Saturday, September 30, 2006

antiphon delinquency

exhaustive multi-tracking fashion show regret
creeps in the midst of overwhelming loose

no word scratch nothing what so ever deep
in shameful clapboard senility
decay’s arbitrary demarcation

and there are several ways
backing indoctrination
skip indeed
fate into another narrative condition
another body referent lacking
thematize rendition

you are my body strange walking away
your husk a skull
your song an echo
infinite in tide
a window that alters time
possessed by language
intensified by account stutters
missing preconditions
bound implicitly
to your breaking arm

Earth's temperature is dangerously high, Nasa scientists warn

Earth's temperature could be reaching its highest level in a million years, American scientists said yesterday.

Researchers at Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said a further one degree celsius rise in the global temperature could be critical to the planet, and there was already a threat of extreme weather resulting from El Niño.

The scientists said that in the 30 years to the end of 2005, temperatures increased at the rate of 0.2 degrees per decade, a rate they described as "remarkably rapid".

Disenchantment/Desencanto - Manuel Bandeira


I write these lines as one weeping,

Discouraged ... disenchanted ...

Close my book, if, for the moment

You have no reason for tears.

My poetry is blood. Consuming ecstasy ...

Scattered sadness ... vain remorse ...

My veins ache from it, bitter and hot,

Falling drop by drop from my heart.

And these verses hoarse with anguish

Burst like my life between parted lips.

Leaving a bitter taste in my mouth

--I write these lines as one dying.

found at World Literature Today

Boys to Men: Fear and assembling in the work of an unruly wanderer - by Alan Gilbert

For Lisa Robertson, writing has always been a collaborative endeavor—whether real or imagined. A Canadian author now living in France, Robertson already had a steadily growing poetry-world reputation before her collection Occasional Work and Seven Walks From the Office for Soft Architecture (a 2004 VLS favorite) introduced her writing to a wider audience. Gathering mostly short essays on art and urbanism, Occasional Work furthered Robertson's collaborative approach by culminating in a series of "walks" through the city of Vancouver taken with an unnamed guide resembling Virgil to Robertson's Dante. more...

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Buck Stops -- Where?: Living Without Ultimate Moral Responsibility - Galen Strawson, interviewed by Tamler Sommers, on getting free of free will

 Imagine for a moment that instead of Timothy McVeigh destroying the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, it had been a mouse.   Suppose this mouse got into the wiring of the electrical system, tangled the circuits, and caused a big fire killing all those inside.   Now think of the victims’ families.   There would of course still be tremendous grief and suffering, but there would be one significant difference.  There would no extra bit of resentment, no consuming anger, no hatred, no need to see the perpetrator punished (even if the mouse somehow got out of the building) in order to experience “closure.”   Why the difference?  Because McVeigh, we think, committed this terrible act out of his own free will.   He chose to do it, and he could have chosen not to.   McVeigh, then, is morally responsible for the death of the victims in a way that the mouse is not.  And our sense of justice demands that he pay for this crime. 

             There is an undeniable human tendency to see ourselves as free and morally responsible beings.  But there’s a problem.   We also believe—most of us anyhow—that  our environment and our heredity entirely shape our characters (what else could?).   But we aren’t responsible for our environment, and we aren’t responsible for our heredity.   So we aren’t responsible for our characters.   But then how can we be responsible for acts that arise from our characters?   
   There’s a simple but extremely unpopular answer to this question: we aren’t.    We are not and cannot be ultimately responsible for our behavior.   On this view, while it may be of great pragmatic value to hold people responsible for their actions, and to employ systems of reward and punishment, no one is really deserving of blame or praise for anything.  This answer has been around for over two thousand years, and it is backed by solid arguments with premises that are consistent with how most of us view the world.  Yet few today give this position the serious consideration it deserves.   The view that free will is a fiction is called counterintuitive, absurd, pessimistic, pernicious, and most commonly “unacceptable,” even by those who recognize the force of the arguments behind it.   Philosophers who reject God, an immaterial soul, even absolute morality, cannot bring themselves to do the same for the concept of free will—not just in their day to day lives, but in books and articles and extraordinarily complex theories.  more...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Guerrilla Girls interview

Q. How did the Guerrilla Girls start?

Kathe Kollwitz: In 1985, The Museum of Modern Art in New York opened an exhibition titled An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture. It was supposed to be an up-to-the minute summary of the most significant contemporary art in the world. Out of 169 artists, only 13 were women. All the artists were white, either from Europe or the US. That was bad enough, but the curator, Kynaston McShine, said any artist who wasn't in the show should rethink “his” career. And that really annoyed a lot of artists because obviously the guy was completely prejudiced. Women demonstrated in front of the museum with the usual placards and picket line. Some of us who attended were irritated that we didn't make any impression on passersby.
Meta Fuller: We began to ask ourselves some questions. Why did women and artists of color do better in the 1970's than in the 80's? Was there a backlash in the art world? Who was responsible? What could be done about it? more...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Rebel in the Mosque: Going Where I Know I Belong By Asra Q. Nomani

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- On the 11th day of the recent Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in a pre-dawn lit by the moon, my mother, my niece and I walked through the front doors of our local mosque with my father, my nephew and my infant son. My stomach churning, we ascended to a hall to pray together.

Islamic teaching forbids men and women praying directly next to each other in mosques. But most American mosques have gone well beyond that simple prohibition by importing a system of separate accommodations that provides women with wholly unequal services for prayer and education. And yet, excluding women ignores the rights the prophet Muhammad gave them in the 7th century and represents "innovations" that emerged after the prophet died. I had been wrestling with these injustices for some time when I finally decided to take a stand.

