Feb 29, 2004

Does "of one Being" = "being of one substance"?
The Lutheran translation of the Nicean Creed's homousion is "of one being with the Father"? Does that make any sense as a translation? Does it adequeatly respond to the Arianism it's there to respond to?

The priest, when I asked him about it this morning, said Greek wasn't allowed on Sunday morning, the change from "being of one substance with the Father" was made 12 years ago simply as a modernization and does not mark a change in content, and was surprised I knew enough liturgy or theology to ask him about it.

I'm suspicious about the change. Any thoughts?

Update: After the comments, thinking about it and asking around, I find this translation is not Lutheran-specific. It's the same one used by Catholics today and by post-70s Episcopal prayer books.

I prefer the older English version - being of one substance with the Father - for a few reasons: 1) I'm more gun-shy of terms like Being (and it is capitalized) and essence than substance; 2) I like the way it sounds; 3) I like the added room for variance in that it can be read as "a being of one substance with," "a beingness of one substance with," and "who exists such that existence is of the same substance."

I'm less likely than my Eastern Orthodox brothers to distrust the Latin translation of substantia, but find myself very interested in "consubstantial," a translation I hadn't heard, which is apparently used in the Russian liturgy.

Still, the other translations are clearly acceptable readings of the creed and I accept them as such.

In other news I still don't like "true God from true God." Please let me keep my "very God."
The facts are not enough

1) No fact is uninterpreted.

2) No fact exists independent of all other facts. A fact cannot be known singly.

3) A fact can have meaning only in and by the relationtionship to and difference from other facts.

4) The totality of facts are found in the world but are not identical with the world. The world cannot be reduced to facts, though facts can be separated out and identified.

5) We do not receive the world in packets or particulate of information called facts and then build them together into worlds, rather we receive worlds as a whole.

Working heavily from Van Til, Wittgenstein, Saussure, Derrida, Sartre, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty.

Just realized, by accident, that I have two ideas for novels that I’ve been considering and
they’re both pretty good.
The hundred headed fish who talked to Buddah, and other images from your dreams


A graphic representation of J.L. Borges' Fantastic Zoology

(via Plep)
5| 7| 5|      Thinking about the drunkards of Mexico
When I heard Jack Kerouac reading his American Haiku I thought, "The haiku in English is over." Which is probably backwards since Kerouac was significant in popularizing the from in English but I thought, listening to them (and they’re really good to hear read), that everything that could be done in this style had been done here.

I've had mixed feelings about the form in general and have had those mixed feelings since I first learned what a haiku was. I question whether it can really be carried accross language - something Kerouac managed by
freely translating and some would say ruining the form - and since English haikus almost entirely dreck, tending more towards cliches than say, Pound's imagist haiku. For me, haikus were illustrated pretty well in Fight Club where they, along with the Americanized zen-speak that has all the same problems, were used as quiet office terrorism.

Then Metzger mentioned he was going to be shooting a "haiku movie" by which he meant a tight triangular formed movie. Misunderstanding, I had this fantastic vision of a haiku movie as three sets of shots - five, seven, five - forming a short film. Maybe looking like Le Jette - a heavy use of stills and a very short story with something complex about it, ending with a longer moving shot.

I’m intrigued.

I like the idea of cannibalising the form and changing the medium so radically. I like the fact a haiku film would have a three act form and that it’s designed, I think, to contain a fairly complicated subject in a very samll space. I’m imagining something that runs 10 minutes or so and looking more like a short or a preview - two areas I've found very interesting and overlooked - than a film proper. I think it has promise.

If you have an idea for something, pass it on to Metzger. I’ll be thinking about ideas for one in the next few days.

From Jack K.:
Early morning yellow flowers,
thinking about
the drunkards of Mexico.

Evening coming—
the office girl
Unloosing her scarf.

Missing a kick
at the icebox door
It closed anyway.

Feb 28, 2004

How do I write stillness?         I forget stillness.

It resists grasping and requests silence while I only know how to grasp and talk.

Stillness - I'm willing to try.

