Sunday, October 01, 2006

Reality Check

If any Bengals fans were under any illusion they had a defense that could stop the run, the Patriots effectively are your wake up call. You should thank them. If anything, three quarters into the game they're showing themselves to be the same defense as last year -- take away the turnover and they are utterly & completely toothless.

Where I Show I'm a Good Sport

Kudos to Peyton Manning & co. for gutting out that win today. I was telling Pat earlier this week that seeing him will his team to victory would go a long way in helping me like him a bit (a bit) more. Another hard luck loss for the J. E. T. S. JETS JET JETS! -- not to mention me, for having started Chad Pennington.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Football Blogging!!

I'll have more to say about Week One of the NFL tomorrow -- the wife is in bed & I think I just might get lucky -- but I just have one parting question for all you Colts fans out there: how much did that offensive pass interference call late in the fourth quarter cost you? Such a horrible call.

On the bright side, it did look like the Colts will follow their traditional form of getting by in the regular season, even ending up w/ a record that makes them look unstoppable when in fact everybody who watches them know it was a mixture of shitty schedule (the NFL's gift to Indy that keeps on giving) &/or clusterfuck inability of other teams to capitalize on the many miscues Indy's pride & joy throws into any given game, and then completely flame out in the playoffs, likely in truly spectacular BoSox-style. I mean, c'mon, really, a team can rely on smoke-and-mirror defense (which, if tonight is any indication, doesn't even exist this year) & Peyton's uncanny ability to convert third-and-11's all day (nothing more frustrating to a Peyton-hater than watching that unfold series after series) for so long. In fact, next week may very well be the day that David Carr gets his breakthrough victory.

Also ... if anybody knows Chi they might want to IM or call, just to make sure he's still alive.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Story Told Differently

First off, I realize this post might come off as odd. For starters, it is an actual post. Who would've thought it was still possible for me to post twice in one day? More importantly, though, I think it may surprise a few people.

I've long heard, and probably even said once or twice, the maxim that goes something like "if only we told the story differently . . . " E.g., "If only we Democrats could frame the issues better, use positive language, etc. we might win more elections"; or, as I'm sure some of the readers of this blog have wondered or said aloud, "If only Christians weren't such distended assholes, the faith always be treated like bullshit nobody (not even the faithful) really believes." There is, of course, an obvious logic to this kind of thinking. Without it, where would all our marketing gurus be today? But logic only ever goes so far for me. I can't help but wonder: is it possible for an actually existing (versus hypothetical) faith to finally and fully override and overrule either (a) what one would like their faith to be, or (b) what one would like to think this faith used to be?

That is to say, what would it mean for the truest manifestations of the faith (be it religious or political) to be boiled down to the simple formula: "the story told differently"? What if this manifestation of the faith is, for lack of a better word, a singularity; or, to be more "prophetic," miraculous? Is it still possible, in this apparently post-liberal age, to use the same language and forms of a faith (e.g., the Bible, the sacraments, the liturgy, etc.), but for this use of language & form to be recontextualized? What I'm talking about is not a return to liberalism -- for instance, the transformation of the traditional gospel of orthodoxy to the social gospel of Enlightenment values, and thus of traditional concepts of redemption and judgment to the terms of social justice (although I'm not opposed in principle to this transformation). Rather, what I'm wondering about is the relationship of speaking and living the faith & truth: is it still possible to speak of the faith in such a way that the opposition between "story told well" and the "story told badly" makes no sense? Why? Because the story told truthfully is in-built with an intensity that makes it impossible to "frame" (and thus to circumscribe) but also impossible to silence -- i.e., that speaks itself in truth simultaneously in spite of & because of its particular context/language/form.

Which is to say, in short, what if there are no "better" stories, or "better" versions (and thus more compelling versions) of the truth? Only stories/versions that perpetually call forth the truth that is worth listening to and speaking -- the story told differently, that truth which effectively destroys it form, perhaps on a Cross, and thus all one expects and knows of it, perhaps like a god, in order that it might be reimagined into something neither qualitatively "better" or "worse," as this assumes some standard by which we judge it; but rather & simply something worth being listened to and spoken yet again, a listening & speaking in faith that is, finally, the only true act: that of creation.

