Ktismatics

2 June 2011

On Bullshit by Frankfurt, 2005

Filed under: Culture, First Lines, Language — ktismatics @ 2:56 pm

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry. In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.

[. . .]

Undoubtedly, much humbug is pretentious. So far as concerns bullshit, moreover, “pretentious bullshit” is close to being a stock phrase. But I am inclined to think that when bullshit is pretentious, this happens because pretentiousness is its motive rather than a constitutive element of its essence. The fact that a person is behaving pretentiously is not, it seems to me, part of what is required to make his utterance an instance of bullshit. It is often, to be sure, what accounts for his making that utterance. However, it must not be assumed that bullshit always and necessarily has pretentiousness as its motive.

[. . .]

It does seem fitting to construe carelessly made, shoddy goods as in some way analogues of bullshit. But in what way? Is the resemblance that bullshit itself is invariably produced in a careless or self-indulgent manner, that it is never finely crafted, that in the making of it there is never the meticulously attentive concern with detail? Is the bullshitter by his very nature a mindless slob? Is his product necessarily messy or unrefined? The word shit does, to be sure, suggest this. Excrement is not designed or crafted at all; it is merely emitted, or dumped. It may have a more or less coherent shape, or it may not, but it is in any case certainly not wrought.

The notion of carefully wrought bullshit involves, then, a certain inner strain. Thoughtful attention to detail requires discipline and objectivity. It entails accepting standards and limitations that forbid the indulgence of impulse or whim. It is this selflessness that, in connection with bullshit, strikes us as inapposite. But in fact it is not out of the question at all. The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept. And in these realms there are exquisitely sophisticated craftsmen who — with the help of advanced and demanding techniques of market research, of public opinion polling, of psychological testing, and so forth — dedicate themselves tirelessly to getting every word and image they produce exactly right.

[. . .]

It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.

[. . .]

The alternative to telling a lie is “bullshitting one’s way through.” This involves not merely producing one instance of bullshit; it involves a program of producing bullshit to whatever extent the circumstances require. Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to avoid the consequences of having that point occupied by the truth. This requires a degree of craftsmanship, in which the teller of the lie submits to objective constraints imposed by what he takes to be the truth. The liar is inescapably concerned with truth-values. In order to invent a lie at all, he must think he knows what is true. And in order to invent an effective lie, he must design his falsehood under the guidance of that truth.

On the other hand, a person who undertakes to bullshit his way through has much more freedom. His focus is panoramic rather than particular. He does not limit himself to inserting a certain falsehood at a specific point, and thus he is not constrained by the truths surrounding that point or intersecting it. He is prepared, so far as required, to fake the context as well. This freedom from the constraints to which the liar must submit does not necessarily mean, of course, that his task is easier than the task of the liar. but the mode of creativity upon which it relies is less analytical and less deliberate than that which is mobilized in lying. It is more expansive and independent, with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color, and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the “bullshit artist.”

[. . .]

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

[. . .]

For most people, the fact that a statement is false constitutes in itself a reason, however weak and easily overridden, not to make the statement. For the bullshitter it is in itself neither a reason in favor nor a reason against. Both in lying and in telling the truth people are guided by their beliefs concerning the way things are. These guide them as they endeavor to describe the world correctly or to describe it deceitfully. For this reason, telling lies does not tend to unfit a person for telling the truth in the same way that bullshitting tends to. Through excessive indulgence in the latter activity, which involves making assertions without paying attention to anything except what it suits oneself to say, a person’s normal habit of attending to the way things are may become attenuated or lost. Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

One who is concerned to report or to conceal the facts assumes that there are indeed facts that are in some way both determinate and knowable. His interest in telling the truth or in lying presupposes that there is a difference between getting things wrong and getting them right, and that it is at least occasionally possible to tell the difference. Someone who ceases to believe in the possibility of identifying certain statements as true and others as false can have only two alternatives. The first is to desist both from efforts to tell the truth and from efforts to deceive. This would mean refraining from any assertion whatever about the facts. The second alternative is to continue making assertions that purport to describe the way things are, but that cannot be anything except bullshit.

[. . .]

The contemporary proliferation of bullshit has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These “antirealist” doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry.

Advertisements

166 Comments »

  1. “The word shit does, to be sure, suggest this. Excrement is not designed or crafted at all; it is merely emitted, or dumped. It may have a more or less coherent shape, or it may not, but it is in any case certainly not wrought.”

    That’s the only interesting observation, which I just managed to get through only out of my respect for you…this is very commonplace, and will definitely get more hits and comments, I imagine, than even the Shining and its rusted haloes…but the observation is interesting because that’s where we see the source: He’s WRONG. Shit IS wrought. He’s so anal-retentive he wouldn’t see it. It’s just like brown is sometimes called a ‘shit colour’ (yes, that was one of Mulisch’s things in the book about Hitler, the predominance of brown as shit colour), not mixed cleanly the way the others are, but it’s just as much a colour as they are even so, or painters wouldn’t use it. And the other colours aren’t ‘wrought’ any more than brown is.

    I hope this headache-inducing post brings you many happy returns. It reminded me of something most delicious in my temp work career. I was sharing an office with a heaven black lady from the Bronx at the disgusting Brooklyn Family Court, where there was all sorts of screaming and yelling, and drugs hidden in the shrubbery outside by defendants and lawyers alike. After a few days we bonded totally, and made it fun. At some point I discovered that some supervisor had tacked up this paper with some figure of concentric circles with some writing on it. There was a little paragraph of explanatory text, and this was about how we say about a task ‘I’ll get around to it’. The concentric circles were made of about 300 + little segments, each of which said ‘a round tuit’. I had never been so disgusted in my life, and I said ‘Elaine, we do not NEED this shit.’ And she said “Patrick, I agree, we do NOT need this shit. Don’ nobody waunna be heah anyway.” She said that every day already, which always made things better.

    So we fuckin threw it in the garbage, and in a few days, our supervisor asked us about it (she never could keep the Xerox fixed for the yelling attorneys). Elaine said to her “Jane, we have decided that we no longer have need of this in our office”. And I said “Who needs some crap about ’round tuits’?” And even then this supervisor (who was herself not at all mean, and needed it taken down too, but wouldn’t have known to) said “Well, you know, it really is true though, isn’t it?” And Elaine said “Well, I don’t know, but we felt strongly that we did not want a Round Tuit in our office”. The thing gave me the same headache that reading this entire post did. Elaine was so canny she organized a whole party for herself after I quit the place at MY apartment! Of course, things like ‘Round tuits’ are made to keep slave mentalities intact, while pretending to promote morale. Some time after that, Jane was furiously struggling with a file cabinet at floor level, and her little ass stuck straight up, and Elaine said “Patrick, just look at that. Isn’t that sump’m?”

    Like

    Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 2 June 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    • “it’s intended as a resource for some of the philobloggers who are slogging it out elsewhere.”

      LOL…

      i agree my tales were neither pretentious nor trivial, but I forgot to add that, since you did not see the original Brooklyn Artwork, I probably need to elucidate its most telling idiocy: Each concentric circle held from 3 to maybe 30 or 35 of the little segments. These you were invited to tear off for you own use at your desk, and they had already been perforated a little to make it more tempting. They were all the same size: A curved little almost-rectangular piece of paper about 2″ x 1/4″, and each bore the legend ‘a Round Tuit’. There is a certain kind of Happy Worker who would be put a little smiley on it and be at peace with the message alone, content in one’s ‘good attitude’ that it brought with its well-intentioned, yet poor craftsmanship…

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 2 June 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    • It’s particularly sad that these disks had to be labeled “a round tuit” instead of just “tuit.”

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 2 June 2011 @ 9:36 pm

  2. According to Frankfurt these reminiscences you’ve offered aren’t bullshit-slinging at all: they might be trivial, but they are true. They don’t even strike me as pretentious, and they do make a point, viz. the tedious banality lurking behind the cuteness of making fine discriminations in slang terms. The source is an essay, written by an academic philosopher something like 30 years ago, that was published just 5 years ago as a book, even though it’s only about 10K words long. I remember seeing it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble when it came out — apparently it was a hit in the philosophy genre.

    Whether this post gets hits or not, it’s intended as a resource for some of the philobloggers who are slogging it out elsewhere. I thought was pretty good actually, especially the parts I quoted. I think there’s plenty of value in bullshit. When I write fiction I don’t pretend that it’s some sort of disguised mythic truth: it’s systematic invention, and if I do it well then I’d be happy to be recognized as a good bullshit artist. Frankfurt’s real target is the philosophical bullshitter. I’m happy for Deleuze and Lacan and Zizek to write whatever they want, as long as I don’t waste my time trying to figure out whether it’s true, when that’s not even the intent. Call them speculative fictions without plot or characters, not unlike something by Borges or Calvino. Just make them inventively well-wrought rather than amorphously shitty.

    Regarding the wroughtness of shit, we once spent a couple of days and nights in Montecatini Terme, a Tuscan spa town where one takes the waters orally for colonic cleansing purposes. The toilets feature flat platforms just beneath the rim so the spa-goers can subject their bowel movements to close inspection — classes were probably offered in what to look for, and maybe also in how to craft well-wrought movements. I drank only one glassful of the brackish water so I didn’t enjoy the full benefit. People strolled the grounds while a band played under the gazebo. Sadly, we were issued only clear plastic glasses to dip water from the springs — a silver loving cup or short-handled ladle seemed more fitting. The hotel in town was elegant but personable: the front desk people always greeted us by name, and the restaurant kept a table reserved for us at dinner whether we ate there or not. Believe it or not, it’s the only place I’ve even gotten a massage. We tried to leave a tip when we checked out but the staff would have none of it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 June 2011 @ 7:28 pm

    • People won’t concede that shit itself is well-wrought even when amorphous because they are afraid of it, precisely because of its general lack of exchange value, and even has use value only as a kind of afterthought, in that there could have been a ‘worse-than’ situation had it not been produced. Shit is wonderful that way, and very butch. It’s not for sissies, which bullshit often is.

      Delighted you went to a Tuscan spa that wouldn’t accept gratuities, but I have found that Metamucil or the Rite-Aid form are really all one needs in order to be like Diogenes.

      Like

      Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 3 June 2011 @ 10:11 am

  3. Here’s some bullshit from Zizek:

    In a famous scene from Buñuel’s Phantom of Liberty, the roles of eating and excreting are inverted: people sit at toilets around a table, chatting pleasantly, and when they want to eat, sneak away to a small room. So, as a supplement to Lévi-Strauss, one is tempted to propose that shit can also serve as a matière-à-penser: the three basic types of toilet form an excremental correlative-counterpoint to the Lévi-Straussian triangle of cooking (the raw, the cooked and the rotten). In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, i.e. shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finally, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these opposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected. No wonder that in the famous discussion of European toilets at the beginning of her half-forgotten Fear of Flying, Erica Jong mockingly claims that ‘German toilets are really the key to the horrors of the Third Reich. People who can build toilets like this are capable of anything.’ It is clear that none of these versions can be accounted for in purely utilitarian terms: each involves a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 June 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  4. So anyhow, if this post had attracted readers and commenters from elsewhere, it would have been in the context of some remarks Levi Bryant made “On the Function of Philosophy”:

    Some people seem to think that the function of philosophy is to rigorously ground claims so as to get at The Truth(tm). It is beyond truth or falsehood in the referential sense, instead striving to think the sense of its Time. With Badiou I thus hold that Truths always come from elsewhere, outside of philosophy, from politics, art, love, and science. Philosophy has no Truths of its own and is thus a sort of empty square that travels an aleatory course throughout history…

    Concepts are not representations, nor are they ideas in minds. Rather, they are lenses and tools. They are apparatuses, every bit as tangible and real as hammers. It makes as much sense to ask “is this concept true?” as it does to ask “is a hammer true?” Drawing a concept from Ryle, this question constitutes a category mistake. And it is a category mistake that constitutes some of the most tiresome and fascistically terrifying attitudes in all of philosophy. Everywhere with this question of whether a concept is true, whether it represents the world, we encounter the desire to police, dominate, subordinate, and render subservient. Like Kafka’s Court or Castle, these philosophical technologies everywhere seek to trap, ensnare, halt, and limit. They create the illusion of free movement and autonomy, while everywhere weaving a semantic web about engagement seeking to fix it. The question “is it true?” is the insecure and narcissitic fantasy of academic philosophy wishing to redeem itself by functioning as master discipline, legislator, and judge of all other disciplines, practices, and experiences. The artist, physicist, ethnographer, and activist get along just fine without this type of “philosopher” to examine their papers. The proper questions when encountering a hammer is not “is it true?”, but rather “what does it do?”, “what can I do with it?”, “is it put together well for these tasks?”

    Graham Harman explicitly endorses these ideas on his own blog. The question then becomes: are they expressly endorsing philosophical “bullshit” in Frankfurt’s sense? Clearly they are. Is that a good thing? There are differences of opinion, as expressed most recently on this thread, to which Bryant’s post is apparently a response.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 6:22 am

    • Today I was in a modern art exhibition in Munich: Twombly, Warhol, Beuys, Baselitz and so on. Right after that we went to a shop in the gallery which sells art books and post-cards. When you look for bullshit you can mine it there. There is a German word for this, I like better than “bullshit” and it is also less anal-retentive: “Geschwurbel”, which is close to gibberish – “Geschwafel” -, but whereas “Geschwafel” is just stupid talk, “Schwurbel” or “Geschwurbel” has a pompous intellectual sound. You can be a complete idiot for producing Geschwafel, but Schwurbel requires higher education.

      The question then becomes: are they expressly endorsing philosophical “bullshit” in Frankfurt’s sense? Clearly they are.

      It doesn’t come at a surprise since Levi’s text is also an example for Geschwurbel.

      Like

      Comment by Kay — 3 June 2011 @ 9:53 am

    • “The artist, physicist, ethnographer, and activist get along just fine without this type of “philosopher” to examine their papers. ”

      As well they should! in addition, philosophers are guilty at nearly every turn of shoddy craftsmanship, and may have often even gone into the profession due to a lack of technique. That ‘video’ I showed you a couple of weeks ago was really sorry-ass, and I certainly don’t mean Stephane’s!

      Like

      Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 3 June 2011 @ 10:34 am

    • I saw Harry Frankfurt speak at an undergraduate philosophy conference in which I took part back in 2008. His topic was “moral inadvertency,” a intentionalist, non-consequentialist account of morality. I was fairly unconvinced, and frankly thought that Frankfurt himself was rather full of shit. His little tract On Bullshit is entertaining enough, though irritatingly self-indulgent.

      Levi’s post on truth and the “function” of philosophy is a neat example of bullshit. He casually dismisses of the importance of truth-claims or the need to strive for the Truth (in the Platonic, ideal sense) as

      [one] of the most tiresome and fascistically terrifying attitudes in all of philosophy. Everywhere the question of whether a concept is true, whether it represents the world, we encounter the desire to police, dominate, subordinate, and render subservient.

      Bryant’s invocation of “fascism” is made all the more ironic by the fact that historically, political fascism everywhere sought to displace the question of Truth by substituting for it the primacy of the Will — mortal and racial “struggle” and militaristic self-discipline.

      Of course, in the most banal sense, Bryant is correct that a concept considered in itself cannot be deemed “true” or “false,” unless the logical elements that compose the concept are in explicit contradiction with one another. But at the basest level, truth-claims are meant only to be used to assess propositions. If someone asserts something to be real, then his statement can be judged to be true or false based on its correspondence with reality. If someone makes a set of hypothetical propositions, their truth or falsity can be judged based on their logical self-coherence.

      When it comes to concepts, however, their application to objects of thought or of the world may be called into question. A bare concept by itself cannot be judged to be legitimate or illegitimate without its being applied to an object. Once this happens, the question of whether it adequately describes the phenomenon, whether it is appropriate to the matter at hand, these questions can be understood as whether a conceptual statement is true or false, justified or unjustified.

      The language of a “function” of philosophy reminds one of the American pragmatist school, or perhaps functionalist sociology (in the Parsonian vein). Conceptual interpretations of the world are supposedly not to be assessed on the basis of whether they are true or not, but by a rather different “criterion.” Does this conceptual interpretation of the world “work”? This is consistent with my accusation that Bryant’s philosophizing is little more than sloppy bricolage.

      But insofar as this leads to the mindless proliferation of useless or bizarre concepts, loose speculations about “dark objects” or “rogue objects,” piddling little pseudo-insights that are supposedly earth-shattering, freelance philosophical improv and rhetorical sleight of hand, such sophistries can be rightfully subjected to merciless, unsparing criticism. And if it is “authoritarian” to ask for the justification of conceptual interpretations of reality, to demand the systematically-coherent elaboration of one’s worldview, then I suppose I am an authoritarian. Perhaps Bryant should be free to indulge in his careless, amateur philosophizing — but make no mistake about it: his is the metaphysics of dunces.

      Like

      Comment by Ross Wolfe — 9 June 2011 @ 8:57 am

    • Did you see Reid Kane’s post on Planomenology critiquing Bryant’s analogy between truth-seeking and the Inquisition?

