They hit themselves in the golden heads with golden hammers, and then it is time to take off your false faces

Madam Satan Cecil B. DeMille by NilbogLAND

Decadence may not be a correct economic theory, given the alarming lability of capital and the alarming capacity of humans to endure misery en masse.  It may be a flawed conception of history, too beholden to a sense of a direction and line of advance, a project that can go south.  It may be wishful thinking.

But still.  It exists, as real as carbon and abstractions.  And it sounds and shines like this.

How it is to be sound.  A rapture in reverse: the heavens fall toward the earth.  The angels still remaining - fewer, bedraggled - are justifiably nervous.  For Chicken Little has grown teeth, and they are waiting very eagerly for the point of impact.

Property is no longer theft, it is a fire made of meat not to be consumed by the poor

A woman arrested for theft for taking spoiling food thrown out by Tesco during a power outage.

After her arrest Hall said: "Tesco clearly did not want the food. They dumped it and rather than see it go to waste, I thought I could help feed me and my family for a week or two."


In the case of Hall and Tesco, the shop said the contents of the bin belonged to them.

Tesco, who send thousands of pounds of leftover meat to be burned for electricity, have said they work to "minimise waste and where possible will seek to reuse and recycle it".

Property is thicker than hunger.

And the material fact of having been discarded isn't enough, no.   

"One needs to intend to abandon it." 

It is owned straight through the process of decomposition, until the ham goes green and begins to liquify, until it pools in a fetid sludge at the bottom of the bin, seeping a bit out into the street. That is a content that still belongs, beyond any transformation of form, barring one: only exchange, an exchange between two parties, can affect this belonging.  For it cannot go unowned, even as it goes unvalued, as it goes wet and reeking.

No, there is a tie that binds beyond the binds of sarcomere, beyond the weave of myosin and actin, even as the meat is burned, not charred on a grill, not consumed in the furnace of a body, but burned plain and simple.  A caloric expenditure in the name of energy, true, yet without having to route back through living labor and all its complaints and requests, all its days and nights, just straight back into circulation.  Into the circuits that keep the lights burning white, to bathe the unbought meat as if in blue milk, waiting to be burned, never to be disowned.

After all, you don't miss your water until your well runs dry.  But you still own it, and all the more so when others lay hands and mouths on what must, out of spite, out of the stubborn rage of ownership, be left to evaporate, such that one can begin to stake claims in the clouds, in the air.  In the rain that cuts through that air and splatters what grows and dies below with a staining memory of mine.  It does not come out, not even in the rain.

Canine historical melodrama

In which a dog bears murderous witness and clears the name of a servant accused of the crimes of soldiers?  Yes.

eventually the higher audiences became interested in seeing what lower audiences had already discovered to be a good show...


Arguably the perversity of the Internet is not what it contains.  Not in the least.  It's how it contains in proximity.  Such that an obituary -

and a correct, sad one, at that

- of Gil Scott-Heron, stands centimeters  -

although it is not even a marked distance, just an approximation of monitor size and data and how it is to lean

- from a review for a video game -

in which we learn that Punches and kicks are strikes, which take priority over throws. Throws take priority over holds, while holds overpower strike and overall it is given a B, which is to say a neuter, so no one will buy or not buy it more or less because of it, such that it need never have been written in the first place, although It’s a solid package all around, and one that has, for the most part, escaped the troubling sexism that defined earlier entries.  There’s no morality at work here

- and just millimeters from an ad that moves unbidden, in which a gorilla holds a shaving device, but it is not meant for him, it is meant for a man, or that thing they imagine to look like one, with a body all smooth and a face half gray and a big leaf covering where the legs meet -

and it is there that you are told to deforest yourself and, in so doing, to reforest the earth, and what does it mean, we bawl like Militina when he says and, and, and what the hell are these pieces we make? if we recognize even in a glancing blow that we exist in a situation in which market research has encouraged Norelco to increase sales by drawing a clear-cut  between not just shaving your testicles or purchasing a special electric razor to do that but playing a Flash game featuring a cut-rate Tarzan named Willy, such that you are shaving the foliage around a character who is supposed to stand in for a penis, yet who is himself a full human, such that there is an impossible transference of subtraction from landscape to crotch, between that playing and between them giving $0.25 to plant trees, without specifying where but with specifying only up to $75,000 -

and this, all this, is something over which our eyes flicker at least a dozen times a day.

