Friday, December 20, 2013

What We've Got Here Is a Failure to Combobulate

                                                              dart docs

                                                         chronic blushing

                                                         ascetic hedonism

                                                        medieval pet names

                                                       marx on the civil war

                                                      ethics of moon mining

                                                      the erotics of irishness

                                                   m.i.t. guide to lockpicking

                                                  mapping the machine zone

                                                constructing the shitting citizen

                                           contrastive focus reduplication dump

                                          diminutive catastrophes of clownplay

                                      the annoying foundations of digital freedom

                                     a case study of unsuccessful fan mobilization

                                     self-expression via a denigrated cultural form

                                    valentines day march of the dancing horseheads

                            automatic detection of service-initiation signals used in bars

                         traditional masculinity, alcohol and shame in finnish metal lyrics

     April 17, 1975, the day the Khmer Rouge triumphantly marched into Phnom Penh, marks the moment the absolute contingency of the world was revealed to the city's residents.
     Before, these residents had unconsciously assumed that urban life would carry on as normal, regardless of which faction won the civil war. Indeed, they cheered the victory of the Khmer Rouge, innocently thinking the new peace would be an unproblematic continuation of the old. This quickly proved to be a false assumption when they were forcibly evacuated from the city, with the seemingly eternal fixities of society, money and markets suddenly eliminated in the new anticapitalist utopia of Democratic Kampuchea....In this the victims of the genocide occupied the same epistemic position of Russell's tragic chicken who was misled by its "crude expectations of uniformity" to expect the farmer to continue to feed it indefinitely into the future:

          The man who has fed the chicken everyday throughout its life at last wrings
          its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature
          would have been useful to the chicken.

The existential question this raises for us is thus: are we the contemporary equivalents of those urban residents of Phnom Penh on the morning of April 17, 1975, blithely expecting our ways of life to persist indefinitely into the future, all the time unknowing of the Chaos lurking underneath the seemingly stable foundations of our existence?

-Alvin Cheng-Hin Lim

Thursday, December 5, 2013



Following the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire the New York State Legislature created the Factory Investigating Commission to "investigate factory conditions in this and other cities and to report remedial measures of legislation to prevent hazard or loss of life among employees through fire, unsanitary conditions and occupational diseases."

How did businessmen and business groups respond?

"We are of the present opinion that if the present recommendations are insisted upon...factories will be driven from the city, labor will be compelled to accompany them, factories, tenements, and small houses will become tenantless with the final result of demoralization in tax collections by the city.
- Resolution adopted by the United Real Estate Owner's Association

"[These changes in the fire code will lead to] the wiping out of industry in this state."
- Spokesman for the Associated Industries of New York

"This condition is depreciating the value of real estate, restricting its marketability, and driving manufacturers out of the City and State of New York."
- Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York.

"Many owners will be so financially embarrassed by the great expenditure made necessary thereby that great numbers of buildings will be forced into foreclosure or otherwise sacrificed."
- The Realty League

"You must relieve [New York's] real estate from the terrible yolk of oppression which has been throttling it for some years past..."
- Charles F. Noyes, "who represents owners of store and loft buildings in Manhattan"

"The businessmen of this country who have made and saved money should no longer be supervised, criticized, or controlled by men who have neither made nor saved it."
- State Superintendent of Banks Eugene Lamb Richards

"Thousands of factories are migrating to New Jersey and Connecticut in order to be freed from the oppressive laws of New York State...The owners of real property are becoming terrified by the number of laws which have been enacted...You can no longer distinguish the real estate owner by the smile of prosperity, because his property is now a burden and a liability instead of a source of income. To own a factory building in New York City is now a calamity.
- George W. Olvany, special counsel to the Real Estate Board.

"We have been legislated to death."
- James T. Hoyle, Secretary of the Manufacturer's Association

"No new laws are needed."
- New York Times

Saturday, November 23, 2013

* Tacky Souvenirs of Pre-Revolutionary America *



"When we embarked on recording the LP, which took many painful years, two band members quit over it. It was okay as a piece of a live show, but to make it the next LP was not acceptable. Also, I remember having to cajole some of the engineers we worked with. It was very hard to explain that LP before it existed. To walk into a recording studio and hand them a Bruce Springsteen single and say     "put this on tracks one and two"....It was a hard sell."


