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


Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

This is the part of brain concerned with way-finding, but it's also strongly implicated in memory formation; neuroscientists are now discovering that at the cognitive level all three abilities - memory, location, and narration - are intimately bound up. This, too, is hardly surprising: key for humans, throughout their long pre-history as hunter-gatherers, has been the ability to find food, remember where food is and tell the others about it. It's strange, of course, to think of Pride and Prejudice or Ulysses as simply elaborations upon our biologically determined inclination to give people directions - but then it's perhaps stranger still to realise that sustained use of satellite navigation, combined with absorbing all our narrative requirements in pictorial rather written form, may transform us into miserable and disoriented amnesiacs.

Will Self contrasts (wrongly) picture and story. (See me pointing to Aborigine song lines).

I don't drive but I have been present in a vehicle when satellite navigation was operating. I recall there being voice as well as graphic elements. It is an occasion of mixed media. Pictures are rarely consumed in monosensual environments.

To give direction one must also be able to know how to receive directions.

And so for day 2325

Celebrating the Celebrant

Robert Priest poet. Robert Priest food lover. Robert Priest celebrant.

And I picture this outflow of publications not only with images of beautifully designed books but with the concomitant imagery of beautiful celebratory meals, generously put on and attended by then president (owner) Jack David and, his wife, Sharon. I love celebratory meals and luxuriated in the sense of ceremony that went with them. And now as I follow the cuisine, I begin to salivate with salacious memories of the finest finger food in all of literature laid on time and again, party after party.
Recollection recorded in 40 ECW Press edited by Michael Holmes.

And so for day 2324


Reminder: memory is collective.

Just what is different about face-to-face and online interaction? A posting to the Humanist Discussion List asked: How is this situation no different than what Plato worried about, and how is it different?

I could repeat the synapse view of the relations between computer-mediated to in-person communication: sparks jump the gaps between the social and electronic networks. Instead I want to raise a consideration of a triplet-at-play in our reading tradition stemming from Plato where writing stands in for technology. We have three elements at play: seduction, memory, writing.

Memory mediates between the other two and serves as the ground for adjudication. It is with memory that we judge the fitness of the writing and the goodness of the seduction. The question as to whether writing damages memory is often the starting point of discussions. This is in effect a move that lands us in media res — right smack in the middle of a narrative of decline. Trying to keep the seduction-memory-writing triad in mind as a circuit problematizes any narrative be it of triumphant technology or social decadence.

Seduction seems to be perennially under theorized. I would suggest that there is an art to being seduced as much as there is to seducing (being a good guest as much as being a good host). Plato via Socrates puts a premium on seduction as a means of education, if I recall correctly.

And so for day 2323

Water and Oats: Bilingual Letters

Nicole Brossard
A Tilt in the Wondering
Vallum Chapbook Series No. 15

at this point language shifts as we read
persil brebis and ontology
for I was not refraining myself
about the water needed in beauty
la folle avoine des sens the floating reliability
I love how water/eau is inscribed in beauty. And the reliable repetition in reverse direction when oat/avoine is set floating.

And so for day 2322

Sugar, Sugar, Honey, Honey

A certain song rings in my head when I contemplate the over-consumption of sugar — how it sneaks in everywhere like an earworm. Useful to be reminded:

But while parents can say no, and theoretically so can children, I’m not sure a realistic solution to a flood is just reminding people to swim.


Over our past decade as nutrition guerillas, my wife and I have learned a great deal about ourselves and our community. Most importantly, we now understand that politicians’ short mandates and the food industry’s unwillingness to curtail its own sales, when coupled with the misguided belief that individuals can easily opt out of our pervasive junk food culture, smothers change. Indeed, like with any health-improvement program, change must begin with our own words and actions—by way of thoughtful nutrition and creative, often collaborative, solutions spreading from one home to another and then another and then to our schools, arenas, camps, and communities. We can work directly with the sugar pushers among us to change our sweetly toxic food culture.
"Candy Crushed"
The Walrus
Yoni Freedhoff

And so for day 2321

Hat Trick: Knock, Shush, Soothe

The triple triumph:

Chilli & Coconut: Coconut milk enfolds Thai ingredients in a sweet forgiving embrace. It knocks the sharp edges off lime, shushes foul-mouthed fish sauce and soothes the heat of chilli, whose active component, capsaicin, is soluble in fat but not in water.
Niki Segnit
The Flavour Thesaurus

And so for day 2320

Tummy Trouble?

Jeanne Marie Martin
Hearty Vegetarian Soups and Stews (revised edition, 1991)

No doubt written before the advent of the popularity of Ayuervedic medicine in the West, this seems to trash how I like to make dal (unimaginable without turmeric) ...

Spices: Are usually barks, roots, and strong seeds. Examples are: cinnamon, nutmeg, mustard, black and white pepper, turmeric, cardamon and coriander. Spices are avoided in most of these recipes as they are irritants to the body (especially the stomach) and deter healing. Small amounts are acceptable if used only occasionally.
Ironically followed by a detailed description of the benefits of cayenne pepper.

Pretty cover though.

Do love a scrape of nutmeg in my potato soup which would be sacrilege to Ms. Martin.

And so for day 2319

Pulse and Poetry

I came across a list of ingredients with names in French. Black eyed peas was given as haricots oeil de perdrix which in back translation gives partridge eye beans.

Thanks to Dixon Long in Markets of Provence for the compilation.

Also known as the cowpea or pois des vaches.

And so for day 2318

Facile Dichotomies

Bret Stephens
How Plato Foresaw Facebook’s Folly
"Technology promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard."

Tweeting and trolling are easy. Mastering the arts of conversation and measured debate is hard. Texting is easy. Writing a proper letter is hard. Looking stuff up on Google is easy. Knowing what to search for in the first place is hard. Having a thousand friends on Facebook is easy. Maintaining six or seven close adult friendships over the space of many years is hard. Swiping right on Tinder is easy. Finding love — and staying in it — is hard.
I don't think this fair. Nor do I trust the dichotomies that are marshalled here. To tweet well is an art of concision that takes practice. To text with any touch of brilliance requires a knack for combining words that will tickle attention — providing connectors for conversation. Searching is often a race against the algorithm pushing its own response which sacrifices precision — the art of searching depends on learning to bank on the aleatory. Friendship is often nourished by acquaintance — from those superficial encounters I sometimes bring back tidbits to share with those I have a deep and abiding relationship with — like the posting to a discussion list that led to my reading Stephens's opinion piece and my own little rant here. And it has been easy (but not instantaneous).

And so for day 2317

Faites Vos Jeux

Thinking in and through a group...

Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.177: releasing the hares


Interesting how the releasing hares question harbours another: to hunt or not to hunt. The question morphs into one of chasing.

You cast the problem as one about the maturity of the discipline:

Consider, for example, literary studies, mathematics, the creative arts, engineering and digital humanities. Would it be the case that the more mature (or conservative?) the area of questioning, the more directed to successful application, proof or result and the more vulnerable to fraud the less releasing hares willy-nilly would be regarded as wise?
Susan Ford casts it as the robustness of the community of practice:
When you start a hare you don't know whether it's catchable - but others on the list might. That is the point of the list (and the hare).
Would this discussion benefit from considering the distinction between "game" and "play"?

