October 2008

-empyre- retracts detracking of post – odds even on

You might have read in a previous post that the list -empyre- soft_skinned_space bounced my contributions to this month’s conversation on love. On the rebound, I posted it hereunder.

Nicholas Ruiz III has since apologised and sent pax and lux, writing that he didn’t know he’d rejected any posts.

The matter is now resolved – unless I am again deemed inappropriate to love on the list.


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Express has less imagination than John Key: does anybody these days turn gay?

asked by Express mag the Rove question, JK answered that he would for Brad Pitt – adding some strange comments about Pitt’s current age, perhaps to preempt debate that JK’s into much younger men – but that he thought when the question was popped about Tom Cruise. However, Cruise, his sidebar comment ran, looks too young for his age.

Who would I go gay for? … Brad Pitt,” he told Express. “Now he’s a bit older, he’s a bit of a looker. I was going to say Tom Cruise, but someone of his age shouldn’t look that young.
– John Key, Herald

Too young for you? Unhealthily young? Or the more familiar, creepily young?

So in choosing Brad over Tom – while not suggesting Brad should be over Tom – JK is opting for the more credible of the two, the sensible shoe.

Why then think of Tom? Should we infer from this triviality that JK was playing to his audience? Choosing Brad, perhaps he thought, would make him look more hetero. It would be to give the generic reply.

Choosing Tom would have stuck out a bit. A lot.

JK’s reasoning is interesting in this regard. He didn’t choose Tom because Tom looks youthful. A straight man with some odd speech defects going for a Peter Pan who shares his first name with the famous Finn (see image below) and who’s second name is Cruise might lead us to entertain, if only for an instant, the notion that JK has an inch or an ounce of sincerity or a genuine bone on his body.

– image by Tom of Finland (1920-1991)

I don’t believe JK has come across Tom of Finland. (The artist’s biography is here.) To say, I’d turn gay for a big blond Scandinavian hunk and I wouldn’t even need to know his name, would possibly have been harder to self-correct.

As soon as I read this, thoughtfully placed on the front page of Herald, I wondered if Express would or could ask Helen Clark the same question. Apparently not, read on, dear reader…

What if she’d taken a career on Broadway? In which play would she perform?
“I think 12 Angry Men – that wonderful play about the jury, where the sole person who objects to the verdict talks through it; certainly not a Shakespearian tragedy.”
– Hannah JV, Express


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more of the wit and wisdom of young Key: “We don’t have enough women in our caucus, so we’ve had to start cross-dressing”

Here they are old boys, the National caucus:

– image courtesy, The Standard, original here


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inappropriate immoderated inetiquette: love on -empyre-

Completely detracked: I am rejected, bounced, by -empyre-! And back here, on the rebound, read on:

[-empyre-] October 2008, love on -empyre- began thusly:


“Oh my friends, there is no friend…”

Jacques Derrida, quoting Montaigne, quoting
Aristotle…in his treatise on friendship.

“There are no equals, only rivals…”

Constantine in the BBC docudrama, ‘Ancient Rome: The
Rise and Fall of an Empire’…as he cultivated an
empire of Christian love.

“For nails would not have held God-and-Man fast to the
Cross, had love not held Him there…”

Saint Catherine of Siena

One supposes in life that some things are possible.
Love is one of these things, no? We presume such a
thing is possible? But what if love were impossible?

Our relationship with love, god (and the infinity of
price and spectacle), is recently articulated in
Damien Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God’ (2007), Platinum
skull, 8,601 diamonds and human teeth,(17.1 x 12.7 x
19.1 cm).

$100 million. A record: the highest price ever paid
for the work of a living artist. One marvels that we
can any longer, truly render Aquinas’ corporeal
metaphors for spiritual things. As for love: some
euphoria of the genetic Code and capitalizations as
currencies of that Code? A molecular symphony of
melancholy and bliss? As for God: Neurotransmissions?
A battery of concepts, like 8,601 diamonds in the
rough? All of which pale in comparison, perhaps, to
what is wished for in the impossibility of love as the
gift of some Other?

So two things: god and love. Every major religion of
the world syncopates these two concepts,
paradoxically, via the utilization of conceptual
infinity, and one concept’s weakness becomes the other
concept’s strength: the horizon of god’s love is
endless, and the horizon of one’s love for god, should
be too.

Yes, that is it: love is the purview of sacrifice. We
must bleed for love. This is the claim of the
disciple; the saint, and poet. But there are no saints
any longer, and poetry is endangered, if not extinct.
And the sacred, by definition, is always exterminated
as a functional violence of the holy service.

