies. I was raised by their teachers.

Streeck, 200[?] years too late. Someone should get the joke.

In the order that seems to be emerging, social bonds are construed as a matter of taste and choice rather than of obligation, making communities appear as voluntary associations from which one can resign if they require excessive self-denial, rather than as ‘communities of fate’ with which one either rises or goes under.

And that link is the one that includes Streeck and Eric Rohmer.

Philosophers write about freedom vs egalitarianism or "freedom and equality." The actual issues are freedom and obligation. Equality, as a noun, is passive, saying nothing about how that relation might come to be. It can be imposed by others. Obligation describes a relation of active participants in a situation imposed not by others like us but by gods or nature: the fact of our limits and the limits of the world. The culture of the Mbuti in the Ituri forest is conservative. The only option given the fact of our own individualism—the modern condition, and irreversible—is a willed conservatism. Most people accept that; they themselves as part of a community. Berman's Americanism is a fantasy and a disaster.

The arts are Burkean. I'm with Eisenstein and Antoine Vitez, the communist from the Comédie-Française. 

The end of politics is the end of argument, the end of conversation. Wishing for the end of politics is like wishing for immortality.

2008

Cultural acts, directed from within culture, engaging their embeddedness, address the other by definition. "Craft" is always addressed from and to the community. Speech as craft engages both reception and the gap between speaker/author/maker and receiver. Can the vanguard as vanguard ever engage the other? Has it ever engaged craft as communication? If it breaks the bonds of language how can it reach back to the community it left behind? When has a vanguard ever made a new community? The best it's been able to do is teach by failure. All political thinkers should read Eisenstein. The last 20 years of my thinking ended up in that paragraph.

Carlo Ginzburg

Let’s start by quoting the magnificent words of the Sinologist Marcel Granet: ‘The method is the path once you have travelled it.’ Microhistory was the result of a convergence and a common discussion among a group of Italian researchers, but each one arrived at it with different experiences. For me, it was the case study. When I was ten years old, my mother [the writer Natalia Ginzburg, 1916-91] regularly brought me the books published by Einaudi. One day I came across The Film Sense by Sergei Eisenstein. I understood very little of the book’s content, but the impression it made on me was immense, even though I had not yet seen Eisenstein’s films. Then I read his text on the close-up, which became very important for me.

Working on a case in an analytical way is close to this. But, of course, you also have to take into account the off-screen, otherwise the close-up would not make sense. This implies that in any close-up the global perspective is implicit. Every singular case assumes the possibility of a generalisation, and there is a back and forth between the one and the other. 

---

My contempt for utopianism goes back as far as I remember. I associate with with Christianity. I was raised a secularist with the understanding that Judaism focused on the responsibilities in this world, not dreams of another, making it relatively easy to sacrifice the religion itself and keep the burden. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

correct me if I'm wrong.

I corrected myself
---

Napoleon represented the last battle of revolutionary terror against the bourgeois society which had been proclaimed by this same Revolution, and against its policy. Napoleon, of course, already discerned the essence of the modern state; he understood that it is based on the unhampered development of bourgeois society, on the free movement of private interest, etc. He decided to recognise and protect this basis. He was no terrorist with his head in the clouds. Yet at the same time he still regarded the state as an end in itself and civil life only as a treasurer and his subordinate which must have no will of its own. He perfected the Terror by substituting permanent war for permanent revolution. He fed the egoism of the French nation to complete satiety but demanded also the sacrifice of bourgeois business, enjoyments, wealth, etc., whenever this was required by the political aim of conquest.

"Napoleon represented the last battle of revolutionary terror against the bourgeois society which had been proclaimed by this same Revolution, and against its policy.... He perfected the Terror by substituting permanent war for permanent revolution."

"Permanent revolution" refers to the natural state/condition of the bourgeoisie. Goethe's Faust

2

While the democratic petty bourgeois want to bring the revolution to an end as quickly as possible, achieving at most the aims already mentioned, it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far – not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world – that competition between the proletarians of these countries ceases and at least the decisive forces of production are concentrated in the hands of the workers. 

"[I]t is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until..." 

I'd misread the second one.  I'd read it as referring to permanent effects, a new stability, but it refers only to maintaining the crisis until victory.  It's the standard definition: a state of exception. But states of exception are self-perpetuating. 

Economic booms don't last, but economic depressions are self-sustaining. 

Still watching Eurotrash intellectual leftists chat with Eurotrash reactionaries because they have so much in common: race and a love of political theology. 
Someone should do a study of who debated the end of history, and who ignored it as a sideshow.

