josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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18 Nov '02 04:51:48 AM

I'm often interested in pushing relationships with records and relationships with people closer together (a la 527 below from the Investigations). Well, 587 points out a perhaps unbridgeable gap.

Checking your opinions about a record can involve the process of introspection described there - calling up memories of listening to it, imagining how you might like it, and so on. I can say that I do things like these; I'm not sure how common they are. But it does seem easy to short-circuit that process, by just putting the record on, seeing what happens. Experimenting.

Is there a short-circuit for people? Maybe. But there's more at stake. Experimenting on a human subject. Which is frowned upon, but it's not as if we can avoid it. So we should give it our best, give them our best; don't just wheel them out and see if they do anything for us, but do our part.

On the other hand, it seems somewhat crass to not do our part when short-circuiting the process with a record. So perhaps the two are not so far apart.

18 Nov '02 04:34:59 AM


587. Does it make sense to ask "How do you know that you believe?" -- and is the answer: "I know it by introspection"?

In some cases it will be possible to say some such thing, in most not.

It makes sense to ask: "Do I really love her, or am I only pretending to myself?" and the process of introspection is the calling up of memories; of imagined possible situations, and of the feelings that one would have if ....

18 Nov '02 04:31:18 AM

More W.:

543. Can I not say: a cry, a laugh, are full of meaning?

And that means, roughly: much can be gathered from them.

18 Nov '02 04:29:33 AM

W. from Philosophical Investigations:

527. Understanding a sentence is much more akin to understanding a theme in music than one may think. What I mean is that understanding a sentence lies nearer than one thinks to what is normally called understanding a musical theme. Why is just this the pattern of variation in loudness and tempo? One would like to say "Because I know what it's all about." But what is it all about? I should not be able to say. In order to 'explain' I could only compare it with something else which has the same rhythm (I mean the same pattern). (One says, "Don't you see, this is as if a conclusion were being drawn" or "This is as it were a parenthesis", etc. How does one justify such comparisons? -- There are very different kinds of justification here.)

18 Nov '02 04:21:19 AM

Dammit I do not want a Verizon slogan on my Jay-Z.

17 Nov '02 01:33:47 AM

One of the minorly disappointing things about listening to music on the bus is that I can almost never take full advantage of the fact that the bus is in motion. It rarely gets going at a good clip for long enough (because of all the stops) to most effectively accompany the music - to match the on-and-on motion of the rhythms.

When it works it's distinctive, too, because sitting-still-yet-moving feels different from moving-by-walking.

17 Nov '02 01:24:35 AM

Best song I heard in a coffeeshop today while grading: Nelly Furtado, "I'm Like a Bird". The girl next to me sang along at the beginning (before I knew what it was, which made me feel a little left out). The whole place seemed happier.

Most unsettling thing I heard in a coffeeshop today while grading: large chunks of both Kid A and Amnesiac. People's interactions became noticeably more subdued, or dropped away entirely. My conviction that this music is fundamentally internal was reinforced tenfold.

15 Nov '02 06:01:59 AM

Three notes on joy:

1. My kitchen floor is slippery, especially in the swank socks my parents bought me. This is especially good for dancing to Charles Mingus. Slip-slide dancing.

2. You know the scene in Rush Hour where the guy's daughter is in the backseat of the car singing to the song on the radio? Yeah, that one. It is the most joyous thing ever in the entire world. Cherish it. (There is something to be said about the fact that the girl may be unknowingly reproducing oppressive norms of heterosexuality and the patriarchy. But at the moment that something is: fuck off.) If this were a contest, the "War" scene would be a finalist receiving a lovely parting ("party") gift.

3. "Or even moonwalk, far as I care, sold Michael Jackson 43 million records, shit everyone had a zipper jacket and half these thugs had the glove to match, ya feel me?" (Missy on dancing in your videos and having fun.)

15 Nov '02 05:08:24 AM

The last three posts (I, II, and III) are from p. 311 of A Thousand Plateaus, the beginning of the eleventh plateau, "1837: Of the Refrain". I put them there just so that I can write about them and think about them later. I don't understand them. I haven't read the entire plateau, but I've read part of it and I didn't really understand it. I know Sterl is sick of hearing about the refrain, but I suppose that prompted me to think more carefully about it, especially since at the moment I feel I have slightly better footing than the last time I took a look at this stuff.

For now, all you need to know is: "These are not three successive movements in an evolution. They are three aspects of a single thing, the Refrain (ritournelle)." I'll write more as I can.