Is there no love, and instead, only relations of

Join us in this thematic discussion and we shall


from Nicholas Ruiz III 03/10/08.

I sent what I considered to be an at best provocative and at worst interesting contribution to this month’s conversation at -empyre- soft_skinned_space, a list and community I have been part of for some years, and in response received the following:

Your request to the empyre mailing list

Posting of your message titled “Re: [-empyre-] Re: love,
sacrifice, and the eternal return”

has been rejected by the list moderator. The moderator gave the
following reason for rejecting your request:

“Your message was deemed inappropriate by the moderator.”

Any questions or comments should be directed to the list administrator


Here’s what I wrote:

To smile at a Crocodile:

A love is a brick. Is a concept. (Massumi) A concept is the love of the love. As in: In love with love. Absolutely (no reification being thereby implied).

The style of being of a love. (Levy Bryant) Where style is an individual form of originality. (Baudelaire) The love is the concept as it loves, as in to love. A pure infinitive event, beyond ‘anthropological predicates’ and before any actual ‘love.’ (Deleuze) The concept being an ontological before it is an epistemological category. (Also Bryant)

The being of being in love being set in motion. So differing internally, qualitative and stylistically. Moving infinitely. (Deleuze) As we gathered. (Badiou) For however long it last. Rather, endure. Feeble and strong. (Kristeva)

And having found it what do we do with it? but repeat it in the terms in which it is actualised, bio-logic-mechanic-ally. Or take a cutting. A shortcut. And a silhouette. Hard graft. And topology.

And in that second thought sort of repeat who flips all the bits of love to chance? throws up each little die? of every little death? (Nietzsche. Or Mallarme. Some symbolist, at least?)

What then if love is a brick and we make the wall suggested geographically (albeit it would be clearer as a dry-stone construction. Better whetted. Sharper on the cut.)? In what is love then contained? and by what entrained? but its negative.

And how long must the mere (representational) repetition stay up (/durer/), surely not eternally! Internally?

“Be Hence Ghost of Internal Redcurrants!”

Love is alone in excluding everything but the empirical delusion of anthropological predicates. And in that transcendental bind, it may find itself immured. That is, doubled. In a pincer movement. (Deleuze & Guattari)

The essential, however, before love is just loved, is that it move. And in moving not be not love.


Simon Taylor


(Note: I am ‘smiling at a crocodile‘ in answer to this, from sdv@krokodile.co.uk,

“Where does love begin/end/come into being, geographically speaking?” Geographically speaking ? mean ?

(What can love and “geographically speaking” mean in a world, where the old definitions and concepts founded on geography, race are dying faster than the humans who might once have been associated to this concept. (I am thinking especially of deceased scientific concepts such as the “English Race” but also of Africans, Americans and so on, these geographical concepts have no validity left). Given this what can geographically speaking mean ? And since I’d imagined that ‘love’ is as close to a universal as any concept describing an actual human and non-human might be, perhaps my difficulty and interest in this “geographically speaking” which must suggest that some humans in some geographies, don’t love…. but where ?


For more information please visit -empyre- and ask them,

Where is the love?

Is it immured [as I suggested in my contribution] and geographically confined? biologically? or cut off by the cordon sanitaire of netiquette?


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to stretch to fold to twist – it

Deleuze holds that structural interpretation is both creative and apodictic. On the one hand, it is creative insofar as the interpretative work always depends upon a fundamental decision or risk surrounding what sorts of variations the structure of the text must undergo. Will I stretch it, fold it, or twist it? On the other hand, it is apodictic in that it refers to relations and singularities necessarily embodied in the text.

– Levy Bryant, Difference and Givenness, p. 70


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Dan Eldon

only THE dead have seen the end OF war” – Plato,

quoted by Dan Eldon, who he was here


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Preparations for Transport continues… (for preceding parts, see page under Not That Beautiful, opposite)

The next days followed quickly and without major variation, except they got shorter. Tolerances to this phase of the treatment apparently decreased over time, our days ending earlier and earlier.

By three o’clock on the fourth day immobile figures on mats outnumbered those who were moving. There were squeaks and rattles and the trolleys departed.

The woman in white stopped a tall male dancer on his way out. He came back minutes later with a ladder and removed the clock. The woman in white no longer wanted us to measure the effects of the treatment by the clock.

