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/Don Keane/, after the style of Romaire Bearden


KRS-One, “Step into The World”

Gang Starr, [“Mass Appeal”]
The otha Side:

ESG, “Tiny Sticks”

Yo La Tengo [!!], “Sugarcube”
Finally, the full *continentale* gospel: The Fall, “Gut of the Quantifier”

The Fall w/ Brix, “New Big Prinz” [HI THERE!]

The Electric Ant/New Gillian Time: Jeffrey D. Rubard, 2004


Muybridge, Washington Heights

A quick note about the proper use of Bataille. Bataille is only to be read by garcons in Manhattan or a suitable “substitute”, for the purpose of dealing with properly-brought-up girls who are too much. What’s gonna happen with Marcelle? Not much of much, since Bataille is really subrepted Lucretius: which is, like New York proper, much much too much, a key to understanding how those present in the center of it all with money “enow” are still subject to forces beyond their control, namely all of them, systematically drawing their activities through the “human chain” and physical reality through their aching heads. You don’t want to wake up in the city that never sleeps: you want to do something amazing, intellectual, striking, and prodigious at 4 AM on a completely safe Gramercy Park street: it can be done, but only you can do it — and imitatio

Ca yz tonoc in tiquauhtli in tocelutl

auh in ticueie in tiuipile

Here you are, who are an eagle

you who are an ocelotl (warrior)

And you who are the possessor of the skirt

you who are the possessor of the blouse (woman)

Náhuatl saying, from “Diphrases or couplets in Náhuatl”, Dr. Mercedes Montes de Oca Vega

For “an American, Chicago born” who lives for a time on the continent, there is a hard lesson to learn whether one feels like it or not, whether one can or not, whether one would liefer “teach” it to someone in lieu of knowing it oneself. The rise of the American Empire, the Canadian commonwealth, and the nation-states of Latinoamerica (with cities featuring 375th Street Y’s and much, much more — London is a dream of São Paulo) was a “falling-off” from an earlier integrated continental community, from Barrow’s point to the “Cape of No Hope”. It was, naturally, under the control of the Mexica, of the greatest city in the world: Tenochtitlan, located at the center of the continent: a city with canals joining clean lakes, on a plateau with fresh air, in the middle of absolutely enough for anyone.

Do we know what the Aztecs, successores de Maya, were like?: not really, not really at all, though they did know how to roll and Tenochtitlan had a “suburb”, Tlatelolco — whatever. The art is truly “inscrutable”, as per Roger Scruton and those who scrute and Leavis et al. and Dwight Scrute and Fu Manchu admirers both kines; it’s an image of life, and you “figure it out”. Who knows what their society was like, other than intensive and credentialed and sympathetic researchers? They did, and then it went away: on account of people with guns, and disease, and the Bible in their rotting hand, and the Words with Power ope they mouth. But they left us a legacy, roughly of the sport-utility vehicle kind: they, too, did not manage to destroy the world and we dwell upon their continent.

Barnett Newman, The word II, 1954

Newman resumes work on his civil-service magazine, now to be titled The Answer. A handwritten draft of a column planned for The Answer outlines a list of “Books we recommend”: Spinoza’s Ethics, Plato’s Republic, and the writings of the Russian anarchist Prince Peter Kropotkin. A corresponding list of “Books we condemn” names the complete works of Hegel, Marx, and Lenin.

Chronology of the Artist’s Life, Barnett Newman, ed. Ann Temkin, Philadelphia: 2002

Subject: [Marxism] Eisenstein and Trotsky: The Platonic Revolution Betrayed
From: Jeff Rubard
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 14:22:11 -0600 (CST)

Frankly, this Uniform Resource Indicator is occasion enough to speak on
the ambiguity of Trotsky’s contribution to the worker’s movement and
left-wing politics generally. What is being undone at the present time is
the memory of Trotsky as definitive of the Left Opposition, and as I am
confident that the overall analysis will eventually be quite unfavorable I
am going to attempt to say some things in favor of Trotsky’s practice. I
have spoken of Austro-Marxism here before, and as today many people have
very little information about the character of that or other left
intellectual movements of the past let me say that Trotsky is actually
quite a fine exemplar of that tendency: namely, a partisan of science
rather than “philosophy of praxis”.

At one point in the texts available at MIA, Trotsky speaks of “Right
leavening” for “Left” positions — and this is really not so inaccurate,
but still rather unfair and to my mind extremely questionable given the
almost timeless good (political) sense that emanates from the texts of the
German and Italian Communists: and frankly, all four pages of Bordiga’s
“System of Communist Representation” (also available on MIA) are worth
more than Trotsky’s seriously blase analyses of the crippling of the
Soviets in terms of a serious science of politics (that is, one which
deals frankly with the *discursive* character of libertarianisms all
prefixes) and Rosa Luxemburg’s writing were doing a better job of carrying
on *Class Struggles in France* than our putative Montagnard. Now, did
Trotsky arrange for more to occur during his lifetime than Bordiga? Oh,
yes, but the downside to even the reorganization of the Red Army is rather
obvious and I suspect the question of whether figures like Trotsky and
Bukharin, who were done wrong by the Stalinist regime, contributed
mightily to its character could be on some minds at present.

However, in light of recent discussions of cinema here I would like to ask
a different question: to what extent is the logic of Trotsky’s practice
parallel to the “visual signature” of Eisenstein? Eisenstein is of course
acclaimed as perhaps-the-first *auteur*, imposing a highbrow logic on the
cinematic image: but perhaps the first imperative of the “production
values” associated with film is to abandon exactly those concerns which
have motivated political liberalism in modernity. Thusly, I wonder
whether Trotsky’s “internationalbolshevism” (in the above article
contrasted as sharply as is possible with the concrete practice, that is
lived experience, of American Communists) amounts to something like
dancing to a tune called out by Nietzsche and other uh, “partisans of
modernity”: Marinetti etc etc — and for me, the proof of this is the
plausibility of a *Wirkungsgeschichte* linking I.F. Stone to Heidegger on
the topic of the Platonic theory of truth (world-historical variant). How
any of this should make us tolerant wet bullyboys feel is unclear (note:
the title of this post has also occurred to me as one for an essay on
Heidegger), but perhaps Trotsky’s views deserve to be “assimilated” to the
intellectual category of “observations on modernity” rather than
understood as the aforementioned standard of revolutionary purity
(honestly, rather useless for concrete social struggle).

A quick thought: perhaps one feature of Kant’s Analytic of the Beautiful is somewhat opaque, the famous and confusing statement that something which is beautiful must be judged so without interest. Since obviously a great deal of pleasure is involved in aesthetic contemplation, this claim seems bizarre to most, but perhaps part of what it is about is the amount of cognitive labor necessary for adequation to the artwork — such that it can be judged at all. If we have thoroughly and completely thought through the problems posed by one such, why would our own responses be the determinative item as regards the aesthetic integrity of the artwork? They wouldn’t be; if we are equal to the task of respecting the aesthetic object in its ideality, we already had our fun.


Alma Woodsey Thomas, Secret Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish, 1976

“I would say that the individuals who went over there were, in the opinion of most Americans, fighting on the wrong side.”

Remark made in Spain c. 1985 by Ronald Reagan, concerning the Abraham Lincoln Brigade


Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 110, 1971


Short note: I recently went to see Synechdoche, New York — an enthralling experience in its own right, but perhaps even more notable as a culmination of a trend in moviemaking I’ll call (with some right, I think) schizoid cinema. The narratives of movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Science of Sleep and Kaufman’s pictures just don’t hold up, absurdly so: anyone with half a mind will laugh at the “375th Street Y”, but the visual signatures are just as strange, mixtures of “technologies for living” that never coexisted and impossible spatialities. Compared to this intentional nonsense, the Coen brothers’ jerking-around of film theorists (the “letter that never arrives at its destination” in The Hudsucker Proxy) is tame, and yet people of the very best mental equilibrium enjoy the movies: which makes me wonder what, exactly, is being said about real mental illness by their circulation.