Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Divide et Impera!

"dividual"—a physically embodied human subject that is endlessly divisible and reducible to data representations via the modern technologies of control, like computer-based systems.
Richard Lindner, "Double Portrait" (1965)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit!

It's (King Lear) about homelessness, it's about what happems if you lose everything. And the play is about the learning that results from loss.

The experience of nothing becomes everything.
CORDELIA
[Aside] What shall Cordelia do?
Love, and be silent.

...

CORDELIA
[Aside] Then poor Cordelia!
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.

...

KING LEAR
...Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interess'd; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA
NOTHING, my lord.

KING LEAR
NOTHING!

CORDELIA
NOTHING.

KING LEAR
NOTHING WILL COME OF NOTHING: speak again.

CORDELIA
Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.

KING LEAR
How, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.

CORDELIA
Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

KING LEAR
But goes thy heart with this?

CORDELIA
Ay, good my lord.

KING LEAR
So young, and so untender?

CORDELIA
So young, my lord, and true.

KING LEAR
Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
As thou my sometime daughter.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Who's Side Are You On?

The narrowest mind, is the one
Who looks upon the world
Merely through its own eyes.

The noisiest, is the one
Who has yet to learn
How to listen with his ears.

The most condescending, is the one
Who has yet to learn
How to respect other opinions.

The most tolerant, is the one
Who sees through many eyes
And understands.
- Wayne Scott, "Perspective"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Post-Modern Appetites

I want to begin with Coca-cola. It’s no surprise that Coca-cola was first introduced as a medicine. Its strange taste seems to provide no particular satisfaction. It is not directly pleasing, however, it is as such, as transcending any use–value, like water, beer or wine, which definitely do quench our thirst, that Coke functions as the direct embodiment of "IT", the pure surplus of enjoyment over standard satisfactions. It is the mysterious and elusive X we are all after in our compulsive consumption. The unexpected result of this is not that, since Coke doesn’t satisfy any concrete need we drink it only as supplement, after some other drink has satisfied our substantial need — it is rather this very superfluous character that makes our thirst for Coke all the more insatiable. Coke has the paradoxical quality that the more you drink it, the more you get thirsty. So, when the slogan for Coke was "Coke is it!", we should see in it some ambiguity — it’s "it" precisely insofar as it’s never IT, precisely insofar as every consumption opens up the desire for more. The paradox is thus that Coke is not an ordinary commodity, but a commodity whose very peculiar use–value itself is already a direct embodiment of the auratic, ineffable surplus. This process is brought to its conclusion in the case of caffeine–free diet Coke. We drink a drink for two reasons: for its nutritional value and for its taste. In the case of caffeine–free diet Coke, its nutritional value is suspended and the caffeine as the key ingredient of its taste is also taken away. All that remains is pure semblance, an artificial promise of a substance which never materialized. Is it not that in the case of caffeine–free diet Coke that we almost literally drink nothing in the guise of something? What I am referring to, of course, is Nietzsche’s opposition between "wanting nothing", in the sense of "I do not want anything", and the nihilistic stance of actively wanting the Nothingness itself. Following Nietzsche, Lacan emphasized how, in anorexia, the subject doesn’t simply not eat anything, he rather actively wants to eat the Nothingness itself. The same goes for the famous patient who felt guilty of stealing, although he didn’t effectively steal anything — what he did steal was, again, Nothingness itself.
- Salvoj Zizek, "The Supergo and the Act"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Urbanity

There is something about this quietness, the sun having gone down and
the sky so full of color.
What are all those ferryboats doing going down so quietly, all by
themselves, down the river?
The buildings, standing there so still, what are they doing there?
What is all this darkness?
Where are all the people?
O, they'll be all around again, don't worry, they'll all come back again.
They'll be here again after the darkness, after the dawn: they'll all be
here again.
-Robert Clairmont, "N.Y. Harbor: Sunday Evening"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Play "Misty" for Me

My name is Misty
I'm only three,
My eyes are swollen
I cannot see,

I must be stupid
I must be bad,
What else could have
Made my daddy so mad?

I wish I were better
I wish I weren't ugly,
Then maybe my mommy
Would still want to hug me.

I can't speak at all
I can't do a wrong
Or else I'm locked up
All the day long.

When I awake
I'm all alone
The house is dark
My folks aren't home.

When my mommy does come
I'll try and be nice,
So maybe I'll get just
One whipping tonight.

Don't make a sound!
I just heard a car
My daddy is back
From Charlie's Bar.

I hear him curse,
My name he calls,
I press myself
Against the wall.

I try and hide
From his evil eyes,
I'm so afraid now
I'm starting to cry.

He finds me weeping,
He shouts ugly words,
He says its my fault
That he suffers at work.

He slaps me and hits me
And yells at me more,
I finally get free
And I run for the door.

He's already locked it
And I start to bawl,
He takes me and throws me
Against the hard wall.

I fall to the floor
With my bones nearly broken,
And my daddy continues
With more bad words spoken.

"I'm sorry!", I scream,
But its much too late.
His face has been twisted
Into unimaginable hate.

The hurt and the pain
Again and again.
Oh please God, have mercy!
Oh please let it end!

And he finally stops
And heads for the door,
While I lay there motionless
Sprawled on the floor.

My name is Misty
And I am but three,
Tonight my daddy
Murdered me.
- Misty Nicole Ramsey (1996)