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.
[Aside] What shall Cordelia do?
Love, and be silent.


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


...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.

NOTHING, my lord.




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

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

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.

But goes thy heart with this?

Ay, good my lord.

So young, and so untender?

So young, my lord, and true.

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


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)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Newspapers are for the Birds!

CHORUS. Hi! Epops! do you hear me?

EPOPS. What's the matter?

CHORUS. Take them off to dine well and call your mate, the melodious Procné, whose songs are worthy of the Muses; she will delight our leisure moments.

PISTHETAERUS. Oh! I conjure you, accede to their wish; for this delightful bird will leave her rushes at the sound of your voice; for the sake of the gods, let her come here, so that we may contemplate the nightingale.

EPOPS. Let it be as you desire. Come forth, Procné, show yourself to these strangers.

PISTHETAERUS. Oh! great Zeus! what a beautiful little bird! what a dainty form! what brilliant plumage!

EUELPIDES. Do you know how dearly I should like to split her legs for her?

PISTHETAERUS. She is dazzling all over with gold, like a young girl.

EUELPIDES. Oh! how I should like to kiss her!

PISTHETAERUS. Why, wretched man, she has two little sharp points on her beak.

EUELPIDES. I would treat her like an egg, the shell of which we remove before eating it; I would take off her mask and then kiss her pretty face.

EPOPS. Let us go in.

PISTHETAERUS. Lead the way, and may success attend us.

CHORUS. Lovable golden bird, whom I cherish above all others, you, whom I associate with all my songs, nightingale, you have come, you have come, to show yourself to me and to charm me with your notes. Come, you, who play spring melodies upon the harmonious flute, lead off our anapaests.

Weak mortals, chained to the earth, creatures of clay as frail as the foliage of the woods, you unfortunate race, whose life is but darkness, as unreal as a shadow, the illusion of a dream, hearken to us, who are immortal beings, ethereal, ever young and occupied with eternal thoughts, for we shall teach you about all celestial matters; you shall know thoroughly what is the nature of the birds, what the origin of the gods, of the rivers, of Erebus, and Chaos; thanks to us, Prodicus will envy you your knowledge.
Aristophanes, "The Birds"

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Requiem for the Old Dream

It’s a gift to give love,
It’s a gift to receive love,
A shame to force one to dream
of you,
A crime to force one to love

Dare to dream and fly away,
Feeling like a bird in any way,
Starring at shiny, pink lullaby clouds,
getting snappy,
Wetting your pillow with tears
while being happy.

Share your dreams, that’s the life,
Ignore the sad, blood drinking knife,
Which stabbed you while dreaming
of someone you love,
Feel free to tell that someone
that it’s your dove.

All you need is courage, daring,
Much passion for your darling,
These words are a requiem for a dream
to come true,
Fight with all your fury and passion:
you can cross the love’s rue.
- Mihailescu Andreea, "Requiem for a dream"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Herbert Marcuse's - One Dimensional Man

Marcuse strongly criticizes consumerism, arguing that it is a form of social control. He suggests that the system we live in may claim to be democratic, but it is actually authoritarian in that a few individuals dictate our perceptions of freedom by only allowing us choices to buy for happiness. In this state of "unfreedom", consumers act irrationally by working more than they are required to in order to fulfill actual basic needs, by ignoring the psychologically destructive effects, by ignoring the waste and environmental damage it causes, and by searching for social connection through material items.

It is even more irrational in the sense that the creation of new products, calling for the disposal of old products, fuels the economy and encourages the need to work more to buy more. An individual loses his or her humanity and becomes a tool in the industrial machine and a cog in the consumer machine. Additionally, advertising sustains consumerism, which disintegrates societal demeanor, delivered in bulk and informing the masses that happiness can be bought, an idea that is psychologically damaging.

There are other alternatives to counter the consumer lifestyle. Anti-consumerism is a lifestyle that demotes any unnecessary consumption, as well as unnecessary work, waste, etc. But even this alternative is complicated by the extreme interpenetration of advertising and commodification because everything is a commodity, even those things that are actual needs.
from Wikipedia
The Consumption-Driven Lifestyle?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If Not for Bad Luck, I'd Have no Luck at All...

Cause you don't love me
Is awful, awful hard.
Gypsy done showed me
My bad luck card.

There ain't no good left
In this world for me.
Gypsy done tole me -
Unlucky as can be.

I don't know what
Po' weary me can do.
Gypsy says I'd kill my self
If I was you.
- Langston Hughes, "Bad Luck Card"

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Tip of the Scale

From low to high doth dissolution climb,
And sink from high to low, along a scale
Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail;
A musical but melancholy chime,
Which they can hear who meddle not with crime,
Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care.
Truth fails not; but her outward forms that bear
The longest date do melt like frosty rime,
That in the morning whitened hill and plain
And is no more; drop like the tower sublime
Of yesterday, which royally did wear
His crown of weeds, but could not even sustain
Some casual shout that broke the silent air,
Or the unimaginable touch of Time.
- William Wordsworth, "Mutability"

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Today's liberal-democratic hegemony is sustained by a kind of unwritten Denkverbot similar to the infamous Berufsverbot in Germany of the late 60s - the moment one shows a minimal sign of engaging in political projects that aim to seriously challenge the existing order, the answer is immediately: "Benevolent as it is, this will necessarily end in a new Gulag!" The ideological function of the constant reference to the holocaust, gulag and the more recent Third World catastrophes is thus to serve as the support of this Denkverbot by constantly reminding us how things may have been much worse: "Just look around and see for yourself what will happen if we follow your radical notions!" And it is exactly the same thing that the demand for "scientific objectivity" means: the moment one seriously questions the existing liberal consensus, one is accused of abandoning scientific objectivity for the outdated ideological positions. This is the point on which one cannot and should not concede: today, the actual freedom of thought means the freedom to question the predominant liberal-democratic "post-ideological" consensus - or it means nothing.
-Slavoj Zizek, "Repeating Lenin"

Friday, August 8, 2014

Redeeming Nixon

Having been tenant long to a rich lord,
Not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold,
And make a suit unto him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old.

In heaven at his manor I him sought;
They told me there that he was lately gone
About some land, which he had dearly bought
Long since on earth, to take possessiòn.

I straight returned, and knowing his great birth,
Sought him accordingly in great resorts;
In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts;
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth

Of thieves and murderers; there I him espied,
Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died
George Herbert, "Redemption"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Semiotic Exchanges

"YOUR eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning."
And then She:
"Although our love is waning, let us stand
By the lone border of the lake once more,
Together in that hour of gentleness
When the poor tired child, passion, falls asleep.
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!"
Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
"Passion has often worn our wandering hearts."
The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him: and now they stood
On the lone border of the lake once more:
Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves
Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,
In bosom and hair.
"Ah, do not mourn," he said,
"That we are tired, for other loves await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell."
- William Butler Yeats, "Ephemera"