And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Zizek on OWS

According to Lacan, Hamlet was unable to mourn his dead father because his mother prematurely married his uncle and replaced the symbolic father. The mother, therefore, replaced the lost object with a new one before Hamlet could withdraw his desire and direct it elsewhere. The original lost object is the phallus and what Lacan is suggesting is that Hamlet is unable to mourn the loss of the phallus that will inaugurate the movement of his own desire. In this situation, Freud suggested that mourning turns into melancholia. In melancholia, the act of mourning is narcissisticly turned back upon the self and the subject identifies his/her own ego with the lost object. Melancholia, therefore, has the effect of blocking the natural process of mourning and freezing the subject in time.


Hamlet simply cannot choose between his own desire and the desire of the Other.... Hamlet confuses and distorts his own desire. This confusion can also be seen through Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia. Lacan reads Ophelia as the object of desire - the objet petit a, or object cause of Hamlet's desire.

"...his (Lacan's) point is that what happens in melancholia is not that you lose the object; you have the object but you lose the desire for the object: you lose the object cause of desire. Everything is here, you lose the desire for it."
- Slajov Zizek

In the Navy....

I have given thee wings to fly with ease aloft the boundless sea and all the land. No meal or feast but thou'lt be there, couched 'twixt the lips of many a guest, and lovely youths shall sing thee clear and well in orderly wise to the clear-voiced flute. And when thou comest to go down to the lamentable house of Hades in the depths of the gloomy earth, never, albeit thou be dead, shalt thou lose thy fame, but men will think of thee as one of immortal name, Cyrnus, who rangeth the land of Greece and the isles thereof —crossing the fishy unharvestable deep not upon horseback mounted but sped of the glorious gifts of the violet-crownad Muses unto all that care to receive thee; and living as they thou shalt be a song unto posterity so long as Earth and Sun abide. Yet as for me, thou hast no respect for me, great or small, but deceivest me with words as if I were a little child.
- Theognis of Megara (237-254)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Titian, "The Flaying of Marsyas" (1575)

The Fate of Marsyas

Scarce had the man this famous story told,
Of vengeance on the Lycians shown of old,
When strait another pictures to their view
The Satyr's fate, whom angry Phoebus slew;
Who, rais'd with high conceit, and puff'd with pride,
At his own pipe the skilful God defy'd.
Why do you tear me from my self, he cries?
Ah cruel! must my skin be made the prize?
This for a silly pipe? he roaring said,
Mean-while the skin from off his limbs was flay'd.
All bare, and raw, one large continu'd wound,
With streams of blood his body bath'd the ground.
The blueish veins their trembling pulse disclos'd,
The stringy nerves lay naked, and expos'd;
His guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd,
With ev'ry shining fibre of his breast.

The Fauns, and Silvans, with the Nymphs that rove
Among the Satyrs in the shady grove;
Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry swain
That fed, or flock, or herd upon the plain,
Bewail'd the loss; and with their tears that flow'd,
A kindly moisture on the earth bestow'd;
That soon, conjoyn'd, and in a body rang'd,
Sprung from the ground, to limpid water chang'd;
Which, down thro' Phrygia's rocks, a mighty stream,
Comes tumbling to the sea, and Marsya is its name.
-Ovid, "Metamorphoses" (Dryden translation)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Lacanian Theory Behind a Messageless OWS

....and why it won't work.

Can a void, an absence, manque, cause a hunger to grow? A hunger for hope and political change? Can the Left turn the American voter into an Erysichthon?

Not without it's opposite, and a dialectic with it. But everyone at OWS is on "the same side". The Wall Streeters aren't talking with the OWS protesters. They are on earth, and the OWS'ers all on Cloud 9. And there will never be lightening unless they get a LOT closer together. And the chances of that ever happening are slim to none.

