Sunday, February 22, 1981

On this date I was born in the Ukraine, which I quickly left before memory took its terrible hold. Nevertheless, the internet has provided some mnemonic aids. The following headlines, and brief excerpts, first appeared in print on the date in question:

  • Helsinki Watch demands release of Rudenko, Tykhy, Orlov
  • Ukrainians in Poland may win concessions on place names by Dr. Roman Solchanyk
  • Steppe-pirates rob elderly pilgrims of their dignity
  • Ukrainian Institute in danger of losing tax-exempt status
  • Soviets sentence Volodymyr Sichko
  • Thematize your lifestyle
  • Committee opposes Bucharest as possible site for next CSCE
  • Estonian open letter speaks of fears of linguistic denationalization
  • Documents on Horbal case received in the West
  • Universe scores 1120 on SAT's; God furious
  • Rights policy's value was questioned by Lefever, N.Y. Times reports
  • "No one backs Baby into a corner" --Jennifer Gray's stardom expected
  • WCFU proclaims Decade of Ukrainian Family
  • Subcommittee on curriculum review attempts to combat misinformation by Dr. Ivan Z. Holowinsky
  • Sodomy in danger of losing popularity contest, study says
  • Ethnic leaders worry about appointments
  • WCFU Presidium meets
  • Hold public meeting of Committee on Law and Order in the UCCA
  • Two wrongs...
  • At Madrid Conference Kampelman: U.S. remains committed to Helsinki principles The speech below was delivered by Max Kampelman of the U.S. delegation to the Madrid Conference on January 27, the day the second phase of the Helsinki review conference opened.
  • U.S. delegation member asserts Helsinki Accords embarrass USSR
  • EDITORIAL Our 87-year-old Batko
  • UKE-EYE by Anisa Handzia Sawyckyj Question: What do you think is the future of the Ukrainian language in the United States?
  • Bucharest should not be site of next Helsinki Conference Below is the position paper released by the U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee which outlines reasons the Bucharest, Rumania, should not be approved as the site of the next conference to review implementation of the Helsinki Accords.
  • Ethnic identity linked to polluted river, government investigation to commence
  • Commentary Bilingualism: disguise for Russification Below is an article about Russification which appeared in the ELTA Information Bulletin published by the Lithuanian National Foundation based in Washington.
  • Charles Linnemaier investigates the role of microscopic observations in the philosophies of Berkeley and Malebranche
  • On being Ukrainian by Marta Korduba Part I
  • Montreal artist's works to be displayed in New York City
  • Panel focuses on settlements handbook
  • Panorama of Ukrainian culture in the Big Apple by Helen Perozak Smindak
  • New York's Ukrainian Museum through the eyes of visitors by Dr. Zofia Sywak
  • Museum reports on activities
  • Museum receives Melnyk, Konovalets artifacts
  • Unabashed charlatan abuses website privileges, editorial censure to follow
  • Students thank parents via presentation Ukrainian Independence Day sounds like nothing I've ever heard before.... sounds like a world beyond my imagination...

how gripping.

I'm a wretched sinner

Let's never begin.

Everyone wants to be an MC, cause bein' MCs are the best

As of late I've been more and more concerned with the distance I've been putting, lo these many years, between myself and my writing, myself and my thinking, myself and most other things. Not that I have a clear picture of "who I am" or where I'm going, and not that I desire a much clearer picture, push come to shove. Nevertheless, the ontology/disaster of my writing career is becoming alternately clearer (ontologically) and less interesting to me (disastrous). I meander between half-hearted imitations of Edmond Jabes and quarter-hearted accounts of Richard Boyd on metaphor.

What do I care about?

What does anyone really care about?

a) Something.
b) Nothing.

But what is the difference, really?

I'm not trying to sound full of existential angst, I'm really not (mainly because I'm not so full of myself to think that I make every instant of my life what it is, I still think meaning is in some important sense a public affair, pace Wittgenstein's private language argument). What is the difference between caring and not caring, acting responsibly and appearing to act so, or even acting irresponsibly, or not acting at all... all my responses to these questions are tentative: little theory (mine) versus big theory (what I read) and never the twain shall meet, really.

