Something is in the air


A two year span in France, where the end of the world and the end of school both hit their pitch - the moments before the mushroom cloud, the night before the coup - through pieces of white material floating in the air.  Perhaps because it nailed the sense of time halted, a breath held and gravity held almost in abeyance, before nothing will be the same again. (Or so the story goes, though the boys climbing the roof know what that after the flags and the expulsions, the world as such will still be there.)  Perhaps because nothing that looks that good can happen only one time.

Anti-hero of labor

Despite having plenty of Carnegies, capital has never had a Stakhanov.  And it never will, for it cannot.

There are heroes of Labor and there are those who heroically put up with laboring.  But capital has no hero of labor, for there is no subject of labor.  [See"Labour capacity has appropriated for itself only the subjective conditions of necessary labour -- the means of subsistence for actively producing labour capacity, i.e. for its reproduction as mere labour capacity separated from the conditions of its realization -- and it has posited these conditions themselves as things, values, which confront it in an alien, commanding personification."  Not only does "labour capacity" (read: those who labor) only appropriate for itself (a rather key qualification in the subject-side of things) "subjective conditions", it then posits those conditions, materially and perspectivally, as a set of hostile objects and conditions.]  It just wraps gaudier sheets and sharper fences around its stupid, busy vacancy.  Nations, comportments, types, allegiances, parties, teams.  Class is at once the dodging of this (the declaration of a common identity that needs to "develop" itself) and the threat of mass deixis, a material pointing toward this incoherence, via the act of collective seizure of what surrounds, protects, and produces it.  And that process, of seizing and pointing, is not a gathering of common subjects.

If capital slept, it would toss and turn over this, but it does not sleep and it does not worry.  Neither do we.  All the more hollow a core to crack into view, when historical projects come to the end of their lines, when programs go to shit, when battles go nowhere.  It is not our job to provide capital with the keystone essence that it could not provide.

For like capital, communism begins from and turns on a negative anthropology.  The difference is that we see no point in denying this.  Better to learn to make of the given something than to rummage around for what once may have been.

When those who set out across land come to an ocean, after miles of textured land, thickets, groves, and plateaus, they often build right there, on the edge of that huge shifting void, barred from the land but with the promise of crossing and an idea of arrivals from places that couldn't yet be found or mapped.  A notion that declares a massive nothing yet which, in matter and fact, is always busy, generative, dangerous, never pristine or unused.  Not an outside but the premise of transfer.  Because, at the end of it, even continents are islands.

So too do we, sprained and dusty, making our home next to this terrible emptiness whose wind we've sensed for a long while, that only now is coming into to view.

Hostility directed toward hostile things by means of other hostile things (including one's laboring, consuming, or resting body) turned to that purpose of taking to pieces

Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane - Watch more Funny Videos

[thanks, Chris, for that initial ballet of workplace fury]

Damned if you do

Overhead yesterday:

"My doctor said I can't eat chocolate or nuts because of this cold sore [gesturing to the red weep accenting the mouth], because, you know, I've got herpes.  But I have this whole jar of Nutella just sitting on my desk.  So I don't know what to do.  I'm screwed."

Oh, America, you swath of Ur-urges.
In the name of These States, shall I scorn the antique? 
Why These are the children of the antique, to justify it.

One-man many-voice band

Who was in there with you?
 No one, I was just singing by myself.  
I know about the heads.  I mean who were you talking to?
Oh, the camera!  The camera...
 But there is nothing to say to a camera.
It's true, there's just a slightly dimmed reflection of you and three and a couple spaces below a table and not a gout of blood in sight.
Don't forget the banjo.  I broke another banjo.  
Ah yes, the camera...

World Melodrama Film Series Presents The Scarlet Empress (1934)

And so it begins.  New film series from Erik and me, starting next week.  Kicking off with a hay-chewing, soldier-screwing, monstrous statue-looming, inexplicable coup-succeeding bang.  If you live afar, time to start following along as we set off a 10 week sprint to prove that melodrama may be the undervalued genre of the last century, at least if you like your films as ornamental, formally disjunctive, kinky, and suspiciously anarchic as I do.

“Your husband doesn’t mean a thing to you.”
“He does.  I’ll always be faithful to him.”

“Don’t be absurd.  Those ideas are old-fashioned.  This is the eighteenth century.”

