bill bissett
what fuckan theory: a study uv language

so yu dont need th sentence
yu dont need correct spelling
yu dont need correct grammar
yu dont need th margin
yu dont need regulation use of capital nd low case etc
yu dont need sense or skill
yu dont need this
what dew yu need
What the transcription doesn't show is the broken "d" throughout.

The deontological beckons to the ontological — the broken "d"
so yu -ont nee- th sentence
yu -ont nee- correct spelling
yu -ont nee- correct grammar
yu -ont nee- th margin
yu -ont nee- regulation use of capital n- low case etc
yu -ont nee- sense or skill
yu -ont nee- this
what -ew yu nee-
Moral: language is the basis of morality — this sense and skill beyon

And so for day 2335

Kindness - Organization - Resistance

He seems to have a bug-a-boo about online relationships...

Christopher Hedges
America, The Farewell Tour

We have a brilliant peroration close to the end of the CBC Ideas show he quotes from his book and this is what he says about the topic of resistance at 52.07

Those who fight against cultural malice [...] have discovered that life is measured by infinitesimal and often unacknowledged acts of solidarity and kindness. These acts of kindness like the nearly invisible strands of a spider's web spin outward to connect our atomized and alienated souls to others. This belief held although we may never see empirical proof is profoundly transformative. But know this, when these acts are carried out on behalf of the oppressed and the demonized, when compassion defines the core of our lives, when we understand that justice is a manifestation of love, we are marginalized and condemned by our sociopathic elites. Those who resist effectively in the years ahead may not be able to stem economic decline, the mounting political dysfunction, the collapse of empire and the ecological disasters but they will draw from acts of kindness and the kindness of others, the strength and courage to endure. It will be from these relationships, ones formed the way all genuine relationships form, face to face, rather than electronically, that radical organizations will rise from the ashes to resist.

Intrigued I went to the book (aided by an index where the term "kindness" appears — no entry for "electronic"). I noticed that the aside is starker in the book (my transcribing commas here are dashes there)
But they will draw from acts of kindness, and the kindness of others, the strength and courage to endure. It will be from these relationships — ones formed the way all genuine relationships form: face to face, rather than electronically — that radical organizations will rise from the ashes to resist.

p. 22
Political rhetoric has been replaced by the crude obscenities of reality television, the deformed and stunted communication on Twitter, professional wrestling, and the daytime shows in which couples discover if their husband or wife is having an affair. [...] These electronic hallucinations [...] have replaced reality.
p. 39
Pireaus was filled with taverns and brothels. [...] Pireaus was where elaborate spectacles and bawdy entertainment diverted the population from the sober vocation of citizenship. It was what the arena was to ancient Rome, what electronic screens and huge sporting events and concerts are to modernity.
p. 40
These distorted images of reality — our array of electronic images were beyond Plato's imagination — provoked irrational desires. It was a visionless life.
p. 83
Many people, especially young people, sit far too long in front of screens seeking friendship, romance, affirmation, hope, and emotional support. This futile attempt to ache a human connection electronically, a connection vital to our emotional and psychological well-being, especially in a society that condemns so many to the margins, exacerbates the alienation, loneliness, and despair that make opioids attractive.
p. 217
This is more about mood modulation. Affect modulation. Using technologies to dampen anxieties and exit the world. We don't just see it in Las Vegas. We see it in the subways every morning. The rise of all of these screen-based technologies and the little games that we've all become so absorbed in. What gamblers articulate in a desire to really lose a sense of self. They lose time, space, money value, and a sense of being in the world.
p. 232
The disparity between the glittering world that people watch and the bleak world they inhabit creates a collective schizophrenia. It manifests itself in diseases of despair — suicides, addictions, mass shootings, hate crimes, and depression. We are to blame for our own misfortune.

Hope means rejecting the thirst for public adulation. It means turning away from the maniacal self-creation of a persona that defines social media. It means searching for something else — a life of meaning, purpose, and, ultimately, dignity.
pp. 250-251
"We have to listen to people unlike ourselves," [Michael] Gecan said, observing that this will be achieved not through the Internet but through face-to-face relationships. "And once we've built a relationship we can agitate them and be willing to be agitated by them."


The corporate state, he said, has learned how to manipulate protests and render them impotent. He dismissed as meaningless political theater the boutique activism in which demonstrators coordinate and even choreograph protests with the police. Activists spend a few hours, maybe a night, in jail are "credentialized" as dissidents. Pecan called these "fake arrests." "Everyone looks like they've had an action," he said. "They haven't." [...] "There things have to be happening in great organizations: people have to be relation, people have to be learning, people have to be acting," he said.
pp. 308-30
There is no shortage of artists, intellectuals, and writers, from Martin Buber and George Orwell to James Baldwin, who warned us that this dystopian era was fast approaching. But in our Disneyfied world of intoxicating endless images, cult of the self and willful illiteracy, we did not listen. We will pay for our negligence.
Cult of the self / care of the self

When I first heard the kindness passage on CBC, it seemed to me that Hedges's demonizing of electronic communication was a tick that betrayed a return of the repressed. Having read the whole book I would suggest that it is a form of nostalgia. In his railing against magical thinking, Hedges risks missing the thinking that does occur online.

That said, the socialist programme he summarizes (pp. 304-305), is set in the context of constant struggle:
There will be a never-ending battle of ideas, those spun out by the elites to justify their privilege and power and the radical theorists who will expose the ideas as tools of repression and hold up an alternative.

We cannot pick and choose whom among the oppressed it is convenient to support. We must stand with all the oppressed or none of the oppressed. This is a global fight for life against corporate tyranny. We will win only when we see the struggle of working people in Greece, Spain, and Egypt as our own struggle. This will mean a huge reordering of our world, one that turns away from the primacy of profit to full employment and unionized workplaces, inexpensive and modernized mass transit, especially in impoverished communities, universal single-payer health care and banning for-profit health care corporations. The minimum wage must be at least $15 an hour and a weekly income of $500 provided to the unemployed, the disabled, stay-at-home parents, the elderly, and those unable to work. Anti-union laws, like the Taft-Hartley Act, and trade agreements such as NAFTA, will be abolished. All Americans will be granted a pension in old age. A parent will receive two years of paid maternity leave, as well as shorter work weeks with no loss inlay and benefits. The Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defence Authorization Act, which permits the military to be used to crush domestic unrest, as well as government spying on citizens, will end. Mass incarceration will be dismantled. Global warming will become a national and global emergency. We will divert our energy and resources to saving the planet through public investment in renewable energy and end our reliance on fossil fuels. Public utilities, including railroads, energy companies, [internet providers?], the arms industry, and banks, will be nationalized. Government funding for the arts, education, and public broadcasting will create places where creativity, self-expression, and voice of dissent can be heard and seen. We will terminate our nuclear weapons programs and build a nuclear-free world. We will demilitarize our police, meaning that police will no longe carry weapons when they patrol our streets but instead, as in Great Britain, rely on specialized armed units that have to be authorized case by case to use lethal force. There will be training and rehabilitation programs for the poor and those in our prisons, along with the abolition of the death penalty. We will grant full citizenship to undocumented workers. There will be a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions. Education will be free from day care to university. All student debt will be forgiven. Mental health care, especially for those now caged in our prisons, will be available. Our empire will be dismantled. Our soldiers and marines will come home.

The week and the vulnerable, especially children, will no longer be sacrificed on the altars of profit and the needs of empire. The measure of a successful society will not be the GDP or the highs of the stock market but human rights. Children will never go to be hungry. They will live in safety and security, be nurtured and educated, and grow up to fulfill their potential.
Opportunities for a genuine care of the self: both face-to-face and through computer-mediated communication. Not either-or.

And so for day 2334

Dreams of Vengeance Trap One in Hell

Damn It All
Stephen Greenblatt
review of The Penguin Book of Hell
edited by Scott G. Bruce

One of the prime motives of these texts is rage, rage against people occupying positions of exceptional trust and power who lie and cheat and trample on the most basic values and yet who escape the punishment they so manifestly deserve. History is an unending chronicle of such knaves, and it is a chronicle too of frustration and impotence, certainly among the mass of ordinary people but even among those who feel that they are stakeholders in the system. Hell is the last recourse of political impotence. You console yourself — you manage to stay asleep, as Freud might say — by imagining that the loathsome characters you detest will meet their comeuppance in the afterlife.

But Voltaire and the Enlightenment carried a different message: wake up. Throw out the whole hopelessly impotent fantasy; it is, in any case, the tool not only of the victims but also of the victimizers. We must fight the criminals here and now, in the only world where we can hope to see justice.
Heaven is reading The New York Review of Books


And so for day 2333

Like Elegance in Mathematics

A short accessible piece by Joe Morgan on the question of whether to teach coding to children has appeared in Slate. One of its themes is about cultivating an appreciation for quality.

Of course, getting something working is just the first step of building software. The next step is to make code clear, reusable, and neat. Once, early in my career, I wrote a feature and gave it to a senior developer for review. He took one look at my sloppy spacing, mismatched lines, and erratic naming conventions and just said, "Do it again." It was working. The syntax was valid. It was still wrong. Good coders don't just get something to work. They want it to be good.

That feeling of quality is the hardest thing for many developers to master. Well-designed code feels good to work with, and ugly code will make developers involuntarily cringe. The best developers learn to fuse abstract logic with the sensitivity of an artist. Learning to trust that aesthetic feeling is as much a part of development as any algorithm or coding pattern.
Keen sense of the apt anecdote. Like Zen tales.
My wife and I recently made sugar cookies with our son. [...] Every step—precisely measuring ingredients, gauging mixed dough for smoothness and consistency, placing precision cuts to minimize waste—taught him something about quality. It's hard to teach the difference between merely executing steps, such as following a recipe, and doing something well. It can only be passed on through feel and experience. And every time you involve your kids when you work on something you value, you are teaching them how to do things well. You are preparing them to write code.
Transferable skill. Attitude. Approach.


And so for day 2332

traversée du texte traversé de textes

In the Robarts Library copy of Louis Marin Utopiques : Jeux d'spaces (page 182) marginal note in pencil by a previous reader

Next to this marginal note, this is what is underlined:
Ces espaces blanc de la carte utopique que le discours utopique signifie aveuglément, sont en quelque sorte les lieux de concepts théoriques impensables dans les forme où ils seront ultérieurement pensés. Aussi l'analyse comparative des différences qui animent l'espace utopique dans le text et du texte, conduit-elle à la formulation des conditions historiques de possibilité de la théorie.
I like the snippet that precedes this without being underlined and so emphasized by a sort of inversion: "déplacée ou condensé, sous forme figurative."

Louis Marin
La ville : espace du texte et espace dans le texte
Chapitre 6
Utopiques : Jeux d'espaces
Minuit, 1973

A few pages later (p.184) this footnote by Marin
D'où sans doute également le système d'interdictions et de réglementations concernant les voyages des Utopies dans leur île : voyager c'est rompre les alternances ritualisées de repos et de travail en lieu déterminé, c'est introduire l'imprévu. C'est au fond frayer, dans le temps et dans l'espace, de nouveaux chemins. Là encore, il y a dans le voyage une forme de rupture et de violence à l'égard des totalités, qu'il s'agisse de l'habitude du rite ou de l'espace.
There are in this copy of Marin's book other instances of marginalia referencing lesbian authors: Brossard again with Mauve Desert and Wittig's Les Guillières. Someone was constructing a relay between lesbian imagination and utopics.

(( route via exstasie ))

Marin's notion of travel as a form rupture and as the founding moment of Utopian space certainly is taken up in Brossard's notions of relays and the access to abstraction in Picture Theory which are accessed through the erotic contact of women with women. Three excerpts:
la lumière éclipsant sur le livre
le titre sans l'ombre d'un doute
je traduisais réellement par le nombre
puis venait la transparence les corps portés
comme des relais je disais aussi
bras de femmes l'espoir
Claire Dérive retrace exactement le circuit
des espaces conditionnés nôtres
et les zones libres tout autour
spiralées, ce sont les musiques sans lesquelles
il n'y aurait ni utopie, ni abstraction
ni aucune lèvre à jouir
Ce mot ne pouvait non plus servir à élaborer quelque utopie qui aurait rendu les femmes à leur genre. Je disais, avec dans la bouche un goût de sel, à propos de l'utopie en commençant par le mot femme que l'utopie n'allait pas assurer notre insertion dans la réalité mais qu'un témoignage utopique de notre part pouvait stimuler en nous une qualité d'émotion propice à notre insertion dans l'histoire.

Translated by Barbara Godard

This word could not be used either to elaborate some Utopia that would have restored women to their gender. I said, with a taste of salt in the mouth, on the subject of Utopia beginning with the word woman that Utopia was not going to ensure our insertion into reality but that a Utopian testimony on our part could stimulate in us a quality of emotion favourable for our insertion in history.
Travel is textual.

p. 154

Where one expects "Dérive" one finds "Drive".

Is this a typo that is corrected in the 1989 revised edition text?

