Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

Dorothy L Sayers, Foucauldian


Everyone thinks they know what Freud says, it’s all about sex. Freud says the opposite of course. For humans, there is no sex, in the ‘biological’ sense.

Dorothy L Sayers:

“It’s no use saying vaguely that sex is at the bottom of all these phenomena—that’s about as helpful as saying that human nature is at the bottom of them. Sex isn’t a separate thing functioning away all by itself. It’s usually found attached to a person of some sort.”

“That’s rather obvious.”

“Well, let’s have a look at the obvious. The biggest crime of these blasted psychologists is to have obscured the obvious.… Do all these facts taken together suggest nothing to you beyond a general notion of sex repression?”

Gaudy Night

Virtual life

Good post by Moll on how the Internet has and hasn’t changed our lives. She’s particularly bang-on about Second Life. The odd thing about Second Life is how much effort has been put in to reproducing real life, but worse in every respect. Moving through physical space (but through the cumbersome mediation of a keyboard); judgments based on physical appearance (and, as Moll points out, usually the physical appearance of the banally human; to produce anything more imaginative, you have to work around the built-in “avatar” system); money (but only necessitated by the most immediately and transparently artificial scarcity).

One of the advantages of the Internet that Moll points out is that you no longer need to go shopping, something which Second Life has re-introduced, with all the “spending time wandering around trying to find what you want” that that entails; to the extent that people have now re-re-introduced Internet shopping, so you can go on the Internet to buy stuff for Second Life. That about sums up Second Life, I think; it’s a way of avoiding the Internet, the Internet for people who don’t get the Internet. It’s depressing that people are proposing Second Life as some kind of new stage of the Internet, when really it’s a gigantic step backwards: the virtual world of the Internet, with its at least implicit utopianism, sidestepped in favor of a bafflingly unnecessary realism.

You’ve got to hand it to Arnie

I didn’t really think it would be possible to come up with a way to make the American healthcare system worse, but our fine Governor has managed it. Worried about a system that leaves six million people without health care? Well then, just make it obligatory to buy health insurance! Who knew universal healthcare was so easy?

Pleased to see I was criticizing the Obama healthcare proposals two-and-a-half years ago.

The vast right-wing conspiracy

There was an exciting blogosphere controversy a little while ago, when John Edwards let himself be forced by some right-wingers into sacking some people from his campaign team because of stuff they’d said on their blogs. As Adam rightly says, this is a depressing but predictable example of the willingness (one might even say eagerness) of the supposed American left to capitulate to pressure from the right, even when the complaint being made is one that only makes sense in right-wing terms (see also Barak Obama, passim). Read more↴

Infallible signs

There are some thing which, as far as I’m aware, never appear on bad records: hammond organs, trombones, handclaps.

And, a broader category, ska covers. Why is it, by the way, that two-tone, renowned as a political form of music, got so terrible whenever it explicitly turned to politics? Lots of great tunes about the general shitness of work, poverty, late capitalism; and then when political demands get raised, you get the mediocre “Free Nelson Mandela” and “Stand Down Margaret,” the worst ska record ever made?

Build your own big Other

She took off her T-shirt, then her bra, then her skirt, and as she did she pulled the most incredible faces. She twirled around in her skimpy panties for a few seconds more and then, not knowing what else to do, began getting dressed again.

— Michel Houellebecq

A poster in Sproul Plaza says: 'Make Change. Act Now. Serve!' Read more↴