Rolling in the deep

28 10 2015

There was a Republican debate tonight and plenty o’ grading for my Friday class. So what did I do?

Watched interviews with Adele on YouTube.

I’m not necessarily a huge fan of her music—I mean, I like her husky voice and retro-soul sound and all, but she doesn’t set my hair on fire—but I am quite a fan of her.

This video is part of the reason why. Start watching about the 9:10 mark:

She starts a bit low-key, but once she gets rollin’, well, who wouldn’t want to hang out with her?

Still got to get that grading done, tho’.

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Lines are drawn upon the world

21 10 2015

Liberalism, conservatism, communism, fascism, feminism, environmentalism, libertarianism, anarchism.

Your basic soup of ideology.

I’ve taught an ideology class before, and yeah, I pretty much went through these (and their varieties): it’s bog-standard to compare these different bits to one another.

Yet I, of course, have come to disagree not only with myself but EVERYONE ELSE!!!

(Okay, I doubt very much I’m the only dissenter to this approach, but let’s pretend I’m being original, here.)

My crankiness with the standard approach stems from history, in particular, the combo of teaching the course of Weimar and my earlier musings on modernity. (I’m still musing, by the way, but to no particular end.) I wanted something which helped me to make sense of these histories, and for which history would help make sense of the ideologies.

Blah, blah, what I came up with was something centered on modernity (as historical epoch), which in turn lead to various ontologies (or Weltanschauung—hey, I’m doing Germany, so why not a little German?), which in turn give rise to various ideologies.

Here’s the basic idea: historical epoch

MODERNITY (historical epoch)
Liberalism (Weltanschauung)
…liberalism (ideology)
…conservatism
…socialism
…anarchism
Reaction
…monarchism
…aristocracy
Totalitarianism
…fascism
…varieties of communism
…varieties of theocracy

This is drafty—very drafty—but I’m trying to get at the notion that all of these ideologies in fact come out of world-views which are themselves formed in reponse to Modernity. In particular, I’m trying to get at the importance of the concept of time: of the past, and the future.

So, for example, while the ideologies of Liberalism hold to a more-or-less open future, those of Totalitarianism hold to closed future, some final, perfectible, end. Those of Reaction, on the other hand, reject Modernity’s social-linear notion of time and seek a return of past glories.

What I don’t include here, obviously, is any explication of what Modernity or the various ontologies or ideologies mean. I’m also not so sure about the ideologies themselves: I don’t think anarchism (or libertarianism, which I don’t include) are sufficient as governing ideologies themselves; it might make more sense to fold anarchism into socialism (as I implicitly do with libertarianism and liberalism).

There’s also the matter that these Weltanschauungen are ideal-types, and while the ideologies themselves are closer to the ground, the organization and experience of politics itself tends to slosh over any neatly drawn lines.

Finally, this schema may not travel well to other parts of the world. The experiences of China, India, and Japan (to name a few) are arguably not anchored in a response to Modernity: they’ve got their own things goin’ on. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of overlap in ideologies, but I’d guess the underlying dynamics would be distinct.

I don’t think that’s a knock against this genealogy, however, to say that’s it’s limited: that tends to be feature of genealogies generally.

Anyway, this will take more work (I’ve already modified this from my original presentation in class last week), but I think there’s something there.

And ja ja, Hegel or someone probably already beat me to this. Guess I’ll have to get my own owl.





Listen to the music: And when I’m dead

19 10 2015

Listen to the music is dead; long live Listen to the music.

Okay, so I had this idea to listen to all of my alt-blues-jazz-pop-punk (i.e., whatever wasn’t classical) cds from A to Z. I hadn’t really been listening to enough music, and thought this project would get me back to garden.

It worked, for a bit. And then it didn’t. And then it kinda did, and then it really didn’t.

If I wasn’t in the mood to listen to the next cd in rotation, I didn’t listen to anything at all. I’d occasionally pop in a rogue disc, but mostly, my player went unplayed.

For awhile I thought I’d lost my music mojo: All that had moved me no longer did. I mean, that was kinda the point of starting the project, to reconnect to something which had for all of my life mattered to me.

But it wasn’t true. Music did still move me. I’d occasionally listen to my Mp3 player on the train and BAM, I was right back in it. Or I’d hear a stray song and maybe bounce around, maybe mouth the words, maybe sit as still as still can be.

In other words, I have no earthly idea why I stopped listening to the music in the first place, and whatever my previous sense of Needing-to-see-this-through, well, sometimes persistence is its own obstacle.

I am trying to listen to more of my own music. It’s a connection for me—tho’ to what, I couldn’t tell you—and helps to quiet my distractions.

Maybe I’ll get more writing done; maybe I won’t get anything more done than I would, otherwise. Regardless, I’ll  bounce around, maybe mouth the words, maybe sit as still as still can be.

~~~

Some of what I’ve listened to recently: Hem, Jayhawks, Rickie Lee Jones, Katell Keineg.

I’ll never get married, but if I get married, I’ll dance to this at my wedding:

And this one, well, I like the undertone of menace:





Black coffee

13 10 2015

Have I mentioned how I like my coffee?

'People Who Order Coffee Black Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths'

I learned the hard way that, in New York, if you want a black coffee, you have to specify ‘black coffee, no sugar’.

‘No cream’ is implied in black coffee, but, unlike elsewhere, ‘no sugar’ is not. You must be clear.

(‘Light and sweet’, by the way, means hop that hot caffeine up on cream—and it will often/always be real cream—and multiple scoopfuls of sugar.)

If the coffee slinger doesn’t know you, s/he’ll repeat this back you, skeptical: ‘Black coffee, no sugar?’

Again, this must be confirmed: ‘No sugar.’

If you buy coffee often enough at the same place, your java dealer will remember you by saying ‘black coffee, right? no sugar?”, then grin when you confirm this is so.

I very occasionally drink coffee and cream—a shot of Bailey’s in a mug of joe is a lovely winter drink—but sugar makes it unpalatable.  I once threw out a large cuppa because I had simply ordered a black coffee, and the server helpfully included the sugar.

That was a sad day.

It was also instructive, as I never made that mistake again.

~~~

I think I’ve mentioned this story before, but it’s good enough to repeat: A former editor of mine at The Daily Cardinal once said ‘I hate coffee, but when I drink it, I drink it black, because real women drink it black.’

Now that’s a role model.





Circus Maximus MMXVI: We don’t need another hero

8 10 2015

“I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye’s organization” in Baltimore, [Ben Carson] told Karen Hunter on Sirius XM Radio, referring to the fried chicken fast-food chain. “Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.'”

Doubt the guy behind the counter is going to be voting for the good doctor.

Via





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Sincerely

7 10 2015

Hillary Clinton has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and I say ‘Great!’

I also say: don’t believe it for a minute.

If she becomes president and the deal has been ratified by Congress, she’ll do nothing to overturn it; if it were shot down, she’ll find a way to resurrect it.

So, too, would a Republican president.

Even money on whether President Bernie Sanders would throw in with the TPP.





Everybody knows the fight was fixed, 20

5 10 2015

I’m not generally a fan of violence nor specifically a fan of assault.

However.

I cannot dredge up even the smallest bit of concern at the sight of an Air France executive chased over a fence by workers:

Kenzo Tribouillard , AFP/Getty

These workers are fighting for their jobs. They’re literally doing to the executives what the executives would—metaphorically—do to them.

I have no illusions that labor violence in the US would not be met by even greater police violence, nor that the citizenry would support the workers. Whatever our paeans to ‘plain-spoken hard-working salt-of-the-earth heartland’ types, what we Americans really respect is money.

If you have to work to get it, okay, fine, but if you’re out there doing what someone else can do (cheaper), shut up and get back to work.

There’s an incident recalled in Adam Gopnik’s essay “Trouble at the Tower” in which a tourist (British? American?) was prevented (roughly?) from getting off at the wrong platform by the elevator operator. She complained, he was fired, the rest of the tower workers went on strike until he was restored to his position.

Naturally, sympathy in France gathered quickly around the wronged operator and his striking friends, while sympathy in the Anglo-American side gathered around the roughed-up lady. . . [S]he was just trying to have a good time, we think. But he was only doing his job, they think.

Gopnik elaborates upon and, honestly, overplays the disjuncture between the customer/producer mentalities (just as I overplay the respect for money/work disjuncture), but I think he does get at something about cultural defaults: the French sympathy tends toward the worker, while the American does not.

In France, the storming of the offices of the jobs-cutting executives (or the blockade of roads by tractors) is not a horror, but a tactic. In the US, workers respond to cut jobs by reapplying for the same position at a lower wage.

And if corporations kill workers? Oh, well.

(Is it worth noting that the one of the few corporate executives who’s going to jail for killing people is doing so for killing customers, not workers? I think so, yes.)

There are plenty of us (in both countries) who would set the switch differently, but we’re straining against custom. What they (we) take as right we (they) can scarcely imagine here.

So to see what is possible—that fighting back is possible—well, if I’m not exactly thrilled by the assault, there is a certain grim satisfaction in that man’s ripped shirt.