We’re starting the series off this quarter with Josef von Sternberg’s remarkably stylish and overheated costume film, The Scarlet Empress, which is nominally about the events and backdoor machinations leading up to the assassination of Peter III and the ascension to the throne of Catherine II (a.k.a., the Great) in mid eighteenth-century Russia.  What this perfunctory plot summary leaves out, however, is everything that makes this film a seminal example of historical melodrama, from the smutty upstairs-downstairs nocturnal comings-and-goings to the extravagant ornamental details that overwhelm almost every scene to Marlene Dietrich’s breathless naïf who proves to be a very quick study when it comes to learning both how to rule a foreign country as vast as Russia and how to win that country’s military over to her side, one soldier at a time.

Tuesday, April 5th
Stevenson 150, 8 PM

2012 comes a year early

My black book is now real and tangible, feeling a bit like a time capsule lobbed by me a year ago into this now.  (A consequence of this is a set of incidents, cultural material, shifts in my own thinking, etc, that are not present in the book.  When the time comes, I'll write a post-script/addendum/self-rebuttal.)  Real thanks to everyone who helped me turn this mess into a somewhat polished slab of obsidian, neon, and bile.

My sadness, unsurprised but still, is only that what may have appeared to some as merely a rhetorical gesture of sorts - a punning title, a détourned theory, a silly bellicosity, a cute catastrophism for the fuck of it - has, in the year since I finished writing, shown itself all the more to be as deadly serious as I meant it to be.  Would that it had turned out to have been just a bad joke.

It's been a long end of days, and we've got a long, long way to go.  As always, it's communism or catastrophe.  That's it.  And in this case, there's no and/or in sight. 

In the meantime, get your spades, comrades, and let's start digging, upwards this time.


1) Law Defeated

[back from Mexico City.  Deep thanks to everyone there for hospitality, introductions, mezcal, and making me feel entirely at home, albeit happily unmoored, in a place I hope to call home from time to time for a long while to come.]

1940 still life by Paramount photographer Whitey Schafer, constituted of elements banned from publicity shots by the Production Code Administration.  Said elements?

1) Law Defeated
2) Inside of Thigh
3) Lace Lingerie
4) Dead Man
5) Narcotics
6) Drinking
7) Exposed Bosom
8) Gambling
9) Pointing Gun
10) Tommy Gun

These forbidden elements - basically coming together under the form of a thigh or bosom baring woman capable of offing an officer and enjoying it or, in a different register, an audience enjoying that act and its surrounding materials - declared in a period in which watching together meant sitting through this (from Doherty's Pre-code Hollywood: Sex, immorality, and insurrection in American cinema 1930-1934):

If there is popular cinema, then, between the undefeated law held to the side, its thighs wrapped up tight, and the toxic vacuity of No, we'll take a cab..., if there is a dodge between the two doomed options (1. do not engage whatsoever with the terrain of the generally watched and hence lack determinate coordinates of any present, or 2. fall into the idiocy of thinking that there is anything worth saying about the minor modulations of one more iteration of Minor Family and Ego Problems of Rich Attractive People Getting Themselves Into a Pickle Such That They May End With a Slightly Quirky But Ultimately Solid Shoring Up of Various Social Institutions In Accordance With What Daddy Says Is Best or Capital Used to Hire "Skilled Labor" and to Produce the Digital Semblance of Frozen Labor Being Blown Into Fiery Bits by the Actions of Those in Pursuit of Illegal Access to Capital 2: The Second Coming), if there is a stepping through to sit down better, it will find its footing here:

A riot of catcalls and wails which drowned out most of the dialogue...

And that is how to attend and attend to, to watch without waiting to see.

[To follow: yes, but what about the money exchanged for the experience, however boisterous and pressure-releasing it may feel to be?] 

Mexico City

I'm going to Mexico City tomorrow night.  I've never been before, am thrilled.  If anyone has recommendations, friends I might want to meet, or happens to be there in the same too few days I'll be, write me and let me know.  S a/o B, that shadow of mine, will return when I do, despite its stated desire to not come back.


To axes, then.

In addition, we might add:

These days, they pass through a long winter. 

To make matters worse, we are neither a closed nor an open system, but a closed system with little rooms that suddenly open - one way only, it seems - to the outside as to a maw to gorge what we are done eating. 

Inside, but not inside that room as such with that hole, there's coffee that tastes like burning, in small cups with red straws to stir what blurs enough on its own.  So things are fine.

Such that there is always the possibility of exit, of a throwing forth onto the tracks, thereby making us a tidy vaccum (more will exit than will enter and it is only knowing such a passage must have an end that keeps skulls from turning in on themselves, mewing in pain), thereby acting like what we do not see and what is spread diffuse, a slo-mo miasma, what we will not see, how could we not go on?  How could this not roll forever?

But sometimes those little yawning exits gets blocked and frozen solid, and we are reminded that as soon as the point of transfer (the "getting exterior" part of things) toward the vast beyond is backed up a bit, this is a very stinking, very crowded box we have built for ourselves.  Something appears to be seeping out beneath the door of that little room.  Refuse has been shredded into delicate piles, either for distraction or as nests lull the growing number of rodents - fuck, where were they hiding all this time? - into napping and at least leaving those wires be.

And we will go nowhere until it is spring outside or until we admit - or those delegated to admit for us, such that we at best remove a layer and huff a bit  - that it will take those who have already left the train, those with axes and a laugh, those with no manners, that the outside has conditions of its own.  And what we fling out as we fling through space will go nowhere but gather, crystal viscous and thick around our prized yet shat-upon/through "disposal points," it will gather in dumb solidarity with those gathered inside, both sides - the inside stuck matted to the outside, and the inside that continues to be only because it has an outside to yank from and spew into - equally stupid, their drawing breath further wetting the fogged glass.

To axes, then.

Pendulum [Catalogue description beamed back from after the decline of the West]

TITLE: Pendulum
Artists: The New Pessimism
Dimensions variable.  Height: three inches to one mile in length. Width: one centimeter to three inches. Total field of interaction: 2.0943951 cubic miles, plus spray zone (indeterminate)
Materials: Titanium, linear cold generator, magnetized oxide, lubricant (pivot); water, soot, blood, marrow, plastic, feather, excrement, milk, tobacco, glass, bile, wood, pork, sucrose, urine, brick, rubber, ice (pendulum)

Pendulum is, in essence, a simple work.  It was first installed off-site, approximately 18 miles from Head Gallery, thirteen years ago, and it remains off-property.  (That is, it cannot be said to “belong” to the gallery.  The gallery legally owns the small assemblage of material that constitutes the pivot point, but through the ingenious use of some lesser-known Intellectual Property Statutes introduced with the Geneva Convention, the “concept” of the work is excluded from status as either common  or private property.  It literally belongs to no one, although in an accompanying audio tape, the artists stated that “it belongs, as it always did, to the flabby futility of binding science to thought.”) 

The work is best described as falling between an inconstant object, a process piece, and a performance without subjects involved.   Floating one mile above the ground without tether, a single graphite lubed pivot point hangs in the air: an assemblage of small magnets keep it perfectly centered over the installation site  To this pivot is attached a rather crude early version of the linear cold generator, swaying free and pointing its pin-sized beam toward the ground below.  A certain quantity of water is gathered around the pivot, where it remains frozen hard.  However, temperature differentials in the surrounding air cause the outer surface of this small ice lump to melt slightly.  Given the force of gravity, this condensation drips downward, bead by bead, where it immediately freezes around the line of the cold.  What was a blob starts to resemble a short icicle.  This process continues, and Pendulum begins to deform into a thin ray of ice extending toward the earth.  Naturally occurring wind currents, augmented by the disturbance of the ultra-cold beam cutting through them, exert pressure on the pendulum, and it begins to swing.  The momentum of the swing drives the moisture further toward the tip, where it refreezes.  Hence, with every swing, the pendulum grows longer and longer.  It describes a wider and wider arc, whistling over the heads of the city.    It comes closer and closer to the ground, and to the marked zone directly one-mile below the pivot point.  One of two outcomes occurs: either the combination of wind pressure and unstable freezing causes the pendulum to break loose during one of its swings, or it grows downward until, with an oddly delicate and splintering crash, the pendulum strikes the earth and shatters into thousands of shards, droplets, and, given the combined effect of friction and ground temperature, bits of melting slush, all accompanied by a hiss of steam.

Pendulum has remained a controversial work since its inception.  It has killed numerous spectators (the current total stands at 241), although such death, common to most works of our period, has little to do with the controversy.  Rather, a brief consideration of its history, including some of the deaths incurred, give a useful point of entrance to discuss the accusations made against the piece.

First and foremost, the piece has been attacked as a work of neo-Nazi propaganda.  Such an accusation derives from the obvious fact that it is based on the Welteislehre (“World Ice Doctrine”) of Hans Hörbiger, which claimed that the solar system had its origin when a dead wet star smashed into a larger star, its scattered vapors condensing into ice that became the fundamental material of the solar system.  (Ice planets, ice moons, ice ether).  An Austrian steam engineer, Hörbiger's “glacial cosmogony” found favor with the Third Reich as a counter-theory to the “Jewish science” of Einstein, for the rather simple reason that despite being entirely unfounded, it nevertheless provided a seeming accordance: white northern tribes from the frozen north and a solar system founded upon frozen white material.  (Moreover, its lack of accordance with observational phenomena only bolstered its intransigent truth-claims, at least according to Hörbiger, who told Willy Ley: “Either you believe in me and learn, or you will be treated as the enemy.”)  The origin of such a theory came from two moments in Hörbiger's life: first, when he looked at the moon and realized that it looked rather like ice and, second, when he dreamed of an ice pendulum swinging through the emptiness of space, growing longer and longer, until it broke free.  It is from the latter that Pendulum takes its essential determination.

However, to call such this work “neo-Fascist” is to ignore a) the general incoherence of such a designation for the contemporary moment, and b) the way in which the work points toward the petulant obstinacy and total impurity of such a theory.  Regarding the latter points, we should keep in mind that Hörbiger's theory is not a general thermodynamics but a description of a single exception, a regime of ice struggling against an entire universe with which it does not accord.  It is the petty flailing of a thought which would like to remain pure and cannot.  And as for that purity, it should also be kept in mind that condensation forms around a particle of “other” material: that “pure white ice” coheres only because of the included elements of the “filth” it disdains.  This general point, along with the particular fact that Pendulum accumulates a range of filth and refuse both in its passage through the air and in its mopping up from the streets below, had evidently been forgotten by the first victims of Pendulum.  Respectfully keeping their distance from the point of impact yet standing close enough to be splattered by its slushy outburst, they opened their mouths in hope of enacting a sort of ecstatic, sexless money shot.  They were rewarded with a combination of frozen material, ranging from atmospheric sulphur compounds and a not insignificant quantity of irradiated bird droppings, that immediately corroded their stomach lining and internal organs.  It should be noted the blood and other bodily fluids which leaked from their orifices were among the liquids gathered and frozen into the next iteration of Pendulum

Second, due in equal part to such incidents of “obscene splattering” and the general shape of the work, Pendulum has been called a “pathetically phallic” piece, a “fantasy of erection unbound by physiological constraints.”  The curators would not disagree, except to point out that the “pathetic” inflection is one critically engaged by the piece.  Aside from the needle-like slenderness of the pendulum blade and its extreme fragility, it need be remarked only that it cannot be predicted where, when, and how it will break.  If it is a manifestation of phallic law, the model it seems to propose is one of inconstancy, instability, and the impossibility of founding any order of pleasure, reason, or meaning whatsoever.

Third, Pendulum is often considered to belong, however loosely, to the Inhuman School.  The supposed personal connections of some of the artists gives further credence to this, but as we see in how the work pre-engages each of its accusations, nearly posing them itself in order to render them idiotic, it is ultimately a scathing attack on that entire enterprise.  The reason for our assertion has to do not with the work itself during its period of descent (which, indeed, has thoughtlessly cut through scores  of bystanders with a bloody thwup and decimated nearby buildings, with neither malevolence nor care) or with the “apparent” symbolic weight of the piece (which, indeed, gestures to a clock-less pendulum counting a deep time beyond the scope of human metrics), but with the interim stage of its recomposition.  It is the explicit instructions of the artists that after Pendulum has scattered its accumulated frozen matter, the process is to be restarted only in one of two ways. 

1.     It may be left to its own devices, with the chance prospect that enough moisture will gather near the pivot to recommence: the last instance in which such a decision was made led to a seven year period in which Pendulum did not swing.
2.     The gallery workers have to do it themselves by means of sponges, buckets, and scaffolding, thereby rendering such an inhuman event dependent on the banal labor of the underpaid or unpaid.  No aerial transport or machines whatsoever are to be used in setting up Pendulum to swing again.  Hence it is has not been uncommon that during the laborious task of recollecting the dirty and toxic water, it is suddenly discovered that the oscillating glint above the installation site is, in fact, a reconstituted Pendulum, having gathered enough moisture and smoke in the clouds above to have begun its downward sweep once more.

Fourth and finally, Pendulum has been hailed – less accused than acclaimed – as the assertion of the power of speculation after the end of a civilizational sequence,  a razor of rationality sweeping through the dark night, as it “cuts through folly and false images of human importance” and discovers “a project for thought after the collapse of any and all philosophy.”  It should be pointed out that a grosser misreading is scarcely fathomable. 