  "I remember the process - the money, the recording sessions, the creative decisions - as one of the most grueling creative experiences of my life. Ironically, reviewers all seemed to think we made it in one night after a couple of six-packs."


    "The legal consequences never came but we pretended they had. I felt everyone wanted us to be punished, and once they thought we had been, they'd leave us alone. And that's exactly what happened. We got two calls and I never responded. We were wasn't worth their while"

                                                           Color My World With Pigs
                                                               Star Spangled Banner

                                                            Acting Like the Rich

                                                                Fake Dancing

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Curse of Development

We can state the root cause of the Dwight-Phyllis dynamic as follows: the depth of any transaction is limited by the depth of the shallower party. A trivial example: if you speak English and French, and your friend only speaks English, you will be forced to converse in English. Psychological development is more complex and continuous than the acquisition of multiple discrete languages, but the same principle applies...

If the situational developmental gap between two people is sufficiently small, the more evolved person will systematically lose [a match of wits] more often than he/she wins.

This is the curse of development. Here's a picture: when you develop psychologically, and leave somebody behind, your odds of winning get worse before they get better...

At the level of abstraction that we are concerned with, all theories of developmental psychology- Freud's, Piaget's, Erikson's, Maslow's- say roughly the same thing about arrested development: you are born Clueless and clue in fits and starts. Bits of you get stuck and left behind at different points, and eventually you exhaust your capacity for real change and stall... That trail of developmental debris and eventual exhausted stalling is your particular pattern of arrested development...

1. Your development is arrested by your strengths, not your weaknesses.
2. Arrested-development behaviour is caused by a strength-based addiction.
3. The mediocre develop faster than either the talented or the untalented.

An alternative way of looking at these three laws is to note that defense mechanisms emerge to sustain addictions even when the developmental environment that originally nourished it vanishes....overperformance is caused by arrested development around a strength, which has been hooked by an addictive environment of social rewards. Mediocrity is your best defense against addiction, and guarantor of further open-ended psychological development...

We can now explain why you are likely to lose in the Curse of Development Zone...

1. The less-developed person does not know what he/she does not know and is typically attempting to operate from their regressed comfort zone of strength, which to you represents a zone of unrewarding mediocrity that you are attempting to leave/have left behind. This lends your opponent confidence.

2. Your knowledge is fresh, unstable, and not yet ingrained as second nature. You are acutely aware of, and anxious about, your beginner status at your new level. This makes you lack confindence.

3. To win through persuasion, you must teach (a superior-inferior transaction) without first reversing the default unfavourable status relationship (you: not confident, low-status, he/she: confident, high-status).

...A rule of thumb in the teaching profession states that to be an effective teacher at a given level, you need to have studied five years beyond that level. This has nothing to do with subject-matter expertise and everything to do with trying to exit the Curse of Development zone.

-The Gervais Principle III


Dept. of Obscure Privileges

     In various parts of the world there are societies in which a sister's son teases and otherwise behaves disrespectfully toward his mother's brother. In these instances the joking relationship seems generally to be asymmetrical. For example the nephew may take his uncle's property but not vice versa; or, as amongst the Nama Hottentots, the nephew may take a fine beast from his uncle's herd and the uncle in return takes a wretched beast from that of the nephew...
     The nephew is disrespectful and the uncle accepts the disrespect. There is inequality and the nephew is the superior. This is recognized by the natives themselves. Thus in Tonga it is said that the sister's son is a "chief" (eiki) to his mother's brother, and Junod quotes a Thonga native as saying "The uterine nephew is a chief! He takes any liberty he likes with his maternal uncle!" Thus the joking relationship with the uncle does not merely annul the usual relationship between the two generations...the nephew's superiority to his mother's brother takes the opposite form of permitted disrespect.