      Bryant has gotten fairly consistent in dismissing the relationship between statements and the realities to which they refer. In his flat ontology statements are themselves real in their own right, as real as hammers. A statement that I might make about the birds at the feeder outside my window isn’t my description of the world; rather, the statement is a product of an extended mind consisting of me, the window, and the outdoor scene. If I take off my glasses, so that I can no longer see the feeder or the birds, it’s not that I now have a less accurate view of the world; rather, it’s that the self-glasses-environment reality is just different from the self-no-glasses-environment reality. On recommendation I’ve recently started reading Truth: A Guide by Simon Blackburn, which positions Bryant’s version of realism in a tradition going back through Rorty and James and Nietzsche and Protagoras.

      You’ve probably discerned that, in the blog realism wars, the main realist adversaries of Bryant and Harman are Reid and Pete from Deontologists. Both of them insist that, if one is to speak about reality and be taken seriously, one must arrive at an epistemological basis for evaluating the truth of one’s claims about reality. If one can speak truly about reality, then it must be possible also to speak falsely about reality. Truth-seeking and truth-speaking must be subject to normative practices whereby errors can be detected and corrected. If one really wishes to speak of something like objective truth, one must establish norms of truthfulness not just on social practice but on something that corresponds with reality itself. Brandom becomes the main philosopher of interest in establishing something like transcendental norms of truth that don’t turn into idealism. It should be noted also that Ray Brassier, who explicitly doesn’t philosophize on blogs, aligns himself in a similar way, notwithstanding what I found to be the difficult and almost mystical position expressed in his Nihil Unbound. As I said on your blog, I have little philosophical background, but the epistemological norms of Brandom and company support empirical truth-seeking practices that don’t devolve into Kuhnian social constructivism, as well as empirical psychological dismantling of naive physics, so I’m on board.

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 9 June 2011 @ 11:02 am

      • Yeah, I just saw it. Thanks for alerting me to its existence. Reid is a fabulous writer and thinker, and his confrontation (along with Pete) of prominent OOOists like Harman and Bryant has been nothing short of heroic. There are exist normative structures of discourse that are regulated not only by happenstance and social convention, but are related to requirements of rational and communicative thought. I hope not to come off as too much of a Habermasian right there, but I believe, along with Kant, that there must exist rules implicit to the structure of reasonability that make certain statements or the deployment of certain concepts in certain contexts permissible. Now this field can be expanded to include a number of different modes of discourse, from the empirical to the transcendental to the dialectical and ontological, each with their own terminologies and methods of argumentation. But we can’t allow things to get so sloppy that anything and everything flies with or without justification. For example, if I ever argue with someone who fundamentally rejects any of Aristotle’s three laws of identity, non-contradiction, and the excluded middle, they can just fuck off — because their thoughts will never enter the domain of rationality.

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 10 June 2011 @ 9:20 am

      • Yeah yeah, they’re heroes, but what about MY heroics? Take this post for instance, written after Levi tried to argue that seeing with glasses isn’t just “different” from seeing without glasses, but that they constitute two different umwelts. Oh yes, I understand that philosophers regard themselves as higher on the status hierarchy — the “heroarchy”? — than mere empiricists. And yes, I do encourage and even participate in speculative bullshit that has at most a tenuous connection with truth. Still, do not the unsung heroes long to hear the song break forth in their honor?

        But yes, I agree with your evaluation, Ross. Levi has explicitly described himself as a craftsman of ideational tools, to be evaluated according to norms of utility rather than truth. So I think there’s no use arguing with him based on logic or evidence from the world, since he’s positioned himself outside the parameters of that sort of argument. But useful for what: inspiration, collegial conversation, creativity, propaganda, salesmanship, entertainment, power? Levi doesn’t say. A hammer can be used to build a house or to smash it down, for erecting a fence to keep out the Mexicans or for reinforcing a tunnel to let them in. I think Levi should declare his intentions: OOO is useful for what?

        Your recent particular heroism, Ross, derived from putting Levi’s feet to the fire about what Marx truly said, and then posting that hilarious and caustic Manifesto. Voices that had gone silent were heard again in the land. The anti-OOO resistance may have gone underground, but occasionally it flares up. Ironically (or is it paradoxically?), Michael’s quote of Adorno on Reid’s blog may prove accurate in the case of the resistance:

        “What has been cast aside but not absorbed theoretically will often yield its truth content only later. It festers as a sore on the prevailing health; this will lead back to it in changed situations.”

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 10 June 2011 @ 10:30 am

      • Indeed, I was unaware of your heroism in these affairs. What nonsense, the notion that in taking one’s glasses on and off, one is thereby transported into two separate “environments,” and not that one is just a more detail-enhanced version of the other. As someone who has worked for months now with optical zoom lenses in digitizing microfiche, I can positively attest to the fact that what I see beneath the 100x magnification zoom is simply highly refracted light exhibiting the same reality that would be otherwise invisible to us. If he was talking about digital zoom, he might have made a half-interesting point, because digital zoom only “guesses” what detailed objects would look like if further enlarged.

        Regarding that particular quote from Adorno, I must admit that it is one that I hold dearest to my heart. You have no idea how strange it was seeing it invoked in defense of something I find theoretically indefensible. Michael, Adam, and Matt (the three OOO understudies, it would seem) seem somewhat receptive to my relentless barrage of critiques, even if they cling to some of the metaphysical mishmash concocted by Bryant et al. If I may invoke Jakob Friedrich Fries’ one glorious and just statement (I otherwise despise the man) regarding Hegel’s ultraconservative Philosophy of Right:

        “[Bryant]’s metaphysical mushroom has grown not in the garden of science but atop the dunghill of servility.”

        You’re right to question what particular utility Bryant’s philosophy could possibly serve. I don’t deny that concepts can be useful, and I in fact agree that by themselves (notwithstanding their application to objects) concepts are neither inherently true nor false, unless the concept contains within itself a contradiction. But if Bryant’s not interested in “using” his arsenal of neologisms and innovative concepts to make true statements about the world, then what is he using them for? As you suggested — entertainment? Nourishment? Building? Who can really know?

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 10 June 2011 @ 1:17 pm

      • I’ve just finished reading Levi’s latest post in which he attempts to clarify his contention that concepts are tools. Sorry, but no sale. I understand that truths about the world often prove useful — if I know that it’s raining outside I’m going to grab the umbrella before I head out the door. But I also understand that falsehoods about the world can also prove useful — liars are usually motivated by the pursuit of some ulterior end. So usefulness isn’t much of an ontological arbiter in my book, unless it’s useful for understanding the nature of the world. Then Levi writes something about how big concepts like “reality” are different from ordinary words like “rain,” so different evaluation criteria apply. A whole bunch of other stuff comes along about feral philosophers and philosophical personae, until finally we get to the last paragraph. “So what’s the gripe with representation and truth?” it begins. As best I can tell, it’s that truth-seekers are disappointing, sad, power-hungry, inquisitorial, noxious, tired, distracted, fatigued, and — worst of all — boring and trite. That might all be true (sic), but “at the end of the day” I don’t give a fuck about the personality flaws of someone who actually discovers something true about the world. Increasingly this is sounding like the discourse of a desperate man who’s just digging a deeper hole for himself.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 10 June 2011 @ 9:38 pm

      • Yes, I must say that I remain perplexed by Levi’s attempt to clarify his meaning of concepts as tools to be applied without respect for the idea of arriving at true or valid statements about reality. But what else can we really expect from someone like Bryant? His whole method of philosophy is founded upon the idea of baseless speculation and vaguely suggestive rhetorical gestures. Levi’s “onticology” is symptomatic of a philosophy which has substituted the desire to appear “interesting” and “innovative” or “groundbreaking” in place of the search for truth.

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 10 June 2011 @ 11:53 pm

      • I don’t want to wade in to the debates around OOO etc., but I wanted to remark, in response to your comments above, ktismatics, that to get to this:

        If one can speak truly about reality, then it must be possible also to speak falsely about reality. Truth-seeking and truth-speaking must be subject to normative practices whereby errors can be detected and corrected.

        One doesn’t necessarily require this:

        If one really wishes to speak of something like objective truth, one must establish norms of truthfulness not just on social practice but on something that corresponds with reality itself. Brandom becomes the main philosopher of interest in establishing something like transcendental norms of truth that don’t turn into idealism.

        Or, put another way, I think the opposition here between “social practice” and “something that corresponds with reality itself” is a false one. What one needs are social practices that enable objective reference – social practices that are appropriately responsive to reality itself – but one doesn’t need anything beyond social practice to get at that; one just needs the right social practices.

        I think it’s perfectly possible, in other words, to give an account of how normative social practices can enable both their own normativity and permit objective reference to an objective world, without requiring that this account rely on transcendental norms, or indeed on anything beyond social practice and its biological underpinnings.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 11 June 2011 @ 3:08 am

      • This is the direction you’re taking your work, Duncan, isn’t it? In my thumbnail sketch I was trying to characterize a group of philosophers whose ontological work is particularly visible in the blogs. You are part of this heroic group too, though you’re trying find alternatives to the transcendental claims of Brandom.

        “one doesn’t need anything beyond social practice to get at that; one just needs the right social practices.”

        How does one evaluate the “rightness” of social practices for evaluating the truth of a statement, image, perception, etc. without reference to that which it purports to be true about? You, Pete, and I had a conversation at Ktismatics once about scientific norms of truth-testing, in which agreed-upon methodological standards are referenced to evaluate the degree to which some set of empirical findings support or refute a particular hypothesis about the world. The mismatch between findings and hypothesis is then used to investigate whether it’s attributable to faulty data collection, flaws in the hypothesis, or irreducibly random noise in the data. I.e., the norm is used as a guide for scientists to close the gaps between their ideas about reality and reality itself. Less often it becomes apparent that there are inadequacies in the agreed-upon methodological standards by which the norm of truth-testing are operationalized. For example, new statistical techniques for analyzing complex interrelationships among multiple variables are invented and start being applied to scientific research projects. Such techniques are verified via mathematical logic, but validated scientifically by empirical applications. Eventually these new truth-testing methods become normative for scientists working in particular fields.

        In this example, the new statistical technique is deemed, by convergence of logic and scientific practice, to be better than a technique that it supersedes. It may not be the Right Technique in some absolute sense: other techniques are likely to come along eventually that are deemed even better. But the relative rightness of one technique over another is judged by scientific practitioners based on its ability to evaluate the truth of hypotheses in describing reality. There can be differences of opinion among practitioners as to which of several equally well-established techniques is the best choice for evaluating the results of a given study; e.g., one technique might be better for fine-grained analysis of segments of the data set while another is better for seeing the big picture. Usually multiple methods are applied to triangulate on a more robust understanding.But the scientists agree a priori that their agreed-upon standards of rightness, for their methods as well as their hypotheses, should be governed by logical soundness and empirical accuracy.

        “I think it’s perfectly possible, in other words, to give an account of how normative social practices can enable both their own normativity and permit objective reference to an objective world, without requiring that this account rely on transcendental norms, or indeed on anything beyond social practice and its biological underpinnings.”

        Does the example I just offered illustrate what you have in mind? I.e., no transcendent criterion of Absolute Truth can be invoked, but only incremental, collective, systematic, self-reflexive movement away from recognized sources of error and inaccuracy. Or are you looking for something more like an evolutionary sociohistorical movement toward truth that’s less dependent on the self-conscious agency of individual truth-seekers?

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 11 June 2011 @ 7:17 am

      • Thanks ktismatics.

        This is the direction you’re taking your work, Duncan, isn’t it?

        Yes, sorry, I wasn’t meaning to be coy – just to emphasise that the two sides of the debate you describe don’t exhaust the available theoretical options.

        How does one evaluate the “rightness” of social practices for evaluating the truth of a statement, image, perception, etc. without reference to that which it purports to be true about?

        Well on my account one can refer to that which it purports to be true about – it’s just that this act of reference is itself a social practice. (Understanding reference in terms of social practice – and of course in terms of the interaction between human social practices and the non-human environment – doesn’t to my mind mean denying ourselves the resources of reference – it just means explicating the nature of those resources.) (Of course the power of reference of any given social practice is contestable – others might feel that the practices I claim as referential are in fact bad practices that do not refer at all, etc. – but that’s just all part of the ongoing process of social negotiation that you describe.)

        Does the example I just offered illustrate what you have in mind?

        Yes, I think so – with the possible proviso (although this is probably assumed in your example) that the a priori agreement between scientists as to the importance of logical soundness and empirical adequacy is itself an instituted thing.

        The following is just an aside – but I tend to think that statistical techniques offer a really helpful model for discussing this sort of thing. In the sense that their conclusions are scientific but also probabilistic; and also in the sense that inferential statistics operates by treating certain features of a given sample as adequately representative of population parameters, simply by assumption, and then uses this assumption to ‘bootstrap’ a probabilistic claim about other population parameters. This kind of process can be thought about in quite general terms: we hold certain things constant in order to make probabilistic claims about others; but this doesn’t mean that the things held constant are known a priori or transcendentally; rather, they’re provisionally treated as stable as part of an ongoing iterative process. This serves as a useful model for the ‘Neurath’s Boat’ quality of scientific practice, and I wish more people would think about truth (and not just scientific truth) in these sorts of terms.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 11 June 2011 @ 8:29 am

      • “this doesn’t mean that the things held constant are known a priori or transcendentally; rather, they’re provisionally treated as stable as part of an ongoing iterative process.”

        I agree. At times it’s useful to regard objects as stable while investigating inter-object processes; at other times it’s useful to dismantle the objects in order to understand what makes them tick. Regarding the boat analogy, discovery of truth strikes me less as an unveiling or a peeling back of the onion in order to reach the core, but more as an exploratory expedition. What islands and currents and creatures are discovered depends both on their reality and on the ship’s particular course. And as you note, discoveries of truths tend to be partial and probabilistic rather than certain and complete.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 11 June 2011 @ 12:42 pm

      • Duncan and John,

        I would say, echoing Reid’s post on normativity in Marx, that there are certain transcendental discursive norms of rationality, and of course certain binding laws of logic (like the threefold laws of identity, non-contradiction, and the excluded middle in Aristotle’s Metaphysics). At the same time, of course, there are norms and conventions that are sociohistorically generated and can certainly fluctuate, introduce new concepts, or implement new strategies of argumentation. There is certainly an extent to which they are part of social practices and institutional codifications of these practices.

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 11 June 2011 @ 5:26 pm

      • Hi Ross – we’ve already been around the traps a bit on Reid’s post on Marx (starting here). I should caution that at that time I’d not read any of Pete Wolfendale’s stuff, or, indeed, any of Brandom’s, and I’ve now developed a lot more in the way of meta-theoretical resources to articulate and justify the theoretical orientation I was advocating there – but the points about Marx I’d still make in pretty much exactly the same terms.

        My basic attitude to this claim –

        there are certain transcendental discursive norms of rationality

        – (which is seems like virtually everyone is making at the moment!) is: how do we know?! What’s the epistemological basis on which one asserts that a norm is transcendental? I understand the basis on which one can say that a given normative practice is a biologically invariant feature of the human organism (this would be an empirical claim). I understand the basis on which one can say that a given norm should be adhered to by any sapient creature (this would be a normative claim like any other – just a universally applied one). I understand the basis on which one can say that a given norm is really important and that you like it a lot. But transcendental? I keep asking people for the epistemological warrant for granting this status to specific norms, and as far as I can tell no one’s yet given me a halfway compelling argument.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 11 June 2011 @ 8:05 pm

      • Duncan,

        Well, I should first and foremost probably state that I identify myself as a Marxist and as being influenced by Frankfurt School critical theory, so I tend not to dwell too much on questions of “normativity.” This is where I find that Habermas begins to become too positivistic for my tastes, and I can certainly understand why all this talk of rational and communicative norms would seem to follow down this murky path. My own thought is mostly focused on ideology critique and the analysis of material trends in capitalism, which I consider to be the two most important tasks for Marxist thinkers.

        However, in this whole recent debate about truth-claims and a normative structure of rationality that supersedes that of any given historical moment, I tend to believe that there are a few overarching principles on the basis of which all discourse must proceed in order to be considered legitimate or taken seriously at all. There are the logical axioms that I mentioned from Aristotle, which I of course consider binding. If any thinker in any age asserts in a single argument that A and ~A obtain simultaneously, in a straightforward propositional sense, then he has contradicted himself and thus delegitimated his argument. Likewise, there is the notion of justification, especially in the case of a systematic exposition of reality, which must allow for interlocking parts, the implication of necessary results and correlates of thought, etc. And the “transcendental” structure of rational thought I would probably have to agree is most coherently excogitated by Kant. Obviously, his approach is ahistorical, and establishes itself solely on the basis of “the grounds necessary for the possibility of cognition,” something that is relatively unwavering. Then, in his practical philosophy, he uses those same categories from theoretical rationality and arrives at the categorical imperative, which structures the world of the “ought,” the Kantian kingdom of ends or the “kingdom of freedom,” as Marx puts it.