The danger is never to encounter time series/series/series/series: if we think like that (i.e. if we think that our lives are slices of infinite series, this second, these seconds, these minutes, that day, etc.) we get caught up in the quantification of time and concentrate too hard on its passing and not hard enough on the flow, whatever that means....

But it's not clear whether my worries are about epistemology (how can we know when to care, how to care, what it means to care, etc.) or ethics (should I care, for who, etc.).

And I'm not even sure the distinction is solid, and I think Nietzsche makes it clearer and all too clear (in On The Genealogy of Morals particularly) that the distinction is laden with problems that can be thought of as ethical or epistemological in their own right. All knowledge and certainty is the remnant of much pain and suffering, all ethical action and responsibility is the legacy of torture, and so on (and the semi-recent relationship(s) between physics, mathematics and the feminist critique of the sciences at least attempted, throughout the late eighties and early nineties, to produce a hint of the subterranean dangers of ethics and knowledge).

get smart or get stupid just get busy

Is that true? Who knows. Yes.

You know what, I know. You know why? Because fuck epistemology. I'm going to say it. We make a lot of trouble for ourselves by not learning enough from Wittgenstein, I think. And by 'we' I mean "philosophers" (or at least people who read philosophy interestedly). We shouldn't be bickering, against common sense I think, between silly positions (ex., descriptive and prescriptive philosophy of science, ((Thomas Kuhn, if not Paul Feyerabend should have disabused of of the notion that we can make a hard and fast distinction)), Habermasians like Nancy Fraser vs. Michel Foucault ((both sides can learn a lot from each other here if they quit bickering about the validity of certain knowledge claims)), so-called continental versus anglo-american philosophy, and the list goes on)... Rather, and this I think is the most valuable lesson I've come across, we should try and learn from and with each other.

santa claus is on the cross and it's about time

Antagonism is useful, but in moderation.

Fuck off.

Clearly I don't know where we are going here...if anywhere at all. Actually, I have the vague idea that we aren't going anywhere but in circles, waiting to run out of fuel and smash into the side of a cliff until our charred remains are nothing but cinders...but I'm not a doomsayer just yet.

Short Circuit: Johnny Five Star Whisky

Above is the title of the following four concerns + interruptions, none of which are.
  • Number One Concern: That Jacques Derrida is still an interesting thinker is a belief that waxes and wanes for me. After having read all his early and middle stuff (highlights being Limited Inc, Of Grammatology, The Post Card, and Glas where he deals hilariously with Georg Hegel and Jean Genet at the same time...) I became less interested, as it seemed he was up to his old tricks in every book, with nothing of great import to say. But I think that was my refusal to read closer, some of the stuff in-between, stuff in the late 80's and early 90's might, I think, be interesting. But I think the mid 90's stuff, when I finally got to it, convinced me, specifically books like Specters of Marx (who knew how political 'deconstruction' could be...) and the Politics of Friendship (the bits on Schmitt are genius, I'd say). But now I'm reading some of the other bits, more Levinasian and Heideggerian, and I have to say that I'd rather read Levinas or Heidegger most of the time, though this isn't always the case...
  • Number Two Concern: That my intellectual/academic interest in art is dwindling due to my current program of study. Now that I'm officially in a philosophy-only programme, I find it difficult to write on my own time about a lot of artists and art that I like (previously writing a paper on Robert Smithson or Cy Twombly was no different for me than writing about Louis Althusser or Carl Hempel...). Now there seems to be an artificial divide, and its disheartening: I'd like art and literature to be more than examples for my schematic philosophical thinking, and, hopefully, I'll be able to work something out where I am now.
      • ****Interruption: What is of real concern? First: "In peactime you don't get anywhere, in war time you bleed to death." (Franz Kafka)****
  • Third Concern: Taking one's self too flippantly can be worse, in the end, than taking one's self to seriously. The truth of this statement, which is by no means evident to me, is, nevertheless, of great concern for me. What is the proper balance between commitment and detachment? This is the answer we need, the answer epistemology isn't concerned with (though, perhaps, feminist standpoint epistemology, or more recently updated notions of situated epistemology can bridge the gap between hybrid questions of ethics and epistemology like these... John McDowell or Charles Taylor might be helpful here). What to think?
      • ****Interruption: What is of real concern? First: "To flee to a conquered country and soon find it insupportable there, for there is nowhere else to flee" (Franz Kafka)****
  • Fourth Concern: That my/ life is a wasted disaster/event, time/ bleeding through/ my skin. (This concern is with writing bad pseudo-poetry to impress upon myself how....)
    It goes like this:
    That my
        life is a wasted disaster
        event, time
    bleeding through
    my skin.
On being eclipsed by one's ego... On never dying once, and living a terrible beautiful death, On February 15, 2004 I was born again: I found my saviour in the dregs and rotten core of society, in the wealth of living poorly, in the vicissitudes of poisonous contradiction...