Feb 27, 2004

What happened to that gun of yours?
Comments are currently down. If I can figure out how to ban the trolls I need to ban and delete the numbingly stupid commentary they've left here, they'll be back up. Right now this is all I have time to do.

The slightly odd thing is, stranded out here in Ohio with nothing but a dial-up and without having talked to anyone in a week, it feels a bit like my blog has betrayed me.
Who writes cinematically?
Alone, in the dark, in the theater, a screening for one: I can hear the projector whir.

The end of the reel flaps and bleeps images we only see in postmodern montages, stopping and going still in a translucent white, shining on me sitting in a puddle of empty seats.

Who writes cinematically?

A cinematic image of swirling birds is searing sealing and - silent. Writing always seems noisey and the rythm of words is like snoring or maybe better put, like breathing when you pay attention to it. Who writes cinematically? Or, really, how would it look and how would it sound?

I conceive a scene a set, and, starting to work my way around it, realize I want an image I can't figure out how to work in words, which for me is a lot like saying I can't figure out how to breath without messing up living and I certainly can't live without breathing.
Allegorists, literalists and structuralists - reducing to the crackerjack prize
My problem with the alagorists isn't that they over interpret or ignore the plain meaning but that they, like the literalists, attempt a full scale reduction.

There is a way in which literalists and fundamentalists fall to the same criticism of reductionism. Whether "the flood" means something literal or "the flood" means something allegorical, the two schools agree the story isn't all that important if you can get at what it means.

Both schools would have to discard the story, eventually, if they were too successful. Boil the story until we have what remains, what we wanted, what it means. Because the story isn't what they're interested in, it's the meaning the story bears on its back.

Structuralism, I think it could be argued, was closely aligned with a world built on reading the bible for the meaning inside.

Feb 26, 2004

Asymmetrical world
"DeLillo's work here is stylish with all-style writing about stylized character on a stylized odyssey. The book has a slick white cover and is centered on the stylishly white limousines that parade New York City. But, if you wait, Packer asks where all these limos go at night and is lead to the grunge of the underground garage and DeLillo's novel makes the same move, using flash and style to lead us to the dark innards. This is a good novel-always literary and subtlely cinematic, making you repeat lines aloud and envision scenes depicted. It's a postmodern work that is neither constricted by plot nor loose and chaotic for want of it.

It's an exploration that doesn't fall to simpleness or vagaries in telling the story of a man in an age of post-certainty where one can't rest on reasonableness.

This is the kind of contemporary work one wants to read. It is insightful, memorable, has a staccato elegance and scalpel-sharp detail. It is the telling of the story of Oedipus and Adam in contemporary words, packed with themes and symbols for a world that almost makes sense, but doesn't."

My review of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis is online.
Sola redux
Jeremy at Parablemania has offered a response to my seven sola scriptura arguements and David Talcott promises further response, saying there is "trouble in Catholic Paradise," which, so far as I can tell, is irrelevant since I'm neither Roman nor claiming paradise.

I may need to rework arguement #7. I'm wavering about the validity of the claim - though I think a case can be made it's entirely accurate - but I'm satisfied with the point of it. Let's adjust it then to this: Sola scriptura is a poor defense against heresy and a breeder of heresy.
dust to dust
      ashes to ashes

Feb 25, 2004

Private language: by invitation only
"This is a sentence you cannot understand." It is untranslatable and uniterable from the
original private and singular language.

In what way would such a language be recognizable as a language? Can a language be
untranslatable and uniterable? If language were private, what would it look like and how
could it look like that?
I need to read some Marcel Proust.

Feb 24, 2004

Sometimes loneliness is a good thing

I've been told I'm in danger of eternal separation from God for a fourth time by a fourth denomination - Mennonite, Greek Orthodox, Southern Baptist and now the Presbyterian Church of America. Yes. I dialogue across a spectrum of Christianity, though the benefits seem to be nothing but a tally of damnations and an accidental membership in a Unitarian Universalist church.

