the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Archive for June, 2009

Posted by rigorousm on June 28, 2009

Will the literature of the fantastic be possible in the twenty-first century, with the growing inflation of prefabricated images? Two paths seem to be open from now on. (1) We could recycle used images in a new context that changes their meaning. Post-modernism may be seen as the tendency to make ironic use of stock images of the mass media, or to inject the taste for the marvelous inherited from literary tradition into narrative mechanisms that accentuate its alienation. (2) We could wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. Samuel Beckett has obtained the most extraordinary results by reducing visual and linguistic elements to a minimum, as if in a world after the end of the world.

– Italo Calvino, “Visiblity” pp. 95 [emphasis mine], Six Memos for the Next Millennium.

Listening: Pill – Trap Going Ham. (here) And the photographer’s post about making the video: “If you’re into realism in your rap, this video is going to have it. Granted, alot of this ish was laughable, at the end of the day its actually tragic. There are alot of desensitized people out here in these streets that either have no clue or no cooth. At the rate that Atlanta is growing, everything and possibly everybody in this video will be swept away when ever the city decides too.” (here)

Watching: the realtime version of #IranElection, Out Rage 69 (here).

Reading: Finished: Six Memos for the New Millennium, The Worst Hard Time: the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. In Progress: Farm City.



  • Zizek on Iran. (here)
  • Interview with Michael Mann, UCLA sociology professor, about his book, “Incoherent Empire.” (here) Part of the Conversations with History website. (here)
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. (here)
  • The Big Picture: dance around the world. (here)
  • Update on Iran 6/27. (here)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

lighter notes

Posted by rigorousm on June 25, 2009

dithyrambic (adj) a. Pertaining to, or of the nature of, a dithyramb; composing dithyrambs. b. transf. Resembling a dithyramb in irregularity of style; wild, vehement, boisterous.

volubility (n) I. 1. Quickness in turning from one object to another; versatility. Obs. rare. b. Ready variation of expression. Obs. 2. The capacity of revolving, rolling, or turning round; aptness to rotate about an axis or centre.  b. Of the eye: Readiness in moving. rare. 3. Capacity for moving in an easy or gliding manner. Obs. 4. Tendency to change or turn from one condition to another; changeableness, mutability, inconstancy. Obs.    a. Of persons. b. Of fortune or affairs.  II. 5. Ready flow of speech, etc.  b. Smooth, easy, or copious flow of verse or poetic utterance. 6. The character or state of being voluble in speech; great fluency of language; readiness of speech; garrulousness.  7. Extreme readiness of the tongue in respect of speech or discourse. b. Similarly of the throat, voice, etc.

impecuniosity (n) The quality or condition of being impecunious; lack of money.

inimical (adj) 1. Having the disposition or temper of an enemy; unfriendly, hostile. Const. to.  2. Adverse or injurious in tendency or influence; harmful, hurtful. Const. to.

conspectus (n) 1. A general view or comprehensive survey (with the mind’s eye). 2. More usually concr. A tabulation of particulars or details presenting a general view of them; a synopsis, digest.


  • Apartment Therapy: cave house. (here)
  • Design*Sponge: DIY postcard journals. (here)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

On ‘Caryatid Who Has Fallen under Her Stone’

Posted by rigorousm on June 18, 2009

“… The crummiest plaster crucifix can evoke emotions in the human heart so strong that many have died for them. The artistry with which such a symbol is wrought is irrelevant. Here we have another emotional symbol — but wrought with exquisite artistry. Ben, for three thousand years architects designed buildings with columns shaped as female figures. At last Rodin pointed out that this was work too heavy for a girl. He didn’t say, ‘Look, you jerks, if you must do this, make it a brawny male figure.’ No, he showed it. This poor little caryatid has fallen under the load. She’s a good girl– look at her face. Serious, unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone, not even the gods… and still trying to shoulder her load, even after she’s crumpled under it.