Generation does come from opposites. But the opposites have to get within a close proximity. ;)

Ovid, "Metamorphoses" (Book VIII)


[738] "Now Erysichthon's daughter, Mestra, had that power of Proteus—she was called the wife of deft Autolycus.—Her father spurned the majesty of all the Gods, and gave no honor to their altars. It is said he violated with an impious axe the sacred grove of Ceres, and he cut her trees with iron. Long-standing in her grove there grew an ancient oak tree, spread so wide, alone it seemed a standing forest; and its trunk and branches held memorials, as, fillets, tablets, garlands, witnessing how many prayers the goddess Ceres granted. And underneath it laughing Dryads loved to whirl in festal dances, hand in hand, encircling its enormous trunk, that thrice five ells might measure; and to such a height it towered over all the trees around, as they were higher than the grass beneath.

[751] "But Erysichthon, heedless of all things, ordered his slaves to fell the sacred oak, and as they hesitated, in a rage the wretch snatched from the hand of one an axe, and said, `If this should be the only oak loved by the goddess of this very grove, or even were the goddess in this tree, I'll level to the ground its leafy head.' So boasted he, and while he swung on high his axe to strike a slanting blow, the oak beloved of Ceres, uttered a deep groan and shuddered. Instantly its dark green leaves turned pale, and all its acorns lost their green, and even its long branches drooped their arms. But when his impious hand had struck the trunk, and cut its bark, red blood poured from the wound,—as when a weighty sacrificial bull has fallen at the altar, streaming blood spouts from his stricken neck. All were amazed. And one of his attendants boldly tried to stay his cruel axe, and hindered him; but Erysichthon, fixing his stern eyes upon him, said, `Let this, then, be the price of all your pious worship!' So he turned the poised axe from the tree, and clove his head sheer from his body, and again began to chop the hard oak. From the heart of it these words were uttered; `Covered by the bark of this oak tree I long have dwelt a Nymph, beloved of Ceres, and before my death it has been granted me to prophesy, that I may die contented. Punishment for this vile deed stands waiting at your side.' No warning could avert his wicked arm. Much weakened by his countless blows, the tree, pulled down by straining ropes, gave way at last and leveled with its weight uncounted trees that grew around it.

[777] "Terrified and shocked, the sister-dryads, grieving for the grove and what they lost, put on their sable robes and hastened unto Ceres, whom they prayed, might rightly punish Erysichthon's crime;—the lovely goddess granted their request, and by the gracious movement of her head she shook the fruitful, cultivated fields, then heavy with the harvest; and she planned an unexampled punishment deserved, and not beyond his miserable crimes—the grisly bane of famine; but because it is not in the scope of Destiny, that two such deities should ever meet as Ceres and gaunt Famine,—calling forth from mountain-wilds a rustic Oread, the goddess Ceres, said to her, `There is an ice-bound wilderness of barren soil in utmost Scythia, desolate and bare of trees and corn, where Torpid-Frost, White-Death and Palsy and Gaunt-Famine, hold their haunts; go there now, and command that Famine flit from there; and let her gnawing-essence pierce the entrails of this sacrilegious wretch, and there be hidden—Let her vanquish me and overcome the utmost power of food. Heed not misgivings of the journey's length, for you will guide my dragon-bridled car through lofty ether.'

[799] "And she gave to her the reins; and so the swiftly carried Nymph arrived in Scythia. There, upon the told of steepy Caucasus, when she had slipped their tight yoke from the dragons' harnessed necks, she searched for Famine in that granite land, and there she found her clutching at scant herbs, with nails and teeth. Beneath her shaggy hair her hollow eyes glared in her ghastly face, her lips were filthy and her throat was rough and blotched, and all her entrails could be seen, enclosed in nothing but her shriveled skin; her crooked loins were dry uncovered bones, and where her belly should be was a void; her flabby breast was flat against her spine; her lean, emaciated body made her joints appear so large, her knobbled knees seemed large knots, and her swollen ankle-bones protruded.