There's a comfort in the obscure. In writing in the eddies and the inlets, the abandoned corners and the empty holes. Where they don't notice you. Where they don't demand justifications by means you think are silly. Where they don't ask trick questions about why Jesus never prayed to the saints except when he did on the Mount of Transfiguration which doesn't count because he's Jesus. Where they don't raise an eyebrow because you're reading Heidegger -wasn't he a Nazi? - and where I don't have to sneak Derrida's relevant point in sideways unnamed and by cover of C.S. Lewis. Where I don't stand trial for heresy by people I can't respect and standards I can't accept. Where I don't remember Sodom or Gomorrah and I won't vote for Bush. Where I am willing to consider that God is neuter and do want to consider questions of Being and being and Nothing.

Let me back, I say, back into my hole where I can breathe smoke and clean my green scales. Let me back where people write me off without trial, damn me without a hearing. Let me back into my ivory cave where I can think about things no one knows about or cares, about pedantic and esoteric and eccentric things with technical jargon to wall it all away.

Let the living preach to the living, debate with the living and marry them too. Sometimes loneliness is a good thing, said Grendel. Rebuild your great and squalid mead hall, but leave me alone.

Feb 22, 2004

        and then he looked on the calendar and realized - it was an ironic day.
Possibility of self-criticism and escaping a self-referential morality

"The terrorist is objectively wicked, no dispute about that, in exercising the most appalling form of blackmail by menacing the lives of the innocent. Nothing should qualify this judgement. But this does not mean that the terrorist has no serious moral goals. It is possible to use unspeakably wicked means to pursue an aim that is shared by those who would not dream of acting in the same way, an aim that is intelligible or desirable. The risk in claiming so unproblematic a right to define what counts as politics and so to dismiss certain sorts of political calculation in combating terrorism is that the threatened state (the U.S. in this instance) loses the power of self-criticism and becomes trapped in a self-referential morality which creates even deeper difficulties in the application of just war theory."
When Augustine was a child

How could one learn to speak of things that can only be known immdiately and privately?

Which is to say, how can I speak of a first person awareness that is unrelated to the third person syntax of language?

Which is to say, what forms the bridge between my private immediate knowledge that I cannot be wrong about and the necessarily public nature of language?

How could we have language and immediate awareness?

Feb 19, 2004

Old barn on Pattern Track

This rusting rotting drive shaft slumping into the mud
with the odd angle of things falling apart.

Limestone wall cumbling
to the sputtering fluttering flapping of a yellow tractor
with the fly wheel making that whir
with JJ painted black on the backhoe
where Stephen D's barn has fallen to the wind from ‘82
gray boards scattered shattered around my seat
on the once squared sandstone roughed and sinking.

Boss hooded in blue -
head bent to a cell phone too small for talking
- standing in a field of the three-day stubble of last year’s corn.
SEVEN arguments againt Sola Scriptura

1. Neither the creed-like phrase nor the doctrine of sola scriptura are found within scripture and thus must be rejected by the doctrine itself. Sola scriptra is internally unsustainable.

2. Scripture does not posit it's authority alone, but does tell us to obey the unwritten teachings of the apostles and that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth.

3. The apostles never taught such a doctrine. Indeed, it was no part of Church teaching before the Reformation.

4. The historic touchstone of Church teaching and Christian belief was not scripture but liturgy.

5. We cannot have a canon without canonization.

6. Sola scriptura is a product and a perpetuation of individualism, contorting the reading of scripture from a place within the Church and Christian community to a private, solitary and self-authoritative act in contradiction with the communal nature of the Christianity Church.

7. No heresy has ever been stopped by sola scriptura. Legions have been started by it.
As the sun sets gray
My arm scratched red by hay. Ice dripping, just a little. Telephone lines sagging. The few birds that make me notice I haven't seen any in a long time. Horizons. Dog looking too small in an open field. Odd cuts and familiar aches.

Hay hook thumping on the seat of a semi. Party ribbon colored binding blue and green. "Usta be clover hay." Graveyard set above the road.

Sitting on a log to the sound of a chainsaw running out of gas. Driving through a melted puddle. My hair splays out from under this hat, looking like a picture of a French pioneer on leaning off his riverboat. Remembering mud. Hay hook bite.

Feb 18, 2004

Gears turning

I'm working on a piece for Gideon Strauss' Comment on the development of futuristic literature, from Orwell and Cold War related literature to post-1984 and 1989 literature, mostly broadly definable as cyberpunk, looking for what this tells us about ourselves with a particular view to our fears concerning technology and culture.

Thesis still in the gears. It'll be 4,000 to 6,000 words. This could easily be a book instead of an article.

I'm working on a shortish piece for Killing the Buddha, later to be built into something larger, on religious searching that is a Cartesianism disguised as faith, a searching for indubitable philosophical foundations that, really, are unneeded and harmful.

I've started writing this, working from some personal experiences of demanding the presence of God, the reveleation that cannot possible be wrong.

I'm excited about both of these. They've both cuaght my interest. A lot of other things in the works and a lot of reading going on. I picked up someone's copy of Daniel Bell's The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism the other day and am thinking maybe I need to look at economics again. I need to get back to an outline of postmodern Christianity soon and intend to but up some things on icons and the real presence of Christ in the communion soon, as well as trying to keep some literary flair to this tour by writing some poetry and keeping some neo-beat memoirs.
By the seat
"I try to plan, in your sense of the word, but that isn't my basic mode, really. I improvise. It's my greatest talent. I prefer situations to plans, you see . . . Really, I've had to deal with givens. I can sort a great deal of information, and sort it very quickly."
        - Julius Deane, in William Gibson's Neuromancer.

Feb 17, 2004

Desolate angles
I stretched out my hand - another one, one of a slew, good luck to you too -
but the shake was rejected. No, she said. And hugged me.

When all praise sounded tinny and when all the stories sounded preposterous and when
every act sounded silly and when I had forgotten everything but my face as a monster and
my place as a pathetic prophet without a prophecy - a hug, tout autre. A thing outside

And then it was. Self confirmed by an other in an act uncalled for, unbeconned, undemanded and without demands. Freely offered: an act total.

A hug, completely unexpected.
Now on tour!

The picture at left, for those interested, is the original manuscript roll of On The Road.

Feb 16, 2004

And I've got to be drifting along

With half-damp eyes I stared to the room
Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon,
Where we together weathered many a storm,
Laughin' and singin' till the early hours of the morn.

By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung,
Our words were told, our songs were sung,
Where we longed for nothin' and were quite satisfied
Talkin' and a-jokin' about the world outside.

With haunted hearts through the heat and cold,
We never thought we could ever get old.
We thought we could sit forever in fun
But our chances really was a million to one.
        - Bob Dylan

Feb 15, 2004

Bend islands on lashes and cork -

We made our own bed from pieces of Ark
and sailed in spider's lace to the raven's grave.

LET us go then, you and I
We understand the world by stories - our own, our parents', our generation's, our age's, our faith's, our God's.

To know what a person believes is to know the stories he tells and is told.

Feb 14, 2004

Here concentrated in a single point
                      reach out over the world.

Feb 13, 2004

A late evening walk through my head
I’m thinking that maybe my "bastard stoicism" might be more important, more pivotal, than I thought.

I’m thinking about how we killed God and how this does or doesn’t relate to the problems of the hope of technology and the role of stories through the changing of the ages.

I’m thinking about the uberman’s stories and the problem of salvation by myth if that myth springs from the thing needing to be saved and why we need so badly a story, any story, even if we can’t believe it. And I want to think about that in light of George’s story about livin’ off the fatta the land in Of Mice and Men and in light of Conrad’s Marlow.

I’m thinking about the relationship between politics and aesthetics, especially in an age where information is king and looking particularly to the masters of politics as performance art – Abbie Hoffman, Joe McCarthy, Mussolini – and the fools and cuckholds – Richard Nixon, Dukakis, Hoover.

I’m thinking about the mixture of hope and fear in cyberpunk literature how we think about technology.

I’m thinking perfection is uninteresting and flimsy.

I’m thinking about the definition of postmodernism and how it’s definability is problematic because it’s not a thesis, really, but a collection of concerns. And about how postmodernism is self-aware of it’s temporality and reactionary position.

