Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Awful, Dull, Brutally Inconsequential

  • NEW PERE UBU! Best opening monologue ever since the last until the next. See previous post for this blog's required Pere Ubu chorus. Yes, the song at the very bottom is certainly one of the five most posted songs on this shitty blog.
  • Voting is magic! Electoral representation in the post-ideological age has far more in common with apotropy than politics. Very few people vote to choose their leaders; instead they vote to prevent the other guy from winning. The genealogy of voting follows a very different path from that of democracy. In classical Athens, which is to a greater or lesser extent to blame for both practices, governmental positions were usually determined by lots, to counteract the advantages enjoyed by rich citizens and great orators. If, as a fifth-century Athenian citizen, you were actually voting for a politician, chances are you were casting an ostrakon: voting for them to be exiled from the city and its civic life. Voting is an apotropaic act. Little has changed. In this week’s European elections, millions of people will vote for the individuals they want to be torn from their homes and families and sent away to the godforsaken marshy swamplands of Brussels.
  • The Dark Flows of Capital: Capital is that lack, it infiltrates the dead body-without-organs, the hollow body like a dark god animating it with illusionary desires, producing that which entices us, allures us toward our enslavement. “The deliberate creation of lack as a function of market economy is the art of a dominant class. This involves deliberately organizing wants and needs amid an abundance of production; making all of desire teeter and fall victim  to the great fear of not having one’s needs satisfied; and making the object dependent upon a real production that is supposedly exterior to desire (the demands of rationality), while at the same time the productions of desire is categorized as fantasy and nothing but fantasy.
  • Catipal.
  • Compete to win a free copy of Lefebvre's Critique of Everyday Life
  • Actually, today's monologue and bleggalgaze in post title.
  • Without Compunction: Herein lies the Pun-Off’s ontological dilemma. In real life, the best puns tend to be spontaneous: many are funny in the moment but fail to rise to the higher standard to which we hold jokes that are given time to grow and improve in the course of being committed to paper. And yet the sustained, absolute spontaneity that comes of scraping out pun after pun onstage quickly pulls every contestant down to the bottom of the barrel—a low stratum I think of as “[blank]er, I barely know her” territory. People who know me can vouch for the punishment I've inflicted.
  • A self-referential reading of self-reference.
  • Robert Creeley was born eighty-eight years ago today (lots of Creeley here):


Robert Creeley

He wants to be
a brutal old man,
an aggressive old man,
as dull, as brutal
as the emptiness around him,

He doesn’t want compromise,   
nor to be ever nice
to anyone. Just mean,
and final in his brutal,
his total, rejection of it all.

He tried the sweet,   
the gentle, the “oh,
let’s hold hands together”
and it was awful,
dull, brutally inconsequential.

Now he’ll stand on
his own dwindling legs.   
His arms, his skin,   
shrink daily. And
he loves, but hates equally.


  1. the passage you quote from 'the dark flows of capital' reminds me of herbert marcuse's concept of repressive desublimation - as our friends at wikipedia say in their article on the subject, By offering instantaneous, rather than mediated gratifications, repressive desublimation was considered by Marcuse to remove the energies otherwise available for a social critique; and thus to function as a conservative force under the guise of liberation.

    in a similar vein, this morning i was looking at the psychological literature on the distinction between subjective well-being as seen from a hedonic perspective, versus eudaimonic activity - as ryan et al. write:

    This article distinguishes between hedonic and eudaimonic approaches to wellness, with the former focusing on the outcome of happiness or pleasure and the latter focusing not so much on outcomes as on the process of living well. We present a model of eudaimonia that is based in self-determination theory, arguing that eudaimonic living can be characterized in terms of four motivational concepts:

    (1) pursuing intrinsic goals and values for their own sake, including personal growth, relationships, community, and health, rather than extrinsic goals and values, such as wealth, fame, image, and power;

    (2) behaving in autonomous, volitional, or consensual ways, rather than heteronomous or controlled ways;

    (3) being mindful and acting with a sense of awareness; and

    (4) behaving in ways that satisfy basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy.

    1. If you ever turn your blog back on let me know. Only people who read comments are those who are likely to comment. Post this as a blog post and I'd link to it so instead of just three people reading it there might be up to six!

    2. What bdr said. Also, your com-pun-ction shows the celestial beneficence of Earth Girl.I think she would be down with Catipal as well . . . .

    3. thanks for the kind words - right now it seems to me that my most apt creative outlet is as a writer of footnotes - thanks for the opportunity you provide here for doing so