21 April 2019

The van cats

Michael Jackson... The King of Pop, Captain EO, Scarecrow... is dead
Published at: June 25, 2009, 5:32 p.m. CST by headgeek

Hey folks, Harry here... Wow. If Farrah Fawcett wasn't enough, the Reaper decided to take the King of Pop... Michael Jackson. There's an entire generation that has grown up in the aftermath of scandal ridden Michael Jackson, but as a member of that "Pepsi Generation" that Michael captured with his amazing songs, dance moves and spectacles... I grieve. I always wanted Michael to do "The Lost Tour" where he'd hire Rick Baker to recreate the classic Michael Jackson to perform classic and new songs that sounded as though they came from that era... all while looking like 1983 Michael Jackson. For film - his contributions were pretty few. His big role was in the Disco reinvention of THE WIZARD OF OZ - THE WIZ - where he played a pretty awesome Scarecrow. Some of us remember seeing THRILLER by John Landis in theaters... and then of course there was CAPTAIN EO which ran for years and years at DISNEYLAND! He also found screen time in MEN IN BLACK 2 and MISS CAST AWAY. Otherwise - we know him from his pretty amazing music and signature dance moves. I remember the days when he truly ruled the Earth - he was preparing a new World Tour and there had been work on a new album as well. In the coming days I'm sure we'll hear all about it. The LA TIMES is reporting that Michael was pronounced dead at 3:15 Los Angeles time. Let's send our best wishes and hopes for his children. For now - I'll leave you with Captain EO: 

15 April 2019

Being online makes me an animal

By the mid-19th century many members of Masonic society had come to feel the proletarian struggle coincided with their greater cause, and the use of Masonic organizations as a cover for revolutionary activity was now a long tradition, as was the tendency to use Masonic rites, customs, and icons to emblematically symbolize the values of equality, solidarity, fraternity, and work.
Pierre–Joseph Proudhon, a Mason who lived to see the formation of the IWA [International Workers Association], wrote that “The Masonic God is neither Substance, Cause, Soul, Monad, Creator, Father, Logos, Love, Paraclete, Redeemer. . . God is the personification of universal equilibrium”.
In Proudhon’s day, the British lodges were admitting increasing numbers of proletarian members – particularly skilled and literate workers – and had come to support the workers’ struggle to the extent that the first preparatory meeting of the IWA on August 5, 1862, attended by Karl Marx among others, was held in the Free Masons Tavern. Many of those in attendance were “socialist Freemasons”, a phrase applied at the time to the members of the small lodges founded in 1850 and 1858 in London by exiled French republicans, and which involved many members of diverse national backgrounds – the “Memphite” lodges, named  after the sacred Egyptian burial ground. The immediate objectives of the Memphite programme were twofold: The struggle against ignorance through education, and helping the proletarians in their struggle for emancipation by way of Proudhonian mutual aid associations. Louis Blanc was among the members of the Memphite lodges (the Loge des Philadelphes in particular) along with at least seven other official founders of the IWA. In Geneva also, the local wing of the IWA was often called the Temple Unique and met in the Masonic lodge of the same name. Many present at the time observed that the incipient IWA’s organizing power was so weak that if it were not for the organizing efforts of socialist Freemasons, the official founding meeting of the IWA on September 28th 1864 would never have come to pass.
Communist and anarchist symbolism, such as the red star and the circle-A, date back to this period and also have Masonic origin. The star, which hosts an endless charge of esoteric meanings in both the Hermetic and Pythagorean traditions, had been adopted in the 18th century (some say 17th) by Freemasons to symbolize the Second Degree of membership in their association – that of Comrade (Compañero and Camarade in my sources). Among socialists, it was first used by members of the Memphite lodges and then the IWA. Regarding the Circle–A, early versions like the 19th century logo of the Spanish locale of the IWA are clearly composed of the compass, level and plumbline of Masonic iconography, the only innovation being that the compass and level are arranged to form the letter A inside of a circle.

Over time these symbols have developed a new complement of meanings – many 21st century anarchists don’t even know that the star used by communists, anarchists and Zapatistas alike is the pagan pentagram, and are not reminded of the mathematical perfection of cosmogony when they behold it, just as they do not necessarily realize there is a genealogical link between the (neo)pagan Mayday celebration and today’s anarchist Mayday marches. In the 19th century, however, these symbolic associations were well known by those involved, and their adoption reflected how much they resonated with mystical and historical weight. Even Bakunin, while he rejected the personal God of his Russian orthodox childhood, put forward a pantheistic revolutionism. In a letter to his sister (1836) he wrote, “Let religion become the basis and reality of your life and your actions, but let it be the pure and single–minded religion of divine reason and divine love. . . [I]f religion and an inner life appear in us, then we become conscious of our strength, for we feel that God is within us, that same God who creates a new world, a world of absolute freedom and absolute love. . . that is our aim”.
Throughout the 19th century the only people involved in the revolutionary scene who were consistently annoyed by this sort of mysticism were Marx and Engels. Proudhon’s ramblings about God as Universal Equilibrium were the sort of thing Marx and Engels objected to and contrasted with their own brand of “scientific socialism” – “the French reject philosophy and perpetuate religion by dragging it over with themselves into the projected new state of society”. Bakunin and Marx differed on this point and a number of others, the most famous being the role of the State. Whereas Marx considered a state dictatorship of the proletariat to be a necessary moment in his historical dialectic, Bakunin espoused the notion of a secret revolutionary organization that would “help the people towards self–determination, without the least interference from any sort of domination, even if it be temporary or transitional”. Bakunin also wrote that he saw our “only salvation in a revolutionary anarchy directed by a secret collective force”: “We must direct the people as invisible pilots, not by means of any visible power, but rather through a dictatorship without ostentation, without titles, without official right, which in not having the appearance of power will therefore be more powerful.”