"On Joking Relationships" (1940) A.R. Radcliffe-Brown

             +Joking between Hui and Han Villages in China

Friday, November 1, 2013


                                                                   Jimmy Martin

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prescient Augury Fromm 1941

"Since modern man experiences himself both as the seller and as the commodity to be sold on the market, his self-esteem depends on conditions beyond his control. If he is "successful", he is valuable; if he is not, he is worthless. The degree of insecurity which results from this orientation can hardly be over-estimated. If one feels that one's own value is not constituted primarily by the human qualities one possesses, but by one's success on a competitive market with ever-changing conditions, one's self-esteem is bound to be shaky and in constant need of confirmation by others. Hence one is driven to strive relentlessly for success, and any setback is a severe threat to one's self-esteem; helplessness, insecurity, and inferiority feelings are the result. If the vicissitudes of the market are the judges of one's value, the sense of dignity and pride is destroyed."

"His prestige, status, success, and the fact that he is known to others as being a certain person are a substitute for the genuine feeling of identity. This situation makes him utterly dependent on the way others look at him and forces him to keep up the role in which he once had become successful."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Diamonds in the Glut

Visual artists, poets, and musicians are releasing free content online faster than ever before. There is an athleticism to these aesthetic outpourings...Athletic aesthetics are a by-product of art's new mediated environment, wherein creators must compete for online attention in the midst of an overwhelming amount of information. Artists using social media have transformed the notion of a "work" from a series of isolated projects to a constant broadcast of one's artistic identity as a recognizable, unique brand. That is, what the artist once accomplished by making commodities that could stand independently from them is now accomplished through their ongoing self-commodification.

Facing dim employment prospects and precarious conditions...such practitioners aggressively seek to exercise clout in the online attention economy through over production...With constant broadcast as the goal, editing oneself becomes a waste of resources...Self-editing is now outsourced to the audience, who carefully pick over the barrage of content with unprecedented zeal...The opportunity cost of not releasing work quickly rises as audiences become less discriminatory and more participatory. Thus aesthletes rationally adopt a lottery-like gambit of releasing as much work as possible: The more they release, the more likely one will become a hit. And even less successful posts serve to strengthen the bond between artist and audience, giving each a chance to reinforce the existence of the other.

-     Brad Troemel   Jogging

Duh/No Duh

...["Duh"] is generally understood to be an extra or paralinguistic symptom of discourse's pause or failure-- something akin to Aristotle's "mere voice" or an animal phone. It is not a word per se since it references the unavailability of discourse proper...or that which is obvious ["duh" or "no duh"].

..."Duh" is evocative, calling up, as it were, stupidity's rich tradition and within this tradition "duh" stands the ground of refusal. Refusing "duh" means resisting stupidity, and its double, a "refusing duh," conjures up a break between discourse and the world. This duality of "duh", the evocation of stupidity and its refusal, also elicits a response from knowing, stupidity's reciprocal and necessary condition.

..."The temptation," Ronell writes..."is to wage war on stupidity as if it were a vanquishable object....Stupidity exceeds and undercuts materiality, runs loose, wins a few rounds, recedes, gets carried home in the clutch of denial- and returns."

...Stupidity is "essentially linked to the inexhaustible...[it] is that which fatigues knowledge and wears down history." Stupidity is heavy, dull, and slow, with no interest other than to have no thinking....only to advance procedure and format, ending in the perpetual violence that is the ineluctable status quo.

..."stupidity itself remains to a large degree absent from the concerns of contemporary inquiry. No ethics or politics has been articulated to act upon its pervasive pull. Yet stupidity is everywhere."

...Stupidity is amorphous-- sometimes it appears as a pathogen suspended in droplets over the entirety of life. It enters into life, spreading throughout the world. It is there and it is here, which makes stupidity in many ways the ontological condition of all thinking, since all thinking misses something. Ronell charts stupidity's clinical presentations and records her suspicions of its sub-clinical imperceptibility. The question arises, Who shall report it? Who can see stupidity-- enough to say, there it is?

...The degrees of stupidity are endless, since no one can ever completely miss something or completely get something. It is Flaubert, for Ronell, who sees not the essence of stupidity, but the force of stupidity-- its trace: "Stupidity is something unshakeable. Nothing attacks it without breaking itself against it. It is of the nature of granite, hard and resistant."

...The difficulty with that the subject of inquiry escapes explanation. Stupidity, inherently, occupies a non or pre-discursive space-- a space not under the dictates of cognition...Stupidity has a brute force AND a philosophical trace that can be associated with the Odepipal Father and the law of mimesis: "Incapable of renewal or overcoming, the stupid subject has low Oedipal energy: he has held onto ideas, the relics and dogmas transmitted in his youth by his father."

