Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

10/28/2003

Motherfucking snowing on my commute today. That's special. There aren't TV shows anymore, there's only footage. I know that would be more relevatory if I had blogged this in 1985.

10/27/2003

If you're a progressive partisan, I highly recommend going over to the Daily Kos, signing up, and getting a diary. Even if you have your own blog. Hive power, man! It's kind of like lining up stereos, one to each window of a skyscraper, and tuning into the same station. Political SETI.

Here's a truncated post I had there which might be of interest to Ptarmiganimals:

Anyway, I've been reading an interesting book: Walter Brueggemann's Prophetic Imagination . Although it's obstenibly a work of Biblical scholarship, I'm kind of reading it through the lens of political science, and it's good stuff. A lot of time is spent on how old testament prophets countered themselves against the "royal consciousness," which began, according to Brueggemann, with Solomon "the wise.":

The possibility of an alternative consciousness...was quite removed from Israel in Solomon's time. The king characteristically could find no such notion acceptable. It seems likely that criticism could no longer be practiced because the transcendent agent necessary to criticism was gone. And we may hyphothesize that promises that could energize are now all confiscated for royal use....The tension between a criticized present and an energizing future is overcome. There is only an uncriticized and unergizing present...
*
,,,Now there is no notion that God is free and that he may act apart and even against this regime...God is now "on call", and access to him is controlled by the royal coiurt. Such an arrangement clearly serves two interlocking functions. On one hand, it assures ready sanction to every notion of the king because there can be no transcendent resistance or protest. On the other hand, it gives the king a monopoly so that no marginal person may approach this God except on the king's terms...
*
The royal program of achievable satiation...(a) is legitimated by an "official religion of optimism," which believes God has no business other than to maintain our standard of living, ensuring his own place in his palace, and (b) requires the annulment of the neighbor as a life-giver in our history; it imagines that we can live outside history as self-made men and women...
*
How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a  real historical newness in our situation? This is not to ask...if this freedom is realistic or politically practical or economically viable. ...We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable.
*
In considering the Solominic achievement, I have been speaking of the fate of the royal consciousnss as "numbness" even though I have not used that word. The Solomonic establishement embodies the loss of passion, which is the inability to care or suffer. ..Clearly, the regime is interested not in what people experience but in their behavior, which can be managed.

Sound like any "regime" we know?

Therefore (and that's a lot to digest), in our era of heartless 3rd-ring suburb superchurches, Hummers, 200+ channels, the neo-feudalism of gated communities, people "bowling alone," I think people are looking for a political hope that gives an alternative to mere satiation. (Remember how Bush wanted people to spend their way out of the misery after 9/11 , rather than giving people an imaginative response to a crisis, a la Lincoln and Roosevelt--behavior vs. experience, as Brueggemann posits).

Whether this is an electable strategy is, of course, a whole nuther debate. But perhaps what Dean is tapping into imagining a future. Other candidates, naturally, are trying to do the same thing. And personally I think someone like Edwards has the potential with his innovative "postmodern populism" (as Digby calls it) to give people that "it", that fire. But give props to Dean for doing it first--for imagining a reconnection with the original American social contract. A convenant, if you will.



10/21/2003

I remember it was 1996-1997 there was a computer retail company, one of those online dot-com things, you remember those, and there was an ad they had on that new dot-commy MSNBC network (remember their bad, yet somehow endearing, early techie programming? Because it was new economy. Those were Soledad's finest hours). I forget the exact nature of that ad, something about shooting cheerleaders, maybe some dwarves, running over clowns, killing a marching band, something like that. Something "shocking." And I was, in fact, shocked. The last image on the screen were the words: "Send complaints to: [Name of company I can't remember].com". A cash sneer. I couldn't believe the nerve of that company, whatever it was, to pull such an unvarnished dastard on an unsuspecting public, who only wanted to watch Soledad, dammit.

Not sure who they were, still? Maybe this is the liquid money draining into the water basin of history, or something like that. Sometimes (but of course, not always), the best way to heal cruelty is to forget about it, in all meanings of that term.

That company I bet offered free backrubs to its employees circa 1998-1999!

10/20/2003

Then there are these Aimee Bender font stories which are little wonders.

Blogging as a form of kareoke. OK, I'm still sick and that's the best I can come up with. It's this malaise mosaic.

As poetics.

10/17/2003

Sick am I. Feverish. This probably isn't a good time to talk about baseball is it? Because it's just baseball.

10/14/2003

Things should return to semi-normal in about 24 hours. Go semi-arbitrary deadlines, it's your birthday!

Contemplations for future blog posts: Kevin Garnett, J.G. Ballard, the politicization of evil Minnesota snowmobile corporations, Lofting, John Cleveland's antiplatonicks, maybe all at once.

10/13/2003

In lieu of coherent thoughts here is the long and excellent post by my wife (one month!) giving the skinny on our wedding.

poetry = out
space opera = in

chess = fading
? = yes

10/08/2003

Behold Angle-Grinder Man.

I'm kind of stalling!

10/07/2003

This is so fucking genius I don't know where to begin.

10/02/2003

New games available at the 2003 Interactive Fiction Competition. There are only 30 games this year. Hey, maybe I'll be able to play them all! Not likely.

Also, via the excellent Grand Text Auto blog, the latest Poems That Go issue has a lot of interactive poetics-y goodness ("Language becomes not just a rock to be blown away with a keystroke or a ball to hit with a paddle, but the very means of guiding your 'ship,' a character, within a world that is textually described." --Nick Montfort, a good of a description of what good IF can do as anything)

10/01/2003

I was browsing this little cove of essays by Lorine Niedecker and saw that one of the things she wrote was published

"...in Madison’s Capital Times on 18 December 1948 in the "Books of Today"
column edited by August Derleth."

And my heart just about stopped. Well, not really. But extreme, albeit pleasureful, dissonance ensued. So...is there a link between Niedecker and Arkham House? Two sides of the Wisconsin coin?

Too tantalizing for words, those granite pails of Cthulu...