Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pripyat (Chernobyl)

The beauty of ghost towns.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Harper's Wins Again

“Capatlism, not christiantity or the enlightenment, is what most defines our national character”

“…do Christian Republicans truly not understand the fundamental ways in which an unfettered corporate capitalism betrays Christ’s ethical vision and their own economic well being? (It is an astonishing irony that many of these religious anti-Darwinians are in their politics economics the most uncompromising Social Darwinians, with na├»ve and self defeating assumption of the virtue of competition. Of course, the people of “lowest development” to be “weeded out,” as Herbert Spencer put it, are demonstratably themselves!) Most fantastically, do Christian Republicans really not recognize their own perverse marriage with secular rationalism? Or that there is an unacknowledged alliance between pragmatic, ultra rational needs of corporate capitalism and the blarney of Christian cleansing through the “social values” movement?”

“The Spirit of Disobediance: An Invitation to Resistance” By Curtis White – Harper’s Magazine April 2006

The article is really about confronting our culture of “duty and legality” – duty in that “Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as necessity, or even a duty.” (Simon Weil quote). It incorporates a lot of the criticisms of Thoreau.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Huysmans ch. 14

“Finding himself unable to harmonize, save at rare intervals, with the environment in which he lives and not discovering sufficient distraction in the pleasures of observation and analysis, in the examination of the environment and its people, he feels in himself the dawning of strange ideas. Confused desires for other lands awake and are clarified by reflection and study. Instincts, sensations and thoughts bequeathed by heredity, awake, grow fixed, assert themselves with an imperious assurance. He recalls memories of beings and things he has never really known and a time comes when he escapes from the penitentiary of his age and roves, in full liberty, into another epoch with which, through a last illusion, he seems more in harmony.

With some, it is a return to vanished ages, to extinct civilizations, to dead epochs; with others, it is an urge towards a fantastic future, to a more or less intense vision of a period about to dawn, whose image, by an effect of atavism of which he is unaware, is a
reproduction of some past age.”

Nietzsche, Gay Science 10

“I prefer to understand the rare human beings of an age as suddenly appearing, late ghosts of past cultures and their powers: as atavisms of a people and its mores – that way one can really understand something about them.  They now seem strange, rare, extraordinary, and whoever feels these powers in himself must burse, defend, honor, and cultivate them against another world that resists them: and so he becomes either a great human being or an eccentric one, unless he perishes too soon.  Formerly, these same qualities were common and therefore considered ordinary: they weren’t distinguishing.  They were perhaps demanded, presupposed; it wasn’t impossible to become great through them, if only because there was also no danger of becoming mad and lonely through them.  It is principally in the generations and castes that conserve a people that we find such recrudescences of old instincts, while such atavism is highly improbable where races, and habits and valuations change too rapidly.  For tempo is as significant a power in the development of peoples as in music: in our case what is absolutely necessary is an andante of development, as the tempo of a passionate and slow spirit – and that is after what the spirit of conservative generations is like.”

Friday, March 10, 2006

Huysmans Galore

“He Felt nothing of that hunger for mortification and prayer without which, if we are to believe the majority of priests, no conversion is possible; nor did he feel any desire to invoke God whose mercy struck him as extremely problematical. At the same time the affection he still had for his old masters led him to take an interest in their works and doctrines; and the recollection of the inimitable accents of conviction, the passionate voices of those highly intelligent men made him doubt the quality and strength of his own intellect.”

“The church was the only body to have preserved the art of past centuries, the lost beauty of the ages.”

Schopenhauer: “His theory of pessimism was the great comforter of superior minds and lofty souls.”

“Nor could he forget the poetic and poignant atmosphere of Catholicism in which he had been steeped as a boy, and whose essence he had absorbed through every pore.”

More Huysmans

Huysmans Chapter 6 p. 69

All I was doing was parabolizing secular instruction, allegorizing universal education, which is well on the way to turning everybody into a Langlois: instead of permanently and mercifully putting out the eyes of the poor, it does its best to force them wide open, so that they may see all around them lives of less merit and greater comfort, pleasures that are keener and more voluptuous, and therefore sweeter and more desirable.
It follows that the more we try to polish the minds and refine the nervous systems of the under privileged, the more we shall be developing in their hearts the atrociously active germs of hatred and moral suffering.

Nietzsche - Beyond Good and evil 258

society is not allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as a foundation and scaffolding, by means of which a select class of beings may be able to elevate themselves to their higher duties, and in general to a higher existence: like those sun-seeking climbing plants in Java—they are called sipo matador—which encircle an oak so long and so often with their arms, until at last, high above it, but supported by it, they can unfold their tops in the open light, and exhibit their happiness. —

Joris-Karl Huysmans

Chapter 2

Artifice, besides, seemed to Des Esseintes the final distinctive mark
of man's genius.

Nature had had her day, as he put it. By the disgusting sameness of
her landscapes and skies, she had once for all wearied the considerate
patience of aesthetes. Really, what dullness! the dullness of the
specialist confined to his narrow work. What manners! the manners of
the tradesman offering one particular ware to the exclusion of all
others. What a monotonous storehouse of fields and trees! What a banal
agency of mountains and seas!

There is not one of her inventions, no matter how subtle or imposing
it may be, which human genius cannot create; no Fontainebleau forest,
no moonlight which a scenic setting flooded with electricity cannot
produce; no waterfall which hydraulics cannot imitate to perfection;
no rock which pasteboard cannot be made to resemble; no flower which
taffetas and delicately painted papers cannot simulate.

There can be no doubt about it: this eternal, driveling, old woman is
no longer admired by true artists, and the moment has come to replace
her by artifice.

Closely observe that work of hers which is considered the most
exquisite, that creation of hers whose beauty is everywhere conceded
the most perfect and original--woman. Has not man made, for his own
use, an animated and artificial being which easily equals woman, from
the point of view of plastic beauty? Is there a woman, whose form is
more dazzling, more splendid than the two locomotives that pass over
the Northern Railroad lines?

Gustave Moreau

Matthew 14

1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,

2And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

3For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.

4For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

5And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

6But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

7Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

8And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.

9And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.

10And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

11And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

12And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Out of all of the songs I have made so far, I think this one by far has the most promise and sounds the most like I want to sound.