Thursday, September 27, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Young people are naturally drawn to leftism, it gives one the appearance of strength, maturity, and adulthood
Saturday, September 22, 2007
By the president of the United States of America: A Proclamation.
“That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do not act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
“That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such States shall have participated shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.”
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God. www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0194062.html
Friday, September 21, 2007
The body descending a staircase disappears as meat, is concealed as meat, and instead reveals or discloses itself as pure vector in motion. It is only when my vectors fail, when I break my leg while running, when I’m seen (Sartre and the look) that my body is disclosed as meat, as a foreign substance at odds with me that isn’t entirely under my control. The case is similar with the medical body. When I grasp another person in sexual embrace, I simultaneously encounter them as meat and as vector while simultaneously encountering myself as meat and vector. Yet in the case of the medical gaze, the body is disclosed as meat; or better yet, as machine. The surgeon operating on a body does not encounter that body as person, but rather as a machine. Here the body is disclosed as being closer to a car engine, than as an other. Consequently, the body as other, the other’s body, is concealed in medical practice. It could be said, in this regard, that the first body of medical practice is the body of the autopsy.
A central element of the Heideggerian discovery (pardon the pun) was thus the discovery that beings disclose themselves under various modalities, and that in disclosing themselves they also conceal something at one and the same time. Thus, for example, if I encounter a hammer as a hammer, its material and geometric properties such as wood, iron, its shape, etc are simultaneously concealed. In encountering the hammer as a hammer, it is disclosed in its “handiness”. All of its properties come to refer to this handiness. Its spatial properties are disclosed in terms of its fitness for the job at hand. Its mass is disclosed only in terms of the job at hand, i.e., is it too heavy or light for the job? In order to encounter the hammer as a material object the handiness of the hammer needs to be made to disappear so that it might appear as a brute object composed simply of physical properties such as those described by the chemist and the physicist. That is, the hammer needs to appear under a new modality of being similar to the modality under which a rock discloses itself to the geologist.
Petraeus or Betray Us
To capture the alethics of rhetoric, we might make reference to the controversy surrounding the recent MoveOn.org ad in The New York Times. For those outside the United States, MoveOn.org is a progressive organization that has sought to promote democratic causes. In particular, they have been vocal and powerful opponents of the war in Iraq. Last week, MoveOn took out a full page ad in The New York times questioning General Petraeus’ testimony before the Senate. This ad immediately generated outrage among conservatives who have claimed that MoveOn was disrespecting the troops. The outraged immediately demanded that Democratic presidential candidates denounce the ad, and indeed, there was even a vote on the Senate floor today that would formally denounce the ad. 22 Democrats voted in favor of this motion.
One of the key consequences of Deleuze and Guattari’s ontology of immanence is that beings, without exception, are relational. As Deleuze and Guattari put it in A Thousand Plateaus when describing the game of Go,
Let us take a limited example and compare the war machine and the State apparatus in the context of the theory of games. let us take chess and Go, from the standpoint of the game pieces, the relations between the pieces and the space involved. Chess is a game of State, or of the court: the emperor of China played it. Chess pieces are coded; they have an internal nature and intrinsic properties from which their movements, situations, and confrontations derive. They have qualities; a knight remains a knight, a pawn a pawn, a bishop a bishop. Each is like a subject of the statement endowed with a relative power, and these relative powers combine in a subject of enunciation, that is, the chess player or the game’s form of interiority. Go pieces, in contrast, are pellets, disks, simple arithmetic units, and have only an anonymous, collective, or third-person function: ‘It’ makes a move. ‘It’ could be a man, a woman, a louse, an elephant. Go pieces are elements of a nonsubjectified machine assemblage with no intrinsic properties, only situational ones. Thus the relations are very different in the two cases. Within their milieu of interiority, chess pieces entertain biunivocal relations with one another, and with the adversary’s pieces: their functioning is structural. On the other hand, a Go piece has only a milieu of exteriority, or extrinsic relations with nebulas or constellations as bordering, encircling, shattering. All by itself, a Go piece can destroy an entire constellation synchronically; a chess piece cannot (or can do so diachronically only. (A Thousand Plateaus, 352)
Much of the history of philosophy can be read as an attempt to formulate an exception that would function as a ground or foundation halting the endless productivity of the relationality of being. Thus, the Platonic forms possess the quality of “vertical being”, standing outside the world of appearances, thereby remaining uncontaminated by the changes wrought in the being of a being by entering into a new relation with another being. Similar claims could be made regarding Descartes’ cogito and the transcendence of his God, that halts the infinite regress of grounding. If someone asks Descartes why 2 + 2 = 4 and the person persists after he gives a long mathematical explanation, Descartes can end this line of questioning by simply saying “because God willed it”. For Deleuze and Guattari, by contrast, all beings are dynamically relational, such that their being changes when entering into new assemblages with other beings. Predicates are not intrinsic properties of beings, but are products of the relations they enter into, in much the same way that a dish can be completely transformed by simply adding an additional ingredient. When Deleuze and Guattari thus speak of deterritorialization, reterritorialization, decoding, and coding, what they are describing is shifting relations in assemblages and between assemblages that lead to transformations in the entities belonging to these assemblages and to assemblages themselves.