Full Time

I just realized something that is a little astonishing: this week I'm working forty (paid, non-research) hours for the first since 1997!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Month Later ....

A Month Later . . .

It really does not feel like a month (over a month, even!) since I last posted here at my poor, neglected blog, Silentio. The very thing that kept me going through many a day and evening back in Glasgow, the sole connection I had with so many of you back in the States, becomes the one thing I ignore the most upon my return. I'd like to think this is because I personally see and/or talk to my readers. While this is true of a few of you, I imagine it is not of most. Alas.

A weird couple of days. A banal embodiment of coincidentia oppositorum, for those of you inclined toward either the philosophical or the Latin. On the very day that I received in the mail my doctoral diploma, I also received official correspondence from the British Academy indicating that I was not awarded one of their postdoctoral grants -- which would've sent me back to Britain for another three years of research and writing (this time, w/ a salary!). Before I continue w/ extra bits of this and that, I should also point out that my grant application was awarded an "A," which means, so they say, that if money was available I should receive it. Whatever, we know what it really means: my application (but not me, because I refuse to take it personally) was a Grade A Reject. So be it.

Moving on. So, the day that hearkens back to those great years spent abroad but that also cuts any imminent return, K. is told that she is getting a pretty substantial promotion that will require her (and, thus, us) to move in about six months. The thing is, we know not where. And will not know for a few more months. An imminent move refused ... an imminent move granted. A move that would send us forward by moving us back to a place we know (& I love) ... a move that would send us forward by moving us to, in all likelihood, parts unknown. Still not entirely sure what to think of this.

But, nevertheless, congratulations to K. She deserves it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Organic" on the Cheap

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about "eating well." It was surprisingly well-received even beyond the confines of this blog. Since then I've had several very interesting conversations about various alternatives & solutions to, by all accounts, our food crisis. One of the most common solutions, certainly here in the States, is to make more healthy food more widely available by virtue of it being inexpensive. This perspective, one would assume, would welcome Wal-Mart's decision to start selling organic food, in bulk & at low costs. Healthy food to the masses! Yay!

If you'll recall from that original post, though, I was very sceptical that capitalism would be our savior on this one. I remain so.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Angel of History

I'd forgotten how much I loved this passage. So dark. So true.

This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. (W. Benjamin, On the Concept of History, Thesis IX)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Purity (Blue) Ball

Via Mark Morford I only just learned something that depresses me only because it doesn't surprise me: Purity Balls. Morford's description is better than I can offer at the moment:

Purity Balls. No, not some sort of newfangled spherical chastity device to be inserted using vacuum tubes and pulleys, but rather fancy creepy dress-up rituals taking place in towns like Colorado Springs and Tucson and Zoloft Jesusville, in which Christian dads rent a bad tux while their daughters, mostly teenagers but many as young as 6 or 7, get all dolled up in gowns from JCPenny and they all drive out to the airport Marriott and prepare to, well, lose their minds.

It begins. At some point the daughter stands up, her pale arms wrapped around her daddy, and reads aloud a formal pledge that she will remain forever pure and virginal and sex-free until she is handed over, by her dad (who is actually called the "high priest" of the home), like some sort of sad hymenic gift, to her husband, who will receive her like the sanitized and overprotected and libidinously inept servant she so very much is. Praise!

Would that I were making this up.

The dad -- er, high priest -- in turn, stands up and reads his pledge, one stating that he will work to protect his daughter's virginal purity that he has so carefully and wickedly drilled into her since birth, since she was knee-high to a disturbing dogma, that he will protect her chastity and oversee it and help enforce its boundaries, which might or might not involve great amounts of rage and confusion and secret stashes of cheap scotch, although his pledge claims it's with honor and integrity and lots of bewildering Godspeak. Which, in many households, is essentially the same thing.

