Monday, November 17, 2014

Idles in Brackish Water Like a Tow Truck

Guess who I was listening to this past weekend.

I confess, it gives me an unseemly amount of pleasure that the local helmetball team sucks so much that lifelong fans are saying fuck it. I was going to write about a conversation with a friend with a I'm Ready for Hillary bumpersticker I had Saturday. I was going to talk about being fifty pages from the end of Gravity's Rainbow, how I bought Lispector's GH and Krasznahorkai's Satantango last Thursday and I'm having such difficulty deciding which to read first I'm having trouble finishing Gravity's Rainbow. I was going to bleggalgaze, Gravity's Rainbow of course the allusion in VNTY'SGRVYD, but let me go at least one more day before violating the rules of VNTY'SGRVYRD (though I think I can say - I will order myself to an inquiry to confirm or condemn - that the positive side-effects in one place can lead to positive negative - or is it negative positive? - side-effects in all the others). Instead, have some links, and wishes for nothing but misery for shitty Daemon Snyder.

  • Rainy Fascism Island: How to characterize this period post-crash, or post-post-crash if we assume that the measures taken (austerity, the destruction of the welfare state) have largely been set in motion, if not completed? The deliberate shifting of blame that saw the public sector punished for the crimes of the private allowed various other modes of the dis- or rather misplacement of resentment to be mobilized. The targets are the same as they ever were—migrants, the un- or underemployed, those in need of help or support—but, given that the structures that enabled help and support had largely been dismantled even before “austerity” measures were imposed, there seems little left to attack. Those outraged by people receiving benefits, or those telling people to just get a job, must know that what meager benefits there are do not support a life, and that in many places there simply are no jobs to get. But nevertheless, resentment remains, or at least, somehow, a fantasy version of it can be mobilized such that resentment acts as a kind of looping device, self-nourishing and ever-expanding. What should we call this state of affairs? How best to identify it, in order to redirect or dismantle its energies?
  • Can we have a smarter conversation about free speech?
  • Three stories worth noting.
  • Zygmunt Bauman, for those of you who do.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • The New Inquiry's Sunday Reading.
  • Native Americans never existed?
  • Ten Mile Creek. Fuck Pulte, fuck Montgomery County.
  • In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, for those of you who do.
  • I did not know until today that there is a seven hour b/w movie of Satantango.
  • Pablo Neruda, for those of you who do.
  • Fugazi's first demo tape (h/t Hamster).


James Brookes

The halotolerant crocodile
idles in brackish water like a tow truck.
Salt glands meter in its diapsid skull;
smug fucker that the epochs couldn’t kill.

How easy “kill” then closes onto “smile,”
the lockjaw of a life that rides its luck,
knowing from hindmost teeth to jackknifed tail
Leviathan is neither fish nor mammal.


  1. i)i really like the eschatology, piscatology poem, which considers both evolutionary and scriptural perspectives, and moves smoothly from halotolerant and diapsid (i had to look up the latter) to smug fucker

    the topic reminds me of Lewis Carroll's poem, which was modeled after one by Isaac Watts:

    How Doth The Little Crocodile
    Lewis Carroll

    How doth the little crocodile
    Improve his shining tail,
    And pour the waters of the Nile
    On every golden scale!

    How cheerfully he seems to grin,
    How neatly spread his claws,
    And welcome little fishes in
    With gently smiling jaws!

    cf. Against Idleness And Mischief
    Isaac Watts

    How doth the little busy bee
    Improve each shining hour,
    And gather honey all the day
    From every opening flower!

    How skillfully she builds her cell!
    How neat she spreads the wax!
    And labours hard to store it well
    With the sweet food she makes.

    In works of labour or of skill,
    I would be busy too;
    For Satan finds some mischief still
    For idle hands to do.

    In books, or work, or healthy play,
    Let my first years be passed
    That I may give for every day
    Some good account at last.

    2)and speaking of "kill", as the poem does, i recall that this weekend missus charley and i watched "Mindful Ethics as a Path to Freedom", Lecture 23 of Ronald Siegel's course on mindfulness

    and Siegel suggested that one application of the principle of "not killing" would be "not eating meat"

    at Trader Joe's, they now have their vegan 'holiday roast' available again, and spouse and self had one on sunday - it was delicious

  2. see also

    The Purist
    by Ogden Nash

    I give you now Professor Twist,
    A conscientious scientist,
    Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
    And sent him off to distant jungles.
    Camped on a tropic riverside,
    One day he missed his loving bride.
    She had, the guide informed him later,
    Been eaten by an alligator.
    Professor Twist could not but smile.
    "You mean," he said, "a crocodile."