To deterritorialize is to take something from its native territory and situate it elsewhere. They give the example of a club. A club is a deterritorialized branch. As a branch it functions to gather sunlight to produce nutrients. When it is deterritorialized and made a club, it is reterritorialized in the human hand as a weapon. Coding refers to categories by which things are sorted and organized. For instance, I am coded as a professor. This code includes certain legal rights, as well as social duties, responsibilities, prohibitions, etc. Decoding isn’t the activity of breaking a code to find its secret meaning as in semiotics, Freudian psychoanalysis, etc. Rather, decoding is the disruption of these social codes, the activity of taking them apart. A number of comedies are about deterritorialization and decoding. In Mr. Mom the father is laid off and his wife has to go to work for his family. He is deterritorialized from the milieu of fatherhood and reterritorialized in the milieu of the mother. There’s a scrambling of codes that takes place, as well as a general decoding (perhaps) of traditional roles generating something new. The humor lies in the reterritorialization and the way his reterritorialization in the code and territory of “mother” generates a scrambling of codes. There’s a sort of “echo-effect” between the previous code and the new emerging code that produces the humor. The two codes are superimposed over one another like two faces superimposed over one another in a photograph, creating a resonance that produces a humorous discordance. Michael Keaton’s character drives into the school parking lot from the wrong direction, displaying his ignorance of the “motherly” codes, while nonetheless having been situated within that code. We know the codes for our society pertaining to fatherhood and motherhood, such that when an entity is placed in the wrong categories, wackiness ensues.
I think there’s thus a sort of four-pointed schema at work here. We can imagine a square with lines crossing from point to point and meeting in the middle, it would look like this (click to enlarge):
Reterritorialization connects to coding and deterritorialization connects to decoding. For every deterritorialization we have a co-efficient of decoding… A breaking down of established codes. For every reterritorialization there is a process of coding (this isn’t entirely accurate for D&G as coding there pertains specifically to social systems and power). Deleuze and Guattari argue that all deterritorialization is accompanied by reterritorialization such that there isn’t an ultimate deterritorialization without the thing landing back somewhere. The trap that must be avoided lies in believing that deterritorialization and decoding are inherently emancipatory. Deterritorialization and decoding describe certain operations of transformation and change. In order to think about emancipatory transformations, we would have to map this territorial square onto the semiotic of reactive and active forces, affirmation and negation, that Deleuze develops in Nietzsche & Philosophy producing a three dimensional cube with a variety of different possible relations, that would look something like this (click to enlarge):
This diagram is quite complex and I wont provide a commentary here. However, those who have argued that for Deleuze the “political solution” (already a bad way of speaking anyway, given the local nature of assemblages and their relationality) is deterritorialization are grossly misrepresenting his position. Deterritorialization is tremendously important and it is clear that any emancipatory prospect with respect to a specific assemblage will involve deterritorialization and decoding, but this is only a necessary condition not the entire story. I wonder if this might not be a useful way of talking about rhetoric. 1:46 PM
Deconstructing Simone de Beauvoir September 20th, 2007 [The following is adapted from a response paper submitted for my French Feminism seminar.] by Adam
“man represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general; whereas woman represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without reciprocity” (xxi),and she more or less endorses that scheme throughout – the solution is for women to have the status that men have already attained. Of the two sexes, men really have attained the universal position, and women just need to be brought up to speed. It’s as though men are the real “adults,” and her often very denigrating comments about female passivity, hysteria, dependency, manipulativeness—really the entire gamut of misogynist clichés—might be read as a way of shaming her fellow women into shaping up (implicitly, as she herself has done).