Really, what can you say to something like this? I mean, it's hardly surprising, depravity with the best of intentions, but sweet Jesus, people, c'mon! I'm sorry, but NOT having sex, not even waiting until marriage, is NOT necessarily healthy sex. It's not unhealthy either, mind you. Healthy sex is that which doesn't kill you, or cause you to kill somebody else (i.e., emotionally, psychologically, physically, etc.). What about "spiritually," though, the Christian moralist squeals? Look, for one, if you want to get spiritual about it, the flesh is already dead -- sex in or out of marriage doesn't change that. It's a fleshly act that creates fleshly (& squishy) pleasure and children, mixed w/ the endorphins that make us sometimes feel out-of-body if it was especially good. There's nothing wrong this, and count me among the masses who love it ... but it certainly isn't pure, at least not in the sense implied by the intention to store your daughter's genitals, in some lame form of female circumcision, in a safety deposit box until she's married.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Eating Well

My desire to eat well is not altogether different from my desire to be religious. I do think there is a value to both, but I do not typically have the will to truly accomplish either. The flesh, as it were, is weak. I'd like to be able to differentiate the two. That is, I'd like to fashion a religious piety that makes my weakness a strength, and thus provides me with some kind of redemption. As it is, though, I am increasingly having a hard time fathoming such a redemption without a commitment to eating well.

What does it mean to eat well? For most of us, it is just a matter of eating healthy -- of balancing the bad stuff we put in our body with good stuff; or, even better, putting in our body more good stuff than bad stuff. In this sense, "healthy" presupposes either a state of equilibrium or an appropriate ratio (of good stuff to bad) to be the ideal, the result of which being that one lives a longer and/or more (mentally & physically) productive life. In my mind, this is only one part of eating well. Or, perhaps we frame it more positively: this is the general structure of eating well. When we get more specific, though, we find that eating well, eating healthy, cannot simply be about me & mine eating well/eating healthy. Rather, in order to keep eating well, to make it a habit that allows & animates life, eating well must be extended beyond me -- to others, to every other. This is precisely because of the interconnectedness of human existence: as much as we might like to think our health & well-being is ours alone, it is in a give-and-take relationship with & through the activities of others -- and thus, their health & well-being, as well. (Not to mention the fact that the truest measure of life, that which happens after it is over, after we've died, and thus even the truest measure of the "afterlife," is what we leave behind, the results of our [the plural] eating well.) Eating well, then, is more than counting calories & carbs; it is more than avoiding nuts if you're allergic to them. It is more than making sure you get enough iron & protein. It is, in short, more than insuring you & yours have all the vitamins necessary to live long & vital lives. It is, rather, having the will to insure that others have the capacity to do (& thus to will) this as well.

If this is true, eating well is perhaps the most revolutionary, radical action possible. The most unthinkable, even, what for the ever-present first-world dominance over food cultivation & distribution. In the name of profitability, we are sold (and gladly purchase) cheaper, typically less healthy, goods, which all too often not only inject us with the poisons that kill us, the consumers, but also kill the laborers who are paid to grow & produce it, by forcing them to abandon their natural sources & markets of subsistence.

I really want to eat well, as much as I want to believe in miracles, in beginnings that never stop & that thus change the social fabric & our conception of what is possible and what is not. I really do, and yet I still do not. Where, then, to begin?

Friday, April 21, 2006

If There Was Any Doubt

I can't believe we're at this point again -- the point where I have to protest an apparently inevitable war. This is just so fucking absurd, it is beyond belief. War ... against Iran? Seriously. Another one? *sigh*

Well. I can't do it. Not today. I'm not in the mood (more on that in a post later). Good thing there's Matthew Yglesias to run down the many reasons even considering this is beyond stupid.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Release the Hound of Hell!!

