How then can we hope to survive the next Pearl Harbor, if there should be one, with not only all peoples who are not white, but all peoples with political ideologies different from ours arrayed against us—after we have taught them (as we are doing) that when we talk of freedom and liberty, we not only mean neither, we don’t even mean security and justice and even the preservation of life for people whose pigmentation is not the same as ours.
And not just the black people in Boer Africa, but the black people in America too.
Because if we Americans are to survive, it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans of black ones of purple or blue or green.
Perhaps we will find out now whether we are to survive or not. Perhaps the purpose of this sorry and tragic error committed in my native Mississippi by two white adults on an afflicted Negro child is to prove to us whether or not we deserve to survive.
Because if we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t.
”—from “Press Dispatch Written in Rome, Italy, for the United Press, on the Emmet Till Case” by William Faulkner, published in the New York Herald Tribune September 9th, 1955.
City Hall Plaza’s most infamous moment came in 1976, when an anti-busing protester swung a pole bearing an American flag at a black lawyer. But an alternative vision of the ’70s, and of much-maligned City Hall Plaza, came to life Friday evening — at the free Donna Summer Memorial Roller Disco Tribute Party sponsored by the Walsh administration’s Office of Arts and Culture and the annual dance music festival Together Boston. The famous disco singer, who died in 2012, grew up in Dorchester; the accident of her stage surname was enough to justify a tribute party on a crystal-clear night in July.
“Probably Dona Placida did not speak when she was born, but if she did, she might have said to the authors of her days, ‘Here I am. Why did you summon me?’ And the sacristan and his lady naturally would have replied, ‘We summoned you so that you would burn your fingers on pots and your eyes in sewing; so that you would eat little or nothing, rush around, become sick and then get well so that you might become sick again; sad today, desperate tomorrow, finally resigned, but always with your hands on the pot and your eyes on the sewing, until you wind up in the gutter or in a hospital. That is why we summoned you, in a moment of love.’”—The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis
“Beliefs can’t be shaken short of a major shock, in which case, a fairly complete mental disruption results. Mild cases - hysteria, morbid sense of insecurity. Advanced cases – madness and suicide.”—Isaac Asimov, Foundation and Empire (via agaywalksintoabar)
“After the battle, many new ghosts cry,
The solitary old man murmurs in his grief.
Ragged low cloud thins the light of dusk,
Thick snow dances back and forth in the wind.
The wine ladle’s cast aside, the cup not green,
The stove still looks as if a fiery red.
To many places, communications are broken,
I sit, but cannot read my books for sorrow.”—Tu Fu (712–770)
“I wish I had the abilities of the most refined scholars, so that I might tell you in the noblest verse, or else in learned prose, that you will always be, in spite of everything that may be done, the very same you have been all your life; that is to say, a scatter-brain, a man of distempered reason, always perplexed, wanting common sense, a man of left-handed judgment, a meddler, an ass, a blundering, hare-brained, giddy fellow,— what can I think of? A… a hundred times worse than anything I can say. This is only an abridgement of your panegyric.”—The Blunderer by Moliere
“I have triumphed over both life and death because I no longer desire to live, nor do I any longer fear to die. I want nothing. I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. Therefore I am free.”—Woman at Point Zero by Nawal el Saadawi
her hips wiggled the tide caught in jazz gravity lordess of post-noel harmony-seekers and hard cider sundays when man numero uno put her on planetary spin then pulled her into orbit did smooth math on boozed brunette in possession of dangerous heels and such snap rubbed bones lit a spark over a vamp thawed icy december outside her dress a magnolia burnt at the rim silhouetted against the solar flare that ribboned from each electric pluck
duke robillard played chief as grad students crowded the bartender threw nickels for last call and some south american spanish upstairs latin night stomped the twilight frost into condensation that dripped to a sidewalk freeze before the sun went down and moon brought it to a molasses beat and our girl got salt and vinegar with man number two a little rough around the rest but with a budweiser belly adequate for maintaining centrifugal force
they wobbled a dancing eclipse tightwire ostinato snow stragglers swung open the front door and a winter draught caught the duet mid temptation tightened waist against waist the hard dueled night dissolved at the hip the loser blown back to infamy which is to say all the way back to the original syncopation how ancient is anybody’s guess but the ritual still sends moonquakes shaking up our spines
what is the ethos of electronic dance music? full disclosure: most of it gives me a headache. what i see is mostly men standing on altars that may be a pedestal. in front of him is his equipment, his microphone, and before him are the masses, his proletariat, in a room so open and vast it could be a central city square. he is guiding there movements, they are cheering, he is speaking through rhythms and synthesizers and heavy, practically violating bass. his hand is a cursor. they haven’t marched on washington or but they fall down for their evita. aestheticized populism.
or with headphones in? impenetrable. a sometimes oppressively juggernaut of a beat, unrelenting. the type of pulse that would heartburst. batteries or at minimum required for the commute to and from work and during lunch breaks, for charging.