        Obviously, the world in which we live is not the kingdom of freedom but the kingdom of necessity. Yet the transcendental ground for the possibility of criticism, in the Marxist sense, is that, while recognizing along with Hegel the dialectical and contradictory structure of history and society, the Kantian kingdom of ends provides us with the standpoint of utopia from which the criticism of everything existing is possible. This is one of Adorno’s main points.

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 11 June 2011 @ 9:47 pm

      • I tend to believe that there are a few overarching principles on the basis of which all discourse must proceed in order to be considered legitimate or taken seriously at all.

        Yes – I probably agree with this – but I don’t see what calling these principles ‘transcendental’ adds, or how this attribution of transcendental status can be justified, as something above and beyond the straightforward and acceptable normative judgement you make in the sentence I just quoted. I don’t see how your remarks about Kant and Adorno add any argumentative substance or epistemological justification on this point.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 11 June 2011 @ 11:39 pm

      • Transcendentalism is an ambiguous idea. Let’s start with Duncan’s remarks about data analysis which is packaged together with an obvious transcendentalism by means of applying a certain style of mathematics when being engaged with the “world”. Instead of using the phrase “transcendentalism” we could also talk about meta-models or modeling techniques, which refer to higher order activities of the mind. In the particular case of data analysis there is a move from single facts to sets of facts or factoids which, unpleasantly, do not follow Aristotles guidelines. Mining “crowd wisdom” is very different from establishing logical systems. One trades robustness of statistical distributions against the depth of logical inference and the consistency of the data-base, which is affected by a single out of order factoid or a phrase which is not well-formed. Google’s research director Peter Norvig suggests a shift of norms here and I would be surprised if no one is going to follow or at least tries to find a new synthesis.

        Now one could argue that also epistemic levels can be somehow flattened and transcendentalism is going away again. Semantics isn’t an autonomous sphere and the logical hierarchy is merely a useful organizational scheme that finally fits into the overall noise reduction activity of the human cortex. On a social level the value of rules and meta-rules lies in the simplification of communication and learning. But then again isn’t the application of optimization principles i.e. finding an optimal form of a thing or a process or a thougt also a transcendentalism or is it empirical – derived from a world which seems so, instead of being some sort of hyperchaos? On which ground can this be decided?

        Like

        Comment by Kay — 12 June 2011 @ 1:30 am

      • Hi Kay – I’m not entirely sure I’m parsing your comment right – but you seem to be suggesting that “transcendental” and “meta-models” are close to synonyms? If that’s where you’re coming from I think you’re wrong – there’s nothing intrinsic about models, even highly abstract meta-models, that makes them ‘transcendental’ in the (broadly Kantian) philosophical sense – not least because models are revisable in the light of experience or in response to changing community norms.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 12 June 2011 @ 6:55 pm

      • Kant defines his own term by saying “I call all knowledge transcendental if it is occupied, not with objects, but with the way that we can possibly know objects even before we experience them.”

        I suppose “know objects” means knowing about their features and relationships, knowledge which constitutes a model of an object. A meta model is by definition one which deals with properties and concepts of models. For example we can use the language of geometry to model objects in space and spaces themselves – models which can be true or false, depending on empirical data. The meta model which defines points, lines, parallelism, intersection, distance etc. is the content of “transcendental knowledge” that can be “possibly known” before knowing something specific about an object. I do not understand “before” in a timely way here, but as the possibility to track back from experience to object descriptions to transcendental knowledge. Otherwise one could obtain that it is somehow hard-coded in the brain making sort of speculative empirical claims like Chomsky about universal grammars in which case “before” is in fact temporal and not just going-back-to-the-basics.

        Like

        Comment by Kay — 12 June 2011 @ 9:02 pm

      • Kant defines his own term by saying “I call all knowledge transcendental if it is occupied, not with objects, but with the way that we can possibly know objects even before we experience them.”

        But Kant’s definition is also stronger than this – it involves substantive non-analytic or non-conventional claims about the nature of objects – the synthetic a priori, which can be known with absolute certainty, and gives us substantive knowledge about the empirical world. I’m asking about the epistemological basis on which we can assert that a proposition is (a) non-conventional or non-‘analytic’, and (b) knowable with transhistorical certainty a priori. How do we know that a proposition has this status? I don’t believe that there in fact are such propositions – I don’t think credible epistemological grounds are given (by Kant or other transcendental philosophers) for their claims about these propositions. (In Kant’s case, of course, various ideas that he claimed to be transcendentally knowable as true a priori turn out not even to be necessarily true – which, while of course it doesn’t undermine transcendental philosophy as such, is I think prima facie evidence that there is indeed an epistemological problem here.)

        All this is a stronger set of criteria than just principles that structure our knowledge of a field of experience or of research. I don’t, of course, deny the existence of conceptual and experiential frameworks. What I deny is that such frameworks can (a) tell us something both absolutely certain and substantive about the empirical world a priori; and (b) legitimately be asserted as a necessary condition of thought or experience, except where this too is a conventional claim. W/r/t (b), there are two broad ways in which it may be true that an entity is not engaging in thought if it is not (for example) implicitly committed to the law of excluded middle. One way is that we’re defining ‘thought’ in this way – this then becomes a conventional or ‘analytic’ claim; the other is that we’re making a claim about the nature of all entities that could possibly engage in the (independently defined) practice of ‘thought’. I don’t see any way in which this latter claim can be made that doesn’t make it in principle vulnerable to empirical refutation – all we need is one empirical counterexample and the claim’s refuted – and this is so even if the claim is in fact true – i.e. even if no entity could in fact be capable of thought without also being implicitly committed to the law of excluded middle, or whatever.

        When I raise these points, defenders of transcendental philosophy tend to respond as if I’m either (a) denying the possibility of conditions of thought or experience; (b) denying the possibility of universally applicable or universally true propositions; or (c) denying the existence of perceptual and conceptual frameworks that structure our experience and discourse. I’m doing none of these. What I’m saying is simply that there’s no epistemological justification for making claims about these kinds of proposistions or conceptual frameworks in ‘transcendental’ terms. We can get all the things people want to hold onto when they raise objections (a) through (c) immediately above, without making any claims about transcendental philosophy, or the transcendental nature of certain propositions (though we thereby lose the epistemological certainty that’s supposedly attendant on transcendental claims – this is a good thing, in my opinion, since I think claims to certainty on transcendental grounds are unwarranted). Talking about good conceptual frameworks or the (empirical and/or definitional) features of consciousness will give us everything we need in this respect – transcendental philosophy is not required.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 12 June 2011 @ 11:35 pm

      • But Kant’s definition is also stronger than this – it involves substantive non-analytic or non-conventional claims about the nature of objects – the synthetic a priori, which can be known with absolute certainty, and gives us substantive knowledge about the empirical world.

        We want to say that physical space has 3 dimensions because this is what structures our experience of objects, not that dimensionality per se is involved in the description of extended things ( analytic propositions ).

        Is this the base of all the complaints about Kant’s “correlationism”?

        I do think this is quite tricky. We can start creating some sort of “extended empirical domain”. Objects become involved in the description of nature whose ontological status is not clear. Think about extra dimensions and Calabi Yau spaces on which strings are supposed to be wound up. This notwithstanding, there aren’t new fundamental concepts required: spaces of arbitrary dimensions or complex manifolds were understood before although not their application to physics e.g. fields acting upon them, various symmetries etc. However there is still a logical connection to what we perceive and to establishes theories and this roughly confines speculative physics within the boundaries of science despite lacking falsifiability. More cautious physicists will dismiss this as nonsense though.

        Not sure what happens when we give up on those logical ties? What do we get? Cthulhu, Lem’s Solaris planet, “dark matter”, UFO’s, hyperchaos, metaphysics of the dumb jerks, mad scientists? Damn, this looks like lots of fun! Too bad that one flips sides and becomes a dumb jerk bullshitting ones way through the universe if one takes this seriously.

        Like

        Comment by Kay — 13 June 2011 @ 2:27 am

      • Hey Kay – I’m again having difficulting parsing this – do you take the stance I’m advocating to involve the rejection of “logical ties”? If so I can only emphasise that it isn’t so, I’m simply advocating a non-transcendental understanding of the nature of such ties. But again I’m uncertain if I’m tracking your voicing correctly.

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 13 June 2011 @ 2:42 am

      • Why do you resist removing logical ties?

        I ask you this not as an empirical man, who stays with both feet on the ground, but as a philosopher. Explaining logical ties by means of e.g. a biological bias or applying them successfully or something alike is o.k. but biology can be changed, learning efforts can be undone by an increase of complexity, society can change its communication protocols and we can implement whatever logics we want in our current a-biological machines – and in fact we do this at least with respect to constructive logics ( removing the excluded middle ) and in quantum logical simulations ( in which A and -A exist in a superposition ) , both violating Aristotles guidelines. So where do the norms you were initially discussing about shall come from and why don’t we regress into a crud positivism?

        PS ( meta ). Is this discussion still about bullshitting or Schwurbel? Shall we say more bad things about Levi or Harman who seemed to get lost on the way? I usually don’t like to spawn off-topic sub-threads and sub-sub-threads and maybe our host, ktimsmatics, shall kill this discussion although it even starts to become interesting for me. It might indefensibly trollish to end a discussion with a question but maybe it can be answered the next time?

        Like

        Comment by Kay — 13 June 2011 @ 5:31 am

      • Is this discussion still about bullshitting or Schwurbel?

        Not for me, sorry, I’ve derailed :-P I’m trying to stay out of the main argument – I just wanted to respond to the thing ktismatics said above.

        Why do you resist removing logical ties?

        Well my own view is that logic is conventional – though I think conventional ties are still ties. The point I was aiming to make, though, was that we don’t need any of our norms – not even the most general – to be transcendental, for them to be valid norms (or to enable objective reference to an objective reality, etc.) Norms, reference, etc. can come from social practice that doesn’t have to be understood in transcendental terms. This, it seems to me, is a position not canvassed in the original opposition between, on the one hand, denying the legitimacy of epistemological questions, and, on the other hand, grounding objective reference in transcendental norms of discourse. I realise ktismatics only presented things in this was because he was summarising a debate – but I wanted to place a third theoretical option (real norms and objective reference can come from non-transcendental social practice) front and center, because I think it’s the right one. That’s pretty much all…

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 13 June 2011 @ 5:51 am

      • One final question. Do you think that the attempt to establish transcendental norms, although you’d argue that this is not feasible, is a social practice being useful to establish the “right norms” and therefore part of the solution or is it part of the problem?

        Like

        Comment by Kay — 13 June 2011 @ 10:53 am

      • Well if the norms are good ones then it generally doesn’t much matter, for practical purposes, where people think they’re getting them from. It’s usually only to the extent that we’re interested in meta-theory that this sort of thing becomes important. And in most circumstances it’s better to argue or form alliances over the substantive norm, rather than over the meta-theoretical account of its nature. That said, it doesn’t, in itself, do any damage to the norms to understand their origin in non-transcendental terms, so all else being equal I’d rather we not feel obliged to call on transcendental philosophy in justifying discursive reason etc. Don’t know if that satisfies…

        Like

        Comment by duncan — 14 June 2011 @ 12:59 am

      • In response to a question indirectly addressed to me a few comments back, I regard Bryant and Harman as a side issue in the broader bullshit-versus-truth distinction — although at times I am eminently distractable by side issues. I’m hazy on what constitutes transcendence epistemologically, so this discussion has been informative for me. Presently I’m on a 10-day trip visiting with family so my blog presence is likely to be spotty.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 14 June 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  5. In his endorsement of Bryant’s post, Harman says this:

    Nothing is more boring to me than epistemological police work. There’s a reason why this sort of thing is never read outside narrow insider technical cadres. Stated differently, it is nothing to be proud of when a philosophy is read only by professional philosophers. The pride some take in this outcome is based on a false analogy with the exact natural sciences, where it can possibly be a good sign if only 5 or 6 people in the world read your articles. In philosophy, by contrast, it’s probably the sign that you’re a pompous and over-professionalized bore who doesn’t realize that everyone at the table is bored and no longer listening.

    I.e., good science pursues truth, while good philosophy entertains the audience.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 6:42 am

    • Sophistry is the new philosophy. Congratulations at Harman for this ingenious “transvaluation of values”.

      Like

      Comment by Kay — 3 June 2011 @ 9:57 am

    • Sophia = wisdom; sophist = wise guy? I know people who contend that wisdom has little or nothing to do with truth, that wisdom transcends truth. Per Plato: “Sophists did, however, have one important thing in common: whatever else they did or did not claim to know, they characteristically had a great understanding of what words would entertain or impress or persuade an audience.” But the Sophists liked to argue in addition to slinging Geschwurbel, didn’t they? About what did they argue? Did they contend with their opponents not with respect to the truth/falsity of their statements, but in competitions of rhetorical skill as judged by the audience’s response to their Geschwurbel?

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 10:19 am

      • Geschwurbel and entertainment are unrelated. Geschwurbel is hardly ever entertaining anyone, it is not rhetoric skill, not power of persuasion or letting people trap into fallacies.

        Rhetoric is a practical art and there is nothing wrong about it, except that it is not philosophy. Philosophy as a systematic search for truth uses its own rhetorics to distinct itself from sophism. So there is something rhetorical about philosophy, but telling people that correctness doesn’t matter as long as the big picture appeals to intuition, when your single-big-idea impresses and entertains lots of people and spawns new work and gets criticized from opposite angles etc. is turning things around and replaces philosophy by the outgrowth of its own communication habits and strategies. It degenerates to a case study for sociologists of the Luhmann school. It may not be in the best shape anyway but I do find this mean and it doesn’t deserve such a treatment.

        Like

        Comment by Kay — 3 June 2011 @ 11:45 am

      • “…is turning things around and replaces philosophy by the outgrowth of its own communication habits and strategies”

        I have at times found both Bryant’s and Harman’s writing to be engaging, and for a time I consciously suspended my disbelief in order to absorb their message. By contrast, philosophers exhibiting limited rhetorical or literary skill I tend to abandon in short order. I don’t believe that philosophers need to write turgidly in order to weed out the ignorant curiosity-seekers. On the other hand, the substance of well-wrought claims must eventually be probed and dismantled and subjected to close scrutiny.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    • “good philosophy entertains the audience”

      Is this why Zizek is so popular?

      Like

      Comment by NB — 3 June 2011 @ 10:56 am

  6. Shit, bullshit etc is definitely wrought!

    “For most people, the fact that a statement is false constitutes in itself a reason, however weak and easily overridden, not to make the statement.”

    You gotta be shittin’ me!

    “It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.”

    I’d agree with this… I guess. Maybe. I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t know.

    Although, as soon as he made this difference between lying and bullshit I knew he would end attacking relativism:

    “The contemporary proliferation of bullshit has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are.”

    Relativism. The philosopher’s bullshit. There’s so much of it out there it seems as if everyone must do it. But nobody admits to it. The problem is, if it really is the essence of bullshit surely relativism – having no relation to truth – is immune to his attack.

    “I think there’s plenty of value in bullshit.”

    I agree. Sometimes it may be necessary. A friend at work just got a new job. After they had the interview, I asked how it went. They said, “I had to bullshit a bit but it was mostly pretty good.”

    What is the purpose of lying?

    To gain advantage? To protect others? To protect oneself?

    What is the purpose of bullshitting?

    “[The bullshitter] does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.”

    I think this might be the right definition: “to suit his purpose”. This is particularly anathemic to analytical philosophy – where subjective purposes have been banished forever.

    Corporate bullshit is certainly suited to a the company’s purpose. My friend’s interview bullshit was definitely “fit for purpose” – bullshit UK political jargon very popular over here a few years ago. Perhaps bullshit must be wrought because there is already the corporate bullshit.

    I’ve read that Zizek piece before. Is it bullshit? You know by now how much I want to say yes.

    Zizek is a pre-eminent bullshitter because everything must suit his purpose, whether they are truthful or not. The subject’s purpose is pre-eminent to all other considerations. And this is where I become an tight-arsed analytic philosopher.

    “It is clear that none of these versions can be accounted for in purely utilitarian terms: each involves a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement.”

    The thing is that this analysis of shit is half-true, like any good bullshit. Shit cannot be accounted in purely utilitarian terms. (I assume he’s using the everyday meaning of utilitarian: something like “this is just what my body does”, there is no subjective content, rather than “we must work towards the greatest shit for the greatest number”.) Shit, and lavatories, are wrought. Although, maybe only lavatories possess ideological content… Maybe. Typically of Zizek, one can’t even have a quiet dump without encountering his ideological shit. Because he’s talking about lavvies here, not shit per-sé. His emphasis on shit is an ideological blind to dazzle you and involve you in his theory subjectively by leaving your subjectivity behind.

    Who really knows why some toilet designs are more popular in some countries than in others. I think that there are no examples of the “French” shitting hole in Britain, I’m very pleased to say. There may be any number of boring reasons: different companies in different countries coming up with different designs, older designs being more popular, aggressive marketing of a company’s design a la VHS versus Betamax, perhaps Queen Victoria liked only one kind of toilet, perhaps British toilets have something to do with the Empire etc etc ad nauseam.