It just so happens that a fellow reader of Humanist, Dr. Herbert Wender, alerted me (in another context) to the reception of Umberto Eco's forward to the 1973 Italian edition of Homo Ludens. He pointed out a passage from Léon Hanssen "Games of Late Modernity: Discussing Huizinga's Legacy" in Halina Mielicka-Pawłowska (editor) Contemporary Homo Ludens:
Umberto Eco, another important critic of Huizinga's thesis, elaborated his view in a forward to the 1973 Italian edition of Homo Ludens, a very intriguing text that, however, has not received any attention in the Huizinga literature for a long time. According to Eco, Huizinga was unable to distinguish between game and play, because the Dutch language has just one word for both: "een spel spelen," whereas the English say "let's play a game." A game consists of a matrix of combinations and is constituted by a certain amount of rules. Basically, it offers the players a number of options to act, so the eventually one player can win the game. A play, on the other hand, is the role one plays to express the situation at a certain stage of the match. Huizinga showed interest only in the performance, as linguists say, and not in the competence, that is, the game as regulating system, in which a certain matrix of combinations is produced. According to Eco, the crux of the matter is the fact that for Huizinga the element of "play" remained, in the final analysis, an "aesthetic" category. From his aestheticizing perspective, Huizinga was unable to admit that the "decay," the wars and the "crisis," were, in fact, also moments of play in a played culture.
As members of a given community of practice, the sport of hare coursing may not be the (language) game we wish to play. As adherents to a discipline, the release may be the play we wish to make in a (Glass Bead) game.

And thanks to Humanist and its readers, one can allude to both Wittgenstein and Hesse in one paragraph. And digress down the rabbit hole and out the looking glass.

Francois Lachance
Captivated by capture.

And so for day 2316

La Durée vs La Drogue

The Psychopharmacology of Everyday Life
Jamieson Webster

I am indeed a Freudian psychoanalyst, that strange anachronism maligned by psychiatry for not being as scientific as medication supposedly is, by virtue of the control studies that can be done with drug treatments. Modern psychopharmacology goes hand in hand with a psychiatric diagnostic system that has, over time, been redefined to rely on medicating symptoms away rather than looking at the structure of the mind and its complex permutations in order to work with a patient in a deeply engaged way over the long haul. Modern psychiatry is hailed as a scientific success story, and drug companies have profited from the fact that talking therapies are often thought to take too long, their results frequently dismissed as unverifiable. I question, though, whether we should demand verified results when it comes to our mental life: Do you believe someone who promises you happiness in a pill?
Interrogating the discourse of efficiency by an appeal to time and to attention to complexity.

And so for day 2315


From Humanist

32.138 Fish'ing and the words in front of us
Re: 32.135 Fish'ing and the words in front of us


I know you as one to problematize "words". I too want to set aside for the time being the question as to what is a word.

I want to dwell on the plural : "words before us". Two plurals: one of the words; the other of the readers.

Not only are there words but also the relations between the words. And these relations between words would receive different weightings by different readers. I stress this for two reasons. One to underscore that the semiotic material (the words) is read through not only the syntax of one after the other but also through the web of relations. Two to underscore that readings are in flux as readerly attention fluctuates between various sets of relations.

Nothing yet of intention. Intention is merely the privileging of one set of possible relations. A result of weighting.

There have been responses that place the "us" before the "words" and call for supplementary material to explain textual matters. I love a good palindromic structure.

You will have noticed that I substituted "in front of" with "before" in a bid to introduce a temporal element. Time is ever at our back.
The interesting part here is the notion that intentions arise out of weighting possible relations. The other interesting part is a turn towards temporality. Points to the cumulative nature of reading.

And so for day 2314

What Is Remembered: The Long View

Lorna Finlayson

There is no sense in which my great-uncle, who died at the Somme along with hundreds of thousands of others, gave his life for my freedom. He was cannon fodder in a needless imperial war which created fertile conditions for the rise of totalitarian regimes that killed millions, and which millions more would lay down their lives to defeat.
An Exercise in Forgetting
London Review of Books

And so for day 2313

Men's Bodies Explored By Men

The golden ending set in media res ...

Andrew McMillan physical "urination"

you wake to the sound of stream into bowl
and go to hug the naked body
stood with its back to you     and kiss the neck
and taste the whole of the night on there
and smell the morning's pale yellow loss
and take the whole of him in your hand
and feel the water moving through him
and knowing that this is love     the prone flesh
what we expel from the body and what we let inside
prone flesh -- "likely or liable to suffer from, do, or experience something unpleasant or regrettable" rather than "lying flat"

I am prone to like the version that ends as above; the truncation of some thoughts about breath causes a slight pang and yet is welcome     the mind pauses and it is the form that speaks

in the longer version the tautness is gone    
I had forgotten that loving could feel so calming
telling you that your body was beautiful     sighing out
the brittle disappointments from the bones     having no judgement
of what the body may want to be doing     where the breath may fall
imagine all that freight of philosophy is carried by the one word "expel"     and cast is the spell     we know where the breath may fall     neck     kiss

French has the beautifully suggestive verb humer     long vowels     most appropriate to mark morning encounters

And so for day 2312

Epistolary Erasures

We are always in the the land of lost letters...


Dear Kathleen

If I may intrude on the party... and offer some disjointed observations.

I see a telos in creating gateways for conversations. And I see some retrospective stances in a gluttony for connectivity and combatting ephemerality (wanting it all and wanting it all to be forever). Is there a role for forgetting and recovering the forgotten in the cultural practices of intellectual work?

Blogging offered the permalink to assist in citational practice. And so addressed the connecting to. As well, the reader could see who had linked and thus revealing a web of relations. Plus one could search the blog ... and find other connections.

You may remember "web rings" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webring as a collective attempt to deal with the short comings of search engines.

Search engines ... ah, the balancing act between precision and sensitivity ... it would be great to be able to turn off and on the search algorithm's use of one's previously used keywords to have the option between "fresh" searches and "conditioned" searches.

The problem may be twofold: how to tag and link in the vast sea of digital decay; how to trace tagging. Tools to make connections and tools to excavate them.

Almost like documenting graffiti.

Which we know from Pompeii can last.
And the walls themselves may at last crumble...

Always in the ruins, it's a scramble: Gluttony for Connectivity, Combatting Ephemerality, Gateways to Conversations. Which comes first? Which last?

And so for day 2311

Pregnant Pause

Andrew McMillan

the ending...

and so I've learnt to trust only what I have
in this one small room     this square of light
this handful of neck     this noose     this table
this one short step
It's the combination of line breaks, spacing and the unbedecked nouns: neck, noose, table, step that contribute to an almost cinematic set of closeups and sharp cutting. High affect through a poverty of means — no small skill.

And so for day 2310

A Triad of Tricolons

I am a sucker for a tricolon and even more so for a tricolon describing food. The description of the offerings on a market day:

On good days—and most days are good—the Provençal sun transforms ripe peppers to fire, honey to melted gold, and olives into baroque jewels. Eggplants, tomatoes, and cherries glisten, melons send messages to your nose, and everything asks to be tasted.
from "Introduction" by Dixon Long to Markets of Provence

A tricolon in the first sentence then finds its rhetorical reiteration in the three sections of the next sentence — and within one of those sections, a listing of three.

And so for day 2309


Julia Child on diversions and variations on the adage of the watched pot.

Timing: Tripe is far from being a fast-food operation. It needs soaking, and simmering, and the long slow cooking — 5 to 7 hours or more, depending on your recipe — in which it gradually absorbs the flavours of the wine, onions, spices, and any other ingredients you have put with it, and all the while it is developing a marvelously savoury taste. I don't know why people shy away from a 3-hour dough rise, a 5-hour simmer, or a 12-hour oven session. You are not sitting there, eyes glued to the pot. No! You are out at the movies, or you are writing your novel, or you are playing tennis, and you return to your tripe when its time is due. This is, really, the easiest kind of cooking, where, once you've put it all together, it does the rest of the work for you.
From Julia Child's Kitchen

And so for day 2308

Stick Stock Stuck

Tick. Tock. Tuck.

Autocorrect can lead to some nice surprises:

I saw an interesting recipe for soup: take Brussel sprouts and lightly fry with onion and garlic, add turmeric and curry powder. Add stick and let cook. Puree. Seems delicious.
A friend sent this which prompted me to ask if he was suggesting the addition of cinnamon (as in stick of) to the soup. Turns out that "stock" was intended. You could still add cinnamon to the soup. I'm sure it would be tasty.

And so for day 2307

Consciousness Raising Begins in Conversation

Connection. Cognition. Communication.

I do not believe that new stories will find their way into texts if they do not begin in oral exchanges among women in groups hearing and talking to one another. As long as women are isolated one from the other, not allowed to offer other women the most personal accounts of their lives, they will not be part of any narrative of their own. [...] There will be narratives of female lives only when women no longer live their lives isolated in the houses and the stories of men.
Carolyn G. Heilbrun. Writing A Woman's Life

And so for day 2306

Regular Irregularities: Temporal Dislocations

My explanation:

Clever - you caught the date stamp --- it functions more as TARDIS - makes the blog look abandoned (each entry date is more like an accession number) - my goal is to catch up - meanwhile the overall impression is of a neglected ruin in a picturesque landscape - and the odd arbitrary play with time
And in the spirit of the thing, his reply (his suspension marks):
...and the antiquated (yet penetrating) writing style adds to the feeling of dilapidation :)
And the joke spreads...

And so for day 2305

Jeux et Joutes

I have been given gifts. Twice.

A little piece I wrote about Huizinga's Homo Ludens caught the attention of Dr. Herbert Wender who has kindly kept me abreast of the developments in the reception of a forward by Umberto Eco:

Umberto Eco, another important critic of Huizinga's thesis, elaborated his view in a forward to the 1973 Italian edition of Homo Ludens, a very intriguing text that, however, has not received any attention in the Huizinga literature for a long time. According to Eco, Huizinga was unable to distinguish between game and play, because the Dutch language has just one word for both: "een spel spelen," whereas the English say "let's play a game." A game consists of a matrix of combinations and is constituted by a certain amount of rules. Basically, it offers the players a number of options to act, so the eventually one player can win the game. A play, on the other hand, is the role one plays to express the situation at a certain stage of the match. Huizinga showed interest only in the performance, as linguists say, and not in the competence, that is, the game as regulating system, in which a certain matrix of combinations is produced. According to Eco, the crux of the matter is the fact that for Huizinga the element of "play" remained, in the final analysis, an "aesthetic" category. From his aestheticizing perspective, Huizinga was unable to admit that the "decay," the wars and the "crisis," were, in fact, also moments of play in a played culture.
This is from Léon Hanssen "Games of Late Modernity: Discussing Huizinga's Legacy" in Halina Mielicka-Pawłowska (editor) Contemporary Homo Ludens.

And so for day 2304

Extant: There's the Rub

André Alexis in My Vagina has a footnote that runs across the fold to occupy the space of two pages roughly in the centre of the essay. In this extended note, Alexis repeats the claim that in Latin the names for the clitoris were so vulgar that not even Martial or Catullus ever refer to landica. Wikipedia seems to be the crib for Alexis's note. But it is worth remarking that deductions are based on extant sources. What survives may not reveal the whole picture. Consider that the Wikipedia entry reporting the indecency of the term for clitoris references the work of J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary and, for me, alerts us to a possible disjunction between linguistic form and discursive function:

The function of the clitoris (landica) was "well understood". In classical Latin, landica was a highly indecorous obscenity found in graffiti and the Priapea; the clitoris was usually referred to with a metaphor, such as Juvenal's crista ("crest").
We see that frankness does not always frequent frequency. And frequency itself is open to interpretation.

And so for day 2303

Paganizing the Image: The Work of Mourning

The comparison with Christ operates through negation.

Like Christ, Goldin's friends became her superstars, but a great many of them died, and they won't be coming back. The photos she took are not an ersatz resurrection; they are the proof of disappearance. She was not in search of the perfect moment, the final photo that would be something like the return of the son of God, but a picture that would never be more than the one before the last, the one that reminds us that taking that other one is impossible and infinite. [...] The photographic series do not produce a museum version of love. Instead, they are the figures of endless work.
Martine Delvaux. Nan Goldin: The Warrior Medusa.

And so for day 2302

Coach and Coax

In the acknowledgements to Moosewood Restaurant New Classics one finds a remark applicable not only to the whole enterprise of writing cookbooks...

Like anchors, Arnold and Elise Goodman, our agents, coach us and coax us, encourage us and challenge us, laugh with us and eat with us, and never let us down.
... but also to cooking in general.

And so for day 2301