Day 267: Good Night and Good Luck

I would just like to quickly draw your attention to cabbage’s latest post: MSNBC’s Keith Olberman’s special commentary on waterboarding–rhetorically not badly done and really worth watching. See it here.

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Day 249: Sleepless in Chicago

Damn, I’m tired. Had to pull an all-nighter to catch up on writing, grading and applications. Am exhausted. Will go to the Überstein Hofbräuhaus with a friend later tonight to unwind. Yes, that’s right! Überstein. Seems appropriate: I’m über-tired and definitely have an itch for stress-escapism by getting über-drunk (which, considering the amount of work that needs to get done tomorrow, is not a possbility).

Be that as it may, contrary to what Robert Frost may claim, fall (not spring) seems to be the mischief in me: there is a job opening at Regent University. Do you think I should apply? There certainly is lots of “über” at that place (not the good kind, though). I wonder if I can put a notion in their heads. But, über-Pat probably, “moves in darkness as it seems to me // Not of woods only and the shade of trees. // He will not go behind his father’s saying…”

???

Day 210: Rambo 4 Trailer

Cerebraljetsam is experiencing cerebral overload.

too many insults

too many cynical jokes

too much disappointment

too many (frankly way too obvious, one would think) points of critique

here the trailer:

The trailer above might not work any more (copyright). If so, try this one instead:

Day 149: Revolution, Humanism, Universalisms–Good or Bad Totalities

Dear all,

there has been a very interesting discussion going on between Joanna and myself regarding revolution, humanism, the potential value of universalisms etc. You can find the discussion here: Day 140. I am sure there are some of you who might have valuable opinions to offer. Let me suggest several approaches:

a) the question of totality–there are several ways to talk about this (e.g. Zizek’s defense of Hegelianism, the reliance upon ideas such as “deliberative democracy” regarding, say, the 3rd generation Frankfurt School, neo-Habermassians, etc. [see e.g. Seyla Benhabib, or Iris Marion Young]–in this respect we could also look toward people like Jean Luc Nancy [esp. the “being singular plural” idea]–as well as Kantian liberalism as the basis for speculations regarding cosmopolitanism, hos(ti)pitality, human rights, tolerance and peace as represented by e.g. Derrida’s later writings)

b) the question of totality and universals as raised by Agamben’s recent work

c) the question of universals, esp. as represented by Badiou’s work on St. Paul (and obviously in Being and Event)

d) Deleuze and recent versions of Deleuzian rhizomatic models, schizo-analysis and ideas of de-territorialization, which are combined with Italian anarchism/operaismo and liberation theology to form a seperate idea of universals/totalities (de-territorialized and multiple, yet still “total” in their democratic nature)–obvious examples here: Hardt and Negri, or Virno

e) questioning the idea of/necessity for/alternatives to teleologies as such (in terms of devising a political program that avoids replicating previous paternalistic structures of order much like described by Fanon [a tendency within postcolonial situations])

f) completely non-academic and non-jargon-filled ideas that may be more helpful than any of the above suggested models.

Let’s try to continue this discussion–I agree with Joanna that this is a VERY important issue to discuss, especially regarding the frequent confusion of people who would like to partake in progressive political movements until the point at which they realize that the channels that are being offered to them have no answers, or that these channels have dangerously reactionary answers to our problems (in which case we need to be happy that at least some people are smart enough to realize the dangerous nature of such pseudo-answers [as you can tell, I am trying to avoid naming political organizations at this point–we can get into that later, but I fear that this might easily make this discussion digress into a People’s Front of Judaea vs. Judaean People’s Front pissing contest]).

Oh, I have also been tagged by anaj and need to come up with 8 random things about myself, as well as tag 8 other people (not sure which one’s more difficult)–I think I need a little more time for this.

Oh–and here is what I mean by PFJ vs. JPF:

P.S.: the “New Seven Wonders of the Worlds” were announced (number one, I believe, is the fact that Al Gore was able to organize a worldwide music-event but was unable to launch a decent presidential campaign). Get the list here: http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/07/06/seven.wonders/index.html , or look up the campaign’s website here: http://www.new7wonders.com/. Not sure what the point of this was (except for making egomaniac Bernard Weber more famous and potentially boosting tourism). Maybe someone can explain it to me. Should there be an election for the “New New Seven Wonder of the World” I would already at this point like to nominate as one of the candidates the fact that people vote for shit like this but not for, say, the next president of the US, because, let me tell you, this is an occasion of great wonder to me.

