Thursday, July 31, 2014

Time Out!

To Leuconoe.

“*Tu ne quaestoris.”

Strive not, Leuconoë, to know what end
The gods above to me or thee will send;
Nor with astrologers consult at all,
That thou mayst better know what can befall;
Whether thou liv’st more winters, or thy last
Be this, which Tyrrhen waves ’gainst rocks do cast.
Be wise! drink free, and in so short a space
Do not protracted hopes of life embrace,
Whilst we are talking, envious time doth slide:
This day’s thine own; the next may be denied.
- Horace, Odes (11)

(*it is not fitting you should know)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

German Autumn

Gerhard Richter, October 18, 1977
When it became clear that the government was unwilling to entertain a further prisoner exchange given the experience of the kidnapping of Peter Lorenz two years earlier, the Red Army Faction (RAF) tried to exert additional pressure by hijacking the Lufthansa aeroplane Landshut on October 13 with the help of the allied Palestinian group PFLP. After a long odyssey through the Arabian Peninsula and the execution-type killing of Captain Jürgen Schumann, the hijackers and their hostages landed in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

After political negotiations with the Somali leader Siad Barre, the West German government was granted permission to assault the plane Lufthansa 181. This was carried out on October 18 by the special task force GSG 9, which had been formed after the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage crisis. Only one GSG 9 member and one flight-attendant were injured; of the hijackers only Souhaila Andrawes survived.

On the same night, three of the imprisoned RAF members – Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Carl Raspe and Andreas Baader – were found dead in their cells.

The official investigation into the deaths of the imprisoned RAF members concluded that they had committed suicide: Baader and Raspe using handguns smuggled into the Stammheim maximum security prison by their lawyer Arndt Müller, Ensslin by hanging herself. Irmgard Möller, who was imprisoned with them, survived with four knife wounds in her chest. She later claimed that the suicides were actually extrajudicial killings. On November 12, Ingrid Schubert was found hanged in her cell.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Views in the Rear View Mirror

The sacred fires are cold,
O Love! O Heart of Gold!
Beyond the sobbing of the sundering sea
A spectre sits and waits
By Memory’s bolted gates,
And calls, and calls across the years to me.

Nor wreath of rose or rue
Fate wove for me or you:
The sands run out, the blackening brands expire
Where passion sits and moans
With eyes as dry as stones
Beside the ashes of her lost desire.

Nor spark shall warm the clay,
Nor gold shall gild the grey,
The harvest ripes for other hands to win;
No more for Love’s dear sake
Shall the old sweet music wake
Where the “glory-sky” leaned low on Ta Mahinna.

The sacred fires are cold,
O Love! O Heart of Gold!
Life’s red wine dyes the desert at our feet,
But aye from years behind,
A restless, homeless wind
Comes laden with hearts’ incense, bitter-sweet.
- Marie E. Pitt, "Bitter-Sweet" (1911)
Ah Ta-Mahinna! My heart is yearning
For life’s full measure — and life is o’er,
And I am hungered and sick with learning
The weary wisdom of world-old lore.
This is the end! God! — the slow sands turning —
And then the darkness — for evermore.
- Marie E. Pitt, "Ta Mahinna" (1911)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Welcome to Consumerist Hell

During a recent visit to California, I attended a party at a professor's house with a Slovene friend, a heavy smoker. Late in the evening, my friend became desperate and politely asked the host if he could step out on the veranda for a smoke. When the host (no less politely) said no, my friend suggested that he step out on to the street, and even this was rejected by the host, who claimed such a public display of smoking might hurt his status with his neighbours … But what really surprised me was that, after dinner, the host offered us (not so) soft drugs, and this kind of smoking went on without any problem – as if drugs are not more dangerous than cigarettes.

This weird incident is a sign of the impasses of today's consumerism. To account for it, one should introduce the distinction between pleasure and enjoyment elaborated by the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan: what Lacan calls jouissance (enjoyment) is a deadly excess beyond pleasure, which is by definition moderate. We thus have two extremes: on the one hand the enlightened hedonist who carefully calculates his pleasures to prolong his fun and avoid getting hurt, on the other the jouisseur propre, ready to consummate his very existence in the deadly excess of enjoyment – or, in the terms of our society, on the one hand the consumerist calculating his pleasures, well protected from all kinds of harassments and other health threats, on the other the drug addict or smoker bent on self-destruction. Enjoyment is what serves nothing, and the great effort of today's hedonist-utilitarian "permissive" society is to tame and exploit this un(ac)countable excess into the field of (ac)counting.

Enjoyment is tolerated, solicited even, but on condition that it is healthy, that it doesn't threaten our psychic or biological stability: chocolate, yes, but fat-free; Coke, yes, but diet; coffee, yes, but without caffeine; beer, yes, but without alcohol; mayonnaise, yes, but without cholesterol; sex, yes, but safe sex …
- Slavoj Zizek, "Fat-free chocolate and absolutely no smoking: why our guilt about consumption is all-consuming"
Artist - Hong Hao

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Repurposing Rebellion

“And [he] sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”
― Maurice Sendak, "Where the Wild Things Are"

Monday, July 21, 2014

Conspire to Perspire!

Silent morning
where mists crochet patterns
upon a sky-cloud reverie
Wheeling birds bring nets tight around themselves
Chatterbox crows with blue-black wings
fuss, sinking back to wires
bringing the day
- Sherry Asbury, "A Conspiracy of Crows"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Birth of Modernism in Stravinsky's Bacchae

"I saw in imagination a solemn pagan rite; sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring.”
– Igor Stravinsky (1911)

“No one had ever heard music like it before; it seemed to violate all the most hallowed concepts of beauty, harmony, tone and expression. Never had an audience heard anything so brutal, savage, aggressive and apparently chaotic; it hit the public like a hurricane, like some uncontrollable primeval force."
– Roman Vlad after witnessing the premier of The Rite of Spring

Source of Inspiration for post.

The Imperatives Behind the Rhythm and Beat

Remember When...

A computer was something on TV
From a sci fi show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean
And ram was the cousin of goat.

Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes.

An application was for employment.
A program was a TV show.
A curser used profanity.
A keyboard was a piano.

Memory was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy
You hoped nobody found out.

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file.
And if you unzipped anything in public
You'd be in jail for a while.

Log on was adding wood to the fire.
Hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived.
And a backup happened to your commode.

Cut you did with a pocket knife.
Paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider's home.
And a virus was the flu

I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head.
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash,
But when it happens they wish they were dead.
- James Huggins

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Se Demoder!

And as the French we conquer'd once,
Now give us laws for pantaloons,
The length of breeches and the gathers
Port-cannons, periwigs, and feathers.
- Samuel Butler, "Hudibras, Part I" (1663-64), Canto III, line 923

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Out of Time

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE—Out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters—lone and dead,—
Their still waters—still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,—
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,—
By the mountains—near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,—
By the grey woods,—by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp,—
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,—
By each spot the most unholy—
In each nook most melancholy,—
There the traveller meets, aghast,
Sheeted Memories of the Past—
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by—
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth—and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
’T is a peaceful, soothing region—
For the spirit that walks in shadow
’T is—oh, ’t is an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not—dare not openly view it;
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fring'd lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.
- E.A. Poe, "Dreamland"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

To Suffer, is to Believe!

But the ability to suffer is NOT what will make one great.
Who can attain to anything great if he does not feel in himself the force and will to inflict great pain? The ability to suffer is a small matter: in that line, weak women and even slaves often attain masterliness. But not to perish from internal distress and doubt when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of it — that is great, that belongs to greatness.
- Nietzsche

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Melissai

"Spake Phthonos (Envy) privily in the ear of Apollon: ‘I admire not the poet who singeth not things for number as the sea.’ Apollon spurned Phthonos (Envy) with his foot and spake thus : ‘Great is the stream of the Assyrian River, but much filth of earth and much refuse it carries on its waters. And not of every water do the *Melissai carry to Deo [Demeter], but of the tricking stream that springs from a holy fountain pure and undefiled, the very crown of waters [Apollon is saying that quality is better more important quantity].’ Hail, O Lord, but Momos (Critisicm)--let him go where Phthonos (Jealousy) dwells!"
*Melissa was a nymph who discovered and taught the use of honey and from whom bees were believed to have received their name. She was one of the nymph nurses of Zeus, sister to Amaltheia, but rather than feeding the baby milk, Melissa, appropriately for her name, fed him honey. Or, alternatively, the bees brought honey straight to his mouth. Because of her, Melissa became the name of all the nymphs who cared for the patriarch god as a baby.

In addition, the ancient Greek philosopher, Porphyry (233 to c. 304 AD) wrote of the priestesses of Demeter, known as Melissae ("bees"), who were initiates of the chthonian goddess. The story surrounding Melissae tells of an elderly priestess of Demeter, named Melissa, initiated into her mysteries by the goddess herself. When Melissa's neighbors tried to make her reveal the secrets of her initiation, she remained silent, never letting a word pass from her lips. In anger, the women tore her to pieces, but Demeter sent a plague upon them, causing bees to be born from Melissa's dead body. From Porphyry's writings, scholars have also learned that Melissa was the name of the moon goddess Artemis and the goddess who took suffering away from mothers giving birth. Souls were symbolized by bees and it was Melissa who drew souls down to be born. She was connected with the idea of a periodic regeneration.
- Callimachus, Hymn 2 to Apollo (105 ff)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sliding Down the Slippery Polyamorous Slope...

“I reserve the right to love many different people at once, and to change my prince often.”
Anaïs Nin

Anticipating Expended Socialism

One of my marionettes is dead
Though not yet tired of the game--
But weak in body as in head,
(A jumping-jack has such a frame).
But this deceaséd marionette
I rather liked: a common face,
(The kind of face that we forget)
Pinched in a comic, dull grimace;
Half bullying, half imploring air,
Mouth twisted to the latest tune;
His who-the-devil-are-you stare;
Translated, maybe, to the moon.
With Limbo's other useless things
Haranguing spectres, set him there;
"The snappiest fashion since last spring's,
"The newest style, on Earth, I swear.
"Why don't you people get some class?
(Feebly contemptuous of nose),
"Your damned thin moonlight, worse than gas--
"Now in New York"--and so it goes.
Logic a marionette's, all wrong
Of premises; yet in some star
A hero!--Where would he belong?
But, even at that, what mask bizarre!
- T.S. Eliot, "Humouresque (After J. Laforgue)"