[809] "When the Nymph, with keen sight, saw the Famine-monster, fearing to draw near she cried aloud the mandate she had brought from fruitful Ceres, and although the time had been but brief, and Famine far away, such hunger seized the Nymph, she had to turn her dragon-steeds, and flee through yielding air and the high clouds;—at Thessaly she stopped.

[814] "Grim Famine hastened to obey the will of Ceres, though their deeds are opposite, and rapidly through ether heights was borne to Erysichthon's home. When she arrived at midnight, slumber was upon the wretch, and as she folded him in her two wings, she breathed her pestilential poison through his mouth and throat and breast, and spread the curse of utmost hunger in his aching veins. When all was done as Ceres had decreed, she left the fertile world for bleak abodes, and her accustomed caves.

[823] "While this was done sweet Sleep with charming pinion soothed the mind of Erysichthon. In a dreamful feast he worked his jaws in vain, and ground his teeth, and swallowed air as his imagined food; till wearied with the effort he awoke to hunger scorching as a fire, which burned his entrails and compelled his raging jaws, so he, demanding all the foods of sea and earth and air, raged of his hunger, while the tables groaned with heaps before him spread; he, banqueting, sought banquets for more food, and as he gorged he always wanted more. The food of cities and a nation failed to satisfy the cravings of one man. The more his stomach gets, the more it needs—even as the ocean takes the streams of earth, although it swallows up great rivers drawn from lands remote, it never can be filled nor satisfied. And as devouring fire its fuel refuses never, but consumes unnumbered beams of wood, and burns for more the more 'tis fed, and from abundance gains increasing famine, so the raving jaws of wretched Erysichthon, ever craved all food in him, was only cause of food, and what he ate made only room for more.
[843] "And after Famine through his gluttony at last had wasted his ancestral wealth his raging hunger suffered no decline, and his insatiate gluttony increased. When all his wealth at last was eaten up, his daughter, worthy of a fate more kind, alone was left to him and her he sold. Descendant of a noble race, the girl refusing to be purchased as a slave, then hastened to the near shore of the sea, and as she stretched her arms above the waves, implored kind Neptune with her tears, `Oh, you who have deprived me of virginity, deliver me from such a master's power!' Although the master, seeking her, had seen her only at that moment, Neptune changed her quickly from a woman to a man, by giving her the features of a man and garments proper to a fisher-man: and there she stood. He even looked at her and cried out, `Hey, there! Expert of the rod! While you are casting forth the bit of brass, concealed so deftly in its tiny bait,—gods-willing! let the sea be smooth for you, and let the foolish fishes swimming up, never know danger till they snap the hook! Now tell me where is she, who only now, in tattered garment and wind-twisted hair, was standing on this shore—for I am sure I saw her standing on this shore, although no footstep shows her flight.” By this assured the favor of the god protected her; delighted to be questioned of herself, she said, “No matter who you are, excuse me. So busy have I been at catching fish, I have not had the time to move my eyes from this pool; and that you may be assured I only tell the truth, may Neptune, God of ocean witness it, I have not seen a man where I am standing on this shore—myself excepted—not a woman has stood here.” Her master could not doubt it, and deceived retraced his footsteps from the sandy shore. As soon as he had disappeared, her form unchanged, was given back to her. But when her father knew his daughter could transform her body and escape, he often sold her first to one and then another—all of whom she cheated—as a mare, bird, a cow, or as a stag she got away; and so brought food, dishonestly, to ease his greed. And so he lived until the growing strength of famine, gnawing at his vitals, had consumed all he could get by selling her: his anguish burned him with increasing heat. He gnawed his own flesh, and he tore his limbs and fed his body all he took from it.

[879] "Ah, why should I dwell on the wondrous deeds of others—Even I, O gathered youths, have such a power I can often change my body till my limit has been reached. A while appearing in my real form, another moment coiled up as a snake, then as a monarch of the herd my strength increases in my horns—my strength increased in my two horns when I had two—but now my forehead, as you see, has lost one horn." And having ended with such words,—he groaned.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Manque

The tomb of Dionysius was acually inside the adyton of the Apollo temple at Delphi. Clea, Priestess to Apollo, lead the secret Dionysian rites from Delphi to the Korykian cave, 7 miles up the slope of Mount Parnassos, in the winter months when Apollo was said to be absent from Delphi. Men were not allowed to witness these women's rites, altough some are thought to have been chosen for the role of satyrs.

The Yin in every Yang. The fear at the heart of love. The contents (in this case, void) within the Holy of Holies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hans und Franz

"The Ambassadors", Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 - 1543)
...behind our desire is nothing but our lack: the materiality of the Real staring back at us.
Correcting for the Anamorphosis - the illusions of wealth & power

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Ungrateful Heart"

Caterina, Caterina, why do you say those bitter words?
Why do you speak and torment my heart, Caterina?
Don't forget, I gave you my heart, Caterina,
don't forget.

Caterina, Caterina, why do you come and say those words that hurt me so much?
You don't think of my pain,
you don't think, you don't care.

Ungrateful heart,
you have stolen my life.
Everything is finished
and you don't care any more!

Catarí', Catarí'
you do not know that even in church
I bring my prayers to God, Catari.
And I recount my confession to the priest: "I am suffering
from such a great love."

I'm suffering,
I'm suffering from not knowing your love,
I'm suffering a sorrow that tortures my soul.
And I confess, that the Holy Mother
spoke to me: "My son, let it be, let it be."

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Difference Between the Old '68 New Left and the 2011 Progressive Left

- Doing Good for Other's Under Capitalism is Preventing Us from Implementing Real Solutions. We Don't Know What those Real Solutions are, but We Need to Topple the Capitalist System so that We Can Find Out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moneyball Song

A tribute to Billy Beane and a paean to the Leftist ideal of NOT doing things simply for the money, but out of the smug satisfaction that comes from manipulating others lives so as to prove yourself smarter than everyone else. So long as everyone is MADE to see your point of view, who cares how many other people's lives you have to ruin?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Under Mount Etna he lies,
It is slumber, it is not death;
For he struggles at times to arise,
And above him the lurid skies
Are hot with his fiery breath.
The crags are piled on his breast,
The earth is heaped on his head;
But the groans of his wild unrest,
Though smothered and half suppressed,
Are heard, and he is not dead.
And the nations far away
Are watching with eager eyes;
They talk together and say,
"To-morrow, perhaps to-day,
Euceladus will arise!
And the old gods, the austere
Oppressors in their strength,
Stand aghast and white with fear
At the ominous sounds they hear,
And tremble, and mutter, "At length!"
Ah me! for the land that is sown
With the harvest of despair!
Where the burning cinders, blown
From the lips of the overthrown
Enceladus, fill the air.
Where ashes are heaped in drifts
Over vineyard and field and town,
Whenever he starts and lifts
His head through the blackened rifts
Of the crags that keep him down.
See, see! the red light shines!
'T is the glare of his awful eyes!
And the storm-wind shouts through the pines
Of Alps and of Apennines,
"Enceladus, arise!"

-HW Longfellow

Cocktail Republicans Need to Go Found a New RINO Party with Romney at Head?

New York Times columnist David Brooks has a tendency to upset a lot of conservatives because he takes positions that are usually more moderated. And his reasoning in making a case for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be an instance of just that, pragmatism trumping ideology.

On Friday’s airing of “NewsHour” on PBS, Brooks explained that while the country is clamoring for a GOP presidential nominee like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, his nomination might not be the wisest thing for the country.

“Yes, I mean as Mark [Shields] says, [Christie] has this phenomenal, rare skill of talking about wonky issues in a normal way and that is just not something that comes along every day,” Brooks said. “And so he has that skill. But to follow Mark’s metaphor, I agree the Republican primary electorate wants the guy with the leather jacket. But I think the country wants the guy from the rotary club. I think they want the Mitt Romney guy, because we are in a very scary period.”

Brooks warned that if crisis strikes, an aggressive individual like Christie would be less effective than the more moderated Romney.

“I expect, before the election, there is going to be more bad news from Europe or somewhere else. And my presumption is, on elections, people always vote for the candidate who seems safer and more orderly,” Brooks continued. “Obama seemed more orderly than McCain after the financial meltdown. Bush seemed more orderly. Whether they are really going to want somebody like Chris Christie, who is rambunctious and big and not exactly orderly, I`m not convinced. I think the Republicans should be pretty happy with Romney.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/01/david-brooks-insists-republicans-should-be-pretty-happy-with-romney/#ixzz1Zcvu4hap
On the orderly class, Plato, "Statesman"
STRANGER: The difference between the two classes is often a trivial concern; but in a state, and when affecting really important matters, becomes of all disorders the most hateful.

YOUNG SOCRATES: To what do you refer?

STRANGER: To nothing short of the whole regulation of human life. For the orderly class are always ready to lead a peaceful life, quietly doing their own business; this is their manner of behaving with all men at home, and they are equally ready to find some way of keeping the peace with foreign States. And on account of this fondness of theirs for peace, which is often out of season where their influence prevails, they become by degrees unwarlike, and bring up their young men to be like themselves; they are at the mercy of their enemies; whence in a few years they and their children and the whole city often pass imperceptibly from the condition of freemen into that of slaves.

YOUNG SOCRATES: What a cruel fate!

STRANGER: And now think of what happens with the more courageous natures. Are they not always inciting their country to go to war, owing to their excessive love of the military life? they raise up enemies against themselves many and mighty, and either utterly ruin their native-land or enslave and subject it to its foes?

YOUNG SOCRATES: That, again, is true.

STRANGER: Must we not admit, then, that where these two classes exist, they always feel the greatest antipathy and antagonism towards one another?

YOUNG SOCRATES: We cannot deny it.

STRANGER: And returning to the enquiry with which we began, have we not found that considerable portions of virtue are at variance with one another, and give rise to a similar opposition in the characters who are endowed with them?


STRANGER: Let us consider a further point.


STRANGER: I want to know, whether any constructive art will make any, even the most trivial thing, out of bad and good materials indifferently, if this can be helped? does not all art rather reject the bad as far as possible, and accept the good and fit materials, and from these elements, whether like or unlike, gathering them all into one, work out some nature or idea?

YOUNG SOCRATES: To, be sure.

STRANGER: Then the true and natural art of statesmanship will never allow any State to be formed by a combination of good and bad men, if this can be avoided; but will begin by testing human natures in play, and after testing them, will entrust them to proper teachers who are the ministers of her purposes—she will herself give orders, and maintain authority; just as the art of weaving continually gives orders and maintains authority over the carders and all the others who prepare the material for the work, commanding the subsidiary arts to execute the works which she deems necessary for making the web.

Weaving the Republican peplos is never an easy task. It can be as difficult as Athena's defeat of Enceladus in the battle against the Gigantes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Is Fear the Heart of Love?

...topic from Death Cab for Cutie, "I will follow you into the dark."
For there is nothing which men love but the good. Is there anything?' 'Certainly, I should say, that there is nothing.' 'Then,' she said, 'the simple truth is, that men love the good.' 'Yes,' I said. 'To which must be added that they love the possession of the good?' 'Yes, that must be added.' 'And not only the possession, but the everlasting possession of the good?' 'That must be added too.' 'Then love,' she said, 'may be described generally as the love of the everlasting possession of the good?' 'That is most true.'
- Plato, "Symposium"
But isn't there a fear of separation from it as well?

Taqiyya's Western Faces