    Ideology may be the least of it – because, contra Zizek, ideology and subjectivity are not the same. And there is his bullshit. There could be a lot to say about hygiene and toilets and ideology and history (I recently saw a very good history programme about Paris hygiene and waste before and after the Revolution). But I don’t think Zizek’s the man to do it. Shit is just shit, after all, no matteer how much corn you’ve eaten.

    Perhaps the difference between lying and bullshit is to do with knowledge. Bullshit as the employment of a technique in order to cover up holes in one’s knowledge: Marco Polo attempting to describe Venice. Why is one trying to cover up the holes? To sell a story?

    I tend to think that one of the bullshittiest words in our consumer capitalist age is “solutions”. You know, as in “spa therapy solutions”, “IT solutions company” etc. It is often, especially in philosophy, preceeded by the word “radical”.

    Like

    Comment by NB — 3 June 2011 @ 10:38 am

  7. Clearly Harry Frankfurt is overly disdainful of shit:

    Just as hot air is speech that has been emptied of all informative content, so excrement is matter from which everything nutritive has been removed. Excrement may be regarded as the corpse of nourishment, what remains when the vital elements in food have been exhausted. In this respect, excrement is a representation of death that we ourselves produce and that, indeed, we cannot help producing in the very process of maintaining our lives. Perhaps it is for making death so intimate that we find excrement so repulsive.

    I find my own shit to be an object of some fascination and occasionally of pride. It’s been said that no one thinks that his own shit stinks. I find that mine does stink, but except in rare instances the stink doesn’t repulse me. I’m somewhat intrigued by the variation in pungency from one shit to the next, and while “on the throne” I try to account for it by differences in dietary intakes. I do not, however, compile data in order to arrive at the truth of the matter.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 11:04 am

    • Mine has for about a year been very redolent of chocolate, although I have had to verify this by numerous tests, since something so wonderful didn’t seem possible.

      But I, too, see each shit now as a history of my dietary intake, and even if some of the food was inferior or lesser as well as superb, I feel that it was all equally ‘successful’ if it continued on smoothly to its destiny.

      The ‘stink that does not repulse you’ may be your own movement toward chocolatisme.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 3 June 2011 @ 11:22 am

  8. In describing the American fixture Zizek asserts that “the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it.” I once read that floating turds have high methane content, which leads me to suspect that Zizek passes foul gas voluminously.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 11:36 am

  9. Anne points out that, contra Frankfurt, shit is not totally stripped of nutrients. When properly handled, shit becomes highly valuable as a nutritive source for plants. It is, in short, a “radical shit solution,” not only for our ecologically sensitive times but always.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 11:46 am

    • An ecological analysis may be a good idea. Shit or crap, junk and all those things that have lost use value for us, move into a secondary cycle. But this is still too linear and nostalgic in the sense that history is always a history of degradation and decay, which might be true on a cosmic or galactic scale but isn’t quite right for us as individuals and also not the life of the earth.

      It might bother proper intellectuals but what about calculating the economic value of bullshit? I accept the criticism of supporting a necrophiliac regime ( neoliberalism ) as long as it can be used to explain something. It pays off.

      Like

      Comment by Kay — 3 June 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  10. You can call it ‘REAL EGYPT II’, I guess. And was deeply moved that a sockpuppet and/or troll ‘finds something mean’. Well, that’s just too bad. USE BETTER PAPER!

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 3 June 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    • We have long waited for a replacement of (postmodern) irony after a period without a dominant attitude.Meanness seems to be the only contestant right now together with the becoming of trolls, vampires, crackpots, sockpuppets, academic bullshitters and all the other sub- or para-human objects which populate the web and won’t go away easily. This hardly ever becomes obsolete unless another theme becomes central. So yes, there will be one, two, many REAL EGYPTs.

      Like

      Comment by Kay — 3 June 2011 @ 11:47 pm

  11. I too find something mean, as in low or cheap, in claiming that philosophy in general ought not concern itself with truth, as if truth were impossible to achieve and silly to pursue. These are roughly the claims that Bryant and Harman have staked. If they want to write in order to be useful or entertaining to others that’s their business, by which move they pretty much exclude themselves from critique as to whether their ideas are right or not. Of course I’m not in the society of philosophers so it’s not really my debate. Why “sock puppet and/or troll”?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 June 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    • You’ll figure it out.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 3 June 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  12. At the end of the book, immediately following the last excerpt I included in the post, Frankfurt writes this:

    One response to this loss of confidence [i.e., in distinguishing true from false] has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by an alternative ideal of sincerity. Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide honest representations of himself. Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature. It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.

    Isn’t Harman attempting to embody the ideal of sincerity when he writes about his kitten and his doorman and so on? Aren’t Harman’s and Bryant’s diatribes against grey vampires and trolls intended to discount not the truth but the sincerity of the anonymous critic?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 June 2011 @ 11:19 am

    • “Isn’t Harman attempting to embody the ideal of sincerity when he writes about his kitten and his doorman and so on?”

      Yes, he seems to want to be almost like Mrs. Soames in “Our Town”.

      “Aren’t Harman’s and Bryant’s diatribes against grey vampires and trolls intended to discount not the truth but the sincerity of the anonymous critic?”

      I don’t think that matters, they may well be on the side of truth just by being opposed to trolls, etc. (I don’t care about the various sub-species). You’re very sophist here, because a troll has neither ‘truth’ nor ‘sincerity’. Ever. They are all in some form liars, and it is important to have a fully anal-expulsive attitude toward them, to shit on them in the most effective way, and even, if necessary, use ‘useful idiots’ like Harman and Bryant (if that’s what they are) to achieve this noble goal. For example, one anal-retentive type talked about ‘your pet author’. That’s a good example of Indefensible Troll. And his stewardship as troll was unending, it dominated every other facet of his ‘being’ when he wrote as a troll, so that not one word he said meant anything at all. That’s in retrospect, of course. While it was going on, I didn’t know that most or all of it was fake, so I thought there would be an end to the troll aspect. But the troll aspect was the only constant about this creature, who finally played the ‘rat angle’ and that will always work as ‘exit music’ for me. By coming up with something so repulsive I couldn’t possibly fight my revulsion, he succeeded in being not only a troll, but one who could now be looked back on as wholly undesirable, however correct he had been that I had ‘overestimeated’ him. I hadn’t known that there was a strong movement of the ‘becoming-wholly-loathsome’ that was, interestingly, considered to be the only thing that, by now, could pass as truth. Who knows, maybe it will even sell to get better paper: I saw last night that the numbered copy 666 was one of the items at the garage sale.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 4 June 2011 @ 12:51 pm

      • In other words, when anyone really is ready to run me off for good, all they need to is play the ‘Rat Card’. That’ll do it every time. Christian also doesn’t ‘like snakes’ (my ‘pet author’ wrote me ‘I’ve always loved snakes’), but that’s still within a reasonable artistic realm–rats are just gross, and I see them down by the 3rd rail, always hoping they’ll get electrocuted by putting lewd-pink flesh at just the wrong place on it.

        As a consequence of this ‘rat card playing’, Harman and Bryant have grown in a kind of relative charisma just by default: That they would ever surpass the ‘pet author’ in terms of sexiness would have been seemingly impossible as recently as even a year ago, and it does go without saying that they’re no prize catches either, and do not merit serious attention.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 4 June 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    • If there ever have been greys, they must be starved because they couldn’t suck enough energy from projects that are all alive and do well. Also when someone like Brassier openly shoots sharp against “Latourianisms” done in Web 2.0 style i.e. the OOO movement and nothing serious happens – they cried about fascist policing and that’s it – what can be expected from anonymous trolls on PE and elsewhere?

      The universality and symmetry of meanness – everyone is mean to everyone else – may be caused by the lack of a real enemy as well as effective criticism i.e. a critical activity that leads to some truth in a convergent process instead of running in full cycles. Meanness requires an non-ironic seriousness that acts on a personal level and is a substitute for criticism. When irony is pervasive, grand projects are easily perceived as childish, unless they bring forward skepticism a la deconstructivism. Criticism doesn’t lead to truth but to dissolution. The enemy is defeated but all we get is a moment of pure negativity. Meanness doesn’t make much sense here either because irony is an effective shield.

      Now since we are post-ironic, metaphysical speculations are not a joke anymore, buried by generations of analytic philosophers who started as an anti-bullshit movement insisting on facts and correctness. There is an interesting twist though, because skepticism is still present but it is re-located, from the subject into the object. Objects become full citizens because of this inherent negativity ( the real object is always withdrawn from the sensual objects, like the images from the body ) and subjects are only special cases of those peculiar objects. Now we can start to live in a true democracy with hammers that are like lenses that are like concepts that are not like representations – representations are somehow evil and not objects. Or they are but the existence of representations implies some order which must be avoided to preserve direct democracy. Representations are not politically correct.

      For Brassier our “postmodern condition” is not avoided here but deepened. Bypassing Kant is not perceived as a way to restart modernism-without-correlationism but a crude mixture of skepticism and re-enchantment. In the end the consequences of this re-enchantment may not be worse than true love for consumer gadgets like the iPhone or the iPad, produced by exploiting Chinese workers. You cannot start a revolution from there but it’s not worshiping supernatural beings either.

      Like

      Comment by Kay — 5 June 2011 @ 12:40 am

  13. There is a sense in which anonymity operates in a posthuman space: where individual identity is obscured, agency and accountability are diminished, absorbed into the impersonal extended mind of the internet. To say that one’s identity, whether true or false, doesn’t matter is a form of bullshit as Frankfurt describes it: an assertion that truth and falsehood don’t matter.

    Harman and Bryant argue that trolls hide behind anonymity in order to protect themselves from the traditional interpersonal consequences of being mean. Sadly I have to agree: while anonymity does protect people from the social and political consequences of revealing unpopular or dangerous truths, it also protects people from the consequences of being slanderous, bigoted, and hostile. Maybe this kind of meanness is an authentic expression of feeling, a kind of truth that can be expressed by some people only by not revealing the truth about who they are. Still, by venting one’s spleen anonymously at someone else, one achieves freedom of expression to the same degree that one limits the target’s freedom to defend himself or even to retaliate. The blogs unfold on an electronic medium in which even people who know each other’s real names rarely know each other, so the risks of being mean are minimal even if one uses one’s real name. But it does up the authenticity, the reality, the interpersonal truth of the public exchange. And when the anonymous meanness gets more private, via emails or phone calls, then it veers toward stalking.

    I think that Bryant was being mean in claiming that norms of truthfulness constitute a kind of police-state inquisition, as if people who want to know the truth are themselves acting out of a meanness that’s not just personal but sociopolitical: fascist or Stalinist or fundamentalist. Then when the non-anonymous Ross Wolfe points out, in the context of a Bryant post valorizing “the wilderness,” that Heidegger’s “deep ecology” was integral to his fascism, then Bryant retorts that Wolfe is meanly calling him a fascist. I suspect that both of them were being mean, though both also can claim that they’re not because neither of them actually levels the personal charge at the other. At the same time, there is value in pointing out the dangers of zealous advocacy of a position, especially if one believes that position to be true, or even True.

    Brassier has openly expressed his “contempt” for Bryant and Harman, and allowed that expression to be made public. Does this overt meanness advance the cause of both philosophical truth and interpersonal authenticity? I don’t believe it does. It’s possible that Brassier regards the ideas espoused by Bryant and Harman as dangerous to society. I don’t think their ideas are strong or unique enough to void the true-false distinction in the name of rhetoric and popularity, or to debilitate intentional subjective and intersubjective agency in mounting resistance against corrupt political and economic power. These trends were already well underway before OOO.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 5:32 am

  14. Harman and Bryant argue that trolls hide behind anonymity in order to protect themselves from the traditional interpersonal consequences of being mean. Sadly I have to agree: while anonymity does protect people from the social and political consequences of revealing unpopular or dangerous truths, it also protects people from the consequences of being slanderous, bigoted, and hostile.

    And who the FUCK, Eloise, are ”Harman and Bryant” to make value judgements about this issue? ”Bryant” is especially insincere in this regard, as Mikhail has correctly perceived. He structures his entire shtick (and he has admitted as much himself) s a cocktease act, designed to attract his bottom’s envy and admiration, then launches a pseudo-debate (the ”pseudo” part being that he compains it UPSETS him, while in fact he enjoys it) which he consciously steers so that in the end everybody concludes that the Narcissistic Cat is the smartest, and the most handsome, and certainly also the best objectocentric scienteuze in the world. And she only started on this Puritan-flavored troll annoyance debate after she met the Egyptian Temptress, who is an even greater champion of rhetorical airs and graces. The Temptress is, like, ”how dare they question my celebrity status???” – even Lady Gaga shows more fake concern for her fans, goddamit. Before that, the Cat was spending her entire waking life bitching about religion with types like Angelina Paulina Smith. And I LIKED her so much more in that period.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 6:54 am

  15. More than once Bryant has acknowledged that he can’t write philosophy without the stimulation provided by interaction, that for him the blog is the best format to “do” philosophy. Does he get to decide what sorts of blog discussants stimulate him the way he wants to be stimulated, while cutting off those who don’t do it right? Sure: it’s his blog, he can do what he wants with it. It’s these grand generalized pronouncements that I find both irritating, irresponsible, disrespectful, hypocritical. People who don’t reveal their real identities in blog arguments are trolls. So, an anonymous blogger who talks nice is okay, but if he starts disagreeing he’s a troll? And then it turns out that someone who does reveal his real identity but who doesn’t talk nice — Ross Wolfe — is also cut off. It’s not just a personal thing, but a more general way of arguing: coming back again and again with quotes from Marx in a discussion about Marxism is being a fundamentalist; pointing to specific instances of the relationship between ecosystem thinking, Heidegger, and Nazism is a scurrilous tactic to smear one’s opponent by calling him a Nazi. And yet Bryant uses a very similar tactic in criticizing those who would have him justify the truth of his own claims. Not only does he absolve himself from justifying the truth value of his own statements; he says that attempting to evaluate the truth of any statement is wrong thinking verging on fascism. To repeat:

    Concepts are not representations, nor are they ideas in minds. Rather, they are lenses and tools. They are apparatuses, every bit as tangible and real as hammers. It makes as much sense to ask “is this concept true?” as it does to ask “is a hammer true?” Drawing a concept from Ryle, this question constitutes a category mistake. And it is a category mistake that constitutes some of the most tiresome and fascistically terrifying attitudes in all of philosophy. Everywhere with this question of whether a concept is true, whether it represents the world, we encounter the desire to police, dominate, subordinate, and render subservient.

    Couldn’t anonymous critics use this same argument: that trying to find out someone’s “true” identity is a fascistic attempt to dominate? Maybe Bryant will recant or refine this statement, but it’s part of the pattern: he confuses specific things that he likes and doesn’t like with general principals. It’s not that X and I disagree; it’s that he’s a troll. It’s not that I like to bullshit; it’s that bullshit is better than truth.

    What’s remarkable is the attention Bryant is able to draw, not just among his admirers but from his detractors. I suppose it’s because he’s so prolific and opinionated in his blogging. But the discussions with those who disagree practically always end in mutual antagonism. It’s as though Bryant is able to maneuver everyone who isn’t fully supportive to the point where they stop focusing on the issues and become absorbed in the interpersonal anger. So now you’ve got Ross Wolfe once again explaining to us the true reason why Bryant won’t talk with him any more, again posting private emails from Bryant that he had previously taken down in response to one of his own commenters who criticized him for breach of privacy. Wolfe makes himself look like a liar and a hypocrite on his own blog.

    The replacement of thought with emotion, of discussion with desire, is your metier, pc, and may be what attracted you to Bryant in the first place. Maybe others too are attracted by the anger he stimulates in them. I’m not saying that Bryant desires the other’s rage, that he brings it all on himself, though you might say that it’s true. The mean person doesn’t get to claim that Bryant is asking for it, and that meanness is some kind of therapy administered for the client’s own good. It’s too much like what a perpetrator of physical violence might say about his victim, justifying and even commending his own crimes.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 8:27 am

    • Yes. You went into more detail and I can’t disagree with any of it. They are not anti-troll the way I am, who will only rarely even respond to one, including the ones one here, whose identity at least you know. I used to, but it never works, since they know who I am, so I just keep it mostly at a cold respect when they start up fondling me, which is what it is when they think they have the right to be familiar with me due to my ‘past sins’, but even now point out “I started to disclose my identity to you, but I decided not to”. That is a form of meanness in itself, but who gives a shit. So that trolls or anonymouses do have their own rationale for remaining that way, even if it just shows cowardice, which is very different from what I did: I just took it until I came out on top. But it caused great pain (yes, even just on the net) to do it that way, and none of these are willing to do it, and they may think that they’re ‘too smart’ to do it, what with talk of ‘post-irony’ and other ‘post-‘s, which is tedious and boring, because most seem to want to talk about ‘post-somethings’ rather than ‘somethings’.

