Monthly Archives: December 2015

Huey P. Long

For the new year I propose we study some texts of alleged demagogue Huey P. Long, whose analysis may not be entirely scientific, but who is extremely interesting. An installment:

Ladies and Gentlemen: —

I have only 30 minutes in which to speak to you this evening, and I, therefore, will not be able to discuss in detail so much as I can write when I have all of the time and space that is allowed me for the subjects, but I will undertake to sketch them very briefly without manuscript or preparation, so that you can understand them so well as I can tell them to you tonight.

I contend, my friends, that we have no difficult problem to solve in America, and that is the view of nearly everyone with whom I have discussed the matter here in Washington and elsewhere throughout the United States—that we have no very difficult problem to solve.

It is not the difficulty of the problem which we have; it is the fact that the rich people of this country—and by rich people I mean the super-rich—will not allow us to solve the problems, or rather the one little problem that is afflicting this country, because in order to cure all of our woes it is necessary to scale down the big fortunes, that we may scatter the wealth to be shared by all of the people.

We have a marvelous love for this Government of ours; in fact, it is almost a religion, and it is well that it should be, because we have a splendid form of government and we have a splendid set of laws. We have everything here that we need, except that we have neglected the fundamentals upon which the American Government was principally predicated.

How many of you remember the first thing that the Declaration of Independence said? It said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that there are certain inalienable rights for the people, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and it said further, “We hold the view that all men are created equal.”

Now, what did they mean by that? Did they mean, my friends, to say that all men are created equal and that that meant that any one man was born to inherit $10,000,000,000 and that another child was to be born to inherit nothing?

Did that mean, my friends, that someone would come into this world without having had an opportunity, of course, to have hit one lick of work, should be born with more than it and all of its children and children’s children could ever dispose of, but that another one would have to be born into a life of starvation?

That was not the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said that all men are created equal or “That we hold that all men are created equal.”

Nor was it the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said that they held that there were certain rights that were inalienable—the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Hear the speech. See it.

Axé.

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Roberto Saviano

Narco cartels like Guzman’s are not adversaries of global capitalism, nor even pastiches of it; they are integral to – and pioneers of – the free market. They are its role model.

Tout lire.

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Xanadu III

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

Axé.

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T.S. Eliot and the Birth of the Modern Poet

With Christopher Ricks. This is really worth listening to.

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Reading Vallejo Against the Grain of Identity

I like my abstract better than anything longer I have written on this matter.

Taking as its point of departure not only the poetic subject in Vallejo as primordially fractured but the intimations in his prose works that like his contemporary J. L. Borges (“La nadería de la personalidad,” 1925) he eschewed the idea of a unified self, this presentation will interrogate the biographical paradigms that have often been brought to bear on readings of Vallejo. Despite advances in scholarship in recent years, such paradigms still inform much of his critical tradition. How have expectations that Vallejo’s work perform Peruvian, Indian, or other identities in particular ways hampered its reading? What is gained by insisting on his mestizo roots, or by declaring his poetry mestizo? What effect has the emphasis on the meagreness of his Parisian circumstances and his allegedly mournful and martyred character had on the interpretation of his poetry? I will argue that it is useful to formulate alternative views of Vallejo not for purposes of better elucidating his work but so as to lift the interpretive shadow the traditional view of his personality has cast over his texts.

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T-frère

christophe

Here is our youngest brother, just after defending his dissertation today.

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Wendy Brown

The supreme triumph of corporate power in the world requires that liberal democracy be undermined. This means that political autonomy is jettisoned. Formal rights, private property and voting are retained, but civil liberties are re-cast as useful only for the enjoyment of private autonomy.

Social problems are de-politicized and converted into therapeutic, individualistic solutions (mostly through consuming a special commodity). The political rationality of neo-liberalism interpellates the governed self of the citizenry. Separated from the collectivity, this self is then absorbed into a world of choice and need-satisfaction through consumption that is mistaken for freedom.

There is much more here and one must read Brown’s book as well. But all of this has to do with my observation that “democracy” now means its opposite, and these things must be seriously considered.

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