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Morning by Pablo Neruda

January 18, 2011

The very beautiful and perhaps most famous of Neruda’s shorter works.

Naked you are simple as one of your hands;
Smooth, earthy, small, transparent, round.
You’ve moon-lines, apple pathways
Naked you are slender as a naked grain of wheat. 

Naked you are blue as a night in Cuba;
You’ve vines and stars in your hair.
Naked you are spacious and yellow
As summer in a golden church.

Naked you are tiny as one of your nails;
Curved, subtle, rosy, till the day is born
And you withdraw to the underground world.

As if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores;
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,
And becomes a naked hand again.

 

I had the good fortune of having a very beautiful copy of Neruda’s 100 sonnets in Spanish and Italian – and had the even better fortune of being able to give it to a friend who enjoyed them as much as I did.

Allende’s homeboy – Orpheus of Il Postino – Grande NERUDA!

Oh Radical Dandies of Little Faith!

January 17, 2011

We poets,

the failed pragmatists,

the cloak and dagger nihilists,

pint driven, punch drunk -

half sunk

madmen.

Grandiloquent monkeys of a primate pomp,

footsteps behind our gods -

somewhere between hither and thither,

both being dust,

both being story,

both being seen in dazed company of the unbeloved.

Gods when we dream,

beggars when we think,

dancing jesuits on our crosses,

insane devils when we drink -

benedictions of faithless seeing when we sleep.

Dance Against The Deficit Lies – Having it Peaceful

January 5, 2011

Dance Against The Deficit Lies – Having it Peaceful.

A really great action on the day – anybody who can make it down, please come along.

Links of the Day 4th January

January 4, 2011

1) Facebook is now supposedly worth $50 billion and Zuckerberg is considering a floatation

2) How arts cuts are like ‘ripping up the Magna Carta

3) Tim Montgomerie on a potential Lib-Con party amalgamation

4) How the cuts will hit various London Councils

5) New York rappers ‘Das Racist’ who cite Foucault and DaDa as influences

6) The Invisible – can’t work out if this song is amazing or ordinary. Great video though.

Kundera and Foucault on Dogma, Ideology and Intellectuals

January 4, 2011

For Milan Kundera, the Czech writer, the novelist is akin to an explorer of existence, rather than a historian or documentarian, with such ‘explorers’ having a preference for questions over answers.

“Outside the novel, we’re in the realm of affirmation: everyone is sure of his statements: the politician, the philosopher, the concierge. Within the universe of the novel, however, no one affirms: it is the realm of play and of hypotheses. In the novel, then, reflection is essentially inquiring, hypothetical.”

Similar to the thinking of Lukacs on the novel, Kundera believes that this interrogation is performed through what he calls ‘experimental thought’ by which he means, essentially, a non-systematic and inherently agonistic mode of ironic thinking.

…a person who thinks is automatically prompted to systematize; it is his eternal temptation (mine too, even in writing this book): a temptation to describe all the implications of his ideas; to pre-empt any objections and refute them in advance; thus to barricade his ideas. Now, a person who thinks should not try to persuade others of his belief; that is what puts him on the road to a system; on the lamentable road of the “man of conviction”; politicians like to call themselves that; but what is a conviction? It is a thought that has come to a stop, that has congealed, and the “man of conviction” is a man restricted; experimental thought seeks not to persuade but to inspire; to inspire another thought, to set thought moving; that is why a novelist must systematically desystematize his thought, kick at the barricade that he himself has erected around his ideas.

Conviction is, argues Kundera, the death of thought and dialectic. It is the rendering of the living and supple body of one’s imagination and turning it to a statue that may last forever albeit at a cost…that it is no longer human.

Such thinking is not dissimilar to Foucault’s views on the role of the intellectual when he briefly touched on this issue in his essay ‘What is Enlightenment?

The work of an intellectual is not to mould the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that he does in his own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will (where he has his role as citizen to play).”

Perhaps the role of the intellectual is by neccesity to maintain thought that is that living body of agonistic, dialectical and contrary thinking as opposed to the statue of ossified convictions that belong to the rest of us.

Links of the Day January 3rd

January 3, 2011

1) An event that is scheduled for the 14th of January that has enjoyed far less criticism and far more support than one that had been proposed for the following day can be found here

2) Welfare bill soars as coalition counts cost of austerity drive here (And I personally think that unemployment figures for 2010 will be far in excess of what the OBR is predicting)

3) Great article by Michael Chessum of UCL on mass direct action here

4) The kind of irreverent direct action that one hopes will become very widespread as the year develops here

5) Great Articles about why the student movement should remain autonomous and decentraslized rather than become traditional hierarchical organisations

Marcus Malarkey at Ceasefire here

Guy Aitchison at OpenDemocracy here

Matt Hall at UCL Occupation here

 

Links of the Day – 2nd January

January 2, 2011

1)Dan “We, the Media” Gillmor’s latest book, Mediactive is a master-class in media literacy for the 21st century – article by Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.net here

2) Tech review of 2010 with CNN here

3) Amazing photos of post-industrial Detroit here

4) Royal wedding memoribilia that although still over-priced junk is at least funny here

5) Some wicked Portughese/ Angolan music from Buraka Som Sistema – big Brazilian electro influences here

6) Probably the best Italian tune of 2010 out there – Marrakash with some heavy duty Bloody Betroots instrumentals here Non me ne frega un cazzo! Heavy tune.

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