“Before him, man encounters Nature; he has some hold upon her, he endeavors to mold her to his desire. But she cannot fill his needs. Either she appears simply as a purely impersonal opposition…; or she submits passively to man’s will and permits assimilation…. In both cases he remains alone…” (139).She seems to deduce the need for woman first of all from the unresponsiveness of Nature. In a way, this is parallel to the Genesis account where God has Adam go through all the animals looking for a “helpmeet”—but then Beauvoir also draws a contrast between the peer relations among men, which she conceives as essentially competitive and therefore exhausting. So relations with a genuine peer are too hot, relations with nature are too cold – but relations with a woman are just right.
“The quarrel will go on as long as men and women fail to recognize each other as peers; that is to say, as long as femininity is perpetuated as such” (719).Obviously this is one-sided, but I think that there are nonetheless grounds in her own text, even in the concluding sections, for saying that it is equally true that the problem will continue “as long as masculinity is perpetuated as such.” Despite the weight she gives to the man as normative in so many passages, nonetheless, when it really comes down to it, the masculine ideal is subject to some very real slippage. This is to be expected given the general principle elaborated in the same conclusion: “it must be repeated once more that in human society nothing is nature and that woman, like much else, is a product elaborated by civilization” (725)—and so, implicitly, is man.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Professor says people who do not believe in a God are shunned, but that the class topic is a vital, societal issue. Kate Jones The State Hornet Issue date: 9/19/07 Home > Features
Saturday, September 15, 2007
"If you are appearing for an exam, or going on Haj, you have to get yourself photographed. Islam gives you the rights to fulfill your necessities. So, under these conditions, Islam gives you the permission to get photographed. But, if you are clicking pictures for your pleasure and not as a necessity, it is unethical," said Azarshah Kashmiri, a Deoband official.Minority Commission officials in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar District also agreed with the decree.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
- What does sake tell us about Japan or burgundy about France?
- How does the act of consuming or indeed abstaining from alcohol tie in with self-presentation, ethnicity, class and culture?
- How important is alcohol to feelings of belonging and notions of resistance?
Answering these intriguing questions and many more, this timely book looks at alcohol consumption across cultures and what drinking means to the people who consume or, equally tellingly, refuse to consume. From Ireland to Hong Kong, Mexico to Germany, alcohol plays a key role in a wide range of functions: religious, familial, social, even political. Drinking Cultures situates its consumption within the context of these wider cultural practices and reveals how class, ethnicity and nationalism are all expressed through this very popular commodity. Drawing on original fieldwork, contributors look at the interplay of culture and power in bars and pubs, the significance of advertising symbols, the role of drink in day-to-day rituals and much more. The result is the first sustained, cross-cultural study of the profound impact alcohol has on national identity throughout the world today. home about us contact us author guidelines agents ordering
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
- People realize that their domestic servants are human beings, and stop expecting them to do stuff that they wouldn’t do themselves. Ha ha ha. Good luck trying to change the attitude of three hundred million people.
- The government or industry associations step in and set minimum usability standards. Ha ha ha. Good luck trying to enforce the standards.
- Domestic help moves from a servant model to a service provider model, where servants are professionals who are hired and paid well by the hour. Ha ha ha. Good luck trying to set up a professional and premium maid service in India when there are half a billion Biharis, Bangladeshis, and Nepalians who’ll happily work for peanuts.
- More people start doing their own housework and start relying less on domestic help, and so start demanding better designed household appliances. This, I am actually optimistic about. Domestic help can be a value-destroyer in many cases: supervising servants takes up time, which you might as well use to do the work yourself. If there’s no grandmother/ jobless wife around to supervise the servant, the cost-benefit changes (which is why I’ve sacked my cook). Society, Business August 22nd, 2007 by Aadisht
Thursday, September 06, 2007
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist September 5, 2007
High rates of black violent crime are a national tragedy, but it is the law-abiding black majority that suffers from them most. "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life," Jesse Jackson said in 1993, "than to walk down the street and hear footsteps . . . then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved."
It isn't an insoluble problem. Americans overcame white racism; they can overcome black crime. But the first step, as always, is to face the facts. Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.