The “dictatorial power” of this secret organization only represents a paradox if we do not recognize the long tradition, and larger cosmology, within which Bakunin is working. Revolution may be “immanent” in the people, but the guidance of illuminated men working in the “occult” was necessary to guide them in the right direction. Members of his International Brotherhood were to act “as lightening rods to electrify them with the current of revolution” precisely to ensure “that this movement and this organization should never be able to constitute any authorities”.
—Erica Lagalisse, Occult Features of Anarchism

7 April 2019

"No" to normalizing Pocari Sweat

My First Tiger

Your readers have probably seen this heading two or three times already, but as other peoples' first tigers were not related to my first tiger, it still possesses the charm of novelty, as far as I am concerned. The manner in which he was converted into an ornament for the drawing room was as follows. As I was opening my letters, one morning, I come across a demi-official looking cover which contained a report of the death of a would-be shikari at the hands, or rather claws, of an inſuriated tiger. Two native shikaris had spent a pleasant evening in a “machan” over a 1 of water, and by the light of a waning moon had put a bullet into Mr. Stripes' shoulder; Stripes roared, the Shikaris shivered, and Stripes' mother came up to enquire into the cause of the bad language her son was using; when she saw him going on three legs, she used such fearful expressions that the “machan” shook with the agitation of the shikaris, unused as they were to anything stronger than the ordinary polite language of a native village. Mrs. Stripes helped her son back to the cover of the jungle, and silence reigned around the “machan" where the shikaris sat and shivered till sunrise, when, with rapid steps and many a glance over their shoulder, they made tracks for the nearest human habitation. There, about twenty men soon collected, and our shikaris, whose courage and imagination had been warmed by the sun, told their tale: the tiger was an enormous one, and the tigress still larger; their roars had shaken the hills; the tiger was mortally wounded and was certainly dead by this time; were they going to lose the sircar reward or were they going to show their courage by tracking a dead tiger and skinning it; and were they not twenty to one, and he a corpse! Armed with antiquated spears, guns more dangerous to the shooter than the shot at, billhooks and axes, they started in quest of the dead beast. Arrived at the “machan,” their eagerness for the fray began to diminish, they spoke in whispers and kept sharp eyes on the surrounding jungle; but blood was plentiful on the track, and no tiger could lose so much blood and live, so their spirits rose and they followed the trail gaily for a mile and a half, by which time they had grown careless in the absolute certainty that they would find nothing but a lifeless mass at end. In this they were mistaken, for with a sudden roar, a crash and a spring, Stripes stood among them; they scattered like mice before a cat, but Stripes was too quick for one of them; he caught him by the waist and quietly carried him to the foot of a tree, among the upper branches of which two of the beaters had taken refuge; they were unarmed, but yelled and shouted, and others in other trees did likewise, while some of the most distant slipped off their perches picked up their guns and fired them in the air. The general din had the desired effect; Stripes left his victim and slipped away to cover, where he was left in peace; the man was fearfully mauled, but still alive; his companions did what they could for him and carried him back to his village where he died an hour later. 

My correspondent only gave me an outline of the story, and finished up with an appeal to me to send down somebody to shoot a man-eating tiger as nobody dared go into the jungle until he was accounted for. 
I threw the letter across the table to M. who perused and returned it in silence: even when I asked him if he was "game," his only reply was a withering look and slight curl of his upper lip, so I said no more. It was three days before we could get away, but at last we found ourselves in a small inspection shed within a couple of miles of the ravine which had been the scene of the catastrophe already related. A consultation with some old native shikaris followed; how were we to get at Stripes, or obtain evidence of his death? No elephants were available, so we must walk, and walk circumspectly as the jungle was thick, and the tiger if alive was likely to be a dangerous customer. It would be useless driving cows in, for they would bolt at the first tigery sniff brought on the breeze; buffaloes would be better, but there were none in the adjoining villages; goats, said an old shikari, will do the trick; if the tiger is dead they will walk up to him and give tongue: if he is alive he will take one ; the others will bolt, but we shall track him by the blood of the one he takes. Now, although I should have been exceedingly pleased if Stripes had been able and willing to slay ten thousand goats, I was loath to countenance the admission of those universal exterminators into a reserved forest, but without goats, not a man would come with us to show us the ravine, so reluctantly I gave orders for the goats to be brought and marched in. They behaved beautifully; walked along steadily, till we reached the entrance to the ravine; then spread out like a line of beaters and walked through the thick jungle; we had about a dozen native shikaris with us, and they showed no desire to lead the way; we visited the scene of the tragedy, found one shoe and a sanguinary cloth on the ground, and walked on for about 100 yards; we had come over a mile and a half with our rifles at full cock, and every nerve strained, through thick jungle in which a tiger might have lain within five yards of us without being seen, and had just emerged into more open ground when the goats stampeded; instantly a babel of voices broke out in the tops of the trees behind us, and looking round, we discovered most of our shikaris well out of harm's way and looking anything but happy; two or three however stood their ground, and as soon as it was evident that Stripes was not following the goats, we walked cautiously round to where the stampede had commenced. Stripes heard us coming, and carried his goat off into a thicket before we could catch sight of him, but the fresh blood still sliding down the blades of grass showed that we were not far behind; we sat down and smoked a cigarette each, waiting for the other men to come up ; then cautiously approached the thicket and walking along the edge tried to see into it. We had not gone twenty yards when we saw the dead goat about 20 feet from the edge; Stripes was invisible though he must have been sitting there while we were enjoying our smokes. A small “machan” was soon fixed up about fifteen yards from the kill, and ten feet from the ground, and there we took our seats with one native shikari, whose sharp eyes and ears we thought would be useful. For an hour and a half we sat there, and the discomfort was awful; first one leg went to sleep, and the least attempt to move it produced a variety of creaky noises; then the other leg followed suit; finally I felt that I must move, and slowly I leant back till my head rested against a leafy pillow. I woke up suddenly finding the shikari's hand on my shoulder; he was trembling from head to foot and I was thankful that we had not allowed him to bring a gun with him; his eyes were nearly starting out of his head as he pointed with a drunkard's hand to a loophole on my left; I tried to rise silently but he signalled me back, and from the motion of his hand I understood that the tiger was walking round the machan on his way back to the goat; as soon as the shikari's hand showed that Stripes had his tail towards, me, I raised myself slowly to a sitting posture; M. looked round and shook his head, then got his eye in a line with his sights again. A twig broke; then another; then a huge paw appeared under the brushwood six feet beyond the goat; then a whisker, a nose, another paw, and a head. Bang, bang, went our expresses, and a cloud of smoke shut out the view for what seemed half an hour, though really two seconds would have covered it. When the air cleared, stripes was lying “all of a heap” and the "coup de grace" which I intended for his head caught him in the shoulder which was about the only part of him visible. He took it very quietly; neither moved nor spoke; in spite of which we deemed it wise to take precautions, M. covering the earcase with his rifle while I descended to terra firma, when I did likewise for him; we approached cautiously, and heaved half a brick at his Majesty's nose; it caught him fair on the bridge, without producing any visible or audible effect on his temper. We had already signalled for the other shikaris, and as soon as they came up, stripes was dragged out and measured; seven feet nine inches from nose to tip of tail, and twenty one inches round his fore leg; he was hoisted on two poles and we started back for camp. I almost forgot to add that he was not the wounded beast we were after, but we took it for granted that that one had died from the effects of his wounds. Now, will some old shikari tell me how to measure a tiger; should the tape be held taut, or made to follow every curve of the animal's back? My measurement was with the tape held taut; later on, after his skin had been removed and laid out, it measured ten feet six inches, and I then began to understood the possibility of twelve feet tigers.