All this.

How can that which we mean by care for one another not be a total abjuration of what is. 

And how can that mean more than a morality at work here.  For it means too much to be just or only that.

Under the foam paving stones, the foam beach

 Two related ideas for how to entertain ourselves.  To be played in city centers, preferably during marches.

1. Spanish Civil War LARPing
 [hopefully no one really wants to play an Alfonsist.  So we simply play CNT/FAI and imagine those not in the game to be the nationalists they are.  And we will be strict: there is only one Durruti per game, but it rotates.  Full dress is required.  Breaking character is not allowed.  Related games: Novemberrevolution, Paris Commune: The Return, Bologna '77]

2.  Nerf Molotovs
[Nerf paving stones also acceptable.  A technically legal volley ricochets off the banks, the jails, the stores.]

But like a snowball fight when there is ice at hand, you just never know.  You just never know, she said, laughing.

Bay of Rage

The only possible response to the antinomies of anti-austerity politics – which breakdown all too often into a fight between anti-tax and pro-welfare populisms – is to say that if we had direct, immediate access to such things, we would need neither state provision nor its powers of taxation. Only when capital is a natural, unsurpassable horizon does this appear as a real problem.

Keep eyes and hands turned toward Bay of Rage in months to come.

[In addition, for those who haven't been following, this is the sword hanging over Oakland's libraries:

The Mayor’s fiscal year 2011-13 Proposed Budget has three scenarios. Scenario A is the “All Cuts Budget” and is the one that fundamentally affects the Library and its services. It indicates a fiscal year 2011-12 General Fund appropriation for the Library of about $3.6 million and no money from Measure Q.
Measure Q was placed on the ballot by the City Council in 2003 for the collection of a special parcel tax for the library, which in 2010-11, will raise just under $14 million annually, and, to raise those funds, the city is required to fund the library in the amount of about $9 million out of the general fund.
Under Scenario A, the following services will be cut:
  • 13 branch libraries are scheduled to close: Asian, Brookfield, Chavez, Eastmont, Elmhurst, Golden Gate, Lakeview, Martin Luther King, Melrose, Montclair, Piedmont Avenue, Temescal, West Oakland
  • 4 remaining libraries – Main, Rockridge, Dimond, and 81st Avenue – would only be open 3 days a week
  • Main Library will close its Children’s Room, Teen Zone, and Oakland History Room
  • The Tool Lending Library and the African-American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) will close
  • Second Start Adult Literacy will close
  • Limited funding for new books, DVDs or other materials purchased
  • Discontinuation of electronic services like downloadable books and databases

That's right, thirteen libraries.  The reduction of an entire library system for a 400,000 person city to 4 libraries open 3 days a week.  Sometimes when we speak about class war, we're accused of being dramatic.  Those are often the same people who think that the poor just need to work harder and educate themselves, and that those who oppose the current order need to learn their history.  Oh, you mean in places like libraries, respectively in a "Children's Room" and "Teen Zone" or in a "History Room"?

This coming Friday:

Friday, June 3, 7 pm – Silent funeral procession for the library, starts at 20th St. and Broadway. Bring a library book and wear all black to mourn the potential loss of Oakland’s library services.

followed by

Oakland: Friday June 3, during Art Murmur
- Gather at 7:30, Broadway @ Telegraph
- Guerrilla Film Screening at 9:30 following march

World Melodrama Film Series Presents: What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984)

[last one of the year, and a very fitting end, starting with one of the more apt melodrama titles out there.  A bisected we continues the series next fall - I will be in Napoli for a year and hence can only join in spirit/digital presence, but Erik will be taking things in a more interplanetary direction...  We're not done with melodrama, by a long-shot, as it is never done with us: that's the point.  It keeps coming back for more.]

Okay.  Tell me which authors are romantic and which realistic.  Ibsen?
Lord Byron?
He’s a realist.
A realist as well.
Romantic.  See how easy it is?

