Archive for November, 2008

Provocative(?) Fascist(?) Quote

November 30, 2008

“As long as the sun shall shine on man’s misfortunes, the sheep will be eaten by the wolf”

G. Le Bon, quoted in Vilfredo Pareto’s The Rise and Fall of Elites (1901)

What’s a good euphemism for “sin-fucked death rage”?

November 26, 2008

Today’s Washington Post is running a lazy rotten apologia for torture policies written by a heavy-set man I have met on occasion in a professional setting. “No New Torture Probes,” by Jack Goldsmith.

Goldsmith’s position is “totally fucked up, insane and eerily human.”  The basic argument seems to be that future administrations should not investigate the Bush administration’s torture policies because (1) torture seemed reasonable at the time, (2) legal action “would smack of political retribution,” (3) following through with the law will make the intelligence agencies risk-averse, (4) the whole process would be a real head-ache and not very worth it, and (5) the perpetrators have already suffered enough (in non-metaphysical ways, such as somehow having lost some money). For example:

The investigations and public recriminations of the past few years have led many government lawyers to be more risk-averse and politically sensitive than ever. They have also had a harmful effect on the lawyers’ clients, especially in the CIA. In response to the many investigations, CIA officials are “lawyered up” and are drawing down their legal liability insurance. None of these officials are likely to go to jail. But the ordeal of answering subpoenas, consulting lawyers, digging up and explaining old documents, and racking one’s memory to avoid inadvertent perjury is draining, not to mention distracting, for those we ask to keep the country safe.

And worse, it has spooked the intelligence community. When the CIA was asked to engage in aggressive tactics early in the Bush administration, it knew from bitter experience that the political winds would change and that it might be subject to “retroactive discipline.” And so it sought approval from the president and his Cabinet, informed congressional leadership many times about what it was doing and got what it thought were airtight legal opinions from the Justice Department.

But these safeguards failed, and the CIA is once again mired in investigation and controversy. The lesson learned by many at the agency is that politically sensitive counterterrorism actions should be avoided, even if they are deemed legal and even if they have the express approval of political officials. We are going to be living with this skittishness for a long time, to the detriment of our security.

Yet another round of investigations during the Obama administration, even by a bipartisan commission, would exacerbate this problem. It would also bring little benefit. The people in government who made mistakes or who acted in ways that seemed reasonable at the time but now seem inappropriate have been held publicly accountable by severe criticism, suffering enormous reputational and, in some instances, financial losses. Little will be achieved by further retribution.

Little will be achieved? Sir, there are few barriers left separating modern culture from barbaric non-Tristonian anarchism, and you seem to think that defending them would be too annoying? Are you fucking me? Are you the ouroboros zeitgeist horseman of my personal apocalypse?

Part of the tactic in the essay is to call torture by other names, and generally cast doubt on and around it in the tried and true style of nobody really knows if global warming is true or who is to really say one way or the other if dinosaurs existed?  Even though the public record (which Goldsmith relies on to illustrate that his dudes have already been punished enough!) amply demonstrates that US personnel — in a directed, premeditated fashion — tied humans to waterboards and lowered them into Abu Guantanamo sodomized with fluorescent light-bulbs electric shock dogs satan pyramid naked satan cruel and unusual we killed the indians for this? mind-death and why. 

Etc.

I guess the main thing to say is that Goldsmith does not take the charges very seriously. When the reader’s mind does what the author refuses, and replaces all euphemisms about “aggressive techniques” with “actual torture,” the reader is entitled to pray to Jesus that the real Uncle Sam will come down out of the Appalachian Mountains and mend all crooked things. (To avoid hypocrisy, I had to refrain from wishing that Uncle Sam would “scalp Rumsfeld and boil John Bolton in his blood”)

[I invite Tritone to update this entry from his mom’s house — a place well-steeped in shredding WP Op-Eds]

Q&A

November 25, 2008

Karl Rove in the NYT, 11/14/08:

Have you met Barack Obama?
Yes, I know him. He was a member of the Senate while I was at the White House and we shared a mutual friend. . . .

Are you going to send him a little note congratulating him?
I already have. I sent it to his office. I sent him a handwritten note with funny stamps on the outside.

What kind of funny stamps?
Stamps.

Jargon Update

November 21, 2008

Though perhaps not as relevant as it may have been in our lascivious youth, medical slang experts have nevertheless asked me to distribute this urgent memo.

“Effective 1 December 2008, the syndrome formerly known as AYBAN will now also be recognized as “Climax Blues”.  Dr. Christophe Fournier, the current president of Medecins Sans Frontieres, commented Friday that term “Climax Blues,” in addition to its descriptive qualities, is “tres drôle”.

Despair and Its Critics (AKA Barely Holding On)

November 20, 2008

Sentence in a New York Times architecture review:

But if you want reaffirmation that human history is an upward spiral rather than a descent into darkness, head to the new California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, which opens on Saturday.

Thank you for being frank, sir [Born into money edition]

November 18, 2008

The title of this post contains no word-play so as to make up for the terrible slant-pun title of the article I now wish to quote from: “Kaiser Roll” (subtitled: “Downturn doesn’t ding Brahmin broker A. Laurance Kaiser IV–‘The Sukarnos are very close friends of mine’“).

Kaiser Roll? Actually come to think of it this is a Slovach (meaningless sound-association of “Kaiser” and “roll”) on top of a slant (what exactly is the relationship between a wealthy,  up-market realtor and a variety of sandwich bread?). Points to the author for boldfaced nonsense, I suppose.

Anyhow, I happened upon this tres humorous article in the print edition of a July New York Observer. The circumstances are too boring to divulge. The article has many “rich” quotes and, depending on your schedule, may be worth reading in whole. Now, let me step aside and allow the Kaiser the stage:

“For the past 15 generations, nobody in my family has had to work,” said A. Laurance “Larry” Kaiser IV, the high-end Upper East Side real estate broker. “You work because you have to contribute to society.”

Mr. Kaiser, 66, was sitting upright in his small Madison Avenue office last month. A day earlier, two top executives at Lehman Brothers had lost their jobs and the Federal Reserve released a grim economic report: Manhattan real estate is “down sharply … inventories of unsold units have risen.”

Has Mr. Kaiser, a broker since 1968, been anxious? “Not in the past 40 years,” he said. “Why would I be worried? I have no problems whatsoever. And I constantly get calls from every broker, ‘Where do you get your customers?’ I was born with them. I went to school with them. They know exactly who I am.”

School was Harrow in England; then Switzerland’s Le Rosey, where Flavian Kasavubu, the son of the Republic of Congo’s first president, was a roommate. The sons of William Woodward Jr., the legendary banking heir killed by his socialite wife, were “my dearest friends.” And there was Princie Baroda, the son of the Maharaja of Baroda, “who was wonderful. We went on tiger shoots there, 500 elephants-and a thousand bearers.

“I went to school with people who are loyal years later. I mean I had many, many, many Arab customers before anybody did because I went to school with Saudi Arabian boys and the boys from Lebanon,” he said. “And I know them and I go to Marbella.”

At his office, one of Mr. Kaiser’s clients, the seller of the eight-room, hugely terraced Central Park South penthouse he’s listing for $16 million-who, according to an Observer article, is the arts philanthropist Iris Cantor-phoned twice. Two days later, Mr. Kaiser was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, treating Ms. Cantor, whose late husband co-founded the investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, and three friends, including Walter Annenberg’s stepdaughter Elizabeth Kabler, to lunch.

He wore a light pink polo shirt, a light blue Domenico Vacca sweater around his shoulders, black Valentino jeans and black loafers; he ate a Cobb salad, without chicken, and shared an apple pancake with blueberry sauce and whipped cream for dessert.

He wasn’t the Woodstock type. “But why would I want to be in the counterculture? We had cars and drivers and planes and racehorses,” he said, “and I went all over the world and I knew everybody.” So after Fordham, he went to work for Meshulam Riklis, one of the first corporate raiders, or what Mr. Kaiser calls the conglomerateurs: “I was very highly paid and had a chef and chauffeur and whatever else.”

Though I must say a few things give me pause and I faintly suspect the Kaiser of being a charlatan if not a fraud. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is an improper understanding of noblesse oblige:

 He left Mr. Riklis in 1968, which is when a friend, a Lehman heiress and future countess, happened to ask for his help house-hunting. (Mr. Kaiser still has copies of the Social Register, though they’re not quite as important these days: “People who would be better off scraping fish are becoming noblesse oblige,” he said. “Makes me laugh.”)

Or maybe that’s the “proper understanding” and the joke – the rich are obliged to help no one!

Serfs up, dude!

The Kaiser "Roll"

The Kaiser

funny sentence

November 16, 2008

To deny that axiological reasons are, as Nietzsche would have it, nothing more than Zeichensprache of our Affekte does not licence the inference that Affekte do not still have a place in Wertrationalität which they do not have in Zweckrationalität.

 

 

Runciman, WG, “Cultural Selection, Axiological Reasoning, and Paradiastole (I)”

European Journal of Sociology (2007), 48:173-189 Cambridge University Press

 

 

I have enjoyed my friends and family

November 16, 2008

Perhaps, seeing as how I use a brog to communicate with two close friends, I risk calling the kettle black on this quotation, but nevertheless isn’t George’s expressed sentiment a bit strange?

Mr. Obama is the second president to grapple with the idea of [email] isolation. Three days before his first inauguration, George W. Bush sent a message to 42 friends and relatives that explained his predicament.

“Since I do not want my private conversations looked at by those out to embarrass, the only course of action is not to correspond in cyberspace,” Mr. Bush wrote from his old address, G94B@aol.com. “This saddens me. I have enjoyed conversing with each of you.”

Van Dyke Parks’ Guide to Style

November 15, 2008

Look at what this man is wearing:

And, from Clang of the Yankee Reaper:

“Iron Man” (orig. by Squibby [Stanley Cummings])

Blog Competition

November 13, 2008

Now the best binders on the globe have the best binder blog on the globe and moon.

If Nick Cave is Grinderman, TanFin is Binderman.

Commonwelf

November 7, 2008

I’ve had Hardt & Negri on my list of “probably should get to that at some point” but I have yet to summon particular enthusiasm for their tomes – I get the impression that they are a bit, em, verbose, a stylistic camp that I am known to hammer my own florid tent stakes in, but theirs seems to be a bloodless prose, the alienated Continental drift of theorists who aren’t quite sure what they are endeavoring to arrive at precisely… But it is this same trait that keeps them on my list, as I think they are trying to arrive at the same formulation that I, in my lazier, nothing-to-show-for-it way, am also gunnin’ for, which is a coherent, pratical praxis towards the abolition of this Order of Things that I find so abhorrent aka you me we us together hopping off that goddamn snake. There is an interview with Michael Hardt here, where he talks about his third collaboration with Antonio Negri, the development and refinement of their positions, and his conception of the shape of things in the prismatic light of mebbe-so impending economic “doom”. Actual doom has already smothered much of the earth, it being the vast nexus of shadows cast by the castles in the clouds forged by the “boom”. Boooom.

Doomboom AKA Moodroom is still going to be one of our 7-inch titles, ya?

Nostalgia

November 6, 2008

“There’s a lot of fear out there,” said Brian Gendreau, a strategist at ING Investment Management in New York. “Normally markets are driven by fear and greed. Now it’s fear and fear.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/business/07markets.html?hp