Archive for February, 2009

28
Feb
09

We Want Hits

sex boobs porn obama cheeseburger hipster lolcats music alternative naked teens love astrology women dating live girls young men dudes boats gambling free

So, which one did you search???

Also this pan-swinging grandma:panma

We need 45 hits in the next day to break 1000 for the month.

Do it. Tell your friends/enemies/lovers. Post comments. Make us feel better about ourselves and a little less alone in the world….

26
Feb
09

2666

Anyone read this book? Have you also read Slaughterhouse Five? Did you see a reference to the latter in the former?

26
Feb
09

JSHSALTWTWSWAIRSWDWSITHOD

Jenny says her stomach always looked that way, that we shouldn’t worry about it really. So we don’t. We step inside through her open door.

Jeremy smiles. He seems almost lovely, trustful, warm. Then we stop walking and I retch. Stomach walls drip wet steaming insides. Through her, odors develop.

Just stop heaving. She actually likes this walking, these wandering steps. We are inside, roving, searching. We descend without sight into this heart, over, down.

Jenny still has some acid left that washes, that weakens. Soon we are immanently rectal. Smooth walls, diarrhea, wet sloshing inundates. This heat overwhelms, destroys.

Jeremy stops helping suddenly and leaves. That wimp! That weakling! Still we are in, reaching, studying. We dream wet, sperm inside towards her ovarian depths.

Jenny senses herself sowing a life that will thrive. We see we actually inseminated. Rightly surprised, we decide we should immediately touch her- our daughter.

Pork Stomach Soup

(Pork Stomach Soup)

25
Feb
09

On the topics of gay marriage, civil rights, bigotry, and religion: A Ghost Island blog-argument.

Earlier this week I found a blog post at a blog called “Apologia- Standing in Defense of the Christian Worldview” (incidentally the blog seems to be named for Socrate’s defense at the trial that would result in his execution). The post is mostly about Sean Penn’s speech at the Oscars, but in the comments it quickly develops into a discussion of the ban on gay marriages in the state of CA, and by proxy civil rights and religion. And so we have begun to engage with it.

Perhaps it is best to let the arguments speak for themselves from this point on:
Here’s the post. Look for butttubb and luckycloud in the comments at the bottom.

24
Feb
09

We’re Going on Vacation

Yul Brenner on Vacation:

YB

Ghost Island Cruise- 2009

Sign up today for your cabin.

Free Buffet/Hot Tubs

Optional Scuba Diving

Open Bar and Dance Club 10-12 Every Night!!!

Live Entertainment from Elvis Presley’s dead body, exhumed, shocked via electrical wires into flopping around on stage during Karaoke renditions of all his greatest hits.

19
Feb
09

Many God Particles

Forces2 GIF

At some point in the next few years enough experimentation will have been done to refine a few more of the configuring constants of Modern Physics, in particular those of the Standard Model. There are a limited number of fundamental qualities in nature, like electric/magnetic charge, angular momentum (spin), and mass. Much of the current attention of physicists is devoted to an investigation of mass in the search for the Higg’s Boson, which has been popularly dubbed the “God Particle.”

According to Wikipedia, the origin of this title lies with a book written in 1993 by Leon M. Lederman, who originally wanted to call it “the goddamn particle” (the italics are mine). But this lofty headline grabbing moniker is a misnomer; the Higg’s Boson is certainly not anymore a fundamental particle than, say, an electron.  It explains the phenomenon of mass in some particles and not others by a “coupling” mechanism, in essence a simplification through broad application, and a frequently used tool from the physics toolbox. The Higg’s Boson itself has mass, whose value is not experimentally known except for a lower limit of about 200,000 electrons worth. For comparison, the top quark, another Standard Model particle, has a mass equivalent of about 340,000 electrons.

But lets consider our rationale – even if this particle was somehow more fundamental in its relation to the natural component of mass, why would we call it the  “God Particle?” Mass may be an easy concept to gain a grasp on, but as a student of physics I do not have any particular affection for mass, at least not anymore than I have for charge or spin. And if we’re going for fundamentals here, what would physics call a particle that explained time? Us catholics hear a lot about glorious light, why isn’t the photon the God particle? The photon is the medium of the force that keeps our nuclei together with electrons in atoms, keeps atoms together in molecules, and prevents solid matter from passing through itself. Or what about the proposed graviton, the particle representation of gravity?

19
Feb
09

Ghost Island Does Events

Events:
1) Beef Stew/Potluck
2) Cookies
3) Games Night
4) Drinking
5) Speed Dating?

- – - -

Bring edibles/board games/people you might want to speed date. We’re making some cookies and a big pot of stew, sampling some home-brewed beer, and hanging out really hard.

* * *

Regarding Cutting:

Rug cutting is possible if you bring some speakers. Hair cutting is possible if you clean up. All other cutting ought to be done on your own time or not at all.

* * *

Speed Dating

Image Description: Speed Dating

17
Feb
09

In Defense of Radicalism

I wrote this originally for my Butttub blog, but I thought it might also be of interest to the good people of Ghost Island.

So here is it:

This critique ought to begin with a bit of appreciation. I actually really like Nate Silver and Fivethirtyeight.com, and tend to agree with many of his opinions. However, he recently wrote a post contrasting ‘Radical’ and ‘Rational’ progressivism. As part of this post, Silver produced a chart to describe the difference between these two types of progressives that relies on assumptions that I find highly troubling.

This post (which can be read here) has gotten a fair amount of play among left-leaning bloggers. My own response focuses on a few key points that, while not a comprehensive discussion of his entire argument, does generally lay out my basic objections.

1) Silver claims: Reformist sees politics as a battle of ideas, Radical sees politics as a battle of wills. This seems to me to be entirely wrong. Perhaps the neo-liberal or reform-minded progressives see politics as a matter simply of good governance or ‘doing what works’, whereas the more radical wing believes that there are such things as ideology that make the simple task of ‘good governance’ a highly fraught task. What I mean is that the radical objection is roughly as follows: People are deeply entrenched within ideological frameworks, therefor, it is often impossible to convince someone of the correctness of a policy by way of logical demonstration. In this way, the good ideas of progressivism cannot triumph simply through being good ideas, but require a certain amount of will and a recognition of the essentially agonistic nature of politics.

This could be seen as a argument between post-partisanship and a partisanship of deep convictions. Rather than say: we are beyond politics and all just want what’s best for our country, it’s better to to say: we admit disagreement about what’s best for the country and will admit that we cannot all agree on what constitutes good governance regardless of how hard we try.

Critically, radicalism does not close off pragmatism. Rather, it says at all moments: These are out firm beliefs. On some points, we cannot compromise, on others we must. But when we compromise, we will not call it a triumph but rather a partial failure in light of our real goals. The distinction of Idea v. Will is a misapprehension of the distinction between an attitude about the power of ideology and the minimums at which compromise is acceptable.

2: Silver claims that reformists are “Technocratic” and that radicals are “Populist”. Radicalism does not equal populism, although that is sometimes a form in which the far left manifests. Of course, populism is also a form in which the far right manifests. This also can hold true for technocracy with regards to the center-right and -left. So what Silver is arguing is that the radical branches of any politics lose sight of rational thought in favor of a broad populism.

However, I would argue that this distinction is highly problematic. For example, mainstream DLC-style Democrats use the populist appeal to the “center” in order to assert their political power. Further, radical thinkers like Paul Virilio and Donna Haraway take technological advancements as true openings for new modes of progressive politics and radical life-techniques. In fact, the history of Marxist thought is essentially technocratic, as it takes the development of mechanized industry as an essential stage in the development of a generally socialized society (hence the fundamental contradiction in largely undeveloped countries like Russia and China attempting to establish socialist states).

3) Later in the post, Silver makes the critical (if common) error of judging Marxism by the failure of the Soviet Union. Marxist modes of thought are not equivalent to the specific case of Sovietism, which is in fact a gross betrayal of the specifically internationalist tendency of Marxist critique. In fact, the lessons of Marxism are still quite valuable to even a reform-minded thinker, as they provide the basis for an understanding of property, value, commodity, and ideology. Much of my previous discussion is informed by Marxist thought, though I would never claim that it equates to an unquestioning acceptance of said thought, much less a desire for Soviet-style governance.

To me the real danger of a reformist politics is that in some cases, the reforms act to retrench and solidify interests and structures that in truth need to be entirely overhauled. Hence, if I say I am wary of certain kinds of health care reform, it is not because I do not see the desperate need for improved material conditions. Rather, it is that I fear that certain kinds of reform fail to greatly improve the situation and at the same time make it more difficult to enact the kind of change that is needed. This is not a matter of idealism v. pragmatism, it is a kind of calculation between short-term and long-term pragmatism.

There are, unfortunately, many totally non-pragmatic so-called radicals who take extremely shrill and self-righteous standpoints and totally close off any kind of rational debate. Having gone to Hampshire College, I’ve met more than my fair share of them. However, the election of President Obama should serve as proof of the fact that in a pinch, the majority of even radical progressives will act pragmatically. That they (we) will do so and then vocally criticize the very people thereby elected is not frivolity or inconsistency, but essentially the true mode of radicalism.

That is, the radical will act in a reformist capacity to relieve material suffering as much as possible, but will never call such action victorious. I once heard Alain Badiou say that of course he would (if he were American) vote for Obama, but he would not consider that as an action of (or even part of) radical politics. This kind of co-existance of pragmatism and radicalism, and the self-awareness to not confuse the two seems to me the proper condition of a thoughtful radicalism.

A radical politics deserving of the name requires a pragmatic approach that simply calculates risk/reward differently than Silver or the majority of Democratic Party members. Deciding the kinds of policies and compromises we deem acceptable is a serious and worthwhile debate. Attacking those that find themselves to answering these questions differently as ‘anti-intellectual’ or ‘anti-ideas’ is a thoroughly useless (and entirely non-pragmatic gesture), and is something that I normally consider Mr. Silver to be above.

16
Feb
09

New Test of Human Endurance

In an effort to push the current limit of human endurance a little further, three Nepalese brothers plan to a spend an entire day atop Mount Everest. Here’s the BBC coverage of the event. According to WikiAnswers, the record for the moon is about the same.

10
Feb
09

Angel of History, II: Black Mountain

 

I.  

20 years before Jean-Luc Godard saluted Paris, “See you at Mao!”, Charles Olson separated himself from his mentor Ezra Pound–and the totalitarian impulse of his withdrawl from Capital–preferring an idealistic experiment in communism, like Black Mountain, and wrote, collaging agit-prop slogans, 

“Mao concluded: 

                                nous devons  

                                                        nous lever  

                                                                           et agir!” 

 

II.  

Paul Goodman in Gestalt Therapy, an unknown tuberous root in the rhizomes of Deleuze and Guattari, antedating them by 30 years, espoused his theory of selfhood, as a surface of awareness (Body without Organs), moving through Freud and Marx in conceiving a subject an-egoic, anti-oedipal, and trying to disperse its concentration in an identity, like private property.  

“The self is the system of contacts in the organism/environment field; and these contacts are the structured experience of the actual present situation . . . the existing field passing into the next moment is rich with potential novelty, and contact is the actualization.  Invention is original; it is the organism growing, assimilating new matter and drawing on new sources of energy.  The self does not know beforehand what it will event, for knowledge is the form of what has already occurred . . . The complex system of contacts necessary for adjustment in the difficult field, we call ‘self.’” 

III. 

Student at Black Mountain College, Martha Rittenhouse, describing Bob Rauschenberg in a way that reminds me of Coleridge’s remark on Wordsworth, that you “can teach a poet anything, except rhythm”, reminisces about the dance parties students used to throw at Black Mountain, 

“Bob was one of the students at Black Mountain who had rhythm in their souls and toes. The other ones were Delores Fullman, Donald Alter, Ulrich Heinnemann-Rufer and Erissinola Genesi, called Mitzi. I envied them with all my heart. It was such a pleasure at parties to watch them dance. MiTzi and Uli did teach me the Charleston, and we performed it in one of the drama productions that Uli wrote. As we danced, we sang a song Uli had written for us that went something like this: “We are the witches. We are hunting game. We don’t know any feeling of shame. Do as we do, everyone. The purpose of life if FUN! FUN! FUN!” “

Imagine Rauschenberg hauling coal and understand his sensitivity to appreciate the “waste and softness” of cardboard boxes.  Like another former student Molly Gregory wrote, labor at the college, was “a leveller, rather like Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution.”   




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