Ian Milheiser, Jan 25, 2023  

Trump’s worst judge is now a dangerous threat to press freedom

It’s not immediately clear how much money is at stake in this case, but the amount is likely to be quite high. The plaintiffs claim that the media defendants conspired to shut down or severely harm anti-vaxxer websites and similar content that collectively brought in millions of readers and viewers. Federal antitrust law permits antitrust plaintiffs to recover “threefold the damages” they suffered because of a defendant’s unlawful actions.

And they’re seeking those damages from members of a group known as the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), a partnership made up of some of the most important tech and media companies around the globe. According to the TNI’s website, this group seeks to bring “together organisations across media and technology to tackle harmful disinformation in real time.”

The TNI also identifies a long list of media and tech institutions as its “core partners”:

AP, AFP, BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Financial Times, Information Futures Lab, Google/YouTube, The Hindu, The Nation Media Group, Meta, Microsoft, Reuters, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Twitter, The Washington Post, Kompass – Indonesia, Dawn – Pakistan, Indian Express – India, NDTV – India, ABC – Australia, SBS – Australia, NHK – Japan.

The Children’s Health Fund plaintiffs draw many of their allegations against this media partnership from publicly available information — such as a 2020 speech by BBC executive Jamie Angus, where he said that the TNI “has developed a shared early-warning system to alert partners about disinformation that has the potential to become viral and cause significant harm to the integrity of elections.”

Similarly, a December 2020 announcement published on the BBC’s website revealed that the TNI also seeks to “combat spread of harmful vaccine disinformation.”

...The crux of their legal argument is that the TNI engaged in a “group boycott,” a forbidden practice under federal antitrust law, where multiple competitors within an industry collude to deny essential goods or services to other competitors. Specifically, the Children’s Health Fund plaintiffs suggest that news organizations within the TNI colluded with tech companies within TNI to deny anti-vaxxer sites access to platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter.

At least some of these plaintiffs’ factual claims appear to be true. TNI does exist. It does include both major news companies and major tech platforms. And it did seek to “combat spread of harmful vaccine disinformation.”

But even if these plaintiffs eventually prove that top news and tech executives got together in a smoke-filled room and plotted to suppress plaintiffs’ anti-vaxxer content, there is a big, glaring problem with their legal arguments. Antitrust law does prohibit group boycotts that seek to suppress competition within an industry, but it does not prevent competitors from working together toward shared social or political goals.

Federal law prohibits competitors from banding together in a conspiracy “in restraint of trade.” The purpose of this ban is to prevent companies from engaging in anti-competitive practices that distort the market and leave consumers worse off. It’s not to prevent companies from working together toward shared political or social goals.

Indeed, if antitrust law did forbid competitors from working together on such goals, then advocacy groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce or the National Association of Manufacturers would be unlawful because these organizations pool resources from multiple competing businesses to lobby policymakers.

The Supreme Court drew the line separating economically motivated boycotts (which ordinarily are not allowed under federal antitrust law) and politically or socially motivated ones (which are often protected by the First Amendment) in two decisions: NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware (1982) and FTC v. Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association (1990).

In the former case, the NAACP led a boycott where Black consumers refused to patronize white merchants in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The purpose of this boycott was to advance various civil rights-related demands, including desegregation of all public facilities, integration of bus stations, and the hiring of more Black police officers.

In ruling that the boycotters’ nonviolent actions were permissible, the Supreme Court focused on the fact that their goals were political and not economic. Yes, the Court explained, the boycotters must have known that the boycotted merchants “would sustain economic injury,” but that did not change the fact that “the purpose of [the boycotters’] campaign was not to destroy legitimate competition.”

Indeed, the Court held that suppressing this boycott would give “insufficient weight to the First Amendment’s protection of political speech and association.”

The Trial Lawyers case, meanwhile, involved a group of lawyers who had historically been paid by the District of Columbia to represent indigent criminal defendants, but who collectively refused to take on additional cases until the District raised the rates it paid these lawyers.

Although this boycott, which successfully convinced DC to raise these rates, did have clear political implications — higher rates for indigent defense lawyers meant that more and better attorneys would agree to represent such clients — the Court deemed it to be an impermissible economic boycott. “The agreement among the CJA lawyers was designed to obtain higher prices for their services and was implemented by a concerted refusal to serve an important customer in the market for legal services,” the Court explained. Such a “constriction of supply” the Court determined, “is the essence of ‘price-fixing.’”

American Bar Association, April, 2020 

Nationwide, union membership numbers have been on the decline for decades. In public defense, however, an opposite trend seems to be taking hold. More and more public defender offices across the country have moved to form collective bargaining units.