How many?

These are some numbers, of varying importance. If you add them up you get the following equation:

2(e) + {(S)/(Z)} = 62(RUN THAT SHIT)

Don't wade in that water, don't sweat the technique, don't die too old, don't kill to quick, don't swear too loud, don't paint that picture, don't walk that slow...

Things that might have happened in my life.

First. I may have become an architect, or at least more of an architectural theorist (tirades against Peter Eisenman's theories, but praise for his building would have been the starting point...prehaps, perhaps...a million times dead). But my impatience with computer programming. But my love of not drawing, or not putting ideas into action. Concretion.

Second, I might have died on January 3, 2004. Crushed under the weight of a car. We were driving from Halifax to Dartmouth, I was listless, looking out the window, looking for reprieve, constructing grandiose phrases to describe the minutiae of my mediocre lifestyle. A twist of the hand, a subtle impatience. Calamity. We flipped, rolled, rammed...then silent. Waiting, for hours. My eyes bleeding, my hands numb with cold. I laughed for days, weeks, painfully unaware of what the situation offered.


    "Hulk Hogan, 
     don't let 
     blow up 
     the planet rock...."

"We must divert the armageddon rock"

Jeanette Winterson writes the following:

Who calls whom? The word shaped out of the substance as the sculpture is shaped from the stone. The word imposed upon the substance as the wind reforms the rock. The clashing made and making words. The Word out of flux and into form.

On the barrel of the wind the falcon

I'm not sure how I feel, in general, and, more specifically, about this, this words above. Roughly, my take is this: the words above (Jeanette Winterson's) are too dramatic. The relationship between word, deed, object, subject, inter-subject is subtler: no imposition, no formalizing constraints, but a give and take that is always in a precarious position; tendencies to imposition, being held out over an abyss... it doesn't need to drop into an abyss...of necessity, or so it seems...right?


I'm beginning to think that the Shape Shifters are the only thing worth paying attention to within the confines of my current lifstyle. I'm more concerned with the emotional response of Chupacabras to the movie Independence Day ("ID4") than I am with writing a response to Michael Levin on feminist ethics, or even (at least this is interesting) writing something about David Hume on causality...I actually might write a paper against Humean causality based on an updated singularist approach something like Elizabeth Anscombe's, but I'd rather listen to Know Future instead.
   to the ending, to the outer mostest
   to the mostest, to the outer, to th
   e mostest, to the bestest, inner ou
   ter greatest, outer inner other, to
   the bester, to the inner shape,  to
   the outer shape, to the inner awkwa
   rd, to the outer space, to the inne
   r light, to the outer inner better.
   .. Inner outer, to the outer inner,
   inner outer awkward, outer other in
   ner better, get more smarter, get r
   etarded, shift to shape, inner oute
   r, outer inner.....................

What could be more valuable?

Inner outer to the BESTEST.

Art is not reducible to text?
Are you kidding me? Art is reducible to text, and text is reducible to ashes, and ashes are blowin' in the wind... Art is a myth and myths aren't real, and shit that ain't real don't never existed. Ontologize. 0VVn3dZ0rz.

Moses is dead.

                                        Eastern Boat Fight

To the mostest.
To the bestest.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Last night/this morning I had the following dream. I was walking in a mall, a gigantic mall which looked more like a multi-tiered steppe-land of stores and restaurants than a mall per se. I had just left a Thai restaurant where I was dining with random dream denizens, the unfamiliar familiar kind, you know what I mean. (("Who's on the money? Masons, slaves or martians? Who built America, Moses freed the slaves")) I'm walking in this mall, and I'm looking for a bathroom, frantically. I can't find one, but there is a group of trogolodytic looking children and their equally aesthetically pleasing mother traipsing slowly in front of me. We happened to be going at the same speed and in the same direction, so I was walking beside them for some time. After a while it occurred to me that they were, in fact, a family whom I had seen at the ghetto grocery store that Sowerby had used to work at in Dartmouth. Terrible-nasty, and (I'm pretty sure, and this is serious, that they were inbred as well)... They were talking amongst themselves saying things that I could not stand, those random dream infuriations...after a while they noticed my infuriation and one of the kids, the youngest one, came up to me and started biting my leg. I wasn't freaked out so much as angry (as if it were normal but inconvenient for this to be happening). As I swatted her off my leg, repeatedly, a paparazzi photographer appeared out of nowhere and asked if I wanted to litigate the case and could he please be my lawyer. I agreed and woke up. WHAT WOULD JACQUES LACAN DO? WWJLD?

Solar eclipse from here to the polar

Truth # 1:

85 million
pounds of flesh
crushed together
make a beautiful
birthday gift, 
if wrapped correctly.  

Truth #2:

> Any time you enter a debate about the possible merit and value of graffito tagging, you have already missed the point. Justificatory debates about graffiti only end up talking around the point, they never seem to hit on the point that, sometimes, what can be shown cannot be said. Not to be mystical, but there is something there which is "more than a feeling" but less than semantics. Meaning-production is one, and perhaps a slim one at that, aspect of 'graffiti'. There is a similar problem in discussing, in at least the semblance of an intelligent manner, the implications of architecture for scientific theory and discourse. In order to really see how science is affected by the spaces it occupies, its environments and palaces, we first have to inhabit those spaces ourselves (either as scientists, or at least as informed observers in the way that Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar suggest in their excellent work Laboratory Life, maybe even some combination of Bruno Latour and the Strong Programme (Bloor, Hesse, etc.) could get around the problem too. But, methinks, in order to do that well you already need to have a thorough understanding of scientific practice and thinking, and to do that you have (I would argue) to be brought up within the tradition of science itself, indoctrinated as it were (though not in any pejorative sense here). The problem with this is that it then becomes quite difficult for the average scientist, or the average observer to combine their respective thoughts into a coherent picture of how a necessarily accepted aspect of science (its architectural situation) affects or is affected by the rest of the scientific edifice. The solution seems to me to have polymaths that can move easily between the two projects, though in the contemporary world that is becoming (or seems to to be at least) increasingly unlikely. This is certainly not the world of Descartes or Leibniz.

Truth #3

While I myself enjoy vast projects, and I really like most of them on E2, I've never really done anything like that myself. The closest I've ever come to doing a systematic 'project' is a few writeups on the philosophy of metaphor (Richard Rorty on Metaphor, Mary Hesse on Metaphor, John Searle on Metaphor, Max Black on Metaphor, Donald Davidson on metaphor and Richard Boyd on metaphor, respectively). But, to my mind at least, 6 writeups does not a vast project make. I think that I am at least capable of a monolithic enterprise, but I don't know what subject I'd tackle. I suppose I could do an exhaustive Michel Foucault project, where I deal with each of his works in some detail, do a biography of him, some bits on Foucauldian interpretation, some stuff on his 'legacy' and his critics, maybe even something about the situation of his papers and the relationship between his legacy and Daniel Defert, even some bits on general themes in his work (power, panopticism, the later stuff about techniques of the self, earlier stuff about archaeology, etc.). But I've already written too much on E2 about Foucault, and, to be honest, I'm not sure that I'm interested enough, at least at the moment, to revisit his work in such detail. Though I do already have, somewhere, I can't remember, the begininnings of a Foucault meta-node, which will probably languish in obscurity until the end of time....I'm not sure I have interests that are vast and detailed enough to support a mega-writeup project. Maybe I should cultivate some! But I won't. To be honest, if I returned to Foucault I think I'd like to get much more micro- rather than macro-interpretive. I'd like to do some intense readings of little bit parts in his books that I find to be the most interesting or troubling. Like his essay "What is Enlightenment?", the conclusion to Madness and Civilization, the interview "On the Genealogy of Ethics", stuff like that. I usually like the little moves in Foucault more than the grandiose, anti-Hegelian-yet-strangely-Hegelian bits in most of the earlier work (I'm looking at you, Order of Things!). Good God let's eat. ♥