If the sprays of stinking slush and the recurrent sloppy, pointless, and humid killings –   which point only to the incapacity to not do otherwise – were not enough to dismiss this accusation, one of the stranger instances in Pendulum's history should suffice.  The report of one present reads:  

" On its nineteenth cycle, a large crowd had gathered, variously drunken, hushed, rowdy, reverential, and curious, for the predicted moment when full contact with the ground would be made on the nadir of its swing.  Some stood close and stared at the scarred point where the scrape and break should occur.  Others held back, wisely dressed in oil skins or rubber to stay safe while getting the full visceral brunt of the splatter.  I, for one, was bare-chested and forcing myself to wheeze: word on the street of late was that for those, like myself, with the sickness, those nasty compounds and ice-cured bacteria were one of the few remedies capable of shocking the body back into line.  Around 11:33 PM, having previously swung through the collected mass, thereby splitting them by default into two sides facing off against one another, Pendulum sliced back down, stretched thin and sharp, with a high, keening whistle.  The crowd braced and tightened, the suicidal opened their mouths and bared their chests.  And it stopped: through the rarest combination of rigidity, exact length, weight, inflection, and momentum, Pendulum scraped and skidded to an absolute halt, perfectly vertical, utterly fragile yet unbroken, tracing a radiant, glittering line from the center of the earth out to the pivot.  Nothing moved.  The crowd gaped.  Very slowly, a slight trickle of melt became evident, as the sheer idiocy of this 'pure reason' began, once more, to slur into a stream of reeking slush.  Soon, there was little left but a slightly chilled brackish puddle between the fuming earth and the torpid air."

"the blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the Sun and the Sungod blotted out the day of their return. . . "

"• Western planes are leading air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's military as world leaders ordered the biggest intervention in the Arab world since allied forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The Pentagon announced that the action, codenamed Operation Odyssey Dawn, was under way."

Operation "Odyssey Dawn"?  As in, the beginning of an endless, circuitous, tortured path, beginning in media res after the real war itself has ended, the dawn of what should be a simple return but will constantly find itself caught in eddies, sticky situations, complications?  The doomed entry into what might well be called a morass?

To their credit, as titles for interventions "in the name of democracy" go, this is a step forward in transparency, up there with the self-aware baldness of Operation Freedom Deal.

As a Marxist, I never give it any thought

[I do not recall if I shared this before.  I suspect I have.  It does not matter.  I'm thinking of it again today.  It should be watched once a week, a tonic against mediocrity.]

You understood nothing because you're an average man, right?

Well, yeah.

But you don't know what an average man is.  He's a monster.

We live in the most loathsome of all possible worlds.

And what is this we if not that very loathing.


RIP Nate Dogg

Always underrated, always a path not quite taken (a tracking out of gangsta R & B past the Bone Thugs terrain, carrying that torch West), always more than just hook-voice there to bail out others (Warren G, we're looking at you), always one of my favorites.  The sinister fact of being smooth.

[By the way, the moment with the cops - where they bow down by popping up on lifts -  in the video cannot be missed.  It sums up.  The whole world, from the shirts of the kids to the on-time stutter of going backwards and forwards with equal ease, falls beneath the swaying rule of the voice and its refusal to hurry.]

I first listened to Music & Me - his solo album, that flowering of a single backing hook into patterns of insane jazz flute, the un-vocoded plateau pitch shifts stepping down the scale, the recurrent effect of a chorus of an echoing, supporting cast of Nates, an echo chamber of the one and only, such that he's almost an orchestra himself, such that he is now getting his own back, even as he takes the lead for once - around the time that a long relationship of mine ended.  At that time, at that mood, it sounded just right.  It was the sound of a collision that doesn't lose the thread of a beat.  It was pitch perfect then and now.  A whole crowd of voices boiled down into one that didn't waver.  The stroke that ended his life is the first time the surface buckled.  And that's more than can be said.

1917 (Black/red : funeral/mice)



1917.  Late 1917.  Raised a black sail shortly before the red silk burned.

Because death is innocent and - not because - nothing can be done.

Still, though, the mice - not moles -  are happy, boring out the ground from under their feet.

"I don't resent those things"

Words from Carl Barks, creator of Scrooge McDuck, with annotations.

I've always looked at the ducks as caricatured human beings. [Eisenstein on Bambi: not an anthropomorphized deer, but a human "redeerized"] In rereading the stories, I realized that I had gotten kind of deep [20 ft, the

in some of them: there was philosophy in there that I hadn't realized I was putting in.  [


It was an added feature [that "dangerous supplement"] that went along with the stories. I think a lot of the philosophy in my stories is conservative —conservative in the sense that I feel our civilization peaked around 1910. [Version One: Civilization means that which was but now...

- is going up in impure flames.  Version Two:

and finally comes the period of decadence, which in Spengler's view is synonymous with "civilization." This "seasonal" flow of history is a predicament of all nations, although the historical timing of their decline varies with the virility of each nation, geographical area, or epoch. In the field of politics and statecraft, the process of decadence is very much the same. Thus, the closing years of the First World War witnessed the passing of the feudal rule of the landed aristocracy and the emergence of budding forms of parliamentary plutocracy - soon to be followed by the rise of rootless mobocracy and the "dictatorship of money"]

Since then we've been going downhill. Much of the older culture had basic qualities that the new stuff we keep hatching can never match.  [


Look at the magnificent cathedrals and palaces that were built. Nobody can build that sort of thing nowadays.  [

Also, I believe that we should preserve many old ideals and methods of working: honor, honesty, allowing other people to believe in their own ideas ["Federici explains how the movements became increasingly revolutionary as they grew in size. "In the course of this process, the political horizon and the organizational dimensions of the peasant and artisan struggle broadened. Entire regions revolted, forming assemblies and recruiting armies. At times, the peasants organized in bands, attacking the castles of the lords, and destroying the archives where the written marks of their servitude were kept." In the 1420s and 1430s, the Taborites fought to liberate all of Bohemia, beating back several Crusades of over 100,000 men organized by the Vatican. The uprisings became contagious, so much so that in the crucial period of 1350-1500, unprecedented concessions were made including the doubling of wages, reduction in prices and rents, and a shorter working day. In the words of Federici, "the feudal economy was doomed." The author documents that the initial reaction by elites was to institute the "Holy Inquisition," a brutal campaign of state repression that included torturing and even burning heretics to death. But as time went on, ruling class strategy shifted from targeting heretics in general to specifically targeting female community leaders. The Inquisition morphed into the Witch Hunt."]
, not trying to force everyone into one form [


The thing I have against the present political system is that it tries to make everybody exactly alike. 

 [The result of the total movement is the production of a universal class, a numerous proletariat, proletariat is the sense of the totality of men who have no reserves (old proletariat + new middle classes). It is a universal class as it forms the largest part of the population and 'because it cannot demand in a particular way, but only in a human way.]  

We should have a million different patterns. 

 [Ornament without repetition, impossible - we should have - wallpaper: none are singular instances, not a million little pieces, but a million different patterns.  Hence a density of line that is just a scribble.  Time may be river that cannot be stepped into twice, but it freezes at times, and such it obstructs its own flow and it is this hold-up, this eddy, that alone is responsible for the creation of folds and patterns.  And the winter is never long enough to skate.]

They say that wealthy people like the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers are sinful because they accumulated fortunes by exploiting the poor. ["O.E. synn "moral wrongdoing, offense against God, misdeed," from P.Gmc. *sundjo (cf. O.S. sundia, O.Fris. sende, M.Du. sonde, Ger. Sünde "sin, transgression, trespass, offense"), probably ult. "true" (cf. Goth. sonjis, O.N. sannr "true"), from PIE *es-ont-, prp. of base *es- "to be" (see is)." They are sinful because they are, because unlike the proletariat, they are not enemies of mankind.  They are sinful because they are not misanthropes.]

I feel that everybody should be able to rise as high as they can or want to, provided they don't kill anybody or actually oppress other people on the way up.  [


A little exploitation is something you come by in nature. ["Like they're giving each other a kiss?" "Very similar.  Yes." "Yes.  By regurgitating blood." ] We see it in the pecking order of animals—everybody has to be exploited or to exploit someone else to a certain extent.  [


I don't resent those things.

 ["Envy which is establishing itself is a levelling, and while a passionate age pushes forward, establishing new things and destroying others, raising and tearing down, a reflective, passionless age does the opposite, it stifles and hinders, it levels. This levelling is a silent, mathematical, abstract process which avoids upheavals. . . . Levelling at its maximum is like the stillness of death, where one can hear one's own heartbeat, a stillness like death, into which nothing can penetrate, in which everything sinks, powerless."

The leveled is the stillness of the money pit's tiled bottom.  For there is the shorn chill of undried sweat, the only trace of the frantic doggy-paddle of a hoarding duck who mistakes money for matter and who has forgotten how to swim.]

Now we can go home and spend the rest of Bombie's money!


1949 object lessons from the enemy.