Most of you know this already, but for those of you who do not, there is a new addition to our humble family. Her name is Ireland, and terror follows in her wake. Truly. She is a thing to be feared -- in both the sense of her awesome majesty and of her power to kill you in an instant. She is not to be messed with. Granted, she'll do it without barking or growling, and possibly with a lick on the nose. Oh, but those are but a part of her charade. She is evil incarnate. Believe me. She will destroy us all.

That is, once she wakes up from her nap under my desk.

Update: I just cannot resist one final picture. I know, I know. What have I become? But, I cannot help myself.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Local Blogging

It's good to see that the Cincinnati City Council is on the verge of taking one further step to insuring the city maintains its reputation as the Unhip Capital of the Midwest.

Proving yet again that it is a powerhouse of a newspaper, the Enquirer doesn't actually spell out City Councilman Cecil Thomas' plan. Fortunately, Citybeat does:

A person caught in Ohio with less than 100 grams of marijuana is charged with a minor misdemeanor, which entails a $100 ticket. Thomas is proposing an ordinance that would make possession of less than 200 grams a first-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

I'm no pothead. Nor do I sell pot. But I have a really hard time seeing how this is supposed to keep guns off the street, or protect the 'hood. When your shit is threatened, you become a threat. So I was told, in so many words, by a friend who likely sold and used pot. Which is to say, guns would seem more likely as a result of this. Not to mention, of course, it's just another way to appear tough on crime by bloating the jails with poor people.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Maybe I'll Just Call This Movie-Week

If you've not yet seen Caché, I highly recommend you do so. Granted, I had to drive thirty minutes to my town's "other" arthouse cinema, but it was worth it. I was going to write an assessment of it, but Steven Shaviro has done it for me over at his blog.

An excerpt, but the whole thing is fantastic:

We are made to feel guilty and complicitous, while at the same time we are given no way out from this position, and no release even from our own being safe because of the unquestioned privileges that people less fortunate than us do not have. Indeed, we are shielded from consequences because we are, after all, watching a film, this is not happening directly to us in "real life." Despite the fact that "real life" itself is revealed by Caché to be no more (as well as no less) "real" than a video. Which means that, whatever we understand intellectually, on the affective level we end up sharing Georges' self-protective sense of unquestioned privilege, as well as his sense of guilt.

In this way, Caché simultaneously abuses and flatters its audience. And I think that the flattery (rather than the abuse) is the nastiest thing about the film. From a political point of view, after all, guilt is just about the most worthless and useless affect/emotion there is. Nobody has ever questioned their privilege, or even done anything decent, out of guilt. Oh, lots of white people "identify" with "minorities" out of guilt, or give to charity (Live 8, anyone?), or mutter pious platitudes and express their support for "identity politics" of various sorts, which allows them to be self-congratulatory about how radical they are, when in fact they aren't. Indeed, many people of power and privilege positively get off on being made to feel guilty, whether it is the oft-repeated apocryphal story of wealthy CEOs getting release by being abused by a dominatrix, or the more common everyday spectacle of white suburbanites feeling cleansed after getting a good scolding (followed by absolution) from Oprah (or white people with more intellectual/political pretensions getting a good scolding from bell hooks). I do not claim to be exempt from this whole process.

And this is exactly what Caché does to/for its viewers. Or better, it indeed exposes this mechanism of flattery-through-guilt; but without offering any escape from it, and even without quite criticizing or critiquing it. As if that were just the way it is: which indeed, it is. This is what the obvious question about Haneke's own position comes down to. (Is he claiming exemption from the condition that he otherwise shows to be universal among people of privilege? Well, yes and no. That's an evasion, of course, but the evasion itself is the point). What's most powerful about the film is that it not only decrees guilt, but cranks the guilt up to a self-reflexive level: the guilt is reduced or managed by the flattery and privilege that we retain while observing all this; but such a meta-understanding itself creates a new, higher-order sense of guilt, which in turn is cushioned by a new, higher-order sense of self-congratulation as to our superior insight, which in turn is an unquestioned privilege that, when comprehended, leads to a yet-higher-level meta-sense of guilt, and so on ad infinitum. There's complete blockage, no escape from this unending cycle. The experience of the film is one both of self-disgust and of a liberation, through aestheticization, from this self-disgust. The latter is what makes Caché truly insidious. . . .

