Sunday, December 21, 2008

MLA Off-Site Reading

[I'm not quite sure why we'll be wearing masks. Is it a counterpoint to all the facey-face of the MLA? But if Laura says masks, then masked we must be!]

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28th from 7-10:00pm
the Forum at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street, San Francisco

FREE and ADA accessible to the public
Co-sponsored by Small Press Distribution and the Poetry Foundation

Over 60 POETS reading (just) 2 minutes each: Aaron Kunin, Alan Bernheimer, Aldon Nielsen, Andrew Osborn, Barrett Watten, Bill Howe, Bill Luoma, Bill Mohr, Brian Kim Stefans, C.S. Giscombe, Carla Harryman, Christian Bok, Chris Stroffolino, Dale Smith, Craig Perez, Dan Featherston, David Buuck, Dennis Barone, Donna de la Perriere, Durriel Harris, Dodie Bellamy, Elizabeth Hatmaker, Etel Adnan, Jasper Bernes, Jeffrey Robinson, Javier Huerta, Jeanne Heuving, Jennifer Scappettone, Jerry Rothenberg, Joe Amato, John Emil Vincent, Joseph Lease, Joshua Clover, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Julian Brolaski, Kasey Mohammad, Kass Fleisher, Kazim Ali, Kevin Killian, Kit Robinson, Kristin Prevallet, Lisa Howe, Lisa Robertson, Lorraine Graham, Maxine Chernoff, Michael Davidson, Norma Cole, Paolo Javier, Patrick Durgin, Paul Hoover, Philip Metres, Rob Halpern, Sarah Schulman, Rusty Morrison, Standard Schaefer, Stephanie Young, Stephen Cope, Suzanne Stein, Timothy Yu, Tom Orange, Tyrone Williams, Walter Lew and more!

Poets in Masks! Refreshments! Books! Books! Books!

Books by the readers for sale from Small Press Distribution.

Small Press Distribution, 1341 7th Street, Berkeley, CA 9471

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Noah turned five on Tuesday. It's impossible to believe that Anna and I have survived parenthood this long; impossible, too, to imagine a world before Noah. Not that I lack for selfishness as a parent or think about him every second of every day but, you know, it's as if he has threaded through every capillary of my sense of the world, stamped every thought with some peculiar cast, expanded to the limits of my (dim) memories of things, even if only as a faint trace, a whisper. It's terrifying to love someone so much and to think what I think of the future, of the world we live in. And, of course, it's that anxiety, that certainty of the limits to present society such as it is constructed, which makes ninety percent of the parents I meet, when they are being parents, so unbearable to be around. . .

[Noah, right, and my nephew Asa, left, in a gold mine turned museum.]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Baselessness of Idealism


"The halls rose in a pyramid, becoming even more beautiful as one mounted towards the apex, and representing more beautiful worlds. Finally they reached the highest one which was the most beautiful one of all: for the pyramid had a beginning, but one could not see its end; it had an apex, but no base; it went on increasing to infinity. That is (as the Goddess explained) because amongst an endless number of possible worlds there is the best of all, else would God not have determined to create any; but there is not one which has not also less perfect worlds below it: that is why the pyramid goes on descending to infinity."

Monadology, Leibniz

"Some persons are so troubled by some effects of the market order that they overlook how unlikely and even wonderful it is to find such an order prevailing in the greater part of the modern world, a world in which we find thousands of millions of people working in a constantly changing environment, providing means of subsistence for other who are mostly unknown too them, and at the same time finding satisfied their own expectations that they themselves will receive goods and services produced by equally unknown people. Even in the worst of times something like nine out of ten of them will find their expectations confirmed."

The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, Hayek

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tragedy, Farce

Surely, in the good state of California, we can note, now that Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared the imminence of a "financial armageddon", and given the disastrous state of the news industry, that the front-page and the entertainment section of the papers have become virtually indistinguishable. . .

This is why Schwarzenegger is the perfect front-man for his good (and goodly dead) friend Milton Friedman's ideology. As Naomi Klein makes clear in The Shock Doctrine, neoliberal restructuring has always depended upon the manipulation (and outright creation) of crisis conditions, has always depended upon the melodrama and hysteria of the disaster movie. This is not to say that conditions are not dire, nor is it to say that the new economy which will emerge from this crisis is likely to follow the lines of neoliberalisms past. Only that we are, indeed, under the spell of a disaster politics, and we should be mindful of the messages borne aloft by the waves of affect now pouring from our television sets.

The solution here is, of course, rather simple: Gov. Schwarzenegger should go back in time, Terminator-style, and undo the tax cuts that he and his Republican buddies pushed through during the fat years of the 90s and 00s. Oh yeah, and it's probably cheaper to help poor people with food and housing by some other means than putting them in jail.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I wanna' be Exarchy (remix)

for DZ Brazil, classicist extraordinaire

You know what's really great about running street-f
ights between Greek radicals and Greek police? Well, aside from the obvious, there's the vision of root-words and concepts central to the great diseased career of Western thought blazoned on the shields of riot police.

(αστυ + nómos = ???)

It is almost as if the illuminating but politically unconvincing etymological divagations that form the m
etier of Giorgio Agamben had suddenly taken on material form and force, become actors in history. Archos and nomos vs. the ex-'s and the an-'s. I mean, where is this Exarcheia place (related to archos only by a false etymology, and all the more Heideggerian for that), land of anarchists and bohemians and cafes and street riots and universities that police are forbidden by law to enter, and can we move there now?

(sun at noon)

(better than the hora at your bar/bat mitzvah or wedding)

Well, it's time to start a celebratory meditation on the political saliences of the bankrupt "Republic Windows and Doors," whose workers, occupying their shuttered factory, have forced Bank of America to stand down and extend their employer a loan to fulfill its obligations for severance pay, accrued vacation time and health coverage