Monday, April 30, 2007


He came to the music college I attended in 1968 or 9. I recall a master class he gave to which all were invited. His voice was not easy to hear, especially with the accent, but he didn't need it to show us things. Like the difference between volume and intensity. How to beam a note to the back of the hall, even though it's played piano. I can still hear -- almost see -- the soft note he played to demonstrate, how it seemed to eliminate distance, to radiate from an infinitesimal, near point, penetratingly present as if through high quality earphones. A generous, large, gifted human being. Photo via.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

riff on a theme of

"...even remembering Buchenwald is barbaric." found here
The above in its context might mean something entirely other from what jumped out at me when I read that post, which has largely to do with Walter Benjamin and Nabokov, and aesthetics and politics. As fascinating as it is, I can't be sure whether what it means there is close to what this group of words seemed to blurt to me in passing.

We remember things too barbaric to remember. We write, make films, sing, record history. What's odd is Memory, in which we have our being, (according to Augustine among others), is here said to be barbaric qua her basic job description, her thankless toil of transcription.

The unspeakable is never quite unspeakable. Something that awful (name your poison) not only should never have been, but instanter, by the ethos of the drawing room and the awards ceremony, should be barred from memory. Or, another way: The faculty itself, had it any civil sense of decency, should brook no such atrocity. Memory should drown itself before doing such dirty work.
to argue for culture, or make culture’s gestures, is to betray everything culture used to stand for, is as barbarous as any of culture’s enemies have ever been. #
The boarding school girls of Mnemosyne, brood-hen of culture, speak what took place, however unspeakable, dancing. Misshapen hate speech hating to misspeak.

This capacity, caul athwart the fine figure of the man of sensibility - seeking to evade the speaking of his mind - makes him
  • barbaric - (a slave by nature, according to Aristotle) - not by choice not by taste but merely by memory
  • one whose unthought laughs at civility, makes mows,
  • sculpts the inhuman
  • from the starched peruke of good manners.
Prodigious incontinent Memory fails us, failing to forget.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The reception of Moyers is predicted by his story

"The institutional decay which Moyers chronicles is not merely a matter of historical interest. Instead, it continues to shape our mainstream political dialogue every bit as much as it did back in 2002 and 2003." Greenwald.

"Moyers' program frustrated and depressed me, for the simple reason that it showed how well-protected the US state is from any real democratic challenge." Perrin.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

dancer from dance

The stock market has been a lousy barometer of the economy.

From the beginning of 2004 through the first quarter of 2006, economic growth averaged an impressive 3.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 6%. Since then, economic growth has slowed to a little more than 2%, yet the blue-chip index has leapt 18%, ending yesterday's session at a record 13089.89, the first time it has closed above 13000.

So, is the stock market providing reassurance? Or is it out of touch?
Heard on the Street
When the Wall St. Journal asks about the reliability of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (sub req'd), it suggests a loosening in the bowels of our public thing.

We wonder whether those things that we've habitually interpreted a certain way can still be reliably so read. A widening gap between sign and sense, symptom and diagnosis, poll and will of the people, song and political vision of the singer, idiocy and idiot, performance...

and performance review.

This sort of stochastic simulation of legibility can lead to a different sort of anxiety from that marketed to us by mainstream media. We aren't worried about Bush, or the economy, etc., but about whether any of our habitual signs, those usual sources of navigational compass, still mean what we thought they used to mean, or whether anyone remembers what they even are.

A meta-anxiety, a different order of paranoia. Less immediate, more global. Less physical, more difficult to resolve or enclose in any strict, disciplined, scientific way.

An anxiety of reading.

Spectacular Moyers

Buying the War would seem a pretty sharp piece of journalism. Packed with stats, interviews, glimpses of the USian press in denial, in suckage, in syncophancy, in DanRatherism, in policy diktats that show, in the case of MSNBC and mineshaft canary Phil Donohue, that Joe McCarthy could rest quietly instead of having to rise up and hold public hearings. Unelected powers were sufficient to put terror of the number into the heart of corporate media.

Moyers' critique was well constructed journalism, sufficiently devastating to the NY Times and its ilk to be news. It didn't make the Times' previews.

The spectacle continues to make a spectacle of itself.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

living second

Albert Ruesga of White Courtesy Telephone on life.

Monday, April 23, 2007

muted voices

Also we have all the urge to immerse us in polarity's stagnant pools, each to his own end.
Ignorant redneck shitheels versus lily-neck book-brains.

Yesterday I attended a Yom Hashoah - a remembrance of the Holocaust at a Catholic Cathedral, addressing a congregation largely of Jews and Catholics from Southwest Florida. One difference: 13 candles for 13 million.

The main speaker was a Rabbi who spoke in broad terms of the human condition as one of being responsible even in our arrested state as prisoners of hope. It was a complex and thoughtful talk, conveying a burden from the past with its inexorable claim upon the attention of the future.

What struck me was how this very serious and solemn gathering -- addressing what is to be remembered and the how and the what and the why of remembrance -- was situated, as it seemed, in an undefined space between fragments of two vast and vastly different territories of faith and commitment.

The Rabbi spoke from his history, but the speaking took place in a kind of de-religionated zone. An open space in which speaking and hearing occur, but any articulation of the differences between the fundamental traditions and approaches grosso modo of Catholicism and Judaism was left unspoken. It may be my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with Christians speaking of hope as imprisoning. From my admittedly spotty reading, hope within the Christian tradition is precisely what greases the turning intoward liberation.

...sì non si perde,
che non possa tornar, l'etterno amore,
mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde.

none is so lost
that that the eternal love cannot return
so long as hope has some flowering of green.

Later I said to the friend who had invited me that there was something very USian - a blurring of differences in, well, hope of reaching something both traditions can accept that still has substance.

Polarities are not transcended by virtue of being unspoken. Though I guess larger dialogues hold their tongues in order for anything at all to be sayable.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

for the gipper

not arms. death.

the right to bear death.

it's my democratic right to kill you if you deny me my democratic right to kill you.

ok, buster?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Theory of Elverything

nod to tony

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hank dials in

"It's time we had a talk."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

groping toward Coatlicue

From the madness of killing 33 strangers to the groping desperation of the public, it was a day that reminded you how clueless and on edge many Americans are... Dennis Perrin
And how unhelped they are by the vast resources of chromeblood USia. By, e.g.,

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Monday, April 16, 2007

USian Journaljizm is Number

More Than 20 Killed, Dozens Wounded
In Shooting at Virginia Tech University
Arsociated Press
April 16, 2007 1:03 p.m.

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech Monday morning, killing 22 people in the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history. The gunman was killed but it was unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life.

"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," said Virginia Tech president Charles Steger. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified." (See the full text of the University's statement.)

The university reported shootings at opposite sides of the 2,600-acre campus, beginning at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston,

  1. Un matin, cependant que dans la triste rue
  2. Les maisons, dont la brume allongeait la hauteur,
  3. Simulaient les deux quais d'une rivière accrue,

a co-ed residence hall that houses 895 people, and continuing about two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building. The name of the gunman wasn't released.

BASEBALL STATS AHEAD: Up until Monday, the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history took place in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire. He killed 16 people before he was gunned down by police. In the Columbine High bloodbath near Littleton, Colo., in 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

On Monday, one student was killed in a dorm and the others were killed in the classroom, Virginia Tech Police Chief W.R. Flinchum. After the shootings, all entrances to the campus were closed and classes canceled through Tuesday.

It was second time in less than a year that
  • ** Number of calories you burn by kissing for one minute: 26
  • ** Percentage of people who say they want to be rid of their current partner: 8
  • ** Percentage of third marriages that end in divorce: 90
the campus was closed because of a shooting. In August 2006, the opening day of classes was canceled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area.

We consider the response of a uniformly accelerated monopole detector that is coupled non-linearly to the nth power of a quantum scalar field in (D+1)-dimensional flat spacetime. We show that, when (D+1) is even, the response of the detector in the Minkowski vacuum is characterized by a Bose-Einstein factor for all n. Whereas, when
A sheriff's deputy involved in the manhunt was killed on a trail just off campus. The accused gunman, William Morva, faces capital murder charges.

Virginia Tech, with more than 26,000 full-time students, is located about 240 miles from Washington.

Copyright © 2007 Associated Press

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Resource for Civil Bloggers

A blog that might seem strangely familiar to some but under a different monicker than in those rushed times of yore, has resurrected a post of mine, which once appeared on the predecessor to this iteration of IMproPRieTies, long since deceased.

Upon a re-read under the conditions of this recent era of civil enforcement, or forced civility, it seemed timely enough to set here now Ynotes's rendering of those old notes.

The "content" is not mine, I was simply channelling a loopy fellow writing 210 years ago.

Source: Tom Matrullo's New Commonplace Book

Recently the question has arisen as to what help is there for those who wish to improve their blogging. As our small contribution to this immense, serious, and fully urgent problem, we offer the following nuggets gleaned from a faulty edition of some mad Germans:

  1. It is equally deadly for the mind to have a system or to have none. Therefore it will have to decide to combine both.
  2. Publication is to thinking as confinement is to the first kiss.
  3. Whoever does not philosophize for the sake of philosophy, but rather uses philosophy as a means, is a sophist.
  4. The analytical writer observes the reader as he is; accordingly, he makes his calculation, sets his machine to make the appropriate effect on him. The synthetic writer constructs and creates his own reader; he does not imagine him as resting and dead, but lively and advancing toward him. He makes that which he had invented gradually take shape before the reader’s eyes, or he tempts him to do the inventing for himself. He does not want to make a particular effect on him, but rather enters into a solemn relationship of innermost symphilosophy or sympoetry.
  5. What one usually calls reason is only one kind of the same, namely the thin and watered-down kind. There is also a thick, fiery reason that makes wit truly wit and lends to the terse style buoyancy and magnetism.
  6. Not art and works of art make an artist, but sense and enthusiasm and instinct.
  7. Some speak of the public as if it were someone with whom they have had dinner at the Liepzig Fair in the Hotel de Saxe. Who is this public? The public is not a thing, but rather an idea, a postulate, like the church.
  8. To polemicize against individuals shows the pettiness of a retailer.
  9. What is called good society is usually nothing but a mosaic of polished caricatures.
  10. Even a friendly conversation that cannot at any given moment be broken off voluntarily with complete arbitrariness has something illiberal about it.

~ F. von Schlegel, Aphorisms, (1797)

nod: ufo

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

There was a young lady at sea

There was a young lady at sea

Who said, "How it hurts me to pee!"

"I see," said the mate,

"That accounts for the state

Of the captain, the purser, and me."

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mute the Press

It's a little difficult to tell through a search of the New York Times whether it has actually covered certain stories or not. Ok, more than a little difficult, it's totally impossible. Insert your search term and retrieve however many links to "free previews" of stories going back a ways. Since the previews are snips containing the search term, there's often no way to say for sure that the story is actually centered on someone, or just mentions them in passing.

It might be worthwhile to ask how it can be that the News Organ that pretends for all the world to be the authoritative newspaper of record on all newsworthy things can simultaneously withhold from public view whether it even is or is not a source for stories that one might wish to research.

I happened to be trying to see whether the Times has ever done a story about Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. You can do the search yourself, and let me know if you have any better luck. She's mentioned in passing, dissed in a film review, sort of a tangent quote here and there. But her feat of becoming a serious and respected conveyor of news by quilting together hundreds of small, local media to build what's essentially a grassroots national alternative radio and television network -- a story that would seem, in the information age, at least as relevant as the release of a new DVD of Mario Bava films, this story seems to remain to be reported by the Mother of all NewsFitToPrint.

I was checking on whether the Times had gotten around to Goodman after looking at and participating in this thread regarding, in part, the quality of information, the level of public discourse, in the US these days, in light of a pointer there to Umberto Eco's remarks on the nature of Fascism, "Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt."

The question being, how a fifth rate anything like Mr. Geo. W. Bush could talk his way not just into the most powerful position on Earth, but then further wartalk his way right up into his own arse with the most reductive view of reality, the most puerile ideas about life, politics, and co-existence, the most dumbed-down, porcine representations of others and evil and freedumb etc. ever offered to the USian political arena -- clusters of idiotic speech and venal nonthought that would not pass muster in a 5th grade classroom in Boston in 1828. I mean, it makes one wonder.

Wonder, e.g., what illumination was not offered by mainstream media. Yes, it's a blogger's duty to wonder that. But what specifically seemed wonderful is that so many instances of lucidity present themselves, a spectrum of informed visions of life and reality that just don't seem to make it into public consciousness.

When was the last time Naomi Klein, eg, was invited on the nightly news to ask,
When you can create such a booming economy around war and disaster, around destruction and reconstruction, over and over and over again, what is your peace incentive? Democracy Now
(via here)

Klein, Goodman, and a great many others are spectral nonentities, Amurhikan Non-idols. Unsurvivables. They never got to the island in the first place. Gesturing vainly under the giant Mute Button we call Secure Corporate USian Media, or SCUM.

The Times cannot countenance Goodman. Or, it can, but it would then have to make up stuff about why its representation of the world seems so vacuous by comparison. Instead of taking an honest journalistic position that might say, "this journalist's critique is one we should emulate," it's so much easier to just hit mute, and kill any search utility while you're at it.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

allied tutorial bitch [updated]

In blogging, we do not get to be who we want, and we are Everything We Ever Were, at the same time. We are someone, no one, and everyone. We are the same and radically different. We are completely present and absolutely absent.

I've talked with long-time blog friends, and written here in the past, about the duality, triality, multi-ality of blogging. It is mind bending--how it can be everything, and simultaneously, nothing at all. Because we are here and we aren't. That is precisely what blogging is.

I have always operated within that context, not the one that constrains me like a straight-jacket today.

#9. To run with a mob and lynch even a person who deserves it is not satire, but a sin.

Humorless Bitch:
What showed up instead, en masse, was a lot of ego-underbelly. The dark side of narcissism.

Madame L:

Going back to the metropolis, my idea is that we are not facing a process of development and growth of the old city, but the institution of a new paradigm whose character needs to be analysed. Undoubtedly one of its main traits is that there is a shift form the model of the polis founded on a centre, that is, a public centre or agora, to a new metropolitan spatialisation that is certainly invested in a process of de-politicisation, which results in a strange zone where it is impossible to decide what is private and what is public. via

Asshat Inc. Press:
A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs

Asshat Inc. Anxiety Production Dept., Section Rumor, Block 63, cell iv:
Falafel Pajamas in a Turd of Tasty Bugs

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Double Feature

As Tom took up the receiver the compressed heat exploded into sound and we were listening to the portentous chords of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from the ballroom below.

“That drug-store business was just small change,” continued Tom slowly, “but you’ve got something on now that Walter’s afraid to tell me about.”

He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing

dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about . . . like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees at

when they had torn open her shirtwaist, still damp with perspiration, they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap, and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath.

So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

bulkin' up

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

vision parrhesia

You don’t have to be a genius to read the signs.

We have a growing middle class, being reared on a diet of radical consumerism and aggressive greed. Unlike industrializing western countries which had colonies from which to plunder resources and generate slave labour to feed this process, we have to colonize ourselves, our own nether parts.

We’ve begun to eat our own limbs.

The greed that is being generated (and marketed as a value interchangeable with nationalism) can only be sated by grabbing land, water and resources from the vulnerable.

What we’re witnessing is the most successful secessionist struggle ever waged in Independent India. The secession of the middle and upper classes from the rest of the country.

It’s a vertical secession, not a lateral one. They’re fighting for the right to merge with the world’s elite somewhere up there in the stratosphere.

They’ve managed to commandeer the resources , the coal, the minerals, the bauxite, the water and electricity. Now they want the land to make more cars, more bombs, more mines – super toys for the new super citizens of the new superpower. So it’s outright war, and people on both sides are choosing their weapons. Roy

Monday, April 02, 2007

Beside the white chickens

The difference between




puts into relief

the fact


medium is less message

than world.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Of mice and media

John Hockenberry offers a glimpse of NBC News inc. via Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought. Also found there: a timely Ehrenreich piece I'd missed.

Fire ant raft