Milheiser, Jan 9, 2023

The Supreme Court hears a case this week that endangers workers’ ability to strike

The Supreme Court hears a labor dispute on Tuesday involving striking truck drivers who walked off the job to try to secure a better contract from their employer, a company that provides premixed concrete for construction projects. Yet, while Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters is a fairly unremarkable case, the stakes for unionized workers could be enormous.

Glacier Northwest, the employer behind this case, seeks to upend a more than 60-year-old rule protecting unions from lawsuits when workers exercise their federally protected right to strike.

"the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), a partnership made up of some of the most important tech and media companies around the globe." The sentence makes me want to puke.

The Intercept

Elon Musk Caves to Pressure From India to Remove BBC Doc Critical of Modi 

...Pushing back against censorship of the BBC documentary, members of Parliament from the opposition All India Trinamool Congress party Mahua Moitra and Derek O’Brien defiantly posted links to it online.

“Sorry, Haven’t been elected to represent world’s largest democracy to accept censorship,” Moitra posted. “Here’s the link. Watch it while you can.” Moitra’s post is still up, but the link to the documentary no longer works. Moitra had posted a link to the Internet Archive, presumably hoping to get around the block of the BBC, but the Internet Archive subsequently took the link down. She has since posted the audio version on Telegram. 

repeats

Twitter said 100 accounts with Russian ties were removed for amplifying narratives that undermined faith in NATO and targeted the United States and the European Union. 

Sheryl Sandberg and Top Facebook Execs Silenced an Enemy of Turkey to Prevent a Hit to the Company’s Business

There's a lot more

Facebook makes money by feeding people's biases, whatever they are, but it's better to shut down the speech of the paranoid than to break up the monopolists that feed them, or neuter them and make them liable.

Milheiser, Jan 11, 2023, responding to a question to anyone on twitter:
 "What's 100% a total scam but we still accept it in society?" 

Milheiser Dec 4 2022 [my highlighting]

The deranged Supreme Court case that threatens US democracy, explained Moore v. Harper is a test of whether this Supreme Court can ever be trusted with power. 

...Any state constitutional provisions that protect the right to vote, that limit gerrymandering, or that otherwise constrain lawmakers’ ability to skew elections would cease to function. State governors would lose their ability to veto laws impacting federal elections. And state courts would lose their authority to strike down these laws.

repeats: "Stop what you're doing and read the extraordinary amici curiae brief Akhil Amar, Vik Amar and Steve Calabresi have just filed in Moore v. Harper." [my highlighting (again)]

The adoption of new republican state constitutions across the American continent was a transcendent achievement in the late 1770s, acclaimed by Americans everywhere. These new state constitutions were the beating heart of the American Revolution. In a now-famous letter to his wife Abigail on May 17, 1776, John Adams explained, with pride and awe, the monumental import of the Confederation Congress’s decisive vote to encourage each state to adopt is own new constitution: A “whole [state] Government of our own Choice, managed by Persons who We love, revere, and can confide in, has charms for which Men will fight.”

So of course state constitutions were understood as supreme over state legislatures at the Founding! And of course state courts could—and did—enforce these state higher laws against state legislatures. Prominent state judicial review under state constitutions predated the Philadelphia Convention, The Federalist No. 78, and Marbury v. Madison. Indeed, state constitutions formed the basic template for the federal Constitution.

Milheiser is a fucking idiot. 

tagged  Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom and Judicial Review, etc. etc.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

updated because, really, it just wasn't enough.
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Diana Rigg remembering Theater of Blood, or Ingrid Pitt remembering her childhood. 
 

Elite liberalism fiddles. A Kunstwollen of frenetic passivity.  Germany was never good at democracy. Philosophy is anti-political by definition. The Frankfurt School—"the Institute—our old Institute,"— as symptom.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

“more a popular idea of abstract art than the real thing”

rewritten a bit, for fun.
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With friends like these...

Jed Perl

Over the years I’ve had conversations with friends, often artists, who tell me they much prefer Bonnard to Matisse and Braque to Picasso. For them it’s Bonnard, not Matisse, who understands the poetry of the everyday. And it’s Braque, not Picasso, who gives Cubism a lyric power. 

Danto

When I started reading The Sight of Death, I, too, thought this was the chance of a lifetime. Poussin had always left me cold, and though Richard Wollheim was one of my closest friends, part of my life, really, he was never able to awaken much enthusiasm in me for his favorite painter. But there is nothing more enriching, I have found, than to stand with someone I admire—an artist like David Reed or Knox Martin, say—and listen to them talk about the work before us.

Those two paragraphs were almost enough to make me stop reading. Danto. aka "Miss Piggy" didn't look. It took too much effort, or sense data scared him. He read or listened to other people's stories and found things to match his assumptions. And name-checking Knox Martin is a notch below name-checking Paul Jenkins, though both bring out a certain sense of of nostalgia: a mural by the West Side Highway and Allan Bates in An Unmarried Woman. 

I haven't read The Sight of Death, but Clark comes off well here, on Poussin, and the book. When he's not defending a "project", only looking the only way we can, from a point-of-view—honestly from his own experience—he's very good. You can write about an artwork to write about yourself. Every portrait is a portrait of its painter: A Titian is a Titian, not a Charles V.  If scholars are obliged to tip the scales away from themselves, as they get older they begin to tip back. 

What is pure art according to the modern idea? It is the creation of an evocative magic, containing at once the object and the subject, the world external to the artist and the artist himself.

Clark was always a conservative. Radicals are iconoclasts; art historians are at most the loyal opposition. Perl is a conservative committed to art at the expense of any commitment to the world, the commitment that makes art itself possible. 

Perl, Authority and Freedom, the blurb

Perl embraces the work of creative spirits as varied as Mozart, Michelangelo, Jane Austen, Henry James, Picasso, and Aretha Franklin. He contends that the essence of the arts is their ability to free us from fixed definitions and categories. Art is inherently uncategorizable—that’s the key to its importance. Taking his stand with artists and thinkers ranging from W. H. Auden to Hannah Arendt, Perl defends works of art as adventuresome dialogues, simultaneously dispassionate and impassioned. He describes the fundamental sense of vocation—the engagement with the tools and traditions of a medium—that gives artists their purpose and focus. Whether we’re experiencing a poem, a painting, or an opera, it’s the interplay between authority and freedom—what Perl calls “the lifeblood of the arts”—that fuels the imaginative experience. This book will be essential reading for everybody who cares about the future of the arts in a democratic society.

Houellebecq has now confirmed the obvious. He never lied. He described his perceptions as a man whose world is dying. I'll take Houellebecq's truth over Macron's lies.

In the long run, if a still extant artwork isn't relevant to our interest in the past it's ignored.

Fried is such a rube

If a single question is guiding for our understanding of Manet’s art during the first half of the 1860s, it is this: What are we to make of the numerous references in his paintings of those years to the work of the great painters of the past? A few of Manet’s historically aware contemporaries recognized explicit references to past art in some of his important pictures of that period; and by the time he died his admirers tended to play down the paintings of the first half of the sixties, if not of the entire decade, largely because of what had come to seem their overall dependence on the Old Masters. By 1912 Blanche could claim, in a kind of hyperbole, that it was impossible to find two paintings in Manet’s oeuvre that had not been inspired by other paintings, old or modern. But it has been chiefly since the retrospective exhibition of 1932 that historians investigating the sources of Manet’s art have come to realize concretely the extent to which it is based upon specific paintings, engravings after paintings, and original prints by artists who preceded him. It is now clear, for example, that most of the important pictures of the sixties depend either wholly or in part on works by Velasquez, Goya, Rubens, Van Dyck, Raphael, Titian, Giorgione, Veronese, Le Nain, Watteau, Chardin, Courbet . . . This by itself is an extraordinary fact, one that must be accounted for if Manet’s enterprise is to be made intelligible. It becomes even more extraordinary in the light of his repeated assertions, the truth of which cannot be doubted, that he had only tried to be himself and no one else. His pictures, he wrote in 1867, were above all sincere: “C’est l’effet de la sincérité de donner aux oeuvre un caractère qui les fait ressembler à une protestation, alors que la peintre n’a songé qu’à rendre son impression.”* This statement and others like it rest on familiar assumptions of mid-century realism. But they raise the further question of how those assumptions can be reconciled with the scope and explicitness of his involvement with the art of the past.

*It is sincerity which gives to works of art a character which makes them appear an act of protest, when in fact the painter has only thought of rendering his own impressions.

“The 'seriousness' of realist art is based on the absence of any reminder of the fact that it is really is a question of art".  Leo Bersani

The only time I've cited Bersani straight[!], and it's taken from Nochin's "Imaginary Orient"

Fried's realism and Bourdieu's Flaubert

"Impressions" are not "the world as it is"; they're the world "as I see it".

Courbet and Manet are remembered for good paintings that are directly related to their bad paintings that are ridiculous kitsch. They both struggled to do something, and we're left to think about what that is.

repeats. Clark on Mike Davis 

Marxism, whatever else it may be, is not a view of life. It seems to do best when it is grafted, often improbably, onto a deeper metaphysics – Messianic half-hopes, Hegelian negativity, existentialism, even a dazzled vestigial faith in poetry or music.

He would claim that as a strong defense of his "projects". It isn't.  But it is a description of the desperation Clark, and Davis share with Courbet and Manet, and many others, resulting in great hopes, wishful thinking—reach exceeding grasp—in art and life, formal rigor and melodrama: the story of modernism. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023


Not a post about "Jasminericegirl", "Wharton Graduate" Rosie Nguyen. It's about "philosopher" Liam Kofi Bright
He seems to have deleted an old tweet about his attraction to the utopian vision of Zionism. 

IMF: Geoeconomic Fragmentation and the Future of Multilateralism

Prepared by Shekhar Aiyar, Jiaqian Chen, Christian Ebeke, Roberto Garcia-Saltos, Tryggvi Gudmundsson, Anna Ilyina, Alvar Kangur, Tansaya Kunaratskul, Sergio Rodriguez, Michele Ruta, Tatjana Schulze, Gabriel Soderberg, and Juan Pedro Trevino

SDN/ 2023/001

IMF Staff Discussion Notes (SDNs) showcase policy-related analysis and research being developed by IMF staff members and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in Staff Discussion Notes are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

2023 Jan.
...

The Current State of Global Economic Integration
...

The production of many critical commodities has become highly concentrated. While increased specialization led to efficiency gains, it has also become a source of fragility for global value chains (GVCs). For example, while the United States dominates the supply chain (upstream, refining, and consumption) for oil and gas, China is the dominant player in clean energy minerals. This makes GVCs vulnerable not only to market power and logistical risks but also to geopolitically-induced disruptions, including through trade restrictions (Leruth and others 2022). Figure 3 shows a high concentration in global production of key commodities, exacerbated by the fact that some of the large producers are under sanctions.
While increased specialization led to efficiency gains, it has also become a source of fragility,... 
November 2022, Wagner Mercenary Group Opens Tech Center in St. Petersburg
“The PMC Wagner Center is a complex of buildings where developers, designers, IT specialists, experimental industry and start-ups can be housed,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, said a press release last week. "If the project shows its success and relevance, we will consider opening more branches." The new building in the east of St. Petersburg has “Wagner” emblazoned on its revolving glass doors and above the main entrance. While Prigozhin did not appear at the opening Friday, dozens of men wearing military uniform were in attendance.
July 2021, Documents Reveal Erik Prince's $10 Billion Plan to Make Weapons and Create a Private Army in Ukraine
On the second night of his visit to Kyiv, Erik Prince had a dinner date on his agenda. A few of his Ukrainian associates had arranged to meet the American billionaire at the Vodka Grill that evening, Feb. 23, 2020. The choice of venue seemed unusual. The Vodka Grill, a since-defunct nightclub next to a KFC franchise in a rough part of town, rarely saw patrons as powerful as Prince.

As the party got seated inside a private karaoke room on the second floor, Igor Novikov, who was then a top adviser to Ukraine’s President, remembers feeling a little nervous. He had done some reading about Blackwater, the private military company Prince had founded in 1997, and he knew about the massacre its troops had perpetrated during the U.S. war in Iraq. Coming face to face that night with the world’s most prominent soldier of fortune, Novikov remembers thinking: “What does this guy want from us?”
April 2020,  Erik Prince offered lethal services to sanctioned Russian mercenary firm Wagner
Prince, who is the brother of Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, met earlier this year with a top official of Russia’s Wagner Group and offered his mercenary forces to support the firm’s operations in Libya and Mozambique, according to two people familiar with Prince’s offer.

Wagner officials said they are not interested in working with Prince, three people familiar with their decision told The Intercept.

A lawyer for Prince denied that his client met anyone from Wagner.
2002, America's For-Profit Secret Army

''We don't want to risk getting contracts by being called mercenaries,'' said Doug Brooks, president of the association. ''But we can do things on short notice and keep our mouths shut.'' 

Friday, January 20, 2023

As'ad AbuKhalil

I asked ChatGPT whether Israel is racist and whether South Africa under apartheid is racist. See the difference.

was South Africa under apartheid racist?

The system of apartheid in South Africa, which existed from 1948 to 1994, was a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination. It was based on the belief that different racial groups should be separated and that the white minority should have greater political and economic power than the non-white majority. The laws and policies of apartheid restricted the rights and freedoms of non-white South Africans, and perpetuated racial inequality in almost every aspect of life. Under apartheid, non-white

South Africans were denied the right to vote, were forced to live in separate and inferior neighborhoods, were restricted in their movement and were not allowed to marry or have sexual relations with white South Africans. In this sense, it is widely considered that the system of apartheid in South Africa was racist as it was based on the idea of white superiority and institutionalized racial discrimination.