There's a long shot/long take at the very end of the film, in which -- foregrounded in no way, so it is easy to miss -- amidst a whole crowd of people doing all sorts of things, we see some sort of contact between two of the minor characters . . . that suggests even new levels of complicity and uncertainty. I think that this only reinforces the film's overall coldly delirious deadlock. The more explaining we need to do, the more we are trapped in the film's (and society's) self-reflexive spiral of guilt and privilege. The film offers no way out, because it never breaks with its sense of privilege, no matter how unwarranted it shows that privilege to be. The creepiness of finding oneself under surveillance, the creepiness of seeing a marriage break down into mutual vicious recriminations, is nothing compared to the creepiness of realizing that one still has one's shield of privilege despite these intrusions, and that the facade of bourgeois marriage will survive everything that's going on underneath.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More About Movies

To prove that I'm not just some big cynic for disliking Crash, I thought I'd repost something I wrote for another blog.

So, I went and saw Brokeback Mountain the other day. I mean, why not. I figured, what self-respecting otherwise heterosexual academic doesn't have one or two, or a dozen, 'conference buddies'?

Actually, I went in with a very bad attitude. Cynical, one might say. Surely, I thought, this is just the "liberal" version of the Passion of the Christ [ed. In hindsight, maybe this was Crash]. That is, the movie we liberals are supposed to support, even if its rubbish. Even though we know its rubbish. (Because, let's not be mistaken, the story of Jesus getting the shit kicked out of him wasn't particularly interesting either.) My thought was that the homosexual cowboy thing, while not entirely contrived, because I'm sure it happened often enough back in the cowboy days, was mostly just to jar our expectations of either homosexuals or cowboys, a jolt made all the more explicit by the juxtaposition of their bourgeois heterosexual relationships, with the intention of making us all better, more accepting individuals.

Now, does the movie do this? Yeah. Undoubtedly. And yet -- and perhaps this is why I resist being finally identified as a cynic, because I do not think our critiques can ever stop there, but rather we must go through cynicism, in order that we might find something more, for lack of a better time, human -- Brokeback Mountain is more. A common assessment is that the movie is heartbreaking. And it is. Devastatingly, in fact. Relationships, and not just the homosexual one, are delicately portrayed in all their human, and thus often dissatisfying and uncomfortable, complexity.

Last year, the supposed celebration of monogamy in March of the Penguin was hailed as the mark of true family families. Fuck those cute penguins, though. The family values of Brokeback Mountain are the family values I know. Granted, I've not (yet) known anybody who had a gay lover while being married, but I've known plenty of people who loved their kids but didn't know how to show it until just nearly the kid didn't want that love anymore. I know people who love being together, as a couple or a community, but don't actually love one another. And I know a helluva lot about loving people I cannot have, either because of either internal or external pressures (or a mixture of both). The movie, more than a celebration of tolerance, is a celebration of love as frailty.

In love we do not simply make ourselves stronger, or more truly ourselves; indeed, if we become ourselves at all in love, and I think we do, we do so only in weakness and brokenness. (Is this, I wonder, some bastardized Gnostic notion of love?) Perhaps this is why in most long-term relationships there are periods of forgetfulness, or even flat denials that "I don't love you anymore." And perhaps those relationships that last are those that do not so much remember the past, or beckon its return, but actually find a certain, maybe but momentary, sublime awareness and acceptance that the person I love now is not, and cannot be, the same person I fell in love with.

