DAY 133: Ecrits

June 3rd, 2015 § 0 comments

But before I get on to M Lacan’s oeuvre, what has been keeping me awake at night is a problem which may have worried you too, reader: Why are so may of today’s young – and even not-so-young – people walking around in jeans whose knees are distressingly torn to the point of coming apart? jeansTwenty years ago, anyone sporting such wear would have been shown the door at any respectable venue, whether worker’s cafe or restaurant; but now it’s not only acceptable, but such items can be bought ready torn for 34 euros from; and you can find endless online tutorials telling you how to make your own out of the (cheaper?) unripped variety. There’s some seriously cockeyed economics going on here, as if mouldy cheese carried a markup and you had to learn how to moulder your own.

What (I mused) would Duke Wayne, the-searchersor Levi Strauss, inventor of the garment, make of this? One could speculate that with the advent of post-structuralism, the binary systems beloved of M. Levi-Strauss (Les Structures élementaires de la parenté) are coming apart at the knees, but one would be confusing Levi-Strausses.  Is there some connection with neoliberalism (how could there not be?), or global warming, or the fact that jeans these days whether bought from or not are all made by children in BanglaDesh working for starvation wages? I recall Gresham’s Law: ‘Bad money drives out good’; clearly it applies to jeans, and, as usual, it’s the boohoos and Primarks of this world who make the money by selling bad jeans at inflated prices and the young fashion victims who spend it. [But who, and for how much, earns the value which is added by ripping the jeans?] I must sound like an old killjoy, I’d better get out a cheese-grater and rip my own as yet intact pair.


Message from CPT: Prayers for Peacemakers, May 28, 2015    Palestine

Give thanks that at the end of the school year, the Israeli military allowed the children of the Saraya kindergarten to walk on the paved portion of the segregated path that runs by the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.  In March, Israeli Border Police arrested two CPTers because the team had been advocating for the children’s right to walk on the paved side of the fence where settlers walk, rather than the more hazardous, rubble-strewn side.

CPTer performs his favorite accompaniment duty on the paved side 
of the apartheid fence. 
Children on their last day of kindergarten.

EU migrant crisis: WikiLeaked docs outline naval op, reputation risk management

Reuters/Alessandro BianchiReuters/Alessandro Bianchi
WikiLeaks has published two classified documents revealing details of a EU plan for military intervention to curb the influx of migrants from Libya, and an information strategy to “facilitate expectation management” and avert reputation risks.

The European Union foreign ministers agreed to form a naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea targeting gangs smuggling refugees from Libya to Europe on May 18.

One of the classified documents published by WikiLeaks on Monday reveals details of the planned year-long military operation against human traffickers. The 11-page document, drafted by the EU defense chiefs, outlines plans to destroy vessels along the Libyan coast as well as target transport networks and infrastructure within Libya’s borders.

The second, 6-page EU Politico-Military Group advice paper on the military intervention lists recommendations on tackling human trafficking networks in the Mediterranean and outlines propaganda initiatives to sell the military option to the public. (See comment on the dubious ethics of the operation by Julia O’Connell-Davidson the the Guardian).

But, belatedly, back to Jacques Lacan. At 1 a.m. yesterday morning, Amazon sent me an email to the effect that I would probably like the new English translation of the master’s Écrits, only 11 copies left. It’s a bit late; I and my friends had been waiting since 1977 when (readers will recall) publishers had a poor estimate of the British public’s tolerance for long books. (This was before Wolf Hall got the Booker.) Accordingly, Foucault’s Histoire de la folie, foucault7Lacan’s Écrits, and (if I recall) Sartre’s Critique de la raison dialectique were all translated in pitifully abbreviated versions. Now – well, actually, eight years ago – Robert Fink has decided the Brits can take it and the brave W. Norton published the 878 page work.

Why have I only now heard from Amazon? Typically, because they only have 11 copies left, and at midnight last night one of the dwarves who toil for them (for no money) through the night in an underground cave in Düsseldorf noticed the fact. He called his boss, the Amazonsführer: ‘Herr! Wir müssen unsere Kopien dieser Bücher sofort verkaufen.’ (If the German here is substandard it’s because the dwarves are naturally Albanian Gastarbeiter who have to use Google Translate as I do.) Using data mining, a technique well known to dwarves to find that I (for example), like many others, had previously scored some Lacanian shit from them – probably a Darian Leader track – they fired off emails to 100,000 people of whom I  was one. The email came just in time for Trinity Sunday, which of course relates to the Borromean rings,trinity the real, symbolic and imaginary, and other such preoccupations. (I tried to find some suitable music, but here instead is a cheery piece by Schütz, which will have to do.) Also, shortly Ramadan will be upon us, for which the music – we try to be ecumenical here – sounds like this. Sticking in a shaky way with psychoanalysis I’d rather,as I’m sure you would, move on to Wilfred Bion whose theries of the ‘container’ and ‘contained’ are vividly illustrated by Eeyore’s successful resolution of what could have been a serious case of PTSD – the demise of his two presents:

eeyoreby making one into the container of the other. So Bion, you will recall, overcame his own war trauma…,

I’m not, I think, taking up Amazon’s offer, instead waiting for the Farsi translation as a means of improving my linguistic skills.

A reader asks: What’s the first non-vanishing differential in the mod 2 Adams spectral sequence?

Answer: I didn’t know anyone still cared about that kind of stuff. I think you’ll find thatd_2(h_i)=h_0(h_{i-1})^2 is your answer. Which is of course linked to the non-existence of elements of Hopf invariant one. Don’t ask me for a proof.

Poems: Although (see above) I’ve failed to find any music to do with the Trinity, here is a poem by the late Rowan Williams (surely I don’t mean that, just the ex-Archbishop) on or around the theme:



One day, God walked in, pale from the grey steppe,
slit-eyed against the wind, and stopped,
said, Colour me, breathe your blood into my mouth.

I said, Here is the blood of all our people,
these are their bruises, blue and purple,
gold, brown, and pale green wash of death.

These (god) are the chromatic pains of flesh,
I said, I trust I shall make you blush,
O I shall stain you with the scars of birth

For ever, I shall root you in the wood,
under the sun shall bake you bread
of beechmast, never let you forth

To the white desert, to the starving sand.
But we shall sit and speak around
one table, share one food, one earth.

And here’s Blake’s poem to the same addressee:

To Nobodaddy

Why art thou silent & invisible
Father of jealousy
Why dost thou hide thyself in clouds
From every searching Eye

Why darkness & obscurity
In all thy words & laws
That none dare eat the fruit but from
The wily serpents jaws
Or is it because Secresy
gains females loud applause


A reader has pointed out to me the distressing incidence of ripoff tracks in the West which capitalize on successes in the less-developed world (here I count Sweden) to create massive hits. He cites the wonderful ‘Boten Annabot(don’t please confuse this bot with the Polish neurotechnologist Anna Bot, author of  ’Alterations in miRNA levels in the dentate gyrus in epileptic rats.’); which was repackaged as the decidedly mediocre but multimillion-selling ‘Now you’re Gone’; or the Tamil ‘Urvasi urvasi‘, now, as ‘It’s My Birthday’ carrying to a tenth place in the charts. One has to hope that some of the royalties make their way to the original authors, but history (Mozart, Bessie Smith, Robert L. Johnson) shows how often this isn’t the case and creative musicians die in penury. Perhaps making music – like riding horses – has to be an end, rather than a means to make money.

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