I’m thinking about the cinematography of music videos and the play of the absence in narrative and the opportunity to break new ground in a music video that one wouldn’t have in a film or commercial.

I’m thinking that I want to get back into Spinoza and write a series of “Dear Spinoza” letters considering the problems of self and other, one and the many, the necessity of a Trinitarian God and other paths that might appear.

I’m thinking I need to find a biography of Barth.

I'm thinking of calling the next year of my life something funny and including the word "tour."
Pray, one for another
What if I were to refuse the prayers of, say, every Christian who lived in Texas? Or of all female members of the body of Christ?

I’m a little suspicious that not praying to the saints is, likewise, either outrageous or heresy. It falls, I suspect without wanting to say it, under schismaticism, wrongly dividing the church and wrongfully separating oneself from a portion of the church.

The recourse against the prayers of the saints is, of course, the claim that they're dead and thus separated from God, though this runs the problems of 1) claiming that one can, in certain situations, be separated from Christ and his body and 2) claiming the promise of eternal life is limited.
But by a story we cannot believe
A comedian works over Jonah bit, laughs pivoting on the oddity of hearing a whale-swallows-man-who’s-running-from-God story in a contemporary world on a contemporary medium.

Which, as comedy is prone to do, gets to something missed in the regular turn of the miracles-are-a-joke critique: stories.

The difference between then and now isn’t that miracles happened then and don’t know. It isn’t that we believed in miracles happening then and don’t know.

The difference is a difference in stories.

We know what we know from the stories we tell and are told.

It’s a question of what stories we tell and what stories we have room to tell.

(I suspect this is becoming a major project and thesis, though it remains questioning and fragmentary in a way, I suspect, that comes from having drunk of Wittgensteinian waters.)
Spend the days poking shadows, seeing if they'll talk to me.

Feb 12, 2004

As in, the deconstruction of the western tradition
This is a very simple point, but one that apparently needs repeating - deconstruction does not mean destruction.

(Emphasis added from frustration).
Dying ain't like it usta be
"It's not like he's dying," he said. "I mean whatdya see him, like every other day? He posts on his blog more often than that.

"Silliman's more present in non-bodily form than anyone we know."

      And my ghost just sorta of wanders to the sink for a drink and goes on saying things he thinks sounds cool.
And I was standin’ on the side of the road rain fallin’ on my shoes
I think it's because I'm set to wander the country but I've got Tangled Up In Blue stuck in my head and I haven't even listened to it recently.

But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell.
So I drifted down to new orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin’ for a while on a fishin’ boat
Right outside of Delacroix.
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind,
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

Dying ain't like is usta be
"It's not like he's dying," he said. "I mean whatdya see him, like every other day? He posts on his blog more often than that.

"Silliman's more present in non-bodily form than anyone we know."
Maddening, bewildering and very, very lucrative
And this is the not-so-secret key to America's cultural wars. There's something more than a little staged about them.

Feb 11, 2004

My article on the The Failure of the New York Intellectuals has been picked up by artsjournal.com, which I think is pretty cool.
Devil deals the cards, but you're welcome to play

Half my friends think I'm dying.

The other half look at me, pretending to hide the caged feeling in their eyes, asking themselves why they can't hang it all, asking themselves "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

"So Dan," he says, "If I quit school tomorrow?"
"Well," he says, "if you go to Philly. . . "

I call a friend to tell him the news and he interrupts with laughter. "Damn it," he says, "why is everything you do so cool?"

It isn’t, of course, and neither am I, but the stories are cool and I know that and know how to play for the story. My sister says I have more stories of running out of money than anyone she knows, and it’s not like I’ve run out of money many more times than your average broke person. I was just the one who ran out of money by throwing my last five cents into a Smithsonian fountain.

It’s just a little flash, a gesture for the sake of the story, a little aggression and a little absurdity.

Consider this bastard stoicism: There’s nothing you can decide about life except how to tell the story.

New e-mail (though the old one still works for now): daniel_silliman@yahoo.com.

Feb 10, 2004

British legends.
Five hats I wore the last week of school
Part of an ongoing series of a weird legend...