      But while we’re right to agree with Bryant and Harman about the anti-trollism, you’re right about their hypocritical use of it. I wasn’t really, because I haven’t ever been able to follow the Follies closely enough. Also, the matter of people finding anything Levi Bryant thinks is unimportant is interesting, since I never found him charismatic or interesting in this or any other period: That his parents through him out of the house in high school is by far the most interesting story I’ve heard about him thus far, and would have shown him to have possibilities had he not agreed with them, and continued to rebel and become an Adult Delinquent, instead of just the Purveyor of Hot Air he is.

      Of course, the matter of ‘truth’ is so profound and so timeless (we’ve always been after it, not just all of a sudden threatened by it by the snake oil condescension toward it by OOO practitioners, technicians, and laboratory assistants, and the vast clerical staff that is spawned by anything so illustrious) that that is the only reason I’m not paying much attention to talking about in this particular post and about these particular practitioners. I’m more interested in the Anti-Trolling Laws, and it took a long time to get the structures in effect even for the protection of my own ass, everybody else will have to deal with that as they see fit. But Harman and Bryant are every inch the careerists and anything they do is always already about that.

      “More than once Bryant has acknowledged that he can’t write philosophy without the stimulation provided by interaction, that for him the blog is the best format to “do” philosophy.”

      That’s a very good point. The blog should secondary stimulation, not primary, and if he ‘can’t write philosophy’ without it, his potency is definitely in question–it’s like an old dancer who can’t stop performing when they can’t do the steps anymore, because they depend on the audience’s worship more and more–at the ballet board right now they’re talking about the Cuban ballerina Alica Alonso, who I saw perform ‘giselle’ at 58, and never saw anything so ridiculous–but her huge following from the other days had turned her into a cult so that she could get away with not being able to do the steps and just ‘cast aura’. Even more incredibly, she continued to dance until she was 73, and there are some fans who didn’t see her till those very last years, and she’s STILL their favourite! I’ve seen the old tapes by now of when she was young, so that I see what the fuss was about (she had been great), but none of the ones I was ever a huge fan of did this; they accepted that they had finished being able to do that high-tech technique and did not go out on stage only to show that they could get center stage by ‘succeeding despite failure’.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 12:25 pm

      • The blog should secondary stimulation, not primary,and if he ‘can’t write philosophy’ without it, his potency is definitely in question–it’s like an old dancer who can’t stop performing when they can’t do the steps anymore,

        Actually I have found this to be the cat’s most fruitful thought in the years that I’ve known her, because I experience the same stimulation in the affective discharges that take place through commenting and all the encounters of different styles and voices. When K-punk said in a recent interview that it took him out of a depression, I instantly realized why; the interactivity sort of snaps you out of the kind of a depression that can develop in the isolation of writing alone, or animating a film for that matter – both very isolated, almost monastic activities.

        Nonetheless you keep hammering on it because it’s a part of the Neo-Victorian turn in your career. You’re in that ”denial of shit” phase, which I am sure will soon be followed by excessive compulsive EXCRETION.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 12:38 pm

      • I see no denial of shit, as discussed in this thread, by our esteemed interlocutor. It is the wroughtness of shit that is at issue. I too find the interactive format stimulating, as witnessed by my tendency to post bits from others’ films and books, hoping that they will become fruitful and multiply. Wroughtness,though, is, as you say, an almost monastic sequestration.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    • “Nonetheless you keep hammering on it because it’s a part of the Neo-Victorian turn in your career.”

      About this you are correct, troll. And only John and Dominic are properly appreciative of it, as it was a long wait.

      “You’re in that ”denial of shit” phase, which I am sure will soon be followed by excessive compulsive EXCRETION.”

      As usual, you can only concentrate long enough to read parts of threads. I’ve hardly ‘denied shit’, and in fact, led the campaign toward discussion of shit, since Frankfurt had not understand the source of bullshit, which even he agrees IS shit. While an amorphous shitting is not aesthetically satisfying, gently whorled carvings by the rectum can be–although keeping them around the house rather than going ahead with the flush would not be something I’d be as interested in as some would. And I even recently on this thread came out in favour of the ‘anal-expulsive’, so the excessive shitting you think I’m afraid of happens on a daily basis, if you think just thorough colonics are ‘excessive’. Since you are being given maternal colonizing by your Concern Troll, I really DO think I’m easily involved with that sort of ‘denial of shit’. As for ‘the Cat’, she doesn’t exist for me. As I said, my one use (for John, possibly, at least), is that I don’t find her interesting and never once have. But this is too hard for you to follow, and you still write this faggot shit about how ‘you’d do a label with the Cat’ and the ‘rest are just dilettantes’. Yeah, you would, just like anybody who doesn’t appreciate Mladic is a dilettante, even though he’d kill you in two seconds AFTER you sucked him off. That Mladic post was as stupid as anything I’ve ever read.

      The most extraordinary thing is that Warszawa Klein will give you the time of day. He’s really a very nice young man, and I would definitely patronize him if he could give up his insanity. He did me a real favour a while back.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 12:52 pm

      • I didn’t actually read the thread – why is it necessary to first read the thread before shitting? Why can’t I do it in NON-LINEAR fashion?

        As for shitting, I find that anal penetration has a lot in common with the process of shitting, because the pleasure is mostly extracted – not from some imagined prostate stimulation, as many queens have argued in an attempt to normalize the ass into a vagina, fuelling the dubious argument about the ‘naturalness’ of homosexuality – but from the contractions of the sphincter, which are also involved, and in a similar way, in shitting (I think this is the mechanism that sells the butt plug, which sort of marries excretion with fucking). The interplay of purging and control is what gives it the ”arc”, the suspense. I suppose I could also make this into some kind of an Expo at the Venice Biennale, entitled ”Bruised Rectal Insides As Telling Objects”.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 1:40 pm

      • “As for shitting, I find that anal penetration has a lot in common with the process of shitting, because the pleasure is mostly extracted – not from some imagined prostate stimulation, as many queens have argued in an attempt to normalize the ass into a vagina, fuelling the dubious argument about the ‘naturalness’ of homosexuality – but from the contractions of the sphincter, which are also involved, and in a similar way, in shitting (I think this is the mechanism that sells the butt plug, which sort of marries excretion with fucking). The interplay of purging and control is what gives it the ”arc”, the suspense. I suppose I could also make this into some kind of an Expo at the Venice Biennale, entitled ”Bruised Rectal Insides As Telling Objects”.

        Yes, I think you could, for these remarks indeed prove that, if nothing else, you DO have The Shining.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 1:46 pm

      • He’s really a very nice young man, and I would definitely patronize him

        Isn’t that what Vanessa Redgrave told Jane Fonda during the shooting of JULIA?

        Anyhow I think you’re better off patronizing Dominique. God only knows she needs shit, what with all those discussions of non-penetrative sex and WERMIN-friendly theorizing.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    • The replacement of thought with emotion,

      Eloise this is your vileness at its most refined, but don’t think that I don’t see through it. It is in YOUR MIND that thought and emotion are separated, because your cognitive-behavioral mindframe suppresses emotion in the name of general pleasantness. However since shit cannot really be occluded, it keeps returning in your purging rituals with dr. Sinthome. We’ve been there before, and many times.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 1:49 pm

      • That’s some pretty well-wrought bullshit there, pc.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    • My apologies for not having noticed this thread sooner. I find the pinnacle of Bryant’s hypocrisy on this issue to be contained in the his endlessly pontificating piece “Internet Blogosphere Conditions, in which he writes

      This is probably obvious, but if you’re not revealing your public or “meatsphere” identity in blog and internet discussions, then you have no business participating in these discussions. I’m pretty lax with this rule. So long as you’re civil, respectful, and play above board, I care little about whether or not you reveal your identity. However, if you wish to engage in any sort of critique, snark, insult, or attack, I take it as a basic principle that you’re obligated to reveal your identity. Why? Because you should have an existential stake in what you say. The rest of us do insofar as we speak through and in the name of our own meatsphere identities, so there’s no reason this shouldn’t be requested of the rest of you who would like to participate. The very fact that anyone speaks without revealing their public identity reveals that they are either ashamed of what it is that they are claiming or that they realize what they are claiming violates norms of civility and public discourse.

      Nevermind the fact that the tradition of writers adopting pseudonyms in order to unleash invective or scathing satire predates the internet by centuries, if not millennia. François-Marie Arouet, alias Voltaire, wrote under a pen-name for nearly his entire life. Gottlob Ernst Schulze took on the name of the classic Pyrrhonian skeptic Aenesidemus in writing his critique of Kant’s critical philosophy. Theodor Adorno created the pseudonym Hektor Rottweiler for use in some of his earliest articles of music criticism. Of course, not everything is justified on the strength of tradition alone, but when one is sanctimoniously preaching about the “norms of civility and public discourse,” one would think that the time-honored tradition of the nom de guerre would be admissible in a debate.

      It is indeed ironic that Bryant constantly complains of anonymous trolls and then bans me for impoliteness, or rather, because I don’t grovel in obsequious admiration of the man even on our points of starkest disagreement. You’re right that I appear to be a hypocrite for reposting those e-mails, but since Levi publicly lied on his twitter account as to the real reason he banished me from his blog, I felt it now appropriate to correct this falsehood by revealing private e-mails. Anyway, I regard his refusal to continue to engage with me to be at once a sign of his vanity as well as of his cowardice. Bryant has a nasty temper, but when his snarls are met in kind he goes whimpering away, or just bans you from his blog.

      Like

      Comment by Ross Wolfe — 9 June 2011 @ 9:42 am

      • A couple of years ago when Bryant, Harman, and Fisher (aka k-punk) came out with their unified assault on trolls and vampires and other dehumanizing terms by which they dismissed their adversaries, I put up some posts defending pseudonymity on grounds similar to yours. At the time they were conducting a kind of truth inquisition of their own, publicly identifying the real identities of a couple of bloggers. In one instance Harman posted excerpts from an email in which his correspondent opined that one particular philosopher, identified by name as someone who vigorously and publicly disagrees with Harman, is widely regarded as an asshole. Apparently the correspondent emailed Harman objecting to his private correspondence being used without permission as ammunition. Harman de-posted the email excerpts out of courtesy to his friend, but reasserted his right to use whatever means were required to combat trollery. It was at this point that I took Harman off my blogroll — not that it mattered to him, of course. Anyhow, there’s a history, and since Harman is an unrepentant exposer of email content for achieving pragmatic ends your tactics place you in what some might regard as good company.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 9 June 2011 @ 11:35 am

      • ktismatics,

        This makes Bryant’s repeated complaints about my posting private e-mail correspondences even more hypocritical, since his good friend Harman would seem to have been doing so long before I ever aired Levi’s aggressive string of e-mails accusing me of “hate speech,” being a “Stalinist,” and so on. His direct comparisons of both Mikhail Emelianov and myself to Rush Limbaugh (on two separate occasions) attests not only to his lack of imagination, but also to his limited vocabulary of abuse.

        In any case, I was forthright with Bryant about who I am and what I think. I didn’t “hide” behind alternative identities or feigned politeness. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I wouldn’t defend a person’s right to anonymity. You seem to agree with me here, ktismatics. And yet when I made one snarky remark (paraphrasing Hegel on Schelling) about Bryant “conducting his philosophical education in public,” and then wrote up that satiric Manifesto, apparently he was too thin-skinned to tolerate talking to me any longer.

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 9 June 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  16. The replacement of thought with emotion, of discussion with desire, is your metier, pc, and may be what attracted you to Bryant in the first place.

    I never said that I wasn’t attracted to her Texan testosterone, and I think she still has it, regardless of her posturing. (Did you know, by the way, that she was once thrown out of the house for ‘spiralling out of control’? ”I failed a year of high school as a result of my school burning down and lost love. As a result, I began to spiral out of control, engaging in a lot of self-destructive behaviors. This led my parents to kick me out of the house rendering me homeless for a time.” http://figureground.ca/interviews/levi-r-bryant/)

    I would open a label with the cat anytime, much sooner than any of the so-called ”debatants”, who are all dilettantes, if you ask me.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 10:52 am

  17. Isn’t that what Vanessa Redgrave told Jane Fonda during the shooting of JULIA?

    I just got told off by the ballet board Julie Andrews Lesb’an for saying that ‘Meryl Streep gets all the big cartoon parts–Prada, Julia, Thatcher’, and I didn’t even think to include ‘I can still recall’ with Saunders in the sack-dress ‘like ordin’ry people’…The Lesb’an snapped ‘These are NOT cartoon parts!’

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 2:09 pm

    • There’s a degree of acuity to your remark on the ballet board, although I don’t understand what makes you think you’d get anything other than the kind of a response you get, OVER THERE. It’s already obvious from the publicity photos for the Thatcher movie that MURRRRL only managed to take down Thatecher’s pursed lips. She doesn’t have anything like Margaret’s vileness inside of her, just like she had nothing of a true dominatrix in PRADA, and especially nothing of the Slavic poignancy and beauty of Sophie the way she was depicted in Styron’s novel. In other words, she CAN’T REALLY ACT.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 2:19 pm

      • No, she can’t. In fact, she’s never given even a SINGLE good performance.

        The odd thing about that thread was that a very brilliant Londoner had said something about Streep ‘being envied’ at getting the plum older post-menopausal parts, and I had the gall to go ahead and pronounce ‘Vanessa’, which ends the conversation. And these bitches ought to know that, if you’re 68 and go out on a Brooklyn stage and do Hecuba, they ought to shut up. Just now, Vanessa revived from three immediate-family deaths, and has been doing ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ at 74 this year. Joely, the other daughter, is in something off-B’way down the street from me. Vanessa lost one daughter, a sister and a brother in about 2 months last year. She played Didion when she was 70 for 8 perfs. a week for 6 months in 2007, and so you’re not supposed to bring her up when Streep people are around. Not to mention how much better an actress Deneuve is and still getting good parts, but the MURRRLLL business is something we agree on. I was at a bar with Jack Friday, and some bitch put ‘Danzin queen’ on the jukebox, it pissed me off to such great degree, I told him about that Orange Soda ‘microphone’ gorgoues Joanna used to sing it. I think that’s their all-time funniest clip.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 2:33 pm

      • She is never more disgusting than in ‘Prairie Home Companion’, where Lily Tomlin has to bite her tongue all the time to pretend she doesn’t know how horrible MURRRRL is. THAT was the only funny thing in that horrible movie. MURRRLLLL cries the whole time. I also hate her in ‘Out of Africa’ and the racket goes so far that Shirley MacLaine’s daughter was even going on about how well, she didn’t know whether her mother could be compared to the genius Meryl Streep, when that was just Oedipal hatred, since Shirley is an infinitely greater actress as well as meaner bitch. My favourite bullshit by Shirley (who is a mistress of bullshit) is that she said of MURRRLLL’s acting “I talked to Goldie about it, and she thinks it’s channelling…” That is so profound, a coupla a white Malibu chicks sittin’ aroun’ talkin’. But it’s like Deneuve said ‘an actor doesn’t necessarily need lucidity’, and MacLaine has really done some fine acting in films, esp. early on.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  18. Alright, you’ve forced me to confess: I saw It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, and it was as vapid an entertainment as you might imagine. Also recently watched The Kids are All Right, which is almost the same movie, with Julianne Moore playing Streep’s role and Annette Benning playing Baldwin’s.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    • Ranking the performances from best to worst in these two movies: Moore, Baldwin, Benning, Streep.

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 2:47 pm

      • I’ve never seen a bad performance by Julianne Moore. She’s just a natural.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    • I was just thinking the only thing you really need to accomplish MURRRL’s level of acting is press and hold your nose with your fingers – this will give you both the foreign accent and the faux-noblesse oblige ”elevated” look that she tries to forge for the more aristocratic parts, like Karen Blixen. AND it will simulate the permanent cold, which probably comes from some inborn nose deviation, typical for these types of pseudo-Jewish cunts.

      What makes you so sure that the fact Redgrave is acting so successfully after all those family deaths, doesn’t mean that Redgrave only really cares about her career, and maybe even killed all the family members in order to keep rolling? She does have something of a praying mantis in her poise. In this age of ”40 is the new 30”, and ”70 is the new 40”, nothing surprises me anymore!

      I totally loved Deneuve in Ozon’s ”Potiche” (Trophy Wife), which appears on paper as the kind of a family comedy that Eloise is describing in her appalling viewing list, but has a cynical-campy European distance which gives it panache and allows it to roll nicely. Depardieu, however, has transformed into a huge POTATO, which is kind of tragic to observe.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    • Was, this, like, straight after Kenzie’s graduation, where you and Mrs. Clysmatics felt yerselves drawn to the title ”The Kids Are Alright”? Was there any sex afterwards?

