11 February 2011

Spinning Plates

Filed under: Fiction, Reflections — ktismatics @ 1:54 pm

Once when I was a kid my parents took me to the circus. I remember two things about it. The encounter with the scary clown of course was one. The other was the plate-spinner. Maybe eight sticks are impaled in the ground; on the table is a stack of plates. The performer picks a plate off the top of the stack, centers it on the point of the first stick, and starts it spinning. While that one spins he picks up another plate, balances it atop the second stick, and spins it. Quickly the guy goes back and gives the first plate another spin. And so on, stick by stick, plate by plate, until every stick is topped by a spinning plate. Applause.

Except this particular plate-spinner, on this particular day at the circus, was having a miserable time of it. By the time he got a plate spinning on, say, stick number six, the plate on stick three would wobble and fall, crashing to the hard floor and shattering. One by one, over and over, the plates kept breaking. My parents and I were sitting in the front row so we could see the effort and the exasperation on the plate-spinner’s red and sweating face. I felt bad for the guy. My father didn’t. The first plate fell and my father grinned; with the second he chuckled. As the act turned catastrophic, the sound of each newly-shattered plate was accompanied by another outburst of my father’s raucous laughter. Seated so close to the performer I could see the humiliation, the rage, the fear that he would never get all of those plates spinning at once, would never stop the cascade of crashing china and the violent onslaught of my father’s laughter.  I was humiliated, both for the plate-spinner and for myself.

I’m about halfway through writing a novel that might turn out to be the first in a series. The novel’s structure follows a sort of soap-opera format, in which several separate but interrelated stories are developed simultaneously, alternating from one story line to another to another. In the first part of the novel I introduce one main story line and hint at a second. In the second part I advance the first story incrementally while I get the second story going. In the novel’s third part a third story line kicks in while the other two stories move forward a bit farther. Describing to a friend the process of writing this way, I likened it to someone sitting in front of a control console pushing a row of levers forward, each one a little bit at a time. Now I’m thinking it might be more like spinning plates.



  1. in my ex-animation professor’s movie VARIETY (short-listed for Oscars in 09), a guy spins his entire family on plates, trying to switch between all the various tasks life brings on as you get older. he finally drops dead from exhaustion, … there is unfortunately no link to the whole movie, which was great


    Comment by parody center — 11 February 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    • A good movie premise. I can juggle 3 items (not 4) and I used to be able to ride a unicycle, but I never succeeded in doing both at the same time. My cousin (father’s brother’s daughter) ran away from home at age 15 to join a traveling carnival. Now she’s a nurse living in Portland Oregon.


      Comment by ktismatics — 11 February 2011 @ 10:44 pm

      • Actually the premise about your cousin who ran away to the circus sounds intriguing. What made her join the circus? What made her go back to nursing? Maybe you could use it for your own story.


        Comment by parody center — 12 February 2011 @ 4:40 am

      • It sounds sort of like Porno Gang, doesn’t it? I don’t really know the details of my cousin’s story, nor do I know her very well. Her father and mine weren’t close while I was growing up, talking by phone at most once a year. About ten years ago they reconnected with each other. When my father remarried after my mother died, his brother George actually moved from Massachusetts into my father’s condo in Florida. George got very sick about three years ago, and his daughter the nurse moved down to Florida to take care of him for the last months of his life. For decades George was a newsman on a radio station in Wichita Kansas. George was a thin man with a red goatee, which back in the early sixties gave him rather a beatnik aspect. He tended to mutter under his breath and to whistle to himself — presumably he saved his radio voice for the radio. I remember his second wife “Vee” as a tall fat woman with a huge black beehive hairdo, high arched penciled-in eyebrows, and extreme blue eyeshadow. George and Vee make a cameo appearance in my story.


        Comment by ktismatics — 12 February 2011 @ 7:46 am

  2. John, I totally sympathize with you AND your father. I mentioned the way this beautiful Piano Teacher Diva got me to use dubious technical means in the Tchaikovsky 2nd Piano Concerto to disastrous (and totally unnecessary) effect. I spent years punishing her for taking advantage of my youth that way. It was quite embarassing, because the passage she made me fuck up is not even difficult! And the judges actually laughed. Now THIS was embarassing, except one guy knew what was up and called it a ‘gallant performance’. The bitch never apologized, but quietly retracted that ‘technique’ (which was purportedly to get more sound, but ended up amusing the public with an outrageous spectacle–NOW I love it, but it took a long time), and told me ‘just do it the way I tell you to!’ So fucking delusional that, as recently as 2002, she ended up screwing up her New York career and had to move back to her home city of Dallas–and invited me down. TO TAKE PIANO LESSONS WITH HER! Christ Jesus, I think everybody is fucking crazy. Needless to say, I’ve never spoken to her again, she even included in the offer ‘we might be able to put you up overnight’ (she and her completely deranged Oedipally destroyed and disgusting son–I quite often wondered if they might actually be doing Jocasta-fucking).

    But there was another piano situation much earlier, I was probably only about 11 and was playing these hymns at this horrible youth fellowship thing at church. For some reason, I kept fucking up and hitting wrong notes, and these were very easy little nothings, and had been for some time. I’ve never quite figured out what got in to me that night, but there were these two boys, just naughty as could be, that would burst out laughing every time I made a mistake, and the memory of their naughty laughter gives me enormous pleasure to this day. It is one of my most treasured experiences, because for one thing, they were both basically redneck and knew nothing about music, so may have been picking up on body language and expressions of frustration of something–but it was like we were communicating through my mistakes in these very simple hymns. And I remember the ‘concern leader woman’ telling them to please stop laughing, that ‘he does real well’. The whole memory so hilarious that I understand your father completely, and see why he couldn’t stop laughing cruelly.

    I’ve always done hilarious numbers accidentally. Once, in 3rd Grade, I was standing in front of the class and reading from this beautiful storybook of my own, and I really needed to piss–and finally I DID! And I RAN out into the hall to try to get to the bathroom, but once out there said ‘It’s too late’, and walked back in, the whole classrom ful of uncontrollably laughing children. I remember one girl in particular, she was Lebanese and got enormous pleasure from it. As I right this, I am remembering her, and laughing so hard at this I’m crying. It was a BEAUTIFUL performance, and I think when I first started pissing, I grabbed myself and screamed ‘OH, NO!’ Oh my god, I gave these kids a much better entertainment than the story I was reading. On the other hand, I do remember that volume, it was called ‘The Road to Storyland’, and it was a big, beautiful, expensive volume that I prized highly, and although I have most of my children’s books (one even older), THAT one was eaten by termites when they got into our old house, unbeknownst to us for some time.

    And then I’ve been on the other end too. When I was a senior in high school, this one girl-chum and I had to go to this recital by one of the ‘local talents’, who sang this ‘art-song’ with a lyric that went ‘Here I lie…Susanna Fry…under my stone…all alone…’ and we started laughing, and then forcing ourselves to stop, and then the pew (this was in church too) would start shaking, and we couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. It was pure heaven, and pissed many old ladies off. OH YES, there was yet another time when a Juilliard friend went to Alabama with me, and we went to church AGAIN and played for them, he was a violinist, and was one of my lovers as well, I still see him occasionally, he’s a sweetie. The hick ‘youth minister’ started talking about how our music reminded him of ‘the young Jesus’, and Jimmy snickered all of a sudden (he was from Long Island, and had already been through an affair with a girl heroin addict, so this was new to him indeed), and then I got started, and the exact same thing happened, and we got worse and worse–the entire congregation saw us, and it was purely between us. BUT–this time we didn’t get chastised. I think that was about 1973. I worry about him, this makes me want to call him when Christian comes, maybe he’ll go to Julius’s with us. He came to hear me play in 2003 at Steinway Hall, but that’s just me thinking out loud.


    Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 11 February 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    • I just looked at leninino, they are spending all their time talking about how Obama and all Americans should be embarassed. That’s not the slant I got into: What THESE assholes should be noticing is that the Egyptians keep talking about DEMOCRACY and how they WANT it, not a ONE of them has championed Arpegian Marxism nor understood Jodi’s thesis about how ‘democracy doesn’t work’; and the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t even allowed into the demonstrations until after about a week, when they ‘wouldn’t show’ too much. Well, I rilly just think we might as well just have Mubarak and the authoritarians back, it’s rilly just all managed by the elites in Washington, just swapping one for the other, and PEOPLE WANT COMMUNISM. I rilly just don’t understand why all the Egyptians weren’t reading qlipoth and lenin’s tomb so as to figure out what they REALLY wanted. But writing at leninino is a thing of the past, and I don’t even feel like greeting Arpege with even a rude noise. They haven’t even gotten to the part about ‘the military’, but I can guarantee you one thing: They are NOT Marxist enough, even if they’re also bad in many ways. Arpege hasn’t even posted except for some dumb shit about Hillary, but I think it’s just AW-FOOOL that the Egyptians want this ‘democracy’ business. We see how MUCH BETTER North Koreanism has worked worldwide! I mean, it’s like, so OBVIOUS, everybody knows that people are better off with the internet completely limited to one country (I guess you still can’t Google in China either, gee, the old hardtails there must be really upset at the absence of another Tianenman Square Crackdown, albeit it looked like it was going to be that yesterday…), such as the ‘intranet’ or whatever it is that N. Korea has and has made all of its citizens happy. I have also noticed that all the Hard Marxists don’t want to give the internetworking, the tweeting, etc., and digital communications any importance, even though it’s an obvious fact that was where they got their mobilization going. All right, but of course they couldn’t do without their iPhones. All of these people so pitiful, and only 2 months since leninino wrote that the student protests were ‘more momentous’ than Wikileaks. I mean gimme a fuckin break. Now all they can do is say that next student protest ‘burn down’ some other headquarters, I guess do another scene with Camilla, but maybe more molestation of her hair this time, and worry if Laurie Penny portrays it as ‘violence’ on the same level of ‘systemic poisoning’. After all, we know that that famous fire extinquisher was thrown by a ‘posh’. These Marxists hilarious, I wonder who will be first to use the D-word. Those ABSURD anti-populist Egyptians, uneducated in Arpegian Marxism…


      Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 11 February 2011 @ 8:59 pm

      • Here’s most of the final paragraph of tomorrow’s lead NYTimes editorial:

        “But Egyptians have finally won a chance at creating a free and just society. We can think of no better rebuttal to Osama bin Laden and other extremists. The Egyptian protesters inspire us all. They will need all of our support.”

        What angle can the troofers work wid dis one? Enquiring minds are just dying to know. I guess arpege and warszawa will see if Amy Goodman has finally chosen the truth and the light by refusing to keep interviewing Zizek so much. That Amy is just so wishy-washy when everybody knows there’s a ‘Stalin Era Nostalgia’ just around the corner for all who’ll just let it happen…


        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 11 February 2011 @ 10:34 pm

  3. You have a whole portfolio of “my most embarrassing moment” episodes to choose from. I don’t know why this plate-spinning thing never comes to mind; instead I usually recount the time as a high school freshman that I led the entire marching band off the football field and onto the obstacle course.

    I’m optimistic about Egypt. I’ve been watching Al-Jazeera on and off during this street revolution, and the reporters from Egypt are just so incredulous about the real possibility of free press, free and fair elections, and democratic government happening so quickly when the dictatorship had been so firmly entrenched. Even the Islamic Brotherhood seems honestly enthused about what’s happening and willing to take a secondary role. It had seemed that there were so few options in that part of the world. When this crap came out from Mubarak that Egypt wasn’t ready for democracy, all he had to do was watch the locals organizing their own neighborhood security patrols to realize that he was wrong. The military takeover is worrisome, since it so often turns into dictatorship. But the people seem confident that the military is on their side this time, and based on the way the situation has played out so far it seems to be true. I don’t know much about the economic situation in Egypt, though I suspect it’s controlled by cronyism like so many other places. Getting that to change is likely to prove the toughest challenge, but if it does then I’d think the Marxists would be pretty happy with the outcome even if it doesn’t turn into government-run socialism.


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 February 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  4. What I get from the Egyptian episode is the exciting possibility that the Egyptians are neither into ”democracy” nor into ”Communism”, but building some new kind of a people-movement which is organized like a network.


    Comment by parody center — 12 February 2011 @ 4:51 am

  5. I agree, pc. Direct democracy has become technologically achievable: every week there could be a popular vote on issues of public concern, conducted on the internet. There is less need for elected politicians who purportedly represent the interests of the people but who are so often owned by special interests. Special interests can control public opinion too through advertising and marketing, but Egypt demonstrates that popular movements too can be disseminated and coalesced virally at speed. Plus Egyptians still encounter each other directly on the streets — it’s not just virtual. Maybe under such circumstances public servants really would serve the people rather than controlling them.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 February 2011 @ 7:30 am

  6. The novel sounds fascinating. Michener does this sort of thing with a historical canvas very effectively.

    Egypt is going to be interesting to watch. A real Islamic democracy would be a fascinating thing to see emerging. The Quran is after all much more centered on justice than is the Bible that supposedly (though how is a great Q)inspired Western ideas of democracy.


    Comment by sam carr — 12 February 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  7. It will indeed, Sam. I claim only limited knowledge of world governments, but a government that is supported by the populace and that wins in a free and fair election doesn’t necessarily qualify as democratic, at least not in the sense I’ve always thought about democracy. It has seemed that the governing options in Islamic countries have been limited to military or religious authoritarianism. Maybe this is a biased perspective. Would, say, the popularly-elected Hamas government in Gaza become a democratic regime if they weren’t operating under such strong pressure? And will Tunisia now form a democratic government? Will Pakistan move in this direction do you think, Sam? It seems to be quite factionalized internally, with power struggles between Islamists and military, while the only purportedly democratic option seems like a handmaiden of US foreign intrigue in the region.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 February 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  8. Eloise I think it is interesting to connect The Black Swan and Egypt,as two trajectories of change that share a similar climax – both subjects need to make possible the impossible, in order to Become. One must be cautious when politics is concerned, but what if Egypt gives birth to an original composition unlike the previous systems we’ve seen?


    Comment by parody center — 13 February 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  9. You may have proposed what some others in the blogs had hoped to hear, pc: an OOO interpretation of the Egyptian revolution. Through the collision and interaction of people and cell phones and tanks and the central square of Cairo and any number of other objects, something unprecedented is emerging as irreducible Difference. Although maybe you prefer Shaviro’s pov and see Difference emerging not from objects but from forces. I just took a quick look at Shaviro’s writeup of Black Swan and he talks about the interaction of the autonomous camera and Portman’s tortured flesh — this sounds like objectology rather than processology to me. I also see that The King’s Speech won the British Oscar. All I know about it is that it involves teaching the future king to overcome his stutter. I wonder if there’s a psychoanalytic operation at work here, where the stuttering tongue opens up a hole in the Symbolic through which the king gains access to his unconscious desires.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 February 2011 @ 1:09 am

  10. I don’t know about the OOOlological connection, but clearly, the ending of Black Swan is like the late-Lacan ending of analysis: Nina must live the impossible, embody the void, give birth to God, put emptiness into practice. Remember the title of another crucial film of the new aesthetic: ENTER THE VOID. The Porno Gang did it long before any of these Western films, but never mind. Similarly, Egyptians have had to put into the streets, materialize, a non-existing assemblage. And no I will not accept even the slightest hint that it was the automobiles, the PDAs and the tanks that did it, even as they have certainly made it possible, I don’t think they alone could have mounted the Revolution. (I can already hear the Narcissistic Cat exclaiming, ”but that’s what I been claimin’ all along! I never said it was ONLY THE OBJECTS! while the Egyptian Temptress fondles herself in the mirror, pleased)


    Comment by parody center — 14 February 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  11. I was thinking Deleuze rather than Lacan. Deleuze makes a case for emergent absolute Difference that’s irreducible to and unpredictable from antecedent conditions. On this point Sinthome and Shaviro agree, though in my view Shaviro is more directly Deleuzian in his usual emphasis on processes and forces that, through schizzes and flows, create Difference. For Sinthome it’s objects rather than forces that are the spawning ground of Difference. I’m not so sure about Harman’s view in this regard, since he’s got this whole scheme by which objects interact with each other only through sensual properties rather than essences. So if totally new and different objects emerge via interactions, how do they end up with their own essence if they’re made up only of sensual properties? I’m sure there’s an answer somewhere in the Harmanian corpus. I don’t know where or whether difference arises in Lacan. I know that stuff can come through the Void from the Real, but the Real already exists for Lacan, doesn’t it? So it’s less a matter of creation than of revelation for Lacan. Again, I’m no expert on these nuances. You might be right though that for Lacan the Void is the source of absolute Difference and novelty and multiplicity, because that’s my sense of what Badiou’s Void is all about, and I’ve read that Badiou is Lacanian in this regard.

