From the Land of Motivation

This is a little mnemonic to be mindful of critique even while working in the state apparatus.

EXPLORE: Ferret Out Information
IMPLORE: Foster a Culture of the Question
Gives new/old meaning to the term "collaboration".

And so for day 2171

We Are Lucky She Wrote and Not Only Spoke

Death of a Revolutionary
By Susan Faludi
The New Yorker

The ending is about the funeral rites for Shulamith Firestone

Firestone was buried, in a traditional Orthodox funeral, in a Long Island cemetery, where her maternal grandparents are interred. Ten male relatives made up a minyan. None of her feminist comrades were invited. “At the end of the day, the old-time religion asserted itself,” Tirzah said. Ezra [her brother] gave a eulogy. He lives in Brooklyn, where he works as an insurance salesman, but he hadn’t spoken to Shulamith in years, and he broke down several times as he told how she, more than anyone else in the family, had tended to him as a child and taught him compassion. He recalled a story she told him when he was a boy, about a man on a train who realized that he had dropped a glove on the platform and, as the train left the station, dropped the other glove from the window, so that someone could have a pair. Then he lamented Shulamith’s “tragic” failure to make a “good marriage” and have children “who would be devoted to her.”

When [her sister] Tirzah’s turn came to give a eulogy, she addressed Ezra. “I said to him, ‘Excuse me, but with all due respect, Shulie was a model for Jewish women and girls everywhere, for women and girls everywhere. She had children—she influenced thousands of women to have new thoughts, to lead new lives. I am who I am, and a lot of women are who they are, because of Shulie.’ ”
"even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins" — Walter Benjamin Theses on the Philosophy of History

Faith Wilding Where is Feminism in Cyberfeminism?
"Feminism" (or more properly, "feminisms") has been understood as a historical--and contemporary--transnational movement for justice and freedom for women, which depends on women’s activist participation in networked local, national, and international groups (8). It focuses on the material, political, emotional, sexual, and psychic conditions arising from women’s differentialized social construction and gender roles.

(8) Using the term "feminism" is very different from using the term "women"--although perhaps one should consider using the term "cyberwomanism," which acknowledges the critique of racist white feminism so justly made by Audrey Lorde, Alice Walker, bell hooks, and others.
Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex
Children, then, are not freer than adults. They are burdened by a wish fantasy in direct proportion to the restraints of their narrow lives; with an unpleasant sense of their own physical inadequacy and ridiculousness; with constant shame about their dependence, economic and otherwise ("Mother, may I?"); and humiliation concerning their natural ignorance of practical affairs. Children are repressed at every waking minute. Childhood is hell.
Go read the whole book. Don't take my word for it.

And so for day 2170

Knowing Making Telling

Matthew Kirschenbaum
Am I a Digital Humanist? Confessions of a Neoliberal Tool

"To the scholarly mind, every [sic] smallest datum of that inheritance has a right to make its call." In this McGann seems to follow Edward Said, who in Humanism and Democratic Criticism glosses Giambattista Vico’s famous verum factum principle — Vico is a touchstone for McGann too — as something like "We can really only know what we make" and "To know is to know how a thing is made, to see it from the point of view of its human maker." This ethos —  and the commitment to the arts of memory —  has become, as UVA’s Richard Rorty was wont to say, a part of my final vocabulary. I believe it is true, in so far as anything in this world is true, whatever epistemic frames might be thrown around it notwithstanding. It’s not that either the scholar’s art or the verum factum are sufficient on their own —  there are all sorts of considerations and contexts we want and need to bring bear — but this is where I start from. If it falls suspect to an ideological litmus test, if the space it opens for resistance or critique is insufficiently pure, then that’s it; I’ve got nothing left; I’m out of "moves." Better scholars and better players of the game than I have left it all on the field at that point. I’m off to go take a shower.

Or else I could just tell you a story.
I like the shift to simply telling a story which of course is another type of making.

And so for day 2169

Unfinished Finish

The non sequitur operates less like the lone tender shoot in a vase than a klang.

The struggle of the tree to overcome the relentless forces of the environment can be found in its every fibre. Its fight for life, staged over the centuries, is clear in the grains and the knots, in the branches that have striven to catch the energy from the sun and the roots that have sought food and stability in the soil. There are trees with gnarly barks and unique shapes that represent some of nature's most engaging sculptures, for they are the perfection of imperfection.
Andrew Juniper
Wabi Sabi: the Japanese Art of Impermanence

The "perfection of imperfection" phrase is a blight. A meaningless paradox (which is perhaps the source of its meaning).

perfection: etymology - from the Latin - to complete

As such the paradox rests at the terminus of the paragraph, an apt situation. However the completion theme is discordant because of the invocation of the cycle of nature prior to its concluding appearance:
The tree grows from a seed and will eventually, move the course of a few hundred years, reach the end of its life and then return to the soil where its decay will sustain other trees. The struggle of the tree [...]
Apotheosis of the aesthetic object doesn't quite work in this setting. Perfection and completion remain but way stations. Of interest, passing.

And so for day 2168


Quentin Crisp
Manners from Heaven

So if you are determined to speak evil of people you must do so behind their backs. You just have to hope that what you say isn't reported. In any case the breach of manners then passes to the person who repeats what you have said.
Interesting attribution of responsibility.
Now don't tell.

And so for day 2167

French Frogs

Tour de force. Forceful turn.

Gillian Sze
"Sound No 5"

Humans, too, imitated the frogs — koa koa! — and begin to ask questions, Quoi? Quoi? We turned to each other and hands groped, demanded, Que sexe est? or Qu'est-ce que c'est? Years and years, the room croaked without tails or answers. Even now everyone is still screaming up into the black air — What! Now and then, a game of echo. Now and then, a new sound.
Puts me in mind of another homophonic treatment: aid loan = alone

Unique, eh!

And so for day 2166

Crying Foul on the F word

Quentin Crisp
Manners from Heaven

People are more likely to forgive you for uttering expletives under stress than for decorating an ordinary conversation with obscenities. A steady diet of the shortest-words-for-the-longest-things is never a very good idea for you may give offence, which is bad manners, and you will certainly make your conversation monotonous, which is bad style.
The occasional F*bomb is forgiven.

And so for day 2165

once more more

Gillian Sze
From "Panicle" in Panicle

What do you see?
Fog lurking along the street.

What does it bring?
A sudden surge of birds from around the corner.

What do you hear?
Shrapnel of wings.

What do you call this?
An encore

And so for day 2164

Skill and Rhetorical Finesse

Basil Johnston Ojibway Heritage
Daebaudjimod - the Raconteur

So skilled was [he] that he could hold an audience in his hand for an evening and even for a winter. Daebaudjimod knew hundreds of stories, but even more marvellous, he could make up stories. He told real stories, he told stories that could not possibly be true. Still, people listened. He could, with stories, make people laugh and cry; he could make them wonder and think; he could make them proud by remembrance and fearful by his tales of the future.
Johnston displays lots of the same skill.

And so for day 2163

Almost a Sales Pitch

Ian Brown "A Biography of Cannabis" in the Globe and Mail

Cannabis makes it impossible to remember all the details that threaten to drown us, and lets us concentrate on the one after the other, laterally and forgetfully. It impairs us, but in doing so allows us to experience the world not as masters of the entire universe but as liberated goofball bystanders, freed from the world's and our own blinding compulsions and expectations.
Of course there are relaxation techniques that operate on the body's innate chemical basis. It happens that "Cannabis does the same thing, just harder and faster."

And so for day 2162