Sunday, May 27, 2007

Philip K. Dick: "If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who use the words"

The link was added by me--it just seemed appropriate.
(Courtesy of The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension)

How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later
by Philip K. Dick, 1978

Well, I will tell you what interests me, what I consider important. I can't claim to be an authority on anything, but I can honestly say that certain matters absolutely fascinate me, and that I write about them all the time. The two basic topics which fascinate me are "What is reality?" and "What constitutes the authentic human being?" Over the twenty-seven years in which I have published novels and stories I have investigated these two interrelated topics over and over again. I consider them important topics. What are we? What is it which surrounds us, that we call the not-me, or the empirical or phenomenal world?


In 1951, when I sold my first story, I had no idea that such fundamental issues could be pursued in the science fiction field. I began to pursue them unconsciously. My first story had to do with a dog who imagined that the garbagemen who came every Friday morning were stealing valuable food which the family had carefully stored away in a safe metal container. Every day, members of the family carried out paper sacks of nice ripe food, stuffed them into the metal container, shut the lid tightly—and when the container was full, these dreadful-looking creatures came and stole everything but the can.

Finally, in the story, the dog begins to imagine that someday the garbagemen will eat the people in the house, as well as stealing their food. Of course, the dog is wrong about this. We all know that garbagemen do not eat people. But the dog's extrapolation was in a sense logical—given the facts at his disposal. The story was about a real dog, and I used to watch him and try to get inside his head and imagine how he saw the world. Certainly, I decided, that dog sees the world quite differently than I do, or any humans do. And then I began to think, Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world, a world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. And that led me wonder, If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe, it's as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can't explain his to us, and we can't explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too diffrently, there occurs a breakdown of communication... and there is the real illness.


It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question "What is reality?", to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." That's all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven't been able to define reality any more lucidly.

But the problem is a real one, not a mere intellectual game. Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups—and the electronic hardware exists by which to deliver these pseudo-worlds right into the heads of the reader, the viewer, the listener. Sometimes when I watch my eleven-year-old daughter watch TV, I wonder what she is being taught. The problem of miscuing; consider that. A TV program produced for adults is viewed by a small child. Half of what is said and done in the TV drama is probably misunderstood by the child. Maybe it's all misunderstood. And the thing is, Just how authentic is the information anyhow, even if the child correctly understood it? What is the relationship between the average TV situation comedy to reality? What about the cop shows? Cars are continually swerving out of control, crashing, and catching fire. The police are always good and they always win. Do not ignore that point: The police always win. What a lesson that is. You should not fight authority, and even if you do, you will lose. The message here is, Be passive. And—cooperate. If Officer Baretta asks you for information, give it to him, because Officer Beratta is a good man and to be trusted. He loves you, and you should love him.

So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing. It is my job to create universes, as the basis of one novel after another. And I have to build them in such a way that they do not fall apart two days later. Or at least that is what my editors hope. However, I will reveal a secret to you: I like to build universes which do fall apart. I like to see them come unglued, and I like to see how the characters in the novels cope with this problem. I have a secret love of chaos. There should be more of it. Do not believe—and I am dead serious when I say this—do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.


The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. George Orwell made this clear in his novel 1984. But another way to control the minds of people is to control their perceptions. If you can get them to see the world as you do, they will think as you do. Comprehension follows perception. How do you get them to see the reality you see? After all, it is only one reality out of many. Images are a basic constituent: pictures. This is why the power of TV to influence young minds is so staggeringly vast. Words and pictures are synchronized. The possibility of total control of the viewer exists, especially the young viewer. TV viewing is a kind of sleep-learning. An EEG of a person watching TV shows that after about half an hour the brain decides that nothing is happening, and it goes into a hypnoidal twilight state, emitting alpha waves. This is because there is such little eye motion. In addition, much of the information is graphic and therefore passes into the right hemisphere of the brain, rather than being processed by the left, where the conscious personality is located. Recent experiments indicate that much of what we see on the TV screen is received on a subliminal basis. We only imagine that we consciously see what is there. The bulk of the messages elude our attention; literally, after a few hours of TV watching, we do not know what we have seen. Our memories are spurious, like our memories of dreams; the blank are filled in retrospectively. And falsified. We have participated unknowingly in the creation of a spurious reality, and then we have obligingly fed it to ourselves. We have colluded in our own doom.

And—and I say this as a professional fiction writer—the producers, scriptwriters, and directors who create these video/audio worlds do not know how much of their content is true. In other words, they are victims of their own product, along with us. Speaking for myself, I do not know how much of my writing is true, or which parts (if any) are true. This is a potentially lethal situation. We have fiction mimicking truth, and truth mimicking fiction. We have a dangerous overlap, a dangerous blur. And in all probability it is not deliberate. In fact, that is part of the problem. You cannot legislate an author into correctly labelling his product, like a can of pudding whose ingredients are listed on the label... you cannot compel him to declare what part is true and what isn't if he himself does not know.


If any of you have read my novel Ubik, you know that the mysterious entity or mind or force called Ubik starts out as a series of cheap and vulgar commercials and winds up saying:

I am Ubik. Before the universe was I am. I made the suns. I made the worlds. I created the lives and the places they inhabit; I move them here, I put them there. They go as I say, they do as I tell them. I am the word and my name is never spoken, the name which no one knows. I am called Ubik but that is not my name. I am. I shall always be.

It is obvious from this who and what Ubik is; it specifically says that it is the word, which is to say, the Logos. In the German translation, there is one of the most wonderful lapses of correct understanding that I have ever come across; God help us if the man who translated my novel Ubik into German were to do a translation from the koine Greek into German of the New Testament. He did all right until he got to the sentence "I am the word." That puzzled him. What can the author mean by that? he must have asked himself, obviously never having come across the Logos doctrine. So he did as good a job of translation as possible. In the German edition, the Absolute Entity which made the suns, made the worlds, created the lives and the places they inhabit, says of itself:

I am the brand name.

Had he translated the Gospel according to Saint John, I suppose it would have come out as:

When all things began, the brand name already was. The brand name dwelt with God, and what God was, the brand name was.


Such is the fate of an author who hoped to include theological themes in his writing. "The brand name, then, was with God at the beginning, and through him all things came to be; no single thing was created without him." So it goes with noble ambitions. Let's hope God has a sense of humor.

Or should I say, Let's hope the brand name has a sense of humor.

