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Archive for July 7th, 2010

bookkeepers in delirium!

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Gustave Flaubert to Madame Roger des Genettes, summer 1864:

In a little while I’ll be able to teach a course on socialism; at least I know all about its spirit and its meaning. I have just been swallowing Lamennais, Saint-Simon, and Fourier, and I am rereading Proudhon from beginning to end…. There is one fundamental thing they all have in common: the hatred of liberty, the hatred of the French Revolution and of philosophy. All those fellows belong to the Middle Ages; their minds are stuck in the past. And what pedants! What schoolmasters! Seminarians on a spree, bookkeepers in delirium!

Am reading right now, or trying to with limited resources, what Flaubert was reading. His an odd but interesting reaction to the line of thought in question. I’d put things differently, were I to write a paragraph about socialist work today, but not all that differently…

More to come… Have added 500 words per day on this to the 2000 words per day on that. Oh and by the way, for an interesting shiver, compare the image above of Fourier’s Phalanstère to an aerial view of the place where I am sitting right this minute. Would help if you could invert one or the other….

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July 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Posted in flaubert, socialism

sunday post on tuesday: more north carolina

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He can hardly wait to get up to his room to watch his movie! There are movies that you can watch on the computer, and sometimes the car chimes with a ring that’s so beautifully engineered as to make him wonder why he ever developed doubts in the future.

He overhears, woman to woman: “Big news! I got my first paying customer this week!” The other claps. “Fifteen hours work. Fifteen hours work for one-thousand dollars! I picked out her entire wardrobe, right down to the underwear and accessories. She’s so busy, with the business, that she says she just doesn’t have time. And so my first paying customer!” The other asks a question about her sweater and she replies, “Yeah, Anne Taylor.”

He is not sure that he has any use any longer for the New York Times email updates. Over the years, he has subscribed to them and unsubscribed from them only to subscribe again. They are an index of a certain mood, and as such are unbearable once that mood has slipped away.

A woman sits at the next table listening to a tutorial on her new iPhone. He listens too, percolating in anger.

An older guy says “red wine for me” and his younger wife says “make it a big one.”

Crossing the street, he hears a scream, really a yell. He thinks, first, “The surplus of our industries shouts at passing buses from street corners” and then, as he crosses another street, “Our industry’s surplus shouts at buses from our corners” and then, much later, “The future like the past. Sometimes moreso, sometimes less so.”

He can’t understand what his daughter says on the phone. Most of his side of the conversation revolves around asking her to repeat what she just said.

Later, reading Bookforum in the backseat of the car until he gets woozy, his mother asks “What do you call a PhD in physiotherapy?” He responds “a PhD in physiotherapy.” Later he is asked several times if he has ever been to this particular chain restaurant. Each time, unfailingly, he responds in the affirmative.

They seem happy enough, the people playing golf.

On the TV, someone says “One thousand of these are being offered exclusively to the viewers of this network.”

A life lived with only the most casual relationships. The people who serve you various drinks, the people who sell you various items, some of them on a daily basis. The people who work on airplanes and who work in airline terminals. The people on the phone. This life somehow balanced awkwardly, verging even on imminent collapse, with the increasing mandate to “up-sell.” He is offered credit cards and membership cards and other special offers and opportunities to make donations to local charities. His drinks go from small to medium and then to large, though he refuses the option of a shot of flavor, hazelnut maybe.

Mid-range relationships: Doctors and therapists. Long-distance friends. The colleagues he doesn’t really talk to. Parents.

His father says “Boston really blew it signing this guy” and then “You know I don’t know half the players on either Boston or Tampa Bay” and then “Oh, Longoria got picked off.” He tears another page out of Bookforum.

He handles, earlier, an iPad in the Apple Store. Just as one tipped off as to a catastrophic terrorist attack would ready in his mind the phrase like a Hollywood movie! he has readied It looks and feels like the future! Though he’s had the opportunity to handle one before, he has put it off as long as possible – put it off until today. He nearly purchases one just to have something to think about for awhile – like an irresponsible person in a personal crisis would purchase a pet. He pictures himself, his future, laying in bed reading ebooks and watching movies and then realizes that his future feels less metal and glass and ebooks and more cigarette butts and paper cups and humidity both inside and out.

His father says, “The course was designed by Arnold Palmer. That’s why it doesn’t have any fairways near the greens. Arnold Palmer believed, at least at one point, that you should be able to make the green in one.”

He notices that the road in has been built on a berm and then he sees the tiny stream. He pictures first a flat and flooded road and then the building of the berm with fill.

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July 7, 2010 at 4:45 am