Friday, November 19, 2004

Just heard GWB quoted to the effect that "the verdict is still out on how God created the Earth." Well, maybe if Arlen Specter lets a couple justices past, we can get a ruling on that. (It's sick, but I actually feel a little sorry for Specter; all he freakin' said was that it might be difficult to confirm a judge who was known to believe R v. W ought to be overturned, which is surely a factual statement. And now there are zealots on the radio saying that it would be a "betrayal" of the consituency that [may or may not have] re-elected the president to let him chair the committee.)

I begin to worry that the Tom Frank analysis -- neocons don't care about doing anything on the 'values' issues, in fact they'd rather keep their peeps angry so they can continue to be elected on that platform and consolidate economic power -- may be violently falsified over the next few years.

It's upsetting that the notion that the word "theory" is not generally defined, for the purposes of teaching science, as "what one believes, on whatever grounds" is too sophisticated for a number of school boards. Bad, bad mojo rising.

Plus, I need to ask someone knowledgable for the etiology of the idea of "strict constructivism" (or is it "constructionism"?) about the interpretation of the Constitution; is this phrase actually code for a reactionary view, or is it [as I suspect] a respectable jurisprudential view that's been misappropriated on the assumption that constructionism would ineluctably lead to interpretations desired on independent grounds?

I also find that it's difficult to know how to make use of the notion of "revolution," in that I see the point of what I take to be a failry sophisticated (Jamesonian?) view that the transformations such an occurrence would embody are so radical as to be unimaginable and/or inexpressible for our current p.o.v.. Not to be a positivist, but once you've said that, what more does one go on to say? Can it only be 'said' in figurative/metaphysical language? (Or: Not said but shown -- mmm, Marxist interpretation of Tractatus 6.) Not that I have anything against these; just wondering.

Sorry, the tissue between these hunks is missing. On an unrelated note: Microfiche is wack, especially when the one issue of the Voice you need (Feb. 9, 1979) is not on the reel, which you can only find out after futzing with the threading mechanism for 20 mins.

And: During the weekends on either side of the last brief posting, I helped out on the new Mountain Goats record (sorry, details in lockdown) and gave a response to a conference paper on notions of beauty in Kant and Proust. That was a dissonant week; and what stinks is that I still feel like a loafer b/c I'm behind schedule (though working) on EC.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Unless I've lost my mind, the UCLA belltower just emitted "Some Enchanted Evening."

Vote and die anyway.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Despite the Dems' fantasy that just about every single provisional vote in Ohio went to Kerry [which was abandoned as I wrote this], this election was not close enough for talk of it being 'stolen' to gain much traction in the coming days, I suspect. This is good for the country's image of itself as a well-functioning democracy, or if you like, for its complacency. As someone with radical doubts (whether or not these could also be described as radical convictions) I know I'm not supposed to care which of these two losers win -- but that doesn't mean the next four years will be any less locally unpleasant. Four more years of the same statements about Iraq and the economy no matter what is actually happening; more importantly, four more years of what is actually happening. Four more years of Ashcroft; plus, this time, the strong, even looming likelihood that Supreme Court seats will be filled by hand-picked conservatives. Four more years of a political ideology that treats Social Darwinism as a more robust theory than the biological variety.

If this election was stolen at all, it was done long ago, by the strategy -- apparently more effective today than when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were the too-obviously-smarmy faces of the Christian right -- of framing selected social issues as deal-breakers, no matter what is happening to one's selfish or class-based interests, or who's dying where. I was struck, in listening to NPR coverage, to reports about the number of voters who said that 'moral values' -- which barely even pretends to be a disguise for 'religion' -- was key.

But why are the legality of the choice of others to bear a child or not, and to live together as a married couple or not, matters of 'moral values' while expedient lying, exploitation, and the pursuit of vengeance are not? Why do these appeals work here in a way that they could never work in a number of other industrialized nations?

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