Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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December 19, 2008
what would life be?

Bravo to H. Bloom (not the same as E. Bloom) in a review (full text here) several weeks back, for foregrounding a very rich passage by one Prof. B. Harshav (source here, see p. 39), re: a certain lang as "cluster of relations" and "situational responses," a network of quotations, repetitions, knots, ironies, repetitions and repetitions --

but boo to H. Bloom for leaving (some of) us stupid pedants (OK, just TiR) frustrated by his failure to mention the specific source of a stolen phrase, as follows:
What is gone forever is the tumult of a living language that seemed always to be proclaiming, "Now these are the names." It is as though Yiddish has become a memorial volume with a blurred inscription, to steal a phrase from Kierkegaard.

          (TiR will leave aside the merits of HB's (not the same as HB) characterization/comparison.)

Phrase stolen from --- where?

TiR's (possibly lame-ass) guess: from SK's Repetition                    (appropriately enough)

      indeed from the second, lengthy paragraph of the work, at least as it appears (for example) in a bit viewable as a selection in The Kierkegaard Reader (here, p. 116-17) as follows:
Indeed what would life be without repetition? Who would wish to be a memorial volume or tablet on which time writes something every moment? Who would want to be at the mercy of everything that is fleeting, new, and gently cheering to the soul?

. . .

Repetition is the actuality and seriousness of existence, and those who will repetition are seasoned in seriousness.

[Howard V. and Edna H. Hong's translation renders this as:
Indeed, what would life be if there were no repetition? Who could want to be a tablet on which time writes something new every instant or to be a memorial volume of the past? Who could want to be susceptible to every fleeting thing, the novel, which always enervatingly diverts the soul anew? . . . Repetition -- this is actuality and the earnestness of existence. The person who wills repetition is mature in earnestness.

Indeed what would life be without repetition?

Indeed what would life be without repetition?

Ideally, blog technology would be such that the previous line could be repeated ad infinitum, like the final runout groove of Metal Machine Music.

Instead, the best (read "least lame, but nevertheless arguably quite quite lame") that TiR can do is this.