23 March 2019

To the tune of Beethoven's Fifth

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21 February 2019

I remember the first time I heard this song was around 5 years ago. It had been about a month since I had broken up with my girlfriend and decided to leave my circle of friends for similar reasons as to what is described in this song. Just the music and lyrics really filled me up with hope while also helping me to fill that sad spot in my heart for making my decision to leave her behind in my life. It still makes me think about her every time I hear this song. 

Where does the word ‘retro’ come from? According to the design historian Elizabeth Guffey, the term entered common parlance in the early sixties as a linguistic spin-off of the Space Age. Retro rockets provided reverse thrust and slowed a spaceship’s propulsion. The connection of ‘retro’ to the era of sputnik and the space race lends itself to an appealing analogy: retro as the cultural counterpart to ‘reverse thrust’, with nostalgia and revivalism emerging in the seventies as a reaction against the sixties’ full-tilt surge into the ‘out there’.
As attractive as this notion is, though, it seems more likely that ‘retro’ came into use as a detached prefix that had gotten unstuck from ‘retrospection’, ‘retrograde’, ‘retrogressive’ and similar words. Terms starting with ‘retro’ tend to have a negative connotation, whereas ‘pro’ is attached to words like ‘progress’. Retro itself is something of a dirty word. Few people like to be associated with it. The most bizarre example of this is the tragic story of Birmingham pub landlord Donald Cameron, who com“mitted suicide in 1998 when owner Bass Breweries decided to convert his establishment into a retro theme pub called Flares. At the inquest, his ex-wife Carol talked about how the humiliating prospect of ‘wearing a seventies outfit and a wig’ plunged Cameron into despair. ‘He felt he could not deal with any trouble in the pub. People would laugh at him because he looked ludicrous.’ A few days after being reprimanded by his Bass bosses for obstinately turning up for work in his sharp nineties suit and tie, the thirty-nine-year-old father of two asphyxiated himself in his car.

—Simon Reynolds, Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past

26 January 2019

Products for the Sensitive Guy Demographic


The prominently secular facade of the Turkish marketplace significantly changed with the proliferation of faith-based offerings such as Islamic media, movies, music, novels, toys, swim suits, resorts, beauty shops, and cafes in the 1990s. The scope of offerings is telling: the debut of Islamized versions of existing products reflects the heated culture war between the pro-secular Muslims and the Islamists. As Navaro-Yashin (2002, p. 223) notes, "As Islamists came to forge identities in distinction from secularists, they radically changed the sorts of things they bought and sold. They wore different clothes, ate only certain kinds of food, frequented particular shops, started special businesses of their own. The rise of the Islamist movement in popularity and power is indissoluble from the development of specialized businesses for 'Islamic goods' and the formation of market networks for believers." Indeed, the rise of the halal market is inseparable from the surge of shift of pro-Islamist parties to power and the integration of Islamic capital—that is, the accumulations of the conservative businessmen—into the post-1980s economy. Following the military coup in 1983, Turkey has witnessed a major shift from a state-controlled to a liberal market economy during the Özal administration. The market augmenting of the Ozal years changed the etatist trajectory of the state not only by considerably limiting the role of government in the economy, but, most importantly, incorporating the previously excluded groups of conservative businessmen and religious sects into the national economic landscape. For example, the interest-free banking law of 1983 was instrumental in enticing the Islamic bourgeoisie to turn significant amounts of under-the-pillow savings into investments. These investments, in turn, promoted the growth of Islamic businesses, particularly newspapers and TV stations, which allowed Islamic groups to annunciate a visible identity and strengthen their solidarity (Demir et al., 2004). Paralleling the economic visibility of Islamic bourgeoisie was its rising political influence. As pro-Islamic parties successively came to power, they awarded Islamic businesses with contracts. Backed by such governmental support and remittances of Turkish guest workers living abroad, this new breed of conservative entrepreneurs, also known as Anatolian Tigers, established many Islamic enterprises, noticeably expanding their economic and political influence in Turkish society. 
Many of these Anatolian tigers are the backbones of the halal movement in Turkey. They play a fundamental role in the formation of the halal industry by both championing the demand for halal products and supplying the market with Islamic goods. The public face of the halal movement is GIMDES, which states its mission as "verifying that the halal qualifications, hygiene standards, and the nutrition value of foodstuff, cleaning agents, cosmetic products and pharmaceuticals are according to Islamic norms, issuing halal certification to the same, and exposing society's need and demand for 'halal food', 'righteous wealth', and 'healthy living' to the public" (gimdes.org)." With this mission in mind, the organization has joined the halal network of key international institutions such as World Halal Council and World Halal Forum, receiving accreditation from fellow member organizations (e.g., JAKIM of Malaysia). Currently, GIMDES oversees the halal certification process, performs audits of manufacturing facilities, and trains halal certifiers.  GIMDES also seeks to increase public awareness by organizing annual conferences and halal expos, publishing a bi-monthly magazine, maintaining, and informative website, and offering resources to help consumers lead a halal lifestyle.

GIMDES is a noteworthy example to the Islamist activists’ space-making for and discursive formation of a new market within a prominently secular marketplace with little halal consciousness. Similar to the other grassroots organizations leading contemporary movements (e.g., organic, fair-trade), GIMDES is primarily interested in creating halal awareness, distinguishing halal from other market offerings, and positioning it vis-à-vis the global and local socio-historical contexts. A narrative analysis of GIMDES literature reveals that modernity, industrialization, and capitalism are the key ideological resources that the halal movement appropriates in framing its agenda. On the one hand, the movement defines itself as a counterforce to Western modernization, and, on the other hand, it strongly relies on scientific studies and modern marketing techniques to legitimize and commercialize the halal concept. The following offers an analysis of how halal advocates selectively adopt the key tenets of modernism to forge the halal movement in Turkey. 