I don't know that it should've won Best Picture. Correction: I don't care which movie wins Best Picture. Just saying ... I'm not hating on Crash for the reasons a lot of you might be thinking.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

On Crash

Maybe I'm obtuse. Maybe I'm just not racially sensitive enough. Maybe I for some reason just miss the fine art of making movies. But I really do not get the fuss over this movie. Didn't get it when I saw it several months ago; and do not get it now, as I watch the cast and crew celebrate their Oscar win. Far too easy a moral ... far too lazy a story. Shrug.

Friday, March 03, 2006

You Really Can't Believe Me. Honestly, I Make a Lot of Stuff Up

Let me preface this by saying something unequivocal and untainted by qualification: I really don't like kids. Okay, having said that, let me equivocate and add a couple of qualifications. (1) I really don't like kids that make me realize how much I hate the idea of ever having any; (2) I really don't like kids that stare at me while I'm eating; and (3) I really don't like kids that don't like me.

By and large, nobody thinks it's a good idea that I ever be a parent. While the jury is still out in the minds of many whether K. would make a good parent, with most being won over by how much she genuinely seems to like most kids, a good 90% of friends polled are simply horrified at the thought of me being a father. (This was confirmed in a conversation with two such friends last night.)

This has got me thinking, though. Is "proving people wrong" a valid reason for trying to have a kid? I mean ... isn't that just as valid as, "oops, I guess that forgotten pill was a big deal"? I mean, sure, women have the biological-clock thing going for them. But, really, biology? A natural urge to be a mother? If that's all you have in your motivation bag, then don't come talking to me about the "miracle" of childbirth -- at that point, your child is as natural as a turd.

Now, before I'm attacked by the legion of mothers who undoubtedly read this blog, I'm not comparing anybody's child to a piece of crap. Near as I can remember, none of your kids have stared at me while I'm eating; and most have no reason to hate me, but certainly every reason to be happily oblivious to my existence. No ... my point is simply that everybody has an underlying motivation for wanting to have a baby. This talk of biological need to have a child, to breed, is far too animalistic and primal for me to think anybody actually believes it on the level of biology alone. I won't begin to speculate as to what the "real" reasons are, or to what degree they may or may not be valid. (Not only am I not in a position to assess that, I don't particularly care.) Furthermore, my point is that maybe "proving people wrong" isn't such a bad reason to want to have kids. I mean, relative to other reasons, I have to think it has as much validity.

Before you inquire whether I've just learned that K. is pregnant, I'll stop you in your tracks and say, "Hell to the no!" Nor am I all that interested in proving any of you people wrong anytime soon. But someday, who knows, maybe I'll be able to sit a son or daughter down on my knee and tell them the story of how Papa made her out a love borne by spite. And we will laugh at one another, and then at others, and then at you.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Gotta Save Up Those GBDs

Travis Frey, stands accused of one count of child pornography and another count of trying to kidnap his wife, but I suspect with this four-page document he's made his fair share of male (and even some female) fans.

Note: I'm not blockquoting any of this for fear of the Google hits.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bedtime Reading

Final serenity. -- A newspaper obituary for a businessman once contained the words: "The breadth of his conscience vied with the kindness of his heart." The blunder committed by the bereaved in the elevated language reserved for such purposes, the inadvertent admission that the kind-hearted deceased had lacked a conscience, expedites the funeral procession by the shortest route to the land of truth. If a man of advanced years is praised for his exceptional serenity, his life can be assumed to comprise a succession of infamies. He has rid himself of the habit of getting excited. Breadth of conscience is passed off as magnanimity, all-forgiving because all-too-understanding. The quid pro quo between one's own guilt and that of others, is resolved in favour of whoever has come off best. After so long a life one quite loses the capacity to distinguish who has done what harm to whom. In the abstract conception of universal wrong, all concrete responsibility vanishes. The blackguard presents himself as victim of injustice: if only you knew, young man, what life is like. But those conspicuous midway through life by an exceptional kindness are usually drawing advances on such serenity. He who is not malign does not live serenely but with a peculiarly chaste hardness and intolerance. Lacking appropriate objects, his love can scarcely express itself except by hatred for the inappropriate, in which admittedly he comes to resemble what he hates. The bourgeois, however, is tolerant. His love of people as they are stems from his hatred of what they might be. (T. Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Common Sense Shit Post

I know most people regard me as a die-hard partisan Democrat, though I'm not, and that I'll say and do anything to make a Republican seem dirty, which I will, but it is reporting like this that should put to rest the attempts of so many to paint the Jack Abramoff scandal as one shared by both Democrats and Republicans.