Link to Read the Entire Speech

Neil Postman: On the Importance of Question Asking

... all our knowledge results from questions, which is another way of saying that question-asking is our most important intellectual tool. I would go so far as to say that the answers we carry about in our heads are largely meaningless unless we know the questions which produced them. ... What, for example, are the sorts of questions that obstruct the mind, or free it, in the study of history? How are these questions different from those one might ask of a mathematical proof, or a literary work, or a biological theory? ... What students need to know are the rules of discourse which comprise the subject, and among the most central of such rules are those which govern what is and what is not a legitimate question.

--Neil Postman, Teaching as a Conserving Activity, 1979.


Neil Postman Online

Jay Rosen Remembers Postman

Saturday, May 26, 2007


(not to long ago someone told me that I think too much--so I am reposting this ...)


It started out innocently enough.

I began to think at parties now and then -- to loosen up.

Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home.

One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of
life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here? " One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job." This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss.

"Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college
professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on
thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

"I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche.

I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors...They didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker.

I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's."

Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.

Life just seemed...easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today, I registered to vote as a Republican.

Oikos ... random thoughts on a sleepless night

I've been working designing courses centered around identity/place/community, etymology/keywords, global/local/interrelatedness and community activism/learning/engagement. The Greek idea of Oikos (eco), along with inquiry and orientation are key grounding concepts... also recognition of student experience and reconnection to place through an awareness of interrelatedness on multiple levels (including research into origins of words/beliefs/places/objects/etc...)

Now I’m at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, where I’m teaching courses centered on the concepts of Place, Identity, and Community. I have developed this pedagogy as an attempt to bridge students’ everyday experiences and academic knowledge. I hope that through discussion and writing about our sense of self, place, and community, we can develop a new awareness of the possibilities of writing/thinking as a form of civic engagement and hopefully, in the process, provide a helping hand to at-risk students.

This is doubly distressing for me. How can I expect my students to make meaning out of the swirl of data when I am devoting large parts of my life to informing my self about current events without clear results? I lack certainty! I am often confused! I know my reflective doubt is supposed to be a good sign in that I am avoiding the dogmatic certainty that often leads to abuses, but can radical doubt be the foundation for critical engagement? Academia has skillfully prepared me to question all texts and positions. Grasping my hammer tightly, I eagerly assault all sacred idols and social illusions, leaving the mess for others to clean up. Perhaps in this time of secrecy and lies it is time to think about a reconstructive ethics?

Still stumped, I have to return to the basics. What is it I see as a problem in our society? What plagues my own thoughts? What would I like my students to learn? What ideas can frame the beginning questions that might allow the imagining of new possibilities? This nausea that pervades my being initiates a radical need to return to the etymological roots (rad-) of the words that might jumpstart my stalled intellect.

A framing concern for me — personally and professionally — is ecology as the study of the interconnectedness of beings in environmental systems of all types. The root “eco-” originates from the Greek word oikos, which referred to an understanding of home, household, or more fully, our habitus. Ecology, then, is the study or understanding (take that apart — the foundations of the ground below us that support our current position… what lays under the point where we are standing) of the world which we inhabit and the attempt to derive new meanings from the interconnectedness and interrelationships of life. The need for ecological awareness seems obvious to me, but the word has unfortunately been paired in an oppositional relationship to another dominating term — “economics.” While ecology derives its conjunctive meaning from logos (knowledge), economics draws its conjunctive power from nomos (law). We have then in contemporary society a dualistic division of the concerns of these two important and powerful words. The study, knowledge, and understanding of our environments vs. the control, regulation, and management of those environments.

Might a reconstructive ethics start here in a rapprochement of these two essential concepts for understanding the increasingly interrelated and interconnected global system? Would the breaking down of these artificial barriers between these two major concerns of life allow for a fuller understanding of how we might restore a sense of justice, rights, and responsibilites? No longer would it simply be an issue of ecology against economics, or the market before our environment, or a separation of the human from nature.

Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Roberto Sifuentes, in their “Temple of Confessions” diorama performances, deconstruct the modern ethnographic gaze in order to expose its predatory nature. They critique the dominate culture's power to classify and regulate, by turning stereotypes inside-out, exploding cultural myths and, most importantly, allowing their audiences to reveal their own place in the national narratives. For a detailed analysis of their deconstructive performances, visit my review of the “Temple of Confessions” performances in Bowling Green, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan. Cultural performers like Gomez-Pena and Sifuentes are restor(y)ing the modernist practice of ethnography in order to reconstruct 21st-century (auto)ethnographic poetics. As Norm Denzin reminds in his book, Performative Ethnography (Sage, 2003), we all perform culture and this is never an innocent practice (as in free of intent to influence). With this realization, the critical thinker develops a clear and honest statement of his/her position as a writer-producer of knowledge and re-cognizes their role in the production of ethnographic knowledge.

Moving to the forefront of the development of 21st-century autoethnographic poetics are stories by the people who live these stories. These autoethnographic documents speak for themselves because they are written in the direct and honest voice of the authors:

Reconstruction Editors: What We Write and Why We Write

(notes on) H.L. Goodall: Writing the New Ethnography

Catherin Russel: Autoethnography--Journeys of the Self

Elizabeth Barrett: Strangers With a Camera

Mathamegenic: Two Papers, Me in Between

Donna Haraway's The Companion Species Manifesto (scan down on the page)

Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire

Zone Zero: Exposiciones

While the world is continuing to speed along in a confusing, chaotic manner, there are those that are taking the time to provide us with glimpses of their particular realities. Each one is an insight into the secrets, passions and realities of this world. Each one allows us a glimpse into how this world is experienced and, thus, provides with a vision to compare with our own. It is in dialogue, discussion and debate that we sharpen our intelligence and revise our perspectives. Won't you do the same? The world benefits from the free exchange of ideas and open dialogue! We need to develop the response-ability to envision a different way of life.

Enough of uninterested knowledge (the most manipulative information is that which seeks to mask its intent/bias)--all meanings and knowledge are situated, biased and argumentative (whether implicitly or explicitly)

Michael Benton

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jill of All Trades: The Catacombs of Lexington

Wow, Literaghost, I'm intrigued by the notion of underground catacombs waiting for me to wander through them and chart their meandering trails of mysterious origins.

Thanks for this post... hoping the adventure will live on ... at least in our imaginations, if not in reality (sounds like a story waiting to be written?)

The Catacombs of Lexington

Michael Franti/Spearhead Live Show at San Quentin (Available Online)

Listen to the Entire Live San Quentin Show

Also look to the left of the webpage and you will see a whole series of their shows...

Here is an article about the San Quentin show

If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend Michael Franti's documentary I Know I'm Not Alone

Democracy Now: A Subversion of American Democracy?

A Subversion of American Democracy? White House & Democratic Leadership Agree on Secret Trade Deal
Host: Amy Goodman
Guest: Rick MacArthur
Democracy Now

Rick MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine, and author of the book "The Selling of “Free Trade: NAFTA, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy," discusses what's been happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill and why many environmentalists, AIDS activists, American labor unions, and social movements in Latin America oppose the deal.

To Watch/Listen/Read

Monday, May 21, 2007

Watching The Fountain

(I revised this because I have some students who are blowing my mind with their insights and making me happy to be teaching this summer--one of them asked me if I had seen The Fountain, yes, I did, and it went like this...)

OK, prepare yourself to open your mind to the possibilities, put on Muse's "Super Massive Blackhole"

and then check out this Discovery Channel special on Black Holes:

Then see Darren Aronofsky's mindblowing film The Fountain (don't listen to the mundane critics who do not get this film--it is bold, unique and deep--it is to be experienced ... why are there so few filmmakers that understand that cinema should be an art form that transforms you when you experience the film):

Unwind, revisit, ponder everything while listening to Modest Mouse afterwards, especially their song The Stars are Projectors...

Thank you Darren Aronofsky for initiating this fictional derive!!!!!

Then to keep the pleasant strangeness going read Haruki Murakami's stunningly weird and beautiful Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (my first time reading one of his books, but I will definitely be reading more--the first 30 pages I was having a hard time grasping the dual worlds he portrays in this novel, then, all of a sudden, it became so real... as if I had been there before and this was not all that strange):

"You are fearful now of losing your mind, as I once feared myself. Let me say, however, that to relinquish your self carries no shame," the Colonel breaks off and searches the air for words. "Lay down your mind and peace will come. A Peace deeper than anything you have known" (The Colonel speaking to the Man, who has lost his Shadow, at the End of the World: 318)

"First, about the mind. You tell me there is no fighting or hatred or desire in the Town. That is a beautiful dream, and I do want your happiness. But the absence of fighting or hatred or desire also means the opposites do not exist either. No joy, no communion, no love. Only where there is disillusionment and depression and sorrow does happiness arise; without the despair of loss, there is no hope. (The Shadow speaking to his Man at the End of the World: 334)

Then have a friend sense that you need some powerful meditative words to ground you:

When all the world is dark and fear surrounds me,
when my night-blind soul cries out for help,
I turn to thee.
For thou are my opening to the Light and hope.
Like a child crouching in the dark, bereft of love,
I call to thee for succor and for comfort.
How long must I remain in darkness?
How long must I suffer the darkness of others
that threatens to engulf me?
From far beyond the ultimate source of Light
comes the vouce of my desire.
i lift my head but remain silent, accepting
what I cannot change,
enduring that which seeks to overthrow me.
Hope, that most beloved of messengers,
comes winging down the paths of morning.
The darkness lifts, and I see beyond the shadows
to the sun.
I look to thee and I behold my beloved.
I open the window of my battered ark.
And, like a yearning dove,
my heart flies through the opening to freedom
and the Light.

(Amy S. states that "This is the 15th path on the road to ultimate no
thingness-which is the Ain Soph of the Kabbalah.")

and then delve into the 5 volumes of Alan Moore's "Promethea" series (which provides a unique fictional perspective on the development of magical thought and belief):

Deleuze and Guattari: Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

(Notes on the book and references to other commentators--Michael Benton)

Wikipedia summary of Anti-Oedipus


An introduction to the importance of May 1968 events in Paris and the rest of the world throughout that explosive year(as well as the aftermath) is essential to an understanding of this book and the development of contemporary French theory.

Guattari’s background as a radical psychiatrist is also very important.

Deleuze on their working relationship:

We are only two, but what was important for us was less our working together than this strange fact of working between the two of us. We stopped being “author.” And these “between the twos” referred back to other people, who were different on one side from on the other. ... In these conditions, as soon as there is this type of multiplicity, there is politics, micro-politics. (Deleuze and Parnet, 17)

Form/Style of the Book:

In D & G’s writings before and after Anti-Oedipus they develop an understanding of how theoretical perspectives can actually construct/create subjectivity. This is the critique of psychoanalysis in A-O.

Creating a theoretical model of subjectivity implies an ethical and aesthetic choice on the part of the theorist, in fact Guattari emphasizes this when he subtitles his later book Chaosmosis, “An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm”. Keeping this in mind how is the form/style of this book an attempt to create or construct a model of subjectivity? Is it successful in its attempt? Is Michel Foucault correct in calling this a ‘book of ethics’?

Mark Seem in his introduction following Henry Miller states that “No pain, no trouble—this is the neurotic’s dream of a tranquilized and conflict-free existence” and in reference to A-O that “What it attempts to cure us of is the cure itself” (xvi-xvii). Is the construction of this book centered around the authors’ resistance of the easy cure or strict (dogmatic) program? How are they attacking the “neurotic’s dream” ... keeping in mind that the psychoanalyst is the super-neurotic?

Claire Colbrook states that:

Rather than using reason and reasoned arguments, the book sought to explain and historicise the emergence of an essentially repressive image of reason. Rather than argument and proposition it worked by questions and interrogation: why should we accept conventions, norms, and values? What stops us from creating new values, new desires, or new images of what it is to be and think? This book was not a move within an already established debate; it shifted the entire criteria of the debate. Against justification and legitimation, it put forward the power of creation and transformation. It did not adopt the single voice of universal reason but, like a novel, ‘played’ with the voices of those traditionally deemed to be at the margins of reason ... (5)

Anti-Psychoanalytic Institution?:

It is often thought that Oedipus is an easy subject to deal with, something perfectly obvious, a “given” that is there from the very beginning. But that is not so at all: Oedipus presupposes a fantastic repression of desiring-machines. (A-O, 3)

One of the main questions raised in this quote and the accompanying footnote is: How did Freud appropriate the author(ity) of Greek tragedy to legitimize his psychoanalytic concepts? How does this relate to the second chapter's critique of the institution of psychoanalysis as a new secular religion set up by the followers of Freud and institutionalized by the industrial-military complex?

It is as if Freud had drawn back from this world of wild production and explosive desire, wanting at all costs to restore a little order there, an order made classical owing to the ancient Greek theater. ... It is only little by little that he makes the familial romance, on the contrary, into a mere dependence on Oedipus, and that he neuroticizes everything in the unconscious at the same time as he oedipalizes, and closes the familial triangle over the entire unconscious. ... The unconscious ceases to be what it is—a factory, a workshop—to become a theater, a scene and its staging. And not even an avant-garde theater, such as existed in Freud’s day ..., but the classical theater, the classical order of representation. The psychoanalyst becomes a director for a private theater, rather than the engineer or mechanic who sets up units of production, and grapples with collective agents of production and antiproduction. (54-55)

Has psychoanalysis shut down the (expanding on D & G) continuously evolving production of an unconscious in order to provide an all-encompassing, static analytic backdrop? What about their referencing of mechanics/engineers who facilitate the flows of production and recognize the collective processes?

For we must not delude ourselves: Freud doesn’t like schizophrenics. He doesn’t like their resistance to being oedipalized, and tends to treat them more or less as animals. They mistake words for things, he says. They are apathetic, narcissisitic, cut off from reality, incapable of achieving transference; they resemble philosophers—‘an undesirable resemblance.’ (A-O, 23)

This position of D & G seems unfair until we read the notes on the bottom of pages 56 and 59. How does the analyst construct a position free from doubt/criticism (leaving aside that they are supposed to submit to even super-super neurotics for analysis) in order to construct the patient’s world? (is this an unfair view of the analyst?—what does the two notes supply us as evidence of the analyst’s position—or how about the writings of Lacan)

It is not a question of denying the vital importance of parents or the love attachment of children to their mothers and fathers. It is a question of knowing what the place and the function of parents are within desiring-production, rather than doing the opposite and forcing the entire interplay of desiring-machines to fit within the restricted code of Oedipus. (47)

Is it possible that, by taking the path that it has, psychoanalysis is reviving an age-old tendency to humble us, to demean us, and to make us feel guilty? ... [is it] completing the task begun by nineteenth-century psychology, namely, to develop a moralized, familial discourse of mental pathology ... keeping European humanity harnessed to the yoke of daddy-mommy and making no effort to do away with this problem once and for all.... Hence, instead of participating in an undertaking that will bring about genuine liberation, psychoanalysis is taking part in the work of bourgeois repression at its most far-reaching level. (50)

D & G set out to develop schizoanalysis as their answer to this problem.


First important distinction is to remember that they are proposing an active schizophrenia that differs from the incapacitating medical designation of schizophrenia. D & G’s schizoanalysis grows out of their resistance to institutionalized psychoanalysis that has infiltrated all parts of society with a totalizing theory that masks humanity’s true relationship to the world:

From the moment we are measured in terms of Oedipus—the cards are stacked against us, and the only real relationship, that of production, has been done away with. (A-O, 24)

We cannot say that psychoanalysis is very innovative in this respect: it continues to ask its questions and develop its interpretations from the depths of the Oedipal triangle as its basic perspective, even though today it is acutely aware that this frame of reference is not at all adequate to explain so-called psychotic phenomena. (14)

A schizophrenic out for a walk is a better model than a neurotic laying on the analyst’s couch. A breath of fresh air, a relationship with the outside world (A-O, 2)

We no longer believe in the dull gray outlines of a dreary, colorless dialectic of evolution, aimed at forming a harmonious whole out of heterogeneous bits by rounding off their rough edges. We believe only in totalities that are peripheral. And if we discover such a totality alongside various separate parts, it is a whole of these particular parts but does not totalize them; it is a unity of all of these particular parts but does not unify them; rather, it is added to them as a new part fabricated separately. (42)

To withdraw a part from the whole, to detach, to ‘have something left over,’ is to produce, and to carry out real operations of desire in the world ... The whole not only coexists with all the parts; it is contiguous to them, it exists as a product that is produced apart from them and yet at the same time is related to them. (41, 43-44)

An important part of schizoanalysis is the development of a “schizoanalytic cartography” (A-O, 273-382). Guattari in another work states:

From my own perspective, which is guided by a shift of human and social sciences from “scientistic” paradigms to ethico-aesthetic ones, the question is no longer one of knowing if the Freudian unconscious or the Lacanian unconscious offers scientific solutions to the problem of the psyche. The models will only be considered as one among others for the production of subjectivity, inseparable from the technical and institutional mechanisms that support them, and from their impact on psychiatry, on university teaching, the mass media. ... In a more general way, one will have to admit that each individual, each social group, conveys its own system of modelling unconscious subjectivity, that is, a certain cartography made up of reference points that are cognitive, but also mythic, ritualistic, and symptomatological, and on the basis of which it positions itself in relation to its affects, its anxieties, and attempts to manage its various inhibitions and drives. Moreover, today, our question is not only of a speculative order, but has practical implications: do the models of the unconscious that are offered us on the “market” of psychoanalysis meet current conditions for the production of subjectivity? Is it necessary to transform them, or to invent new ones? What processes are set in motion in the awareness of an inhabitual shock? How do modifications to a mode of thinking, to an aptitude for the apprehension of a changing external world, take effect? How do representations of the external world change as it changes? The Freudian unconscious is inseparable from a society that is attached to its past, to its phallocratic traditions, and its subjective variants. Contemporary upheavals undoubtably call for a modelization turned more toward the future and to the emergence of new social and aesthetic practices in all areas. On the one hand, the devaluation of the meaning of life provokes the fragmentation of self-image: representations of self become confused and contradictory while, on the other hand, the conservative forces of resistance oppose themselves to all change, which is experienced by a secure, ossified, and dogmatic consciousness as an attempt at destabilization. (Guattari, “Subjectivities”: 197)

Deleuze adds:

... the diagram is no longer an auditory or visual archive but a map, a cartography that is coextensive with the whole social field. (Deleuze, Foucault: 34)

After setting up the problem as they see it in A-O they will later attempt to propose a mutable method for approaching this problem. Of course this will not be a solution that must be seized and made one’s own in order for it to have any effect:

The rhizome is altogether different, a map and not a tracing. Make a map, not a tracing. The orchid does not reproduce the tracing of the wasp; it forms a map with the wasp, in a rhizome. What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in upon itself; it constructs the unconscious. It fosters connections between the field, the removal of blockages on bodies without organs, the maximum opening of bodies without organs onto a plane of consistency. It is itself a part of the rhizome. The map is open and connectable in all of its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modification. It can be torn, reversed, adapted to any kind of mounting, reworked by an individual, group, or social formation. It can be drawn on a wall, conceived of as a work of art, constructed as a political action or as a mediation. (A Thousand Plateaus, 12)

On Capitalism:

Capitalism is schizophrenic because it is interested in profit and it must subvert/deterritorialize all territorial groupings such as familial, religious, or other social bonds. At the same time it relies on the continuous appearance/mythification of social groupings in order to continue functioning smoothly and to re-enforce social ordering needs. Thus, capitalism attempts to re-constitute the need for traditional/nostalgic, or, even, newer forms of social groupings or religious/state institutions. This deterritorialization/reterritorialization and decoding/recoding is happening at the same time—thus the schizophrenic nature of capitalism.

