"Derrida means nothing without his Parisian institutional setting, but once that setting comes into focus, he continues to mean nothing, though now in a different way: he means nothing, individually, because the tricks he was encouraged to perform that so dazzled the crowds at Johns Hopkins and Irvine were taught to many others just like him, who would all of course insist on their own uniqueness, would claim they were always outsiders to the true French intellectual elite, but only because you cannot enter the tightest nucleus of this elite if you do not claim to be an outsider to it, all the while, all of them, yielding up only minor variations on the same recipes."
Melissa Harrison has interesting things to say, not the least about photography (of which she is herself a practitioner):
Having said all that, there’s a lot of technically accomplished landscape and nature photography out there that leaves me utterly cold. A rocky stream on a long exposure, or a shoreline sunset with a violet filter, a moody, black and white shot of some pylons… that kind of stuff may be popular on photography websites but it usually has no feeling to it, no guiding aesthetic other than competent use of the camera’s settings. I have no time for that. Give me Tacita Dean’s dreamlike landscapes or Jane Bown’s affecting rural reportage any day.
And here are the two examples she gives:
I have felt for years that identity politics is, basically, a retrograde thing and not at all "progressive" (even though you could easily believe that the opposite was the case). Other people agree with me. Neoliberalism changed the world for the worse has always been a pet peeve of mine, and we can add causing the Bay Area’s housing shortage and the dystopia that could be your future to the endless list of things that are wrong with it. Borges on God’s nonexistence and the meaning of life, Natural selection still at work in people, and The last man who knew everything are all readworthy aryicles, to my mind.
Capitalism creates pointless jobs. I knew that. I also knew that private equity funds fail as investment, but not that private equity bankrupted seven major grocery chains. Francis Fukuyama is perhaps stating the obvious - but it still needs saying. Onwards to corporate folly and the capitalist origins of the Myers-Briggs personality test (see also).
"The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree."
Carlo Rovelli talks about time and "now". An article that says that Brexit is a consequence of low upward mobility has interesting observations -- not only for Brexit, but perhaps for Trumpism and the general right-wing uprising all around us. Why were people thinner in the 1970s? Or, rather, what has changed? And the answer is sugar. Alfred Brendel’s essays about Beethoven, Schubert, and many others are deeply relevant to performers and amateur listeners alike.. Vietnamese people "learn" how to make pho from American recipes and hilarity ensues. The Atlantic is a gift that keeps giving: The Threat Democratic Socialism Poses to Minorities and Why Is Jordan Peterson So Popular? must have both been pulled out of somebody's behind. If Leftism is not in decline (as one article says) is should be because it may be shedding identity politics. Come on already: which one is it? But perhaps we can look to other explanations for the resurgence: Oxford Professor Phalippou: Since 2006, Private Equity Has Produced Only S&P 500 Returns While Reaping $400+ Billion in Fees.
I play Haydn after a black day
and feel a simple warmth in my hands.
The keys are willing. Soft hammers strike.
The resonance green, lively, and calm.
The music says freedom exists
and someone doesn’t pay the emperor tax.
I push down my hands in my Haydnpockets
and imitate a person looking on the world calmly.
I hoist the Haydnflag—it signifies:
“We don’t give in. But want peace.”
The music is a glasshouse on the slope
where the stones fly, the stones roll.
And the stones roll right through
but each pane stays whole.
So, this endless summer may be coming to an end. And the long, lazy days of G&T in the sun will be over - and blogging resumes. A friend of mine really liked Yuval Harari's Sapiens, while I found the first part (all I could manage) disappointing, and that Harari cherry picks debatable features of theories and twists them into fitting his own view. My thought in general was Man merkt die Absicht und ist verstimmt. Now, there is this more or less soporific interview, but also this snarky review. I feel that Mr. Harari is becoming part of the entertainment industry and not the knowledge industry. But sellable, no doubt.
Nobody "Votes Against Their Interests" this blog post says. I guess whatever has been written about an Sich and für Sich and so forth can hereby be dismissed? Not. But interesting to see how far from a European mindset and framing those Muricans are. Gramsci does not go away because you say that his view did not work, you know. Also, how bad can a piece about soccer and France be if it is written by a Murican not familair with either? Bad, it appears..
I used to read The Atlantic and thought it was vaguely liberal. I guess it is - but in that strange Murican way. Here they write about the resurgent democratic socialism, and go directly to the Gulags. Nice one. American "progressives" never let you down. Anti-communism as bad faith is a good antidote. As it says:
I’m old enough to remember anti-communists in the 70s and 80s. Which means I remember just how much crass bad faith and hypocrisy they contained. Some of this bad faith was clear at the time, some is more evident with hindsight. Here are seven examples of what I mean:"
Do read these seven points and see if you can spot them in the wild (The Atlantic article is number two.)
LA's Awesome History Of Weird, Food-Shaped Restaurants has nice and strange photos, as does The winners of the 2018 iPhone Photography Awards (How far we have come.) Photographer Niall McDiarmid travels from town to town to capture the essence of Britain and create stunning and beautiful photography. A curiosity: 35mm footage of London's King's Road in the late 1960s that cannot but make you smile.
Oh my pet peeve: Death to the Open Floor Plan. Long Live Separate Rooms - and, hopefully, open floor plan offices. Yikes.
We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
A cabinet of noses. Yes, noses. And here in Denmark. You can also explore the sound of islands that never existed. Italian Chefs watch in horror as YouTube ruins Spaghetti Carbonara - and, indeed, young Jamie Oliver is in there. No wonder his"Italian" restaurants ended up in trouble. Meanwhile and more seriously, see what a democratic socialist's win means for immigration and some more about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win and the energy on the left.. And if you need to feel the chill in this heatwave, look into this introduction to Ivan Ilyin, the Philosopher Behind the authoritarianism of Putin's Russia & Western far right movements.
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay."