Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And This Is How the Dead Rise to Us, Transformed: Wet and Singing, the Tide of Voices Pearling in Our Heads

Ian Curtis was born fifty-eight years ago today. So yes, another monologue on My Sillyass Deserted Island Five Game (MSADI5G). Joy Division rarely gets within two circles of rotating bands/musicians that alternate appointments to the two non-permanent seats in MSADI5G. I understand the importance of and like Joy Division but it was never sloppy reckless love. I love sloppy reckless love. There is no set number of bands/musicians in any given circle and I don't keep a list, digital, scrap paper, mental, of who is in what circle at any given time: even I'm not that compulsive. But bands/musicians wax and wane depending on when last I listened and what color the music left in my brain. The last two years I've posted the mandatory Curtis' birthday post the color got more olive then browner and this year I expected greyer but to my delight and surprise and head-chime this year the music is school bus yellow almost to orange. A band in a severe relegation tailspin, New Order, related to Joy Division of course, went from the innermost circle of rotating bands less than six years ago to fog grey today. Remember, long-timers, when a running - and true - gag here was that there was always a New Order song in my head? After the school bus yellow almost orange of Joy Division today I tried some New Order: greyer than last time's grey. Since I had many more life experiences when New Order was on the daily soundtrack than Joy Division (because of my age) I would have suspected full orange after Joy Division's school bus yellow revival, so highly do I credit my addiction for nostalgia to influence my coloring. This is unexpected and excellent and promises to, um, compulsively fascinate nobody but me. More to come!

  • Foucault's legacy: Foucault's great studies of disciplinary society are useful above all because they allow us to delineate, through contrast and comparison, the digital governmentality that subjects us to new forms of control, which are less vertical, more democratic and, above all, no longer burdened by any anthropological ballast. Homo digitalis today participates in, is the primary agent of, the surveillance of himself. Digital society is becoming a form of mutualised control.
  • Speaking of old gags here, let me bitch and moan then press plunge and hope I get noticed enough to incriminate myself, or at least draw a pencil-pusher's attention.
  • The Truth About Our Libertarian Age. That's the name of the article. Offered not as endorsement but for your consideration. The author taught a semester here at Illtophay last academic year, a friend I trust insists he is an honorable thinker and person even though the friend disagrees at points with the author. Me, I can see all points at this point for all the good it does.
  • Reflections on internet leftism (h/t): Internet leftism can and does produce the illusion that an active website possesses a significant level of political strength simply because it regularly publishes analyses and debates with other websites that also produce a similar quantity of theoretical engagements.  To claim that this demonstrates the efficacy of organization, without investigating whether this internet leftism communicates to any concrete mass organizing, simultaneously demonstrates the limits of this kind of discourse.  We often discover (and I have been guilty of this) a theory alienated from practice due to the fact that the only practice is internet ideological engagement, a refined version of the "talk-shop".  A theory divorced from any form of revolutionary activity amongst the masses in the social context in which one lives is a theory that cannot thrive on a deep form of social investigation; it investigates only amongst a vague internet population from anywhere and everywhere––it is close to book worship.
  • The politics of we must change the government (the Problem of Less-Shittism: a view from New Zealand): It is that suffering, and the greater evil of Tory rule, that demands we settle for the lesser evil of the other, more humane parties of business. Yet, when faced with it, I don’t fully reject this logic. I’m a Marxist, which in the current climate is one of the most futile and impractical things a person can be – almost as much as an intellectual. I do indeed have a strong case of the pip. And whatever aversion I feel towards our current government is balanced by the conviction that Labour and the Greens (and as of now quite possibly Mana, too), are in fact more committed to capitalism and invested in it than National, convinced as they appear to be that it holds the key to a sustainable future and our very survival as a species. To me, it’s not a matter of lesser but of different evils. But I also get that concerning people’s so-called everyday lives, including my own, National is – to flip the adage – like Labour, only worse. That it will never raise benefits. That it will only reduce workers’ bargaining rights and entitlements further. That it will continue to critically weaken our environmental protections and democratic institutions. That it will be reluctant to accept social change and in all things be more racist, more sexist, more homophobic. All these may be matters of degree, large or small, but the weaker the working class is, the worse the conditions in which it lives, the more small differences become a matter of outright survival, until social justice grows in the imagination to become a sneering, grey concept, and not something that can be concretely aspired to and worked towards.
  • Oil and blood in a burning world.
  • Maps of/for pain.

