Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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February 28, 2015
Why we blog so rarely

Debord put it nicely in his Considérations sur l'assassinat de Gérard Lebovici:

He who does not, of his own free will [spontanément], make himself as visible as possible in the spectacle, lives in fact in secrecy, since all current communication in society passes through this mediation.  He who lives in secrecy is a clandestine person.  

The translation is taken from here.

With his next breath, GD points out the historically expanding legal downside of this approach:

A clandestine person will be more and more likely to be considered a terrorist.

Hard to believe, it is, that GD published the far-thinking above in 1985.

TiR wishes that we could say that this is our favorite passage in the Lebovici book.  However, we even more are charmed by those in which Debord says sweet things about his wife.

January 14, 2015
"They have to rewrite all the books again . . . "

TiR out of curiosity took a shot a englishing this new piece of writing by Kamel Daoud:

Le Point Afrique - Published 1/11/2015

Charlie Hebdo and Africa: The name of Allah, the first name of Ahmed, the pseudonyms of 'Charlie'

The Algerian journalist and writer, targeted by a recent fatwa, is not afraid of death.  The same does not go for the prospect of a world without liberty in which he would have no 'place.'

This is  the mechanism of the '11': an 'Allahou akbar,' a few assailants, several deaths, some analysts in TV studios, some rallies, a slogan, a plan for Global War part II, some conspiracy theories, some people weeping and then a president who calls for a gathering of the people and promises retribution. Next, three or four religions on the corner, who issue condemnations, some extremists who remind us that they saw all of this coming a mile away, some relatives of the dead who bear witness, and some Muslims who affirm that to pray is not the same thing as to murder. This mechanism is without shades of grey. One of the officers struck down is named Ahmed, so they say, but it's no use.  The mechanism of '9/11' has the name 'Allah,' not the first name 'Ahmed.'  Wearying. A remake of a remake, for the Algerian that I am, a child of the 90s war. Exhausting beyond words. Nothing to say.  At night, I watch Global Television, I hear condemnation and desolation, but it's no use. Or nearly so. It's not enough. 'I am Charlie' versus 'I am Allah,' with, in the middle, 'I am nothing.' Or nearly so. Suffocation.

The fable of the three hostages

This is the story of three hostages held by ISIS in the unified global Sahara: God; the lukewarm and soundproof Muslim; and the White person -- an illustrator, Christian, Jewish or otherwise, or a bystander, or a freedom fighter in the world called 'Arab.' In the first video clip, we do not see the hostage.  He's said nothing for centuries.   We make him say whatever we want by inserting little verses. This is the hostage as imagined, or the hostage who imagines the universe that contains us.  It is a mental clip in the head of the jihadist: 'I am Allah' because 'Allah told me so.' The Jihadist proclaims himself God so as to give the middle finger to Christianity, which proclaimed God in man. The second hostage is only half visible. He is the Muslim who says nothing, and whose lines we 'dub in.'  He's not the one firing off but it's his lips which move. This is hostage number two.  We can set him free but only if he himself wants to be;  to accept the Stockholm model without the Stockholm Syndrome (with the Jihadist);  to begin, as if taking the first step on the Moon, to reject but also to reread his books, to sort his garbage from his imams; to accept that the religion is about thinking, taking a second look, making corrections; and to hasten to rejoin humanity instead of slowing down or shooting it in the back. The third hostage is the Other: a drawing, a word, a book, a White man, a sheet of paper, or a tourist, or an Ahmed who was caught in the middle.

Whose child is this killer?

Weariness. To condemn is not enough.   It leads to sadness, to the gathering of dead leaves. It's worth recalling that the name Ahmed is not the same name as Allah.  But that's hardly enough. It's all well and good to say that the killer does not represent Islam or Muslims, but it's like a flower opening its mouth in a thunderstorm. We'll just have to go there, then.  To dissect.  To push forth.  To tally up.  To pose to oneself the true question:  This killer is the child of whom?  Whence comes the jihadist?  One is not born jihadist, one becomes it. Because of the war, of Saudi books, of their satellites, sheikhs, fatwas, promulgations, imams, theologians who flood the world and stuff souls to the gills. One must name and show the matrix.  And destroy it.

On the horizon, a multitude of questions

To me, tomorrow is a world as hard and mute as a closed door. Condemned twice over: by a fatwa and by geography. Where can people like me go?  Back to oneself, slowly. To accept one's path.  I don't know what else to do, except to defend my freedom and my presence in the world, against those who would kill me, and against those who would take me for a killer. I have no place to go, but I know the direction in which I'm going. I'm not afraid to die.  However, I fear that the killer will win and fashion a world in which I have no place. It's that. I too am Charlie, and where he goes, there I am.

December 14, 2014

"Is it because I'm nappy? Why yu suh trigger happy?"‏

Steel Pulse's brand new "Hands Up I Can't Breathe": here

Hit the very same day as these events.

SP's most topical tune in 30 + years?

Not necessarily.

See, e.g:.

"No Justice No Peace" (1994)  


"Put Your Hoodies On (4 Trayvon)" (2013).

November 27, 2014

Just how ruined is Thanksgiving?

How could such a question possibly be answered?  What units of measurement would even be used?  TiR has no idea.

However, perhaps the question could be indirectly answered.

So, as part of TiR's annual ruthless interrogation of its namesake proposition, here is a list of a dozen items alleged by the internet"s" to be "ruined beyond measure":

England, or so thought the French in 1386

Korea's ceramic industry, in 1592

the physical culture movement's "iron game," during the 1930s

Darjeeling, by tourism

the career of Dr. Anna Pau

art, "unless someone has the sense to bring back the magic like Picasso"

the Harry / Ginny romance, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Damon, in season 4 of "The Vampire Diaries"

Lily's life, in The Flower and the Sword Harlequin romance

most power supplies, after the Dark Axis ran amok, in this Superior Defender Gundam Force fanfiction

the ordinary man in Nigeria, by inflation, mainly due to increases in the Naira cost of imports

the cocaine user, when the powder hits his nose

Is Thanksgiving at least as ruined as any of the above?

If "yes," than the ultimate answer is obvious.

November 23, 2014

CW, + / vs. BA (from A to B and back again)

complete video here

highlights of talk by "ovakian" (as west pronounced it a couple times):

min. 38 -- comes out as pro-salad bar
min. 45 --  addresses the question: 'why not kill off all the white people?'
min. 104 -- addresses the question: 'is Ebola just a 'narrative'?'
min. 107 -- addresses the question: 'can ba outrace usain bolt?'
min. 133 -- digression regarding james brown's 'raggedy-ass' politics
min. 149 -- bkgd of bpp executive mandate # 3 (3.1.68)
min. 207 -- ba sings!!

generally funnier and more self-deprecating than expected

west on the other hand was 1st or only to mention (roughly in order) all of the following:

Harry Belafonte
Pamela Frank ("Sister Pam")
W.E.B. DuBois
Nat Turner
Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass
Fannie Lou Hamer
Sojourner Truth
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Marcus Garvey
Alice Walker
Sly Stone
George Santayana
Michelle Alexander (author of "a kind of secular Bible")
Iris [Noche?] Diaz
Nina Simone
Mahalia Jackson
Aretha Franklin
Luther Vandross
Donny Hathaway
Carmen McRae
Mary Lou Williams
[tho not Billie Holiday??]
John Coltrane
Frantz Fanon
Reverend James Cleveland
Thelonious Monk
Edward Snowden
Chelsea Manning
Rosa Parks
David Ruffin
Otis Redding
The Delfonics
Ohio Players
the late Big Bank Hank
Wu-Tang Clan
Malcolm X
Elijah Muhammad
bell hooks
The O'Jays
Gamble and Huff
Rev. Dr. Amy K. Butler
Emma Goldman
Sinclair Lewis
Bernard Butler (Urban Diary TV)
Rev. William Wilson Blair

ok tho incomplete discussion of event  =  here

October 15, 2014
through confusion wisdom

Mary the maid, in Ionesco's The Bald Soprano:

Who has any interest in prolonging [faire durer] this confusion? I don't know.  Let's not try to know. Let's leave things as they are.

[above rendering taken from this]

Later in the play:

Mr. Smith: Take a circle, caress it, and it will turn vicious.

one of the most observant or at least funniest works of art inspired by the attempt (and often failure) to learn a new language.

September 30, 2014

On Nerval's mad library

This is TiR's very favorite passage from Aurélia, written around 1853-4:

My books, an odd assortment [amas bizarre] of the knowledge of all ages, history, travels, religion, the cabala, astrology . . . the Tower of Babel in two hundred volumes . . . They were enough to drive a wise man mad [rendre fou un sage]; let us try to ensure that there is enough to make a madman sane [rendre sage un fou].  

(above translation taken from this)

Mind you, Nerval is describing the decor of his room in a lunatic asylum.  He claims his possessions in this chamber -- "an odd interior composed of palace and hovel" -- to include also a canopy bed, ornate 17th and 18th century furnishings with porcelain inlays, a crystal vase, a hookah pipe, wood paneling from his former home, oil paintings, a huge map of Cairo, and twenty years worth of various other personal momentos.  

The reader at first may assume with some justification that the writer is madly hallucinating it all, as he has so much already throughout his book-journal.  

Not so, however.  The progressive-minded Dr. Esprit Blanche allowed his patient -- more of a houseguest, really -- to move in all of these items.

Arthur Symons, in his The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899), laid into Nerval and his library:

The madness of Gerard de Nerval . . . I take to have been essentially due to the weakness and not the excess of his visionary quality, to the insufficiency of his imaginative energy, and to his lack of spiritual discipline. He was an unsystematic mystic . . . precisely because it was this amas bizarre, this jumble of the perilous secrets in which wisdom is so often folly, and folly so often wisdom. . . Wavering among intuitions, ignorances, half-truths, shadows of falsehood, now audacious, now hesitating, he was blown hither and thither by conflicting winds, a prey to the indefinite. 

(Symon's whole book as .txt file = here)

Symons says this like it's a bad thing?

August 31, 2014

moi, global village idiot

          Like the village idiot [l'innocent du village], I see the vision, I hear the mode
          And the instrument, but the words like a herd of stumbling buffaloes  [un troupeau de buffles confus] 
          Bump against my teeth and my voice opens on the void.
          The last chord hushed, and I must begin again at zero,
          Learn once again this language so strange and ambiguous [si étrangère et double] . . . 

from Léopold Sédar Senghor's "Elegy for Martin Luther King (for jazz orchestra)"

(found here)

(orig. here)

methinks TiR often feels this way, this summer / year, esp. whenever after reading the daily newspapers

July 31, 2014

current dastardly undislodgeable brainloop







June 12, 2014

from Brazuca to Banzhaf

Below is TiR's current favorite World Cup factoid, about 2014's official soccer ball, the Brazuca, which replaces the little loved Jabulani from last time around:

"To stem criticism this time, Adidas showed the ball to more than 600 of the world's top players, a third of whom were not Adidas-contracted players."

                             (from USA Today)

Emphasis supplied.

Adidas seems to be a believer in weighted voting -- if not in its  shareholders meetings (TiR is too lazy to figure that one out),  at least with regard to footballs.

We glean that the Banzhaf power index might be what one resorts to, to make sense of these things.


The great Dave Zirin, here, describes the World Cup's FIFA as a great "Trojan Horse" of global neoliberalism . . . but one whose " product is irresistible."

A quite good Sports Illustrated profile of the factory  where the ball is manufactured, in Sialkot, Pakistan, is here.

Though, as stated therein, four-fifths of all of its raw materials come from China.

Basic monthly salary at the factory?  10,000 rupees, per here.

Current US dollar equiv.? $102.90, per here.

Current price of an official Brazuca on Amazon?  $144

Yes, TiR knows that you saw the last link coming a mile away.