Is Israel racist?

The question of whether Israel is racist is a complex and controversial one that is the subject of ongoing debate. Some argue that Israel's treatment of Palestinians, particularly in the occupied territories, constitutes racism. They cite discriminatory laws, unequal access to resources, and human rights abuses as evidence of this. Others argue that Israel is not racist, but rather is defending itself against terrorism and that its actions are necessary for its own security. They point to Israel's democratic system, in which Arab citizens have the right to vote and hold office, as evidence of its commitment to equality. It is important to note that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complex and deeply rooted issue with a long history, and there are valid arguments on both sides.

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Monday, January 16, 2023

A repeat visitor spent too much time looking for references to legal scholars of "law and literature".  I haven't read much and I'm not interested in people who've built careers defending the obvious. Their defensiveness weakens their arguments.

Interpretation of law originates in the interpretation of religious law. It's all the interpretation of texts.

The two posts that refer specifically, from 2010 and 2012

Another more generally—one of many—from 2020

Something I haven't said before. Watching the Jan 6th crap you heard legal analysts compliment the government briefs as well crafted. Think what that means.

 "Whaddaya wanna to do about it, asshole?" The words of one of the greatest trial lawyers in the history of this fucking country.


Saturday, January 14, 2023

Paul Veyne, Foucault: His Thought, His Character 

As he works, a writer depersonalizes himself in his anony­mous oeuvre. He writes 'in order to have no face','so as to get rid of himself', 'slowly and arduously changing for the constant sake of the truth'. Yes, that is what he wrote: 'for the sake of the truth'; 'this work of changing one's own thought and that of others seems to me to be the reason for being an intellectual'.20 It is so as to abolish one's individual­ ity, one's here and now and attain to a state of indifference, illimitation and independence from everything, a state that is a living death.

This is what Flaubert, a Schopenhauerian without knowing it, called objectivity. When one's personality becomes 'dis­course', it no longer exists. 


James in his novels is like the best French critics in maintaining a point of view, a view-point untouched by the parasite idea. He is the most intelligent man of his generation.

I had provided myself with the popular books of the day (this was sixteen or seventeen years ago), and for two weeks I had never left my room. I am speaking now of those books that treat of the art of making nations happy, wise and rich in twenty-four hours. I had therefore digested—swallowed, I should say—alI the lucubrations of all the authorities on the happiness of society—those who advise the poor to become slaves, and those who persuade them that they are all dethroned kings. So it is not astonishing if I was in a state of mind bordering on stupidity or madness.... 

It was always so obvious what Foucault was and wasn't. I'd read almost nothing and understood.

"A gentleman never lets politics get in the way of a friendship."

Arendt's "truth", and Flaubert's "truth

"...the impersonal in art and technocracy, though the product of the same events are very different things."

Friday, January 13, 2023


According to a mutual acquaintance—a friend of Snow's and an acquaintance of mine—he was clueless. He wanted to do things a certain way and that's it. When I saw this the first tine at a retrospective at Anthology my eyes were locked on the screen. 

His psychology pours out, tied up up in knots, a construction of sound and image. It's not conceptual and it's not formalist. As for the music, I began listening to Ellington after listing to David Murray, so Ayler's in there too. And Don Cherry, for other reasons. 

The word on the bottom right is distributer's watermark. We'll see how long the vid stays up. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Call the resulting storm of protest "progress". Roth's admitting tacitly how often HRW caved to pressure. He's admitted it before, openly, in private.

Monday, January 09, 2023


And update to a some previous comments on art. I could have done this years ago, but it didn't occur to me.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Example 1.1 (The Miners Problem)

Ten miners are trapped in a shaft and threatened by rising water. You don’t know whether the miners are in shaft 𝐴 or in shaft 𝐵. You have enough sandbags to block one shaft, but not both. If you block the right shaft, all miners will survive. If you block the wrong shaft, all of them will die. If you do nothing, both shafts will fill halfway with water and one miner (the shortest of the ten) will die.

Act II

The chorus explains that the teacher, the boy, and three older students are on the way back, and the boy is exhausted ("Die Leute haben die Reise in die Berge"). As they approach their shelter, the boy confesses that he is not well ("Wir sind schnell hinangestiegen"). The teacher tells him it is forbidden to say such things on the journey, but the three students have overheard and demand to speak to the teacher. He admits that the boy is ill, and the students remind him of the strict old custom that whoever falls ill during the journey over the mountains must be hurled into the valley ("Wir wollen es dem Lehrer sagen"). The teacher reminds them that the sick person may also demand that the entire party turn back. Then he goes to the boy and offers him the choice ("Höre gut zu"). The boy decides that he knew the risks and should not impede the expedition. He asks only that the three students fill his jar with medicine and take it to his mother, and they agree. Then the three students bear him gently to the cliff and throw him over. The chorus reiterates the theme ("Wichtig zu lernen" reprise).