..."The stupid are unable to make breaks or breakaways; they are hampered even on the rhetorical level, for they cannot run with grammatical leaps or metonymical discontinuities. They are incapable of referring allegorically or embracing deferral..the stupid cannot see themselves...and this invisibility allows stupidity to pass imperceptibly across the world."

-excerpts from Refusing Theory: Avita Ronell and the Structure of Stupidity by Victor E. Taylor

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's Yourn is Mined

     In the late 1970s John Moore was diagnosed with and treated for a form of leukemia at UCLA Medical Center. In the course of his treatments extensive amounts of blood, bone marrow and bodily tissue were withdrawn from his body. Without his knowledge these substances were used by his physicians and others for research purposes...Also concealed from him was the expectation of his physician and his physician's colleagues of benefiting financially from the products of their research with his cells. His physician used his privileged relationship with Moore for exclusive access to substances from Moore's body. The extraction of these substances was not always directly related to Moore's ongoing treatment but was part of this research activity.
     Based upon the research of Moore's physician's group, a patent on the cell line developed from Moore's cells was applied for and granted in 1984. Moore's rare cell line would be used to produce certain pharmaceuticals. Moore's physician and his partners together with UCLA Medical Center (the owners of the patent) sold rights for the commercial development of pharmaceuticals derived from Moore's cell line for a seven-figure amount. It had already been estimated that the sale of such pharmaceuticals would bring a multi-billion dollar yield within seven years.
     When Moore learned of all this he brought suit for malpractice and property theft. He argued that he deserved some part of the funds generated by the use of his own bodily substances, especially those taken for research and not for therapeutic purposes and without his knowledge of their eventual use. The case went to the Supreme Court of California, and Moore lost. His comment: "I was harvested."
     The court acknowledged that the physicians had lied by telling Moore that no financial or commercial value could be derived from his blood and bodily substances. The court understood that the physicians had consistently concealed their plans for economic gain from Moore. Nonetheless the court noted that "the defendants who allegedly obtained the cells from the plaintiff by improper means, [can] retain and exploit the full economic value of their ill-gotten gains free of...liability."

     According to the Bible, the first important technological enterprise undertaken by human beings was the construction of the Tower of Babel. While Scripture informs us that those who built the tower were punished for their sins, the text does not disclose the nature of their moral flaws...

    According to rabbinic legend, when the tower was being built and was already quite high, it was difficult to get bricks to the top of the construction site in order to build still higher. At that point, if a brick fell and broke as it was being hoisted to the top, all the workers cried and mourned its loss, saying, "How shall we get a brick to replace it?" But when one of the workers fell off the tower and died, no one paid attention because workers were plentiful and easy to replace.

-from Golems Among Us by Byron Sherwin

Taking the Least from You - Rebecca Skloot


Friday, October 18, 2013


Rabbi Simenon ben Eleazar says: I shall tell a parable. To what may this be likened?: A king built a large palace and decorated it, but a tannery pipe led through it and emptied at it's doorway.
Says every passerby: "How handsome and magnificent this palace would be if it were not for the tannery pipe coming through it!"
So too is man. If, with a foul stream issuing from his bowels, he exalts himself over other creatures, then how much the more he would exalt himself over other creatures if a stream of precious oil, balsam, or ointment issued from him!

Brown's Job

Brown is gone, and many men in the trade are wondering who is going to get Brown's job.

There has been considerable speculation about this. Brown's job was reputed to be a good job. Brown's former employers, wise, grey-eyed men, have had to sit still and repress amazement as they listened to bright, ambitious young men and dignified older ones seriously apply for Brown's job.

Brown had a big chair and a wide, flat-topped desk covered with a sheet of glass. Under the glass was a map of the United States. Brown had a salary of thirty thousand dollars a year. And twice a year Brown made a trip to the coast and called on every one of the firm's distributors.

He never tried to sell anything. Brown wasn't exactly in the sales department. He visited with the distributors, called on a few dealers, and once in a while made a little talk to a bunch of salesmen. Back at the office, he answered most of the important complaints, although Brown's job wasn't to handle complaints. Brown wasn't in the credit department either, but vital questions of credit got to Brown, somehow or other, and Brown would smoke and talk and tell a joke and untwist his telephone cord and tell the credit manager what to do.

Whenever Mr. Whythe, the impulsive little president, working like a beaver, would pick up a bunch of papers and peer into a particularly troublesome or messy subject, he had a way of saying, "What does Brown say? What does Brown say? What the hell does Brown say? - Well, why don't you do it, then?" And that was disposed.

Or when there was a difficulty that required quick action and lots of it, together with tact and lots of that, Mr. Whythe would say, "Brown, you handle that." And then one day the directors met unofficially and decided to fire the superintendent of the No.2 Mill. Brown didn't hear of this until the day after the letter had gone. "What do you think of it, Brown?" asked Mr. Whythe. Brown said, "That's all right. The letter won't be delivered until tomorrow morning, and I'll get him on the wire and have him start East tonight. Then I'll have his stenographer send the letter back here, and I'll destroy it before he sees it." The others agreed, "That's the thing to do."

Brown knew the business he was in. He knew the men he worked with. He had a whole lot of sense, which he apparently used without consciously summoning his judgment to his assistance. He seemed to think good sense.

Brown is gone, and men are applying for Brown's job. Others are asking who is going to get Brown's job - bright ambitious young men, dignified older men.

Men who are not the son of Brown's mother, nor the husband of Brown's wife, nor the product of Brown's childhood - men who never suffered Browns's sorrows nor felt his joys, men who never loved the things that Brown loved nor feared the things he feared - are asking for Brown's job.

Don't they know that Brown's chair and his desk, with the map under the glass top, and his pay envelope, are not Brown's job? Don't they know that they might as well apply to the Methodist Church for John Wesley's job?

Brown's former employers know it. Brown's job is where Brown is.

-Robley Feland

Koala Autopsy + Lunch

Class War

                                                     (On the Nature of) CREEPINESS

Friday, September 20, 2013

If a man can say of his life or
any moment of his life, There is
nothing more to be desired! his state
becomes like that told in the famous
double sonnet--but without the sonnet's
restrictions. Let him go look
at the river flowing or the bank
of late flowers, there will be one
small fly still among the petals
in whose gauzy wings raised above
its back a rainbow shines. The world
to him is radiant and even the fact
of poverty is wholly without despair.

So it seems until these rouse
to him pictures of the systematically
starved--for a purpose, at the mind's
proposal. What good then the
light winged fly, the flower or
the river--too foul to drink of or
even to bathe in? The 90 story building
beyond the ocean that a rocket
will span for destruction in a matter
of minutes but will not
bring him, in a century, food or
relief of any sort from his suffering.

The world is too much with us? Rot!
the world is not half enough with us--
the rot of a potato with
a healthy skin, a rot that is
never revealed till we are about to
eat--and it revolts us. Beauty?
Beauty should make us paupers,
should blind us, rob us--for it
does not feed the sufferer but makes
his suffering a fly-blown putrescence
and ourselves decay--unless
the ecstasy be general.

-William Carlos Williams (h/t wood s lot)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mistah Kurtz--He Bred.

"[The above map] documents U.S. military outposts, construction, security cooperation, and deployments in [49 of the 54 African nations].

Sunday, September 1, 2013


"The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen] ought always to be listened to with great precaution and ought never be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of whose interest is never the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."
-Adam Smith, 1776

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today."
-Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

Monday, August 26, 2013

R. Nachman would say that the true goal of knowledge is the realization that one does not know. In each branch of knowledge this idea is operative, therefore even though one achieves such a realization in one area of knowledge this is not yet the final goal. One needs to strive to achieve a higher realization of ignorance at higher levels, ad infinitum.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Negative Solidarity

"More than mere indifference to worker agitations, negative solidarity is an aggressively enraged sense of injustice, committed to the idea that, because I must endure increasingly austere working conditions (wage freezes, loss of benefits, declining pension pot, erasure of job security and increasing precarity) then everyone else must too. Negative solidarity can be seen as a relation to the kind of "lottery thinking" that underpins the most pernicious variants of the American Dream. In lottery thinking we get a kind of inverted Rawlsian anti-justice- rather than considering the likelihood of achieving material success in an unequal society highly unlikely, and therefore preferring a more equal one- instead the psychology of the million-to-one shot prevails. Since I will inevitably be wealthy in the future, this line of thinking runs, I will ensure that the conditions when I become wealthy will be as advantageous to me as possible, even though, on a balance of realistic probabilities, this course of action will in fact be likely to be entirely against my own interests. More than lottery thinking, which is inherently (if misguidedly) aspirational in nature, negative solidarity is actively and aggressively anti-aspirational, utterly negative in the most childish fashion, and drives a blatant race-to-the bottom."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

,well, well, well, well,

"The household survey is, well, a survey, which means it's open to error."

"The first problem with the unconscious is that it is, well, unconscious."

"What we really want is, well, a reason to keep wanting."

"By now, no one really imagines that presidential debates are really, well, debates."

"Has Kate Upton decided to stop playing the field for someone who, well,
plays on the field?"

"Marginalia occupies a place in literature which we might characterize
as, well, marginal."

"If the strong are, well, stronger than the weak, then the strong will rule."

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

what's something you've been avoiding thinking about?

"What's something you've been avoiding thinking about? It can be anything - a relationship difficulty, a problem at work, something on your todo list you've been avoiding. Call it to mind - despite the pain it brings - and just sort of let it sit there. Acknowledge that thinking about it is painful and feel good about yourself for being able to do it anyway. Feel it becoming less painful as you force yourself to keep thinking about it. See, you're getting stronger!

OK, take a break. But when you're ready, come back to it, and start thinking of concrete things you can do about it. See how it's not as scary as you thought? See how good it feels to actually do something about it?

Next time you start feeling that feeling, that sense of pain from deep in your head that tells you to avoid a subject - ignore it. Lean into the pain instead."

-Aaron Swartz

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Restriction of the Domain of the Snuggle

"Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization. Some men make love every day; others five or six times in their life, or never. Some make love with dozens of women, others with none. It's what is known as "the law of the market". In an economic system where unfair dismissal is prohibited, every person more or less manages to find their place. In a sexual system where adultery is prohibited, every person more or less manages to find their bed mate. In a totally liberal economic system certain people accumulate considerable fortunes; others stagnate in unemployment and misery. In a totally liberal sexual system certain people have a varied and exciting erotic life; others are reduced to masturbation and solitude."
- Michel Houellebecq, Whatever

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

                                                                      Ben Katchor

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"To be alone with the as yet unwritten book is still to be in the primal sleep of humanity. That's it. It also means being alone with the writing that is still lying fallow. It means trying not to die. It means being alone in a shelter during the war. But without prayer, without God, with no thought whatsoever except the insane desire to exterminate the German Nation down to the last Nazi"
-Marguerite Duras

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A rich man once came to the maggid of Koznitz. "What are you in the habit of eating?" the maggid asked. "I am modest in my demands," the rich man replied. "Bread and salt, and a drink of water are all I need." "What are you thinking of!" the rabbi reproved him. "You must eat roast meat and drink mead, like all rich people." And he did not let the man go until he had promised him to do as he said. Later the Hasidim asked him the reason for this odd request. "Not until he eats meat," said the maggid, "will he realize that the poor man needs bread. As long as he himself eats bread, he will think the poor man can live on stones."

Years and Years of Crocodile Tears

"No greater calamity could befall the wage earners of the country than to have the legislative power to fix wages upheld. Take from the citizen the right to freely contract and sell his labor for the highest wage which his individual skill and efficiency will command, and the laborer would be reduced to an automaton - a mere creature of the state. It will logically, if persisted in, end in social disorder and revolution."
- D.C. District Court Judge J.A. Van Orsdel, 1923

"The Fair Labor Standards Act constitutes a step in the direction of communism, bolshevism, fascism, and Nazism"
- National Association of Manufacturers, 1937

"The proposed jump from an hourly minimum of 40 to 65 a reckless jolt to the economic system. Living standards instead of being improved, would fall- probably to record lows."
- National Association of Manufacturers, 1945

"Any temporary advantage to our 2 million employees would be more than offset by immediate unemployment within our industry. A national minimum wage within our industry is impractical and dangerous."
- George R. LeSauvage, National Restaurant Association, 1949