    On the other hand… the choreographer in Black Swan seemed to know what he was looking for from Nina, suggesting that he already had a picture of what her performance should and could look like if she managed to do it properly. That’s not so much emergent Difference as discipline in order to attain the Ideal.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 February 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  12. That’s not so much emergent Difference as discipline in order to attain the Ideal.

    Eloise I totally love it when your own cognitive White Swan takes over. Besides discipline you forgot to mention empowerment. Relates wonderfully to that discussion of Chinese mothers.

    But what I’m aiming at is that the Black Swan resides neither in Nina’s fantasy, nor in diegetic reality, but in between those two planes. He emerges, from the wound bleeding out of Nina’s womb: she gives birth to it. Yet as I’m sure you realize, the wound is a portal, not an opening. Psychoanalysis should end with just such a situation, the subject realizing that he or she is a void, and proceeding to live out his non-existent potentials, to incarnate thus. I have no idea how this relates to ”objects” and ”processes” but am rather giving a report of my gut feelings mixed with scrambled theory bytes.


    Comment by parody center — 14 February 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  13. Absolutely related to the Chinese mothers, although they’re trying to raise white swans who will achieve technical mastery and follow directions to a T without ever becoming the choreographer or the diva. It’s more like Boulder mothers, who want the kids to get top marks in math and science and also to be creative geniuses. Maybe more like Avatar — the Euro-American white swan must incorporate blackness in order to achieve perfection and true mastery, though the reverse process never works.

    I may put up some screengrabs from Triplets of Belleville. The other night I watched it for a second time, and I found it just as disturbing as the first time.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 February 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  14. “the ending of Black Swan is like the late-Lacan ending of analysis: Nina must live the impossible, embody the void, give birth to God, put emptiness into practice … Psychoanalysis should end with just such a situation, the subject realizing that he or she is a void, and proceeding to live out his non-existent potentials, to incarnate thus.”

    Crikey, PC, giving birth to God? Putting emptiness into practice? Absolute difference via the Void? So that’s how the Virgin Birth happened! All the same, that’s a pretty tall order for the analyst and the analysand. Why not just say that history is not all that you are.

    The problem with the Void – and all theories that emphasize it – is that you can say anything you damn well like about it. Whether that’s Lacan, Deleuze, Badiou or Satan. It came from … THE VOID! The thing about absolute difference, or non-existent potentials, is that they strike us as emerging from nowhere. It’s how it strikes US. But you can say that about anything. Just as you can, if you really want to, find a cause for anything. I bought a sandwich and put it on my desk. Or: Holy cow! Look at this sandwich on my desk, hit by the light in a particular way and in a forever changing, entropic, differentiating state.

    I think the Triplets was also called Belleville-Rendezvous. Nice film. I didn’t find it disturbing though. The Illusionist is supposed to be very good too. Keep those plates spinning.


    Comment by NB — 15 February 2011 @ 5:03 am

  15. I agree, nb, that you can find a cause for anything, even something that’s never before come into existence. And I’m enough of a realist to believe that causes exist independent of my wanting them to. Just because we didn’t predict its emergence or the properties it manifests, doesn’t mean that this new thing wasn’t subject to the same sorts of cause-effect operations as are objects and forces that repeat themselves again and again. I believe it was bloggist Duncan Law who claims that Deleuze accepts cause-effect determinism, the interplay of rhizomes and flows and schizzes accounting for all emergent novelty. And if Deleuze also regards all existing objects and processes as having potentials that aren’t always made manifest, then emergent novelty can be fully explained by the actualization of already-existing potentials. What does Lacan think about these things, both in the universe and in psychoanalysis? I don’t know.


    Comment by ktismatics — 15 February 2011 @ 9:54 am

  16. The mystification of Black Swan, her becoming-God and so on — I’m thinking that you’re right with this interpretation, pc, regardless of other possible socialistic or even psychoanalytic readings. Pi, Aronofsky’s first film, was cabalistic-gnostic in its vision, so why shouldn’t Black Swan be gnostic as well? How about this:

    In becoming-Swan, Nina occupies not the Void but an already-existing mythic reality, namely world of the ballet Swan Lake. As music, dance, and story, Swan Lake precedes any particular staging of it. You could say that Swan Lake exists as a kind of pure form, an ideal reality that transcends any and all specific performances of it. So too do the roles in Swan Lake precede and transcend the individual dancers who perform those roles. So how does Nina, cast as the Black/White Swan, play the role perfectly? She needs to become the Black/White Swan, the pure form that exists behind any given performance, the archetype of which any particular performance is but an imperfect shadow.

    Nina must transcend herself in order to merge with the perfect Swan archetype or demiurge. She doesn’t have to emerge into her own individual subjectivity as a performer. Just the opposite is required: her individuality must recede into the perfect archetype. Because this archetypal Swan is invoked in every single performance of the ballet, the Swan can die at the end of the performance but she always comes back to life again for the following night’s performance. So too if Nina succeeds in perfectly merging with the archetype, then she can really die in the flesh every night and return from the dead in time for tomorrow night’s embodiment of the Swan. All her petty little all-too-human shit with her mother and her sexuality and her competitiveness just sloughs away as she regresses back into this iconic god-likeness.


    Comment by ktismatics — 15 February 2011 @ 10:29 am

  17. I’m with you and Duncan on that one, John.

    I still haven’t seen Black Swan, but your analysis reminded me of Devi by Satyajit Ray, where the heroine is kind of coerced into becoming a Hindu goddess incarnate. At the end of the film she runs away from the camera across a meadow, giggling, seemingly leaving flowers in her wake.


    Comment by NB — 15 February 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  18. Yes to all that but the embodiment needs to be emphasized not necessarily and just because it might be Deleuzian, or related to the psychology of the body, but because the incarnation of an impossible self would be the goal both of analysis and of (Orthodox) Christianity – as well as Gnostic teachings, I take it. It’s not that you have to transcend a ”self” that never was in the first place, you have to make one. And this productive side of the story, this immersion in the material, is what makes it different from considerations of the Lack, NB.


    Comment by parody center — 15 February 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  19. I mean it’s not that Nina realizes she is nothing, a Lack; it’s more like she realizes there are many other Ninas, and they’re all equally real.


    Comment by parody center — 15 February 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  20. Good to re-emphasize the material bodily aspect. I didn’t mean a transcendence into pure spirit, but more the sense of one’s body and one’s self becoming an icon, embodying materially the ideal. The icon has physical presence that also points away from itself to its model and exemplar. So in medieval gnosticism, statues and paintings of Jesus are tangible physical things, but they all participate in the same perfection of the exemplar toward which they gesture. In turn, Jesus also participates in all the icons which depict him, giving him multiple material presences in the world. “This is my body; this is my blood” — this isn’t just symbolic language in medieval gnosticism; Jesus’s body and blood really come into being physically all over the world at the same time during the celebration of the Eucharist. So, considered gnostically, a ballet or a play or a concert functions sacramentally in a similar way, with all the actresses who play the White/Black Swan standing as icons pointing to the ideal while also serving as channels by which the ideal becomes multiply material, multiply real, all equally participating in perfection.

    I suspect that now we’re making the movie better than it really is.


    Comment by ktismatics — 15 February 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  21. Irrespective of its individual merit, the movie is clearly part of an emerging new style, to which I think the Porno Gang and Enter the Void belong, all of them resting on an antinomic situation wherein Eros and Thanatos, no longer dialectic ”sides of the same coin”, meld and merge, and out of that comes a new kind of life, a new kind of an evolution. I just saw BTW on K-punk’s Twatter that he was awestruck by the swan – probably an interesting review on the way.

    Speaking of the Swan, I got a book in the mail called The Black Swan, apparently last year’s bestseller, which takes the black swan as a symbol of randomness (actually the black swan comes from Holland) and examines how probability analyses and predictions are stupid and we should embrace randomness.


    Comment by parody center — 15 February 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  22. Chomet’s Illusionist is wonderful, NB; it was completely misconstrued by American reviewers, but so was Triplettes de Belleville, which portrays Halliwud as a maffia, who kidnap French culture in order to put it in the chain of mass reproduction, killing all charm and singularity on the way. In The Illusionist, the suggestion is made that the world’s doom comes from the world’s embrace of Magic (completely the opposite of what the critics said, praising the movie for its ”magic”). It is in the everyday, little obsessions and compulsions, in the singularity of all the characters in the streets, whose faces may not be advertising-beautiful but are certainly beautiful in their ugliness, that the world offers a glimpse of freedom, but this is ignored by the world, because in the wake of consumerist capitalism, everybody wants shiny new shoes and technologies, and to be happy. The main character is a bit like Eloise – world-weary but stoically hanging onto his rituals, and old-fashioned virtues.


    Comment by parody center — 15 February 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  23. VICIOUS GODDAMN BITCH!!! I have to underline that I have never mentioned the death of his daughter or anything pathological like that, though some of the commenters may have. If he wants to keep that sort of stuff outside of public attacks, though, he shouldn’t TALK about it on internet. I am now going to restore the blawg just to spite.


    Comment by parody center — 16 February 2011 @ 10:46 am

    • “have to underline that I have never mentioned the death of his daughter or anything pathological like that”

      I have to admit that that’s why I even linked this, because although you lie like hell and are indeed ‘pathological’, there was never any talk of ‘his daughter’s death’. What’s so telling, though, is that he thinks he was ever an important subject, whether for parody or fantasy, when even YOU haven’t called me fucking ‘madeleine’ because of Dr. Products…oh yes, I must include that Adam Kotsko’s support was not what he was counting on since he’s been ‘making nice-nice’ with Arpege: Arpege once wrote scathing remarks (probably besotted, but maybe as far back as 2005) about Adam and Anthony, but we know that Michaela’s raison d’etre is ‘to take life hard’.


      Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 16 February 2011 @ 12:16 pm

      • Adamina apparently wants to be in the theological porn business again, and since that’s what she wants, that’s exactly what she’s going to get. The ”Kasper” (Kaspar Hauzen) is apparently in Dominique’s coven (memer of the various group blawgs that have cropped up where the bi-curious Impostor collaborates). I just informed Professor Novels that she shouldn’t worry because she’ll get even MORE awpartunity to get her rocks off.


        Comment by parody center — 16 February 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  24. “the incarnation of an impossible self would be the goal both of analysis and of (Orthodox) Christianity”

    I guess I understand this as in analysis there is no room for (just) the “proper self”, no ideal ego. But there’s a lot more. Kind of like what you say about The Illusionist, pc: “It is in the everyday, little obsessions and compulsions, in the singularity of all the characters in the streets, whose faces may not be advertising-beautiful but are certainly beautiful in their ugliness, that the world offers a glimpse of freedom, but this is ignored by the world, because in the wake of consumerist capitalism, everybody wants shiny new shoes and technologies, and to be happy.”

    By the by, one of my bugbears is the “groomed” look that, sadly, seems so popular in States (it’s pretty popular in Europe too) and on TV makeover shows. You know, where women of a certain age tend start looking like TV news readers. Power dressing, immaculate, sensible tresses just right for TV, business and politics.

    “I mean it’s not that Nina realizes she is nothing, a Lack; it’s more like she realizes there are many other Ninas, and they’re all equally real.”

    Interesting, and that seems to be a happier outcome than the one in Ray’s Devi anyway. Otherwise, I suspect that giving birth to God, however metaphorical, would be a pretty catastrophic and psychotic failure of an analysis.


    Comment by NB — 16 February 2011 @ 10:57 am

    • The Black Swan doesn’t end happily: Nina lies there dying, because the perfect embodiment of the Swan must die. I’ve supplied the happy ending in which she comes back to life for the next performance, but if we let Nina go ahead and die once and for all then we’d conclude that human pursuit of perfection = self-destruction.


      Comment by ktismatics — 16 February 2011 @ 11:55 am

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dying_Swan

        This you probably know about, but it comes after ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘influenced subsequent performances of it’. I really can’t get into it, but there’s a clip of Pavlova doing it, and my dentist went on and on about Maya Plisetskaya being the ultimate in this the other day (it’s a total fluke that I have a balletomane dental hygienist, and she’s also formerly Communist of Ukraine and has required a great deal of training from me.)

        This may not be germane to your discussion of ‘Black Swan’, which doesn’t seem, from what I’m reading about it (and god knows people talk about it everywhere) to have the ballet ‘Swan Lake’ as anything but a starting point.

        “beautiful but are certainly beautiful in their ugliness, that the world offers a glimpse of freedom, but this is ignored by the world, because in the wake of consumerist capitalism, everybody wants shiny new shoes and technologies,”

        That’s all pretty reached-for, because if you DO say that someone is ‘ugly’, then s/he may be ‘beautiful in an unconventional way’, which means he is no longer ‘ugly’. It is not possible to be beautiful and ugly at the same time, and there are some who are only ugly…but this:

        “and to be happy”

        is unacceptable, because happiness is what everybody except Arpege wants (and that’s why she doesn’t want anybody else to be happy, and why she has the fucking GALL to say that ‘sour-mouthed cockroachism’ was a legitimate aesthetic. It’s this kind of nonsense which has always ruined her writing (basically very bad anyway), because while it is obvious to say that ‘poor people deserve health care’ just like anyone else, to qualify it with ‘sour-mouthed cockroach’ makes it so that you are being told to ‘like someone’ who has taken the attitude of presenting themselves as deliberately repulsive. In that case, such a ‘sour-mouthed’ one does not even deserve a Potter’s Grave.

        “one of my bugbears is the “groomed” look that, sadly, seems so popular in States (it’s pretty popular in Europe too)”

        The only thing sad about it is how rarely that it can be achieved. It’s actually seen at its most extreme on French and Italian TV, where they often use extreme beauties, as Maria Luisa Busi, and that one guy also who used to read the news, can’t remember his name, on Berlusconi’s RAI things. Actually, there are many homely-looking and even occasionally fat newscasters in the U.S.. During the Clinton years, most of the women newscasters wore those grotesque electric-blue or fire-engine-red blazers with some ‘pin’ or ‘brooch’ on them, and these were to imitate Janet Reno’s sensibleness, Hillary Clinton’s hardness, and Madeleine Allbright’s ‘style’, while hopefully not wearing the mini-dresses of the latter which showed legs so unbelievably cowlike that even the Cambridge Whorebag Lesbian I knew complained about it, and forthwith put on some lipstick.


        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 16 February 2011 @ 12:37 pm

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Lake#Alternative_endings

        Here is a pretty good synopsis of other endings for the ballet, which now that you’ve gotten this close, it can only enhance the glorious experience of this profound film to know more about the original piece itself. I’ve seen the ones in which both commit suicide, in which the ending is happy, and in which the Swan stays Swan Incarnate throughout all eternity. ‘The Dying Swan’ is probably never mentioned in the film (no reason it should be, and it’s to music by Saint-Saens, is just a solo and last no more than 20 minutes, I believe. I’ve never seen it live, although I’ve seen ‘Swan Lake’ a number of times at ABT and NYCB.


        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 16 February 2011 @ 12:51 pm

      • The movie doesn’t really show any of the ballet; it only follows Nina, who’s playing both lead roles. As far as I remember the names Odette (= White Swan) and Odile (= Black Swan) are never mentioned in the movie. At the end of the film, which corresponds to the end of the ballet, the White Swan = Odette does commit suicide, leaping to her doom through a hole in the stage floor onto a pile of mattresses. The curtain comes down and the audience is ecstatic, but Nina can’t come up out of the mattress pit for her curtain call because, as the camera reveals, she’s previously stabbed herself in her dressing room and is bleeding to death all over her lovely white swan costume. So I’d say that the film’s version qualifies as the traditional ending to the story.


        Comment by ktismatics — 16 February 2011 @ 1:22 pm

      • As far as personal connections to Swan Lake go, my wife Anne danced a swan role (though not, alas, a lead role) in the Floyd Ward Review, the annual production of her childhood dance studio. In high school I played the oboe solo from the theme music, in a concert if I’m not mistaken. To the best of our recollection neither of us transcended.


