Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As a Child I Never Understood How an Animal Could Sleep Standing

Planet graduates from high school this afternoon. Planet is celebrating with a fever and aching lungs, me by whacking my back cutting the grass, Earthgirl by still mourning the death of Rudy while poxed by ridiculous family realities and their politics, the weather by scheduling heat index temperatures in the 100s.

As a graduation present I'm giving Planet a world where assholosity isn't an unfortunate necessity but a highly sought after and rewarded attribute. In the greater arc of Capitalism's ruthless and soulless life span I'm sure the significance is minute, but in my blinked lifetime the toggle from pejorative to honorific of the word greed is astonishing.

I am a titanic rube. That admission supports my point.

  • Ignorance is strength.
  • This is not a form of brainwashing.
  • War criminals.
  • Post-legal America.
  • Seeking an expiation of guilt.
  • After the crash: Obviously, both Republicans and Democrats are agreed to do nothing more that quibble over insignificant margins of so huge a deficit. Meanwhile, they perform live political theatre about their "deep concern about deficits and debts" for a bemused, bored and ever-more alienated public. Neither party can shake off its utter dependence now on corporate and rich citizens' monies for all their financial sustenance. Therefore, neither party imagines, let alone explores, alternatives to massive deficits and debts. After all, government deficits and debts mean: first, the government is not taxing corporations and the rich; and second, the government is, instead, borrowing from them and paying them interest. So, the two parties quibble over how much to cut which government jobs and public services.
  • Robert Reich on the American economy.
  • Another category error by Krugman
  • Neo-conservatism's founding asshat
  • I enjoy Larison's Eunomia, but why he would think Walter Russell Mead an honest broker makes me feel not so embarrassed by my motherfucking roobiness. 
  • Asked without a drop of self-awareness or irony.
  • Character assassinating Bradley Manning's mother.
  • Their cave.
  • How we tell each other it's not so bad.  
  • To be fair, I'm also giving Planet four years at a high-priced credentialing factory, one of a liberal bent, where greed isn't taught to be honorable (as at, say, Amherst) but a distasteful if necessary skill.
  • Subjectivity v Objectivity and science: There is so much confusion surrounding the notions of objectivity and subjectivity that I need to say a word to clarify them. In one sense, the objective/subjective distinction is about claims to knowledge. I call this the epistemic sense. A claim is said to be objective if its truth or falsity can be settled as a matter of fact independently of anybody’s attitudes, feelings, or evaluations; it is subjective if it cannot. For example, the claim that Van Gogh died in France is epistemically objective. But the claim that Van Gogh was a better painter than Gauguin is, as they say, a matter of subjective opinion. It is epistemically subjective. In another sense, the objective/subjective distinction is about modes of existence. I call this the ontological sense. An entity has an objective ontology if its existence does not depend on being experienced by a human or animal subject; otherwise it is subjective. For example, mountains, molecules, and tectonic plates are ontologically objective. Their existence does not depend on being experienced by anybody. But pains, tickles, and itches only exist when experienced by a human or animal subject. They are ontologically subjective. I emphasize these two senses of the distinction because a common mistake is to suppose that because science is objective and consciousness is subjective, there cannot be a science of consciousness. Science is indeed epistemically objective, because scientific claims are supposed to be verifiable independently of anybody’s feelings and attitudes. But the ontological subjectivity of the domain of consciousness does not preclude an objective science of that domain. You can have an (epistemically) objective science of an (ontologically) subjective consciousness. Much confusion has been created by the failure to see this point.
  • The end of the subject is not the end of me.
  • Because it's there
  • Climbing the mountain.
  • Walter Johnson sent out a stern note on graduation dos and don'ts, including this line, about a full graduation ceremony including the reading of 650 kids names and march across the stage: The ceremony will be over in two hours. Heh. This is going to suck.


Stanley Plumly

Its face, as long as an arm, looks down & down.
Then the iron gate sound of the cage swings shut
above the bed, a bell as big as the room: quarter-
moon of the head, its nose, its whole lean body
pressed against its cell . . .
I watched my father hit a horse in the face once.
It had come down to feed across the fence.
My father, this stranger, wanted to ride.
Perhaps he only wanted to talk. Anyway,
he hit the ground and something broke.
As a child I never understood how an animal
could sleep standing. In my dream the horse
rocks in a cage too small, so the cage swings.
I still wake up dreaming, in front of a long face.
That day I hugged the ground hard.
Who knows if my heartbroken father was meant
to last longer than his last good drunk.
They say it's like being kicked by a horse.
You go down, your knees hug up.
You go suddenly wide awake, and the gate shuts.


  1. So both you and Randal are suffering from a surfeit of grass? Ahh, apartment living!

    P.S. I'm tempted to respond to Lambert's lengthy lambasting, but I don't want to resprain my blogging muscle.

  2. It WILL be over in two hours. The powers that be only allow you three hours in the space, which includes setting up and taking down the trappings.

    Every year, I think it can't possibly be done in 2 hours...and every year, like clockwork, regardless of school/graduating class size: 2 hours.

    Although the temperature will, in fact, be miserable. Be happy you're sitting up with the parents and not down with the students who waited outside for 45 mnutes in 100 degree heat in dress clothes and gowns that don't breathe. Last year I was next to a student who didn't exactly go crazy with her deodorant. THAT was a rough 2 hours.

    Pass on all my best wishes to Planet, and my regrets for not attending.

  3. This back-gah is an annual May thing. My next door neighbor says I have an unorthodox mowing style, especially on steep hills. My next door neighbor may be right, and I urge him to shut the fuck up.

    I pray you're right, Ilse. And I hope they let the kids stay out of their gowns until the last minute. Bet they don't.

    See you Sunday!

  4. Your 100 beats my 96, but on the plus side, what if DCU makes the MLS round of 726, a distinct possibility?

    Thumbs up to Planet (and you guys) and here's sincerely hoping those two hours don't suffer a broken AC. You should buy a Game Boy or something.

  5. Thanks for the linkage and congratulations to Planet.

  6. But the claim that Van Gogh was a better painter than Gauguin is, as they say, a matter of subjective opinion.

    Having just come from the Gauguin exhibit downtown, I can say with some confidence that Van Gogh being better is an objective fact.

  7. Congratulations to you and EG and especially to Planet! It's a significant accomplishment and a major milestone. The most entertaining part of my kids' graduations was listening to the teacher who had to pronounce each of their names. There were Africans (no clicks!, though, mainly Ethiopian), Asians of many stripes, and Eastern Europeans with runs of consonants. The Hispanic names were a snap. I knew the teacher well. She told me she made the kids give her phonetic renderings of their names, and she practiced many times both with them and without them. Hope P's is as entertaining.

    Me, I've been to the osteopath twice in the last month for a whole series of adjustments—back, hips, shoulder, fascia. Sucks to be me. To be you.

    On a positive note: You are also leaving her a world where poetry gets billion dollar legacies and massive amounts of it are available on the Google. There is beauty. May she find it and create more of it.

  8. Gratz to the offspring and the parents who got her this far.

  9. Hope your day went splendidly and you & the graduates didn't suffer too much in the heat (was the ceremony really outdoors??).

    I read that article about Bradley Manning in the Guardian the other day and don't agree that it was a hatchet job on him or his mother. I have "Free Bradley Manning" posters up in the windows of my house. I thought the Guardian article was quite sympathetic to Manning and revealed the US military for the fucked-up place it is.