“But she’s more than good art denouncing bad art; she’s a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women– this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in complaining fortitude, until they crumpled under their loads. It’s courage, Ben, and victory.”

— Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land, pp. 308

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

empire state humans

Posted by rigorousm on June 16, 2009

When the truth was told quietly to Pierre he distrusted it. He had to be dealt with violently in order to daze and paralyze his suspicions. Eve preferred to brutalize him rather than lie: when she lied and he acted as if he believed it she could not avoid a very slight feeling of superiority which made her horrified at herself.

I know exactly what I resent in Eve, he told himself, entering the Boulevard St. Germain. I resent her living outside the limits of human nature. Pierre is no longer a human being: in all the care and all the love she gives him she deprives human beings of a little. We don’t have the right to refuse ourselves to the world; no matter what, we live in society.

He watched the faces of the passers-by with sympathy; he loved their clear, serious looks. In these sunlit streets, in the midst of mankind, one felt secure, as in the midst of a large family.

– excerpt from Sartre’s “The Room”

On a seventh floor balcony: that’s where I should have spent my whole life. You have to prop up moral superiorities with material symbols or else they’ll tumble. But exactly what is my superiority over men? Superiority of position, nothing more: I have placed myself above the human within me and I study it.

– excerpt from Sartre’s “Erostratus”

Sartre’s psychopaths in The Wall are similar to Coover’s in their unreality – socializing , being human is a game, so play. Sadistically, with a particular emphasis on making their playmates (or gamepieces, depending) uncomfortably aware of their (the latter’s) physicality.

Everything is fine until the age of twenty. After that, it’s finished: curiosity, mystery, temptation, rapture, adventure are done for, done for. They do exercises to stay slim, but would they exert themselves to keep the color fast in their lives and the itch in their days? None of that; after twenty they give no more thought to the gymnastics of love. They’ve learned their little parts. They’ve got a technique down pat and won’t let go of it: you clasp the woman in your arms and say to her… whereupon she falls on the sofa exclaiming, “Oh, Charles!” You have only to see what happens in the slick films. Do they ever by any chance show a woman, who, upon noticing some guy, walks straight up to him, without words but with flashing eyes, and suddenly places her hand on his crotch? A film like that would never succeed; it wouldn’t seem realistic enough, and what the public clamors for is realities, RE-AL-I-TIES:


Once upon a time
There was a reality
With its sheep of real wool
The king’s son happened by
The sheep bleat How pretty
Is re re reality
Once upon a time
It came to pass at night
A reality could not fall asleep
Its fairy godmother
Really took it by the hand
Re re reality
Once upon a time
An aged king was bored
His mantle slipped off
In the evening
So he was given a queen named
Re re reality
CODA: Ity, ity rea
ity ity reality
Rea rea
ty ty rea
ty ty rea
ty reality
Once upon a time there was REALITY

– page 43, “The Passage de L’Opera,” Le Paysan de Paris, Louis Aragon

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

on the desire to leave

Posted by rigorousm on June 12, 2009

Sometimes you hear, fifth-hand,
As epitaph:

He chucked up everything
And just cleared off
And always the voice will sound
Certain you approve
This audacious, purifying,
Elemental move.

And they are right, I think,
We all hate home
And having to be there:
I detest my room,
Its specially chosen junk,
The good books, the good bed,
And my life, in perfect order:
So to hear it said

He walked out on the whole crowd
Leaves me flushed and stirred,
Like Then she undid her dress
Or take that you bastard;
And that helps me stay
Sober and industrious.
But I’d go today,

Yes, swagger the nut-strewn roads,
Crouch in the fo’c’sle
Stubbly with goodness, if
It weren’t so artificial,
Such a deliberate step backwards
To create an object;
Books; china; a life
Reprehensibly perfect.

– Philip Larkin, “Poetry of Departures”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

enjoying Oakland, cheaply

Posted by rigorousm on June 2, 2009

Communicating at a distance

Communicating at a distance

Journey cover band at the Golden Gate races.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »