“Terrorists can be defeated simply by not becoming terrorized — that is, anything that enhances fear effectively gives in to them.”*

This moment in history will be remembered as a high-water mark of fear and hysteria, a time when small groups of men successfully bred fear around the world, a fear which politicians encouraged and manipulated to secure their control over government. Today I called my Congressman and Senators’ offices to ask them to speak out against this “no liquids” policy on airplanes and the manipulation of this foiled act of terrorism by the party in power to make people more fearful, and thus, more easy to control. The response by our government to acts of terrorism is turning our country into a fearful, reactionary monster. I hope you’ll call or write your representatives, too.


* From “A False Sense of Insecurity?” (alternate link), an essay by John Mueller from the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.

Loyal, that is, to songs of passion from the Middle Ages. Yes! The new Asteria album Soyes Loyal is out and it is beautiful. My dear friends Eric Redlinger and Sylvia Rhyne have released their 2nd album of secular music — love songs — from 15th century Europe, arranged for soprano, tenor and lute. You can hear a few of the tracks now on their site — try Ne Je Ne Dors — and you’ll be able to stream the whole album soon on Magnatune, their record label. Here’s another track from their first album, Quant La Doulce Jouvencelle.


We knew (I knew!) we had never been modern, but now we are even less so: fragile, frail, threatened; that is, back to normal, back to the anxious and careful stage in which the “others” used to live before being “liberated” from their “absurd beliefs” by our courageous and ambitious modernization. Suddenly, we seem to cling with a new intensity to our idols, to our fetishes, to our “factishes,” to the extraordinarily fragile ways in which our hand can produce objects over which we have no command. We look at our institutions, our public spheres, our scientific objectivity, even our religious ways, everything we loved to hate before, with a somewhat renewed sympathy. Less cynicism, suddenly, less irony. A worshipping of images, a craving for carefully crafted mediators, what the Byzantine called “economy,” what used to simply be called civilization.


from ICONOCLASH (html + pdf)

Heidegger has blown my mind. You see, the big question that has always most fascinated me is how do/did people — especially those who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago — see the world? What is/was their worldview? The nugget of Heidegger’s argument in this essay is that before the modern era, there was no awareness that there was a worldview or that there could be multiple worldviews. This is particularly relevant when many violent people want to roll the world back to medieval times.

I need to pull a better quote than the below.

The gigantic is rather that through which the quantitative becomes a special quality and thus a remarkable kind of greatness. Each historical age is not only great in a distinctive way in contrast to others; it also has, in each instance, its own concept of greatness. But as soon as the gigantic in planning and calculating and adjusting and making secure shifts over out of the quantitative and becomes a special quality, then what is gigantic, and what can seemingly always be calculated completely, becomes, precisely through this, incalculable. This becoming incalculable remains the invisible shadow that is cast around all things everywhere when man has been transformed into subiectum and the world into picture.

By means of this shadow the modern world extends itself out into a space withdrawn from representation and so lends to the incalculable the determinateness peculiar to it, as well as a historical uniqueness. This shadow, however, points to something else, which is denied to us of today to know. But man will never be able to experience and ponder this that is denied so long as he dawdles about in the mere negating of the age. The flight into tradition, out of a combination of humility and presumption, can bring about nothing in itself other than self-deception and blindness in relation to the historical moment. [emphasis mine]

Man will know, i.e., carefully safeguard into its truth, that which is incalculable, only in creative questioning and shaping out of the power of genuine reflection. Reflection transports the man of the future into that “between” in which he belongs to Being and yet remains a stranger amid that which is. Holderlin knew of this. His poem, which bears the superscription “To the Germans,” closes:

How narrowly bounded is our lifetime,
We see and count the number of our years.
But have the years of nations
Been seen by mortal eye?

If your soul throbs in longing
Over its own time, mourning, then
You linger on the cold shore
Among your own and never know them. *

From a reading for my history of media class. There were several more striking sections — and I’m sorry if this fragment is incomprehensible for most of you — but it’s time for bed.

* Martin Heidegger, “The Age of the World Picture” (from The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays [New York: Harper & Row, 1977], rpt. in Timothy Druckery, ed., Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation [New York: Aperture, 1996])


20051110 – history

Baudrillard discussion.

  • read raymmond William’s “Television”
  • send link to Ballard’s review of cinema book
  • get that book back from Dad

These would be the successive phases of the image: 1) It is the reflection of a basic reality. [sacrament] 2) It makes and perverts a basic reality. [malifice] 3) It masks the absence of a basic reality. [sorcery] 4) It bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum. [simulation]

But what could art possibly mean in a world that has already become hyperrealist, cool, transparent and marketable?

  • ____ needs a hearing aid that is activated when anyone speaks, and whispers in their ear “but that’s just one person’s opinion and they could be wrong”. in this way, relativist contextualism might be continually propitiated.

  • historical visigoth, modern goth – dominic: ‘that’s your paper’

  • baudrillard’s post-human is nostalgic

  • read about Bataille’s ‘accursed share’

  • dominic: ‘my brain is full of cartoons and i’m neither miserable nor happy’

HOMEWORK: – Kittler’s introduction and some of the rest. Bukatman.