Thanksgiving Is Ruined
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
on the implied, subversive polytheism of second-hand booksellers
on the cuisine of the DDR: a video investigation
"The International Monetary Fund and the Ebola Outbreak" (Lancet)
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
Schjeldahl on Valéry on the composed set of "brief little dreams" that is language (see "Petite lettre sur les mythes," 1928)
"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? A 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?
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
meme alert: what's behind so much of the new conceptual art? "labor shame"
on homo homini lupus and pillage as our last remaining economic strategy: A. Mbembe on the predatory state -- & society
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."
"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?
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
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"
How minimalist can TiR keep it in 2016?
We shall see.