Friday, December 31, 2004

More thoughts while listening to 'Summer Rain'... This truly is the song for freeze-frame, golden reminiscences. While reminds me of the time that I thought to myself when I was twelve (or had I thought it earlier, so that I was merely recalling this again when I was twelve?) about how the most tragic fate would be to be an adult living in the thrall of memories of childhood, pining for the return of this "perfect time". I thought about this when still a child, you see, so this childhood wasn't out of reach yet, but was right in front of me. That sort of life lived with a chin always over one shoulder, gazing back, seemed so pathetic, above all else...
So, after prompts from such sources as Walter Benjamin, I've started reading Proust's In Search of Lost Time (queue thunderclap). And it's scaring the pants off me. Largely because - even after ten or fifteen pages - I keep finding myself moving in unreachable directions through tissues and plains of memory and reminiscence. The present moment feels less and less 'now' - less like something that is currently happening to me. Yet just as imbued with - discontent, I suppose. Above all, I feel that I won't be able to read any literature - or watch any movie, but literature is more potent as you put yourself through it - without becoming dreamy and possessed by the sense that these feelings aren't 'mine', that all this is just some continuum of sense and image without any sort of 'me' that it could belong to... I am more of an empty point, perhaps.

Anyway, it seems as though I'm really going to have to brace myself if I want to (eventually) put myself through all six volumes of this.

And I don't know if I can trust music to buoy me up - well, not for long anyway, though Belinda Carlisle's "Summer Rain" is presently doing it for me. But in three minutes, mark my words, things will be different... (Fade to the euphoric soundtrack of nostalgia.)

Monday, December 27, 2004

Just quickly: has mark k-p changed his position on St Paul recently? Two months ago, when posting (what I understand to be) his first few big posts on Gnosticism,(including this beauty on The Passion of the Christ ) I think Paul was linked in with the odious orthodox/Catholic position of the early church. More recently, however, he (well, Pauline literature) has been linked with the notion of the 'agape', and Zizek's championing of the 'subversive core of Christianity'. Is this really a change in position? Or two different opinions for two different matters (one for 'historical matters' - the squashing of the Gnostic tradition - and one for Badiou's take on St Paul)?

[apologies for clumsy typing - this foreign screen and keyboard are just no good.]
"Nicene Christianity is the religion of Christmas and Easter, the celebration of a Jesus who is either too young or too much in agony to shock us with his revolutionary rhetoric. The adult Christ who calls his followers to renounce wealth, power and violence is passed over in favour of the gurgling baby and the screaming victim. As such, Nicene Christianity is easily conscripted into a religion of convenience, with believers worshipping a gagged and glorified saviour who has nothing to say about how we use our money or whether or not we go to war."

- From this rather exciting-looking article in The Guardian: Empires prefer a baby and the cross to the adult Jesus . As brought to my attention by The Young Hegelian.
Have been housesitting for the last week (am now too - presently minorly abusing their broadband internet late into the night), thus the radio silence.

Have a look at this:

Alarming, no? Is it some sort of Da Vinci-style contraption, emphasising the symmetry of man? A Futurist work in which man is melded with machine? A gay sexual automaton?

No. Bizarrely, it's just an ad from

I think I'll be passing on that for the time being. Good day to you.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oh, and to fulfil today's quota of banal announcements, I notice that due to the clever, 'festive season'-related title of my blog, I am picking up more hits with the increase in Christmas-related web searches (including the mystifying query from some oddbod or other about "the christmas boob". Most alarming is that they were only looking for one). Damn - if only I'd named it "&so this is Christmas and/or Valentine's day".

More on the banal side of things: I am somehow still writing an essay (results were released a few weeks ago - but I have to finish it, otherwise I will never be able to stop writing it) on Walter Benjamin's work on Baudelaire and Paris. Have consequently decided that Walter Benjamin is the Ant's Pants, not to mention the Bee's Knees also.

Quite enjoyable with lovely synthesisers and 'tick-tocks': the Jacques Lu Conts remix of Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For".
I find this post over at The Weblog to be genuinely amusing - "The first letter of Slavoj Žižek to the Corinthians", as written by "Slavoj Žižek, called to be an apostle of Jacques Lacan by objet petit a". I feel compelled to make a comment here like 'gosh, aren't I becoming a theory nerd?', but I won't - 1. because it is superfluous, but also 2. because I feel no desire to hang my head in shame over my dabblings in 'critical theory' and philosophy.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Er... just went to post a comment in reply to this post over at Glueboot about the respective logic/reasonings of Kant and Hegel ("Kant = joyous, Hegel = somber"), only to find that the comment box is not working. So, rather than let those five minutes of typing go to waste, I'll post my comment here 'out of context', for the sake of... um... posterity. This is what I wrote:

I also find this stuff quite interesting. Particularly the dilemma about 'which way to go', 'to whom to pin allegiances'... I too have found myself resolving the question of which philosophical method I prefer by having recourse to the approach to life that each approach would engender... Which sounds a rather Nietzschean criteria, doesn't it? Judging philosophy in the perspective of life?

Concluding comment here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Just quickly, some excellent posts that I have read of late:

k-punk on "Carrie versus Dido: Consumerism and Existentialism". An excellent and timely comparison/statement... Also not to be missed is his recent one against pot-smoking, which is a response to the this one at Infinite Thought. Isn't it nice when blogs challenge popular assumptions? &so this is christmas says Yes, it is. There's also a thread happening in response to these latter two posts over at Dissensus, which looks to be growing fat with, well, dissent. I must mention that I make a cameo in this.

The strange thing about Dissensus is the number of non-theory afficianados that seem motivated to post on its boards (more specifically, on theory-ish 'Thought' threads) and, moreover, seem motivated to post aggressively in response to posts containing theory/philosophy. Though I'm sure I've done it in the past (back when a young whipper-snapper, and all that), it really irks me when people respond to difficult/unfamiliar ideas by labelling it all as crap and/or nonsense. What ever happened to open-mindedness? What's with this knee-jerk conservatism? Or is it just that two years of reading theory and other difficult texts has just made me less likely to freak out when I read things that are not written in the style of either a) a newspaper article, or b) a nineteenth century work of prose? Has the Derrida freakout that I had in second year innoculated me against the threats of intractable texts, so that I can sit through Russian Ark or Samuel Beckett's Molloy without getting antsy because "nothing's happening"...?

It's at times like these that I imagine the idealist, socialist-leaning eighteen year-old that I once was as a flower, whose petals are slowly falling off... (But I'm turning into a beautiful butterfly, I promise! A beautiful butterfly who enjoys mixing metaphors...)

If I seem somewhat perky then I'm going to attribute it to beginning Spinoza's Ethics. Yes yes, k-punk sycophantism, there's no need to go on about it. Goodnight.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

yesterday (or was it the day before?): new Kafka book arrived - The Blue Octavo Notebooks. Reading Spinoza, saw p j harvey. drank beer, cab home.

today: this collage at k-punk a rather welcome surprise; still not 'done' essay wise; hiding in bed; about to see 'the pink floyd experience'... am apprehensive.