August 22, 2014



Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

this jawn is really hard to watch but damn the water colors

August 22, 2014
The Times of Theodore Rex

- brutal volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée in Martinique (1902) used to dissuade congressional body from agreeing to the proposed Nicaragua canal plan (in close proximity to volcanic mountains) and adopting the newer Panama canal plan (which boasted no volcanoes in the vicinity) 

- “I thoroughly believe in severe measures when necessary, and am not in the least sensitive about killing any number of men when there is adequate reason.” - Teddy Roosevelt (later echoed by Chairman Mao)

- [Filipinos were] “the greatest liars it has ever been my fortune to meet.” [The educated minority were] “ambitious as Satan and quite as unscrupulous.” [The rest were inferior to] “the most ignorant negro,” [and] “utterly unfit” for self-government. “They need the training of fifty or a hundred years before they shall even realize what Anglo-Saxon liberty is.” - W. H. Taft 

August 21, 2014
Jeff Goldblum on Laura Dern

I had been discreetly casting glances across the dinosaur. It’s mysterious what attracts you to a person.”

August 21, 2014
Césaire’s Negritude / Glissant’s Antillianity

Césaire’s concept of negritude is usually misunderstood as being grounded in a sense of nostalgia for African origins and a sort of pan-African essentialism; this is true of Senghor’s negritude but not of Césaire’s. Césaire has understood this defining difference, saying that as an African, Senghor’s experience was vastly different from Césaire’s Caribbean one. Césaire’s negritude is only metaphorically racial. Everyone who is in any sense exiled, displaced, disenfranchised in the world, everyone whose sense of identity is grounded in miscegenation—literal or figural—is negre, in Césaire’s view. This brings the reliance of Glissant’s concepts of métissage and Antillianity on Césaire’s negritude into clear focus. Césaire’s negritude, though not Senghor’s, can be said to have anticipated Glissant’s theories of Caribbeanness because it rejects racial essentialism. 

August 21, 2014
False transparencies and the intellectualization of knowledge: Herbert + Glissant

"Many things we do naturally become difficult only when we try to make them intellectual subjects. It is possible to know so much about a subject that you become totally ignorant."  - Mentat Text Two (dicta)

"I even openly claim the right to obscurity, which is not enclosure, apartheid, or separation. The obscure is simply renouncing the false truths of transparencies. We have suffered greatly from the transparent models of high humanity, of degrees of civilization that must be ceaselessly worked through, of blinding Knowledge. This is the famous story of Voltaire who, while he was defending Calas, was buying stock in slave-trading enterprises. The transparency of the Enlightenment is finally misleading. We must reclaim the right to opacity." - Glissant 

August 21, 2014
Baudelaire’s La Vie antérieure

I lived a long time under vast porticoes
whose splendors altered with the sea all day;
by evening their majestic pillars turned,
row after row, into tall basalt caves.

Solemn and magical the waves rolled in
heating images of heaven on the swell,
blending the sovereign music that they made
with sunset colors mirrored in my eyes.

There I lived, in a rapture of repose,
amid the glories of that sky, that sea,
and I had naked slaves, perfumed with musk,

to fan me by the hour with rustling fronds,
and their one study was to diagnose
the secret torment which had sickened me.

nude slaves as a vehicle for white man’s transformation

August 21, 2014
On Photography, Susan Sontag

"Whatever the moral claims made on behalf of photography, its
main effect is to convert the world into a department store or
museum-without-walls in which every subject is depreciated into
an article of consumption, promoted into an item for aesthetic
appreciation. Through the camera people become customers or
tourists of reality—or Réalités, as the name of the French
photo-magazine suggests, for reality is understood as plural,
fascinating, and up for grabs. Bringing the exotic near, rendering
the familiar and homely exotic, photographs make the entire
world available as an object of appraisal. For photographers who
are not confined to projecting their own obsessions, there are
arresting moments, beautiful subjects everywhere. The most
heterogeneous subjects are then brought together in the fictive
unity offered by the ideology of humanism.”

"When Cartier-Bresson goes to China, he shows that
there are people in China, and that they are Chinese.”


August 20, 2014
Postcolonial Paradoxes in French Caribbean Writing

"Gayatri Spivak reminds us that ‘the general mode for the post-colonial is citation, re-inscription, re-routing the historical’."

"A group resorts to Détour when it finds itself in a situation of oppression and misery in which there is no clear enemy nor a tangible system of domination against which a people would otherwise organize, mobilize, and struggle collectively. “

"Glissant’s primary example of Détour in the Antilles is the Creole language, which began and is marked still by a strategy of trickery […] Creole speakers used French in a deriding and deforming way, to wreak violence on the language itself.”

"Rather this Détour leads to a new consciousness of alienation, of identity as alienation, a discovery of home as a place of exile.”

"This new consciousness does not result then in a happy arrival, but in another departure, in the face of another alienation, another exile. It is this constant and repeating process of departures between places, without real arrivals, that makes up the logic of Détour.”

"If history can be seen as indirectly referential, then it is through the Détour of other groups’ histories that one can refer to one’s own history. Glissant articulates the need for the history of Martinique and Guadeloupe to discover its connections to the histories of other islands in the Caribbean, with whom links might currently be tenuous or non-existent:”

'Today we hear the blast from Matouba, but also the volley of shots fired at Moncada. Our history comes to life with a stunning unexpectedness. The emergence of this common experience broken in time (of this concealed parallel in histories) that shapes the Caribbean at this time surprises us before we have even thought about this parallel.'

"The delayed blast of Matouba is interpreted as referring to and as referred to by another blast separated in time and space. While Matouba’s blast ended a failed revolution, Moncada was the failed first attack of an ultimately successful revolution. Indeed, Moncada itself is an example of latency and return: although Castro’s attack was violently suppressed and Castro was tried for organizing it, the effect of Moncada was ultimately to play an important symbolic role in the Cuban consciousness and revolutionary struggle."

"By drawing on the meaning of the history of another island, Glissant implies that latency may also prove effective in the Antillean context. Out of the discontinuity between two histories, two islands, comes a relationship of mutual reference and merging."

'The implosion of Caribbean history (of the converging histories of our peoples) relieves us of the linear, hierarchical vision of a single History that would run its unique course. It is not this History that has roared around the edge of the Caribbean, but actually a question of the subterranean convergence of our histories. The depths are not only the abyss of neurosis but primarily the site of multiple converging paths.'

August 20, 2014

August 20, 2014
Watermelon Man (1970)

"i’m still liberal…but to a point!"

race in North America in a nutshell

this movie is pretty interesting—whiteface that becomes the cinematic denial of blackface when the character (an actual black actor) wakes up black one day (a Freaky Friday meets Kafka’s Metamorphosis with seeds of Ben Stiller’s later use of trickery with black/brownface). there’s also a neat sequence with a Norwegian co-worker that challenges the notion that European (especially Scandinavian) perceptions of blackness are “more progressive” than their North American counterparts.

the film, through its implied blackening-up and the transformed racist’s gradual acceptance of his “condition”, also presages the way black culture will become so popular in North America that white youth will be all-too-comfortable mimicking black vernacular and ignorantly parroting the radical appropriation by black cultural producers of hateful racial slurs. 

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