Day 122: The Weekend

 

Dear all,

yes, I still do not have internet in my new place but that should happen by the 20th (or so ATT claims at this point). Hence my blogging-efforts remain somewhat sporadic in nature. I am still trying to finish Falling Man. This is quite embarrassing, since I have been reading the book for the last week. The annoying thing is that I am still distracted by moving-related things (such as putting together my bed, which I finally did this morning). However, I have now set up my desk and hope to get back into a more rigorous study and writing habit. In addition to the current chapter and a conference paper I will have to complete the first of a series of entries I am writing for an encyclopedia on American literature that will be published next year. The entry I am working on right now is on Dos Passos’ USA trilogy, which I should re-read again for the sake of double-checking the accuracy of the entry but the essay is due June 25 and finding the time to read DosPassos’ 1300-page colossus next to all the other stuff I have to do might be hard (also, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the issues I am working on at present, which makes the endeavor not a lot easier). We’ll see how far I get.

Quick recap of the weekend:

I fell on my inline skates in a quite embarrassing manner trying to make my way back to my apartment at 1:30 in the morning on Sunday–upside: it wasn’t too bad (only a few bruises) and I was able to provide some comical relief for the masses on their way home from the bars in my neighborhood.

I saw a Japanese movie called Paprika, which reminded me in interesting ways of Cayce Pollard in Gibson’s Pattern Recognition (even though the plot of the film is certainly not too complicated and in no way up to par with the novel–i.e. this is more a statement about my personal relation to the strong-female-cyberpunk-heroine, which, I must say, I am inreasingly realize is quite sexy [ontologically, politically and, well, visually]–I feel compelled to add here, however, that I certainly do not mean this in a weird Hentai way–yes, the movie is anime, but that is not the kind of sexy I am talking about–I am mostly talking about Cayce Pollard here–if one stops reading the novel at page 200, that is–but that is an entirely different discussion).

Also: has anyone noticed that weird rhetorical move Republicans currently are so fond of again in recent debates that accuses Democratic plans for health care reform and global trade of bringing us “dangerously close to socialism?” Seems like along with the memory of Reagan (who is frequently invoked as a desperate attempt to revive the conservative values of the GOP) the Republicans try to revive Cold War logic and anti-communism as a dominant cultural fear in the US, which, so they seem to hope, creates a renewed need for conservative morality and (economic) politics. Not only is this Democrats=socialists argument ridiculously desperate in nature but it is also a sad sign of how politically and philosophically uneducated presidential candidates are (or how uneducated they assume the public is). Seriously: the relationship between Democrats and socialism in regards to economic principles is like the relationship between deciding to drag a little less dirt into your apartment and a five-person, deep, spring-cleaning of the place.

***EDIT: I forgot: I also witnessed this year’s “World Naked Bike Ride Chicago.” Hundreds of people gathered, got naked and rode their bikes through Chicago in order to protest US dependency on oil, as well as promote a “healthy body image.” I am not sure how successful the whole thing was regarding both of its intended goals but it was certainly a sight to see. For more info visit their website.

Day 6: those who laugh last usually are the slowest thinkers

politically-incorrect.jpg

Yesterday night I had made plans to post about Marcuse and individualism today, including some fantastic quotes I just came across while re-reading Watchmen. Then, I happened to catch the ending of last night’s Daily Show, tuning in just in time to hear, “… from the Heritage Foundation, Christopher C. Horner. His latest book is…” Naturally, upon hearing the words “Heritage Foundation” and “book” in the same sentence I had to laugh (scared laughter, but laughter nonetheless). Turns out this nice gentleman proceeded to push his book (picture above) that argues that gobal warming, etc. is singularly an invention of the left and a means of anti-capitalist propaganda. He then smugly went on to mock John Steward, the German Green Party, Al Gore’s environmentalist efforts, etc. That [expletive deleted] did indeed have the last laugh on the show, but see the title of today’s post. Why this bugs me so much? Why I don’t just forget about this clearly demented jerk? Well, for one because he has millions and millions of dollars backing him in form of a right-wing think tank, which lobbies this government, as well as puts lots of cash into spreading this nonsense. Not possible that people actually take this seriously, you say? Well, check today’s amazon.com rankings and you will see that the book is ranked number 33 (!!!) on their list of most sold books.

