Archive for March, 2010

Nate Rappople

March 31, 2010

From the March 12 TLS

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Connect 2 Dots

March 31, 2010

Because Doomspirals Brown alluded to the DAZZLE of MODERNITY…:

If modern life is indeed so suffused with the sense of the fleeting, the ephemeral, the fragmentary, and the contingent, then a number of profound consequences follow. To begin with, modernity can have no respect for its own past, let alone that of any pre-modern social order. The transitoriness of things makes it difficult to preserve any sense of historical continuity. If there is any meaning to history, then that meaning has to be discovered and defined from within the maelstrom of change, a maelstrom that affects the terms of discussion as well as whatever it is that is being discussed. Modernity, therefore, not only entails a ruthless break with any or all preceding historical conditions, but is characterized by a never-ending process of internal ruptures and fragmentations within itself.

Jah pull this quote from David Harvey’s great book with a weird cover, The Condition of Postmodernity, because him just found out that Mr. Harvey has an new 13-part series of online lectures in which he explains everything you ever wanted to know from your internet about Marx’s Capital. I’ll downlow it to my gadget and give you a full report next time we have nothing better to talk about.

Princess Mononoke: A Highlight

March 26, 2010

Hard Difficulties

March 19, 2010

Was feeling the current Harper’s “Notebook,” a brief overview of Haiti’s recent history. Didn’t know the U.S. had fucked up Haiti so methodically (or at all), ’cause I’m ignorant. SOMEONE PLEASE REFRESH ME BRAINFIRE ‘BOUT THE MYRIAD DAZZLING BENEFITS OF MODERNITY?

In 2008, a spike in food prices provoked the world’s poor to riot against the governments of Haiti, Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. Haitians lined up for rations and filled their bellies with fine silt mixed with water, shortening, and salt, shaped into discs and set out to harden in the morning sun. Dirt eating in Haiti stems from a craving not for any trace minerals the eaters may ingest but for the sheer mass in the gut. As one woman said to a journalist, “Once you eat [the biscuits], you don’t feel hungry anymore. That and a glass of water and you feel satisfied.” To supplement the clay cakes, children compete with pigs for the gleanings along open sewers. “No one talks about the sugar,” said a furious woman in a public market. “No one talks about the corn, the beans, and the oil. No one talks about the education for the kids. No one cares about what we go through.”

In the logic of economic development, land that feeds people is underemployed, freeholder sufficiency is poverty, and independence from wage work is backwardness. People once called isolated and unproductive now starve from being integrated and unemployed. They starve, in other words, from the very dependency that represents their modernity. These millions of Haitians—the great-great-grandchildren of the slaves who instructed the luminaries of the European Enlightenment on the meaning of liberty, the great-grandchildren of the proud smallholders whose cassava and dasheen gave material meaning to that freedom—grind earth between their teeth.

A Construction of mind or Mind

March 16, 2010

While there surely is such a world, our only access to it, Rorty and Margolis say, is through our own efforts to apprehend it. Margolis: “The real world … is not a construction of mind or Mind … but the paradigm of knowledge or science is certainly confined to the discursive powers of the human.” Thus the content of realism — of what the best up-to-date accounts of the world tell us — is constructively determined by the workings of a culture-bound process of hypothesis, experiment, test and calculation that is itself a constructed artifact and as such can change even as it guides and assesses research. In the absence of the alternative pragmatism rejects — something called Mind equipped with something called reason which enables it to describe accurately something called the World (Bacon’s dream) — “realism cannot fail to be constructivist, though reality is not itself … constructed” (Margolis).

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/15/pragmatisms-gift/

Kate and Anna McGarrigle – Live, 1981

March 10, 2010

Theater of War

March 3, 2010

I’ve been reading about peace processes that took place in Latin America in the 1980s/1990s and came across a wild nugget about the Peruvian guerrilla organization Sendero Luminoso (“Shining Path”). Sendero Luminoso were atypical among Central & South American revolutionary movements as they were a vanguard movement rather than a popular movement: i.e. keen on carrying the banner of pure ideology rather than mobilizing a base. Anyone who strayed from doctrine was subject to assassination: not only the political bosses and big landowners of the countryside, but leftist intellectuals who sought to reform the state (rather than smash it) or peasants who participated in rural farmers’ markets (“capitalist practices”). In reality, Sendero Luminoso was only a thousand or so individuals strong, and in a few short years the group would lose the guerrilla war because they alienated their social base, but Peruvians in the urban areas couldn’t grasp the group’s limited & power waning power–they just knew there were neo-Maoist madmen in the mountains who claimed to be the Fourth Sword of Marxism and wanted to ransack the nation-state and destroy its seats of power. And how could the people of Lima not be terrified when the group was pulling wildstyle David Copperfield/Criss Angel shit up in the mountains?:

“The guerillas’ weakness was not evident to those who lived in the capital. In the mid-1980s, Limeños had been subjected to blackouts that would reveal an enormous bonfire in the shape of a hammer and sickle etched into the desert mountains and silhouetted against the sky.”

Wha-ii?! Dudes would trip the switch on the city’s lights and draw all eyes to their looming, blazing, menacing logo?! Like a badass Al-Qaeda lazer show.