The Sweet Smell of Nothing

Daido Moriyama, photography.

"The ICTY’s endgame, as illustrated by the strategy designed to prevent Slobodan Milosevic – and other defendants, elsewhere, in future trials – from further exposing the institution’s political nat- ure, provides a valuable lesson: there is nothing to be gained by establishing ad hoc political courts, be they in Europe, Africa, or anywhere else. When justice is used as an instrument to justify the crime of aggression, and when ad hoc bodies do not even consider aggression within their jurisdiction, when these bodies devise tools to silence defendants who would have the audacity to raise that supreme international crime, then, surely, there is no point in calling what emerges from … [Read more...]

The Bitter Night

Sam Laughlin, photography.

"Our understanding of ourselves is a narrative understanding, that is, we cannot grasp ourselves outside of time and hence outside of some narrative. There is an equivalence therefore between what I am and the story of my life." Paul Ricoeur "I confess that I am much more concerned about the current growth of the "desire not to know," as Julia Kristeva puts it, and the seemingly triumphant success of the pharmaceutical cocktail over the spoken word. There once was a brilliant, if chilling, ad for a certain tranquilizer: "Not a pseudo-solution for problems, but a solution for pseudo-problems." Ernst Falzeder "One of the effects of this shift in the focus of production is the speeding … [Read more...]

Where Dreams Die

Joachim Bandau

"Well, Cassady was a benign version of that figure. Gary Gilmore may be closer to what I mean, a vicious drifter of the kind America seems to produce in greater quantity than does any other country, probably because there is no moral center to our middle class. This society is so fractured. It never really had that period of high bourgeois cultural development that most European countries had. The American underclass has never had the tradition and stability of a European peasantry so it could never develop feudal loyalties. Instead we get these institutionalized personalities whose arrested emotions oblige them to mimic mood, feeling, love. This is the origin of their violence." Robert … [Read more...]

The Occupied Mind

Taizokai Mandala painting, late 9th century, Heian (Kyoto) .

"The capability to overkill and to overburn, and the mental behavior that goes with it are by-products of the development of the productive forces within a system of exploitation and repression; they seem to become more productive the more comfortable the system becomes to its privileged subjects." Herbert Marcuse "It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not." Thich Nhat Hanh "It is precisely this fear of education as a building block for both critically engaged youth and a broader public and for a radical politics that inspires a great deal of fear in the billionaire, anti-public (un)reformers." Henry … [Read more...]