Picture theory ; Hologramme
Montréal : Nouvelle Optique, c1982.

Picture theory : théorie/fiction
Nouv. éd. rev., corr. et augm.
Montréal : L'Hexagone, 1989.

Language drives the drift. Text traces the access to the impossibilities of utopia and from there to the possibility of theory.
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.
John Donne, The Extasie.

And so for day 2331

Ever Wonder About Looking Up?

A piece of technohistory from a piece of ephemera...

SURTITLES™ were first developed and introduced worldwide by the Canadian Opera Company in 1983.
From the University of Toronto Faculty of Music program notes to Kurt Weil's Street Scene.

And so for day 2330

Turning "total" to "to all"

Huizinga "Play and War" in Homo Ludens

We can only speak of war as a cultural function so long as it is waged within a sphere whose members regard each other as equals or antagonists with equal rights; in other words its cultural function depends on its play-quality. This condition changes as soon as war is waged outside the sphere of equals, against groups not recognized as human beings and thus deprived of human rights – barbarians, devils, heathens, heretics and "lesser breeds without the law". In such circumstances war loses its play-quality altogether and can only remain within the bounds of civilization in so far as the parties to it accept certain limitations for the sake of their own honour. Until recently the "law of nations" was generally held to constitute such a system of limitation, recognizing as it did the ideal of a community of mankind with rights and claims for all, and expressly separating the state of war – by declaring it – from peace on the one hand and criminal violence on the other. It remained for a theory of "total war" to banish war's cultural function and extinguish the last vestige of the play-element.

Last lines of The Kingdom. Cutting between Saudi Arabia and the USA.
Adam Leavitt: Fleury. Tell me what you whispered to Janet, in the briefing, to get her to stop crying about Fran, you know, before all this, before we even got airborne. What'd you say to her?

Aunt: Tell me, what did your grandfather whisper in your ear before he died?

Adam Leavitt: You remember?

Ronald Fleury: I told her we were gonna kill 'em all.

15-Year-Old Grandson: Don't fear them, my child. We are going to kill them all.
"We" is problematic for the viewer — it's an invitation to identification that can be resisted through memory — the Ronald Fleury character is depicted at least three times interacting with male children trying to explain the unexplainable. In all three instances the scene is expected to elicit the viewer's sympathy. The conflict is individualized and the figure of the good man laminated to that of the good soldier and by that adulterated.

But note that between the tenses, past and future, is the present. Jetzeit. Where and when you remember.

It is in that time of the viewing that the viewer can recall a moment earlier in the film that underscored the recognition of universal mortality as a impetus to action. In a scene in the corridors of power far from the theatre of war.
Attorney General Gideon Young: I'm gonna bury you.

FBI Director James Grace: You know, Westmoreland made all of us officers write our own obituaries during Tet, when we thought The Cong were gonna end it all right there. And, once we clued into the fact that life is finite, the thought of losing it didn't scare us anymore. The end comes no matter what, the only thing that matters is how do you wanna go out, on your feet or on your knees? I bring that lesson to this job. I act, knowing that someday this job will end, no matter what. You should do the same.

Dr. Who
Genesis of the Daleks
(Sarah and Harry pull at the gelatinous thing and finally get it off the Doctor's throat. Harry throws part of it back into the incubation room, the Doctor does the same with the remainder and closes the door. They move a little way down the corridor, and the Doctor holds the two wires. Then he hesitates putting them together to close the circuit and detonate the explosives.)

SARAH: What are you waiting for?

DOCTOR: Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?

SARAH: To destroy the Daleks? You can't doubt it.

DOCTOR: Well, I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.

SARAH: But it isn't like that.

DOCTOR: But the final responsibility is mine, and mine alone. Listen, if someone who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives, could you then kill that child?

SARAH: We're talking about the Daleks, the most evil creatures ever invented. You must destroy them. You must complete your mission for the Time Lords.

DOCTOR: Do I have the right? Simply touch one wire against the other and that's it. The Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace, and never even know the word Dalek.

SARAH: Then why wait? If it was a disease or some sort of bacteria you were destroying, you wouldn't hesitate.

DOCTOR: But I kill, wipe out a whole intelligent life form, then I become like them. I'd be no better than the Daleks.

SARAH: Think of all the suffering there'll be if you don't do it.

The ambiguity is preserved. He doesn't launch the explosion later on...
(The Doctor comes out of the room and picks up the bare wires again, but before he can put them together, two Daleks come round the corner and fire. He drops the wires and gets out of the way just in time.)


