Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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December 31, 2015

blogged / unblogged in 2015

2015 was an OK year for TiR not blogging anything.    We slipped up about once a month, but tried to do our best to shut the heck up.

As during every year, we tried always to bear in the forefront of our consciousness that no surer way exists to make a damn fool of oneself than saying or writing something.  On the other hand, often there exists only one equally sure way, and that is by not saying or writing something.  

Below is a partial list of items, idle thoughts and random unfinished search projects from 2015 that thus far we have been either too wise or too lazy to develop into full blog posts.  TiR now posts them here, so that we can morally have it both ways.


from jokes that kill to jokes that cause killing:  We all know about the deadly, once-weaponized Funniest Joke in the World (1969).   Would we concede that there exist in the world some jokes that we consider to be "funny"?  And further that there are some jokes that we consider to be "unfunny"?  From where do we get our ideas about all this?   And the ultimate, almost unfathomable question: Are there any conceivable jokes that we would consider so unfunny that we would want to murder the joke-teller?  Perhaps one who published a newspaper? And all their co-workers?  How is this even possible?

Our God can beat up your God, or the ant creeping across a black stone in a dark night:  on the Secret    Shirk,  Žižek's "dialectical clarity," and the hidden polytheism within fundamentalist or uninformed monotheism 

How may Islamic philosophy have influenced the Enlightenment?  Some  links  to   pursue  

on the implied, subversive polytheism of second-hand booksellers

Minimalist Kitty's avant-garde compositions:  the   complete   videography

on the cuisine of the DDR: a video investigation

"The International Monetary Fund and the Ebola Outbreak" (Lancet)

on Chapter II, Article 43: China's constitutional right to nap 

Morgan Labar on stupidity as a deliberate (US)  artistic strategy

on the rise of "research-based practice" art as "a thing"

the Grand Rapids ArtPrize, or the representational art that Americans are secretly preprogrammed to love whether they admit it to themselves or not

Do Christians believe that they have a duty to hasten the Apocalypse at all costs?  on how it seems   to depend   on   who   you   ask

why 1492?  Because 1477: when Columbus visited Iceland

on Nicolas Bourbaki, Oulipo's secretly fake mathematician

Anne Mangen on the narrative engagement of reading on paper

Schjeldahl on Valéry on the composed set of "brief little dreams" that is language (see "Petite lettre sur les mythes," 1928)

on the jaw-droppingly horrific history of US anti-black pogroms: the ultimate on-line database

on Ferguson MO's most revolutionary gas pump: some   photographic   evidence

"Even the laziest becomes industrious, even the most cowardly becomes brave" Kautsky (1907) on the elasticity of revolutionary time 

The real question behind the US Civil War?  de Tocqueville interviews John Quincy Adams, per Oct. 1 1831 diary entry (p. 276, herein):  Without chattel slavery, was it at all clear that US capitalism as then constituted, or in any form, could even have continued to survive at all?

what Graeber doesn't mention:  How much historical immigration to the New World colonies / USA was driven by flight from debt?  

Who fears code-switching, and why?  from Bakhtin on heteroglossia, to sociologists on "situational ethnicity":  some   links

on code-switching as genre - switching, and analogies to film: What in the world is more boring, than to watch a sci-fi, fantasy or action film with a literal minded person who prefers documentaries and criticizes every scene for being too "unrealistic"?  If enjoyment of film requires the "willing suspension of disbelief," doesn't each genre of film really presuppose its own particular and sometimes shifting set of working "beliefs" on the viewer's part?

Is Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit a "history book"?  If not, then what the hell is it?  A work of historiography?  A parable?  metaphor?   Something else entirely?  Some panic-stricken flailing about

on the DBCP (the "Days Before Cellphones") and other 21st century acronyms of historical description:  the "Era Pre-IPhone"? "Before Instagram"?  "Slightly After Friendster But Before Facebook"? 

the greatest living philosopher of time: Étienne Klein

Should God have punished Lord Lugard?

Ogunrotifa's class theory analysis of Boko Haram (2013)

Who elected Billy Graham?  How the Southern Baptism Convention -- & now the Charismatic movement? -- became the default setting for US public discussion of theological issues

reaching Peak Solidarity? Castoriadis  on the liberal "juridico-merchant" society's reliance for survival on extraction from cultural lodes or wellsprings of collective human values (e.g., solidarity, charity, hard work), which it also logically must both exhaust and pollute

"I shouldn't even have to tell you!"  On the social construction of trust in the age of the paranoid, the narcissist, and the emotional bully

on Raffles v Wichelhaus, and a burden-shifting taxonomy of human misunderstanding, with biological-cognitive digression

on the preface to Diane Di Prima's Loba (1998), and the author as self-confessed linquistic Osterizer

on the late Rene Ricard's "If lost, please find" notebooks, and his hilarious poem "To an Ironing Board Nailed to a Bedroom Door" (2005)

How, if at all, did the end of serialization change the novel?  some attempts at bibliography

meme alert: what's behind so much of the new conceptual art? "labor shame"

how evolution in harp technology and repertoire enabled French classical music decisively to leave Wagner behind: some illustrative  audio  recordings

how the Beatles destroyed (sax-driven) popular music forever: evidence presented by Bobby KeysElijah Wald, and Riley Haas  

how private punditry devoured public candidacy:  on Harry WalkerBob BarnettAll American Speakers, and the dictatorship of the cable TV contributor agreement

on homo homini lupus and pillage as our last remaining economic strategy:  A. Mbembe on the predatory state -- & society

But corporate HR departments love him! what Maslow  got  wrong

on James Tilley Matthews, Victor Tausk, and the 19th-century roots of the "'Truman Show' syndrome"

"so I go," "I'm all like . . . ": Penelope Eckert on how adolescents master narration and the navigation of the social order (.pdf)

from Thomas Reid's "common sense," through Pragmatism to Trump's "everybody knows it!": excavating the genealogy of the uniquely and frustratingly American attitude towards knowledge claims: "Why, sir, should I believe the faculty of reason more than that of perception?—they came both out of the same shop, and were made by the same artist." 

Why do Americans suck at theory?  Is their thinking too concrete, not "abstract" enough?  Too "conservative"?  Influenced by too much fundamentalist morality?  Blame the education system?  Related to why they suck at math?   And sez who?

"Various Unpleasant Happenings in Manhattan": Cleveland Moffett (1921) on how the US lost the Great War, in fiction

"'Americanizing' Mittel Europa," and how the Gospel of Americanism was Carried to Every Corner of the Globe through advertising: a book-length account from 1920

As with the movie theater Wurlitzer, as with the recording studio sampling synth, as with the nightclub DJ: How many varieties of Baroque-era live musicians did the invention of the pipe organ put out of work?  

Baron van Swieten, the librarian who created Mozart: the Larouchite take (because of course)

towards a triple-helix timeline: drafting a synchronous chronology of  developments in affordable drum machine technology, new wave music, and old-school hip hop records

on "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (1941), "Hey, Porter!" (1955) and Sidney Bechet's "Roll On, Mississippi, Roll On" (1931), the Great Black Migration, popular music, and complexities of supposed or projected nostalgia for the "Old South" in myth and reality

on the architectonics of disco music arrangements:  Randy MullerHenry Stone. and others

Charles Strozier's  lecture, “The Apocalyptic Other: Reflections on the Religious and Psychological Basis of Contemporary Political Violence” (video here),  from the 2014 conference on "Terror, Trauma, and the Sacred" at BU's Danielsen Institute:  one of the most thought-provoking talks TiR heard all year? (& wotta year)  related work here (The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History (2010)) and here (Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America (2002))

on the awesome Icelandic concept of "skítaredding"

post-Piketty, is Desné   Masie   TiR's new favorite economist of the moment?


How minimalist can TiR keep it in 2016?  

We shall see.