“If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn.”—Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (via ennuiaboo)
“I had not seen her for two years, and I saw her now, not as she was, but as she had been; I saw us both as we had been, because a mysterious Ezekiel had made the sun turn back to the days of our youth. The sun turned back, I shook off all my miseries, and this handful of dust, soon to be scattered in the eternity of nothingness, became stronger than time, stronger than the minister of death.”—The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Macado de Assis
“A wine shop was open and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee-glasses and the wet circles left by wine glasses.”—A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
“Unwilling to concede the negation of the other as the moment of its obliteration in a void, Hegel insists upon a “positive” remainder for it. Hence Hegel simultaneously validates the other as bearing a “positive” content while also functioning as the negative reflection of the self that in effect doubly jeopardizes the position of the other as such. With respect to the self, the other can be identified as an other solely in terms of its difference from the self, as a negation of the self, as that something that the self is not, what ever else the other may be. After the self is able to realize its negation as constituted in the other, the existence of this other is only valuable to the self as long as the self is able to suppress the other and turn inward and contemplate the determinateness of its own existence. In so doing the self, as per Hegel’s schema, is free to consume the other in itself by acknowledging the other’s newly known positive content and thereby grant the other a not so autonomous position of importance only in so far as this other has facilitated the determination of the self by virtue of its negativity. Yet again Hegel clarifies this secondary status accorded the other as it makes possible the determinate realization of the self. Hegel explains the other as an “alien power” that enables the movement of the self inward, towards itself, but only after its otherness has been consumed by the self, “within itself.””—"Hegel-Marx: The ‘Other’ Logic of Unproductive Labor" by Mrinalini Chakravorty
“In point of fact, however, slavery and oppression may well have made black people more human and more American while it has made white people less human and less American. Anyway, Negroes have as much reason to think so as to think otherwise. It is the political behavior of black activists, not that of norm-calibrated Americans, that best represents the spirit of such constitutional norm-ideals as freedom, justice, equality, fair representation, and democratic processes. Black Americans, not Americans devoted to whiteness, exemplify the open disposition toward change, diversity, unsettled situations, new structures and experience, that are pre-requisite to the highest level of citizenship. Black not white or even somewhat white Americans display the greatest willingness to adjust to the obvious consequences of those contemporary innovations in communication and transportation facilities whose networks have in effect shrunk the world to one pluralistic community in which the most diverse people are now neighbors. It is Negroes, not the median of the white population, who act as if the United States is such a world in miniature. It is the non-conforming Negro who now acts like the true descendant of the Founding Fathers—who cries ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ and who regards taxation without representation as tyranny. It is the norm-oriented white American who becomes the rednecked progeny of the Red Coats, and yells, ‘Disperse, ye rebels.’ It is the white American who, in the name of law and order, now sanctions measures (including the stock piling of armor piercing weapons to be used against American citizens) that are more in keeping with the objectives of a police state than those of an open society.”—
An eye shouldn’t look through (past) a lens in search of a photograph, but with the lens. The vision of camera lens is essentially distinct from the anatomical lens of the eye. An appreciation of this distinction clarifies the difference between amateurish, bad, or “normal” pictures from art and photography. What is a beautiful arrangement to the eye will probably not become a beautiful photograph, that is, without a rearrangement into what is beautiful within the frame of a camera. That is why one thousand pictures a day can be taken from the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, or along the Great Wall of China, or walking down the sidewalk on Madison Avenue and the result will occur to the viewer as banal and frustrating. The moment, as we knew it, is not reproduced in the photograph because the elements were not refined by the means of artistic production (the camera).
This is especially important to recognize if we still mistakenly believe that artistic photographs do, in fact, reproduce our moments. We can glean information from any stock or instagram photo, but the object photograph is inconsequential—it is less a photograph (an artistic object) and more a picture (a visual aid). In this unrefined form, specific individuals might still associate meaning and emotion with the photo, but typically that emotion and meaning is refracted from the subject of the photo, which is specific or vernacular (a picture of us with a relative, a snapshot from our first hour in Istanbul, etc.) and not universal (and refracted not only from the specific subject but from the artistic object). Even the universally recognizable subjects of a piece of photojournalism—dead bodies, siege, catastrophe—are not messengers of consciousness but of information, not of beauty but of dissemination, which distinguishes them again from the artistic photograph.
“It’s pretty sad if the one thing they pass this year is deporting a bunch of kids — not just deporting, but permanently rolling back due process,” Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the immigration advocacy group Women’s Refugee Commission, told the L.A. Times.
“Night, you rained
Serrated shadows through dank leaves
Till, bathed in warm suffusion of your dappled cells
Sensations pained me, faceless, silent as night thieves.
Hide me now, when night children haunt the earth
I must hear none! These misted cells will yet
Undo me; naked, unbidden, at night’s muted birth.”—From the poem, 'Night' by Nigerian poet, Wole Soyinka.
“What we all feel now is the constant pressure to know enough, at all times, lest we be revealed as culturally illiterate. … What matters to us, awash in petabytes of data, is not necessarily having actually consumed this content firsthand but simply knowing that it exists — and having a position on it, being able to engage in the chatter about it. We come perilously close to performing a pastiche of knowledgeability that is really a new model of know-nothingness. … Whenever anyone, anywhere, mentions anything, we must pretend to know about it. Data has become our currency.”—
comes sailin in splittin the moonlite from darkness the dark led into darkness the liteness/whiteness of winter straight sailed from the tropics don’t worry wounds gonna frost over and then they’re gonna hit the docks desire the coffin come out the living dead the reborn to slap on a pair of shoes eyes of all the people upon them as they climb the hill to meet the pharaoh don’tcha see there’s a city to build? "if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken…” o pharaoh o undertaker o city urbane she taken under a starry nite sky bodies taken under a bow her taken under a man a white piece of moon, her charon across the golden triangle praise the lord and leave her to sink in the harbor desire is fleet but good work is forever and now they’re waiting please hurry the men are waiting please hurry the men will be waiting for desire please hurry from providence please hurry your desire who’s hurry? please desire your desire who’s desire? who’s desire for the sun inside skin cells the suns inside men what men are these men and whose men will these men be whose language do these men speak do they speak the language did anyone ever speak dark languages on shining hills glittering flickering shiny pearl hills cities on hills they set out from providence "Now they only way to avoid this shipwreck…” went the hymn this hurricane blown straight from providence they sang they ate all the butter who’s butter skin crawls when the moonlite gathers in the yard who’s children these children these moonlite children these butter churned children made of desire the maidens of desire them no one wants anymore no one wants anymore our heart is in a valley our city has sunk into the ocean the wanting is old who wants back two sea-crossed lovers who envies these sea-crossed lovers love her who sickens with love who thickens with love who calls this love? can you ever call this love? i can’t call this love who’s eden in chains does dance around the river who will desire the names who will desire her name who will name her who’s been done had who will want when all the wanting’s been had and done? can the wanting ever be had and done?
“But what he had to offer I didn’t want—and what I wanted he didn’t have to offer. Yet how unusual is that? Why must it continue to cause such pain? At this late date! Doctor, what should I rid myself of, tell me, the hatred…or the love?”—Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
“Is it possible that every need is basically spatial, that somewhere the image, the touch, and the voice of those who are no longer alive must still exist (“nothing is lost—”).”—The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
“The fact remains that we are moving away, in terms of science and other communications systems, from what one ordinarily calls language. I remain interested in what we are going to use to talk to ourselves with. One of the fundamental problems with film is not simply its easy effects, and its conceptual poverty. That may in time be overcome. Film may be able to carry universals in a useful way. But you can’t show films to yourself. There is no way of communicating inside your head but speech. And if you can’t talk well to yourself, who can you talk to? You simply aren’t anybody. I frequently imagine people who get bored with their own talk, who don’t talk to themselves very much. Talk is essential to the human spirit. It is the human spirit. Speech. Not silence.”—William Gass interviewed by the Paris Review