December 25th, 2004


tribal misgivings

Why do so many otherwise decent people hate and resent the chosen people? The chosenness is burdensome, for Jews and gentiles alike. The burdens emerge at the fringes of our culture.
    In a sympathetic article on gays in the military, published in the 23 September 1993 issue of The New York Review of Books, Robert Stone cites one of the defiant letters from gays cited in Randy Shilts’ Conduct Unbecoming. The letter comes from an enraged hospital corpsman, protesting anti-gay discrimination aboard his ship. “I will no longer live a second, secret life,” the corpsman writes, “because the Navy has seen fit to adhere to an ante-diluvian, Judeo-Christian posture that no longer and never was congruent with social realism (sic).” In response, he rightly questions the extent to which the Catholics and Baptists (not to mention Jews) can be called upon to abandon their “Judeo-Christian posture”. As the ante-diluvian originator of this posture, the Jew calls forth the hatred by the morally different. These tensions first pitted the early Christians against the lions in the Colosseum. Multicultural Roman impresari who engaged these acolytes of an alien faith, formerly adopted the barbarian deities as soon as the Roman Empire incorporated their worshippers. This tradition served them well, until the recalcitrant Judeo-Christians refused to extend reciprocal worship to the images of the Imperial power. To this day, in bearing its Imperial authority to the darkest corners of our world, the Judeo-Christian faction remains uneasy in dealing with its faggots.Collapse )

5. beau geste

RADICALISME. D’autant plus dangereux qu’il est latent.
RADICALISM. All the more dangerous when it is latent.
— Gustave Flaubert, Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues[0]

Complementing his treatment of mimesis, Erich Auerbach’s 1944 essay “Figura” lays down a classic account of figurative meaning. According to Auerbach, “figura is something real and historical which announces something else which is also real and historical. The relation between the two events is revealed by an accord or similarity.” Thus figurae connect persons and events as symbolic links in a providentially understood historical sequence. Thus the world recounted in the Bible remains imperfectly revealed. Every pivotal historical moment therein is understandable as a figura perpetually pregnant with meaning, yet always resistant to maieutic, the Socratic midwifery that might deliver full figuration a later historical moment. Within such moments history itself, with all its concrete force, remains forever a figure, cloaked, forever inviting and forever requiring the final disclosure, the final demystification, yearned for by the author of the Book of Revelation. As such, figurae are identifiable only in retrospect, when a type, or promise adumbrated or constituted by an earlier event or person is fulfilled or realized by its anti-type, a later event or person. Accordingly, in order to approach an understanding of the figurative meaning of the bad glazier and his bohemian tormentor, we must achieve two tasks. The first is to provide a retrospective account for these characters as realizing a prior historical promise that inheres in the locus classicus. The second is to define their fulfillment by the ensuing turn of historical events that comprises their locus modernus.[1]
Collapse )

nap time

Michael’s mother Maria has Alzheimer’s. She was widowed on March 1st by an apartment fire of mysterious origin. The fire started right next to her couch. Instead of alerting Michael’s father Isaak, Maria repaired to the bedroom. She laid in bed by his side reading her book. Meanwhile, the fire was smoldering and gathering force. Her husband spent eighteen days on life support in a burn unit. Michael spent most of that time living and sleeping next to his deathbed.
    Michael sleeps furtively, in snatches. After briefly falling asleep in the reclining chair, he dreams of his father. Isaak’s face is smooth. His skin glows. He wants to stay, but he must be going. Nothing Michael can say or do will change that.

Edvard Munch, By the Deathbed, 1895, oil on canvas, 90x120cm

    Michael dreams of his mother. He is riding his motorcycle down Sunset Blvd at night to pick up Maria. She has once again wandered away to Beverly Hills. Instead of finding her on the agreed upon streetcorner, he comes across a paddy wagon. Maria’s voice comes from the back. The constables act like a couple. Michael asks them to release his mother into his custody. They refuse. Michael gets the male officer in a headlock. He draws his gun. The female opens the container at gunpoint. His mother is inside. She rests in a white cardboard box. She has shrunk to the size of a wizened doll. Her lips are moving. Michael hears nothing.

Edvard Munch, Night in Saint Cloud, 1890, oil on canvas, 64.5x54cm