March 10, 2011

Greg Harman reports on Mubarak’s ridiculous problems with finding a lawyer. A lawyer of a notorious murderer turned Mubarak down, so he is saddled with somebody who once defended a shipping company on whose watch a thousand people drowned, while the captain abandoned ship.

China Mieville. I’ve only read Un-Lun-Dun and The City and The City. He doesn’t excite me. However, I think he is the best Marxist that popular literature got at present. I see his work as being agit-prop and didactic in the best sense of the word: imaginative, verisimilitudinal, typical. Perhaps, too typical, as such reminding me of some of the excesses of socialist realism. He should leave more unsaid. I think most anyone who’d been to graduate school for literary theory will agree with me. On the other hand, this explains his appeal to leftist in academia, but outside of literature departments.  Witness his passage on allegory versus metaphor in this recent interview: it’s basic to the point of being boring, but perhaps only to literature majors. Also, his remarks about psycho-geography are not startling, but necessary and I applaud them:

Some really interesting stuff has been done with psychogeography—I’m not going to say it’s without uses other than for making pretty maps. I mean, re-experiencing lived urban reality in ways other than how one is more conventionally supposed to do so can shine a new light on things—but that’s an act of political assertion and will. If you like, it’s a kind of deliberate—and, in certain contexts, radical—misunderstanding. Great, you know—good on you! You’ve productively misunderstood the city. But I think that the bombast of these particular—what are we in now? fourth or fifth generation?—psychogeographers is problematic.

Presumably at some point we’re going to get to a stage, probably reasonably soon, in which someone—maybe even one of the earlier generation of big psychogeographers—will write the great book against psychogeography. Not even that it’s been co-opted—it’s just wheel-spinning.

I ve been laid up with a cold, which gave me time to finish watching two very long documentaries: Chris Marker’s amazing Grin w/out the Cat and Marcel Ophuls’ indifferent Hotel Terminus. Regis Debray appears in both.  I did learn from Ophuls’ film about how conflict-ridden is the history of Resistance, with some people still accusing the Communists in the Resistance of perpetrating acts similar to those performed by Stalinists against Trotskyists in Civil war Spain, though outsourcing to Gestapo. I find it hard to believe, though.

Fun Fact: Rene Hardy, who is believed by many to have led Claus Barbie to Jean Moulin’s hide-out, wrote a book, later turned into a film by Nicholas Ray: Bitter Victory, a war drama which takes place in Libya!



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Milo and the Calf

An idiosyncratic mix of unmonetized content.


beyond books | between art, science and architecture

Object-Oriented Philosophy

"The centaur of classical metaphysics shall be mated with the cheetah of actor-network theory."

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