So, you know, the whole Donald Trump thing: hilarious, no? This headline alone is almost cathartic, not do mention the volume of digs a real pro like Roy Edroso gets in. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years being grumpy about how easily the GOP base falls in line once the party apparatus starts getting heavy-handed, and suddenly all that seems to be collapsing. Like all sensible people, I’m waiting for Trump to be sabotaged in the primaries, run as an independent, and ensure the biggest GOP failure in a presidential election since the party was formed.
The big problem with this, is that Trump’s current position is already so improbable, that I don’t really feel safe assuming that’s going to happen. While a lot of the “this is the beginning of the end for Trump” has been wishful thinking on the part of GOP pundits, it really is true that he’s had a lot of opportunities to fall down, and all of them have seemed to bolster him in the end. I guess I feel like given how strange this race has turned out I’m not willing to be totally confident that the GOP isn’t going to run trump, and while I think that would be a disaster, I don’t feel it’s guaranteed.
So I guess we can take bets on whether the post-apocalyptic wasteland will look like Ridley Walker or A Canticle for Leibowitz.
As you are no doubt aware, Errol Morris is a brilliant documentary filmmaker who has revolutionized both our view of pet cemeteries, and Werner Herzog’s view of his shoes. He has just released a book that takes a contrarian view of a murder most people assume was solved long ago.
In the linked article Morris talks about people who are convinced of MacDonald’s guilt and says,
I despise versions of postmodernism that suggest that there is no such thing as truth, that the truth is up for grabs, relative and subjective. . . Narrative does not trump all; it does not trump the facts. The facts are immutable. You may not be able to apprehend them or they may be elusive, but they are there.
This is an unfortunate if popular interpretation, and it allows people to pass over an discredit an idea that we have never needed to be more serious about. Postmodern theories about language tend to do a lot of of focusing on how meaning is created by power. What Morris is mischaracterizing is the idea that power manufactures truth and facts, and that there is a need to dig under the hegemonically-enfranchised “real.” Looked at accurately, he’s essentially denigrating a powerful tool for getting what he purports to want.
It’s sort of a shame, because we are really losing our grip on our ability to call out certain categories of liar. Decrying postmodernity’s unwillingness to admit of the real, we no longer care when the powerful discard it altogether.
As you may or may not know, Hai Nan Chicken Rice is an amazing invention, and a real testament to the glory of human enterprise. I recently became aware of a local food cart that serves this divine dish in downtown Portland and decided to check it out. After dropping by the weekend-before-last and finding it closed unexpectedly, I decided to hit it up for lunch today.
So you know, there are only two tables in front of it, and the food cart people are very territorial, which I suppose is understandable, so you can’t grab the next table over because it’s got a big sign on it and people will yell at you and blah blah blah, right? So that shouldn’t really matter, because hey, parks! There are all kinds of places to sit down there.
On a normal day. Because it’s more or less the end of the world, it started hailing while I was waiting for my order, and the most important concern to bear in mind when building public structures is to make sure they don’t have any roofs that might allow a homeless person to find comfort within them. If you think I exaggerate, consider where I did manage to find a seat and a roof that I could use together:
That’s right, you can sit down and get out of the rain at the same time, but it has to be in a fucking fountain. This is, I think, pretty emblematic of America’s decline into a nation of worthless selfish scumbags when the solution to problems created by reduced social services is to make urban space more hostile.
For what it’s worth, Yang’s is great.
They’re venal ($2.99 for salvation; nice work, Martin Luther) and. . .
What’s New in Version 1.1
Reduced audio file sizes to keep app below 10mb and stabilized a couple of minor bugs that had been reported.
they aren’t smart enough to use computers.
(Via The Zawinksi, who tags the entry doomed, religion and perversions.)
I’m pretty sure that The Human Condition is about the reasons that modern people aren’t as fulfilled as the ancient Greeks, but what I am absolutely sure about is that it’s a big fat apologetic for slavery. I read the “Labor” chapter which basically ends up concluding that working people are a bunch of disgusting cretins.
A hundred years after Marx we know the fallacy of this reasoning; the spare time of the animal laborans is never spent in anything but consumption, and the more time left to him, the greedier and more craving hist appetites.
Along the way, Arendt claims that Marx
predicted correctly, though with an unjustified glee, “the withering away” of the public realm under conditions of unhampered development of the “productive forces of society,” and he was equally right, that is, consistent with his conception of man as an animal laborans, when he foresaw “socialized men” would spend their freedom frmo laboring in those strictly private and essentially worldless activities what we now call “hobbies.”
and then, as if it supports her position, she quotes the passage from The German Ideology in which Marx claims that people in a socialist society would be free to
Do this today and that tomorrow, who hunt in the morning, go fishing in the afternoon, raise cattle in the evening, are critics after dinner, as they see fit, without for that matter ever becoming hunters, fisherman, shephards or critics.
(N.b.: Not sure what’s going on w/ the plurals there; in My Tucker Marx-Engels Reader all of the professions in the last sentence are singular, but whatever.)
Now the first problem here is that Marx does not, with of without glee, predict the withering away of the public realm. Instead, the final accomplishment of socialism is the withering away of the state. In a society free from oppression there would no longer be a need for an external apparatus the regulate behavior. The goal then is human interaction with fewer sources of mediation and regulation.
Reading through The Human Condition it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this conflation is based entirely on contempt for working people. It takes a pretty strong sense of indifference to the needs of those whose pants aren’t as fancy as one’s own to think that we live in a laborer’s society and that the mechanisms used by the people who live off of the sweat and blood of the animal laborans to keep their subjects in the dark are somehow an indictment of the character of those subjects. Like the Helenes she clearly idolizes, she assumes that someone’s status as a laborer allows her to understand their essence completely, and condemn them without qualms to serving her so that she might contribute to the public realm rather than soiling her own hands taking care of herself.