 1) Primitively accumulate (mechanism of extraction and control)

[Brief value-producing interlude:

Culture industry reinvigoration via slotting in of the barbarian, he who does not speak as you, who does not speak at all.  Circulate capital (read: bring not just a wheelbarrow but the sticky, voracious good intentions of the young ducks, for always remember Unhappy Mr. Peel who provided for everything except the export of English modes of production to Swan River!) back through the geographical site of original extraction.]

2) Weaponize the primitives (mechanism of self-destruction and leveling) on their home turf

3) Leave be to flatten itself in the echo chamber of a disavowed zone (mechanism of walking away while "sadly" looking back)

(And no, no one doubted that you would "take vanilla".)

These days

Few things:

1. I'll be in LA this weekend, for this.  Hope to see some of you there.  Unfortunately, a far too truncated trip.

2.  I will once again write substantive things here, despite the recent slide back into scattered ephemera.  Writing projects I've taken on, the kind with collective schedules or official deadlines, have became monstrous Eaters of Time, and I've been gathering, polishing, and hoarding theses in private.  Will begin dropping them here.

3.  Combined and Uneven Apocalypse is finally coming out.  Should be available in the U.S. by the end of this month.  Urge your local bookstore to put it up front alongside Twilight, because at night, when the store closes, it will eat those books and use their spines to make siege engines to take on the self-help section.  Conversely, it's about $10 off on Amazon, if local business isn't one's thing.  I'd like to give talks about it in various cities, so if you live in one and know a bookstore/library/gallery/university/museum/bar/house that would be interested, let me know.

4. The 70s Film Series I run with Erik turned out incredibly.  We're starting up again in April with Melodrama, of the Mexican, British, American, and German variety.  Those who might be saddened about the prospect of the falling weirdness quotient (although House sets the bar unfairly high), don't be.  These are some of the stranger, sharper films out there, and they should be watched together (as should almost all films), with the transmission of giggling, dejection, turned-on-ness, and unease that does not happen in the echo chamber of the One and Only.  Plato was worried about a "plague of pathos" - these are that well-lit nightmare.

5.  Arab Revolt Reading Group will be starting in April as well, have gathered names of those interested, and will be working up a reading list in the next few weeks.

5.  Pride to those in Wisconsin, shame to all of us just watching slack-jawed, and utterly yes to general strike.


Weird Films of the 1970s Presents House (1977)


At that level, a hit movie about shark attacks
leads to a movie about bear attacks. 
That’s the best they can do.

This is not a film you have to “see to believe.”  You will see this film, and still you will not believe it.  We’ve watched some odd films this quarter.  This one, our last in this winter run, cannot be called “odd” or “weird.”  It has no adequate adjectives, and it exists in a realm where natural light does not shine, where everything glitters soft, where pianos eat girls, where a theme song gets stuck on repeat, where landscapes open inward like double doors, where faces break like mirrors and there is fire beneath.
Criterion, responsible for its recent DVD release, states that it is a “psychedelic ghost tale” that “might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet.” That’s about right.  But more accurately, it is an strangely pure cinema of effects and techniques, craft gone wild.  It’s a joyous hijacking of all the tricks of the advertising trade, given a big enough budget to fully let loose not what comes from outside but from inside, the deep madness barely restrained by the conventions of profit-making.  What results is a manic goofiness so profound it becomes sinister, and a shuddering collapse of the gap between the sublime and the moronic.  We see, at the same moment, one of the better sunsets committed to film and a severed head flying through the air to bite the ass of her friend.  It is gorgeous and cheap, a profound gag, and the anarchic giggling of an unhinged ludic impulse which asks, in deadly seriousness: actually, what can  film do that other media cannot?
Also, you will see a painting of a fluffy white cat named Blanche vomit enough blood to flood a house.

Tuesday, March 8
Stevenson 150, 8 PM

The flood darkens the sky, tho Constantine's death pours forth a major wind to clear away the haze

These - these thick clouds of Eurocentric history that block out the globe - must be seen.

A necessary pollution, we take ourselves by the throat

He tends to become marginal, the pollution of capital. Capital is autonomized and surpasses its limits (a kind of surfusion of capital), but it cannot do this without men, the necessary pollution. They are the limit to capital. 

Camatte, "About the Revolution"

Today "pollution" is in fashion, exactly in the same manner that revolution is: it takes hold of the entire life of society, and it is illusorily represented in the spectacle. It is boring chatter in a plethora of erroneous and mystifying writings and discourses, and in reality [dans les faits] it gets everyone in the throat.

Debord, Sick Planet

Two projects on American slowness, syrup edition

Project 1:

Reacceleration of chopped and screwed tracks to their "normal" speed.  The slight shudder beats become hiccups.  There is little difference except we know what it has been through and that can't be forgotten.  A hangover made to sprint.

Project 2:

To cut through this absurd confusion of values, we can observe that Griffith’s Birth of a Nation is one of the most important films in the history of the cinema because of its wealth of innovations. On the other hand, it is a racist film and therefore absolutely does not merit being shown in its present form. But its total prohibition could be seen as regrettable from the point of view of the secondary, but potentially worthier, domain of the cinema. It would be better to detourn it as a whole, without necessarily even altering the montage, by adding a soundtrack that made a powerful denunciation of the horrors of imperialist war and of the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, which are continuing in the United States even now. 

(Debord and Wolman)

Very well then.  Time to answer a call.  For a start,  a one minute section of the film stretched out to ten minutes.

The soundtrack?

Chopped and screwed down to the lowest of all stuttering bass.  The codeine dirge of an black American communist singing out the words
("Dat's de ol' man that I'd like to be...", "you gets a little drunk / and you lands in jail," "Ah'm tired of livin' / An skeered of dyin'")

that, in two years, will be abandoned for a version of resistance
("That's the ol' man I don't like to be", "You show a little grit / And you lands in jail...", "I must keep fightin'; / Until I'm dyin'")

that refuses the lost hours of the drunk, the jailed, the tired, and the scared.


In the company of horses

Melodrama mining project continues.  Watching this tonight - do the same in your respective zones or homes, and we'll meet halfway, between the Vaseline-hued glow of her and the gathered shadows of doors too large to be opened by those pass through them.

10. To be written about fondly in history text books

Shooting the moon.  (To demand that we demand nothing, or everything, or whatever.)  The best form of "internal contradictions."

Stay strong, Milwaukee.  Pretty sure we can work out a way to simultaneously end winter - though you may have to keep global warming - and get you some ice. (Heads on their way, packed in said ice.)

Thomas Friedman is a vacuum

If it wasn't already obvious, Thomas Friedman is a staggering waste of flesh and breath.  It's a common and stupid thing these days to overuse the word "literally."  (As in, "I didn't eat lunch, so I was literally starving.")  Here it is justified: he literally has no idea what he is talking about.  To even remotely suggest, let alone straight-up state, that Egyptian revolt was inspired by Obama (“Hmmm, let’s see. He’s young. I’m young. He’s dark-skinned. I’m dark-skinned. His middle name is Hussein. My name is Hussein. His grandfather is a Muslim. My grandfather is a Muslim. He is president of the United States. And I’m an unemployed young Arab with no vote and no voice in my future.”) or by Israel ("when you live right next to a country that is bringing to justice its top leaders for corruption and you live in a country where many of the top leaders are corrupt, well, you notice"), you cede any right to publish anything further, in any format, in any medium, in any language.  Stop.

Necessary venomous take-down here.

The Arab TV network Al Jazeera has a big team covering Israel today. They frequently report Israeli incursions on Palestinian towns, illegal settlements on Palestinian land, Israeli killings, torture and illegal detention of Palestinians as well as Israel’s continual transgression of international law. I will ignore this and focus on a few incidents of domestic housekeeping (and include a completely irrelevant reference to Google maps!) in order to prop up my theory and ignore the fact that if Egyptians are in any way inspired by anything that happens in Israel, it is their ability to identify with Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. When you write a column for the New York Times and your name is Thomas Friedman, well, that’s what you do.

Arab Revolt Reading Group

[for those around SC or the Bay]

With Gopal Balakrishnan and whoever else wants to offer input or help plan, I'm going to organize a spring reading group in Santa Cruz on the Arab revolts, including both long-term historical analysis and recent writings on the current situation. Think it would be a big help to a lot of us, myself very much included, who are quickly discovering how little we actually understand of the region and its dynamics.  If you're in the area and want to join in, let me know. 

[If you aren't around these parts but want to contribute or follow along, at the very least we should be able to set up ongoing email threads.  And if there's interest elsewhere, perhaps we can work together to set up roughly similar reading lists for groups in a few cities.  This could be a useful occasion for us to begin to develop a common analysis - or, at least, more fleshed-out contentions with each other - on the present moment.  And that is surely a needed thing.]

the little poems, in their convoluted, forced, and useless art [leg fetish cause and Perfection of Craft effect]

"We don't know what it means for an entire city to be shut down outside of a snow storm in Wisconsin."

We don't care what as much what people chant, but as long as they increasingly define their position they will increasingly come into an internal contradiction with democratic logic.

[interview at Modesto Anarcho; look to Burnt Bookmobile]