1. Blue-black stocking hat.
2. Brown stocking hat.
3. Viking helmet.
4. Little derby hat, jazzed up with a red feather.
5. Jester's hat.

Feb 9, 2004

An important ecclesiological question:
How would your church government have dealt with the great heresies?
Don Quixote vs. propositional truth

If true knowledge is propositional, which is to say aphoristic, then the story is but a carrier and it would be purer knowledge if the story were discarded.

It would be, then, but a human frailty that insisted on stories.

We could be rid of the lion with the thorn in his paw if the moral could be taught as a pure proposition.

Does the reduction from a story about a lion with a thorn in his paw to a proposition about kindness really lose nothing of what we mean by "kindness"? That is, can we say "kindness" as we say it now without speaking of the lion?

If you ask me of "kindness" I can answer only with stories. If you demand the point of the story, I can only tell it again.

To consider: stories and uncertainty; stories as undermining the meta-narrative; stories and embodiment; stories and identity.

Feb 7, 2004

And then. . .
"The only thing I'm looking forward to about you leaving is the stories. And if they're not good enough I'm gonna make them up." - Luke Heyman
"How come everything that happens to you always seems so cool?" - Jeff Nelson
"You're so obsessed with stories." - Adam Prizio

So I woke up this morning smokey and groggy from last night's going away party, named for no good reason "Sillibash '04," picked up the KKG Collegian reporter I'd promised a ride, went to the Democratic primary, promised I wasn't voting more than once, and voted for Howard Dean.

My first day as a post-Hillsdale-once-I-was-a-legend-and-now-I'm-a-Kerouac-bum started with buying a keg in a local deli and ending with drinking coffee from a Democratic paper cup in a local barn and filling in little boxes for Dean.
Holy Hubert


In the dream I'm talking to my father - a common dream occurance recently - and I'm asking him questions about the street preacher Holy Hubert Lindsey who told my father he was going to hell for two drug-dealing years before my father's conversion. I want to write about my conflictions about the wild evangelicalistic street preacher and I was trying to find out what caliber of gun Hubert was shot with when my father saw him shot at point blank range only to be healed on the way to the hospital, bail out and pray with his attacker, returning to the streets to continue preaching.

And then Hubert was there, in my dream.

"Wait," I said. "Are you the real Holy Hubert?"

"No," he said, "I'm the Holy Hubert in your dream."

"Okay. Was it a .38? I seem to remember it was a .38."
Four student non-violent anti-war activists subpoenaed by a federal judge? Demands to release all information related to a group "once targeted for alleged ties to communism"? Demands for "all documents indicating the purpose and intended participants in the [non-violent forum opposed to the war in Iraq], and all documents or recordings which would identify persons that actually attended the meeting" and campus security records "reflecting any observations made of the Nov. 15, 2003, meeting, including any records of persons in charge or control of the meeting, and any records of attendees of the meeting"?

Feb 6, 2004

"I am a villain. Yet I lie. I am not"
I don't know why, but, looking into the mirror in the morning, I find it strange to the point of unsettling that I have friends.
Two new blogs to watch on the art side of things: December 11th, a new project by Tim Eaton, and At Chinese Hat by Mike Hazel, The Mike, Dan's-friend-Mike, or ( ).
Just a bulletin:
I am officially not a Hillsdale student today, due to lack of money crossed with banks not meeting deadlines. The story is more convoluted and boring than I want to tell, so I won't. Suffice it to say it's something that happened through no fault of anyone and there are no strings left to be pulled. Thanks to all my friends for being so generous and kind.

I haven't quite figured out how I want to say what I want to say, so this is just a bulletin. It's over. I'm out. I'm rolling with it. I may or may not come back to Hillsdale. I'll be in Hillsdale for another week, in Ohio working for a few weeks, and then plan to find a city to spend some time in. Hopefully do something in journalism. We'll see.

It's always a ride, always an adventure. Jack Kerouac ain't got nothing on me.

Feb 5, 2004

Via Merleau-Ponty
If body is via the world and space is via the body, what's the relationship between space and the world?

The short answer is embodiment, but what's the long answer?

And how does time come into this?
      That peculiar talent of the Qq.
Tapping stripped cane

“Old house.”
          - An image that does nothing as an image. I can see nothing here, and to know it’s a structure called a house and defined by some definition as "old" can't interest me, can't move me, and can't save me.

Is it yellow? Is the roof caved in? Does it have arthritis? Does it hobble?

Next to Orwell’s statement about clichés being anything you’re used to seeing in print, let’s include this definitions: Clichés are blind.

Feb 4, 2004

Metzger doesn't quit blogging. That would be silly. Metzger quits blogging to return with two blogs. Introducing Shades of Blue and Shades of Light.
The Failure of the New York Intellectuals
"There are three parts to a tradition: the reception, the possession, and the passing. A tradition is something that has come to us, that we have made our own, and that we will deliver to those who follow us. Tradition is a happening, as Calvin Seerveld said. It is a handing, a having, and a handing on. A tradition is a contract between our ancestors, ourselves, and our posterity. As such, it passes through these three phases of reception as it makes the journey through the generations. Tradition functions to compile the past into the present, telling us what to do now, and to continue compiling through now into the future, letting the future be instructed by now. A tradition shrinks and grows, but it is an ever-moving thing, always already an inheritance.

The New York Intellectuals moved smoothly and successfully through the first two phrases of a tradition and, sputtering and floundering, completely missed the third. At the end of the day, the movement found itself without successors, and in this way the movement failed."

My article on political vision and the failure of the New York Intellectuals has been published by Gideon Strauss' Comment Magazine and is online.

See also the interesting articles by James Brink and Rick Capezza.

Note: Remember to hear the train whistle blow.
Waiting for the falling breathing rhythm of rain
It’s time, we say. & we look at the harsh white snow frozen and piled and chilling.

Time, you see. February. Past January already.

The snowmen have lost their happy holiday smiles and turned to malicious leers treacherous fingers & anrgy hair, hearts of frozen slush & glowering from blinding white faces with peppered pocks marked where the trees slightly thawed to drop dripping with teasing turned ugly.

It’s time, we say, as if this impromptu committee of the lethargic could elect the entrance of the unseasonable weather we want to send us to the water to bring us to the open earth to wash flowers out of the ground. To stir the air to breathing.

They say it’s because I’m from Seattle. That’s why I wait for the rain. But it’s not that. It’s before that. Rainy days when I’d sleep on the porch and listen to the earth opening arms raised to receive. Rainy days when I’d stand at the open window of a dark room silent before the pattering pounding. Rainy days sprawled on the carpet, reading to the rhythm of the falling water.

Rainy days of falling flashing washing booming beating breathing rattling down through leaves. Rain to fall softly dropping dipping down slowly into little rivers through cherry blossoms drifting lazy in circles without deadlines.

It’s time, I say, it’s time. Chin lifting to the glazed sky refusing to soften it’s heart of snow to the pleasantry of rain.

Feb 3, 2004

Schneider's Christian name
Merleau-Ponty's Schneider, Gelb and Goldstein's famous WWI-injured patient that M-P uses as a main example, doesn't seem to have a first name. Anyone know it or where to find it?
woodtypeob Roy Kelly, a major figure in American typography who was a scholar of 19th-century woodtype and inspired a typographic revival in the '70s died at the age of 78.

May he rest in peace.

Feb 2, 2004

Tearing a hole.           Crawling out.
American slang. Defined, when included, by slang dictionaries as the state of being grossly out of alignment, skewed or as out of alignment.

One dictionary I found says it is synonomous with kittycorner, though that seems incorrect. I've always used the two words as distinct, kattywampus meaning "out of kilter" and kittycorner meaning "off set" Closely related, but distinct by the later being a wrong state of affairs, or by being katterwacked, all messed up and out of wack, a word I found while poking slang dictionaries.

Alternate spellings are (k)(c)a-(tt)(dd)-(i)(y)-w-(a)(o)mpus, in pretty much every combination, though I prefer kattywampus.

Two bands use the name Kattywompus, a string band and a metal band while a funk rock band uses the name Cattywompus.