(Inside, the Doctor reaches out from his hiding place for the wires, and the Dalek fires. Then it starts moving forward, and the Doctor runs away. The Dalek trundles over the wires, completing the circuit. The KaBOOM! is heard at the entrance.)

If we know that our "we" is constructed, not given, then what are we to make of the other?

And so for day 2329

Two Takes on Terror or Resisting Being Terrorized

Sara Krulwich

The people with AIDS had very little time left and most were filled with fear. Fear of the disease. Fear of coming out. When someone would actually let me take their picture, it was an act of enormous generosity, and I always felt very grateful. I hope they could feel that, because being a photographer is so secondary to being the kind of person that subjects can trust.
Loss and Bravery: Intimate Snapshots From the First Decade of the AIDS Crisis


Jenny Holzer produces display text from one of her interviewees, Gary Garrels, who reflects:
It was this swelling of people together feeling the loss. Feeling the frustration. The terror.
Reflecting on AIDS in New York City: Jenny Holzer in Collaboration with Surface


And there was the solidarity.

And so for day 2328

Bivalve Lingualism

The sybil of unreadability outrun by f(r)iction...

From Picture Theory by Nicole Brossard

La fiction déjoue alors l'illysybilité, dans le sens où elle insinue toujours quelque chose de plus qui te force à imaginer, à dédoubler. A y revenir.
Translation proceeds by a series of condensations and displacements. There is always a surplus beyond.

Typo = coquille

Coquille: Imprimerie. Substitution d'une lettre à une autre, par erreur, dans la composition d'un texte. (Larousse)

Nicole Brossard
"La Matière harmonieuse"
Typhon Dru
translated by Caroline Bergvall
(Reality Street Editions, 1997)
tout n'est pas dit car je le sais, c'est absolument que j'aime dans les langues, les coquilles roses de sens

all isn't said, I do known, since it's absolutely that I love in tongues coral shells of meaning
That "coquilles roses" is for me a sensual image. See the last section of "La Matière harmonieuse"
à cette heure tardive où nommer est encore fonction de rêve et d'espoir, où la poésie sépare l'aube et les grands jets du jour, et que plusieurs fois des femmes s'en iront invisible et charnelles dans les récits

at this late hour where to name is still a function of the dream of the hope, where poetry splits daybreak from great gushes of daylight, and women will walk a number of times, invisible carnal into the storylines
Carnal. Consider. Cockle is both a bivalve and a flower that comes in pink

There is the children's rhyme.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row
There is the common expression "warm the cockles of the heart." The cockles of the heart are its ventricles, from the Latin "cochleae cordis", from "cochlea" (snail), alluding to their shape.

Let's keep Bergvall's coral which translates as much by sound as by sense: pink cochlear coral.

Let's return to the plurality of "coquilles roses" and lend a carnal ear to the many surpluses.
pink cochlear choral senses
Translating as a shell game of listening.

And so for day 2327

Applied Imagination and Reason

In the Lab with the Poets

Once upon a time poetry and science were one, and its name was Magic. Magic, for our earliest ancestors, was the most effective way of understanding nature and their fellow-men, and of gaining power over them. It was not till some three centuries ago that science finally broke away from magic: the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century withdrew from the 'supernatural' as a field of study; and if science since then has led to other varieties of superstition, we must blame, not the scientists, but the layman, who finds superstition a difficult thing to live without. The course of poetry has been different. If the first great pre-scientific method was imitation, then poetry, in so far as it still rests upon imitation and animism, must seem a very primitive procedure.

Nevertheless, I believe poetry to be a possible way of gaining and imparting knowledge — a son of the same father as science: the brothers may quarrel from time to time, but each in his own field they are working towards compatible ends. To define the field of poetry should make it clear in what sense we may claim that poetry is concerned with knowledge. This I shall try to do. And I shall also suggest that there are remarkable affinities between the method of the scientist and the method of the poet — between the ways their minds work, particularly at one crucial stage of their investigations.


The poet, on the other hand, must not only imagine but reason — that is to say, he must exercise a great deal of consciously directed thought in the selection and rejection of his data: there is technical logic, a poetic reason in in his choice of the words, rhythms and images by which a poem's coherence is achieved.
From C. Day Lewis The Poets Way of Knowledge 1957 [The Henry Sidgwick Memorial Lecture, delivered in Newnham College, Cambridge, 1956]

And so for day 2326