A grotesquely parodic amalgamation of melodrama and Spanish black comedies of the 1950s and ‘60s (which, as it happens, derived from Italian neo-realism), What Have I Done to Deserve This? was Pedro Almodóvar’s fifth feature-length film and the first to make a big splash on the international film festival and art house circuit.  Nothing seems to be going right in the life of the harassed working mother, Gloria (Carmen Maura): her taxi-driver husband is obsessed with Hitler and doesn’t mind sharing his admiration for the dead German dictator with his unfazed customers; one of her sons is a drug-dealer, while the other (younger) sibling seems to like older men . . . a lot; a prostitute neighbor (and friend) convinces Gloria that she should be a paid observer when one of her more exhibitionistic clients comes calling (see above); a little girl upstairs seems to have Carrie-like telekinetic powers; and Gloria herself can’t stop popping No-Doze pills.  Set in and around an immense housing project in Madrid, What Have I Done to Deserve This? memorably synthesizes many of the melodramatic tropes, plots, and characters we’ve been exploring this quarter into one giant mess.  As ever, not to be missed.

Tuesday, May 31st
Stevenson 150, 8 PM

Work Drama

Brief lessons on capital and antagonism (albeit not very Trontian, which would have to place "Drama" first), courtesy of a library classification of a film about phonographs and circulation, assembly lines and fucking up, and being workless - rather than being worker - as the base condition of social life.

1. There will be drama.

2. And there will be more of the similar, always.  But they will be seen as items, not as relations.


Recent Times






12,000 Pound Valences of the Dialectic

Forget all that nonsense about theses, antitheses, and syntheses (especially), about sublation or transcendence, or becoming.  It simply won't do.

For this is what the dialectic looks like.

[Abolition meets itself in the middle and roars up, in joined friction, much like skyscrapers, leeches, libido, and lithospheric plates.  Like meat trains mid-collision.  It is not pretty.  If there was a "third," it would come on horseback, from out of the blue.  It would be bearing harpoons.  But the only third in sight is the area where the water hits the sand, for it is the scene of this encounter, and it is marked, however muddily, however quickly the traces will be abolished.]

Elsewhere, the beach is quiet.  Some asshole is snapping pictures.

Artifical Respiration/Perfect Murder Instructions (Keep Your Victim Warm!)

If direct contact with victim is undesirable...


"A spokeswoman said the ash plume from the Grimsvotn volcano was covering Iceland, but "the good news is that it is not heading to Europe".

First time significant international disruption in the circulation of bodies and goods, second time nationally-limited drop in tourism and aesthetic experience for recovering melancholics.

World Melodrama Film Series Presents: Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven (1975)

[the one some of you have been waiting for, whether or not you knew it]

Everybody is out for something. 
Once you realize that, everything is much simpler.

Arguably one of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's least clinical and cold films, Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven details what happens to Emma Küsters (Brigitte Mira) after her chemical factory-worker husband kills his boss and then himself.  The fact that the movie starts with this traumatic event makes this something of a spiritual sequel of sorts to Fassbinder's Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (1970), though Mother Küsters ends up using this murder-suicide as a starting-off point from which to score various political positions in the Federal Republic of Germany, from the right to the left.  Business, family, and journalism also come in for almost caricatural drubbings as everyone tries to milk Frau Küsters' tragedy for all it is worth.  As ever, not to be missed.

Tuesday, May 24th
Stevenson 150, 8 PM

After the Rapture, we will use the abandoned churches as raw material for barricades

 “I’ll say, ‘Oh, what are we going to do this summer?’ She’s going to say, ‘The world is going to end on May 21, so I don’t know why you’re planning for summer,’ and then everyone goes, ‘Oh, boy,’ ” he said. 

The two very refreshing things about the incontrovertible fact of the world's end on Saturday is that:

1) A rather notable distance from the Punctual End of the World as it's come to be cinematically composed, which - think Deep Impact, Armageddon, everything Emmerich touches - means an overabundance of schmaltzy last goodbyes and familial reconciliation, at the last possible instance.  Instead, the accounts so far have a thankfully quotidian, disabused bent to them:

She and her twin, Faith, have a friend’s birthday party Saturday night, around the time their parents believe the rapture will occur. 