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  19. I must admit there was ONE thing I liked about ‘American Beauty’, and that was the scene where Benning is dating Beatty in order to humiliate her husband and avenge the many years lost in marriage, and this is shown with a very rough cut to the shot where Beatty is fucking Benning with her legs wide open and up in the air, in a pose which recalls 1970s porn the way it is recorded. Somehow she fit that role perfectly, that hysterical pitch is somehow HER. But this movie reminded me also that Thora Birch, who is a million light years of advancement ahead of Scarlett goddamn Johansson, didn’t make a career – while Scarlett is still hot commodity all over the place.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    • That was a great scene, but I was pretty impressed with the whole film. What is the name she screams to Peter Gallagher (a marvelous and unsung actor, he’s marvelous for decades and never given even halfway decent credit, and he’s even gorgeous), his real estate name? I also loved when Spacey is working at Burger King and somebody comes up, I think his former boss, and the little ‘coloured girl’ is in the BK with Kevin, who says ‘technically, she’s your superior’, or something like that. Same sort of thing Arpege objected to with ‘Crash’ (the 2004 one), when the girl on the phone says her name is ‘Shaneequa’ and the guy says ‘I thought so’. RACISTA! RACISTA!)

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  20. Maybe I should see the American Beauty again. At the time of its release, I thought that if there was some ironic purpose on the side of the director in using overdone TV melodrama format, it escaped me – the movie just looked like an overdone TV melodrama, or worse, like an ironic statement for mainstream Hollywood that couldn’t go far or extreme or campy enough. (The low point was when the militant dad from across the street confesses his latent homosexuality at the very same time that the hero’s masculinity crisis peaks) I could very much appreciate the performances, from just about everyone in the cast, and Thora Birch had just burst onto the stage after the brilliant GHOST WORLD, which also launched Johansson.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  21. I liked American Beauty too. The writer, Alan Ball, went on to launch two successful television series that I’ve enjoyed: Six Feet Under and True Blood.

    In about half an hour I’m driving up to Fort Collins CO to rendezvous for dinner with Carl the Vole. I’ll pass on your regards.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  22. And NO I am not going to discuss Ratko Mladic with you. It’s absurd to even assume that he could ever carry the label ”genocidal” let alone ”war criminal” when clearly he is just another instance of the ”weapons of mass destruction” needed to justify the penetration of foreign investments in formerly socialist countries, or Arabian dictatorships. I do think, though, that he was involved in massacres and atrocities – that’s just what happens to military generals involved in civil wars.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    • I feel so rejected…you know, about the not getting to discuss the war criminal…that’s what your Concern Troll helps you do, with wonderful links all the way to your The Shining.

      I just looked up ‘quotes from American Beauty’. It really was hugely popular, I see. But when Carolyn was getting fucked by Buddy Kane, she may have just screamed ‘FUCK ME, REAL ESTATE KING!’ or something as mundane as that, but that wasn’t in the quotes.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 4:57 pm

      • the war criminal

        sorry, I meant ‘the genocidal war criminal’ who’s inn-a-sint…

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 5:02 pm

  23. ‘FUCK ME, REAL ESTATE KING!’

    That’s already hilarious on its own, let alone with the image of her skinny legs spread so wide that you keep wondering whether she ain’t going to tear at the seams.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    • I found it, it’s at 0:51

      she screams ”FUCK ME YOUR MAJESTY!!!”, and later tells Gallagher that they
      ”deserve a little junk food after the workout they had this morning”

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 8:26 pm

      • Her voice is perfect for that–pure sound of real estate types like Leona Helmsley, who would have that totally graceless, ugly sound.

        Like

        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 5 June 2011 @ 8:35 pm

      • It’s all hilarious – including the way Lester first says ”I have fast food experience”, then there is an abrupt cut to the camera zooming frantically in on the seedy motel door, linking the ”fast food” to the motel fuck, but I especially love it how she’s being nailed to the wooden bed, the legs so stretched apart that they’re not even forming a regular V.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 8:48 pm

      • Matter of fact I think I’m going to start the new BASTION OF DEPRAVITY with just such an image – Missuz nailing Leninini in the dungeons, with ‘nini screaming FUCK ME GENERAL!

        Eloise I think this thread has been shocking enough to raise your traffic? If not, tell me, there’s plenty of feces to be discharged on the worldwide Left intellectual community.

        Like

        Comment by Center of Parody — 5 June 2011 @ 11:07 pm

      • I just checked and you’re right: yesterday was the highest traffic day ever. Bullshit sells.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 6 June 2011 @ 6:23 am

  24. Beatty is fucking Benning with her legs wide open and up in the air, in a pose which recalls 1970s porn the way it is recorded.

    Interesting that you said ‘Beatty’, who was already her husband at the time. It was like 70s porn, but John Holmes and Carol Connors were the best at that. You could tell she was REALLY into it, just getting the hell fucked out of her with HUGE DICK right on the screen.

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  25. Well fuck me sideways I conflated Beatty with Peter Gallagher, unsurprising perhaps because they are the same type of bland fashion model square jawed corporate good looks. But yes I think this implies that Benning is like this in private life as well – a voracious whore.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0175485/bio

      I fucking couldn’t believe this when I just looked it up. Carol Connors, who did the most beautiful job of getting fucked in ‘The Erotic Adventures of Candy’ by John C. Holmes, is Thora Birch’s MOTHER!

      Benning might well be, and Beatty old enough not to be able to pull the old routines as often as he was wont in the past. Feminist Gloria Steinem paid women to tell about their ‘bad sex’ with Warren, who I’ve never been crazy about. Peter Gallagher is very good, and has done a lot of great stage work too.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  26. I’m thinking now that the impression I had in 1999 – and how the fuck did I even think of American Beauty, I think it’s because Eloise mentioned Benning and I also thought about what Eloise did to her spouse after that graduation ceremony – the impression I had was that the film resonated enormously with worldwide audiences, even though it dealt with strictly American problematique, and that this could be because of its handling of the masculinity crisis – was it maybe symbolic of the way the patriarchal paradigm started to crash in that period, or was it sort of announcing the challenging of American power, which was to be tested on 9-11, anycase it had a powerful impact despite being, in and of itself, not much more special than your next TV melodrama. So there’s something, a surplus of value, to the film.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    • I thought it was the general falling apart at the seams of modern society, but I liked that scene when the military guy tries to kiss Kevin. It was very David Lynch in the good sense.

      “American power, which was to be tested on 9-11”

      It’s BACK, no matter what the Concern Troll writes elsewhere. Thing is, we’ve finally gotten over our Vietnam Guilt Syndrome. In high school, we used to be told that ‘No, we’ve never lost a war’. But we did ‘lose’ Vietnam, which on closer inspection many years later, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. France lost the Franco-Prussian War too, because of Krupp’s steel cannon, and that was the beginning of German power and hubris, but the French didn’t sit around and think ‘oh, what a blemish on our record!’ although they did roll over when the Germans came a-callin’.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  27. Car trouble, so no dinner with Carl tonight — what a pain.

    Kevin Spacey narrates the movie from beyond the grave, reminiscent of Sunset Blvd. Ball’s subsequent TV melodrama series have been better than most movies. Sustaining multiple interweaving story lines is a real strength of both series, though introducing werewolves to the True Blood vampire show was a mistake.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 5:50 pm

  28. Carol Connors, who did the most beautiful job of getting fucked in ‘The Erotic Adventures of Candy’ by John C. Holmes, is Thora Birch’s MOTHER!

    Yeah you have a RADAR for those typesa things, don’t you? Not the gay radar, you whore, but THE BIG DICK RADAR.

    Anyhow Thora is marvellous all over the place: in all the places where Scarlett is vulgar. But that’s why they worked so well together in GHOST WORLD, with Scarlett basically playing herself and displaying her own petty envy at Thora’s beauty and talent.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    • And Carol is STILL married to hubby Jack Birch, who ALSO fucked her in ‘candy’ and her other porno films. Their son Bolt (named aftah da poppahs?) is an un-and-coming young director! What a beautifully balanced family! Here’s Thora and Bolt together, proving that Carol Connors was a true Christian saint:

      http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4036664064/nm0083247

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  29. It’s BACK, no matter what the Concern Troll writes elsewhere.

    Maybe, but the way you scream ”It’s BACK”, like a cheerleader on heat, already indicates that the movie hit on some collective sentiment that the power had been lost. But really, I think the ”argument” between the US and affluent Europe is all faux and pseudo – all that shit about global warming is for Angelina Paulina Smith’s doctoral thesis – there is no argument, because concretely and strategically, they’re on the same line around Russia, the rich always attend the same club.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    • The ARGUMENT is right now about CHINA, and how it’s ‘it’s all money’ policy and no interest in anything else will bring the U.S. to its knees. Crock of shit. Sometimes my ‘pet author’ even makes Tom Friedman seem like a sexpot, at least I read more than his titles. He was good yesterday, John. Here’s the NYT link: this is one case where a slightly corny ‘idealism’ is actually some points well-taken. China is truly a goddam fucked-up place, and if the U.S. can’t prove it alone, then the Mideast revolutions can, and if we have to, we’ll just bomb them: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/opinion/05friedman.html?_r=1&hp

      I can’t think of anything stupider than Arpege talking about how racist Owen was to refer to ‘sinopop’, when China is nothing but one crackdown after another.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:06 pm

      • Ok, Ok, I get the point – you’re a PATRIOTIC WHORE.

        The China theory is stupid because it operates on the old bipolar logic from the Cold War, when clearly the world is dividing into more power centers, becoming multipolar. What I wanted to say though is that the Euro-Atlantic power center is basically united by their joint goal to control the energy resources in Russia. The petty squabbles around ecology, or who gets to arrest more ”war criminals”, don’t really change any of that.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 6:37 pm

  30. I’m downloading TRUE BLOOD based on your recommendation, Eloise, but also, because I like vampire stories. I envy you for being able to meet with the Dyke, I would like to as well.

    My own recommendation is Carpenter’s latest movie THE WARD, and I have a bunch of Serbian movies I wanted to send that I brought from Belgrade, but you have to send your mailing address.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    • I am so SICK of hearing about Serbian movies.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:01 pm

  31. Actually you’d love them – the same way you loved THE SERBIAN FILM – but since you broke that Porno Gang DVD, I have no intention of lowering myself to send another one, so you’ll have to ask Eloise to forward her copy. Alternately you could ask permission from my Concern Troll.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    • “you could ask permission from my Concern Troll.”

      Why don’t you ask him LOL? He’ll know what that means.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    • How do you know I broke it? Maybe that’s just a conspiracy theory?

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:10 pm

      • Actually now that you mention it, it could be that you tried to insert the DVD into the television set and nearly electrocuted yourself in the process, and the DVD was scratched so badly that you couldn’t play it afterwards. Then you told me that you ”broke it”, just to cover up the fact that you’re a Digital Alzheimer case.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  32. Carl is here from NC in a professional capacity for only a few days, as part of a mass annual influx of history profs converging to grading high school students’ advanced placement (AP) American History exams. If the car proves not to be seriously fucked up I might be able to reschedule dinner for tomorrow. We did this last year too and had a nice evening eating burgers and drinking beers.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    • That’s a shame about the car, things like that are just so unbearable. I mean it. Anyway, I hope you can get it fixed so you can have another some enchanted burgerking. I had a good Sloppy Joe the other day, even though the new cook didn’t get it hot enough.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  33. Thanks for the good thoughts.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  34. that the Euro-Atlantic power center is basically united by their joint goal to control the energy resources in Russia.

    So Russia has more oil than all the Mideast countries put together, even though nobody’s ever heard of it? and nobody ever mentions it? So why don’t they have a halfway decent high standard of living as is enjoyed in the model society of Libya? And how about offshore oil? There’s tons of it everywhere. It is interesting that you talk about ‘Russia’s energy resources’ as being the ne plus ultra of all world eros and power, while not seeming to notice that it’s never mentioned by anybody on the premises, just like the failure of anybody who saw the engine pieces on the ground after 9/11 to blame Helen Gurley Brown for it.

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    • http://exploredia.com/oil-reserves-by-country-2011/

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    • Well I don’t know where the stats you mentioned come from, but wikipedia states

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_policy_of_Russia

      Russia is the largest oil producer in the non-OPEC countries, and second biggest in the world after Saudi Arabia,[18] which it overtakes as the world’s number one from time to time.[19]

      Russia has the largest known natural gas reserves of any state on earth, along with the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves. This is 32% of world proven natural gas reserves (23% of the probable reserves), 12% of the proven oil reserves (42% of the probable reserves), 10% of the explored coal reserves (14% of the estimated reserves) and 8% of the proven uranium reserves.[9]

      And while Saudi Arabia is pretty much under the Euro-Atlantic boot, Russia isn’t ,and that’s the main concern for the imperial planners in the coming period. Oil is not the only item, it’s about all energy resources.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 7:35 pm

      • I know it. That’s all Hillary and Nicolas and David and Barack ever talk about when they’re in secret, and they realize the urgent nature of balancing out their paranoia about Russia and China as still forming a secret Communist Power Bloc. It’s just like Arpege knowing that Gadhafi never gave into imperialism, so that that ‘revolutonaries’ really are just, you know, like, uh, ‘play-ants by the NATO’, who is just fighting the wars for the secret Russian energy reserves. They just shot Osama Bin Laden to pander to American dick-jackers.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  35. Interesting about the shale oil deposits. Wikipedia says that it’s more expensive and more environmentally disruptive to extract oil from shale — mostly strip mining apparently.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 June 2011 @ 7:14 pm

    • What are you bantering on about, I never mentioned any conspiracy or the secret Communist power bloc, just the fact that Western Europe and America are pretty much on the same line as regards expanding their markets, and I came to that thought because the idea of the ”decline of American power” makes it sound like the ”European power is rising” as a result, or at the expense of the American decline – something you hear often in Eurocentric conversations over here – while I don’t see any essential dispute between the rich.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 5 June 2011 @ 8:39 pm

      • No wonder somebody stuck in Led China would keep talking about the Rise of Led China and the way America is just, like, nowhere by now. But I just read his headlines, now that he’s a subordinate of mine. I just like to see how many posts he’s sweating out each week, and am confident that there’s an article about it. You probably have to work for Chinee Guvmint ay-ter ay-while if you don’t wanna get picked up. He wouldn’t like it that EuroTrash doesn’t talk about Led China being even lower than ‘Old Europe’. I feel he is doing a good job as my secretary by now, and you have politely confirmed this. For this, you get the Liberated ButtPlug of Valour.

        Like

        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 June 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  36. I’m still not sure I’ve seen anything funnier that was also PROFOUND about something IMPORTANT, viz., the APPALLING lack of talent by the Sheer Acting of MURRRLLLL Streep. (btw, I got the objects they’re holding mixed up in memory, it’s French and Lumley holding these two non-electronic object, well-appreciated as ‘art’ in various Southwestern ‘laboratories’ where art is HOLY!!!!, I had somehow remembered an orange soda plastic container, and Lumley is on the right, French on the left here). This is one case where parody is truly subversive, because MURRRLLLL is a disgusting ‘actress’!!!

    Like

    Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 6 June 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    • I also find the beginning of Part 2 subversive, in that F&S are being scolded by the marketing industry for being old and fat and not as rich as the makers of Mamma Mia, and those are the two unacceptable things in the Perfect World that the marketing is selling. In this F&S clearly show their loyalty to the punk scene from which they emerged in the 1980s.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 6 June 2011 @ 5:54 pm

      • The most incredible thing is that this Swede who is living with me now is EXACTLY like that bitch at the beginning. That song is ‘Winner Takes All’ that MURRRLL does in Part 2. I hadn’t noticed the fart the MURRRLLL does when the director says ‘do the splits’ till just now. I really had no idea that ABBA, in fact, IS Swedish genius, which is to say, they are among the dumbest races in the entire world. My roommate is all-organic all the time, and is so excited that tonight she is going out to get some VEGETARIAN LASAGNA! The sheer VEGETARIANISM of her fucking dumb ass!!!!

        Like

        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 6 June 2011 @ 6:05 pm

      • I meant like ‘Sophie’ who is very totalitarian like Swedes can be ‘I really loved this movie and everybody else I know did. But you both seem a bit bitter…’ etc. This one required 7 weeks preparation for a Swedish pastry, including consultations with her mother which were not even satisfying ( her mum sees her like the rest of use, said ‘look up some recipes on the net’, and B. said ‘that was a bit of a disappointment). She’s gone for 2 weeks, so we may have to have a talk when she gets back. She almost made me have a hysterical bipolarism last night, but Jack talked me out of it. I had no idea what a true passive-aggressive is, and nobody beats the Swedes at this. She’s recently been trying to get me into an ‘adopt-a-plant’ mentality, and I nearly killed the plant as a result. As it is, i’m just going to put it back downstairs. Burroughs said ‘Sweden takes you all the way down’. Yes. Because maybe they even give religion a good name. A Sikh Indian I knew from London said ‘yes, the Swedes are the machines’. That’s the current mutation we already have of the nearly-atheistic society. I don’t know what the fuck she’s doing in New York, but she seems very Lesb’an, despite dressing like this blonde princess with long hair just like that fucking Sophie in the Saunders things. And the ‘you’re not in this part’ is just the clunky way she is about things. They have a way of making things as heavy-handed as possible, and even Norwegians have tried to wise me up about them, saying that ‘they think they’re sophisticated like the French, but they’re just CLODS!’

        Like

        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 6 June 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  37. I really had no idea that ABBA, in fact, IS Swedish genius,

    I think that’s a painfully astute observation about ALL Scandinavian Smurfs (including the Dutch – whose healthy Germanic side is repressed in the name of this selfsame passive-aggressive envy), I don’t know what to advise, maybe you should rape the bitch? I wonder tho if Norwegians are really any better (they’re more handsome, that much I’ve seen)…I doubt it.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 6 June 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    • Oh no, this one is like porcelain, I unfortunately have to hurt her feelings by telling her that this isn’t the right place for her to live; she’s so nearly inanimate in terms of desire she’ll probably not notice that I just had to place her on some safe shelf. She is like the old Danes in ‘Babette’s Feast’ who have no tolerance for real pleasure, and actually condescend to Babette’s brilliance; but this was an odd example: She’s got the perfect face and the perfect body, and is all Lutheran-modest about it, has no interest whatever in being stylish. I was stunned that these were characteristics that were well-known when I was watching the F & S this time. The last gal who was here, the Neopolitan, ruined me forever for almost anybody, she was so perfect and natural a woman, and has even become one of my best friends after she left. Jack and I go to see her all the time. This one makes me both sad and then angry, so I owe it to her to not continue exposing her to my somewhat unusual persona. She’s the type that gets hurt in New York, unless she accepts the fact that she needs to share with a Lesb’an, and they can be ‘sensitive’ together.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 6 June 2011 @ 9:34 pm

      • I’m not sure I understand the deal with that renting: do you ask the tenants to be sexually pleasing, or to have a matching personality? Or is the place too small so you have to keep bumping into them and their habits? Amusing to think of the possibility of being a RENT DOMINATRIX that way.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 6 June 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  38. I don’t see by the way that you patronized Warszawa Klein to any level of acceptability – she is still out of control, and she’s drunk as well. The way you bragged I thought you’d bring her all the way to the Advanced Toyboy level, but she hasn’t even passed Cocksucking 101 as far as I can see.

    In other news, the Temptress was let loose on Venice, so now she’s spotting BIZARRE OBJECTS at the Biennale – stuff like an ATM card machine that plays the fugue when you withdraw cash (of course, when the Temptress puts HER card in, all you hear is THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL). I guess the only appropriate punishment for this kind of nonsense would be to kidnap Tamarajajajana and demand all three Cairo apartments for ransom.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 6 June 2011 @ 9:37 pm

    • Warszawa is a very gifted person and has a lot of heart, but I absolutely am not going to be able to go very far with his business about the 9/11 truth. They sure weren’t very fast on the trigger about doubting Bin Laden’s death, which I thought would be their next most obvious move. The things at traxus were odium incarnate, these were far worse than your Mladic post. It was hilarious watching them argue the illegality of the assassination once it was too late, and only ‘thanks, kenoma’ remembered that Bin Laden was ‘inn-a-sint’. But that raid was a fucking work of art. Traxus quoted Condi Rice as screaming ‘It was thrilling!’ and she was fucking right on. Her old boss would not have liked that all that much, since he would have loved to have had this on his record, and they thought they’d managed in 2007, in a story about a meeting of Al Qaida leaders that Bin Laden was supposed to attend, but didn’t because (most likely) got tipped off. These intelligence things are fantastically tricky, and you can tell from the Situation Room photo that they knew they might easily blow it. That would have turned Obama into another Jimmy Carter, and would have total doom for the U.S. That would have delighted Arpege et Cie., who are now fully weakened.

      But as for warszawa, he has a genuinely good sense of humour and a lot of talent, and I hope things begin to work out for him. He’s a lot nicer than I thought, but he’s long been in a real funk. I don’t know how old he is, but he was even funny back in the days when ‘lustmolch’ used to think he was a wermin and call him ‘Frau Warwaski’. Once he told me that ‘Your writing is so bad it makes Erica Jong look like MARCEL GODDAM PROUST’, which I loved.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 6 June 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  39. do you ask the tenants to be sexually pleasing, or to have a matching personality?

    No, they don’t have to be sexually pleasing, but it goes without saying that one needs to have a personality that doesn’t clash too disagreeably. With her Swedish ‘rationality’, she is always sort of ‘right’ and I am always sort of ‘too masculinist’. She’s already told me about her ‘competing’ with her brother and father, so she is very obvious that way, and it’s a big bore.

    “Or is the place too small so you have to keep bumping into them and their habits?”

    No, it’s smallish, but set up perfectly for two people who are not constantly trying to get attention from the other–and THAT is what she does. It just got a lot worse recently. Giovanna was absolutely perfect, and we never had a single argument for 8 months, and when she wanted me to take care of something, she just told me and I did. This one wanted to look at her fucking blisters from tight shoes the other day and assure her that ‘you’re sure they’re not infected?’ and then ‘razor burn’ which ‘has driven people crazy with itching to the hospital’ the next day. Oh man, this kind of babyishness is awful, and SO un-Carol Connors, my new Female Ideal–Porno Star Becomes Model Mother in Hollywood Without Drug Use!

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 6 June 2011 @ 10:02 pm

  40. Well you know well that gay porn is full of routine stories about rent boys; but to see a story about a gay BITCH RENTIER – without explicit sex, mind you, just cerebral sado-masochism – would certainly be something new. Assistant Womyn could play the role of the wermin who tries to challenge the rentier, but fails miserably in the end as masculinism triumphs. I’m sure she could do the Swedish accent even better than Jamie Lee Curtis.

    For a while I was hoping that Warszawa would be a tough Manchester skinhead or something, and after some pointless bitching she would give in to her ”homophobia” and well, fuck me, but as it turns out, she just wants to get fucked by the ASSASSIN. Speaking of all that, I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant the other day with Dick and giggled for hours when they brought the menu and I really SAW – I mean as a kind of a hallucination – ”Tiny Taiwanese testicles” under SALADS. Later I imagined Childie’s entrails mixed with the bami. Nobody had a clue what the fuck I was laughing about.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 7 June 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  41. Assistant Womyn may not be right, except for the other extreme recent annoyance: She demanded I put the A/C in, but then said she wouldn’t be using it because ‘I need silence’ and the A/C’s white noise was ‘too loud’. That’s fine with me, keeps my bill down, which always gets fucked up in the heat, and we’ve got our second early heat wave right now. She freaked when I killed a rare water bug with my hand, after screaming with fear from it, and how it ‘creeped her out?’ I said it was just some fuckin cockroach, and those big ones are very rare, unlike the small ‘authentic NYC roaches’, which are hard to get rid of (but we mostly have.) I told her she was ‘acting like a girl’. She didn’t care for that. Feminists don’t like it at all when you tell them they are scared shitless of the same things girls were afraid of before Betty Friedan.

    I’m not sure Assistant Womynb is not too butch for this, though. You now, she feels that there are ‘billions and billions of genders’, which always reminds me of Carl Sagan. This one is also something new: She’s age-bipolar, meaning she has two speeds: Age 4 and age 97.

    Like

    Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 7 June 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    • You can email me if you want to. We’ve used this long enough given it’s someone else’s bleug, and I’m not going back to CPC with you and your unpleasant Companion there.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 7 June 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  42. I wouldn’t be too worried about Eloise; I’m sure she’s quite proud of herself because we’re talking again, although she must have had a few nightmares yesterday worrying what she’ll find on the bleug when she wakes up. I appreciate her effort to continue the masculinity thread from American Beauty with the Raging Bull, but sadly have to report that I saw the Bull a very long time ago and wouldn’t know what to comment. That’s the problem with these organized viewings – ideally people shoud gather up and watch the same movie at the same time.

    Nevertheless I will e-mail, sporadically tonight because I’m working on video editing with my left hand.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 7 June 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    • For the record, I’ve never seen ‘Raging Bull’ somehow. I started to put a hold on it, but it doesn’t sound nearly as interested as the fact that LaMotta is still alive.

      Yesterday, I couldn’t quit watching the MURRRRLLLL parody again, and merely want to point out some of the titles (is that what the big word-things are called, like in old previews?) like STILL UNBELIEVABLE!

      Do you know what? I’m afraid I can’t properly appreciate this as much as somebody who’s seen the ‘original’, but…I’m not sure such self-flagellation is worth it, unless MURRRLLLL is even more disgusting about her blue jeans than Saunders. MURRRLLL’s been crying since ‘Prairie Home Companion’.

      On the street while ago, I also even realized what this insufferable THREAT TO WESTERN CULTURE was even doing in ‘The HOURS’. She was thinking ‘I gotta do the grubby Lesb’an. Keep that thought foremost in my pea-brain’. And it worked: You can see her thinking ‘I make such a formidable Grubby Lesb’an…and this makes it so she’s not even good at that. I think she should be beheaded.

      There are new types of horrible Swedishness I noticed this time too: The ‘Producer’ is like a Swedish middle-aged husband hunter from Greenwich, Ct. I knew back in the 70s. She was just like this one when she starts laughing ‘They said ‘You’ve got to make it into a MOVIE!’ And the one I knew would say things about her brother-in-law like ‘He makes OODLES of monayyy!’ And then that homely ‘Director’ is heaven when she says ”JUST SAY ANYTHING!’ she’s so overcome with emotion.

      French’s best moment is backup girl for ‘Honey, Honey’.

      Anyway,. you’re wrong about Norwegians, Danes and Dutch by comparison. They are not usually as spontaneous as Italians, Greeks and Alabamans, but they are often very lusty and stylish. Swedes have the reputation for ‘easy sex’, and yet are really frigid as holy hell. The one Swede I knew who was really smart fought being Swedish all his life, till he gave up the ghost. I finally understand him, at least he tried. He hated the hickness. Which doesn’t mean there aren’t some drear Norwegians, Danes, and Dutch, but the ones I’ve known personally were never as horrid as all the Swedes were (INCLUDING the one who tried to fight it off! )

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 8 June 2011 @ 3:55 pm

      • I also love it when Lumley is doing ”Does your mother know that you’re out” and Chlamydia is trying to ”energize” the dancers; this type of ”we’re all having a good time” marketing crawled into every nook and cranny of show business, but if you compare with musicals from the 1960s, 1970s, even as far back as the 1940s, 1950s, it was never vulgar like this, it always seemed to have elegance, it wasn’t this forced. French is fantastic with grimacing, she has a rubbery face and is capable of such hilarious contortions and distortions: simultaneously funny and scary. It’s kind of like Jim Carrey’s brand of physical acting, but Carrey doesn’t have the cold English cynicism.

        Like

        Comment by parody center — 8 June 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  43. I don’t know French from Saunders, but the “sheer acting” bit where one of them imitates Meryl doing a dramatic recitation of that one song actually got a laugh out of me.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 June 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  44. “this type of ”we’re all having a good time” marketing crawled into every nook and cranny of show business, but if you compare with musicals from the 1960s, 1970s, even as far back as the 1940s, 1950s, it was never vulgar like this,”

    The old shows from the 30s and 40s had an ‘innocent vulgarity’, and some of them were really better than the later, more formally contructed ‘book musicals’. Merman was in tons of the early mostly ‘numbers musicals’ by Porter, which would just have a flimsy plot, except maybe ‘Showboat’, and then with ‘Oklahoma’, this was always required; and then she ended up with one of the best book musicals, ‘Gypsy’. As a result of not doing the film, Arthur Laurents (who died last month) finally gave the go-ahead after many reversals, to let Babs do Momma Rose, at age 70. This won’t actually be ‘good’, but it won’t be dull garbage, because she”ll be near-suicidal trying to outdo everybody who’s ever done it.. It was, again, the Well-Rotted 80s that started this kind of thing, and it’s strange that it was the big British shows that supplanted all the decades of ‘Jewish Genius on Broadway’ (yes, you heard right), and replaced them with tourist garbage beginining with ‘Cats’ and continuing with Endless Disney.

    ” it always seemed to have elegance, it wasn’t this forced”.

    Yes, even some of the pretentious Sondheim things weren’t like this garbage. There’s a lot of it now, and I couldn’t believe that show ‘In the Heights’ was so good and ran nearly 3 years (they’re making a movie ot it), but that was a freak thing–Caribbean music by a guy from Washington Hts. here. I only saw it in October, and I was nearly in pain at how good it was, because it is NOT representative.

    “French is fantastic with grimacing, she has a rubbery face and is capable of such hilarious contortions and distortions: simultaneously funny and scary. It’s kind of like Jim Carrey’s brand of physical acting, but Carrey doesn’t have the cold English cynicism.”

    I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s true, French has it just as much as the other two, and there’s that hilarious ‘copper-potted ouzo’ when she hobbles in with espresso and capuccino. What a WUNNERFUL IDEA the whole thing was: A movie to make people feel good about doing a SHITTY JOB. In this case, the English are the single nationality that would know exactly how to be hateful about the Swedes and they have succeeded monstrously. However, if I had to give a Best Actress Award in this case, it would be to Saunders, whose loathing of Streep is as vast as mine, and the ‘now it’s time for MURRRRRRLLLL to do her brand of crying that’s sold so well throughout the 00’s’ is uncanny, esp. when they’re trying to convince her that ‘Chiquitita’ might convince distraught MURRRLLLL that Eternal Return to ‘Danzin Queen’ wasn’t that obvious to a small minority. And that’s amazing; they prove that the one song that really is ‘catchy’ of ABBA is also atrocious, maybe even the worse, because it is like drinking an entire gallon of strawberry soda at one gulp.

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 8 June 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    • Just for accuracy, the ‘numbers musicals’ were written by everybody, including Richard Rodgers when he was still with Lorenz Hart, and also much by Gershwin. ‘Showboat’ really was the first well-integrated ‘book musical’, that’s Jerome Kern, and both versions on film are good, with Irene Dunne/Alan Jones and Ava Gardner/Howard Keel.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 8 June 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    • Another thing that should be noted is the production design: I forgot the name of the guy, he is a famous BBC stock name. It’s not just the actors who are satirizing other actors, but the whole production is a satire – note, for example, the crappy post-modernistic blue screen paste jobs in the beginning, which taunt the ”seamless” digital design of the original production, which hyper-realistically enhances the stereotypes of the Greek seaside, the blue ,the white, the sea, postcards with donkeys and the like, but precisely due to the seamlessness of the simulation, it is totally fake. This is even funnier if you go to Greece, and attend one of the organized tours with the Brits – where the lower middle class scum of London comes loose from their wretched lives in England, middle aged waifs dancing on tables before their shocked husbands etc, and everything is brimming with Mediterranean kitsch – then you see just how on the mark, and hilarious,the parody is. I don’t think any television in the world except the BBC can do this, I’ve seen some imitations in Holland but they’re never this piercing, this good.

      Eloise SHAME ON YOU for not knowing French and Saunders. They are the most important BBC comedy duo right up there with classics like Mr. Bean or ‘Alo ‘Alo. There’s a wealth of their sketches on youtube for you to study, but I would especially recommend their parodies of feature movies like ”Aliens”, ”Gone With The Wind”, ”Silence of The Lambs”… Saunders was also the star of ”Absolutely Fabulous”, which is one of the greatest comedy shows ever made, if not the greatest. And they were on top for over 20 years, only recently retired – an amazing feat for a comedy duo.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 8 June 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    • Goh I just nearly gagged when I saw that in the scene of MURRRRL’s sheer acting, you see CYPRESSES in the background – and I remembered the ASSASSIN’s ”cypresses weeping”

      Then I noticed the boyfriend of the chubby gay character, who is EXACTLY the weird kind of an Agnetha Hatherley queen that would end up with the chubby.

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 8 June 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  45. http://rosswolfe.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/a-clarification-on-why-levi-bryant-has-really-given-up-talking-to-me/

    Here’s a live example of your typical dr. Sinthome bottom – same category as Angelina Paulina; the Texan top basically didn’t want to fuck her, which was frustrating in itself but also hurt her Platonic vanity.
    Now she’s hiding under Eloise’s skirt and throwing little darts at the Narcissistic Cat, which is a waste of time because if she took off her Woody Allen
    spectacles and stopped talking about her Weltschmerz, she’d actually be kinda cute, and the cat would ultimately give her a mercy fuck.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 9 June 2011 @ 9:32 am

  46. The implicit warning rings true, pc: online battles with Bryant seem to lure many combatants into what, from the audience’s perspective, degenerates into an ongoing and futile demand for personal attention and respect. This demand, which is never met, mostly positions the demander as a subsidiary opposition figure, the terms of the opposition being determined entirely by Bryant. He does post interesting content, and he seems vulnerable both intellectually and psychologically, so the lure is hard to resist. Many have gone before, but in that way madness lies…

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 June 2011 @ 11:44 am

  47. mostly positions the demander as a subsidiary opposition figure, the terms of the opposition being determined entirely by Bryant.

    I don’t know about that, Eloise, I see it more that the tomcat is cleverly playing the Lacanian analyst – the bottoms come in projecting their issues as if it were the cat’s fault that they desire his Texan libido as much as they do, and than the cat subjectively destitutes them into submission. The cat likes to work hard on the asses of his eager audiences. Anycase the malevolent passions thereby released make for exciting blawging; when the cat is playing ”straight” and writing boring self-sufficient diatribes, I don’t read her.

    But I admit that my affection for the cat may be discounting those tender wounded souls like your own, Eloise, who are not really looking for any subjective destitution, just a little human warmth and intellectual company. Those are probably being treated unfairly – although if you’ll remember the cat fully acknowledged her respect for your character.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 9 June 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    • “the bottoms come in projecting their issues as if it were the cat’s fault that they desire his Texan libido as much as they do, and than the cat subjectively destitutes them into submission.’

      Even if this is true in some low-level cases, it’s irresponsible because supposedly within a particular profession that is taken seriously.

      “those tender wounded souls like your own, Eloise, who are not really looking for any subjective destitution, just a little human warmth and intellectual company. Those are probably being treated unfairly – although if you’ll remember the cat fully acknowledged her respect for your character.”

      Well, count the other ones, whoever they are. I don’t understand why people haven’t found him just boring the way I do, but if they haven’t, there are probably certainly those besides John that have dealt with him just because he’s become such sort of philobleuger that is semi-important in the profession. I never had dealings with him that I know of (although he probably trolled CPC, now that I see he has a delinquent streak, and has to keep certain tendencies under control), except I put maybe a total or 2 or 3 comments on there in about 4 years time. He deleted both of these, even though I don’t remember what I said, and don’t think they were pointedly insulting; and once on here, in which I first perceived him as ‘gentlemanly’ and then realized he was being condescending, because I asked questions about OOO and he was correct in that I wasn’t ‘deeply familiar’ with the sacred tenets of OOO, and have still the hardest time even wanting to.

      But your sexual fantasies about him sound unusually silly on this bleug, even more so than they do on yours and your criminal accomplice bleug. I notice Miss lafayette hasn’t been writing much, and that warszawa never addresses her. I’m sure the truth is less interesting than almost any fiction, even Harlequin Romances.

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 9 June 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  48. That’s right, he commended both of us in the same post: you as pervert, me as analyst. I don’t know about those Lacanianisms, nor what sort of discourse Levi sees himself as producing. Here’s a salient excerpt from Fink’s The Lacanian Subject:

    [T]he hysteric goes at the master and demands that he or she show his or her stuff, prove his or her mettle by producing something serious by way of knowledge… In the master’s discourse, knowledge is prized only insofar as it can produce something else, only so long as it can be put to work for the master; yet knowledge itself remains inaccessible to the master. In the university discourse, knowledge is not so much an end in itself as that which justifies the academic’s very existence and activity. Hysteria thus provides a unique configuration with respect to knowledge, and I believe this is why Lacan finally identifies the discourse of science with that of hysteria… The hysteric pushes the master — incarnated in a partner, teacher, or whomever — to the point where he or she can find the master’s knowledge lacking. Either the master does not have an explanation for everything, or his or her reasoning does not hold water. In addressing the master, the hysteric demands that he or she produce knowledge and then goes on to disprove his or her theories… Hysterics led Freud to develop psychoanalytic theory and practice, all the while proving to him in his consulting room the inadequacy of his knowledge and know-how.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 June 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    • you as pervert, me as analyst.

      Eloise you PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE BITCH. In that article, the position of the ”pervert” is equated to or corresponds to the position of the ”analyst” – the analyst is in the pervert. Therefore, he called both of us PERVERTS. He didn’t call me a PERVERT, leaving for you the role of the DECENT CHRISTIAN ANALYST, goddammit. And he wasn’t much original in that either because four years ago already I called you a Clysmatics!!!!

      As for you, IMMORAL DANCES OF NEW YORK CITY, since your own sexuality privileges and fetishizes the NIKKI LAND OBJECT, of course you don’t have any sexual interest in the Narcissistic Cat. After all, she’s a wholesome Texan top, while Nikki Land is a duplicitious English seductress, which is a category you vastly prefer, obviously.

      But all this was actually provoked by the appearance of the Rush Limbaugh bottom here, the Wolfwoman, who decided to spoil a perfectly good MURRRL bashing bash with her whiny agenda. ”Me, me, me, me”, she screams, ”why doesn’t anyone pay attention to ME!!!!!”

      Like

      Comment by parody center — 9 June 2011 @ 10:17 pm

      • In doing the quick tour of developments since I left town, I came across this from a recent Larval Subjects post:

        “I’m incredibly suspicious of all moralists, whether they are moralists in the field of ethics or moralists in the domain of reason. I’m suspicious of all of those which wish to legislate. In Lacanian terms, they strike me as perverts or agents of the big Other seeking to subordinate others to the superegoic Law of the big Other and, like Sade that great agent of the Law, seeking to submit, in the cruelest possible terms, others to the ineluctable necessity of what follows from the Law”

        So there’s that, pc. Sinthome goes on to contrast the pervert with the analyst, who, he says, doesn’t attempt to categorize people into diagnoses. So when Sinthome lumps you with the normative truth-seekers (which would also include me) under the “pervert” diagnosis, he seems not to be acting as an analyst at all. This sort of self-contradictory vulnerability lures commenters into thinking they’ve got Sinthome backed into a corner, all set up for the knockout punch. But when someone enters into his boxing ring they’re tacitly agreeing to fight by his rules. They never win there.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 23 June 2011 @ 7:23 am

      • And you know, there’s not much blogwise that I’ve missed by being out of town for ten days.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 23 June 2011 @ 9:48 am

    • You know I can’t keep all those Lacanian categories straight, pc. Fine: Sinthome said that you’re a pervert AND an analyst. Happy now?

      This is the same one who did the Streep impression. Is it French or Saunders?

      You might notice that Ross actually began by addressing the topic of the original post, for which he gets 3 bonus points.

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 9 June 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  49. “That doesn’t mean, of course, that I wouldn’t defend a person’s right to anonymity. You seem to agree with me here, ktismatics. ”

    He didn’t say so 100%, as I recall. And very often the anonymity IS used purely irresponsibly. From what i could tell, John thought that Bryant/Harman’s demanding identity of posters was based on desire that the poster be nice, not necessarily that he be identified. And that had just been an excuse on their part to cover up that they didn’t like disagreement. That may well be true. But the issue is certainly more than the Harman-Bryants. Unless there’s a real danger, people really don’t have the right to be shitting all over the place on the net unpunished, if it’s just to get away with what they’re gutless to do otherwise. Maybe you should read the whole thread if you haven’t. Then there are exceptions. I thought Mikhail was ‘really Mikhail’, he wasn’t, but I still didn’t care if he wanted to be anonymous; I still don’t know his real name, I just quit writing at PE because I am fucking stupefied that ‘Real Egypt’ has had such a long run. THAT is pretty pathetic, frankly.. But there others who have been real assholes, and they reduced themsevles thereby to only being of interest as indentifiable trolls. That is the only way I see these ‘people’, as ‘becoming-digital’ and THEY’RE NOT KIDDING!

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 9 June 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    • Here’s what John said early in the discussion. My perception is that he’s not crazy about trollism and its silliness, but he’s not maniacal about this hatred as I am. I loathe trolls–and they know it too!

      Thank you.

      Here it is:

      “Harman and Bryant argue that trolls hide behind anonymity in order to protect themselves from the traditional interpersonal consequences of being mean. Sadly I have to agree: while anonymity does protect people from the social and political consequences of revealing unpopular or dangerous truths, it also protects people from the consequences of being slanderous, bigoted, and hostile. Maybe this kind of meanness is an authentic expression of feeling, a kind of truth that can be expressed by some people only by not revealing the truth about who they are. “

      Like

      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 9 June 2011 @ 2:32 pm

  50. Well said, ID of NYC. And Ross, whatever the reason Bryant banned you from commenting on his site, you’re of course still free to express your opinions about his ideas on your own blog, on this blog, and elsewhere. You should know, though, that I often delete personal criticisms directed at other bloggers. I thought that your remarks here about Levi’s character were worth discussing for awhile, in light of his referring to the truth-seeking bloggers (which includes me) as fascists. Inquiring minds want to know, but now we’ve got the word from the man himself: his philosophical statements aren’t meant to be evaluated in terms of their truth or falsehood. So I no longer need to evaluate them according to that standard, and neither does anyone else in the blog world. We’re free at last!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 June 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  51. I can imagine an alternative future in which Levi stops trying to describe existing reality and instead focuses exclusively on developing theories about how new things come into existence. He’s already doing it with his elaborations on Deleuzian emergence and Latourian hybridization. These theories would be judged not on their truth but on their usefulness to writers, artists, designers, politicians, marketing people — utility being the most important normative criterion by which Levi says that he wants his theories to be evaluated. Leave the whole withdrawn-essence, indirect-interaction ontology business to Graham Harman. Instead Levi could get into “ktismatics,” which is a term I invented when I started the blog, derived from the Greek word for “create” — thus “the theory and practice of creation.” Levi and I could start a ktismatics consulting firm together, call it Doyle and Bryant…

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 June 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  52. Not to dig up old feuds that ought to have been buried by now, but have you been following Levi’s posts on commodity fetishism over at Larval Subjects, trying to work out an OOO-approach to the subject? You might find it of some interest. I naturally am suspicious of any theory that claims that objects exist external to their relations, especially if it is trying to incorporate a theory about the relationship between objects and the relationship between persons. Bryant has suddenly warmed to Adorno, after heaping scorn upon him for months. But Adorno’s theories do not deserve to be put to such misuse. Anyway, I’ve written a reply to his post on commodities over on my blog.

    Like

    Comment by Ross Wolfe — 19 June 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    • Thanks for the heads up, Ross. I’ll visit these writings when I return from vacation. I’ve been reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and Truth by Simon Blackburn. The latter has direct bearing on the OOO’s self-proclaimed abandonment of ontological truth, whereas the former, being a story about vampires, may prove more affectively useful in “digging up” the old feuds.

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 20 June 2011 @ 11:18 am

      • Yeah, the blogosphere has been pretty slow lately. I read Salem’s Lot when I was in my teens. It’s certainly one of King’s better works. I must say that I find the OOO literary canon extremely odd. Lovecraft seems to be the penultimate figure. With the critical theorists, like Benjamin, Adorno, and Horkheimer, poets and authors like Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Paul Valery, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, and Samuel Beckett were the preeminent figures of their analyses, besides obviously the Romantics and the great novelists and poets of the past. I don’t get OOO’s obsession with pulp. Maybe it’s supposed to be an ironic gesture, but even if that’s the case then I have to say it’s pretty sad.

        There’s a great section in Capital where Marx discusses the “vampirism” of capital, in an incredibly evocative, non-obscurantist manner.

        In other news, I’ve infiltrated Bryant’s blog again. It was startlingly easy to do.

        Like

        Comment by Ross Wolfe — 23 June 2011 @ 4:03 pm

      • I didn’t read Bryant on Adorno, partly because I’ve read only one book by Adorno and have no clear picture of his ideas. More saliently, I’m sick of the general approach of rereading every text from the POV of OOO. It’s starting to sound like the sort of new-age bullshit where 10-dimensional superstring theory was already promulgated in the Zahir, or where positive/negative ion charges were already explained by the Bhagavad Gita. These, by the way, are two examples mentioned in Dan Brown’s latest blockbuster The Lost Symbol, wherein it is claimed that modern science is merely rediscovering truths that were already known intuitively by the ancients. At least Brown acknowledges that his is a work of fiction. My inlaws passed Brown’s book on to my wife, who read it and gave it to me. Brown likes to flash his arcane mystical erudition in the most rational-seeming terms, with shrewd characters (always rich, Ivy-educated, fit, and attractive) weaving intricate schemes and penetrating mysteries one clue at a time. But it’s all operating in a vast interconnected Hokumfeld. Stephen King is to be preferred: even his metaphorical interpretations are loosely held, and he really can snap off an evocative phrase or paragraph at the right moments. Brown is pedantic and his prose is dull; he relies on his plot machinery to grind the reader through the pages.

        Like

        Comment by ktismatics — 23 June 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  53. This sort of self-contradictory vulnerability lures commenters into thinking they’ve got Sinthome backed into a corner, all set up for the knockout punch. But when someone enters into his boxing ring they’re tacitly agreeing to fight by his rules. They never win there.”

    Exactly right, and that goes for anybody who is only looking to win fights: okay for awhile, maybe, not indefinitely, as witnessed by this personage, who is every bit the moralist as any other bleuger–if only because he’s verbally incontinent and writes vast masses of self-contradictory verbiage, including a TON of moralizing, just like that creep that ‘apologized for pouncing’ to ‘the other geezer’ at the contaminants, while also doing cheap contradictions just for the purpose of manipulation. I think Bryant is a good way of seeing this sort of syndrome clearly, precisely because I always thought his writing was ugly and nearly unreadable. So then, I saw that lots of people were transfixed by him, and I never knew why, but this kind of thing is hardly exclusive to Bryant. I wasn’t that interested in Harman either, but I used to find it half-readable if I was already positioned here. People really DO take him seriously. But, just for one exam[le, I remember some really godawful musings on ‘happiness’ and how you shouldn’t have certain kinds of ‘consumerist happinesses’, really JUST bullshit., and somehow ties in Marx and Lacan

    But I have no intention of searching it out (I think I quoted its silly MORALIZING at Mikhail’s once) but I must don’t have a round tuit.

    Levi Bryant has many Round Tuits, as well as an Ambitious Academic Slave Mentality.

    Welcome back. Hope you had a good trip.

    Like

    Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 23 June 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    • spite all my differences with Wayne Kasper aka warszawa, he’s doing the best work on handing those two trolls at oJohn, I hope you don’t mind my putting this down just for the record. The trolls are self-destructing now, and, dence (including the host), following up on my also admirable, but far less efficient, work. At this point the desperate troll is going on about how ‘I try to tweak him’ or something here, but that’s just because I won’t write there. So the only thing to put down is that no, I haven’t posted at the contaminants for some months, and not because of comments moderation. The host would definitely ‘publish me’, because talks to me here and also emails

      My personal assessment is that Wayne Kasper is exactly the kind of hot street tough the host would like (and I might even if he weren’t straight, which is AN INALIENABLE RIGHT, if he could give up some of his insane theories, this guy is really smart and has just had hard luck, I think, and I only knew it when he finally took on the concern troll in several places), but I guess the by now obvious troll is frustrated if he’s going to preach on about capitalism. The most appalling remark was that ‘I don’t have a soul and you don’t either’, which is one of those things that may or may not be just a figure of speech. There’s ‘Christian soul’ and then there’s ‘soulful’. What always fascinated me (at first esp.) about Nick Land was his determined intent to ‘have no soul’. He had taken it further than others had done. Then there were attempts to pretend he had one, but that was just games. ‘Soulful’ by now usually just means ‘humane’ and ‘human’, and Wayne has this even if he definitely is not interested as much as he should be in what are common-knowledge journalistic facts.

      Like

      Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 24 June 2011 @ 3:15 pm

    • Yes I agree about Kasper: his blog is good, and he has clearly found the resonant tone for the CPC as it has traditionally operated. I lurk on some of these English blogs, and several of them have formed a nice little club together now. Maybe Traxus has found his stride again, but I just can’t make myself read those long posts.

      Like

      Comment by ktismatics — 24 June 2011 @ 7:05 pm

      • Oh, he’s found his stride all right. Now he makes no bones at all about being as totally extremist as Mlle. Arpege, and even writes much like her. I wondered in the previous ‘male privilege guilt’ post whether he realized that he’d let the cat out of the bag by fully admitting that ‘self-flagellation’ was indeed the only alternative implied to satisfy his core black Lesbian audience. As well, there was how ‘a white man cannot become a black woman’. Et alors? Even if not, he can become a white woman, so stop making up sexist excuses. I think that would suit the new pedagogue he plucked from AVW very well, I doubt she’d be picky if the white woman was not even a Lesbian. What contortions!

        And add to that, that it is not confidential that the writer in question is half-Asian. As half-white, therefore, which he also is by these definitions, does he even have the FULL PRIVILEGE to feel guilty about that you and I have? (and Wayne Kasper, too, who clearly knows how to skirt these issues very skillfully without letting it be known–I always thought Mlle. was the smart one…WK just goes off to his own devices, and clearly loves music) Who knows, maybe he thinks he understands the ease of giving up the impossible privilege and the impossible guilt from being ‘only half-white’, even if that, like the previous states, have absolutely no effects whatever in the real world. What an enviable conundrum. I simply don’t have the money to become a white woman, even if I had the inclination. And maybe there is some blackface you can use to ‘pass’ as a black lesbian…

        So, very cool of you (and kind) to refer to the ‘length’ of these posts. Were that that was all that was the matter with them. It’s like Portuguese filligree of the tightest kind I once saw in an 80s NYTimes Travel Section.

        Like

        Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 24 June 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  54. I know, I know, I’ve previously sworn off Larval Subjects only to return, like unto the dog returning to his own vomit. He’s a clever enough fellow, but for me he really has become insufferable this time. Send in the clowns.

    The trip was fine; thanks for asking.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 23 June 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    • Were that that was all that was the matter with them.

      should be ‘would that that was all…’ I’ve got some ‘literacy vanities’ that I do have Round Tuits for, e.g., no right to talk about arcane articles about filligree if I can’t even write a half-tidy sentence.

      Like

      Comment by Illegal dances of New York City — 24 June 2011 @ 7:40 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: