Category Archives: Bibliography

A book from 1874

“Our American system of diet is altogether bad. There is too great variety, the food is too rich, the cooking is often very bad, we eat too frequently, and we eat at the wrong times.”

“One of my sincere regrets in life is, that I prepared about fifty young men for college.”

“In this country of consumptives, [social singing] is especially valuable in fortifying the pulmonary apparatus.”

Read it all–I learned of it from Hattie. It is a book about health for girls, it is not all wrong, and it is marvelously worded.

Axé.

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Trois jours de beauté

Et une semaine de bonté, peut-être.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

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Wendy Brown

Still, if we are slipping from liberalism to fascism, and if radical democracy or socialism is nowhere on the political horizon, don’t we have to defend liberal democratic institutions and values? Isn’t this the lesson of Weimar? I have labored to suggest that this is not the right diagnosis of our predicament: it does not grasp what is at stake in neoliberal governmentality—which is not fascism—nor on what grounds it might be challenged. Indeed, the left defense of the welfare state in the 1980s, which seemed to stem from precisely such an analysis—“if we can’t have socialism, at least we should preserve welfare state capitalism”—backfired from just such a misdiagnosis. On the one hand, rather than articulating an emancipatory vision that included the eradication rather than regulation of poverty, the Left appeared aligned with big government, big spending, and misplaced compassion for those construed as failing to give their lives proper entrepreneurial shape. On the other hand, the welfare state was dismantled on grounds that had almost nothing to do with the terms of liberal democracy and everything to do with neoliberal economic and political rationality. We are not simply in the throes of a right-wing or conservative positioning within liberal democracy but rather at the threshold of a different political formation, one that conducts and legitimates itself on different grounds from liberal democracy even as it does not immediately divest itself of the name. It is a formation that is developing a domestic imperium correlative with a global one, achieved through a secretive and remarkably agentic state; through corporatized media, schools, and prisons; and through a variety of technologies for intensified local administrative, regulatory, and police powers. It is a formation made possible by the production of citizens as individual entrepreneurial actors across all dimensions of their lives, by the reduction of civil society to a domain for exercising this entrepreneurship, and by the figuration of the state as a firm whose products are rational individual subjects, an expanding economy, national security, and global power.

That is here. In a book from Princeton. And she has a new book.

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On subjectivity, language and the body

I am plagiarizing this post from the Facebook page of a colleague, and hope that is all right. Look:

Correspondences:

Adorno on Benjamin:
“Despite extreme individuation […] Benjamin seems empirically hardly to have been a person at all, rather an arena of movement in which content forced its way, through him, into language.”

Jim Siegel on Clifford Geertz:
“Geertz lectured with an intensity I had never before seen…Geertz to me was not a person but an image of the flow of words through a human body…Geertz, more than anyone else I met as a student, showed me that words need not stay inside the head even if one has no method. All you had to do was connect the parts of your body with them.”

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Vallejo Lorca Spicer Stein Pessoa Drummond

From my dialogues elsewhere.

Person A, quoting Pessoa:

Whether we write or speak or do but look

Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill or thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.

(«35 Sonnets», in Poemas Inglêses)

Z:

SMT, I meant to say this long ago. The other great poetry class, comparable to the Lorca-Vallejo-Stein-Spicer combination, is Lorca-Vallejo-Pessoa-Drummond. I will surely never be allowed to do this so you should. Also, I was originally going to run my benighted Vallejo dissertation through the lines of Drummond, Pessoa, Valéry, Borges, Bergson, people like this, and did not get to because it was seen as too conservative — neither postcolonial and hip nor poststructuralist and hip. I continue to believe that this was only because these professors I was dealing with were very concerned about fashion and “productivity” and also had not read the people I was talking about very carefully. All of this has to do with fractured subjects, empty signs, and centers that are either absent or fall away, but it isn’t “anti-humanist” in the slapdash and flashy manner people used to take on when exerpting and patching with Foucault.

Person A:

By chance I also came across these lines from Jack Spicer, riffing off Benjamin (and Baudelaire): “As things decay they bring their equivalents into being […] That is what makes it possible for a poet to translate real objects, to bring them across language as easily as he can bring them across time. Things do not connect; they correspond. That is how we dead men write to each other.”

In the meantime, someone entirely different told me this:

Concerning holographic projections, e.g., smart phones, “holographic protests”, etc., the phenomenon is not quite as mysterious as it first appears. Once one realizes that the hologram is not actually a physical image, floating in intersubjective space, but is merely a subjective, virtual image, that is, *virtual* in merely the sense of Newton’s Opticks (1704) and not so much that of Tim Berners Lee (1989), for example, and that through careful monitoring with lasers that provide continuously updated feedback of information on the focal length vector of each of the observer’s two eyes, a virtual image in the above sense can be easily made to appear and persist anywhere in the observer’s visual projective space – not just hovering above the plane of the smart phone’s screen or on the city street that one’s body is physically facing. One fascinating fact, that holography points up in a somewhat different though related way than perhaps “virtual” reality technology has been doing now for quite a few years, is that our notion of “virtual” is very powerful in this sense: its context is paradoxical in being at once unified and open-ended. Currently, the term, “virtual”, appears to possess three distinct senses, i.e., of “virtual” (optics), “virtual” (virtual reality) and “virtual” (virtual particle/field). With the further advancements in the disciplines of quantum computing, holography and quantum gravity theory, which are expected over the next 30 years or so, these three distinct acceptations of “virtual” will be understood to be just different perspectives on the same underlying process, and this new understanding shall forever more fundamentally blur the boundaries between physical reality, virtual reality and mind.

And this:

The mothership checked in for a moment there.

And I laughed. The idea of the mothership checking in, “souls by gleams,” as Pessoa would have said, sunbeams, slices of blue sky.

This is what it is, today, to feel whole as one once did.

Axé.

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Soberanía y transgresión: César Moro by Mariela Dreyfus

I will get hold of it.

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“The ‘grain’ is the voice in the body as it sings”

Roland Barthes in Image–Music–Text, here. I was reminded of it because of a piece on Stuart Hall by Homi Bhabha in Critical Inquiry, and I miss reading Critical Inquiry and some other things.

The grain is the voice in the body as it sings, and this is one more road leading to or from Vallejo. Bhabha talks about semiotics, locus of enunciation, intersubjectivity and language.

(Once again I want to say I do not like this behaviorist psychotherapy, that is all about setting little goals, containing yourself, and being good … and where the assumption is that without such containment, you will be incredibly small minded and self serving. I do not know that that is what this psychotherapist intends to do, but when I arrive in late afternoon he is tired and does not need to be sitting any longer, he needs to be stretching, there is pain in his every sinew, and he says formulaic things. He was not like this before and I had been thinking he was getting older but now I wonder: perhaps he is just impatient, tired of me.)

Transference. I do amateur psychoanalysis on myself on the blog because I do not seem to get, or do not think I can get it elsewhere. I claim psychotherapy is about containing oneself, saying the things one is allowed to say so that one can appear deserving of some glimmerings of useful insight or care. Is that, then, what I actually think about people and life? I am myself considered a good and inspiring advisor because I tell people to take what they need and do what they will (and I trust them to be ethical about this). I say it to everyone as a matter of course, but I do not say it to myself, and I probably mistrust myself.

Evidence suggests I am a courageous person.

Axé.

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