FRATERNIZATION

Key references: Article 134, UCMJ; U.S. NAVY REGULATIONS 1165 (applies to both Navy and Marine Corps); OPNAVINST 5370.2C (applies only to Navy); Marine Corps Manual 1100.4 (applies only to MC).

Background: The U.S. Navy has historically relied upon custom and tradition to define the bounds of acceptable personal relationships among its members and unduly familiar relationships between officers and enlisted members have traditionally been contrary to Naval custom, because they undermine the respect for authority. Acceptable conduct varies between the services based on differences in custom and tradition.

Definition: Generally, fraternization is an unduly familiar personal relationship between an officer member and an enlisted member that does not respect the difference in rank or grade. Relationships between officer members and between enlisted members that are prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit on the Naval service are unduly familiar and also constitute fraternization.

So fucking bored with philosophy.
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Using Brecht as a model of tradition and community doesn't work. I need to distinguish the libretto from its source,  decadence from classicism, formalism from formality. Brecht's theater is mannerist: simultaneously moralizing and corrupt.

Martin Puchner, Stage Fright  Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama

What is neglected in these accounts of Brecht’s lasting success in the theater is that his work is not so much a modernist reform of the theater as one directed against it. Indeed, the most central features of Brecht’s theater arise from a vehement and at times fundamental polemic against actors and the audience. And so we must recognize that Brecht counts as one of modernism’s most successful theater reformers because he was most successful in making his resistance to the theater productive for a reform of the theater. This resistance to the theater is visible in Brecht’s attacks on expressionist plays, on the theater industry, and on Max Reinhardt’s seductive spectacles. His most categorical and fundamental condemnation of the theater emerges, however, when he, like many turn-of-the-century and early-twentieth-century reformers, speaks against the figure whose exploitation of theatricality never ceased to haunt modern theater, namely, Richard Wagner. 
Neither Wagner nor Brecht are useful as models. It looks like an interesting book, but he's still more partisan than observer. I loved Brecht's operas because they set my skin on fire, and then I had to ask why.  Brecht vs Eisenstein.
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I'm getting old. I forget everything!

In for a penny... and an overdue tag for Eisenstein

"Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today" (1944)

People talked as if there had been no dra­matic or descriptive music before Wagner; no impressionist painting before Whistler; whilst as to myself, I was finding that the surest way to produce an effect of daring innovation and originality was to revive the ancient attraction of long rhetorical speeches; to stick closely to the methods of Moliere; and to lift characters bodily out of the pages of Charles Dickens.
George Bernard Shaw

...When Griffith proposed to his employers the novelty of a parallel "cut-back" for his first version of Enoch Arden (After Many Years, 1908), this is the discussion that took place, as recorded by Linda Arvidson Griffith in her reminiscences of Biograph days:
When Mr. Griffith suggested a scene showing Annie Lee wait­ ing for her husband's return to be followed by a scene of Enoch cast away on a desert island, it was altogether too distracting. "How can you tell a story jumping about like that? The people
won't know what it's about."
"Well," said Mr. Griffith, "doesn't Dickens write that way?" "Yes, but that's Dickens; that's novel writing; that's different." "Oh, not so much, these are picture stories; not so different." 
But, to speak quite frankly, all astonishment on this subject and the apparent unexpectedness of such statements can be ascribed only to our—ignorance of Dickens. 
All of us read him in childhood, gulped him down greedily, without realizing that much of his irresistibility lay not only in his capture of detail in the childhoods of his heroes, but also in that spontaneous, childlike skill for story-telling, equally typical for Dickens and for the American cinema, which so surely and delicately plays upon the infantile traits in its audi­ ence. We were even less concerned with the technique of Dickens's composition: for us this was non-existent—but cap­tivated by the effects of this technique, we feverishly followed his characters from page to page, watching his characters now being rubbed from view at the most critical moment, then see­ ing them return afresh between the separate links of the parallel secondary plot.

As children, we paid no attention to the mechanics of this. As adults, we rarely re-read his novels. And becoming film­ workers, we never found time to glance beneath the covers of these novels in order to figure out what exactly had captivated us in these novels and with what means these incredibly many­ paged volumes had chained our attention so irresistibly. 
Apparently Griffith was more perceptive...

But before disclosing what the steady gaze of the American film-maker may have caught sight of on Dickens's pages, I wish to recall what David Wark Griffith himself represented to us, the young Soviet film-makers of the 'twenties.

To say it simply and without equivocation: a revelation. 
Try to remember our early days, in those first years of the October socialist revolution. The fires At the Hearthsides of our native film-producers had burnt out, the Nava's Charms of their productions had lost their power over us and, whis­ pering through pale lips, "Forget the hearth," Khudoleyev and Runich, Polonsky and Maximov had departed to oblivion; Vera Kholodnaya to the grave; Mozhukhin and Lisenko to expatri­ation.

The young Soviet cinema was gathering the experience of revolutionary reality, of first experiments (Vertov), of first systematic ventures (Kuleshov), in preparation for that un­ precedented explosion in the second half of the 'twenties, when it was to become an independent, mature, original art, immediately gaining world recognition.

In those early days a tangle of the widest variety of films was projected on our screens. From out of this weird hash of old Russian films and new ones that attempted to maintain "tradi­tions," and new films that could not yet be called Soviet, and foreign films that had been imported promiscuously, or brought down off dusty shelves-two main streams began to emerge.

On the one side there was the cinema of our neighbor, post­ war Germany. Mysticism, decadence, dismal fantasy followed in the wake of the unsuccessful revolution of 1923, and the screen was quick to reflect this mood. Nosferatu the Vampire, The Street, the mysterious Warning Shadows, the mystic crim­inal Dr. Mabuse the Gambler,· reaching out towards us from our screens, achieved the limits of horror, showing us a future as an unrelieved night crowded with sinister shadows and crimes. . . .

The chaos of multiple exposures, of over-fluid dissolves, of split screens, was more characteristic of the later 'twenties (as in Looping the Loop or Secrets of a Soul ), but earlier Germman films contained more than a hint of this tendency. In the over-use of these devices was also reflected the confusion and chaos of post-war Germany.

All these tendencies of mood and method had been fore­ shadowed in one of the earliest and most famous of these films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), this barbaric carnival of the destruction of the healthy human infancy of our art, this common grave for normal cinema origins, this combination of silent hysteria, particolored canvases, daubed flats, painted faces, and the unnatural broken gestures and actions of mon­strous chimaeras.

Expressionism left barely a trace on our cinema. This painted, hypnotic "St. Sebastian of Cinema" was too alien to the young, robust spirit and body of the rising class.

It is interesting that during those years inadequacies in the field of film technique played a positive role. They helped to restrain from a false step those whose enthusiasm might have pulled them in this dubious direction. Neither the dimensions of our studios, nor our lighting equipment, nor the materials available to us for make-up, costumes, or setting, gave us the possibility to heap onto the screen similar phantasmagoria. But it was chiefly another thing that held us back: our spirit urged us towards life—amidst the people, into the surging actuality of a regenerating country. Expressionism passed into the formative history of our cinema as a powerful factor—of re­pulsion.

There was the role of another film-factor that appeared, dashing along in such films as The Gray Shadow, The House of Hate, The Mark of Zorro. There was in these films a \vorld, stirring and incomprehensible, but neither repulsive nor alien. On the contrary—it was captivating and attractive, in its own way engaging the attention of young and future film-makers, exactly as the young and future engineers of the time were attracted by the specimens of engineering techniques unknown to US, sent from that same unknown, distant land across the ocean.

What enthralled us was not only these films, it was also their possibilities. Just as it was the possibilities in a tractor to make collective cultivation of the fields a reality, it was the boundless temperament and tempo of these amazing (and amazingly useless!) works from an unknown country that led us to muse on the possibilities of a profound, intelligent, class­ directed use of this wonderful tool.

The most thrilling figure against this background was Grif­fiths, for it was in his works that the cinema made itself felt as more than an entertainment or pastime. The brilliant new methods of the American cinema were united in him with a profound emotion of story, with human acting, with laughter and tears, and all this was done with an astonishing ability to preserve all that gleam of a filmically dynamic holiday, which had been captured in The Gray Shadow and The Mark of Zorro and The House of Hate. That the cinema could be incomparably greater, and that this was to be the basic task of the budding Soviet cinema-these were sketched for us in Griffith's creative work, and found ever new confirmation in his films.

Our heightened curiosity of those years in construction tmd method swiftly discerned wherein lay the most powerful affec­tive factors in this great American's films. This was in a hith­erto unfamiliar province, bearing a name that was familiar to us, not in the field of art, but in that of engineering and elec­trical apparatus, first touching art in its most advanced sec­tion—in cinematography. This province, this method, this prin­ciple of building and construction was montage.