Monthly Archives: August 2013

A good essay

. . . a broadly anti-intellectual professionalizing atmosphere that is inimical to the long, slow life of sustained thinking and unwilling to support it, with, I think, terrible consequences for the humanities—tellingly, the most productive scholars in my department have won multiple external fellowships that keep them away from campus; an administration that is indifferent to its workers’ affects . . . ; a fetish on productivity that is self-serving and, to my mind, disingenuous . . . ; colleagues who have been so beaten down by the system and have so bought into it that they do not know how to engage as scholars and are fiercely defensive. . . .

Read it all.



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Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Movement, News

Afsnit to (Benjamin)


“Among the most noteworthy characteristics of human beings,” says Lotze, “belongs… next to so much self-seeking in individuals, the general absence of envy of each present in relation to the future.” This reflection shows us that the picture of happiness which we harbor is steeped through and through in the time which the course of our own existence has conferred on us. The happiness which could awaken envy in us exists only in the air we have breathed, with people we could have spoken with, with women who might have been able to give themselves to us. The conception of happiness, in other words, resonates irremediably with that of resurrection [Erloesung: transfiguration, redemption]. It is just the same with the conception of the past, which makes history into its affair. The past carries a secret index with it, by which it is referred to its resurrection. Are we not touched by the same breath of air which was among that which came before? is there not an echo of those who have been silenced in the voices to which we lend our ears today? have not the women, who we court, sisters who they do not recognize anymore? If so, then there is a secret protocol [Verabredung: also appointment] between the generations of the past and that of our own. For we have been expected upon this earth. For it has been given us to know, just like every generation before us, a weak messianic power, on which the past has a claim. This claim is not to be settled lightly. The historical materialist knows why.


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Filed under What Is A Scholar?


If you do not “cut corners on teaching” as one is supposed to do, you can learn from it and it will aid you in research. I am going to understand this essay by Walter Benjamin for class.

The political consequence of the temporal naturalism underlying the idea of ‘progress’ is conformism. For Benjamin, paradoxically, this applied in particular to the German Social Democrats’ understanding of communism as an ideal, in the neo-Kantian ethical sense of the object of an ‘endless task’:

Once the classless society had been defined as an infinite task, the empty homogeneous time was transformed into an anteroom, so to speak, in which one could wait for the emergence of the revolutionary situation with more or less equanimity. (SW 4, 402)

In other words, the concept of progress is demobilizing; and Marxism had become infected by the ideology of progress. However, rather than positing an existential alternative, in the manner of Heidegger’s ‘resolute decision’, Benjamin set out to construct novel conceptions of historical time and historical intelligibility based on the relationship, not between the past and the present, but between the ‘then’ and the ‘now’, as brought together in images of the past. Each historically specific ‘now’ was understood to correspond to (in a Baudelairean sense), or to render legible, a particular ‘then’.

It is not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on what is past; rather, an image is that wherein what has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation. In other words: image is dialectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is purely temporal, the relation of what-has-been to the now is dialectical: not temporal in nature but figural [bildlich]. Only dialectical images are genuinely historical … (AP, [N3, 1], 463)

The experimental method of montage, borrowed from surrealism, was to be the means of production of historical intelligibility.

That was from SEP.



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Department of what?

“Date night” –? I wear things like this constantly. We will have to acquire at least some of these dresses.


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On the concept of history

This semester I will convert myself from a person attracted to some of the sentences in this essay, into a person who understands it.


It is well-known that an automaton once existed, which was so constructed that it could counter any move of a chess-player with a counter-move, and thereby assure itself of victory in the match. A puppet in Turkish attire, water-pipe in mouth, sat before the chessboard, which rested on a broad table. Through a system of mirrors, the illusion was created that this table was transparent from all sides. In truth, a hunchbacked dwarf who was a master chess-player sat inside, controlling the hands of the puppet with strings. One can envision a corresponding object to this apparatus in philosophy. The puppet called “historical materialism” is always supposed to win. It can do this with no further ado against any opponent, so long as it employs the services of theology, which as everyone knows is small and ugly and must be kept out of sight.

–W.B., 1940



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Emma Bovary

Elle avait envie de faire des voyages ou de retourner vivre à son couvent. Elle souhaitait à la fois mourir et habiter Paris.

–Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary (1857), Partie 1, Chapitre 9




Filed under Poetry, Resources, Theories

Ama tu ritmo

Ama tu ritmo y ritma tus acciones
bajo su ley, así como tus versos;
eres un universo de universos
y tu alma una fuente de canciones.

La celeste unidad que presupones
hará brotar en ti mundos diversos,
y al resonar tus números dispersos
pitagoriza en tus constelaciones.

Escucha la retórica divina
del pájaro, del aire y la nocturna
irradiación geométrica adivina;

mata la indiferencia taciturna
y engarza perla y perla cristalina
en donde la verdad vuelca su urna.

–R.D., “Prosas profanas”


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Malabrú se fue a la guerra, y no me quiere llevar

“The Earl of Marlborough has ridden off to war, and would not take me with him.” That is early modern folklore in Caribbean rhythm, Feast of Candlemas, Veracruz, Mexico 2013 … on the Papaloapan River.


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El amor es cobrizo

Sin entrar en detalles: el amor es cobrizo,
pues cobrizo es su centro, ese que se adivina,
y mucho más su fondo… El fondo entarascado…
el fondo que palpita…
Ahí donde las fuerzas del placer y el cariño
habrán de florecer sea como sea
o como usted prefiera

En cambio, o por descuento,
la amistad es plateada
y dorado el recuerdo
tanto como el afán

El olvido es tal vez de color amarillo
pero con tintes gualdos

–Daniel Sada



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And counting…

This is my eighth day of not being depressed. I was depressed from 10/X/1991 through 16/VIII/2013, which is just under 22 years.



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