I had no intention of praying right next to the men, who were seated at the front of the cavernous hall. I just wanted a place in the main prayer space. As I sat with my mother, Sajida, and my niece, Safiyyah, about 20 feet behind the men, a loud voice broke the quiet. "Sister, please! Please leave!" one of the mosque's elders, a member of the mosque's board, yelled at me. "It is better for women upstairs." We women were expected to enter by a rear door and pray in the balcony. If we wanted to participate in any of the activities below us, we were supposed to give a note to one of the children, who would carry it to the men in the often near-empty hall. "I will close the mosque," he thundered. My nephew, Samir, stared at man in disbelief. I had no idea at that moment if he would make good on his threat. But I had no doubt that our act of disobedience would soon embroil the mosque, and my family, in controversy. Nevertheless, my mind was made up. more....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Drew Gardner from THE MEDITATIONS

ligare, a ceramic bowl, itself and what it holds 

this harsh of earth we move along in proportion 

to its difficulty, resistance either is 

or has to make, a staying mark away 

who we love, to dismember its one flowing 

by which a name is fault because 

we wilt and what is that, to experience 

a purity, flowers, what shelter differences 

a difference of mystery persists 

or do we protect it into syzygy? 

a bee hovers at the edge of the house

consequence of meaning, not of image 

or power, mora, pulsation in the gamut of 

attenuations, law does not hold it 

total uncertainty, which, within its lake 

is as impossible as measurement is, changes 

over as opposition does to antithesis, a view 

within a pause, to put her husband back together

HIGH ENERGY CONSTRUCTS presents "Many Happy Returns" - October 21 – November 25, 2006

A group show featuring works by:

Joe Brainard • Fran Herndon & Jack Spicer • George Schneeman & Anne Waldman • Anne Waldman & Ed Bowes • Jen Hofer & Deborah Stratman • David Larsen & Marc Bell • Jen Bervin • Jeff Karl Butler • Sabrina Calle • Andrew Choate • Marcus Civin • Zoe Crosher • kari edwards • Thomas Evans • Derek Fenner • Coryander Friend • Ryan Gallagher • Granary Books • Jack Greene • Doug Harvey • August Highland • Tanya Hollis • Jane Dalrymple-Hollo • Colter Jacobsen • Lisa Jarnot • Juliacks • Mary Kite • Joanne Kyger • Donal Mosher • Kevin Opstedal • Amy Robinson • Christopher Russell • David E. Stone • Mathew Timmons • Cat Tyc • Ugly Duckling Presse • Will Yackulic • John Yau

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 21, 2006, 6-9 pm Featuring a special store-front performance by Juliacks and Ben Bigelow

Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm

High Energy Constructs, Los Angeles, presents "Many Happy Returns" — a group exhibition that centers around the intersections of poetry/literature/language and the visual/media arts. The exhibition will run from October 21 – November 25, 2006, with an opening reception on Saturday, October 21, 2006, 6-9 pm, featuring a special store-front window performance by Juliacks, and music by Ben Bigelow, entitled: Maybell Explorer of the Overgrown Garden….

Evoking the field(s) of verbal and visual interplay in art since the 1960s, "Many Happy Returns" offers a vibrant look at collaborative relations, radical creations, and hermetic disciplines that have proven to reflect and affect social, political, and artistic currents via traditional and counter-traditional expressions – in continuation with the likes of William Blake, Walt Whitman, Dada, Fluxus, the Beat and New York School Generations.

Participants of this exhibition include celebrated poets and other influential figures in America's literary milieu, contemporary visual artists, filmmakers, bookmakers, printers, and other media artists. Via collage, video, painting, photography, installation, drawing, books, and other printed matter, the exhibition aims to bring together a unique array of individual and collective artworks that come out of literary communities. Named after Ted Berrigan's 1969 book-length poem, "Many Happy Returns" mixes today's bards and artists with the superceded ghosts of America's last avant-garde, in hopes of updating and highlighting the innovative collisions that take place between art and language.

Special thanks to Dodie Bellamy & Kevin Killian, Mary & Dave Kite, Anne Waldman, Gregory Lind Gallery, Matvei Yankelevich & Ugly Duckling Presse, Steve Clay & Granary Books, Micah Ballard & Lew Gallery, Blue Press Books, Lost Angel Press, and Bootstrap Productions.


HIGH ENERGY CONSTRUCTS is an exhibition and performance venue dedicated to the presentation of work by emerging and established visual artists, performers, filmmakers, writers, thinkers, and others who engage or make difficult given notions of form and/or genre.

For further information about "Many Happy Returns" please call:
or email:

990 North Hill Street, Suite 180
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Monday, September 25, 2006

11th hour insanity
11th hour intrusion
back on land
bleeding empire

details roughhewn
intermittent documentation
traversing through indoctrination
here among the morning trash

relative static
moving corpse
past traffic
checking what left
is ablaze

missing a sequence
missing drowning
in a longer read skip sample
web weave compound
anything place

how another lost day emerges
fighting fighting
missing outdoors land
search for any thread
anywhere not furnished
though I am not sure I can
with no desire
be anywhere

getting things displaced
in camp quarantine
whose name is
something national destiny
my own reclusive unreal
skin deep dream
deaf mute signs
in post world compost

Being and Seeming: the Technology of Representation by Richard Powers

If I had to name the preeminent art form of the pre-informational era, I would go with architecture. It is at once the most durable, representative, and comprehensive of our available artistic utterances. Buildings embody our most profound, ambitious, and capital-intensive attempts to overhaul the conditions of existence. More than any other aesthetic instrument, monuments stand metonymically for whole cultures and eras. Old chestnut definitions for the field attest to how it incorporates the expressive capabilities of the other arts. Cathedrals are the bible in stone. The exterior of a classical faade sounds as frozen music in the mind. Archaic spaces are said to open onto pure theater, infinity made imaginable. The architect Mulciber was one of the first to be cast out of heaven. Writers, painters, and musicians had to take a number and get in line behind him. And this demonic creators masterpiece, the city of Pandemonium, has stood the test of time, outlasting all other created works except, perhaps, the first. more....

Bush seeks immunity for violating War Crimes Act BY ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN

Thirty-two years ago, President Gerald Ford created a political firestorm by pardoning former President Richard Nixon of all crimes he may have committed in Watergate -- and lost his election as a result. Now, President Bush, to avoid a similar public outcry, is quietly trying to pardon himself of any crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of U.S. detainees.

The ''pardon'' is buried in Bush's proposed legislation to create a new kind of military tribunal for cases involving top al-Qaida operatives. The ''pardon'' provision has nothing to do with the tribunals. Instead, it guts the War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal law that makes it a crime, in some cases punishable by death, to mistreat detainees in violation of the Geneva Conventions and makes the new, weaker terms of the War Crimes Act retroactive to 9/11.more...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I have in another garbled speech like stripped tease renounced suicide and begun a kind of insomnia, an old habit telephone call that never comes just before dying, endlessly withdrawn to a pale madness opposite someone else's things.

and in a moment of incest pain, involuntarily surrounded by concentrical steps of forced televised confessions.

I begin in the face of you and you in me.

we stumble over a fallen annotation, dehumanized sidewalks implode from lack of public acknowledgment, for less than a living news paper generalized nothing takes place, no losses, just text identified as recyclable plumage.

CITY OF DEATH: The Battle for Baghdad By Bernhard Zand

From an altitude of 15,000 feet, it's just a pale patch on the landscape, a soft and amorphous silhouette, exposed on every flank. It has no protective features: no city wall, no shoreline, no hill from which a fortress might rise. Its edges peter out like the threads of a frayed rug, the sandy brown of houses merging seamlessly with the green of Mesopotamia's meadows. Falluja is visible to the west, Baqubah to the northeast.

Once the fertile fields surrounding Baghdad overflowed with melons, dates and grapes - a rich bounty for the city. Nowadays they ooze death onto the capital's streets. Terrorism and insurgency have taken root in the fields and palm groves between Abu Ghraib and Baghdad International Airport in the western part of the city. Even military pilots dare not approach normally, while civilian planes remain at cruising altitude before dipping into a last-minute descent towards the runway. Only a very narrow strip of airspace is considered secure.

Under not news to the rest of the world -Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Trepan Call for Submissions

Mindlessfullness | Trepan 6 ( )
According to linguistics, language is material. Words are things made of sound and a poem is a machine made out of words. To write is to knead language into a shape, much like laying out dough and waiting for it to rise. These poems, these machines are not necessarily made to spit out ideas and meaning simply because someone's eye is running across a page or a screen. And would it be so bad to remark after having read something, "This object was not made by an artist, but by a machine, by a process"?
This is a call to open the cultural database, let everyone use the technology of textual production to its maximum potential, whether it be the technology inscribed on silicon or the kind that can be implemented on paper, or whether the results are intended for the age-old tecnology of the printed page or for the somehwat newer, screen. Rather than being led by sequences of signs, instead drift through them. This is the project of unchaining the codes—not the subject anymore—so that something will burst out, will escape; words beneath words. Another kind of word is born and the language you are breathing becomes the language you think… these are not mere metaphors but a call for new procedures of writing.
This writing turns in on itself, sacrifices itself, in order to establish a space of possibility beyond itself, to make as visible as possible the limits & norms & operations of the machinery, to appropriate the machinery of discourse in order to put it to other as yet forbidden or unimagined uses, and in the end hopefully to show the possibilities of sense & meaning being constructed; to foreground the limits of the possible—& our possible lives; to create impossibility.
After Trepan's last issue, "Monstrous." we turn to investigate the life of the mind in Trepan 6, "Mindlessfullness." The processes we create, the tools we use and their products have the ability to express the predilection for the mind in art, possibly more perfectly than writing that comes straight from inspiration, straight from the mind to the page. Language itself is surely a technology insofar as it is a tool made by people; our tools and technologies are not dumb and lifeless externalities that we pick up at need to do a job; instead, they often are truly extensions of ourselves: extensions of our minds and feelings and imaginations.
Mindlessfullness will exhibit the writer in repose. After creating an unspeakably complex or diabolically simple process the writer has the ability to release his/her mind and allow their machine to work like a trepan burrowing into our brains to see what we have there. Just as this call for work is itself a machinic work of plaigiarism.
Trepan cultivates mutation in forms and styles of reading and writing, discarding traditional barriers between genres and forms, seeking out unexpected openings, and creating them where necessary.
Trepan was founded and edited by the MFA students of the CalArts Writing Program, who published the first four volumes. Trepan is now produced by Superbunker ( ) as an independent journal focusing on experimental and hybrid arts. Each volume will have a unique theme and editorial staff, managed by series editor Jason Brown, Trepan 5 and Trepan 6 guest edited by Mathew Timmons. Send submissions by Jan 1, 2007 to

SD women's writing anthology in progress: call for submission

Wanted: Women writers using language, subject matter, and narrative form in new and exciting ways. Editors for an anthology featuring experimental women writers writing in the 21st century seek submissions of previously unpublished prose up to 15 pages. We are looking for serious work that attempts to reveal new truths and/or impressions about the world we live in. Submissions must be sent as WORD attachments to . Deadline: November 15.


You are not the kind of person to take up a crusade, you are famously allergic to them, but you are now the moving spirit behind the recent campaign to remove Section 377 of the IPC. Why do you feel this is so important?

I am certainly not allergic to causes—particularly on subjects such as religious intolerance. I have spoken out pretty clearly and freely about that, and also about certain events such as Tiananmen and the Iraq war and so on. But on the whole, you are quite right, I tend to put my views forward more through my writing than by taking up causes. In this particular case, the initial credit should go to Siddharth Dube who is the chap who actually drafted the letter—I only made a few minor corrections, although I am one of the main co-signatories.

You should also look at Amartya Sen's noble and forthright letter. I do believe in important causes and while I am quite happy to be considered a moving spirit of this cause, the credit goes at least as much elsewhere.

There have been about nine convictions in the 125 years since this section was included in the IPC. Why then is it so important to remove it?

For several reasons. First, because it is used as a source of harassment of people. We do know of cases that took place in Lucknow and elsewhere. And we do know that people are harassed by the police for this sort of thing. As Amartya Sen points out in his letter, gay behaviour is of course much more widespread than the cases that are brought to trial:
"What has to be borne in mind is that whenever any behaviour is identified as a penalisable crime, it gives the police and other law-enforcement officers huge powers to harass and victimise some people. The harm done by an unjust law like this can therefore be far larger than would be indicated by cases of actual prosecution."
And that's only one reason.

The other reason is that a law like this casts a shadow of illegality on the personal lives of a whole lot of people. They can't live openly and with dignity. Because even their families and well-wishers tend to use the existence of the law to justify their prejudices. As Siddharth says in the International Herald Tribune:

"It doesn't take prosecution in a law court to make people terrified. As a gay Indian one always feels like an outsider, ostracised. I felt like a criminal all the time."

That's the crucial point.

Did this law affect you in a similar way? Did it have a personal effect on your own life?

Yes. For instance, when my mother was a lawyer and later when she became a judge, I enjoyed browsing around in her law books. When I was quite young, I came across Section 377 which was in fact written in very odd Victorian phrasing about carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman and so on. And as I read the description of what this section actually meant, I realised it even included, if you can believe it, oral sex between a husband and wife. A crazy law like this has no place on our books. And of course a law that is selectively used is in one aspect even worse than a law that is generally used because it puts a lot of power in individuals' hands and makes government a rule not of laws but of people.
Now you ask me whether this directly affected me. Yes. When I realised that I had feelings for men as well as women, at first I was worried and frightened, and there was a certain amount of Who am I? Am I a criminal? and so on. It took me a long time to come to terms with myself.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Introduction to Fear by Brian Massumi

"We" are all survivors. "People like us." "We" have all fallen. Perhaps not from a cliff or a plane, but at least down the stairs. That can be fatal, too. We "ordinary people" confront our polar bears in the neighbor's pit bull. Our North Pole is the nearest mall. With "parking-lot crime" at "epidemic" proportions "we" might just as well make a polar expedition as hazard a run from the car to the store after sundown. "We" have all heard about the cabbie shot for small change. Even the office is a danger zone, with stress ailments a leading white-collar killer. And don't the papers say that work-related accidents are on the rise? "Ordinary people like us" all experience something extraordinary at one time or another. Some, in fact, do not survive. Did I say some?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The American Criminalization of Poverty by Dave Oehl

What do you get when you cross a booming national economy with homelessness? Fewer homeless people, right? Wrong. What you get, apparently, is not only greater homelessness, but also enactment, and greater enforcement, of laws and policies that criminalize poverty and homelessness. It is important to examine such public policy as a means of social control, instead of social change or improvement. more...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Theory as politics - SHELLEY WALIA

An engaging, participatory involvement with theory can make a difference in society.

A formidable history stares us in the face; worlds in collision necessitate the upsurge of `an absolute truth'.

TO be or not to be a theory specialist. That is the principle concern of a world ridden by problems of subjectivity, of degradation of human labour and an ever-growing chasm between the elite and the poor. One wonders if one can really reject the schools of post-structuralism or, for that matter, any of the "postist" ways of looking at the world, Western or the Third World. The rejection of totalisation, of objectivity, of the singular power of master narratives, has at least lent an impetus to students of cultural theory to face up to the problematic nature of geographical space, of capitalist strategies of hegemony and of the deconstruction of the human subject, not forgetting the underlying concepts of slippage or absence that enables a reader to grasp the importance of what remains unsaid more than what is said. Emancipatory politics, combined with the rejection of the notion of the "centre, origin or the end" initiated a revolutionary fervour in the minds of the students of cultural studies. But what seemed to be steeped in radical critique gave way to political apathy. The spark of theory slowly died out, only to be rekindled by those who saw the reality of a civilisation literally under fire and where the conspicuous return of the repressed demanded the politics of recognition. more...

King of Pain By Paul Krugman

  We know that the world would see this action as a U.S. repudiation of the rules that bind civilized nations. We also know that an extraordinary lineup of former military and intelligence leaders, including Colin Powell, have spoken out against the Bush plan, warning that it would further damage America's faltering moral standing, and end up endangering U.S. troops.

    But I haven't seen much discussion of the underlying question: why is Mr. Bush so determined to engage in torture? more...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Paradise Lost: Greed, Sex Slavery, Forced Abortions and Right-Wing Moralists by Rebecca Clarren

The whir of hundreds of sewing machines reverberates in the thick, dusty air at the RIFU garment factory. Inside this large warehouse, behind a guarded metal fence, 300 employees—most of them Chinese women—cut, sew, iron and fold blouses with such efficiency and focus that they seem like machinery themselves. From piles of orange and pink fabric, the workers will produce over 15,000 garments today for J. Jill, Elie Tahari and Ann Taylor. These name brand companies don’t own the factory; like Liz Claiborne, The Gap, Ralph Lauren and others, they subcontract production to factories like this, scattered around the tiny Micronesian island of Saipan.

Counters above the sewing machines indicate how many pieces the women have completed. According to workers, if they can’t finish a set quota of garments in a day, they may have to stay later and work for free, or they won’t be eligible for future overtime opportunities—which they desperately need.

Coming from rural villages and the big city slums of poor Asian countries, these garment workers began their sojourn in the Marianas with a huge financial deficit, having paid recruiters as much as $7,000 to obtain a one-year contract job (renewable at the employer’s discretion). Many of them borrow the money—a small fortune in China, where most are recruited—from lenders who charge as much as 20 percent interest. more...

found atmsmagazine

Monday, September 18, 2006

9/11 Poems from Raw Silk by Meena Alexande

1. Aftermath

There is an uncommon light in the sky

Pale petals are scored into stone.

I want to write of the linden tree

That stoops at the edge of the river

But its leaves are filled with insects

With wings the color of dry blood.

At the far side of the river Hudson

By the southern tip of our island

A mountain soars, a torrent of sentences

Syllables of flame stitch the rubble

An eye, a lip, a cut hand blooms

Sweet and bitter smoke stains the sky

Meena Alexander was born in Allahabad and divided her childhood between India and the Sudan. From her cross-cultural perspective, Alexander writes in, Raw Silk, Triquarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press, with moving intensity of post September 11 events as she evokes violence, and civil strife, love, despair, and a hard-won hope. This autobiographical cycle of poems reflects the surrealism of such a life and is shot through with the frissons of pleasure and pain, of beauty and tension that mark a truly global existence. Meena Alexander is the author of several books of poetry. Illiterate Heart, also from Triquarterly Books, won the 2002 PEN Open Book Award. Her memoir Fault Lines, chosen as a Best Book of 1993 by Publishers Weekly-- was recently reissued by the Feminist Press at The City University of New York, in a post 9/11 edition, with a new chapter entitled "Lyric in a Time of Violence." She lives in New York City where she is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Centerer of the University of New York.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Modern Successor to the Slave Trade By Desmond Tutu

No longer should the peace business be undermined by the arms business.

    For many years, I've been involved in the peace business, doing what I can to help people overcome their differences. In doing so, I've also learnt a lot about the business of war: the arms trade. In my opinion it is the modern slave trade. It is an industry out of control: every day more than 1,000 people are killed by conventional weapons. The vast majority of those people are innocent men, women and children.
   There have been international treaties to control the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons for decades. Yet, despite the mounting death toll, there is still no treaty governing sales of all conventional weapons from handguns to attack helicopters. As a result, weapons fall into the wrong hands all too easily, fuelling human rights abuses, prolonging wars and digging countries deeper into poverty.

    This is allowed to continue because of the complicity of governments, especially rich countries' governments, which turn a blind eye to the appalling human suffering associated with the proliferation of weapons.

    Every year, small arms alone kill more people than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together. Many more people are injured, terrorised or driven from their homes by armed violence. Even as you read this, one of these human tragedies is unfolding somewhere on the planet.more..

Friday, September 15, 2006

Susan Sontag's journals, notebooks and jottings

There is often a contradiction between the meaning of our actions toward a person and what we say we feel toward that person in a journal. But this does not mean that what we do is shallow, and only what we confess to ourselves is deep. Confessions, I mean sincere confessions of course, can be more shallow than actions. I am thinking now of what I read today in H's journal about me - that curt, unfair, uncharitable assessment of me which concludes by her saying that she really doesn't like me but my passion for her is acceptable and opportune. God knows it hurts, and I feel indignant and humiliated. We rarely do know what people think of us (or, rather, think they think of us) . . . Do I feel guilty about reading what was not intended for my eyes? No. One of the main (social) functions of a journal or diary is precisely to be read furtively by other people, the people (like parents + lovers) about whom one has been cruelly honest only in the journal. Will H ever read this? more...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Worldwide Class Struggle by Vincent Navarro

Neoliberalism as a Class Practice

A trademark of our times is the dominance of neoliberalism in the major economic, political, and social forums of the developed capitalist countries and in the international agencies they influence—including the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and the technical agencies of the United Nations such as the World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization, and UNICEF. Starting in the United States during the Carter administration, neoliberalism expanded its influence through the Reagan administration and, in the United Kingdom, the Thatcher administration, to become an international ideology. Neoliberalism holds to a theory (though not necessarily a practice) that posits the following:

1. The state (or what is wrongly referred to in popular parlance as “the government”) needs to reduce its interventionism in economic and social activities.

2. Labor and financial markets should be deregulated in order to liberate the enormous creative energy of the markets.

3. Commerce and investments should be stimulated by eliminating borders and barriers to allow for full mobility of labor, capital, goods, and services.

Following these three tenets, according to neoliberal authors, we have seen that the worldwide implementation of these practices has led to the development of a “new” process: a globalization of economic activity that has generated a period of enormous economic growth worldwide, associated with a new era of social progress. For the first time in history, we are told, we are witnessing a worldwide economy, in which states are losing power and are being replaced by a worldwide market centered in multinational corporations, which are the main units of economic activity in the world today. more..

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Drunken Boat #8: 2006 Edition

Drunken Boat, Issue#8
Featuring over 125 contributors of new poetry, prose, photography, video, web art, and sound.

Special Features:
Canadian Strange
Drunken Boat Panliterary Award Winners and Finalists

The Mathematical Society of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We by Peter Amstutz

In mathematics, the integral represents the area under a curve. The indefinite integral of a function is another function which can be used to calculate this area. Mathematically, indefinite integrals are curious: for many functions cannot be integrated exactly, only approximated by discrete methods. Integrals can only be used for functions whose domain is rational numbers; ironically, if one wishes to integrate a discrete function whose domain is integers, the integral will only be an approximation. Keeping this odd duality in mind -- the relation of the indefinite rational to definite integer -- we turn to the interplay of Mathematics and Society in Zamyatin's We. more...

Monday, September 11, 2006

What is "it?" by Tim Ochser

Ever since Nike exhorted us to "Just do it!", the pronoun has been the vessel for a whole range of cultural suggestions. Tim Ochser finds that "It" is not all that it seems.

McDonald's launched its "I'm lovin' it" slogan in 2003 as part of its first ever global advertising campaign. Today, the words are still plastered on billboards all around the world. The lower-case, calculatedly colloquial message needs little interpretation: You are happy. Times are good. Now eat.

But this is not about McDonald's. It's about the "it" they invoke in the name of their product. It's an attempt to understand just what "it" really is.

"It" was first elevated to the status of a noun-in-itself through US sports-shoes manufacturer Nike's extraordinarily successful advertising campaign urging people to "Just Do It. more...

On 9/11, New Yorkers faced the fire in the minds of men

Hollywood's attempts to mark the 2001 attacks ignore their political context and the return to history they symbolise

Slavoj Zizek
Monday September 11, 2006
The Guardian

Two Hollywood films mark 9/11's fifth anniversary: Paul Greengrass's United 93 and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. Both adopt a terse, realistic depiction of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. There is undoubtedly a touch of authenticity to them and most critics have praised their sober styles and avoidance of sensationalism. But it is the touch of authenticity that raises some disturbing questions.

The realism means that both films are restrained from taking a political stance and depicting the wider context of the events. Neither the passengers on United 93 nor the policemen in WTC grasp the full picture. All of a sudden they find themselves in a terrifying situation and have to make the best out of it. more..

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dirty Secrets of the War on Terror By Margaret Satterthwaite

The men describe a Kafkaesque nightmare of secret transfer followed by torture at the hands of a foreign government or detention in secret prisons. They are not survivors of Latin America's "Dirty War," but of the United States' shadowy anti-terrorism tactics.

When Maher Arar arrived at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City on Sept. 26, 2002, he had no idea his life was about to be radically changed. Arar, a 31-year-old computer consultant and Canadian citizen, was en route from Zurich to Montreal to attend to business following a family vacation in Tunisia, according to a lawsuit he filed against U.S. officials in 2004. He was standing in line waiting to pass immigration inspection when an immigration officer asked him to step aside to answer some questions.

As FBI agents, immigration officials and NYPD officers questioned Arar, he asked to consult an attorney. U.S. officials told Arar that only U.S. citizens had the right to a lawyer and locked him up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City, where he endured more interrogation about his friends, the mosques he attended, his letters and e-mails. U.S. officials then demanded that he "voluntarily" agree to be sent to Syria, where he was born, instead of home to Canada (Arar holds dual citizenship). Arar refused, according to Amnesty International, explaining that he was afraid he would be tortured in Syria for not completing his military service. After more than a week in detention, U.S. authorities determined that Arar was "inadmissible" to the United States based on secret evidence and notified him that he would be deported to Syria. more...

Empires with Expiration Date By Niall Ferguson

Empires drive history. But the empires of the past 100 years were short lived, none surviving to see the dawn of the new century. Today, there are no empires, at least not officially. But that could soon change if the United States—or even China—embraces its imperial destiny. How can they avoid the fate of those who came before them?

Empires, more than nation-states, are the principal actors in the history of world events. Much of what we call history consists of the deeds of the 50 to 70 empires that once ruled multiple peoples across large chunks of the globe. Yet, as time has passed, the life span of empires has tended to decline. Compared with their ancient and early modern predecessors, the empires of the last century were remarkably short lived. This phenomenon of reduced imperial life expectancy has profound implications for our own time.

Officially, there are no empires now, only 190-plus nation-states. Yet the ghosts of empires past continue to stalk the Earth. Regional conflicts from Central Africa to the Middle East, and from Central America to the Far East, are easily—and often glibly—explained in terms of earlier imperial sins: an arbitrary border here, a strategy of divide-and-rule there. more..

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ghosts by Sapphire

There are thirteen windows in this room.

I see the tops of trees and sky, my parents

run thru my mind; my father

scurrying like a mouse. My mother is sitting. Why have I come

here, and what do their ghosts

want with me. I know I’m not writing poetry

but trying to build a bridge back to poetry.

I will go home to a hot stuffy room.

I have lived with their ghosts.

The black haired mother, her parents

on her back. We had, all but one, come

to bury her twelve years ago. My father

died at seventy-five, a stroke, my father

myself? Or me, myself—where is poetry,

the feeling I used to have, will it come

in the middle of exercises? Finally I have a room

with windows. Finally my parents

are dead, are ghosts.

How they beat me, left me, laughed at me, are ghosts.

I see him frozen, hurrying, in a picture, my father.

I seldom saw my parents

together. My mother never mentioned my father’s poetry.

I found it after he died. I was in his room

before his funeral. I had come more...

Biography Sapphire

Found at Lyrikline

Magdalena Zurawski & CAConrad

Friday, September 22, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at Small Press Traffic, SF, CA.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lisa Robertson - "I think that now America needs better pornography."

I think that now America needs better pornography. This idea has been influenced by my early-summer romance with Pauline Reage and The Story of O. Living in France, reading in French, coming across the plain yellow paper volume in a used book shop in the next town, having an ongoing need to build for myself a history of how women have thought, so that I might have a sense gradually of what thinking will be for me in my life, what thinking could become—this is an abbreviated background for my immersion in a text whose anarchism is as sustained, feral and relentless as it is elegantly poised. I think this is the magic formula of O. Each limit or expectation one could have regarding the relation of the subject to desire, to power, to sex, to identity, is systematically obliterated, but this happens in a language whose stylistic achievement is so restrained, so balanced, so modest , that the reader has the feeling she is participating, with sublime effortlessness, in a masque. The only obscenity is the reader’s repeated need to stop and build a moral defense against her own immersion in the imaginary, her own identification with a punitive sadism. Yet L’Histoire d’O is really the first book I’ve read in French nearly effortlessly, voraciously, fast, with full-on admiration. This complex tension, between the sinuous ease of the text as a styled object, the questions it allegorizes—around the relation between embodied will and desire and thus the political—and the reader’s suspension between a received moral hygiene of gender and a freefall into a fantastical extreme—this confused yet poised tension says things about thinking itself as a open form of sustained erotic anarchy.more..

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ice core evidence of human impact on CO2 in air

NORWICH (Reuters) - Air from the oldest ice core confirms human activity has increased the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere to levels not seen for hundreds of thousands of years, scientists said on Monday.

Bubbles of air in the 800,000-year-old ice, drilled in the Antarctic, show levels of CO2 changing with the climate. But the present levels are out of the previous range.

"It is from air bubbles that we know for sure that carbon dioxide has increased by about 35 percent in the last 200 years," said Dr Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey and the leader of the science team for the 10-nation European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica.

"Before the last 200 years, which man has been influencing, it was pretty steady," he added.

The natural level of CO2 over most of the past 800,000 years has been 180-300 parts per million by volume (ppmv) of air. But today it is at 380 ppmv.

Guy Davenport, 1927-2005 - "Let the Song Lie in the Thing"


—The arms with the sword rose up as if newly stretched aloft, and round the figure blew the free winds of heaven.

—Give me a sentence which no intelligence can understand.

—There died yesterday, after a prolonged adolescence…

—A clown, perhaps, but an aspiring clown.

—Our salvation is death, but not this one.

—Can you recollect missing him.

—We are alien from everything that was most familiar.

—Include me out.

—Here is plenty of space.

—When we clasp our hands, our right thumbs and fingers should be above our left, as uniformity is comely.

—veracious page on page, exact

—You have a neat and attractive handwriting.

—O. is the easiest letter to write.

—That’s what poetry should look like on the page!

—love to lay a good foundation in the line of outward things

—No force however great can stretch a thread however fine into a horizontal line that is absolutely straight.

—Regard the bent wings, Tatlin says. more...

Found at N+1

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

There's No Such Thing As Eco-Tourism By Anneli Rufus

Tourism in the post-9/11, post-colonial era remains a minefield of moral issues -- and living as a sin-free travel writer is damn near impossible.

Colonialism isn't dead.

Colonialism is alive and well every time you travel from the First World to the Third and come home bearing photographs of sharks and storms and slums, of scorpions fried for snacks, sunflowers bigger than your head, stalled buses whose aisles are slick with spit, and then you tell your friends and co-workers, "Oh man, it was so great, you gotta go."

We call it ecotourism and adventure travel. That sounds sensitive. We think Ugly Americans are the fat ones on cruises and on package tours -- anyone but us. We think we're different because we don't have a stars-and-stripes patch on our backpacks as -- buckle your seatbelt -- this summer's travel boom defies the presence of not one but several wars around the world right now which may or may not become a world war. This is the busiest summer on record for air travel, according to USA Today, with 207 million Americans expected to board U.S. planes for domestic and international flights, up from last summer's 205 million.

El Salvador has enjoyed a 20 percent jump in its number of visitors for each of the past two years. Colombia is up 18 percent. Record numbers are arriving in Cuba. When the Philippines' Mount Mayon started spewing lava and car-sized boulders in mid-July, the government evacuated locals, but tourists arrived in droves. Hotels were packed. Real travelers mock the drones who flock to Rennes-le-Chateau in France because they adored "The Da Vinci Code," or to Botswana because a Scotsman writes bestselling mysteries set there, or to Namibia because of Brad and Angelina, or to Vietnam for sex. more...

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Nines by Christian Peet

Check out on Palm Press The Nines
by Christian Peet (here , here , and here ).

this is what Chris says about his new book

Begun in response to Words of Mass Deception used to justify the US occupation of Iraq, THE NINES are prose poems/essays derived from appropriated critical, scientific, and instructional texts (dealing with linguistics, Monet, breakdancing, and swine, among other topics). An act of resistance against narrative’s still-popular stranglehold on meaning-making, an indictment of the privileging of the intellect over the senses, THE NINES parody the systems that would have us measure “knowledge and skills such as comprehension, vocabulary . . . geometry, physics, social deconstruction, and the Mayan calendar—only to discover the answer is B) Rod McKuen and Mary Oliver.”
Hand sewn, 36 pages. $10.00 ISBN 0-9743181-6-7

THE CONCEPT OF ANXIETY - Søren Kierkegaard

The notion that every scientific problem within the great field embraced by science has its definite place, its measure and its bounds, and precisely thereby has its resonance in the whole, its legitimate consonance in what the whole expresses this notion, I say, is not merely a pium desiderium which ennobles the man of science by the visionary enthusiasm or melancholy which it begets, is not merely a sacred duty which employs him in the service of the whole, bidding him renounce lawlessness and the romantic lust to lose sight of land, but it is also in the interest of every more highly specialised deliberation, which by forgetting where its home properly is, forgets at the same time itself, a thought which the very language I use with its striking ambiguity expresses; it becomes another thing, and attains a dubious perfectibility by being able to become anything at all. By thus failing to let the scientific call to order be heard, by not being vigilant to forbid the individual problems to hurry by one another as though it were a question of arriving first at the masquerade, one may indeed attain sometimes an appearance of brilliancy, may give sometimes the impression of having already comprehended, when in fact one is far from it, may sometimes by the use of vague words strike up an agreement between things that differ. This gain, however, avenges itself subsequently, like all unlawful acquisitions, which neither in civic life nor in the field of science can really be owned. more...

Turkey to Prosecute Publishers of Noam Chomsky's Book

The Chief Public Prosecution Office has decided to prosecute two publishers for publishing a book renowned American intellectual, Noam Chomsky, accusing them of degrading the Turkish identity and the Turkish Republic.

The office prepared an indictment against the two publishing house that released the book written by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman titled "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media."

The indictment claimed that certain extracts from the book degrades the Turkish identity and the Turkish Republic, and fuels hatred and discrimination among the people.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Psychiatry by Prescription by Ashley Pettus

Do psychotropic drugs blur the boundaries between illness and health?

By the time he reached his early thirties, James was a promising scientist who had all the makings of an academic star. He had earned a stream of fellowships and was on the path to tenure at one of Boston’s preeminent universities. But James had a problem: he dreaded speaking in public. Academic conferences terrified him, so he avoided them whenever possible. He rarely interacted with colleagues. As a result, his ideas didn’t circulate and his career stalled.

In frustration, James sought help from a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with a mental disorder known as “social phobia” and prescribed a well-known antidepressant effective in the treatment of extreme inhibition. The medication alleviated his severe anxiety and enabled him to do the things he previously couldn’t do. His work gained public recognition, and he has subsequently risen to the top of his profession.

In recent years, James’s story has become increasingly common. Using an ever-expanding arsenal of neurochemical drugs, physicians now treat variants of mood and temperament that previous generations viewed as an inescapable part of life. In an earlier era, James’s fears might have forced him to change professions. Today, the exceptionally shy and the overly anxious, the hyperactive and the chronically unhappy can seek relief from their suffering though medical intervention. And the parameters of what constitutes a “mental disorder” have swelled. An estimated 22 million Americans currently take psychotropic medications—most for relatively mild conditions. more...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Leaps of Consciousness by Gloria Steinem

I don’t know where that first came from, but it appeared on handmade signs all over the city, and it is in all of our hearts still. I’m proud of that. I’m ashamed of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, who have turned it into revenge and fear. The other cry from us at the time was why are we so hated. Remember? Why don’t they understand that they are making us more hated? They are increasing the likelihood of violence in the world, not decreasing it. But we are going to get rid of them. It’s no accident that all the posters say that women on their own — have you been reading all the surveys — are the key to this election. Because if women on their own had voted in the same proportion as married women, we would have been in an entirely different place in the last election. It is a question of whether or not we go to the polls. And I’m so proud of this conference for having voter registration right here in this room. And I want to thank Sobonfu Some, whom I haven’t met before today. But whose work was the source of a leap of consciousness — that’s supposed to be my theme today — new leaps of consciousness today for me — because it explained to me the difference between ceremony and ritual. more...

found at

Plan gains to publicly identify accused

Friday, September 01, 2006

Naguib Mahfouz, Chronicler of Arab Life, Dies at 94

Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian playwright and screenwriter who won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature and was widely regarded as the Arab world’s foremost novelist, died today, Reuters and The Associated Press reported. He was 94.

Mr. Mahfouz had been hospitalized and in declining health since suffering a head injury in a fall at his home in July, the agencies reported, citing Dr. Hossam Mowafi, who supervised Mr. Mahfouz’s treatment and who announced his death. more...

The Arabic Renaissance and the Rise of the Egyptian Novel Naguib Mahfouz

Arabic literature can be traced back almost two thousand years. Poetry has always been its most prominent genre, but there is also an ancient tradition of narrative that expresses itself in a wealth of different oral forms. In Egypt, the collection of stories called The Arabian Nights, a series of tales of Indian, Iranian, and Iraqi origin, was brought to its final and most developed form. This coincided with an ancient Egyptian tradition of storytelling which has remained vivid and alive to this day, the public storyteller having been a cultural institution for ages.

The birth of the Egyptian novel, however, could not take place until the modern era, when five preconditions had been fulfilled: 1) the influence of European literature, where the novel developed into a major genre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; 2) the establishment of Egyptian printing works and pressrooms in the nineteenth century along with the rise of newspaper production; 3) public education and the spread of literacy; 4) a gradual liberation from oppression by foreign powers, starting with the reign of Muhammad Ali in the aftermath of the Napoleonic occupation in the early 1800s; and 5) the emergence of an intellectual class with broad international learning. more..

Lie by Lie: Chronicle of a War Foretold: August 1990 to March 2003

The first drafts of history are fragmentary. Important revelations arrive late, and out of order. In this timeline, we’ve assembled the history of the Iraq War to create a resource we hope will help resolve open questions of the Bush era. What did our leaders know and when did they know it? And, perhaps just as important, what red flags did we miss, and how could we have missed them? This is the first installment in our Iraq War timeline project. more...

Found at