Contesting Modernity: Historicizing Halal as a Cure to Modernist Ills 

GIMDES accounts construe the halal movement as a countervailing force to social and economic problems posed by Western modernity. Underlying this countermodernist stance is the perception that Western individualism and the capitalist motives of modern markets have undermined the solidarity of umma, the Muslim community. According to GIMDES narratives, thanks to the strict observance of halal, Muslims have ruled over the world and have led a pristine life marked by benevolence and solidarity for centuries. This romanticized order is believed to have come to an end, however, when Western culture started infiltrating the Turkish society. In halal proponents’ narratives, the West is constructed as a “bandit” who forcefully enters the immaculate realm of Islam and cunningly introduces habit-forming non-halal products with deceiving marketing techniques in order to transmute Islamic lifestyles. The following excerpt from GIMDES’s Food Report demonstrates this view:

Western bandits raided our house, going into every corner and scattering everything we owned. What we’ve left is an umma scattered like loose prayer beads. . . . In return for the lifestyle we’ve lost, what we’ve been left with is an alien, intoxicating, supposedly modern lifestyle that’s imposed upon us . . . until recently Muslims could easily know what is halal and haram but now we’re faced with products that are new to us like Coca Cola, chips, marshmallow, and mayonnaise. . . . We have to question these products. It’s become evident that they’re harmful to both our health and our soul. 

The characterization of Western countries as “bandits” finds an equally interesting match in halal narratives’ portrayal of industrialization and capitalism. In historicizing halal and justifying its revitalization, halal advocates frequently construe the Western modes of production as evil, jeopardizing human health and overrating capitalist motives at the expense of moral principles. This demonization is evident in elaborate, scary-tale descriptions of factories as alienating places with “giant boilers, extractors, and gears” that have replaced “our homespun” methods with soulless processes and “dubious” ingredients. This repelling image is further reinforced by claims that large corporations driven by capitalist motives use inconceivable ingredients such as “lice, blood, human hair, hog bristle” (Büyüközer, 2007, pp. 10‒18) in their products, which are then marketed in appealing packages for Muslims’ consumption.
The concern over the growing use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the agro-business, in particular, has fueled the halal debate, allowing GIMDES to dramatize the consequences of making non-halal choices. Progressive approaches in food biotechnology such as GM crops are perceived as the reflections of the greedy and imperialist agendas of multinationals who are seeking to play God. In appealing to the ‘conscious Muslim,’ GIMDES narratives criticize the public for remaining blissfully ignorant against the threat posed by Western producers, who are said to “transmute our foods.” 

The industrial movement, which has been rapidly growing under the control of the infidels, laid its hands on our food. It has significantly transmuted the contents of our food. . . . What should a Muslim do? Should he wake up and break free from this system or should he continue to sleep?
The monstrous consequences of “continu(ing) to sleep” are illustrated in elaborate conspiracy theories, which suggest that Western powers use GMOs to change Muslim consumers’ DNA structure and, thereby, manipulate them. The following quote from an article discussing the dangers of GMOs illustrates an interesting take on these conspiracy theories:
How do they [the capitalist powers] control our DNA in order to shape our society as they wish? . . . thanks to a game that is played on our genes. . . . They analyze the blood samples taken from our people and then develop viruses that would mislead our DNA. And then, they sell these viruses to us. How? Through the British chips, French-Jew’s patented yoghurt, and the German gummy bears that have sneaked into the farthest corners of our streets.
Halal proponents’ decided skepticism toward Western modernity tempts them to create sci-fi scenarios that would suggest that non-halal goods are intended to overtake Muslims’ body and soul, rendering them submissive to imperial motives. The pervasive suspicion that is embodied in GIMDES narratives regarding Western modernization naturally spills over to pro-secular elites and the Westernization project in Turkey. Halal proponents argue that the modernization efforts, which most noticeably began in 1923 with Kemalist reforms and the abolishment of the Islamic Empire, not only introduced foreign ways and ideologies, but also aimed to expunge the Muslim identity and their halal sensitivity.

For many orthodox Muslims, the secularizing reforms like the abolishment of the caliphate, the closing down of religious shrines, and the replacement of the Islamic canon law with the Swiss code marked a significant shift from an Islamic state and signaled the end of Islamic civilization. Changes like replacing the Arabic alphabet—the holy language of Islam— with Latin in instruction, when coupled with the annihilation of polygamy and enforcement of civil marriages, deeply touched the daily life of the population. Seen through this socio-historical lens, the republican era secularization efforts represent a break from Islamic traditions and practices, significantly diminishing the prevalent halal consciousness during the Ottoman times.
Today, this lost halal consciousness is associated with a wide range of contemporary problems, from the dissolution of communal ties to the increasing cancer rates that seemingly represent Muslims’ fall from grace. Consider the following quote:

As a society we witnessed a period in which we were suddenly thrown out of power. Western culture was rammed down our throat. Sadly, today we’re faced with an alien lifestyle . . . our people have problems, particularly, with the foodstuff that represents the fabric of our life. The essence of these problems is the frustrations with the foreign substances that don’t belong to our culture and don’t fit with our norms. . . . We’re also confronted by a series of health problems. In the past, coronary problems or hypertension weren’t at a concerning level, but today millions of people are diagnosed with these problems and even more with cancer. When we evaluate these problems, we have to consider the issues of halal-haram. The halal certification matter didn’t come out of the blue; there is a reason why it became an issue worldwide.

As the above excerpt demonstrates, an eroding halal consciousness is blamed for the rise in modern-age problems, and, by the same token, halal consumption is positioned as the cure for these modern ills. In situating halal choices as the solution to modern ailments, GIMDES narratives construct the secular mindset and the social structures as the most important impediments against the movement. The secular mindset, like its Western counterpart, is said to be motivated by capitalist anxieties rather than moral responsibilities, thereby tempting manufacturers to cut corners and use Islamically unacceptable ingredients. The secular regime is also criticized for leaving the halal movement short-handed of the necessary talent and expertise to rule over on halal matters. It is argued that the regime has not only eradicated Islamic jurisdiction by replacing the independent fatwa (religious decree) institution with a state-controlled one, but also jeopardized the future of the movement by failing to produce Islamic scholars via its secular education system.