        Comment by ktismatics — 16 February 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    • I guess I understand this as in analysis there is no room for (just) the “proper self”,

      NB to make it simple, the early-Lacan was preoccupied with ”transference” and ”counter-transference” that is to say the processes by which the analysand may be confronted with the fact that he’s basically looking for a mirror reflection of himself in the eyes of the analyst, a father figure perhaps, someone to guarantee his ”identity”. This ends with the analysand confronting the reality that there is no ”identity” in general, because all our identities are just identifications with mirror images. In other words the main theme was Desire, which always circles around an impossible object (the petit objet a). The later Lacan went beyond this situation, exploring how one may – and now I use the term of Deleuze – Become. This part is focused on the Drive, referring to that excessive part of ourselves, which you would encounter in repetitions and obsessions, which persists despite everything, even beyond death. I get the impression that the message of this last one is that one must make flesh and blood one’s Drive. This is what I mean by ”emobody the impossible”: you must live to become yourself, EVEN AS ”YOURSELF” DOESN’T EXIST (is only a mirror reflection). This act has the quality of a ”creatio ex nihilo”, literally, because you’re sculpting something out of nothing. I think this is the reason Nina, in the film, persists, despite the fact that she’s quite obviously anorexic, obsessive, schizophrenic, self-destructive and you name it.


      Comment by parody center — 16 February 2011 @ 8:31 pm

      • is unacceptable, because happiness is what everybody except Arpege wants

        what you see in the animation, is that people around the Illusonist are all going for conventional ways to be made happy, that is to say buy whatever the global marketing machine is selling. All around them ordinary life shows more color, character and emotion than anything the mass media machine has to offer. And so you get a sense that life passes by most people, which is the film’s (and Jacques Tati’s) tragicomic message.

        That’s all I was going to say about that, and I have no idea how you extended it to Arpege’s belief that girls look better without makeup and with a moustache.


        Comment by parody center — 16 February 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  25. This may not be germane to your discussion

    Sweet Lord whenever have you ever tried to be ”germane” about a discussion? Anyhow I don’t like that kind of polite shit, usually an excuse for ”no discussion”, or ”I’m not really interested in the discussion”.

    of ‘Black Swan’, which doesn’t seem, from what I’m reading about it (and god knows people talk about it everywhere) to have the ballet ‘Swan Lake’ as anything but a starting point.

    I only remember the around 20 performances I saw at the National Theater of Belgrade when my dad was still playing first viola, which effectively turned me off to the Swan Lake forever. And I’m no expert, but everybody is saying that the director and the composer (Clint Masel – a good soundtrack by the way) took the hidden horror elements of the ballet out, and augmented them, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTogUt6n-HM&feature=related. Even if this has nothing to do with the original ballet, it’s a great concept.


    Comment by parody center — 16 February 2011 @ 5:34 pm

  26. “The Black Swan doesn’t end happily … she’s previously stabbed herself in her dressing room and is bleeding to death all over her lovely white swan costume.”

    Ah. Yeah. Not so happy then.

    Thanks for the summary, pc.

    “This part is focused on the Drive, referring to that excessive part of ourselves, which you would encounter in repetitions and obsessions, which persists despite everything, even beyond death.”

    To be honest though, I can only see that beyond-death survival of the excess as something occurring in the artistic. Like the excessive menagerie of The Garden of Earthly Delights. Or maybe other dancers inspired by Nina (hopefully rejecting the suicide bit). It’s a bit of a shame that Nina’s sinthomic embodiment of the Drive neccessitates her death. As you put it, by way of a Freudian slip maybe, she does “emo-body the impossible”! Ho, ho.

    I’m more attuned to the idea of embodying the impossible as recognising, with Stephen Daedalus (and perhaps Chomet), that God is a shout in the street. “you must live to become yourself,” – I guess that also means living beyond the role identified with the Drive. In Nina’s case, beyond the Black Swan. Otherwise you become a living icon – and a dead person.


    Comment by NB — 17 February 2011 @ 7:06 am

  27. “Otherwise you become a living icon – and a dead person.”

    This warning is intrinsic to the film, and I believe that it reflects Aronvsky’s intent. In his first movie, Pi, Max becomes a channel for a cabalistic god who gives him winning stock market picks through his computer. Eventually Max doesn’t even need the computer: he becomes clairvoyant; he can intuit the numbers that make sense of the stock market and everything else in the world. He begins going mad, suffering excruciating headaches and numbing himself with painkillers. From Wikipedia:

    “Max tries to concentrate on the number through the pain. After passing out, Max has a vision of himself standing in a white void and repeating the digits of the number. The vision ends with Max hugging his neighbor, who turns out to be an illusion. Max stands alone in his trashed apartment. Giving up, Max burns the paper with the number, and trepans himself in the right temple with a power drill. Later, a little girl with a calculator approaches Max in a park asking math problems. Max smiles and reveals that he can no longer perform complex mental calculations. He observes the trees blowing in the breeze, at peace.”

    So I’d say that Aronovsky has at best an ambivalent attitude with respect to the gnostic project of posthuman self-transcendence. I liked Pi a lot when I saw it first came out; I think I’ll watch it again.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 February 2011 @ 8:20 am

  28. Pi is the only Aronovsky film I’ve seen. I saw it when it came out (’99?). I remember not liking the film that much, thinking the trepanning was somehow trite. I should watch it again.


    Comment by NB — 17 February 2011 @ 10:13 am

  29. You didn’t much like the Coens’ A Serious Man either, nb, which I voted as Best Picture of 2009. Maybe I’m just a sucker for Jewish mysticism. I have to acknowledge that drilling into one’s own skull might be even more extreme than stabbing oneself in the torso with a shard of broken mirror.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 February 2011 @ 10:30 am

  30. You deleted that whole post where we discussed ‘my uncle’, etc., didn’t you?


    Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 11:06 am

  31. I had to clarify that, because at this point, it’s a matter of ‘relative hostility’ that one distinguishes between and among. This means I can still say something occasionally here, but not at Dejan’s, whose trolls could be anybody (and always could have).

    My policy on the trolls is also within this ‘relative hostility’, in that I don’t believe in the better of the bleugers, such as you and Dominic necessarily, but can engage with you in conversation (as either in any case finds it bearable) on either of your bleugs or in emails. With Mikhail, if he uses that name (but not if he’s the one also using ‘doomed pilot’, who is also one of the trolls at Dejan’s.) There’s obviously no need to write at Dejan’s, because that is all trolls, and the point is only to insult me–or rather, it could be said that the point is to ‘teach me something’, and I’ve decided that’s a course I don’t want to take. The ‘Gratification of Michael’ will have to be sufficient purpose for the restoration Dejan has effected, and he clearly needs it more than I do.

    Isn’t that sophisticated? You know, making the ‘civilized difference’ between ‘a certain amount of inevitable hostility’ as among tennis players, but not wanting ‘John McEnroe’ situations (which the troll already posting at Dejan obviously wants as much as Dejan does.) What doesn’t seem apparent is that there would be anything to supersede the inevitable return to the Torturetainment, but it’s actually very simple: Once you know it’s just TortureTainment, and you’re the one chosen to victimize, then you don’t respond (of course, this could be construed as a response, but I can assure you that there is all the difference in the world. You’re STILL John Doyle here, whether or not you’ve done trolling yourself. And that doesn’t matter: Somebody is trolling, and I don’t respect it, even when it’s somebody I respect when they do use their own names (or ‘official pseudonym’, as with Mikhail.) I find it extraordinary that people think trolling, in its grotesque irresponsibility, is okay. btw, did you read the hilarious Playboy piece from Toni Bentley, the ballerina who wrote a best-selling book about her love of getting ass-fucked, that I linked at Mikhail’s? You know, as much as I abhor her writing (and it’s even worse when she tries to write about real ballet and real dancers, although she’s herself a professional), at least she’s also gutsy enough to get out there and say ‘HERE’S MY FUCKED ASS’. Unfortunately, her honesty has not helped her writing style.

    Here it is: http://www.tonibentley.com/pages/surrender-playboy.html

    Definitely one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever read.


    Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 11:59 am

    • I should add that, since the notification of ‘bleug closure’ was a different one after a day or so this time, I thought it was even impossible for him to re-open it again (there use to be a smaller ‘blog not found’ page you’d get, and it was the same as anodyne’s; now it’s changed, and Michael’s post still has it as it was this time.) This quixotic opening and closing of the bleug is a form of Extreme Trolling and is not acceptable in any way to me. Although I’ll admit it is pretty naive that it took me so long to realize that I was the ‘most fun to victimize’ in the TortureTainment Enterprise. If he does it here, it’s not as serious, because he doesn’t have total control, i.e., the ‘relative hostility’ that I get from writing here sometimes from the ‘Ktismatics Triumvirate’ is still not quite the same as the overtly intended punishment (the advent of this seems to have been my agreement with Dejan that KDD could be mocked. That he invented it has never mattered to people as much as that I went along with it. Curious the way these things work out, insofar as KDD is not someone I actually have any serious gripe toward and think has talent. There are some I find totally offensive, but we’ve severed all contact.)


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  32. This quixotic opening and closing of the bleug is a form of Extreme Trolling and is not acceptable in any way to me.

    The blawg has an ”erase” button which however means that you can restore it several months after the erasure; in other words, it isn’t really erasure. and my intention was never to permanently erase it, in fact i regret erasing a ton of hilarity in the wordpress incarnation of 2007. actually i think the temporary erasure is a great shark-like parody tool, because Michaela will never know exactly when it’s going to hit her. Besides that I felt honestly that Michaela wanted it, why would she be asking for it? They all want it.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    • It doesn’t work, though. I just checked: Most have taken ‘anodynelite’ off their blogrolls. You didn’t. and the name is ‘available for use’, whereas your ‘address is not available’ on the post still at Michael’s. Of course he wanted it back, that’s where he trolls. And you’ve re-arranged it so that I couldn’t write there even if I was tempted. For this at least, I am grateful to you. So that next time you delete the blog, it will be clear from what I just read that one knows whether one is ‘storing it’ as you did, or completely getting rid of it, as anodyne did.


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  33. The Toni Bentley is very funny. I’d be tempted to say that it’s on-topic, except of course that the orignial topic of this post had nothing to do with ballet.

    This morning I updated my newest post with a reference to Chomsky. Meanwhile, one of the comments on the newly-reopened Parody Center was written by “Noam Chomsky.” Coincidence? Somehow I doubt it, inasmuch as we’ve seen prior evidence that the troll over there also reads Ktismatics. I suspect that “doomed pilot” is not “Mikhail,” though I’ve not made a study of it.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 February 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    • Agree on both counts. Obviously the troll reads you here, and I also DO think Mikhail does like me, since he knows I like him as well (probably basically the same music-fraternity thing that I have with Dominic, although that’s not a pre-requisite for friendship), and he’d already seen, when we talked here, that I didn’t like the ‘doomed pilot’, so that’s clearly just the CPC troll (one of the Warwick ones, most likely, not Michael, who is always recognizable. btw, the troll of about 2 years ago did write about Michael’s wife ‘having miscarriages, but I thought that was either Michael himself, if it was true, or the ‘Hyacinth’ being sadistic to Michael. I could never figure it out, because I usually checked Michael’s bleug fairly frequently at that point, and had never seen a post about a ‘dead daughter’ on there, so how else would anybody have known? He did write posts about his second daughter’s birth, and Dejan and I wrote parodies of her with a hick name, but not any morbid stuff. I don’t know who was writing about those ‘miscarriages’, though–that again could be ‘anybody’.)


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  34. ”Patrick”, your issues with the ”trolls” – and I couldn’t be more indifferent to them, whoever they are – have nothing to do with OUR BUSINESS, and our business is perfectly summarized in that Playboy article. This is where the WURK is, and where Michaela wants to be, even as she’d never admit it to any of her colleagues. If your heart wasn’t in the gutters, as is mine, we’d neither develop rapport, nor would we fight; we’d just pass each other by in the streets. I feel that in some moments, we have been able to alternately rim and anally violate the clients in ways that none of the trolls, in their private or professional lives, have been able to. And they have envied us for that, and they kept coming back for more (they still do, in fact).

    Problems started when Madeleine pushed her way onto the stage. This was the slip, where you lost your necklace, and with the necklace, your composure, also. The Trolls apparently crushed you on that one.

    As a masterful parody director, though, I know that my best employees need time to recuperate from their private foibles, whatever these may be, and I am fairly confident in my knowledge that our collaboration will continue. Eloise knows this too, which is why she has been ideal as Midge, doing my HR business for me so that we’re better prepared for the next season.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    • That is in every way a cheap and disgusting post, however mostly predictable. On the other hand, this:

      “Problems started when Madeleine pushed her way onto the stage. This was the slip, where you lost your necklace, and with the necklace, your composure, also. The Trolls apparently crushed you on that one.”

      You should have known that, at some point, I’d realize that that was what my unique contribution was. It was THIS that I alone could do, and that goes for you too, who couldn’t have. And it was THIS that was totally admirable, it preserved ‘character’, and as I said before, you really think the OBJECT of those ‘Madeleines’ doesn’t admire ME for it? who then said “No, I remember well-enough your stupidity about how we should keep shoving it up Iraq’s ass and not go into Waziristan as Obama was suggesting as early as 2 years before his presidential run and victory. I still remember this, and while Seymour and Arpege and suchlike are going to equally condemn Droning-out by the CIA of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, I was told by the Object ‘Don’t you think that’s a bit of a lawyerly attitude?’ My reply was ‘yes, and what precisely is wrong with that?’ His reply was pretty tacit, but it was along the lines of ‘it doesn’t fit in with the World War IV scenario I’ve developed here, and that nobody else overtly tells me is a fucked-up lot of bullshit”. So that the repeated ‘Madeleines’ were something he would necessarily pick up, although he wouldn’t respect them until I’d seen that they were finished, and that I wanted to go back to ‘lawyerliness’ in these matters full-time. As the OBJECT himself, he does know that, but you don’t, because the Madeleines didn’t gratify you, they made you furious, and therefore you always struck. In fact, you can even call this a ‘Madeleine’, but you don’t see that Toni Bentley is very much a sideline, trendy racy stuff–it’s an interesting coincidence to me, that long before she came out with this confessional, she was Suzanne Farrell’s ghost-writer for her autobio. And Suzanne Farrell was not only famous or being a great ballerina (Bentley was in the corps), she was also famous for refusing to fuck Balanchine (in any orifice) and in inspiring me to write ‘Illegal Dances of New York City’. As such, she has been the butt of as many jokes as have been made possible ever since I sent copies of the first chapter to Arpege, Traxus, and mainly, Robin, who obviously disseminated it to several people. But it is STILL Suzanne Farrell who truly interests me, not Toni Bentley, who is very much a supernumerary.

      This all sounds very ‘noble’ but, of course, it was–not that I like the peculiar echo of the nun in Robert Stone’s ‘A Flag Before Sunrise’, but on the other hand, I’m not living in a police state. And this is what makes the ‘OBJECT’ ashamed. He honours it, but can’t say so. His own frustration was clearly registered in your last bleug incarnation, in which he made it patently clear that he didn’t even think it possible that I might value other OBJECTS OF DESIRE more than I do him by now, and even when I did value him as an OBJECT, he was certainly not alone in being so admired (and, strictly speaking, was never known as an object the way the others are). The reasons for this DEMAND that I must ‘love him still’ are obvious, not least because he knew you’d back him up on it, as it is part of your show that the ‘Madeleine’ always be there, not that ‘it was unfortunate that she showed up’.

      Aside from that, we are just not interested in the same things, don’t have the same tastes–this is not always strictly necessary, of course, but ours are too far apart.

      But even were these things to be reconciled, your control over the hardware of the blog is totally unacceptable to me, not that I any more would want it myself. Your use of it is purely wicked and malicious, and arbitrary. You’ve always said you ‘weren’t interested in me as a person’, and that ‘Arpege was’. You were right about the former, and wrong about the latter (probably at least knew that though, of course Arpege is not interested in anybody as a person.)

      But the answer is NO, because the essential structure has not changed, and I find it loathsome in the extreme. Michael and the other troll(s) love it, and this post here is just more beggary on your part, as representative of the ‘invisible city of trolls’.

      Now ‘NB’ is mainly just inoffensive here. He says those are ‘his initials’, but that means nothing. Somehow, even with a pseudonym, Mikhail seems more honest and real than ‘NB’ (for me, that is; of course, he’s the 3rd member of the ‘Ktismatics Triumvirate’, or the second, in any case, you’re the other one.)