-If we were compelled to pay a minimum wage of $1 an hour or more we would have to raise our rates to a level where a very large segment of the population could not afford to eat or sleep in a hotel."
- Arthur J. Packard, American Hotel Association, 1955

"The entire motion-picture industry, even in our largest centers, is balanced so delicately on the knife-edge of survival or destruction that the smallest expense could throw the balance the wrong way."
-A. Julian Brylawski, Theatre Owners of America, 1955

"I think the people who are proposing these things don't know what they are talking about. It means economic chaos for the very people they are trying to help."
- Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), 1956

"Theres is not enough mechanization or automation yet developed to save my business from the minimum wage horror."
- Ernest Kuhn, Kuhn Hotel Corporation, 1961

"Frankly, no company our size can live under such circumstances. Undoubtedly we would have to liquidate."
- Joseph E. Chastain, Lintz Department Stores, 1966

"I've often said that the minimum wage is the most anti-Negro law on the books."
- Milton Friedman, 1973

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Concept of the Circumcised Sandal

After the majority had gone we were left standing with him. He noticed that my shoe was very misshapen. The heel was so twisted it was facing forward. The Rebbe said, "Your shoe has got a face like a slap in the face." Then he was silent for a bit. We certainly believed that nothing he said was simple and all his words contained deep secrets.
He then said: "Our casual talk!"- stressing the word our. "Let some mystic tell me how that comment contains all the mystical intentions of circumcision as well as what is higher than mystical intentions."
With awesome grace and holiness the words began to flow forth from his lips. "There are cases where they slap a person in the face, others where they slap him on the sandal." The Rebbe mentioned the statement of the Rabbis referring to a sandal: "A man should not marry his friend's widow if she is carrying. This is a decree to prevent the embryo from developing a face like a shapeless sandal." He also mentioned other statements of the Rabbis involving the concept of sandals. All these statements point to how the concept of the sandal contains deep Torah secrets.
He then gave over the entire lesson. None of us yet knows how far it reaches. Everything was presented allusively in a succession of flashing sparks. May God grant us the merit of understanding all of this completely.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Midnight Fax 1999

Inscrutable Japanese Pep Talk

"You can tell a man's character by the way he makes advances to a woman. Men like you, for example- when the fleet's in port and you go off to have a good time, you seem to have only two ways of going about things. First you put it straight to the woman: "Hey, how about a lay?" Now, any woman, even the lowest whore is going to put up at least a show of refusing if she's asked like that. So what do you do next? You either act insulted and get rough, or you give up immediately and go off to try the same thing on the next woman. That's all you're capable of. But take a look at Western men- they're quite different. Once they've set their sights on a woman, they invite her out for a drink, or to dinner, or to go dancing. In that way they gradually break down her defenses until, in the end, they get what they want, and in style at that. Where achieving a particular aim is concerned, that's surely a far wiser way of going about things. At any rate, they're the kind of men you'd be dealing with if there were a war, so you better give it some thought."
-Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
in 1939 to his junior officers, quoted in "The Reluctant Admiral"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Success is the ethical quagmire par excellence of commodity culture because it jeopardizes our relation to dissent, to resistance, to saying no, as fame is precisely about what one is willing to do, how far one is willing to go, and how much (low in the form of high. Going low in order to get high) one is willing to say yes to. The road to fame is made up of assent. That is what gets you to the literal and figurative top. And this is why fame is almost always a parable about losing (not finding one's way). About being lead astray. "Making it" is not the struggle to become, as it's always been said, but the willingness to be made."

--Masha Tupitsyn

Monday, June 10, 2013


The implicit bargain that many Americans struck with the state institutions supporting modern life is that they would be politically acceptable only to the degree to which they remained invisible, and that for all intents and purposes each citizen could continue to believe that she was sovereign over her life; she would of course pay taxes, use the roads and schools, receive Medicare and Social Security, but only so long as these could be perceived not as radical dependencies, but simply as the conditions for leading an autonomous and self-sufficient life...

Tea Party anger is, at bottom, metaphysical, not political: what has been undone by the economic crisis is the belief that each individual is metaphysically self-sufficient, that one's very standing and being as a rational agent owes nothing to other individuals or institutions.  - J.M.Bernstein

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Vicarious Causation

This article gives the outlines of a realist metaphysics, despite the continuing unpopularity of both realism and metaphysics in the continental tradition. Instead of the dull realism of mindless atoms and billiard balls that is usually invoked to spoil all the fun in philosophy, I will defend a weird realism. This model features a world packed full of ghostly real objects signaling to each other from inscrutable depths, unable to touch one another fully...vicarious causation is not some autistic moonbeam entering the window of an asylum. Instead it is both the launching pad for a rigorous post-Heideggerian philosophy, and a fitting revival of the venerable problem of communication between substances."

Graham Harman

Friday, May 31, 2013

when all the numbers swim together
and all the shadows settle
when doors forced open shut again
a flytrap and a petal

my eyes burn and claws rush to fill them
and in the morning after the night
i fall in love with the light
it is so clear i realize
that here at last i have my eyes

when all the figures sound retreat
the soft skin starts to shrivel
when dreams made real become less sweet
the orchid and the metal

my sex turns and claws rush to spill them
but in the morning after the night
i fall in love with the light
it is so pure i can't arise
without the fear of secret lies

when all the characters full size
and every moon is level
when all the spirits burn in lies
as center grief by steel

my eyes burn and claws rush to fill them
but in the morning after the night
i fall in love with the light
it is so clear i realize
and now at last i have my eyes


Clumping Action: Pisswick Crunch

"Dancing is alien to heavy metal for two basic reasons. One is the continuation of the tradition of the youth counterculture. The audience for psychedelic music and for folk-inspired political protest songs listened while seated, to better concentrate on the lyrics. Second, dance music is understood in the modern West as an erotic activity. As a masculinist and overwhelmingly masculine grouping with an extreme heterosexualist ideology, the heavy metal subculture stresses male bonding, not male-female pairing...Yet heavy metal music is based on a strong regular beat that calls for the movement of the body...The solution to the problem of body movement was to create a code of gestural response to the music that could be shared in common. One of the two primary gestures is the arm thrust, usually a sign of appreciation but also used to keep time with the rhythm. The other primary gesture, called headbanging, involves a downward thrust of the head with a gentler upthrust...A distinctive demeanor and expression are also nurtured in the metal subculture. The familiar insult that  metal fans are "slack-jawed", evincing a look of dull stupidity, needs to be examined. In part it is an accurate characterization of the faces of those emerging from a heavy metal concert, but it could also describe someone who has just spent several hours enjoying ecstatic physical activity. The look also reflects the impact of the downers and beer consumed by metal fans.

...Ingestion of massive quantities of beer has remained a constant feature of the metal subculture. Beer induced urination has influenced at least one venue in the U.S. to spread large amounts of kitty litter in the area near the stage."
-Deena Weinstein

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"We Drink Small Sour Drinks"


Elevator Ethnography

More senior men seemed to direct themselves towards the back of the elevator cabins. In front of them were younger men, and in front of them were women off all ages. Men watched the monitors, looked in the side mirrors (in one building) to see themselves, and in the door mirrors (of the other building) to also watch others. Women would watch the monitors and avoid eye contact with the other passengers
(unless in conversation) and the mirrors. It was only when women traveled with other women [that they'd utilize the mirror].      -Rebekah Rousi

L.I.S.A. :This Domain May be for Sale


If you're thinking about secession, please think about acquiring the rights to Lisa

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The commentators list the ten miracles as follows:

1. The Sea split.
2. Tunnels were formed in the Sea.
3. The seabed was dry allowing the Jews to pass through comfortably and unimpeded.
4. The seabed turned into a muddy morass, stopping the Egyptians in their pursuit.
5. The waters solidified into a rock like substance that caused injury to the Egyptians.
6. The seawaters formed into perfectly shaped bricks.
7. The walls formed by the waters created twelve separate corridors,
     thus allowing each of the twelve tribes an independent passage.
8.  The walls were transparent, allowing each tribe to see the others passing through the Sea.
9.  The sweet water in the Sea remained in liquid form to quench the Jews thirst.
10.The remaining sweet water froze in place, ready for when the Jews would need to drink again.

-Pirkei Avot 5/5