Since issues of halal and haram relate to Islamic jurisdiction, these decisions are to be made by Islamic scholars. However, our religious scholars lack knowledge of technology. On the other hand, the people who have pursued scientific studies lack the basic knowledge of Islamic norms and canon law because the utterly secular education system deprives individuals of the basic religious teachings. . . . Following the collapse of Ottoman empire, the powers that sought to extinguish religion tried to annihilate the fatwa institution, the heart of Muslim life. During that period, the Islamic scholars were massacred and executed. They were to be replaced by a new generation of scholars programmed to suit their [secular] regime.

As these narratives demonstrate, halal proponents justify the emergence of the halal movement and discursively construct the need for halal certification vis-à-vis two ideological rivals: Western modernity and the Westernization project in Turkey. Accordingly, adopting modern practices and secularism have swayed Turkish people away from their ‘true path,’ the ordained halal lifestyle. Having lost their halal consciousness, Muslims have fallen from grace as evident in the declining communal affection and increasing rates of diseases in Turkish society. As such, GIMDES discursively forges its quest for halal as a cure to modern ills.

—Elif Izberk-Bilgin, "Theology Meets the Marketplace: The Discursive Formation of the Halal Market in Turkey," in Consumption and Spirituality, eds. Diego Rinallo, Linda Scott, Pauline Maclaran

23 December 2018

“The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery,” the firm said.

"The conception of broadcasting as an instrument of education in the domestic setting was most valued by people whose Victorian parents raised them to place altruism and cultivation of feelings at the heart of moral action. These liberal moralists were convinced that political liberty would stimulate men and women to think for themselves, initiate independent action, and prefer progressive ideas. John Stuart Mill convinced them that democracy would nourish a free market of ideas. William Gladstone assured them that democracy would create a level playing, allowing customary and original beliefs to compete so that the best would emerge from reflection rather than unexamined tradition. The public-minded individuals who filled the executive posts at the BBC, however, found that democracy had not unfolded as projected by their intellectual and political guides, Gladstone and Mill. Democracy had not encouraged the common folk to entertain the benefits of modern planning of their cities. They did not give new art a chance; they didn't value musical innovation; and they didn't put communal good ahead of personal gain. Reason was nowhere in sight. Universal adult franchise, granted in 1918, had brought neither the triumph of duty over inclination, nor of will over appetite. The egoism of populist politics eliminated such generous concepts as altruism from public behavior. Self-governance, the moralists felt, had done nothing to cure the Britons of their philistinism, nothing to spark a desire for moral self-improvement. The young idealists attracted to the BBC had absorbed John Stuart Mill's lesson that self-government was possible only among people who had reached a certain level of moral and intellectual development." Only when they appreciated beauty and imagination could they rise above what Mill called "the littleness of humanity" and make wise and impartial decisions." Men and women who had cultivated a care for the finer things in life, [BBC founder] Reith's deputies surmised, would be more inclined to respect tradition, the authority of the state, and national (as opposed to immediate, personal, class-based) interests. Such a public would be partial to consensus, law, and order, thereby improving class relations and strengthening nationalism. 
To this pioneering generation of executives, John Reith's ideas glistened as the talisman that would relieve them of their discontents. Radio sparkled as technology's greatest gift, capable of bringing cultural progress up to pace with Britain's advances in self-governance. It would open up people's homes to experts and transform broadcasters into public educators. They would now have the opportunity to rope in "people previously left out from the notion of public." They would be able to influence just as forcefully "the invalids, unadmittables, house wives and spinsters," as they would the "not-so-intelligent and ill informed" and the "intelligent and ill informed." Just when electronic communication was beginning to challenge the superiority of the values associated with artistic culture and educated classes, the BBC gathered all sorts of cultural entrepreneurs and intellectuals to introduce listeners to the higher pleasures of life; all this in order to jump-start the robust participatory democracy envisioned by their forebears. 
Reith's staff were not naïve. They certainly had cause to be optimistic about their grand ambitions. In the course of six years, they had transformed from a company, established under a commercial license in 1921, to a quasi-autonomous public service corporation in 1927. They were no longer required to boost the sales of radios for their parent companies. They banned advertising. They had at hand a medium of mass communication over which the Postmaster General had granted them legislative monopoly in Britain. Freedom from market competition and political parties gave them freedom to carve out a mission independent of the exigencies of the public and politicians. 
In addition, the BBC staff drew their colleagues not from the pool of journalists trained on Fleet Street, but from elite universities—attracting scholars and civic entrepreneurs with reputations established through innovations in public-sector education." 

—Shundana Yusaf, Broadcasting Buildings

3 December 2018

Why must Christ obey the law?

"John Dogg and Nadine were quite the couple now. John Dogg was showing with Helen Hellenberger. Helen was wild about him. All the important critics were at his debut opening at her gallery. There were slide projections of blank white light. And patterned light from shallow zinc rectangles of water he'd placed strategically on the floor. He'd aimed film lamps at the rectangular pools, which sent reflections up the gallery wall in veined and fractured shimmers.
John Dogg wore a well-cut linen suit and laughed easily and occupied the role of feted artist with perfect naturalism, no sign of the pushy tactics I'd seen at the Kastles'. He moved through the room confident that he was universally adored, and it seemed that he was. I'd met him the previous September and now it was late April, almost May, and he had been reinvented. This happened in New York, and you could never point to the precise turn of events, the moment when the change in human currency took place, when it surged upward or plummeted. There was only the before and the after. In the after, no one was allowed to say, hey, remember when everyone rolled their eyes about John Dogg? Shunned him, thought he was an idiot? I understood all this now. Sandro disapproved of that kind of ambition, said there was no hurry, but it was a lie, a thing successful people said, having conveniently forgotten that they themselves had been in a rush."

—Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers

21 November 2018

P.S. As it turns out, "fascist alt-right troll" spells out FART. Yes, I do find that funny. Does that make "antifa" Anti-FART (with all that implies, including self-combustion)?

     Explain a bit about the Geneva School’s approach to labour mobility and what it revealed about their ideological framework more generally.     