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 2:05 pm

      • And now it’s there already–these refs. to a singer I’ve never heard of with YouTubes. But he may or may not know who what he calls ‘the interminable exchanges’ are really with…but he does think I’ll still somehow be interested to talk in cryptic form if he does his ‘sweet-talk number’. But there’s the rub: I do STILL have ‘those interminable exchanges’ with someone; but in the ‘cryptomania talk’, he can’t find out for sure if I know whether HE knows or not. And even that wouldn’t matter, because THAT OBJECT is obviously one of the primary ones that delivers from anything but ‘relative madeleinism’. I like this trend of the use of ‘relative’ for some new things like ‘relative hostility’ and ‘relative madeleinisme’. That particular object, at your bleug, doesn’t really care for anyone possessing any of the subtleties except himself, but he thought the name ‘P.J. Proby’ would ring just the right bell, and finally make me go on and spill some especial beans. Because even though he’d like something more than just TortureTainment which you offer him without reservation, he’d secretly rather have something else, but imagines it’s surely too late (it probably is.) The bottom line is that, even just keeping in bleug exchanges doesn’t ever work; the extreme hostility leading to stoning of me always ensues–and you can assuage your guilt about this truly unnecessary cruelty by saying “Madeleine, the ‘madeleine’ is still in effect”

        Maybe he’s just ‘vile ambition’ just like Michael, what do I know? That will be my working hypothesis, though: That the best he can get out of this situation is repeats of the TortureTainment Series and Miniseries. He hasn’t realized that I also don’t have the same tastes he has (anymore than you have, Dejan.)


        Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  35. It doesn’t work, though. I just checked: Most have taken ‘anodynelite’ off their blogrolls. You didn’t. and the name is ‘available for use’, whereas your ‘address is not available’ on the post still at Michael’s. Of course he wanted it back, that’s where he trolls. And you’ve re-arranged it so that I couldn’t write there even if I was tempted. For this at least, I am grateful to you. So that next time you delete the blog, it will be clear from what I just read that one knows whether one is ‘storing it’ as you did, or completely getting rid of it, as anodyne did

    You misunderstood again – you can’t kill something that is eternal, and therefore cannot die.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  36. Meanwhile today I’ve kept the plates spinning: I drafted a new chapter of about 1500 words in the neo-noir mode. It includes some intrigue, some stalking, and a bit of soft porn.

    PJ Proby? I wiki’ed him — apparently some American Elvis impersonator who had acquired a following in England. Have you ever heard of Johnny Hallyday? He became a huge pop star in France mostly by imitating American stars and covering their hits. French people were amazed that I’d never heard of him. Maybe we talked about Hallyday here before, I don’t remember.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 February 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    • Yes, I’ve been aware of Johnny Hallyday for some years, when I became interested in various French pop singers. P.J. Proby is probably just an ‘imitator in general’, as I listened to both of the troll’s YouTubes, and they are completely different in sound; at first I thought the Elvis one was dubbed, since the first one ‘Hold Me’ is in a much higher register. There is some other weird song ‘hold me…kiss me…touch me…’ that must have come later, it sounds like some insect is singing it. I thought this might be an earlier version, but in fact, i’m very surprised I haven’t heard of him ever. I thought the troll had seized on some secret that he wanted to impart to me cryptically, and he may well have been trying to, but it is no longer possible to ‘impart to me cryptically’ and expect me to take it as anything other than ‘maybe’.

      Glad you’re doing the real writing.


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  37. Well I have to admit that I am a kind of a Gavin Elster, and not just in the story of the Parody Center. But you err when you think that this gives me sadistic pleasure (‘the tortutainment’). That’s all in your feverish mind. A sadist would jerk off and climax watching you as you jump off the tower, over and over again. Rather, I tend to get turned on by the jouissance of others; this could be because the thought of taking on phallic power terrifies me, or it could just be – who I am. It’s the jouissance of a film director, with some elements of the clinical psychologist, and the pleasure of a bottom.

    But what’s been endlessly fascinating to me in our collaboration is that some completely unrelated characters came together into a heterogenous space of desire – for example, the Lafayette which you constantly make out to be Gavin Elster, is really just Lafayette, a bloke I met on Lenininini’s Graveyard – and while not just their tastes, but their very desires, completely miss the mark in relation to each other, they still got entangled in such intense and vile passions, that at some point it became a brilliant show. Here I realized that David Lynch completely had a point about those cameras that take on a life of their own, in Inland Empire.

    Tiringly however you cling to some division between your ‘physical reality’ (you call yourself ‘Patrick’ as a way of affirming the ‘realness’ of your ‘identity’) and ‘fantasy’ (as represented by the supposed Trolls), while clearly this division collapsed even before the advent of digital media.

    That said, there is a group of commenters operant at the CPC who are however NOT Trolls, but members of Dominique Fox’s and Comrade Fisher’s respective covens, tho I think these two have by now melded into one coven. This impression I get from an analysis of the statistics last year; everything seems to come from the geographical regions in England where these vipers reside. Lafayette’s IP is always the same, and he has a distinct style of writing as well.

    As for us, I don’t know about those differing tastes. You’re the only person I know who immediately grasped the power of French and Saunders. And though you believe that I never read your cultural comments, I have always carefully followed everything you suggest – even when I completely didn’t like it. I really actually took an interest in Graham, in the Marienbad, and in your musical opinions too.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    • I call myself ‘Patrick’ even when I use ‘rififi’ or ‘illegal dances’, i.e., I’m always known. You find that ‘tiring’ all you want, that’s the way it’s going to be.

      The whole thing is dispiriting, disgusting, and unfulfilling.

      “But you err when you think that this gives me sadistic pleasure (‘the tortutainment’). That’s all in your feverish mind. A sadist would jerk off and climax watching you as you jump off the tower, over and over again. ”

      You do that, just not literally, because you don’t care to jerk off. But you have gotten pleasure from all the ‘madeleines’ you’ve pulled. And mine weren’t really that anyway. The worst thing about Harman is that he made the word ‘sincere’ something suspect. It’s actually a valuable distinction, it’s something I always end up valuing, and you don’t. In that way you are like Nick Land, who doesn’t give a shit about it either, but is astonished that I would have liked him anyway, knowing that he’s not the least bit sincere. Dominic is sincere insofar as our personal interaction has gone. As for ‘covens of kpunk and dominic’, of course the former has operated against me at your bleug, but you always encouraged it. Dominic probably used to, but that’s gone–he’s not worried about what kpunk thinks, even though they’re friends, as far as I know (and Michael definitely not with kpunk, but this is penny-ante stuff.)


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 3:23 pm

      • I didn’t mean I ‘hate you’, or anything like that. It’s just that there’s nothing else for me to do with you, because the trolls have a habit of always coming, I don’t have control over the machinery (only you do), and you do always cooperate with the trolls. Not to mention that even the best have never once defended me against the trolls; instead, when the one pretended to, he turned out to have been a troll himself. Now he has come out as the castrated figure he is, and Arpege is applauding. So, even though I have been given some partially helpful directives here and there, it has not been able to leave any of it in just a ‘purely online experience’, and I’m just tired of being insulted by you and your troll(s). And you always have this prerogative while you alone control, as with your ‘film director’s personality’, or what have you.
        Glad you liked the show, but I don’t know why it’s taken you so long to realize that there’s nothing in it for me. As for getting off on the ‘jouissance of others’, yes, you got off on the troll’s Torturetainment, whether it was Nick, kpunk, traxus, michael, or whoever, and you always cooperated with them, because you never thought, no matter how much you’ve claimed it, that there was anything but ‘bad romance’ going on. In that you were right, but I didn’t know it.

        What condemns you is, rather, that you were right that it was ‘bad romance’, but you always encouraged it as well, and you continue to, are doing so right now, just don’t say so, that’s the new strategy.

        Mainly, you have control of the hardware, I don’t. So that’s that. You can take that job and shove it.


        Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  38. Now actually the only part of the show that I have always found dreadfully boring is the part where you want to BE ACCEPTED BY THE ENGLISH LORDSHIPS. Neither Dominique nor K-punk have better and more loyal fans amongst the royalty, than YOU, and you have with all your lingerie always wanted Nick Land to tell you, hey, Patrick, welcome to the club. I cannot imagine a stupider desire, and yet you’ve thrown yourself off the tower so many times for it. Maybe only slightly less stupid is to want, at your age, to be the poodle of some vacuous Heiress like Miz Klein, and feather her labia.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 3:31 pm

    • I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but you sound as if YOU DO. I’ve NEVER been a fan of k-punk, NEVER, and became a fan of Dominic only because I realized he really can write poetry and is interested in music. ‘among the royalty’, WHAT royalty? ‘Nick Land say hey, patrick, welcome to the club’. WHAT FUCKING CLUB? That’s what the troll was saying about ‘intransigence’ the other day, and THAT is where the delusion is. You mean the Urbanomic Club with Robin and Nick and Reza, which I could easily spy on on March 11? Because that it ‘Nick Land’s Club’. kpunk is his less-liked protege personally, although I can see why they don’t. But you don’t even read my posts. BUT–it’s still as if you think there really IS a club that ‘Nick Land’ is the head of. To my knowledge, there’s NOT. So how the fuck would I know to want to be in it. And even so, you still use the Madeleine imagery, because of your own basic malice–malice being maybe normal some of the time, but yours does seem to be dominant.

      Thank god I bought those groupons for this restaurant in Little Italy…Don’t know when I’ll use all of them, though. Do you use these, John? Because, to my great surprise, they are FANTASTIC for some things like good restaurants, as in this one place it’s $15 for $35 worth of food and drink, so I bought three. I thought it was just for clip joints like Olive Garden, etc., but the Groupon is a charming invention if you don’t look at it too often (rather like gambling that way.)


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    • I believe I bought the groupons only once. I got my money’s worth and patronized some places I had previously either ignored or never heard of.

      …No, I looked online and I was thinking of something else. I’ve never done groupons. The website doesn’t list Boulder, so I guess it’s not available here.


      Comment by ktismatics — 17 February 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  39. I don’t have control over the machinery (only you do),

    This is just a lie, I have several times opened a joint account and sent you the passwords, which you never used.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    • You’ve done so once, and it didn’t work, I assume that was meant on purpose. Obviously I would have used them, and asked for them many times, but not for some years. That’s your only option.


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  40. I have just sent you the codes again – if you tell me this time it ”didn’t work”, then you’re just lying,
    because I have sent the same ones I use to log in.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    • No, I couldn’t get the cookies enabled, so it doesn’t work. I worked on it for an hour and can’t get them out of Firefox or Explorer. Yes, I received your info, but no ‘it didn’t work’, at least I can’t get it to yet, and I don’t want to stay inside.


      Comment by Patrick — 17 February 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  41. I see that Traxus has launched a new blog. I haven’t read either post, the second of which is daunting in length. I wonder why he decided that American Stranger no longer served the purpose.


    Comment by ktismatics — 17 February 2011 @ 5:30 pm

  42. God the only thing he has on the blawgroll is Missuz, Missuz and Missuz. He’s even deeper into wimmin slavery than I thought.

    I stopped reading already at the point where he got the brilliant idea to come up with ”It’s easier to imagine the end of love than the end of monogamy”,
    which rings especially hollow since his heart belongs to Qlipoth.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  43. and Qlipoth only.


    Comment by parody center — 17 February 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    • he was always unquestionably working for Arpege, and possibly for Nick and Arpege–whether opposed or that they were also working together is not known to me. He gave the impression that he ‘couldn’t decide’. A lot of people have been having to ‘decide’ lately. This is much better. You know, the constant compromising that is mostly done on the bleugs is like that of course, which is why I don’t care to try the ‘keys to your city’ anymore, however appreciating the offer: It proved you finally understood the ‘multiple madeleine jumps’. But traxus’s new blogroll is definitely mostly Arpege. He used to say the ‘leninino’ was somewhere ‘in between’ the two extremes of Arpege and Nick, both of whom I found him writing for. The fact that he’s finally ‘decided’ may not be a happy decision he’s made, but he had little choice, because he liked ‘to do both’, or that was my impression. As such, he’s as powerful as neither, so therefore the only interesting riddle is whether Arpege and Nick have worked on sometning somehow. Obliquely, yes, because she tried to intervene literally in machinations I had to do, because her quest for ‘bleug power’ knows no bounds, as far as I can tell. Frankly, I doubt it, but Nick is stuck with the limitations of what you can do from China, whether or not he thinks ‘observing capitalist accelerationist pistons’ is ‘enough’. All he really knows about me, therefore, that is germane to his project, is that I don’t think that is ‘enough’. Arpege is ‘running things’ in her tiny orbit, and traxus is part of that. It’s very interesting to remember his writings at Hyperstition, and also how he was not impressed with Nick at all (or didn’t seem to be, except in his interest in some of the sci-fi). What was the most difficult to assess was whether he was, in fact, doing some of the serious ‘trolling’ at CPC, and his performance is quite extensive, though not particularly impressive (it would seem to be, because he managed to get a little way into my house, but not very far, which is interesting). It’s understandable, and I accept it well-enough, he had to decide whether he would embrace the Hypocritical Marxism of Arpege as the most comfortable position he could take or not. That really was all, and he wasn’t prepared to make that decision by himself. When I told someone that he ‘had been sent’, this intelligent person said “ah, come on, Patrick, you don’t think really he was ‘sent’ to you by the 9/11 conspiracy cabal”. But in an almost literal sense he was, because he always cooperated with them explicitly in a way he did not cooperate with Nick. Whether he also cooperated with Nick (as ‘mutual useful idiots’ I imagine so, but don’t know, Nick wouldn’t care, I think, and isn’t too worried about various outcomes, but he had written to them both. He also spent about 6 months in Shanghai, although he said he never met Nick, but I have no reason to believe this or not. With traxus, you never know. I merely informed him recently that ‘you will never ever see me again’, because there have been those who have warned me against his treachery, and I didn’t believe it. Fortunately, what he saw was not what he wanted to see, but rather what he DESIRED to see, but that just pissed him off. But that was before he got into my house. I suppose that was better than anyone else doing that, because they’d have been more dangerous. He’s really okay, just has had trouble defining what his position is, and in the end, you are right, he ‘fought Arpege’ as best he could about 2 months ago, then gave it up, because it was easier. I used to do a version of that, but then I realized that Arpege’s ‘art knowledge’ was far less than even the less-erudite people on the ballet board, which was the result of her primarily not being useful as a foil to Nick–who, in the end, was, if nothing else, more interesting than either one of them was. The ‘disaffected Lord Fox’, as you call him, was far cooler than you realized, although he’s not really as ‘upper-class’ as you seem to want to think. And this talk of ‘the English lords’ is absurd, because I think all of them are versions or middle-class. I tend to be anglophilic because they are very good at real English at all levels, and of course ‘lord fox’ is, in fact, aristocratic in terms of education, though not of birth. But the others can’t even countenance those ‘elitist’ or ‘semi-elitist’ things. Your ‘Lord Fox’ has been exposed to all this, and is not nearly so judgmental, even if he doesn’t fully identify. He’s very good at keeping a lot of things in reserve, and therefore has emerged as the one with the most potential. Nick has the talent, but doesn’t make it clear that he wants to do anything that isn’t overtly reckless, or alternatively, too cautious. So that ought to explain sometning about these odd machinations. I’d post this at CPC, but it’s too exhausting to have to deal with the lafayette, who always wants to get me involved with things I don’t have that much time for; with you, it can be simple, and you can just have an unemotional conversation.)

      I’ll copy this anyway, in case John decides it’s too ‘not-his-bleug’, and there’s no way to post it as Mikhail’s. You’re better off with just lafayette, you know. You did it for some 6 months, while I was working the Chinese bleug (although stupidly letting the Taiwanese in on the whole thing, which he of course wanted. Several of us have had to find out about Arpege the hard way, and it says something none too good that we do. I absolutely oppose her. The others, yes-no, wishy-washy, they’re okay, but Arpege, forget it, there’s something seriously SUBVERSIVE about her, and that’s why she would never let you claim that anything about Lynch, et alia, was subversive. She has claim to subversion, and is going to keep it–she knows she has leninino’s ear, for example, without having to move from her TeeVee Dinner.)


      Comment by idnyc — 19 February 2011 @ 12:23 am

  44. Speaking of the ‘groomed look’, this is one of the ultimates I’ve ever seen of the Urbane Man, and easily the handsomest photo I’ve ever seen of George Balanchine. He’s up there with Gary Cooper in this one. That’s Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers’s first lyricist, with him:



    Comment by idnyc — 18 February 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  45. Cross-posted from the CPC: one of the cumming attractions I’m preparing is THE WHITE SWAN, which starts with a corrupted Eloise, given to alcohol, amphetamines and Viagra, wreaking havoc on 12-step recovery groups in Boulder and just generally being an anarchic ass. Then she is offered a role in Kenzie’s highschool adaptation of ”The White Swan”, and the White Swan begins to emerge. Eloise becomes a successful romance novelist, and the star of the Country Club. Tagline: ”I just don’t want to succeed”


    Comment by parody center — 19 February 2011 @ 11:04 pm

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