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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10 May '03 08:15:04 AM

"A mediocre writer must beware of too quickly replacing a crude, incorrect expression with a correct one. By doing so he kills his original idea, which was at least still a living seedling. Now it is withered and no longer worth anything. He may as well throw it on the rubbish heap. Whereas the wretched little seedling was still worth something."

- Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, p. 79e

10 May '03 07:27:27 AM

"A philosopher easily gets into the position of an incompetent manager who, instead of getting on with his own work and just keeping an eye on his employees to make sure they do theirs properly, takes over their work until one day he finds himself overloaded with the other people's work, while his employees look on and criticize him."

- Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, p. 16e

10 May '03 04:58:39 AM

Walter Benjamin, "Fresh Figs" from "Food". Published in the Frankfurter Zeitung, May 1930. Gesammelte Schriften, IV, 374-381. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. Taken from Selected Writings Volume 2: 1927-1934, p. 358.

Fresh Figs

No one who has never eaten a food to excess has ever really experienced it, or fully exposed himself to it. Unless you do this, you at best enjoy it, but never come to lust after it, or make the acquaintance of that diversion from the straight and narrow road of the appetite which leads to the primeval forest of greed. For in gluttony two things coincide: the boundlessness of desire and the uniformity of the food that sates it. Gourmandizing means above all else to devour one thing to the last crumb. There is no doubt that it enters more deeply into what you eat than mere enjoyment. For example, when you bite into mortadella as if it were bread, or bury your face in a melon as if it were a pillow, or gorge yourself on caviar out of crackling paper, or, when confronted with the sight of a round Edam cheese, find that the existence of every other food simply vanishes from your mind. -- How did I first learn all this? It happened just before I had to make a very difficult decision. A letter had to be posted or torn up. I had carried it around in my pocket for two days, but had not given it a thought for some hours. I then took the noisy narrow-gauge railway up to Secondigliano through the sun-parched landscape. The village lay in still solemnity in the weekday peace and quiet. The only traces of the excitement of the previous Sunday were the poles on which Catherine wheels and rockets had been ignited. Now they stood there bare. Some of them still displayed a sign halfway up with the figure of a saint from Naples or an animal. Women sat in the open barns husking corn. I was walking along in a daze, when I noticed a cart with figs standing in the shade. It was sheer idleness that made me go up to them, sheer extravagance that I bought half a pound for a few soldi. The woman gave me a generous measure. But when the black, blue, bright green, violet, and brown fruit lay in the bowl of the scales, it turned out that she had no paper to wrap them in. The housewives of Secondigliano bring their baskets with them, and she was unprepared for globetrotters. For my part, I was ashamed to abandon the fruit. So I left her with figs stuffed in my trouser pockets and in my jacket, figs in both of my outstretched hands, and figs in my mouth. I couldn't stop eating them and was forced to get rid of the mass of plump fruits as quickly as possible. But that could not be described as eating; it was more like a bath, so powerful was the smell of resin that penetrated all my belongings, clung to my hands and impregnated the air through which I carried my burden. And then, after satiety and revulsion -- the final bends in the path -- had been surmounted, came the ultimate mountain peak of taste. A vista over an unsuspected landscape of the palate spread out before my eyes -- an insipid, undifferentiated, greenish flood of greed that could distinguish nothing but the stringy, fibrous waves of the flesh of the open fruit, the utter transformation of enjoyment into habit, of habit into vice. A hatred of those figs welled up inside me; I was desperate to finish them, to liberate myself, to rid myself of all this overripe, bursting fruit. I ate to destroy it. Biting had rediscovered its most ancient purpose. When I pulled the last fig from the depths of my pocket, the letter was stuck to it. Its fate was sealed; it, too, had to succumb to the great purification. I took it and tore it into a thousand pieces.

9 May '03 08:01:07 AM

Why is every TV review I read at Popmatters so damned expository? This seems even stranger for the reviews written after first air dates. Who are they written for?

Actually, a good deal of the other (music, etc.) reviews on the site confuse me, since they seem directed at an audience more likely to self-select themselves as savvy and intelligent (hello, reviews of high-profile indie records, and hip-hop and pop reviews with "analysis" in them to serious up the proceedings so no one's duped by the pop machine) - surely those audience members don't need the endless stage-setting and rote contextualization?

But then it's more complex than that, because not every review reads that way. This in turn makes me wonder what kind of editorial steering they have, though.

9 May '03 07:20:16 AM

List of further records I have played music from tonight:

Yes, "Roundabout"
Public Image Limited, Second Edition
Steve Reich, Music for 18 Musicians
some Astor Piazzolla comp
Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
Kompakt Total 3
The Velvet Underground & Nico
Howlin' Wolf, "Moanin' at Midnight"
Green Day, "Paper Lanterns"
Tricky, "Christiansands"

9 May '03 06:56:52 AM

Oh holy fucking shit I love Bodily Functions but it's so way way better this way! Matthew Herbert I love you.

There are little... sounds... sounds... and they, uh. Yeah.

Which reminds me: the Matthew Herbert Big Band album is scheduled for release this month. And an Outkast double album soon! And a new Luomo album. And soon Geoff's moving in, so I'll be able to listen to all his hipster nu-indie-not-indie records and vulture off the all important knowledge of which ones to buy (like, he says yo check this Rapture, and Jess says yo check this Rapture, but I know full well Jess might drastically apathize come July or whenever).

9 May '03 06:43:54 AM

Suggested future josh blog slogan: easily amused by both ignorance and erudition and swearing.

9 May '03 06:42:12 AM

"scooby doos shoes" has got to be my number one all-time search referral, I take it solely because of the one time I mentioned it when writing about Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss". It pleases me that so many people are apparently curious about this. And to think that I'm curious too (oh really, Jay, shoes, huh, why is that), yet I have never ever myself googled the phrase.

9 May '03 06:40:03 AM

On a related note, I wonder where my fucking PIL album is.

Fucking, fucking, fucking. Some days you have to swear a little extra. Oh and fuck Wiliam Gass (hello Mr. Gass).