Does this schizophrenia of

1) consume, be an individual, be unique, may the best man win, the cream rises to the top, the romantic creative individual, mindlessly pursue your desires...

2) religious revivalism, family values, community first, moral majority, neighborhood watch (and snitch), deny/sacrifice, etc...

cause some of us to break under the strain of an absurd society?


... desire is revolutionary in its essence ... and no society can tolerate a position of real desire without its structures of exploitation, servitude, and hierarchy being compromised. (A-O 116)


Primitive territorial machine:
Everything is coded and ritualized. Territory is clearly marked out and understood. Everything is social.

Barbaric territorial machine (despot):
The social group is somewhat deterritorialized by the despot who continues to maintain order through a re-inscription of a highly coded production centered around the ruler (what he says goes). Part of the coding (ordering) process is carried out through ritualized dramas of bodily punishment that (re)territorialize (re/produce) the despot’s authority (for a good description of this read the first section of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. NY: Pantheon Books, 1977.)

Civilized capitalist machine (disciplinary society):
Radically deterritorializes and reterritorializes social life. This radical deterritorialization is played out in conjunction with a continuous reterritorialization (re-coding) of traditional/ancient/nostalgic forms of authority. The nation (state), the family (father), God (religion or ideology), education (schools), media (societal super-ego?), etc ... re-appear in modified forms to shore up a shaky social grid and continue the smooth process of production/consumption. (A-O, 33-35) This society creates order through disciplinary institutions that house both the young initiates in order to train them to operate according to custom and the failed individuals that opt to pursue non-legitimized occupations/identities (for the moment let me use this designation—I’m fully aware that there are those who present a serious danger to others and thus must be dealt with, but the disciplinary society represents and treats them as morally weak individuals rather than as products of this society). The development and celebration of the myth of the private individual comes into play in this territorial situation.

Although some excitable critics (both from the left and right—e.g Baudrillard/Fukuyama) see this stage as the ‘end of history’, Deleuze, expanding on Foucault, sees us moving into a new socius stage (plateau?):

It is true that we are entering a society that can be called a society of control. A thinker such as Michel Foucault has analyzed two types of societies that are rather close to us. He calls the former sovereign societies and the latter disciplinary societies. He locates the typical passage of a sovereign society to a disciplinary society with Napolean. Disciplinary society is defined—by the accumulation of structures of confinement: prisons, schools, workshops, hospitals. Disciplinary societies require this. This analysis engendered ambiguities in certain of Foucault’s readers because it was believed that this was his last thought. This was certainly not the case. Foucault never believed and indeed said very precisely that disciplinary societies were not eternal. Moreover, he clearly thought that we were entering a new type of society. To be sure, there are all kinds of things left over from disciplinary societies, and this for years on end, but we know already that we are in societies of another sort that should be called, to use the term put forth by William Burroughs—whom Foucault admired greatly—societies of control. We are entering into societies of control that are defined very differently from disciplinary societies. Those who look after our interests do not need or will no longer need structures of confinement. These structures—prisons, schools, hospitals—are already sites of permanent discussion. Wouldn’t it be better to spread out the treatment? Yes, this is unquestionably the future. The workshops, the factories—they are falling apart everywhere. Wouldn’t systems of subcontracting and work at home be better? Aren’t there means of punishing people other than prison? Even the school. The themes that are surfacing, which will develop in the next forty or fifty years and which indicates that the most shocking thing would be to undertake school and a profession at once—these themes must be watched closely. It will be interesting to know what the identity of the school and the profession will be in the course of permanent training, which is our future and which will no longer necessarily imply the regrouping of school children in a structure of confinement. A control is not discipline. In making highways , for example, you don’t enclose people but instead multiply the means of control. I am not saying that this is the highway’s exclusive purpose, but that people can drive infinitely and “freely” without being at all confined yet while still being perfectly controlled. This is our future. (Deleuze, “Having An Idea of Cinema”: 17-18)

For more on this also check out Deleuze’s essay in October #59 (1992): 3-8 and excerpts of D & G’s writings in Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory. ed. Neil Leach (NY: Routledge, 1997: 309-18.)


D & G resist a molar politics that frames its operations in a “already” determined future, thus they keep to the idea of a molecular politics that is open to change:

Schizoanalysis, as such, has no political program to propose. If it did have one it would be grotesque and disquieting at the same time. It does not take itself for a party, and does not claim to speak for the masses. No political program will be elaborated within the framework of schizoanalysis. (380)

D & G see a central paradox in our fascisms:

As Reich remarks, the astonishing thing is not that some people steal or that others occasionally go out on strike, but rather that all those who are starving do not steal as a regular practice, and all those who are exploited are not continually out on strike: after centuries of exploitation, why do people still tolerate being humiliated and enslaved, to such a point, indeed, that they actually want humiliation and slavery not only for others but for themeselves? (A-O, 29)

This makes all authoritarian and dogmatic movements suspect in that they dictate and predict:

... no, the masses were not innocent dupes; at a certain point, under a certain set of conditions, they wanted fascism, and it is this perversion of the desire of the masses that needs to be accounted for.” (A-O, 29)

Traditionally many writers have posited that subjects of bloody states are ignorant of the true processes behind-the-scenes that produce orderly societies ... D & G are contradicting this belief ... why do they see fascism as answering a perverted desire of the masses? What causes this perverted desire? Can we see any signs of fascism in the contemporary American culture/societies? Can we recognize the fascist impulse in totalizing revolutionary theories? Is this another problematic of the “totalizing” impulse as manifested in liberatory/resistive movements? Is this a legitimate complaint from marginalized groups?

D & G are calling for a resistance that is molecular, not molar (machinic, not mechanistic). Universal mass movements are not the goal, but they are not denying their potential, rather that mass movements would be forged through alliances/bridges, that are temporary, mutable, and situational.


