Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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December 01, 2010
Unblogged by TiR in November 2010

Once again this month, TiR tiresomely aspired to have it both ways, both blogging and not.

Partial list below.



  • on the question, "what came first?" (part 1):

    answer: the pen!
    Dr. M. M. M. I. Ghaly makes a fascinating observation:
    As far as literacy or the written dimension is concerned, some Muslim commentators developed the idea that the pen, to which there are several references in the Qur'an, was the first thing created by God; how else could the book be written?

    This appears in his article, "The Interplay of Technology and Sacredness in Islam: Discussions of Muslim Scholars on Printing the Qur'an," Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology, Vol. 3, no. 2 (2009).

    Ghaly futher invites one to wonder about a potential argument against use of the printing press: compassion might prohibit violence towards paper.
    Applying heavy pressure with the means of ironware in printing the Qur'anic verses was overlooked because printing was seen to entail more benefits than harms. . . . Although applying heavy pressure with the means of ironware runs, in principle, contrary to glorifying the Qur'an, it is to be overlooked because of its greater benefits. By analogy, the same practice is also used when binding the Qur'an but it is also overlooked for the same reason.

    TiR found discussion of Ghaly's article in the spring 2010 Wilson Quarterly.

    [cf. the "Distances" section of Spurs, Nietzsche's Style:
    In the question of style there is always the examen, the weight of some pointed object. At times this object might be only a quill or a stylus. But it could just as easily be a stiletto, or even a rapier. . . .]

    MMMIG almost invites TiR to wonder: How about turning things around, to contemplate this would-be/alleged "inscription" from the page's point of view?

  • on D. Graham Burnett's presentation of sound advice from St. Theresa of Avila:
    If God tells you to do anything, she explains patiently, you are absolutely not to do it . . .

    Here was a tidy solution -- a Gordian "Not" solution (if you like bad puns in your metaphysics) -- to the problem over which Kierkegaard agonized so passionately in Fear and Trembling; if God should happen to tell you to kill your son, just forget the whole thing, immediately.

    The above = from "Joy in Repetition: Poetry, Prayer, and the Purpose of Rhythm," viewable here (.pdf), from the July/August 2008 American Poetry Review (read by the lazy TiR over two years late).

    Burnett sources the advice to St. TofA's Interior Castle, all readable here. He seems to be paraphrasing part of the "Sixth Mansion," chapter 9, on "imaginary visions," section 10.

  • on how '80-90's MTV may have created a '90-2000's generation of Fox News watchers:
    Having never lived farther than thirty miles from where I was born, it wasn’t easy to grasp the finer points of global politics, but it was easy to understand the appeal of pop music.

    The topic of discussion on the channel [MTV] was immaterial. . . . The news itself revolved around how it affected the personal lives of pop stars and the music industry. . . .

    In this way the channel was less the Rolling Stone Television that it pretended to be -- no William Greider, Lester Bangs, or Greil Marcus here -- than it was an extension of the 24-hour news drone that CNN had pioneered and a precursor to the agenda-pushing Fox News bullies that would follow in the next decade. But instead of championing a political orthodoxy, MTV promulgated an aesthetic dogmatism that easily appropriated symbolism of both the Right and Left and reduced it to a consumer choice.

    from Ben Maraniss's "Ground Culture," in N+1FR film review supplement issue no. 1, summer-fall 2010

  • on the most plausible yet Street Hassle lyrics transcription, here, with bonus: translation into Italian!

    Vorrei essere nero, vorrei essere come Malcolm X
    e gettare una maledizione
    sulla tomba del presidente Kennedy
    e poi avere il cazzo grande!

  • on P. Tosh on the magical power of the word "bumbaclot":
    I was attacked by evil forces, seen? -- spiritual evil forces that caused my mouth to cease from function, caused my hands and legs to cease from moving. It was only my mind that was in function and my two eyes. And I was on the brink of what you call Death. . . . So I made some inner communication, and that inner communication caused me to get more confidence that there is a Creator that dwells within man, seen?

    So I begin to ask Him this question: "What must I do?" I say, "What must I do? Just lie down, and just tense up, and get up tomorrow and tomorrow man am dead?"

    The Spirit say, just say, "Move your bumbaclot!"

    Me say "What??"

    He said "Don't hesitate, you’re on the countdown!" . . .

    And when I say "Bumbaclot!" -- it just fly out, like one "Bumbaclot!" -- immediately every spell was released.

    as recounted in Nicholas Campbell's powerful 1992 "Red X" documentary, above bit presently viewable here (approx. 5 mins in).

    An OK transcription also is here.

    Additional footage of a truly virtuoso deployment by Tosh of the word, taken from later in the same documentary, presently is viewable here.

  • on the meaning of style:
    "Our government reacted properly," said Ms. Pyun, adding that she thought the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, had handled himself well during the first hours of the crisis.

    Ms. Pyun said TV news reports showed Mr. Lee -- whom she referred to as "MB," his initials -- looked capable and "ready for action," especially in the black leather jacket he was wearing in place of his usual bespoke business suits.

    "It was," she said, "the correct clothing."

    -- a showdown one could only wish to be decided on a fashion runway rather than via arms

    ----- see e.g., here vs. here

  • on how the late Prof. Chalmers Johnson went to his university library in the 60s to find out: Had Mario Savio or Bettina Aptheker (for example) ever even bothered to check out and read Mao or Ho Chi Minh? The implications of the answer he found surprised him; as related here.

  • on one from the "No Great Surprise" Dept.:

    John D. Rockefeller Sr. really knew how to be a coldhearted sunuvabeeyotch. From a Jan. 1910 NYT article (here):
    Rockefeller Drops Settlement House

    Workers Stunned by Sudden Order to Quit $250,000 Neighborhood Home He Supported

    Only Four Days' Notice

    . . .

    "It was as though a bomb had fallen among us," said one of the social workers yesterday. "It came absolutely out of a clear sky." Some of the women, who found themselves homeless and with the work of years thus ended, were so over come that . . . they burst into tears. The four-day notice, too, seemed so unnecessarily abrupt and cruel. . . .

    [I]t seemed so like organized charity to order everything closed up sharply on Jan. 15, regardless of everyone's feelings, just because account books are usually balanced in the middle of the month."

    The number of tenement folk who have been in the habit of enjoying the house's various classes and clubs is some 1,000. Among the classes and clubs are . . . a day nursery in which forty babies are taken care of every day while their mothers are at work, a kindergarten of seventy-five [and] a Penny Provident Bank, in which 200 small children deposit their savings. . . .

    "I suppose that Mr. Rockefeller thought the house unsuccessful, because its work was quiet and brought no notoriety," said one of the social workers.

    The incident seems to go unmentioned in Ron Chernow's masterpiece Rockefeller biography, Titan.

  • on one from the "Unlucky Address" file:

    same location as above, 35 years later, when it housed Nicky Blair's Carnival nightclub, per Billboard magazine (p. 37 herein):
    Larbi, of the Moroccans, current at the Carnival . . . complained to Bernard Sussman, Carnival stage manager, that floor was not mopped. When Sussman said he was not informed that floor needed mopping, he claimed he was set upon, beaten up by Larby and knocked unconcsious. When he came to he had lost a tooth and suffered other injuries.

  • on obsolete words in need of revival, e.g.:

    sample context:
    If the same care were taken of young pigeons bereft of their parents as was taken in the case of young pheasants when the parent-birds were shot, the chief argument of the hon. Baronet who had just spoken would absolutely fall to the ground. The Bill was introduced in a spirit of mawwormism and cant.
    (1883 Parliamentary debates)

    existence of word noted/discovered in book review reproduced here

  • on makhloket, or disagreement as the highest     form of human     communication

  • on Badiou, explained in animated cartoon form:
    (took TiR's utmost effort to make it past minute 2 of this, but was worth it
                    at least to experience jarring "spoken" footnotes)

  • on the recession-related, in part, stampede away from cable tv viewership in the USA:
    Viewers pull plug on US cable television

    The number of people subscribing to US cable television services has suffered its biggest decline in 30 years.

    admittedly, recognition and quantification of this trend came a few months later than when TiR initially wondered about it and went in search

    crisis! what new steps must be taken the better to organize newer media effectively to catapult the p.?

  • on the question, "what came first?" (part 2):

    answer: parataxis!

    as noted by Gianluca Rizzo in her "Inventory of Chaos", essay and translation of Burchiello:
    Adam's first speech was a catalogue; his first act was essentially linguistic.

    When using natural languages to catalogue, two things are required: nouns and parataxis. The etymology of the word "parataxis" implies the Greek "para" which means "side by side," and "taxis." which means "order": parataxis is a way of lining up words, side by side, in order. To catalogue is to impose order over a slippery, magamatic reality.

    That fatal day, Adam invented both nouns and parataxis in the same inspired breath.

    source: issue # 5 of OR: a Literary Tabloid

  • on the Permanent Question:

    why why why not simply quit this blog, delete it, delete ourself, and at long last stfu?

    Marguerite Duras once said:
    I make films to keep myself busy. If I had the strength, I'd do nothing. It's because I can't bear doing nothing that I make films. For no other reason.

    The quote appears at the beginning of a late '70s book of Duras interviews & texts, reproduced in Duras' own hand, as the kickoff for the first question put to her in the first interview.

    In 1980, Godard put the words into the mouth of J. Dutronc, in a movie moment presently viewable, here, at approx. 11 minutes in.

    [the lines in their orig. lang are, e.g., here and here.]


We repeat: Bah!