     Right, well this is kind of a shadow subplot in the book that I wrote and in retrospect I wish I had drawn it out more but it’s something that I realize after writing the book that it’s sort of happening without me drawing the reader’s attention to it. But what’s happening is that things change over the course of the 20th century. And at the beginning of the 20th century the frame of reference for people like Hayek and Mises and Haberler is really the Hapsburg Empire and then the Danubian Basin or the area of Eastern Europe that is comprised of the different nation states that succeed the Hapsburg Empire. And when they are looking at that space they’re actually pretty doctrinaire in their support of the freedom of labour to move from one site to another. For Mises especially, I mean in his early work he is quite orthodox about the absolute necessity of the freedom of labour. That labour, like all other factors of production needs to be able to go where it’s most needed, and in his mind this is a salutary process that will probably lead to the kind of dissolution of some nations, but then it might lead to their recombination in different forms once they’ve emigrated, and there’s no central problem with this. He saw nationalities and ethnicities as unmoored from this or that territory. They should be able to form themselves in emigration as much as in the places they are ancestrally rooted to. So this is still a kind of 19th century vision of the great migrations that moved people from Central and Eastern Europe to North America and also the huge migrations that were moving internally from the countryside to the city that really drove the industrial revolution. So it’s quite absolute in its belief in labour mobility as a principle, this early Austrian position. What changes is really world wars. So the second world war produces a situation in which human mobility is now perceived as quite an acute national security threat, particularly when you think about the way the entire Japanese population was brought under suspicion as kind of a 5th column of the Emperor. The German population was, too, but to a lesser extent, stigmatized and brought under suspicion, even if they had been there for generations. And what people like Mises said, looking at the situation was effectively, this is a problem but it’s a temporary problem, but for the time being, let’s try to conceive of a system of global capitalism that doesn’t rely anymore on free labour mobility. So they say, given these constraints, what might we see as a provisional working model of something that could still work. And in that kind of, “let’s bracket this for the moment” state of mind, someone like Haberler comes up with the theory of comparative costs, which makes in sort of formal international trade economics terms the argument that if you have enough movement of goods and capital then you can profit just as much from free trade and free capital policies as if you had free movement of labour. He produces a kind of epistemological foundation or alibi for a “closed borders for people” position, not, I think, because he has any inherent antipathy towards foreigners or people of different races but because the circumstances of the borders that came up in the course of the second world war are sort of being taken seriously.    

     It’s telling perhaps that while Neoliberals are capable of cultivating such a utopian disposition toward markets, they are sort of realists when it comes to the boundaries of the nation states for ordinary people.    

     Oh absolutely, I think that’s unquestionable and the way that this develops only drives that point home all the more clearly. Because what we get in the course of the 20th century is not just two major world wars but also migration from the global South to the global North in significant quantities that we haven’t seen since, well, of course, the mass forced migration of slavery that effectively founded the United states, and the movement of Asian labourers to the western United States and to Canada and Australia in the late 19th century before it was shut down by exclusion acts. But when you get into the post-war period of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, you start to get the movement from French colonies, and then the former French colonies into the French metropole, you get guest workers arriving in large numbers from places like Turkey and Morocco into countries like West Germany and the Netherlands, and you get people from places like the British Commonwealth and the former British Empire migrating into the United Kingdom. So the creation of a multicultural and a multiracial Europe, a multiracial Britain, a multiracial France, a multiracial Germany, brings home this quote unquote problem of a clash between different cultural styles in a way that Neoliberals now are forced to confront. And the way that they confront it is exactly as you say, not exactly inspiring in the evenness with which they apply their principles to people as they do to goods and capital. What Hayek concludes in the late 1970s, looking at Margaret Thatcher’s policy, which was to effectively end immigration from countries of the global South if she had her way, this is her official position at that time, Hayek supports it. He doesn’t come out in principled opposition to that and say, even, that, you know, people deserve the same rights and movements that capital does. That would at least be a kind of honourable libertarian position, you could say, but he says, no, people are a special kind of factor of production in effect and they can be very disruptive. And, as he says, the kinds of origins of racialism come from the inability of the long-standing residents of countries to extend their welcome to newcomers. He creates and analogy to Vienna on the arrival of large numbers of Jews from further East in Eastern Europe and Russia. And he says, well, when the Jews arrived they were unable to assimilate quickly and they ended up being a disruptive force and they actually ended up producing anti-semitism. Their presence produced anti-semitism.    

—Quinn Slobodian interviewed by Daniel Denvir

11 November 2018

Let Them Hang

Below is a list of the photos in order. Here's the legend:

        * '+'   means a pictures with an identifiable person
        * '-'   means a pictures with with faces obscured by cropping or
        * '[+]' means the photo is widely available
        * '[ ]' means the photo does NOT turn up in reverse images searches.

? that last category is interesting, because it narrows the scope of
where the images come from.

        * [#]   means there's some interesting detail (below the list) about
its origin

The photos, in order:

- [+] Boston Dynamics robot dogs running
+ [+] woman wearing a keffiyeh with an assault rifle in the back of a
pickup truck
- [+] gender-balanced, faceless people in a crowd ? maybe a demo,
maybe a concert, probably in Europe
- [ ] Instagrammy composite photo of a skinny woman's arms, four hands
flipping the viewer off
- [ ] people eating, maybe communally, faces blurred in photoshop
- [+] stock photo of an athletic woman running on a race track
+ [+] composite photo ("harveryaftermath") of blacks and whites working
to save kids in a flood zone
+ [ ] poor Latin American kids, maybe in school, with a boy hiding his
face behind paper, bandana-style
- [ ] a punching bag hanging in some sort of crude training camp
- [1] composite photo of two white men crouching behind a mound, one
with a rifle, one with binoculars
- [+] two helmeted motorcyclists pulled off by he side of a remote road,
maybe coordinating
- [ ] arbitrary 3D-rendered thing (a "network" I guess, but quite
unusual ? interesting detail)
+ [ ] outdoorsy white woman, long hair flowing, resolutely digging a
- [ ] hippyish white man (probably), framing a house
- [ ] someone welding
+ [ ] infrastucture-ish composite: white guy working on a tower
scaffold, container ships
- [2] ambiguous photo of someone burning branches, distant crowd visible
through the smoke
- [+] composite: car burning, small group of people in a burning forest
- [+] misc boats in a flood zone (also Hurricane Harvey, in Houston)

More details:

[1] The two men crouching behind a mound is cropped from an image that
appears in several articles about westerners who joined ~local forces to
fight ISIS

[2] the photo of someone burning branches comes from an image
("dakota2.jpg) that appears widely on college essay?selling websites
to illustrate a webpage called "law-enforcement-essays.html", with a
bias toward "racial profiling essays" and "essay on police corruption"

That last bit is interesting, because it suggests something that had
never occurred to me: essays-for-sale websites being used to identify
specific students' political leanings. Maybe some enterprising
journalist can take that one on ? by using reserve image searches to
identify where ~stock photography is used on anonymous, cloned
essay-selling sites.

Other possible follow-ups that could shed light on where this site comes

- language analysis, to see where else the phrasing is popping up
- identifying faces (for example, the woman digging a trench)

One really interesting find: Reverse image searches turn up one more
photo that didn't make it into the final production, called
"hangingrose.203ee432.png," which was to appear in a section called "Let
Them Hang ..." It's a homebrew photo (not available elsewhere) of a
bouquet of flowers, hanging upside-down on a wall, above a US-style
electrical socket. That seems like a pretty sophisticated proposition: a
sentimental appeal phrased in the passive voice but strongly suggestive
of political violence as a tragic, forlorn necessity. I have
screengrabs. Who "they" are who'll be hanging is left to the reader's
fantasy. The phrase "let them hang" comes from Shakespeare's Twelfth
Night (1.3), but it's attained a slightly meme-like status in a variety
of music circles:


—Ted Byfield on nettime

8 November 2018

Windows96 is that guy from Arcade Fire? He's the root cause of all nostalgia in music since early 2000s. I don't think so... I thought he was from brazil


Presently they're linked and slowly descending from wee-hours Manhattan into teeming darkness, leaving the surface-Net crawlers busy overhead slithering link to link, leaving behind the banners and pop-ups and user groups and self-replicating chat rooms . . . down to where they can begin cruising among co-opted blocks of address space with cyber-thugs guarding the perimeters, spammer operation centers, video games one way or another deemed too violent or offensive or intensely beautiful for the market as currently defined...
"Some nice foot-lover sites too," Eric comments casually. Not to mention more forbidden expressions of desire, beginning with kiddie porn and growing even more toxic from there.
It surprises Maxine how populated it is down here in sub-spider country. Adventurers, pilgrims, remittance folks, lovers on the run, claim jumpers, skips, fugue cases, and a high number of inquisitive entrepre-nerds, among them Promoman, whom Eric introduces her to. His avatar is an amiable geek in square-rim glasses wearing a pair of old-school sandwich boards that carry his name, as do those of his curvaceous co-adjutor Sandwichgrrl, her hair literally flaming, a polygon-busy GIF of a bonfire on top of a manga-style subteen face.
"Deep Web advertising, wave of the future," Promoman greets Maxine. "Thing is to get position now, be in place, already up and running when the crawlers show up here, which'll be any minute."
"Wait—you're actually seeing revenue from ads on sites down here?"
"Right now it's weapons, drugs, sex, Knicks tickets . . ."
"All that real recherché shit," puts in Sandwichgrrl. "It's still unmessed-with country. You like to think it goes on forever, but the colonizers are coming. The suits and tenderfeet. You can hear the blue-eyed-soul music over the ridgeline. There's already a half dozen well-funded projects for designing software to crawl the Deep Web—"
"Is that," Maxine wonders, "like, 'Ride the Wild Surf'?"
"Except summer will end all too soon, once they get down here, everything'll be suburbanized faster than you can say 'late capitalism.' Then it'll be just like up there in the shallows. Link by link, they'll bring it all under control, safe and respectable. Churches on every corner. Licenses in all the saloons. Anybody still wants his freedom'll have to saddle up and head somewhere else."
"If you're looking for bargains," advises Sandwichgrrl, "there are some nice ones around the Cold War sites, but prices may not stay reasonable for long."
"I'll bring this up at our next board meeting. Meantime maybe I will just go have a look."
It isn't a promising neighborhood. If there was a Robert Moses of the Deep Net, he'd be screaming, "Condemn it already!" Broken remnants of old military installations, commands long deactivated, as if transmission towers for ghost traffic are still poised out on promontories far away in the secular dark, corroded, untended trusswork threaded in and out with vines and leaves of faded poison green, using abandoned tactical frequencies for operations long defunded into silence . . .  Missiles meant for shooting down Russian prop-driven bombers, never deployed, lying around in pieces, as if picked over by some desperately poor population that comes out only in the deepest watches of the night. Gigantic vacuum-tube computers with half-acre footprints, gutted, all empty sockets and strewn wiring. Littered situation rooms, high-sixties plastic detailing gone brittle and yellow, radar consoles with hooded circular screens, desks still occupied by avatars of senior officers in front of flickering sector maps, upright and weaving like hypnotized snakes, images corrupted, paralyzed, passing to dust.
Maxine notices that one of these maps is centered on eastern Long Island. The room has a familiar look, austere and unmerciful. She is visited by one of those rogue hunches. "Eric, how do we get into this one?"

—Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge

19 October 2018

Message from the Japanese Embassy in Vancouver to all Japanese citizens living abroad

The defunct band "TIA & tha Knutz" now simply called "Tia Ray", photograph circa 2013.

About legalization of cannabis in Canada Published October 4, Heisei 30 With the enactment of the "Canadian Canadian Act on Marijuana" that was adopted on June 21, we will inform you of the following reminders to Japanese nationals.   1. In Canada, possession and use of cannabis (marijuana) will be legalized from 17th October this year.   2. Meanwhile, in Japan in the Cannabis Control Law, the possession / transfer of cannabis (including purchase) etc is illegal and subject to punishment.   3. This provision may be applied not only in Japan but also in foreign countries.   Four. Japanese nationals residing in Japan and Japanese tourists should observe these Japanese laws and take sufficient precautions not to hand over cannabis (as well as foods and drinks containing cannabis), even outside of Japan I hope.

Source: https://www.vancouver.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/00_000921.html

11 October 2018

Hi Alex, I tried to answer your phone call the other day but was not able to hear you. Anyhow, I'm now playing low stakes poker (and tournaments) at the Big Easy Casino 4 nights a week until 2 am. It gets me out of the house socially. I work out most days in the pool for at least an hours, but still eating bad (McDonald's and Burger King most nights after poker, and sleeping most of the day). T is a successful acupuncturist in partnership in California and will be visiting with me for a few days in early November. I'm very happy with the Trump Administration and Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court. Best regards, Rick

Kanye West is not Picasso
I am Picasso
Kanye West is not Edison
I am Edison
I am Tesla
Jay-Z is not the Dylan of anything
I am the Dylan of anything
I am the Kanye West of Kanye West
The Kanye West
Of the great bogus shift of bullshit culture
From one boutique to another
I am Tesla
I am his coil
The coil that made electricity soft as a bed
I am the Kanye West Kanye West thinks he is
When he shoves your ass off the stage
I am the real Kanye West
I don’t get around much anymore
I never have
I only come alive after a war
And we have not had it yet

-- Leonard Cohen

5 October 2018


JORF n°0229 du 4 octobre 2018
texte n° 113

Recommandation sur les équivalents français à donner à l'expression fake news
NOR: CTNR1826048K
ELI: Non disponible

Portée par l'essor des médias sur la toile et l'activité des réseaux sociaux, l'expression anglo-saxonne fake news, qui désigne un ensemble de procédés contribuant à la désinformation du public, a rapidement prospéré en français.
Voilà une occasion de puiser dans les ressources de la langue pour trouver des équivalents français. Lorsqu'il s'agit de désigner une information mensongère ou délibérément biaisée, répandue par exemple pour favoriser un parti politique au détriment d'un autre, pour entacher la réputation d'une personnalité ou d'une entreprise, ou encore pour contredire une vérité scientifique établie, on pourra recourir au terme « information fallacieuse », ou au néologisme « infox », forgé à partir des mots « information » et « intoxication ».
On pourra aussi, notamment dans un cadre juridique, utiliser les termes figurant dans la loi de 1881 sur la liberté de la presse ainsi que dans le code électoral, le code pénal ou le code monétaire et financier : « nouvelle fausse », « fausse nouvelle », « information fausse » ou « fausse information ».
En tout état de cause, la Commission d'enrichissement de la langue française recommande l'emploi, au lieu de fake news, de l'un de ces termes, choisi en fonction du contexte.

24 September 2018

Nicole's Cage


A Lesbian Artist Who Painted Her Circle of Women at the Turn of the 20th Century


Fri, Sep 30, 2016, 6:07 AM

to me

The image at the bottom of “Una, Lady Troubridge” would be a good model for your Lesbian self portrait!
me thinks

Fri, Sep 30, 2016, 4:49 PM

to you

Hi you

I like it
But I think maybe you had someone else in mind?
My Lesbian self portrait would require several extra layers of paint, I am not sure I could pull it off.
best wishes

14 September 2018

Titles for Beth's paintings (but I might use a couple too)

1. If I look too closely all I see is Donair meat 
2. Subterbody 
3. Find the strangest website you can about ecology 
4. All ideas start as memes 
5. Banana with Adam's apple 
6. Painting in a vacuum 
7. Tirades 
8. Politics of synaesthesia 
9. Becoming anti-intellectual 
10. Academia saves you from stupid ideas 
11. Pig ribs at the scale of cow ribs 
12. Pickle of the scene 
13. Asking permission for rights to traveling wilburys song 
14. TED talk with rapping AI robot 
15. Algorithms of consent 
16. Attention payments 
17. You would be so poetic / as a pair of underwear / hanging from the balcony 
18. Clouds inside a house 
19. Digestive system in a bank vault 
20. Drapery in a server farm

7 September 2018

For Beau

"The children," writes Ryman, "knew the Substitute was not a real teacher because he was so soft" (168). "Substitute" derives from the word "succeed," and the sense of possibility around the changeover is deeply embedded in the word. A substitute brings optimism if he hasn't yet been defeated-by life or by the students. He enters their lives as a new site for attachment, a dedramatized possibility. He is by definition a placeholder, a space of abeyance, an aleatory event. His coming is not personal-he is not there for anyone in particular. The amount of affect released around him says something about the intensity of the children's available drive to be less dead, numb, neutralized, or crazy with habit; but it says nothing about what it would feel like to be in transit between the stale life and all its others, or whether that feeling would lead to something good.

Of course, often students are cruel to substitutes, out of excitement at the unpredictable and out of not having fear or transference to make them docile or even desiring of a recognition that has no time to be built. But this substitute is special to Dorothy: he is an actor, like her parents; he teaches them Turkish, and tells them about alternative histories lived right now and in the past (171). Dorothy fantasizes about Frank Baum not in a narrative way, but with a mixture of sheer pleasure and defense: "Frank, Frank, as her uncle put his hands on her" (16g); then she berates herself for her "own unworthiness" (169) because she knows "how beautiful you are and I know how ugly I am and how you could never have anything to do with me" (174). She says his name, Frank, over and over: it "seemed to sum up everything that was missing from her life" (16g). Yet, face to face she cannot bear the feeling of relief from her life that the substitute's being near provides for her. She alternately bristles and melts at his deference, his undemanding kindness. She mocks him and disrupts class to drown out her tenderness, but obeys him when he asks her to leave the room to just write something, anything.

What she comes back with is a lie, a wish. Her dog, Toto, had been murdered by her aunt and uncle, who hated him and who had no food to spare for him. But the story she hands in to the substitute is a substitute: it is about how happy she and Toto are. It includes sentences about how they play together and how exuberant he is, running around yelping "like he is saying hello to everything" (174). Imaginary Toto sits on her lap, licks her hand, has a cold nose, sleeps on her lap, and eats food that Auntie Em gives her to give him. The essay suggests a successful life, a life where love circulates and extends its sympathies, rather than the life she actually lives, where "[i]t was as if they had all stood back-to-hack, shouting 'love' at the tops of their lungs, but in the wrong direction, away from each other"(221). It carries traces of all of the good experience Dorothy has ever had. The essay closes this way: "I did not call him Toto. That is the name my mother gave him when she was alive. It is the same as mine" (175).

Toto, Dodo, Dorothy: the teacher sees that the child has opened up something in herself, let down a defense, and he is moved by the bravery of her admission of identification and attachment. But he makes the mistake of being mimetic in response, acting soft toward her in a way he might imagine that she seeks to be: "I'm very glad," he murmured, "that you have something to love as much as that little animal." Dorothy goes ballistic at this response and insults Baum, but goes on to blurt out all of the truths of her life, in public, in front of the other students. She talks nonstop about being raped and hungry all the time, about the murder of her dog, and about her ineloquence: "I can't say anything," she closes (176). That phrase means she can't do anything to change anything. From here she regresses to yelping and tries to dig a hole in the ground, to become the size she feels, and also to become, in a sense, an embodiment of the last thing she loved. After that, Dorothy goes crazy, lives in a fantasy world of her own, wandering homeless and free, especially, of the capacity to reflect on loss in the modalities of realism, tragedy, or melodrama. To protect her last iota of optimism, she goes crazy.

—Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism