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