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Archive for July 2005


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SargentoShreddedCheese.jpg3 months into quitting cigarettes, and tonight I am eating shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese (or is it Cheez) straight out of the bag.
Oral fixation. And now I get to watch my infant daughter develop one too. Or not – her mom is extremely excellent with the boob feedings. So perhaps my mini-me won’t be haunted by mega-lack in the mouth department, as I am…
I have a feeling I am about to become very, very obese… Luckily, I’m super tall, so it’ll take awhile… But it’s bound to happen.
Still miss them, and still fantasize about, say, going out to a bar with a smoker or smokers and getting drunk enough to bum one or several… But I get through the day OK.
And what a pain in the ass it’d be to be a smoker with a baby anywho… Sure I’d feel cancer reeky everytime I touched her etc…

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July 31, 2005 at 12:43 am

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I think perhaps for awhile, quasi-officially…

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July 26, 2005 at 10:00 am

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Jetztzeit Boredom

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AVW is on a roll… Today, on “Realism, Counterrevolution, Capital.” Here’s a bit of the payoff:

The protagonist of the realist novel who is caught up in this grand battle between everythingness and nothingness must retreat from attachment even to the cause of everything and appear to be exempt from definition by any cause or community, in order to achieve a meticulously limned particularity. The forces of history and the social and political order as depicted in novels grows steadily detatched from the actions of novel protagonists. Civil strife is no longer imagined on the Guelf vs. Ghibelline, Capulet vs. Montague model, a state made by protagonists and reducible to their agency, although lovers still frequently derive from warring camps (but more often from incompatible classes, and/or faced with other obstacles than incompatible political allegience.)

Which makes me think of this – perhaps the emblematic moment of what AVW brilliantly describes as a “retreat from attachment. Frederic Moreau anxiously, impatiently awaiting Mme Arnoux as the revolution of 1848 finds its jetztzeit right around the corner…

Then he resumed his post on the corner of the rue de la Ferme and the rue Tronchet in order to be able to keep an eye on both at the same time. Looking down the street, he could see massed groups of people lurching confusedly to and fro on the boulevard. From time to time he picked out the plume of a dragoon or a woman’s hat; he strained his eyes to recognize her.

I wonder if AVW’s brilliant diagnosis of the secret affinities between realism and reaction couldn’t also serve as an introduction to an analysis of Flaubert as someone who ran realism’s reactionary codes in reverse, allowed realism to rot itself out from within? Flaubert wrote a realism of realism and its discontents… What else does Emma Bovary struggle against than the petit bourgeois realism of her life, against the inevitable reign of Homais (the same)?
It is, by the way, also possible to run the Flaubertian process in reverse…

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July 23, 2005 at 9:30 pm

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jameson_f_archeologies.jpgFrom the Verso website:

In an age of globalization characterized by the dizzying technologies of the First World, and the social disintegration of the Third, is the concept of utopia still meaningful? Archaeologies of the Future, Jameson’s most substantial work since Postmodernism, Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, investigates the development of this form since Thomas More, and interrogates the functions of utopian thinking in a post-Communist age.
The relationship between utopia and science fiction is explored through the representations of otherness—alien life and alien worlds—and a study of the works of Philip K. Dick, Ursula LeGuin, William Gibson, Brian Aldiss, Kim Stanley Robinson and more. Jameson’s essential essays, including “The Desire Called Utopia,” conclude with an examination of the opposing positions on utopia and an assessment of its political value today.
Archaeologies of the Future is the third volume, after Postmodernism and A Singular Modernity, of Jameson’s project on the Poetics of Social Forms.

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July 22, 2005 at 11:52 pm

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Crap Blogger

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I know, I know… If any of you are still reading this, I realize that I’ve been a crap blogger of late. Really bad. But the thing is, it’s been a mindbendingly busy summer. I’ve had a kid, moved to a new city, and I’m about to start a new job… courses to prep…
So I’ve been busy. And with the baby, I’m learning – by necessity – to economize my time. Simply don’t allow myself the online time that I used to. Work has to be work…
Anyway, those are my excuses. The site is definitely not dead, not even on formal hiatus. I promise I’ll be back in full form (and finally get around to posting a bit over on Long Sunday, which is getting better and better all the time I think…)

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July 19, 2005 at 12:06 am

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Not completely sure, but I’m getting the sense that we have a friend in Sploid… Nicely done, right on message…

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July 9, 2005 at 9:19 pm

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Fuckin Brilliant

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Thank you, AVW
I’ve decided: hers is my favorite blog. By a mile or so.

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July 9, 2005 at 8:52 pm

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Terrorism: A Definition

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The calculated exploitation of an exchange rate imbalance.

New York, London – you get more for less there…

The last page of the Economist often features a “Big Mac Index,” which allows us to see the dissonance between what a given unit of currency should, according to the markets, be able to buy and what it’s real-world purchasing power is…

Someone should come up with a “Televisibility Index,” which would tally up the ratio of dead individuals by nationality to minutes of international television coverage.

In some NLR piece, Jameson postulates a utopia of full employment, only to remind the reader that full employment is impossible under the current system, would mean its demise – is in a sense, unthinkable…

I’d like to propose a utopian television news, that gives equal time to every single “unnatural” death that occurs in the world… What would the screen look like?

Impossible – the end of news. “But there’s no way we could…” Of course there isn’t! Of course not!

(It’s almost impossible to purge, isn’t it, the sense that a London life, a New York life, is somehow worth a little bit more, in any sense that matters, than a Nairobi life, a Baghdad life… In the abstract, we can get there. But running underneath is this sense, right, of the effort that went into producing those lives, the flowers of civilization… Just as we are flowers of civilization… All the schooling, the real estate, the careful accessorizing. We value a London life for the same reason we value our own… It’s more expensive…)

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July 9, 2005 at 2:06 am

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It’s typepad’s problem…

…not mine, the disappearance of all formatting and images from the site. Apparently, things will be fixed soon. Stay tuned…

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July 3, 2005 at 12:16 am

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Crappy boats

crap boat.jpg

Woke to another in Friedman’s series A rising tide lifts all boats, but they ain’t gonna be carnival cruise ships, kay?

According to Friedman, the Celtic Tiger has got Anglomerican DNA, and Rhenish old France and Germany had better listen up…

It is obvious to me that the Irish-British model is the way of the future, and the only question is when Germany and France will face reality: either they become Ireland or they become museums. That is their real choice over the next few years – it’s either the leprechaun way or the Louvre.

Ha! “Leprechaun way or the Louvre!” Ahem…

Anyway, just wanted to refer you to a nice post over at Crooked Timber, where Henry points out the fact that um, Friedman’s got Ireland wrong:

Ireland is not an exemplar of the “Anglo Saxon model.” For evidence, take a look at this recent paper by Lane Kenworthy, which argues convincingly that Ireland doesn’t fit well into either the Anglo-Saxon ‘liberal market economy’ or Rhenish ‘coordinated model economy’ models. Point two: Ireland is an especially poor fit with the Anglo-Saxon model in the area of labour market policy, a fact which rather undercuts the argument Friedman is trying to make. Again, Dr. Kenworthy:

beginning in the late 1980s and continuing throughout the 1990s, [Ireland] has had a highly coordinated system of wage setting (Baccaro and Simoni 2004). In addition, Ireland has higher levels of employment and unemployment protection than other liberal market economies and longer median job tenure (Estevez-Abe et al. 2001, pp. 165, 168, 170).

Mr. Clash of Generalizations doesn’t let his Big Picture Propagandeering get sidetracked by silly old economy things like fact, reality…

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July 1, 2005 at 3:29 pm

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He Cites

Strange moment in Bush’s speech earlier this week:

Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: “This Third World War is raging” in Iraq. “The whole world is watching this war.” He says it will end in “victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”

Obviously, it’s hard to assign agency for a speech like this – it’s not like GWB pecked the thing out on his Powerbook the night before. So we’re working on the level of institutional psychology, of course…

But it’s a marvelously strange passage, isn’t it. From the focus-group, standardized-test-ese of the first sentence. “Some wonder…” The they, das Man – it’s who, ultimately, GWB has always spoken directly to or at. Citizens whose cohesion comes not of self-awareness but distraction, abstraction… Diagonality…

“Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden” – isn’t this how comic book bad guys (bad guys a la OBL himself) talk? “Hear the words and tremble…”

But above all else, how is it acceptable in the mind(s) of the administration and in this context to quote OBL on the significance of the war in Iraq??? Didn’t this strike anyone there as the slightest bit, um, inappropriate? That it bears discursive witness to the common cause shared by these two great antagonists in, artists of, the “war on terror”?

A “Third World War,” just what OBL wanted, is somehow more acceptable to the administration than another Vietnam. Can you imagine Bush quoting his alterego if it had been “A new Vietnam is raging”?

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July 1, 2005 at 1:43 pm

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