“So if the world doesn’t end, I’d really like to attend,” Grace said before adding, “Though I don’t know how emotionally able my family will be at that time.” 

 With any luck, the beaches will not be overcrowded by awful born-agains in mom jeans clutching their previously secular-nihilist-flock straying children (who know have seen the error of their ways, and they know that their dad really loved them and that they didn't appreciate the traditional family values imposed on them enough and yes, there is no time left, but still, at least we can share each other and God as we're totally obliterated by a wave), as the Christian Right gets one final victory jab in with its infinitely desired we told you so.  Instead, those children will be off hating their dismal conservative parents, having sex at parties, reading Cioran, and swimming in the dark ocean, with no tidal wave or cloying scene in sight.


This is actually a win-win situation.  For either:

the Rapturites are wrong, and it's rather neutral, because they were jack-asses from the start, but even if one can't generate any pleasure from watching their frantic post-explanation about necessary recalibration (no pleasure there because we exist in a world in which these people aren't truly laughed out of the room to start), perhaps it will encourage their children to cut ties once and for all.

Or they are right, which would be some excellent news.  For:

Thousands of people around the country have spent the last few days taking to the streets and saying final goodbyes before Saturday, Judgment Day, when they expect to be absorbed into heaven in a process known as the rapture. Nonbelievers, they hold, will be left behind to perish along with the world over the next five months. 


On that day, arrived at through a series of Bible-based calculations that assume the world will end exactly 7,000 years after Noah’s flood, believers are to be transported up to heaven as a worldwide earthquake strikes. Nonbelievers will endure five months of plagues, quakes, wars, famine and general torment before the planet’s total destruction in October. 

By "plagues, quakes, wars, famine, and general torment," I assume to be meant the general state of human existence under capitalism.  It's near impossible for any notion of Doomsday to have real purchase in a world order that brushes itself off and plows ahead after, for instance, the Tōhoku quake, after Syria keeps firing on its own, after everything.

That is to say, we get five months of business as usual without Christians.  That is, five months of the contradictions of capital minus a significant portion of the conservative population here and elsewhere, from CEOs to morally-justifying racists and misogynists, all lifted up and out, leaving a structure of power wobbling and full of holes.  And we know that none of us will be saved, meaning that in this slightly teetering order free of evangelicals, we can get busy wrecking what remains and saving ourselves, if only for a couple weeks, a day, of existence without the social relations of value.

Skyline mapped by burning churches, from Ealham's Anarchism and the City, via Cartographies

We just may be a step closer to communising measures, or at the least, to really strutting like the damned we're alleged to be.  To taking over the now empty churches and using them as collective housing, as sites for black metal shows, as refuge and hospital, as raw materials for barricades.  They were fools to leave before we do.  The Vatican will be our strong-hold.  And they will cry in heaven when they see how we decorate the place.  Hint: gold melts at 1948 degrees Farenheit.

Once more, comrades, if you want to be heretics!

The only head I am thinking of lopping off in the end is my own

Read: the new issue of Machete, in which Pendulum makes an appearance, with a new preface from Ludwig Fischer, the other half of the many-sided blade that is The New Pessimism.

But remember, LF, that when you stand things on their head, slush looks like a king's crown, and trench-foot starts to call out for a clean break, a regicide...

Outmoded Horses

More than a few years ago, I wrote my first book of poetry - not published, but that is not a necessary qualification for something bent and poured into book-shape.  It was titled Outmoded Horses, and I realize now that it was largely about what has remained my most constant of obsessions: what happens to all that has been overcome, negated, or surpassed, yet which has not been obliterated?  What does the dialectic leave behind?

It is not known why he wanted to transport the animal on the train.

As if one needs a reason.  As if it was his choice.

[There's something gorgeous in the CCTV still, in that it is the same format, immediately familiar, used to disseminate grainy stills of other crimes, of the last recorded blur of a kidnappee or the smeared face of someone robbing a bank.  We've got our man, Sergeant.  And he's not a man.  And he's trying to flee to Holyhead.]

And lest we forget the gravity of the situation, remember: we are speaking of a weaponized pony -

which may pose a risk to the general public

- forbidden from circulation.

The immeasurable loathing of the equine for cats and dogs and things allowed to ride the rails.  And then, for those rails themselves...  Of course, when the oil runs low and the brownouts come, to whom will they come begging?  To turn back the clocks, to drag their rusty hulls, with names and pictures of dicks scratched into the plastic glass, with fast-food bags wedged under the seats, to pull the pink ones to their steadily disappearing jobs?  

To go back past coal and steam, to look to me to be draughted once more, to pull us out of this mess?

And then, then, I refuse, but I will not shake my head.  I won't even give them the pleasure of hearing me say "neigh", like they so want.  

I will give them nothing more than a site of my rear, as I shit casually, precisely, leaving them a mess of my own, and trot away from their idiotic enterprise of motion and speed, which should have stayed with me, my haunches, my flight, all along.

Islands in the south are going nowhere, but they are not trains from the north

If I fall in love with you, you are going to die in my hand

 [See also:

 Follow-up to incredulity, that shouldn't be surprising,  sure, as none of this is new, sadly, but still, yesterday:

Leaving aside BHL's close familiarity with the routines of maids at very expensive hotels...

Let's be clear again.  You're actually - openly - saying that you think that the rich and powerful should not be taken "for a subject of justice like any other"?  That they deserve, so to speak, special treatment?

This entire event, or at least the backing-and-forthing now, reverberates strangely through a pairing of anonymity and infamy, and it knots them closer, even as it marks the impossible material distance between the two people figured as such. As her lawyer says, "she had no idea who he was, quite honestly, in the world, until the next day," and she remains anonymous and "alone in the world", with "no agenda."  For what seems unthinkable to BHL and the defenders is the prospect that someone might not, god forbid, know who DHK is.  She is held out in a quadruply-closed position:

unnamed/ unknown,

not knowing the name or the weight of the one who attacked her,

called a liar (the name given who speaks against what she knows to be the truth),

and unknowing of the letter of the law ("Shapiro described his role as trying to help her sort out her life and to explain the legal proceedings to her."). 

On the other hand, a name, and a weight, that all are supposed to know, that is therefore supposed to be lifted out from the hoi polloi, that is supposed to be another subject of justice, another subject altogether, circulating in its orbit, in accordance with different laws of gravity and consequence.  That is to say, that belongs to a different class of subjects.

Localize It

"Our particular interests are freedom, crime, and joy."

Check out Surf City Revolt, a new Santa Cruz anarchist source blog "for news, announcements, and analysis relevant to Santa Cruz," and propaganda such as that spot-fucking-on cliff dive above.

By "entrapment," do you mean "excusable rape"?

“The news that came to us from New York overnight rings like a thunderbolt. I am, like everyone, stupefied,” said French Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry. “We cannot rule out the thought of a trap,” said Henri de Raincourt, minister for overseas cooperation in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government.

To everyone who has speculated about "entrapment" (see here for the gamut):

Let's be very, very, very clear about this.  By a "trap", you mean putting in front of poor Mr. Strauss-Kahn ["His taste for the high life, as well as his weakness for amorous adventures, is well known"] an opportunity he could not resist attempting to take, such that the presenting of the opportunity - of that which was structurally "asking for it" - constitutes a conspiracy?

That's what you're saying, yes?  That a poor African woman who has to work as a maid in the most expensive hotels is bait and that her presence in that room, with rich assholes who expect to treat her however they damn well please, is exceptional?

[I wish, in fact, you were saying the latter, as it might imply, barely, that you do not think that her work should in fact be necessary, or that it is a "good opportunity" for anyone other than the rich who wants to rape her.  For if so, we could get busy turning those luxury hotels into mass housing or ex-workers clubs.]

To be slightly more generous, we can imagine that you may be saying only that the trap involves the putting into mutual orbit the two parties such that the previous, and previously ignored tendencies of one, would allow for the false claims of the latter to be taken as truth, and a smearing one at that.
[Then Mr Strauss-Kahn told the journalists that he could easily imagine "a woman (who I supposedly) raped in a car park and who had been promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent such a story.]
 It's evidently not bad enough that the IMF continually assaults and fucks over the poor, all the while declaring such actions as the natural, however very unfortunate and so lamentable and we wish there was another way but that's how things are, side effects of the maintenance of a global economic order.  And that when things go wrong, it is, after all, "outrageous behavior or such a baffling lapse of judgment,"   That, evidently, is not dazzlingly clear to all.

Therefore, the point must be made, synechdochally, personally, individually, with hands and dicks and pseudo-apologies, such that it is a single operation, repeated ad infinitum.  (For it does not particularly matter if it was genuinely a "conspiracy": of course such a thing is thinkable.  It's not as if politics was ever a decent, just set of moves.  The point is that it is exactly part and parcel of this same operation, with all its hand-wringing and braying and accusations reinforcing precisely the logic of the exceptional instance.)

Such that predation is never called by its name, resource extraction and forced access to markets is called "structural adjustment," primitive accumulation means the unwieldly but comprehensible drive of those who "know what they want," a victim means the old guy who does that wanting, and the vicious clarity of what is always the case, parceled out over the vast fields, can only mean that you have "dodged a bullet" by weeding out the bad seed who will spoil the whole plot, or, finally, that is a "a plot" of a more engineered kind, and "a damn good one," at that.

That much is clear.

World Melodrama Film Series Presents: The Wild, Wild Rose (1960)

It's for real.  I promise you everything.

One of the most iconic showcases for an actress and singer whose career was filled with many such luminary performances, The Wild, Wild Rose is also one of the very best adaptations of Carmen yet put to film.  Shifting the scene of Bizet's opera from Seville to the film noir-ish depths of the club circuit in 1960s Hong Kong, Tian-lin Wang's melodramatic musical makes his heroine, Sijia (Grace Chang), a much more faithful figure than did the original opera, even though Sijia's much-tested devotion to Hanhua (Yang Chang) does nothing to exempt her from Carmen's fate at the hands of her former lover.  Appropriately enough, Grace Chang's singing, dancing, and acting are the star attractions here and make this Cathay Studios release something damn awful special.  Not to be missed.

Tuesday, May 17th
Stevenson 150, 8 PM

World Melodrama Film Series Presents: Gervaise (1956)

I was so proud to have the handsomest 
guy around . . . me, the gimp. 

Certainly the most stunning adaptation of L'Assommoir (1877), the seventh book in Émile Zola's twenty-volumes-long naturalist survey of the Second French Empire entitled Les Rougon-Macquart (1871-1893), René Clement's Gervaise presents us with the inexorably bad fortunes of one of the Macquarts, Gervaise (Maria Schnell).  A lame and hard-done-by woman, our titular heroine struggles to keep her family together after being abandoned by her handsome rake of a husband, Auguste Lantier (Armand Mestral).  With her subsequent marriage to the teetotaling roofer Henri Coupeau (François Périer) and the successful start to her own laundry business, things seem to be looking up for Gervaise until (among other things) Coupeau has a crippling accident and Lantier returns to make the happy couple a less-than-happy threesome.  Thereafter begins Gervaise's slow descent into alcoholism, leaving her neglected young daughter, Nana (the focus of the Zola novel and Jean Renoir film adaptation bearing her name), to start down her own wretched path.  This is the film that made Marsh's mom suicidally unhappy for two weeks upon seeing it, so prepare yourselves. 
Tuesday, May 10th
Stevenson 150, 8 PM


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Two events in LA: Hostile Objects and CAUA Book Launch

Off of a minor circuit, at all points of which people should feel free to track me down if you live in these spots: NYC for a week for Historical Materialism NYC to give a joint-talk with Alberto on Italian Long 70s film, then to LA for a  two-part talk of sorts spread over two nights, a double-header what I hope will not be lectures as such but rather conversations.


Saturday evening, on the earlier end of things, a set of thoughts on hostile objects, winding through Stalinist gremlins, hoarding, ruined silk, demonic steam-presses, Tati and Keaton, comedy and horror, property damage, dangerous modernist sculpture, shipwreckers, and more.  This combined with a screening of one of my favorite anti-work films, The Man in the White Suit.  To be followed by talking, drinking, etc.


