Archive for April, 2009

All Very Interesting

April 17, 2009

From NYRB:

Specifically, Bion challenged Beckett—whose devotion to the Cartesians shows how much he had invested in the notion of a private, inviolable, nonphysical mental realm—to reevaluate the priority he gave to pure thought. Bion’s Grid, which accords phantasy processes their full due in mental activity, is in effect an analytic deconstruction of the Cartesian model of thinking. In the psychic menagerie of Bion and Klein, Beckett may also have found hints for the protohuman organisms, the worms and bodiless heads in pots, that populate his various underworlds.

Bion seems to have empathized with the need felt by creative personalities of Beckett’s type to regress to prerational darkness and chaos as a preliminary to an act of creation. Bion’s major theoretical work, Attention and Interpretation (1970), describes a mode of presence of analyst to patient, stripped of all authority and directedness, that is much the same (minus the jokes) as that adopted by the mature Beckett toward the phantom beings who speak through him. Bion writes:

To attain the state of mind essential for the practice of psycho-analysis I avoid any exercise of memory; I make no notes…. If I find that I am without any clue to what the patient is doing and am tempted to feel that this secret lies hidden in something I have forgotten, I resist any impulse to remember….

A similar procedure is followed with regard to desires: I avoid entertaining desires and attempt to dismiss them from my mind….

By rendering oneself “artificially blind” [a phrase that Bion quotes from Freud] through the exclusion of memory and desire, one achieves…the piercing shaft of darkness [that] can be directed on the dark features of the analytic situation.

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Fave Trax: Kate Bush

April 17, 2009

Perhaps these songs have been overexposed at this point (partial blame belongs to my fabulous mixtapes), but aside from being the best song of all time, “Sat in Your Lap” also sports the best cover image of any music recording ever released, so I thought it was worth sharing. Click on the picture or “the song” for the song.

Sat in Your Lap 7" cover

Sat in Your Lap 7" cover

I included “The Big Sky” on one of the aforementioned mixtapes, but again, the picture on the back of the 12″ is very, very cool looking indeed. Click on the very cool picture for alternate mixes and a b-side, if you’re so inclined.

Big Sky (12 back cover)

The Big Sky (12" back cover)

Hope Spiral, the Anti-Blogger

April 15, 2009

The opposite of our humble weblog, marshmallow Care Bears notwithstanding.

Cf. L. Cohen quip below.

Is it Monday? Feels Like a Monday!

April 14, 2009

Leonard Cohen interview; Steve Turner NME

Finally I ask him whether he finds a lot of joy in his life. He laughs a little to himself. “I don’t know,” he says. “I don’t look at it in that way.”

“I don’t go around looking for joy. I don’t go around looking for melancholy either. I don’t have a programme. I’m not on an archeological expedition.”

Archeological expedition! LOLZ!!

Neo-Situ

April 11, 2009

The zeitgeist had a Sitatutionist color for me today:

First I read in the NYT about the New School students protesting Bob Kerrey’s ineptitude as president of their university, which took the form of locking themselves in a building and reading Situationist tracts from Strasbourg ’66 to the crowd outside – Knowing nothing about the New School situation my main criticism of their “action” is directed towards their reading of ancient revolutionary pamphlets. Though an excellent provocation and elucidating a still relevant general critique, “On The Poverty…” was part of an effort by a particular group of people at a particular time to confront and undermine the dang Spectacle on their own terms. Today the enemy is the same and yet not, and so must our rebellion retain its essential antagonistic refusal while damning the nasty particulars in our midst (duh). I then checked up on ye olde anarcho news wire to-day and found some cryptic bits about the “tarnac 9“, some French maybe-colleagues that seem to have gotten the boot stuck in by them French pigs. – If I read French I might be able to get at their Programme a little more – A preliminary sampling of their translated theses/statements leads me to believe that they have arrived at notions about insurrection/rebellion similar to my own, and aren’t we always pleased to find our wisdom confirmed by like minds? Lots of talk of a rejection of the metropolis via a kind of commune, of undermining the hyper-specialized world of helplessness we live in through mutual education, etc – nothing novel in the sphere of ideas but rarely encountered outside of my conversations with Tim –

Which is why I was tickled to find the Tarnac fellows, whose “Coming Insurrection” is more or less a modern chapter of “The Revolution of Everyday Life”, which is to say a contemporary critique written by those who have learned from the endeavors of our predecessors but aren’t oppressed by their failures. I have found it strange and frustrating over the years to find so little in the way of relatively mature “situationist” flavored thinking and writing as I troll the interweb – there’s no shortage of hagiography and handwringing about the legacy of ’68, and I’ve found a lot of primitivists and New Age white mystic bullshitters and hare-brained TAZ types and earnest syndicalists who sprinkle a few Debordisms around but few who express a tolerably well-reasoned, anti-Work philosophy of refusal (I’m talking about white people, white formally educated goobers like myself living in Europe or North America) – Of course this is the sort of thing that I should be doing, if I’m so in to it.

Depression makes one lazy, the mind entropic, etc.

My last Situationist encounter of the day came via a link on bookforum, which in turn brought me to an article written by Hal Foster in the LRB, wherein he discusses a collection of Debord’s correspondence – it’s not too shabby.

Külture Jammin’

April 4, 2009

From the New York Times:

But the drop of Mr. Reed’s name allows “Adventureland” to make heartfelt use of “Satellite of Love,” one of his loveliest songs and part of a soundtrack that runs the gamut of more or less period-appropriate sounds, from the sublimity of Hüsker Dü to the ridiculousness of a bar band covering Foreigner. Otherwise Mr. Mottola is careful not to fetishize or lampoon the 1980s with silly hairdos or too-obvious topical references.

Ha ha ha!! Ha ha!!! No comment!!!  Ha ha ha, etc: