Archives for July 2014

Education on The Killing Floor

"...two principles of coherence: a proclaimed coherence, of scientific appearance, which asserts itself by proliferating outward signs of scientificity, and a hidden coherence, mythic in its principles." Pierre Bourdieu "So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. " William … [Read more...]

Goldwater’s Eyes

"The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bed- room; It is so — I witnessed the corpse — there the pistol had fallen." Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass "...we now know that a rejuvenated CIA has run a full-scale torture program, kidnapped terror suspects off global streets, and still oversees drone assassination campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen. In addition, it continues to resist Congressional oversight of its torture activities. As yet, the Agency, tasked with “vetting” a 6,000-page report on its “interrogation methods” prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee, has refused to allow the release of any part of the account. Even Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s chair, … [Read more...]

The Lair of the War Gods

"In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; it was her Triumph of the Will that reputedly cast Hitler’s spell. I asked her about propaganda in societies that imagined themselves superior. She replied that the “messages” in her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on a “submissive void” in the German population. “Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked. “Everyone,” she replied, “and of course the intelligentsia.” John Pilger "If place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with … [Read more...]

An Implacable Light

"Psyche is extended,(but) knows nothing about it." Sigmund Freud "Walking is in fact determined by semantic tropisms; it is attracted and repelled by nominations whose meaning is not clear, whereas the city, for its part, is transformed for many people into a 'desert' in which the meaningless, indeed the terrifying, no longer takes the form of shadows but becomes, as in Genet's plays, an implacable light that produces this urban text without obscurities, which is created by a technocratic power everywhere and which puts the city dweller under control...under the control of what? No one knows." Michel de Certeau "We know that under the image revealed there is another which is truer … [Read more...]