So, whatever you do, DO NOT LET ANYONE BUY THIS BOOK!

Ok, one could say, “well, dear blogger, you are giving him publicity.” Granted, this is to an extent true, but I would like this post to engage not in the discussion about the existence, or nonexistence of global warming (I think we are all aware of the facts by now), but rather to engage in a discussion about this strategy of the right to link environmentalism and the ecological limitations it allegedly imposes upon production to socialism/communism (the precise terminology used by Horner last night, in order to cash in on the still powerful negative stigma attached to these terms in the US), hence to focus the primary discussion on how idiotic this logic truly is.

Here some excerpts from the intro to the book:

“For decades, environmentalism has been the Left’s best excuse for increasing government control over our actions in ways both large and small. It’s for Mother Earth! It’s for the children! It’s for the whales! But until now, the doomsday-scenario environmental scares they’ve trumped up haven’t been large enough to justify the lifestyle restrictions they want to impose. With global warming, however, greenhouse gasbags can argue that auto emissions in Ohio threaten people in Paris, and that only “global governance” (Jacques Chirac’s words) can tackle such problems.

Now, in The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Global Warming and Environmentalism, Christopher C. Horner tears the cover off the Left’s manipulation of environmental issues for political purposes–and lays out incontrovertible evidence for the fact that catastrophic man-made global warming is just more Chicken-Little hysteria, not actual science. He explains why, although Al Gore and his cronies among the media elites and UN globalists endlessly bleat that “global warming” is an unprecedented global crisis, they really think of it as a dream come true. It’s the ideal scare campaign for those who hate capitalism and love big government. For, as Horner explains, if global warming really were as bad as the Leftist doomsayers insist it is, then no policy imaginable could “solve” it. According to the logic of the greens’ own numbers, no matter how much we sacrifice there would still be more to do. That makes global warming the bottomless well of excuses for the relentless growth of big government.

Horner (an attorney and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute) reveals the full anti-American, anti-capitalist, and anti-human agenda of today’s environmentalists, dubbing them “green on the outside, red to the core.” He details how they use strong-arm legal tactics–and worse–against those who dare to point out the weakness of their arguments for global warming. Along the way, he explodes ten top global warming myths, carefully examining the evidence to determine how much warming there really is and what is actually causing it. He exposes the lies that the environmental lobby routinely tells to make its case; the ways in which it is trying to impose initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol on an unwilling American public; and much more–including the green lobby’s favorite politicians (John Kerry, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and others).

It’s time to stand up to the environmentalist industry and insist: human beings are not the enemy.”

The elements that I “enjoy” the most here are the embedding of “anti-American” (always a good way to strongarm people ideologically these days), the logical conclusion that this all is a threat to humans and that the logic of capitalism in itself is humanist, the assumption that governmental control is actually growing, the slogan “green on the outside, red to the core,” as well as the general neoliberal struggle against any form of governmental regulation, assuming here that it must result in the stunting of inivation and production (sure, since environmental regulations have always held back technology and innovation–rejecting them is indeed a great way to remain efficient and e.g. continue to build cars that need 4-Liter engines to produce 75 horsepowers).

I would also like to provide you with some info on the publisher of the book, Regnery Publishing. They are a press located in Washington D.C., exclusively publishing conservative books, articulating its role ideologically in opposition to the “New York mainstream publishers” (because apparently liberal thinking is the mainstream in the US–or maybe because simple mainstream neoliberalism is lacking the “right” touch). They are the publisher of e.g. the “Politically Incorrect Guide to” series, which has as its mission to challenge what they perceive as the dominance of liberal ideology in US culture. Oh, and by the way, Regnery is also the publisher of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry–remember that one (in fact a #1 New York Times bestseller!)?

I thus feel compelled to revoke my previous appeal and voice a new one:

whatever you do, DO NOT LET ANYONE BUY A BOOK PUBLISHED BY REGNERY!

Sorry Regnery, but if you should ever be short on cash, I am sure you can borrow some from your buddies at the Heritage Foundation.

Now I would love to hear what you think about this (ideo)logical clusterfuck of a book described above.