It goes without saying that career politicians of all stripes are almost certainly dirty individuals, in some respect anyway, and that there should be reforms; but it doesn't stand to reason that this scandal needs to be equally laid at the feet of both parties in order for that to happen.

A Shit Post

As a lot of you already know, be it through other kind-hearted bloggers or through conversations with me, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation last week. Remarkably, things went very smoothly. All that is left now to make the necessary editorial revisions, bind it, and spend another $100+ shipping it o'erseas.

I've been asked a lot lately how it feels being finished. My instinct is to regard the whole affair as oddly anticlimactic. But, really, I only feel this when sober. Get a few pints or drams of whisky in me, and I'm the king of the world. Another reason to stay boozed up, I guess.

The other question commonly asked is, in short, 'What now?' Good question. The short answer, besides getting drunk a lot and revelling in my superiority complex, is that I desperately need to find a job. One that does not relate to shelving CDs and DVDs. In order for that to happen, though, I need to get some more stuff published. So, basically, there's no rest for the weary. As soon as I get the thesis bound and shipped, I have to start tearing article-sized portions out for possible publication, finish up writing articles and reviews I committed to writing without really thinking, and then pimp out my services to a institution that finds appealing somebody trained in philosophical aesthetics and theology. Any of you with uncles or great-aunts who happens to be on the Board of Trustees of a college or university, you know where to find me.

Wow. This might be the most boring blog post ever.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Maybe We're Not So Different After All

I obviously spend a lot of time frustrated at my country's undyingly fundamentalist fervor -- be it fully fleshed out in something ostensibly noble like 'justice', or something ostensibly wrong like 'revenge' -- for, in short, a messianic return. We all want a return on our investments, so why not go for the biggest return of all, the promise of which prompts the investment, cynical or pious, of many a president and professional politician.

Which brings me to Scott Peterson's excellent two-part article in The Christian Science Monitor on the appropriation of religious language, especially that of rapture and eschatological fulfillment, in the political saga currently unfolding in Iran. (part one // part two).

It's nice to think that all that divides us is the name of that tyrannical religious excuse for demagoguery.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Checking In

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I last posted. I've been bad before, but surely never this bad. And this after a torrent of comments related to my, shall we say, strong opinions about The Chronicles of Narnia.

There is something about life in Belgium, especially when you're not in the city, that causes days to race by without you even noticing. Mind you, I'm not isolated. I have super-fast internet, a variety of BBC channels, and an assortment of Flemish and French documentaries that I can sometimes vaguely follow. So, I know what's happening in the world.

I know, for instance, that the US Senate is on the verge of likely confirming a Justice with a conception of 'executive' power disturbingly similar to that of the US President, and that all right-thinking people should by very very concerned. A move to Belgium, in fact, should not be ruled out.

I know that West Virginia mine officials, the private corporations that failed to heed governmental warnings and governmental agencies that failed to enforce said warnings, have little to no interest in the lives of the workers who keep them in power.

I know that I'm a little sad that Tom DeLay will no longer pursue leadership of the House -- but am also a little delighted that in the span of a few years the head Republicans of both the Senate and the House have had to resign their positions in disgrace.

I know that I'm very depressed at the prospect that none of this will matter on Election Day in November.

I know, moving to lighter stuff, that last night the New England Patriots took one more step toward playing the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. ('nuff said) And that the Bengals will likely lose today against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I know that my viva is less than two weeks away and all bravado has slipped away.

I know that this was a very haphardously random blog post.

I know that I'm going to try to be a better blogger the rest of my trip abroad.