Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It don't take much.

A cheap drunk. A pushover.
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Alberto Benett: Não reclame da vida! / Don't complain about life.
Don't complain about life!
Don't complain about life!
Sergio Ribeiro Lemos, Seri: Jogando fora / Throwing things out.
This book is unfaithful to the latest moments of history.
This CD is a boring imitation of real rock.
You don't have to justify everything you are going to throw away with a criticism.
Alberto Benett: Defina 'bem' / Define 'good'.
I'm a super-good person and ... Hey, any spare change?    I don't give money to bums! Get a job!
Define 'good'.
Ballard Street: It's an exhilarating way to start the day.I hear that Al Gore was in Lima for COP 20 and I want to hear what he had to say. I used to know how to grab those UN videos - I seem to have forgot but I eventually find a copy posted on YouTube by Julio Ruiz and since there is an embedded email address in it I thank him for taking the time to post it. He responds! Turns out he has a blog with a number of interesting clips from the event.

I'm very critical of the UNFCCC generally and severally - to the point of boorish rudeness and well beyond - but not without having read and listened to them.

In the process Julio finds this blog and makes some complimentary remarks, praises it. Man! That feels good! And here we are.

Oh sure, maybe it's just a flash in the pan and the conversation will languish for some reason I will never know, but in the meantime there's a brief respite at least.

Blue-sky-wise it's possible to visualize a 'nuclear fission' model of human psychological flourishing, maybe even a quantum theory if some minimum level of interest or concern can be identified with measurable units. Fraught with value judgements of course - tempting to define 'positive interaction' and so forth; 'flourishing' itself is not quite a neutral term though few would mistake it.

Might be interesting to analyse so-called social 'atomization' in this context: Does it promote or inhibit the reaction?
A friend of mine who is in a position to know (or was until he retired) tells me that near-death statements are problematic, not dependable - possibly governed by the psychedelic effects of a failing liver. Not for nothing the Brazilian expression 'desopilar o fígado' (cleanse the liver) for 'cheer up' then eh?
Alberto Benett: Dilma Rousseff.
Ademir Paixão: Dilma Rousseff.
Ademir Paixão's Dilma is deliciously ambiguous. What could she be doing? Blocking her ears so she won't hear? Flossing her ear canal? (To clean out the oil?) Applying a tourniquet? Putting on a mask?

'These people' have all got a serious hitch in their gitalong. Maybe what they need is a ...

Double Date (!!!):
Stephen Harper & Tony Abbott, APEC Bali 13-10.Kátia Abreu e Dilma Rousseff.Kátia Abreu e Dilma Rousseff.
Izabella Teixeira.Brett Murray: Jacob Zuma, The Spear.Zapiro: Jacob Zuma 'The Showerhead'.
Couple'a cool rich and powerful dudes with a couple'a hot Brazilian chicks (er ... ).

Given the status of 'these people' we'll need a chaperone (from French chaperon 'hood' so possibly related to Brazilian camisinha). Who better than Jacob Zuma? (Although Izabella Teixeira certainly fills the bill as a stereotypical duenna.)

I'll leave it to you to figgure out where Kátia Abreu and her stance towards the Código Florestal fits as Minister of Agriculture and what Dilma Rousseff means by appointing her. If I could have found a photograph of them together with Izabella Teixeira the Environment Minister it might begin to look like casting for the opening scene of Macbeth.

What happens to people? She was tortured apparently, as a young woman in the 70s. What does that do to you I wonder? Grounds for compassion and easy enough for that to bleed over into a general (but unjustified and unwise) approbation.

Dilma Rousseff, Juiz de Fora, 1972.Dilma Rousseff, Salvador, Bahia, 2014.
What Stephen Harper and Tony Abbott and Dilma Rousseff and Kátia Abreu and Izabella Teixeira (and their legion of colleagues around the world) are setting up for is hell on earth. They should be doing more than just cleaning their livers.
Dig it!

Chris Britt: The Bray of Pigs.Ted Rall: Cuba - Give 'em the business.
Chris Weyant: poor choice of words.
Matt Wuerker: Coal or Lungs.Mike Keefe: Fracking - This stuff is hazardous to our health.
Tom Toles: Full Throated.

A different kind of double date portrayed by Daniel Espinosa in his film 'Easy Money':
Daniel Espinosa: Easy Money.

Three meditations, reflections, ruminations ... which seem to me to be central to the global environmental catastrophe as it unfolds:
Burning Bush:

1968 (August) Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia;


1968 (September) Ryszard Siwiec (7 March 1909 — 12 September 1968) in Poland, aged 59; an accountant with a degree in philosophy, active in the Polish resistance movement, with five children - so ... not a flake;


1969 (January) Jan Palach (11 August 1948 – 19 January 1969) in Wenceslas Square on January 16th, a student, aged 20;


1969 (February) Jan Zajíc (July 3, 1950 – February 25, 1969), a student (railroad engineering), aged 18;


1969 (April) Evžen Plocek (29 October 1929 – 9 April 1969) up-through-the-ranks manufacturing manager and a Communist party member, aged 39;


1985 Mikhail Gorbachev, Glasnost (openness), & Perestroika (restructuring);;


1989 Velvet Revolution, note that this is 20 years later - so even multiple self-immolations cannot be called an effective tactic;


1989-1993 & 1993–2003 Václav Havel;


2003-2013 Václav Klaus. Interesting that he outs himself in 2009 (Copenhagen year) as a climate change denier. :-) ;


1991 documentary film by Polish director Maciej Drygas 'Usłyszcie mój krzyk' / 'Hear My Cry' about Ryszard Siwiec;


2013 Burning Bush a three-part HBO mini-series by Polish director Agnieszka Holland, in Polish;


Ryszard Siwiec.Jan Palach.Jan Zajíc.Evžen Plocek.

I've tried to get the Buddhists I know talking about the 'self-immolations' in Tibet (to no avail); and I've tried to get the Toronto climate fasting aficionados to talk about the notion of an actual hunger 'strike' (also to no avail). Mind you this is 'talk about' I'm talking about, discuss, exchange thoughts and ideas. What's so unspeakable? What shibboleth have I tripped over? But ...

... not a (fricken') word! This business of self-immolation must be solitary on several levels. Be that as it may, Theresa Spence's hunger strike on Victoria Island, even though it's object was a share in a diamond mine, showed the power of dramatic personal sacrifice and (it seems to me that) self-immolation falls onto that scale and so should be thought about, considered, not for immediate action or planning purposes but just to see where it fits into the scheme of things.
Samuel Scheffler.Samuel Scheffler 'Death and the Afterlife':

The library does not have a copy and I am too demoralized to think about asking them to get one. Luckily there is a pirate .pdf floating around so I get to read it. (It was on BookZZ but things come and go over there. If you ask me I will send you a copy by email.)

I fall for these philosophers so easily - such a pushover. It was the same with Stephen Gardiner and 'A Perfect Moral Storm' a few years ago. I get right into it, catalogue his (many) typos and send them to him by email for which he thanks me (and the changes are incorporated into the paperback version) but the guy will simply not answer my question about Cuba. How hard could it be to say even just, "Fuck off you know-nothing asshole!"?

It would be very easy to tip into "These fuckin' soi-distant careerist American philosophers!" Similar responses from Tim Jackson & Peter Victor & Peter Sale though - so I guess it's nothing to do with either philosophers or America per se.

'Death and the Afterlife' turns out to be another of those 'how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin' exercises conducted under the 'rational' auspices of an avuncular self-effacing and very likeable fellow - he graciously spreads the glory to selected colleagues f'rinstance. I'm glad to be poor and forced to find the pirate version - 200 pages for 40 bucks to buy it, and then I might have felt ... even more like a fool.

Nonetheless and all that said - some light is shed upon the poignant quandary of why no one is acting in the face of an overwhelming and quite likely terminal environmental catastrophe (although it is only addressed obliquely). A-and it's just 200 pages, a short read even for washed up old farts with flagging attention-spans.

•   provenance: from Adbusters who have obviously read a review but have no idea what the book is about (and are hard pressed to convey even that much gramatically);


•   published by: Oxford University Press / OUP USA and in the OUP blog;


•   a good review: After the Meteor Strike, Amia Srinivasan (pdf) (I mean the review is good), appeared in the LRB where it is securely locked up - the link is to the author's copy;


•   NPR: A Philosopher's 'Afterlife': We May Die, But Others Live On, with a link to an audio interview with the author;


•   YouTube: interview with Harry Kreisler at University of California Television (UCTV) in 2012;


•   bio & contact: blurb at NYU;


•   In the NYT (himself): The Importance of the Afterlife. Seriously.;

[What hooked me this time (incidentally) is that the situation (at least) - regarding humanity's extinction ('regarding' as a verb) - has personal relevance. Not in terms of regret for the world my children (who have pretty well turned their backs on me) and grandchildren (whom I hardly know) will inherit - sorry to say it but there it is.

And no, I don't fear death, just the pain I expect to preceed it. This is no more than bog standard human nature which has no cousciousness nor real knowledge of death itself and cannot possibly have any.
Ygreck: Fuck Facebook.
Anita Kunz: Brain machinery.Michael Harris 'The End of Absence':

Some related (I think, not having seen Harris' book yet) material from Nicholas Carr: his essay in The Atlantic in 2008; and his 2011 book 'The Shallows' (mentioned here previously).

One hums a few bars of Bob: "... and his mind has been mismanaged with great skill."

•   provenance: from Tim Lott in The Guardian.


•   at the Toronto Public Library with quite a long waiting list;


•   the author's blog: The End of Absence; and an Interview in the New York Times; and the publisher's blurb from Penguin - just $26.95US;


It's all doubly & triply irritating, frustrating, because as a tool email has such wonderful possibilities. I am such a fool as can still imagine he sees advantages :-)

But consider addiction to anodyne, the erosion of memory, takeover by the rentier/rentières ... Look up eutrapely (for the second or third time) and have a look at Ephesians 5:4 in the KJV where one sense of eutrapely is stressed.

There's a lot more to be said no doubt - but the central phenomenon, which I have seen in myself and others close to me, is backfilling the genuine authentic interest & concern of real people (now excavated & absent) with the seemingly omnipresent & ever ready Kómputtor. There is a phenomenon in 'Dune' (was it?) where those addicted to artificial cerebral stimulation starve, to death. (No, not in 'Dune' maybe it's in 'Dhalgren' ...)

And so ... remembering again my old friend Vincent Bernardus Tieleman Twight (getting misty and sentimental here) who managed to stay about completely away from computers in any form (but who did type a short email to me three or four months before he died - typed it mind you, someone else sent it :-).

He said ... ... Oh fuck! It's gone! I've lost the damned email! Nevermind. It was just a few words, one sentence, well thought out and through and through, I remember that much. Oh! You see how this useless technology lets you down eh?!

Fuck I miss 'im!
Presentation on the new times:
Malvados: Desinformar.
Televisions, telephones, computers.     With so much information it's never been so easy ...
... to be misinformed about this brief and finite existence.
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