Sunday night, the Mandrake, where I spoke about zombies in the Contra Mundum series last year.  This is a launch of Combined and Uneven Apocalypse, which I'll take as an occasion less to read aloud what could be read on the page and more to offer a coda to the book, which includes the death of salvagepunk at the hands of a child, 1920s animation,  collapse and conspiracy, devalued currency, earthquakes, a defense of pessimism, and a scattershot passage through things that do not look like "apocalyptic" in the era when that description has become a baggy catch-all.  Plus, to cap it, I'll be showing the film to whose antagonists the book is dedicated: Wolfen, Michael Wadleigh's 1981 tale of superwolves defending an abandoned urban zone as their hunting ground and getting mistaken for communist extremists.

Spread the word to any and all and come join me for the two night spree.

World Melodrama Film Series Presents: Susana (1951)

Dear God! You made me the way I am!

The fourth film made by Luis Buñuel in Mexico, Susana is a wonderfully self-reflexive take on the same sort of Mexican pastoral melodrama that we saw together a few weeks ago in Emilio "El Indio" Fernández's María Candelaria (1944).  This time, though, instead of being a Virginal and sacrificial flower vendor, the titular heroine is part femme fatale and part fallen woman (devoradora and cabaretera).  Having escaped from a reformatory school with the help of a little divine intervention, Susana (Rosita Quintana) takes refuge at a nearby hacienda, thanks to the kindness of its Catholic matriarch, Doña Carmen (Matilde Palou).  However, this turns out to be a big mistake, as far as the sanctity of Doña Carmen's marriage and the happiness of her family are concerned.  With a lot of free time on her hands to pose herself provocatively in front of a lot of ogling men on the property (from Doña Carmen's husband and son to her chief ranch hand), the salacious Susana makes short work of the spirit of patriarchy, religious piety, and masculinity inhabiting this putatively ideal Mexican home.  Not to be missed.

Tuesday, May 3rd
Stevenson 150, 8 PM


It is the end of May Day
And people flood the streets

While making a howling
Sound they have flags that gutter 

In what wind there is at night

They are wrapped in them
Their mouths open onto throats

They are raucous because
There was no planned march

Called for by an organization

They put their hands in the air
They flood the streets on cue

They kiss each other
Like sailors after the war

Their faces are flushed red
Or chalked white
They take photos of each other and
The crowd of those they do not know

It is the end of May Day
But they are not in the street

Because they have to work
Or because they do not work

Because there may be something
To insist upon in how this has

Been loathed and made a principle
Of trying to become an other crowd

Because the bodies that would be
That crowd get busted and mocked

Exhausted and broke
Before they can fully open what

Like their dragging out
Over owed and into the years

Would have been said
With hands

Which now merely is: 
It is the start

Of May and the crowds 
Have gathered

Because a man has been killed
And blood seeps into a carpet

Because one yarn of
The Gordian knot

Of the last ten years, in
The pursuit of which,

The knot was drawn tighter
And varnished and

Took to the air

Spread itself through arid 
Mountains and over villages

And dropped, whistling small

Like a whole flock
Of glass kites

Into those villages, because one strand
Has been unwound and is

Now frayed across the world
And gets into the lungs

Of the howling crowd
In whose joy there is the case

That red and white greasepaint
Is put on and smeared as the shouting

Is a heat, not just a volume

It was not a decade yet
The decade snipped

Four months ahead of itself
Two and a half months before

It had been ten years since Carlo
Giuliani was shot and run over

Twice for being part of a
Crowd which is not this one

It would have been ten years
In December since Corralito

And the crowds that went
Into supermarkets and took out

What everyone needed
But this is not to be the case

This has been the shortest
Twenty-first century possible

Less than a decade in
Before it, finding its

Closure, rewinds itself back
Over these years and

The terrain that is not
Flat but is made up

By wearing down and of 
Other people filling space for

Wanting the end of the
Arrangement that ruins

The rewinding scratches the
Tape and when we will drag

It back forward we cannot
But see grooves scored

Into it like a kill
And the valleys, seen

From above, that chart out
A thin line between mountain

And village
We do not have the thought

To do the mathematics
That would calculate the distribution

Of the many fields of the dead
And the ravenous time

Of those doomed to not yet be