Truth #4

Quoting the Shapeshifters, like listening to them, seems to be epidemic for me:

Me...three million years old MC. Killin' off the dolphins.
Inner outer to the shiftest, my internet identity has been taking shape lately. And that's worrisome. I've signed up to Friendster, I'm re-investing some viewing time on 12ozprophet again, too much, I check my email obsessively, E2 is providing much more reading material than the library for me...

"It is happening again"
"It is happening again"
"This is not a Shape Shifters quote"
Being a non-sleeper, nothing pleases me more than blasting gabber at 8 in the morning, followed quickly by a bout of "Who Built the Pyramids?" by Los Shape Shifters...shit is money. God.

Causality in the correct reductive analytic sense. Right? What a fucking ass. Inner outer to the bestest. Full scholarships, cocaine nose jobs, three A.M. falafels and we're still nothing like the Beat Generation. I saw the most mediocre minds of my time blended into paste by boredom and idiocy. But we're still better than Kerouac. And Ginsberg. And whoever else you want to give us. Inner outer to the bester.

Dear Reader,

There is, inevitably, something of the Merda d'Artista in everything I do here. And that isn't necessarily a condemnatory statement, though it most likely is. What I'm trying to do is avoid thinking or accomplishing much of anything. How successful I am is measured in how much time I spend on connecting words divided by how much time I spend on formatting blocks of words, or even blocks of miscellaneous symbols. Inner outer to the nonsense. What I like to do more than think is to move my fingers and write words. "Well I didn't read the chapter, but I came up with a lot mroe interesting things while discussing it over beer with a couple of other people. Here is the result of THAT." Cogent argumentation has gone out the window. Carnap is dying. The cup is empty and runneth over, enjambment: A Play (Act One) is only as good as its first lines, the first act (act one) is unimportant, nothing matters, the first act (act one) is key, it contains the first lines. It signifies. Inner outer to the bestest, to the mostest, to the shapeshift. If I were to write a play, and I weren't, to be sure, but if I were, I would call it.

I've heard of idiots, but this guy is ridiculous...


Food for Fought:

The Christian should never be in doubt about this victory, for it is already won. Since Christ on the Cross beat down the powers of darkness, their doom is sealed. Paul describes the Antichrist as "the son of perdition," that is, one who is doomed to destruction. In the long run evil is destructive of itself. The evil age will die and the worker of evil will be the victim of his own works. For Christ has won the decisive battle in God's warfare against evil. The crisis is past. Though the campaign goes on, we know that, since the Son of God went forth to war, the victory is assured. (Life and Death: A Study of the Christian Hope, prepared by The Committe on Christian Faith; The United Church of Canada, A.G. Reynolds, editor, page 75).

It is interesting to investigate, after Thomas Kuhn anyway, how science undergoes changes in theory. I think The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is the book that really led me to question the legitimacy of modelling all our thinking on a misguided notion of science. If even science, which I admire greatly, is not an entirely dispassionate or 'rational' (in the blandest and least interesting reading of that term), then why are we breaking our backs to emulate it; in philsophy especially! I think this gnawing feeling is what lead me to a lot of flaky crap (see my execrable Philosophical Interpretations of Quantum Chaos if you think this is false modesty), but it also lead me to appreciate more fully what people like Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Martha Nussbaum, Charles Taylor and a million others had to say. It's unfortunate that this feeling hasn't caught on in a pandemic sort of way; it's sad that much analytic philosophy is caught up in this kind of scientism, even after we've seen that science isn't 'scientistic' in that sense at all! (And you don't have to see Kuhn's work as the only evidence of this by any means!)

On Living the End-Times

....and the Christ becomes your smile.

We're in the grips of brow-beating you, sir.
Could you please come back at a more opportune time?
That would be great. Thanks.
Good day.