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Archive for May 2007

back tomorrow

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We’ve got a long flight ahead of us tomorrow morning. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about – among other things – blogging that is yet to be processed. More to come… *

This went far too quickly, I’ll say that…

* If you happen to have super-drug-resistant TB, would you mind staying off the transatlantic flights tomorrow, see voo play?

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May 30, 2007 at 6:30 pm

Posted in meta

socialist melodramaticism

with 6 comments

You’ve heard about what is going on in Venezuela with the tv stations, yes? (The link there is not an endorsement… Too tired to sift through to find a fair report…) But did you notice this?

Radio Caracas’ soap operas such as The Ex and My Cousin Ciela are popular, regularly attracting more than 50 per cent of Venezuelan viewers.

Two opinion polls have shown that more than 70 per cent of Venezuelans, including many of Mr Chávez’s own supporters, are opposed to the decision not to renew the licence. Arturo Sarm-iento, a Caracas businessman who runs Telecaribe, an independent regional television station, and supports the government’s policy, admits the measure will “have a huge political cost”.


A public-service channel, Venezuelan Social Television (Teves), is to replace RCTV. […] Elsewhere in the world, with few exceptions public-service stations have not won a sterling reputation for slick popular programming. Lil Rodriguez, the channel’s new president, hardly encouraged optimism when she announced last week that “we don’t intend to make Teves really boring”.

Teves is planning to develop its own soap opera based on the lives of Simón Bolívar, Venezuela’s nat-ional hero, and Manuela Sáenz, one of his lovers, but until that is ready viewers will have to make do with a range of cooking, travel, music, opinion and other documentary shows, as well as an opinion programme.

One hell of an article, there waiting for someone to scoot down to Caracas and write, about the emergence of a new sector of socialist mass aesthetic form. I’d for one would love to know what comes of it, and what goes into it…

Here’s the question: say you were a socialist head of state of wherever you currently live, and had decided to pull network X off of the air and replace it with Your Own Social Television Network. What programming would you schedule as not to make it “really boring”? Mine would feature, of course, lots of ads without products, but I’m still thinking about what would provide the filler stuff, the actual shows, that folks would skip over with their TiVos to get back to the publicités

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May 27, 2007 at 7:05 pm

rough day to be a state interventionist…

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I mean seriously, I had read about the Swedish issue with alcohol, but come on now. The one adult pleasure we get on this trip is the couple of drinks we get to have, either solo or together depending on the room configuration, after the baby goes to bed. And here, right now, I am drinking 3.5 percent beer. My wife is drinking 2.5 percent cider.

They mark the percentage in big numerals right on the can, just in case you delude yourself into thinking you’re getting the real deal. It is amazing to think of all these great breweries turning out a separate batch of tamer stuff just for the Swedes (or do all the Scandinavians do this? I seem to have some memory of this sort of thing from way back when in Copenhagen…)

Nanny state? WTF? Feel free to tell me that this is my nascent Yankee libertarianism kicking in. That it is a good thing for me to be protected from real beer by law and custom and tax.

Another (related) question: given the near-beer problem, why (how) is everyone so drunk here? (UPDATE: I wrote that Saturday night. Things seem much more sedate now as I write on Sunday…)

Anyway, it is an interesting thing, figuring out your socio-political comfort level based on travel – and then comparing this experientially-tested version against the abstract-intellectual ideal that you hold or think yourself to hold. On the level of ideas, I am probably a few clicks to the left of Sweden. In practice, I miss the Netherlands. It does feel a bit, dunno, dull here. The trains are gorgeous, everything is really, really expensive ($300 in walking around money disappeared just like that, after a dinner and a trip to the very cool Zoo / Aryan history museum at Skansen), which is probably as it should be, and everything is green, green, green, but also everyone seems a bit bored and sad.

That’s not what socialism is supposed to be! Tweak the fun meter, Stockholm! Set up vodka stands on the street corners! (Not sure I’d really love that either – but there has to be a healthy medium, right?)

Finally: for some reason, every thought I have lately is taking the form of an imagined graph, x-plot against y-plot. An impossible one that I’d like to see: the correlation between social welfare and kids going uber-goth. My rough estimate has a higher proportion of gothy types in calm Canada vs. the manic US. And there are tons and tons here, in everyone’s favorite living exhibit of sustainable and actually existing social-democracy. Anyone else notice this?

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May 26, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Posted in meta

one other thing…

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Why is my travel blogging becoming a running list of awkward moments? I’m actually having a great time. But, for some reason, this stuff seems worth recording in a way that “drank, yet again, a liter of beer at lunch. Felt good. It was sunny” does not…

So we’re staying tonight right by the University of Amsterdam, and they seem still to be in session. On the way to the hotel, you pass very close to some first floor classrooms, and one was occupied – a class in session. I stopped short, baby in my arms, and stepped back to see what was on the powerpoint presentation, and to check the language used (something on global trade in, of course, English…)

But when I did, the prof stops, stares out the window at me, and then does a great big “fuck you, doofus!” wave in my direction. Like one of those “yeah, this is what a college classroom looks like. We are so glad to be a living history diorama at the Amsterdam Museum! Stop staring, fucker!”

Which is exactly what I would have done if someone did that to my classroom. But… ouch. I wanted to pull out my Prof ID card and slap it against the window or whatever.

It’s been a rough day.

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May 25, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Posted in academia, meta

tough day to be a good socialist…

with one comment

…and a card-carrying union man to boot.

Arrived at Schipol this morning only to find that the flight to Stockholm had been cancelled on account of a baggage-handlers’s strike in Sweden. Go labor! (Seriously, these euro baggage guys strike a lot, don’t they?) But after many trials and tribulations, we seem to be booked in tomorrow. But for tonight, Amsterdam again and exhaustion.

For discussion: seems to me that each Greater Cultural Unit has their own distinctive modes of dicking the customer. I’m trying to figure out exactly what the American version is, but I am sure I know what it is that goes on on the continent.

Here’s how it went today: SAS booked us a room back in the city – since we are three, they explicitly booked us a double + another bed. They also threw in some comped meals. When we get to the designated hotel, the guy at the desk says, no, the voucher is only good for a double – an extra bed (and room that it will fit in will cost an extra Euro 75. This is so much bullshit, but as always happens in Europe, they claim that it was the last guy, the guy who booked the room in the first place, who has screwed you. (The first time this sort of thing happened to us, when we were kiddos on the Eurail Pass, we bought round trip boat tickets from Brindisi, Italy to Patras, Greece. When it came time to return, the guys in Patras assured us that whatever it is that they had sold us in Brindisi, they sure as hell weren’t tickets, but a mere $25 each would make them, as if magically, into valid tickets… Reader: we paid.)

At any rate, back to tonight in Amsterdam. So we go to the bar to get dinner, and ask to use our vouchers. The bartender scrambles around for 15 minutes asking what to do with these, only to return and assure us that we were comped up to an astounding Euro 160, and that we should order whatever we like, drinks and all, and they’ll put it on our tab, and clear it up in the morning. So we eat and drink profusely. He tells us to come back for a drink later – it’s free after all.

This starts to seem a bit fishy, so, in the course of figuring out something else at the front desk, I ask about the vouchers to make sure that what we’ve done is OK. “Hmmm. The bar. No, no, no… That will not work…” I think we’ve settled on the food being free, but me picking up the drink bill. On the other hand, after much “we’re not very satisfied” type stuff, the manager has agreed to give us back our Euro 75 for the big room, but insists that he himself can’t actually do this, “there isn’t a button,” and so the morning staff will take care of it. Sure, right…

Good christ, what a whine. But hopefully you see my point here? So what is the American equivalent? There certainly were some very threatening scams you could get caught up in as a tourist / young Jersey kid back in the pre-Giuliani period, which I will not discuss here out of Jersey-kid embarrassment.

Does it go like this: Europe commits active sins against you – fucking with the reservations, drilling you for more cash to make things right, whereas America’s sins are passive, bureaucratic: without enormous amounts of arm-wrestling, the US-based airline simply won’t find you a new flight when yours has been cancelled? Or, say, Expedia and its cancellation policy. I ate a night at a Stockholm hotel tonight without grumbling, as their “policy” is no changes after a certain point….

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May 25, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Posted in meta

travel notes…

with 3 comments

1) Somewhat refreshing to take a break from posting and even scrolling through the RSS feeds. Amazingly, I took this break despite having free internet access here in Amsterdam. For me, it’s been nothing but the IHT and the Guardian at night, and some hotel bar writing (on paper!) and that’s that. I think I have a slight case of nostalgia for pre-totally-immersive ‘net days, which I’m not sure what to do with. Surely the boredom of being back stateside in a week will take care of that.

2) Amsterdam has won me over. If it is possible for my wife and I ever to haul off and make it as independent intellectuals (she’s much further along on this than I am, what with her book underway and agent and so forth), I vote for right here. Paris is lovely. But Amsterdam, it’s something else. The magazine store alone, up in the little square along with the American Book Store, is reason enough.

3) Looking for a place to calm the kiddo down for a nap while in Paris (by “calm the kid down” I of course mean seriously overdue unweaned boobie action but whatever. STFU) we wandered into the Place Dauphine, which is the sort of thing that happens in Paris. See Andre Breton, Nadja, for the significance of the place, the “clitoris of Paris”…

4) All for now, but thanks for continuing to read… I’ll be back on regular schedule soon enough…

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May 24, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


with 3 comments

I am a strange bird, when it comes to travel.

For on the one hand, the number one reason I crush the credit card to
go, and the number one deciding factor that informs the choices I
make in terms of where to visit, is that I am almost pathologically
addicted what we might call the banally exotic quotidien. Look, I go
to museums, I see the sights. Or at least I did in the past. But what
gets me out here is stupid stuff like street-signs and supermarkets
and the way people serve coffee and when they buy their newspapers
and where they buy them and what they look like. Laugh at me all you
like – perhaps you are a gourmand, or a sex-tourist, or you only go
where you’re likely to find, what, the best thriftstore buys.
Whatever. But in a certain way, my special preoccupation with the
everyday in my travels undoubted comes close to what travel for
pleasure and edification has always boiled down to…

People are always asking me, in the real world, if my work intersects
with that of Michel de Certeau, and the answer is always no, not
really. But, strangely enough, I am a practices of everyday life guy
through and through when it comes to those couple of weeks a year
that I’ve paid to remove from my usual activities and (at the moment)
incredibly bleak surroundings. Go figure.

But on the other hand, my little addiction to the small stuff is, in
a certain sense, something that my personality-construction is almost
categorically unfit for. Why? I am one of those people – I can’t tell
if we are rare or not – who is compulsively fearful of making little
mistakes in everyday performances. I hate not knowing, for instance,
whether it is appropriate or not to ask for a coffee à emporter at
this establishment or that. I hate not knowing how to use a subway
turnstile. I hate being baffled by menus, I hate not understand how
to hail a taxi, I fear running afoul of written or unwritten rules
about smoking in public. I am addicted to foreign newspapers, even
those I can’t read – but I am terrified of buying them, for fear that
the newsagent will wonder after I leave “Why the fuck was he buying
that if he doesn’t have the language.” It is ridiculous, I agree.

There are a few major factors that go into this personality defect
(and it is, for sure, a defect): my upbringing by fastidiously-
correct anglo-canadian parents, who made minor forms of impolite or
awkward behavior feel like, what, public urination. An pathological
need to “be in the know” about everything (this need is one,
obviously, that intersects with my internet compulsion, blogging,
etc…) doesn’t help. And with Paris in particular, it also has
something to do with my weird relationship to the French language,
which I really am supposed to know, both because of my education and
because, for chissakes, I write on and teach French authors
constantly… but even if I can read French authors in the original
at a level that has permitted me to develop, from what I can tell,
some very very insightful arguments based on microscopic close
readings of the language itself, I still cannot properly order a
fucking coffee in French, and I stand blankly stunned whenever anyone
says anything that I am not prepared for.

So I am, yes, a strange bird in my own quiet little way. (I wish my
psychokinks were more interesting – for your sake, as readers…) But
what I am wondering about today is what this combined fascination and
fear has to do with my work, the issues and texts that I am
interested in and the arguments that I am trying to articulate about
them. For one thing, it clarifies quite a lot of the backstory of why
I am so interested in a figure like Neurath
– clear, international communication-methods, which make it at once
easier to order coffee and, perhaps, less interesting to do so. But
it goes well beyond this as well.

More posts are coming, if I can keep the battery charged…

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May 20, 2007 at 3:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

left hook

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A nice piece on the future of the left and the “social state” from Zygmunt Bauman in the journal Soundings (not a journal that I’ve seen before… but it looks interesting…) I’ll give away the end:

Contrary to the assumption of ‘third way’ advocates, loyalty to the social state tradition and an ability to modernise swiftly – with little or no damage to social cohesion and solidarity – need not be at loggerheads. On the contrary, as the social democratic practice of our Nordic neighbours has demonstrated, the pursuit of a more socially cohesive society is the necessary precondition for modernisation by consent. The Scandinavian pattern is anything but a relic of the past. Just how topical and alive its underlying principles are, and how strong its possibilities for inspiring human imagination and action, is demonstrated by the recent triumphs of emergent or resurrected social states in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile. Gradually yet indefatigably they are changing the political likeness and popular mood of the Western Hemisphere. They bear the hallmarks of that ‘left hook’ with which, as Walter Benjamin pointed out, all truly decisive blows in human history tend to be delivered. And though this is a truth that is hard to perceive in a Britain that is sunk in the murky dusk of the Blairist era, it is the truth nevertheless.

Still, aren’t both Sweden and Denmark currently run by center-right liberalizing governments? Shouldn’t we be anxious that the Scandinavians themselves are starting to feel that the “Scandinavian pattern” is a relic of the past?

UPDATE: Uh oh…

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May 14, 2007 at 11:11 pm

neither ads nor products

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Sorry that I’ve been off my pace lately here. More is coming, I promise. But it might not be immediately. I have a very large and time-sensitive writing project that I need to bring to some sort of a firm stop by Wednesday or so. And there’s – of course – all the end of semester wrapping-up to do. And then I’ll be on vacation for two weeks. Which takes us to the beginning of June. If I can get access and time, I’ll likely throw some stuff up while I’m away…

Just don’t give up on me – I’ll be back.

For now, you can go visit the little conflagration I’ve started over on LS….

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May 14, 2007 at 12:38 am

Posted in housekeeping

a miracle!

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For the first time ever, I agree with a Brad Delong post.

I should have bought a lottery ticket tonight.

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May 9, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Posted in modernism

the other modernism

with 8 comments

So you end up broken in half, as a student of modernism, by the split in the period and in its emblematic works. On the one hand, the hyper-psychologized dystopias of individual complexity and political ineffability. On the other, the union of form and function under a banner of progress (even real progress). The former is the reflexive stance of the modernist literary text; the later, of modernist architecture and design. Think Joyce vs. Corbusier. Woolf vs. Niemeyer, Kafka vs. Tiege. You find the architectural / progressive motif more attractive – more potentially useful today – as a seed for revivification. But, on the other hand, you work with literature – this is what you do for a living.

It is tough to mine the latter from the former, the simple from the complex, the beautiful utility from the gratingly indifferent. It is tough to find, in short, the other modernism in literary texts. After all, literature doesn’t love hopeful contentment, and work (vs. dark dreamlife) toward that end – and most of all, it does not love utopia, whether actual or anticipated, whether exuberant or fadedly just OK.

Or maybe it’s just you, er, that is, me, as Owen Hatherley has found it hiding in plain sight in a J.G. Ballard’s Vermilion Sands.

[T]here is only one instance of a speculative community approaching a Ballardian ideal – a site where we definitively leave the Anglo-Saxon tradition of the cautionary, anti-Modernist dystopia – and that is in Vermilion Sands. This is a 1971 collection of stories spanning his first published story, ‘Prima Belladonna’ (1956) to 1970, all set in the same community: a dead or dying desert resort, populated entirely by the elegantly, wanly idle, most of whom are involved in strangely calm psychodramas. Vermilion Sands is a synthetic and synaesthetic landscape of psychotropic houses that respond to their inhabitants’ desires and fears, singing sculptures, and a place where everything in sight seems to glitter, to take on the qualities of crystal, a flickering chromaticism suffusing everything from stairways to hair colour and eye pigments. It is, as Ballard writes in the 1971 introduction, a picture of an ideal he wanted and expected to see realised. The dystopian tradition is refuted in this introduction: ‘very few attempts (in SF) have been made to visualise a unique and self-contained future that contains no warnings to us. Perhaps because of this cautionary tone, so many of science fiction’s notional futures are zones of unrelieved grimness.’ So could there be here a sort of affirmative retort to the insistence that all Modernist or utopian communities inevitably end up in dystopia?

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May 9, 2007 at 12:14 am

won’t hold together

with 5 comments

1. Today was a good day. The park with my wife and daughter, lunch at a nice place and outside because it’s finally getting warm enough to do that. She had a bit of a tantrum about riding in the stroller from the park to the cafe where we ate, but it subsided. I looked in the bookstore, but there weren’t any magazines or books that I wanted to buy.

2. Later, I watched a hockey game, read a few pages of an advance copy of William Gibson’s Spook Country while my daughter played in the backyard. My wife got home from shopping – bearing hot dogs – and I fired up the grill for the first time this year. Very dad-ish, yes? My daughter has never had a hot dog, and wouldn’t eat one this evening, despite the fact we lathered it in cheese. I think she is thrown by the name. She loves dogs, and periodically would say “ruff-ruff” as we ate them and laugh a bit, but still refuse to eat them.

Whenever I grill hot dogs, I wince at every bite worried that I will encounter a raw spot inside.

3. We watched the Sopranos this evening. I think it was the first good episode of the new and last semi-season. When the jokes work, you get the sense that Chase is writing (whoever is listed in the credits), and that the episode, in turn, will work.

And it did. And in particular, it returned to one of my favorite themes of the show, and a theme very close to my heart. The ambivalence of Tony’s relationship to his son – and his semi-son Christopher – pivots on a deeper ambivalence about masculinity, violence, class transition, and self-improvement. And shame. To put it this way seems very abstract – sounds like guild speak, no? Try it this way instead: Just as he wants Christopher not to be an alcoholic but finds something deeply distasteful and unmanly about his success in not drinking, he would like his own son, Anthony Jr., not to repeat his mistakes, not to go into the “family business” of profitable violence, but can’t help hating his son for his, what, effeminate softness and affluent idleness. He wants, in short, his son to be tough like him without experiencing the situations that make that sort of toughness possible or even necessary.

I grew up with just this sort of mixed message from my own father, and I bear the fruits of it today in spades. I’m not going into to detail, but trust me on this one. (Themes like this, generally not well aired in mass culture, are the reason that this show has a lock on a demographic that is both unusually wide and extremely narrow at once…) It is, I think, an experience that a lot (most? all?) children of men (and women?) who “came from nothing” and “fought their way out of poverty”… and whose children live very different lives – and live in very different neighborhoods – than the one that they have lived.

My father took his first steps to making his (and mine) in the world through violence, though of a different sort that the Sopranos. He was a hockey and football hero from a shit town and from an imploded and very poor family, and likely channeled lots of his own father’s abusiveness into his athletic performance. These skills (this violence) made, in the long run, a successful career path open to him, and it was one that structurally resembles that of the various enforcers and captains on the show… (hint: if my work is strangely preoccupied with labor issues – downsizing, deskilling, intensification, Taylorism – you do the oedipal math to figure out where he ended up…)

4. Things become even more interesting when Anthony Jr.’s invigorating turn to the dark side occurs not through committing an act of violence himself, but through watching (as, of course, do we) someone else perform an act of particularly gruesome violence on another person. The last few episodes have been slightly-preoccupied with the question of who has “popped their cherry,” in terms of ultraviolence, and who hasn’t. Anthony seems to have joined the club – but somehow, now, all it takes is what might be called televisual participation rather than the real thing.

5. After the show, I scroll through the rss reader and come to this. Let it be said I do not recommend clicking through to view the videos. I have a pretty high tolerance – both viscerally and ethically – for viewing this sort of thing, and lord christ has there been a lot of it to view the past several years. Just being honest, I generally find those deeply resistant to viewing this sort of material to be a bit quaint or even hypocritical. I generally back up into a rationalization about the necessity that the impact of violence around the world register – register, perhaps, in particular upon people like me, who write about culture and politics for a living. I have viewed military attacks on civilians, beheadings, and of-course the state run executions of VIPs.

But this one stopped me in my tracks. I viewed the first linked video, which seems to be the gruesome aftermath of the whole affair. The second video, I am guessing, is really the first in the sequence – a lot of yelling and not much to see except for tight-packed men’s shoulders. In the third, we finally get what we are here to see. She is quickly pulled, head locked under a man’s arm, into the center of the crowd. A crowd, of course, of men. She is standing, she is screaming, and then she is not. She has been pulled to the ground, or hit by something and then fell.

This is where I turned the video off. I did not want to see her head get crushed by stones. There are, it is terrible to report, a total of 6 videos in the sequence. I can’t even imagine what happens in the next three in the sequence. Or I can very much imagine it, but this time, don’t want to see it. I can’t really explain why this one is different from the others, the ones that I made it all the way through. It is nightmarish.

6. I have nightmares every night. In fact, I think I only have nightmares. I can’t remember having any other sort of dream for the longest time. On some level, I think, I take this as a normal facet of adult-life. It does not, on the surface at least, affect my waking behavior. I am not even particularly troubled by this fact. I am not even sure that I dislike having nightmares. Obviously, the question becomes are these things that I am dreaming actually nightmares at all?

In fact, it wouldn’t at all be fair, but if you were to tell me that you often or even occasionally have dreams that are not nightmares, I would almost automatically think, on some level, that you were a something of a simpleton.

And I now suddenly realize that this is a good explanation of the origin of my particular academic interests. I write about the necessary relationship between fictional form and social disorder. I also, more recently, have been fascinated by texts that attempt to work beyond this seemingly essential relationship.

7. I have posted on these sorts of videos and images before. The dead children during the bombing of lebanon, etc etc. After partially viewing the stoning, I went outside to have a cigarette and thought about what I might write about this one. I can’t remember now what I said about the previous ones. Any angle I might try to take, and the head swims. To politically particularize this is to lose the visceral reality of it, to mine it for an abominable use-value. Not to politicize it is perhaps even more horrible – to see this event, and all the others like it that happen all the time, both in view and out of it, “clickably linked” or not, as ineffably random or simply markers of a depraved and in-actionable “human nature.” I do not know what to say, and so I say this. Which is abominable. I could have remained silent, which is abominable. And, worst of all, perhaps, is to resolve all of this into a clever, safe crux – which is exactly what I am doing right now as I type these words. My own inhumanity chases me at exactly the speed that I type these words now. The more I say, the worse it gets… But to say nothing would be worse. And there’s the crux, the cleverness, the barbarism, the intensified barbarism of the self-conscious critic of snuff again. A knot that only tightens as you type.

8. I wonder how many of you clicked through and viewed the videos, and of those who did, how far you got with them.

9. NB: I provided you with the link, but ordered you not to follow it. I hoped that you wouldn’t see it, yet I advertised its contents. I want you, my reader, to be both humane and hard, aware and not. I want you both inside and outside of the dark chamber at once, don’t I? And then I link you away to distract you from the problem at hand….

Have you followed the link? Which link did you follow? Did you follow it down to the end?

10. I am not sure that this post, in a sense, isn’t above all else a reenactment, a fan-fiction repetition, of Christopher’s situationally-complex paean to l’art d’être un père that he offers, drunk once again, toward the end of tonight’s episode of the Sopranos.

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May 7, 2007 at 12:09 am

Posted in meta, teevee

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From n+1’s blog, a piece by Jana Prikryl that oscillates between the recent UNICEF report on the well-being of children in rich countries and the author’s recollections of the benefits and drawbacks of a childhood under socialism.

It’s a smart idea, the essay that vividly if ambiguously illustrates the dry but incredibly significant document, as this one does…

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May 5, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

21st century socialism

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Nice to see this article on Chávez and Venezuela over at Open Democracy…. Not only has some actual numbers that contradict the hand-waving generalizations that you see in the NYT about discontent and authoritarianism, but a clearer and more assertive explanation of the political structure there than I’ve seen before:

The acceleration of the Bolivarian project – in both ideological and organisational terms, has fuelled concerns over the deepening of the government’s authoritarian tendencies. Established cynics in the media, who have seen leftwing ideals rise and fall, and opponents in the anti-Chávez movement have been quick to point to a frightening new twist in the evolution of the Chávez government. This is seen to be represented by the recent granting of decree powers to President Chávez, the move to extend state control over key sectors of the economy and the debate over the formation of the PSUV.

However, it is at this point that the delineation between popular perceptions of democracy on the ground in Venezuela, and “elite” perceptions, articulated by the media and US “democracy-promotion” groups are revealed. There is widespread popular support for this new trajectory in Venezuelan politics. The creation of the PSUV is seen to be in line with the demands of grassroots groups to have more influence within the organisational framework of the Boliviarian project, while Chávez’s use of decree powers to revise the institutional structures of the state responds to grassroots pressure for more influence, power and resources at the community level. Put simply, many Venezuelans think they are getting more and better democracy through “21st-century socialism”, not less.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

May 5, 2007 at 1:14 am

Posted in americas, socialism

go look

with 2 comments

An insanely good thread over at The Kugelmass Episodes dealing with, among other things, radical politics, academia, the aesthetic, post-scarcity economies, consciousness, socialism, theory, and everything else… Everything.

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May 5, 2007 at 1:04 am