Pgs. 36-41 introduces the “three breaks” or interruptions of machines. When thinking of the bodies in these operations we must learn to alter our emphasis on the individual ‘body’ and recognize social, economic, political, juridical, etc ... bodies in these descriptions.

Claire Colebrook on “machines” in A-O and Deleuze’s theory in general:

In Anti-Oedipus they insist that the machine is not a metaphor and that life is literally a machine. This is crucial to Deleuze’s ethics. An organism is a bounded whole with an identity and end. A mechanism is a closed machine with a specific function. A machine, however, is nothing more than its connections; it is not made by anything, is not for anything and has no closed identity. So they are using ‘machine’ here in a specific and unconventional sense. Think of a bicycle, which obviously has no ‘end’ or intention. It only works when it is connected with another ‘machine’ such as the human body; and the production of these two machines can only be achieved through connection. The human body becomes a cyclist in connecting with the machine; the cycle becomes a vehicle. But we could imagine different connections producing different machines. The cycle becomes an art object when placed in a gallery; the human body becomes an ‘artist’ when connected with a paintbrush. The images we have of closed machines, such as the self-contained organism of the human body, or the efficiently autonomous functioning of the clock mechanism, are effects and illusions of the machine. There is no aspect of life that is not machinic; all life only works and is insofar as it connects with some other machine.

We have already seen the importance Deleuze gives to the camera; it is important as a machine because it shows how human thought and life can become and transform through what is inhuman. By insisting that the machine is not a metaphor Deleuze and Guattari move away from a representational model of language. If the concept of machine were a metaphor, then we could say that we have life as it is, and then the figure of machine to imagine, represent of picture life. But for Deleuze and Guattari there is no present life outside its connections. We only have representations, images or thoughts because there have been ‘machinic’ connections: the eye connects with light, the brain connects with a concept, the mouth connects with a language. Life is not about one privileged point—the self-contained mind of ‘man’—representing some inert outside world. Life is a proliferation of machinic connnections, with the mind or brain being one (sophisticated) machine among others.
Neither philosophy, nor art, nor cinema represent the world, they are events through which the movement of life becomes. What makes philosophy and art active is their capacity to become not just mechanistically, being caused by outside events, but machinically. A mechanism is a self-enclosed movement that merely ticks over, never transforming or producing itself. A machinic becoming makes a connection with what is not itself in order to transform and maximize itself. (56-57)


D & G denounce the human/nature division and insist that humans cannot be thought separate from nature. Or as they later paraphrase Marx “he who denies God does only a ‘secondary thing,’ for he denies God in order to posit the existence of man, to put man in God’s place” (A-O, 58). Guattari later re-emphasizes the importance of this attempt to recognize the falsity of the division of human/nature:

Our survival on this planet is not only threatened by environmental damage but by a degeneration in the fabric of social solidarity and in the modes of psychical life, which must literally be re-invented. The refoundation of politics will have to pass through the aesthetic and analytical dimensions implied in the three ecologies—the environment, the socius and the psyche. We cannot conceive of solutions to the poisoning of the atmosphere and to global warming due to the greenhouse effect, or to the problem of population control, without a mutation of mentality, without promoting a new art of living in society. (Chaosmosis, 20)

Colebrook, Claire. Gilles Deleuze. NY: Routledge, 2002.

Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault. trans. Sean Hand. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988.

---. “Having An Idea In Cinema.” trans. Eleanor Kaufman. Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy and Culture. eds. E. Kaufman and K. J. Heller. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1998: 14-22.

Delueze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus. trans. Robert Hurley, et al. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1983.

---. A Thousand Plateaus. trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1987.

Deleuze, Gilles and Claire Parnet. Dialogues. NY: Columbia U P, 1987.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. NY: Grove P, 1967.

Guattari, Felix. Chaosmosis. Bloomington, IN: Indiana U P, 1995.


More courtesy of Wood's Lot:

Pragmatic/Machinic: Charles J. Stivale's Discussion with Fe'lix Guattari

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Freestyle Drum Jam (Lexington: Sundays 5PM: Woodland Park)

I had the pleasure of meeting some of the drummers that participate at these sunday gatherings at the 2nd Annual Peace and Global Citizenship Fair and they want to get the word out:

Come join the drum circle (participate, dance or watch/listen)--all are welcome. Drumming for peace!

Petition Opposing the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY


This Memorial Day, the religious right will launch one of the most outrageous campaigns to date in their war on science: the $27 million “Creation Museum” in Petersburg, Kentucky.

The “Museum,” which was built by the religious right organization Answers in Genesis (AiG), is dedicated to the falsehood that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, claims that humans and dinosaurs coexisted a few thousand years ago, and has but one goal: to institutionalize the lie that science supports these fairytales.

Click here to sign our petition opposing the “Creation Museum” and demand that AiG cease its campaign to confuse our children and undermine scientific understanding. Sign the petition here.

If you are an educator – whether teaching kindergartners or PhD candidates – be sure to sign our petition for national educators too. Sign the educators’ petition here.

This institution is only the most recent example of the religious right's war on science education - whether in the form of anti-evolution stickers in textbooks or the promotion of intelligent design in the classroom.

In all of these cases the religious right has sought to create controversy where none exists. However, in the case of the “Creation Museum” they have gone one step further: instead of acknowledging their contempt for science, they have decided to claim that science actually proves inherently anti-science propaganda.

While AiG has the right to spend $27 million promoting a lie, it is imperative that as concerned citizens we let America know the true dangers of their nefarious campaign.

Please take a moment and voice your opposition to this deceptive institution.

To Sign the Petition

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Learned Hand: The Spirit of Liberty

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it .... The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty if the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias."

----Learned Hand. "The Spirit of Liberty" 1944

Thursday, May 17, 2007

John Ghazvinian: "Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil"

"Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil"
Host: Amy Goodman
Guest: John Ghazvinian
Democracy Now

It's a little known fact: the United States today imports more oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia. More than $50 billion in foreign investment in African oil is expected over the next three years.

What has this oil boom meant for Africa's ordinary citizens? Our first guest spent a year reporting across the continent to find out. John Ghazvinian is a journalist who has written for publications including Newsweek, The Nation and Time Out New York. His new book is called “Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil." The book compares the global competition for the continent's oil resources to the nineteenth century scramble for colonization.

John Ghazvinian has just returned from Nigeria, where oil has been the driving force behind a longstanding bloodshed. Protesters in Ogoniland have just ended their week-long occupation of a major oil pipeline hub that forced Royal Dutch Shell to cut their daily production by nearly 40%. In recent weeks, villagers demanding compensation and regional control over Nigerian oil have kidnapped at least 13 foreign workers, occupied a Chevron oilfield, and bombed other international oil pipelines. Two major US companies, Chevron and Hercules Offshore, are evacuating all their non-essential workers from the oil-rich country.

To Watch/Listen/Read

The Bush Administration Model of Standarized Critical Thinking

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Word-of-the-Day: Corybantic

corybantic \kor-ee-BAN-tik\ adjective

: like or in the spirit of a Corybant; especially : wild, frenzied

Example sentence:
From the sound of the first guitar chord, the mosh pit looked like a swarm of bees in a corybantic dance.

The big name in goddesses in Phrygia (Asia Minor) in the fifth century B.C. was Cybele (also called Cybebe or Agdistis), the "Great Mother of the Gods." According to Oriental and Greco-Roman mythology, she was the mother of it all: gods, humans, animals ... even nature itself. The Corybants were Cybele's attendants and priests, and they worshipped her with an unrestrained frenzy of wildly emotional processions, rites, and dances. "Corybantic," the adjective based on the name of Cybele's attendants, can be used to describe anything characterized by a similarly unrestrained abandon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Southern Poverty Law Center: Lou Dobbs cites bogus data linking leprosy to undocumented immigrants

(Courtesy of Valerie)

Center Urges CNN to Retract False Reporting by Lou Dobbs: 'Advocacy Journalist' cites bogus data linking leprosy to undocumented immigrants
Southern Poverty Law Center

Immigration: Getting the Facts Straight

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) today urged CNN to acknowledge that anchor Lou Dobbs has been spreading false information about the prevalence of leprosy and its supposed links to undocumented immigrants.

"We're not talking about a newscaster who simply made a mistake — we're talking about someone with a national platform who cites wildly inaccurate data to demean an entire group of people and who, when confronted with the truth, simply repeats the lie," said SPLC President Richard Cohen. "It's outrageous, and CNN should do something about it immediately."

In a letter sent today, Cohen asked CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein to take prompt action to correct the misinformation.

On "Lou Dobbs Tonight" this past Monday, Dobbs said he stands "100 percent behind" his show's claim that there had been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the United States over a recent three-year period, and he further suggested that an increase in leprosy was due in part to "unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country."

Dobbs' endorsement of the claim came after CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl challenged the leprosy figure during a profile of Dobbs on "60 Minutes" this past Sunday. Stahl cited a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services document that reported 7,029 cases over the past 30 years — not three.

The dispute highlights the SPLC's concern that Dobbs and some others in the media are regularly using discredited and inaccurate information about immigrants — material that often originates with far-right ideologues and organizations dominated by white supremacists and nativists.

Dobbs and CNN reporter Christine Romans said they had gotten the information from the late Madeleine Cosman, who was described by Romans as "a respected medical lawyer" – but who, in fact, was a woman who repeatedly ranted about Latino men raping boys, girls and nuns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of leprosy cases diagnosed in the United States peaked at 361 in 1985. The figure reported on Dobbs' show is easily refuted with just a few minutes of research on the Internet.

"It is highly irresponsible of Mr. Dobbs to rely on disreputable sources while ignoring credible information that does not support his views," Cohen wrote in the letter. "And given the current anti-immigrant climate, it is dangerous to present such false claims about a serious public health issue and demonize an entire group of people in the process."

In the "60 Minutes" piece, Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, was quoted as criticizing Dobbs' characterization of undocumented immigrants. The SPLC also has challenged Dobbs for having extremists as guests, and giving them legitimacy, without fully disclosing their affiliations.

On Dobbs' show Monday, during a conversation with Romans, Dobbs said: "Following one of your reports, I told Lesley Stahl, we don't make up numbers, and I will tell everybody here again tonight, I stand 100 percent behind what you said." He later added, "And the fact that it [the number of leprosy cases] rose was because — one assumes, because we don't know for sure — but two basic influences: unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country primarily from South Asia, and secondly, far better reporting."

In addition to writing about the prevalence of leprosy, Cosman, who died in March 2006, told an anti-immigrant conference in 2005 that "most" Latino immigrant men "molest girls under 12, although some specialize in boys, and some in nuns," a variation on a speech she has given elsewhere. The Winter 2005 issue of the SPLC's quarterly magazine Intelligence Report also contained a profile of Cosman, a lawyer who advised wealthy doctors on how to sell their medical practices and a member of the far-right Jews for the Preservation of Firearms. The piece pointed out that Cosman had lied about having a 1976 book she wrote nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

In the "60 Minutes" piece, Dobbs told Stahl, "Well, I can tell you this. If we report it, it's a fact."

"How can you guarantee that to me?" Stahl asked.

"Because I'm the managing editor, and that's the way we do business," Dobbs replied. "We don't make up numbers, Lesley. Do we?"

The Facts Behind the Leprosy Claim
Madeleine Cosman's false claim that there were 7,000 cases of leprosy diagnosed in the United States from 2001 to 2004 was included in her article, "Illegal Aliens and American Medicine." More than once, "Lou Dobbs Tonight" reporter Romans repeated Cosman's statistic, saying, "Suddenly, in the past three years, America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy."

Cosman's piece was published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which represents private practice doctors. The journal is known as a right-wing periodical whose science has been the subject of harsh criticism.

Though the article notes her Ph.D., it does not say that the degree is in English and comparative literature. Cosman had no medical training other than as a medical lawyer.

In the article, Cosman provides no source for her claim of 7,000 cases of leprosy, also known as Hansen's Disease, in three years — presumably 2001 to 2004, given the article's publication date.

The claim has no basis in fact.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its June 16, 2006, analysis, "Summary of Notifiable Diseases – United States, 2004, that "[t]he number of reported cases of Hansen's Disease (HD) in the United States peaked at 361 in 1985 and has declined since 1988." The CDC's website points to the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Hansen's Disease Program. According to the HHS, 166 new cases of leprosy were reported in the United States in 2005. The 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States reports that there were 70 cases in 2001; 96 in 2002; 95 in 2003; and 105 in 2004 ).

Cosman's article is laden with editorial comments and unscientific language. Its second sentence reads, "Illegal aliens' stealthy assaults on medicine now must rouse Americans to alert and alarm." The article ends with a rather odd suggestion for a medical journal — "Close America's Borders" — as well as the argument that "[f]ighting against illegal aliens is fighting for individualistic America: land of moral strength, and home of responsible liberty."