  • You really do always choose the slowest line.
  • The Nationals local TV numbers are down dramatically. It wasn't me: they broadcast booth is incredibly shitty, Barker and Color both. Listen to Charlie and Dave on the radio while using your eyes on the printed word or with closed eyes falling asleep during a night game.
  • This is a post in a past gag I would have non-bulleted - and it would have worked, but some gags get old, though not the gag about old gags.
  • Adidas has already added the fourth star, buy your shirt today!
  • 25 novels on failure: I've read eight, heard of eight, never heard of eleven, am taking advantage of having access to a major university's library stacks and consortia.
  • A Deep Space Nine update: there are no permanent members of my DS9 MSADI5G, there are no members of the innermost circle of rotating cast members and the second innermost circle of rotating cast members there is only Rom. Mr Alarum told me to give him time.
  • In the circle I would jettison and never look back: the rest of the cast.
  • Rebuilding the House of Stones.
  • Books out the second half of 2014.
  • There are many more Joy Division songs below the song below the poem:


Lynda Hull

At the hour the streetlights come on, buildings
turn abstract. The Hudson, for a moment, formal.   
We drink bourbon on the terrace and you speak
in the evening voice, weighted deep in the throat.

They plan to harvest oysters, you tell me,
from the harbor by Jersey City, how the waters
will be clean again in twenty years. I imagine nets
burdened with rough shells, the meat dun and sexual.

Below, the river and the high rock
where boys each year jump from bravado
or desperation. The day flares, turns into itself.
And innocently, sideways, the way we always fall

into grace or knowledge, we watched the police
drag the river for a suicide, the third this year.   
The terrible hook, the boy’s frail whiteness.
His face was blank and new as your face

in the morning before the day has worked
its pattern of lines and tensions. A hook
like an iron question and this coming
out of the waters, a flawed pearl—

a memory that wasn’t ours to claim.   
Perhaps, in a bedroom by lamplight,   
a woman waits for this boy. She may riffle drawers
gathering photographs, string, keys to abandoned rooms.

Even now she may be leaving,   
closing the door for some silence. I need
to move next to you. Water sluiced
from the boy’s hair. I need to watch you

light your cigarette, the flickering
of your face in matchlight, as if underwater,
drifting away. I take your cigarette
and drag from it, touch your hand.

Remember that winter of your long fever,   
the winter we understood how fragile
any being together was. The wall sweated   
behind the headboard and you said you felt

the rim where dreams crouch
and every room of the past. It must begin in luxury—
do you think—a break and fall into the glamour
attending each kind of surrender. Water must flood

the mind, as in certain diseases, the walls
between the cells of memory dissolve, blur
into a single stream of voices and faces.   
I don’t know any more about this river or if

it can be cleaned of its tender and broken histories—
a tide of voices. And this is how the dead
rise to us, transformed: wet and singing,   
the tide of voices pearling in our hands.






  1. chris floyd's essay reminds me of the following remarks by kurt vonnegut, upon whom be peace

    Kurt Vonnegut on being addicted to oil

    From an interview in 2006 (video below):

    I have a message for future generations. That is please accept our apologies.. we were roaring drunk on petroleum.

    Everything that distinguishes our era from the dark ages is what we’ve been able to do with petroleum … and that is going to end very soon.

    I think in the next few years we’re going to see the price of fossil fuels go through the roof, and there will be no substitutes for gasoline.

    I think that, from my reading of history, the only fun most human beings have ever had – any feeling of power and respect – has been driving automobiles, you get in a car and everyone respects you; and people aren’t going to give that up easily.


  2. People happily occupied themselves with war for many thousands of years before the internal combustion engine came along, mistah charley.

    So there's always that...

  3. People happily occupied themselves with war for many thousands of years before the internal combustion engine came along

    you have a point there

    ouspensky was talking with gurdjieff about war in 1917, and g. expressed the following opinions:

    ‘The conversation began with my question: “Can war be stopped?” And G. answered: “Yes it can.” And yet I had been certain from previous talks that he would answer: “No, it cannot.

    “But the whole thing is: How?” he said. “It is necessary to know a great deal in order to understand that. What is war? It is the result of planetary influences. Somewhere up there two or three planets have approached too near to each other; tension results. Have you noticed how, if a man passes quite close to you on a narrow pavement, you become all tense? The same tension takes place between planets. For them it lasts, perhaps, a second or two. But here, on the earth, people begin to slaughter one another, and they go on slaughtering for maybe for several years. It seems to them at the time that they hate one another; or that perhaps they have to slaughter each other for some exalted purpose; or that they must defend somebody or something and that it is a very noble thing to do; or something else of the same kind. They fail to realize to what extent they are mere pawns in the game. They think they signify something; they think they can move about as they like; they think they can decide to do this or that. But in reality all of their movements, all their actions, are the results of planetary influences. And they themselves signify literally nothing. Then the Moon plays a big part in this. But we will speak about the moon separately. Only it must be understood that neither Emperor Wilhelm, nor generals, nor ministers, not parliaments, signify anything. Everything that happens on a big scale is governed from outside, and governed either by accidental combinations of influences or by general cosmic laws.”’[Copyright P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, pp.23-24, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1950]

    1. Exactly!

      And it just how sunspots cause global warming. (Or so I have read.)

  4. more from mr. g.:

    The final words spoken by Beelzebub in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man, by G.I. Gurdjieff:

    The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ ... of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.