Cosman's fearmongering about leprosy is unwarranted. Not only is leprosy not on the rise in the United States, it is also not particularly dangerous. According to the HHS, "Most (95 percent) of the human population is not susceptible to infection" and, if they do become infected, the disease is easily treatable "with standard antibiotic drugs.

To Read More Reports, Letters, and watch Videos of Dobbs, 60 Minutes and Cosman's Rants

Charlie Rose: French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levi on his recent visit to Darfur

(From Rob Sica)

Charlie Rose interview with French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levi on his
recent visit to Darfur:

A Conversation about Darfur

Henri-Levi is one of the signatories of "A letter from Europe's leading

Read About It Here

Muse: Invincible; Plato: Theaetetus

"This sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher. Philosophy indeed has no other origin..."

----Plato, Theaetetus

Another Muse inspired post:

The Fountain and Supermassive Black Hole

Jerry Fallwell Dies at 73

Yahoo Post on His Life and Death

Here at Dialogic, rarely do we celebrate a death, are we now, not really, instead we are thinking back on the disastrous legacy of Reverend Falwell and...

my only response is to share Saul Williams "The Pledge of Resistance: Not In Our Name" and to hope that Jerry is enjoying the heat down there...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Word of the Day: Inkhorn

(Courtesy of Merriam-Webster)

inkhorn \INK-horn\ adjective

: ostentatiously learned : pedantic

Example sentence:
The professor peppered his lectures with inkhorn terms of pseudo-Latin and Greek, a practice he felt essential to instilling in his students the proper respect for his knowledge.

Picture an ancient scribe, pen in hand, a small ink bottle made from an animal's horn strapped to his belt, ready to record the great events of history. In 14th-century England, such ink bottles were dubbed (not surprisingly) "inkhorns." During the Renaissance, learned writers often borrowed words from Latin and Greek, eschewing vulgar English alternatives. But in the 16th century, some scholars argued for the use of native terms over Latinate forms, and a lively intellectual debate over the merits of each began. Those who favored English branded what they considered ostentatious Latinisms "inkhorn terms" after the bottles carried by scholars, and since then we have used "inkhorn" as an adjective for pretentious language.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Video Premier: Felicity Huffman, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard Teach Us The True Story of Mothers Day

Video Premier: Felicity Huffman, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard Teach Us The True Story of Mothers Day
by Robert Greenwald
Brave New Foundation and Alternet

The original Mother's Day was not conceived to sell us stuff we don't need, it was a day started by mothers to bring warfare to an end!

Mother's Day is this Sunday. Chocolate or flowers? What kind of flowers? Maybe a plant...

In the past, these have been the most profound questions for many of us around Mother's Day. And now, thanks to some wonderful friends, our eyes have been opened. The original Mother's Day was not conceived to sell us stuff we don't need, it was a day started by mothers to bring warfare to an end!

Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, wrote the original Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870 calling upon the women of the world to unite for peace. She had just witnessed the carnage of the American Civil War and the start of the Franco-Prussian War.

In honor and respect for the real Mother's Day we bring you a 21st century video reading of the proclamation with Vanessa Williams, Felicity Huffman, Christine Lahti, Alfre Woodward, Fatma Saleh, Ashraf Salimian, and Gloria Steinem, on behalf of an organization called No More Victims.

The True Story of Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Michael Parenti on "The Culture Struggle"

Hosted by: Amy Goodman
Democracy Now

Michael Parenti ... is the author of 20 books, including "Democracy for the Few," "Superpatriotism" and "The Culture Struggle."

Michael Parenti, author and political analyst. His latest book is "The Culture Struggle" (Seven Stories). Many of his writings are collected on his website Michael Parenti


LAPD Reassigns Two Top Commanders Who Ordered Police to Shoot Rubber Bullets at Protesters & Journalists During May Day Immigrants Rights Rally

Hosted by Amy Goodman
Guest: Carol Sobel, California civil rights attorney and president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. As a legal observer and lead negotiator with the LAPD at the the 2000 Democratic National Convention, she was hit by police pellets during a crackdown on the protests.

Democracy Now

The fallout continues in Los Angeles from the police attack on a largely peaceful May Day immigration march. Police with riot guns fired hundreds of rubber bullets, shot tear gas and clubbed protesters and journalists gathered in MacArthur Park. At least ten people were injured including seven journalists.
On Monday, Los Angeles Police Department chief William Bratton announced the demotion of two high-ranking officers involved in the police response. Deputy Chief Cayler "Lee" Carter Jr. of the Operations Central Bureau, and his number two, Commander Louis Gray, were reassigned. Meanwhile up to sixty officers in the Metropolitan Division's elite “B Platoon” have been taken off the streets -- most of them permanently. The moves come as city officials offered their strongest apology to date. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said: "Accountability begins at the top. What happened on May 1st was wrong.”


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Gary Jules: Mad World

Been walking in the rain all night, thinking, wondering, wandering, and then coming home and writing...

The Original Video

Donnie Darko Version

Saturday, May 05, 2007

John Perkins: The Corporatocracy

(Courtesy of John)

John Perkins, Part 1 The first of a three part speech given to the Veterans For Peace National Convention, Seattle, WA in August 2006. ... all » Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, in this part John discusses, from a hit mans perspective, the reasons and background to why we are at war in the Middle East.

Part 2. The second of a three part speech given to the Veterans For Peace National Convention, Seattle, WA in August 2006. ... all » Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, in this part John discusses, from first hand experience, the globalization efforts of the corporatocracy in Central and South America.

John Perkins, Part 3. The third of a three part speech given to the Veterans For Peace National Convention, Seattle, WA in August 2006. ... all » Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, in this part John takes Q & A and discusses actions which can be taken to counter the globalization efforts of the multi-national corporations.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Word of the Day: Camarilla


camarilla \kam-uh-RILL-uh\ noun

: a group of unofficial often secret and scheming advisers; also : cabal

Example sentence:
A resistance group has sprung up and is plotting to overthrow the tyrant leader and his camarilla.

"Camarilla" is borrowed from Spanish and is the diminutive of "cámara," which traces to the Late Latin "camera" and means "room"; a "camarilla," then, is literally a "small room." Political cliques and plotters are likely to meet in small rooms (generally with the door closed) as they hatch their schemes, and, by 1834, "camarilla" was being used in English for such closed-door groups of scheming advisers. The word is relatively rare in formal English prose, but it still finds occasional use in news stories. Some other descendants of the Latin "camera" include "camera," "comrade," "camaraderie," and "bicameral."