After that first time I did not wake again in the night. But I had the impression of ghostly old people padding around me, the volunteers.

Your arms began to remember late at night and your legs and buttocks. And you might have fallen into a deep black well to start with but before morning you became restless, rolling from one side to the other.

Waking reality infected what dreams there were until you awoke at last exhausted and afraid.

On the fifth morning, or it might have been the sixth, the heat lamps came on and as usual the room went from a warm red to a brilliant white and the dancers hurried through collecting our blankets and mopping up whatever had spilled or seeped from our sleeping bodies. As usual they brought out bowls of thin sweet porridgey stuff and put them on the side tables.

There were the normal sounds of yawning and different ones like whimpers and small cries as we made our way to breakfast. But today only one trolley squeaked and rumbled into the hall.

The woman in white parked it up beside the odd piece of apparatus, which had become familiar enough to have almost disappeared.

Four nurses stood beside the apparatus. The woman in white consulted some papers and the nurses whispered amongst themselves.

The dancers variously mopped, wiped, shook out mats and repositioned them.

Breakfast took two or three mouthfuls and you felt sick. It tasted like condensed milk reinforced with baby’s formula.

By the time we’d finished everything was in order.
The half full bowls went into big plastic tubs and were whisked away. Our dancers guided us to our mats at a pre-arranged signal.

The dancers left us sitting or lying on our mats and joined the nurses around the giant egg-cup.

The woman in white seemed to be questioning them.

There were nods and some shaking of heads. Then the mood of the dancers rapidly lifted and became light as if they were relieved, as if the woman in white was pleased with their progress. There was even a bit of laughter and some gentle applause.

One of the dancers took a little bow. Her or his group, sometimes it was impossible to tell, comprised two of the smallest girls.

The dancers came away from the meeting with smiles. The one with the little girls went so far as to give them both a quick hug.

Karim smiled at our group. He patted me on the back.

It was impossible not to feel happy for them even if you didn’t know why.

Karim guided us through our movements.

You felt that the normal resistances of bones and muscles had gone. You saw into the small of your back, while your legs changed places with your arms and your neck stretched around. And even your skull seemed to be able to change its shape. And for all that you didn’t want to look too closely or consider how you looked from the outside.

If you did for an instant step out of yourself, it was sickening to see. It was like watching a snake swallow an egg.

Your limbs slithered over each other. You were jointless. You were all fibre, a single sinew.

The movement was continuous, until at some point you passed out again.

Waking, you would resume the exercises.

I’d gone for a few seconds into blackness. I came back out of it to the sound of clapping.

The hardest things were now things like sitting up, getting upright.

You could say I rested on my elbows, but equally my cheek rested on my knees. I tried to see what was going on.

Karim and other dancers were clapping. Most of the middle school were like I was.

A few attempted weakly, limply to join in with the applause. They slowly brought their arms together, like flippers.

One of the small girls had been lifted to shoulder height by the dancers. She wore a slack grin and was being paraded around the hall.

After a circuit, she was carried to the front, to the woman in white and the egg-cup.

They sat her in the egg-cup. She rested limp as a squid on the blue gel pads, which held her arms and legs and supported her buttocks and neck and followed the curve of her spine.

Adjustments were made. The tap-wheels turned.

Her legs met her chest. Her arms crossed in front of her. And her neck bent forward. It was taken further forward.

Then they seemed to compress her body.

As if they’d suddenly thrown a lever sucking all the air out of the egg-cup, there was a strange sort of hiccup from the girl.

Her body was vacuum-packed, yet still suspended on the pads.

The woman in white removed several syringes from their packets.

She took samples from all over the compressed form, sliding one under the thin skin of her scalp.

The small girl blinked. She didn’t, she couldn’t struggle.

Seeing all eyes in the hall on her, the woman in white gave a small bow. It was an acknowledgment of their accomplishment as much, now that we had all seen what we were working towards, as a sign to resume our work.

point to point

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“terrorized in my bed with Artaud fast asleep” cf. I ache in the places where i used to play, of Leonard Cohen

and the late discovery of the Artaudian ghosting…

(Leonard Cohen singing “Tower of Song” here.)


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Tel Quel/Artaud: les risques enormes et les experiences aesthetiques limites + glossolalie politique; cf. my mother’s paranoia was politically inspired, Ghetto Life 101

it takes extremely fragile and extremely solid people to risk and even gain from the encounter with madness without succumbing or being taken by it to destruction and death

(here’s the link for reference to Ghetto Life 101, the radio diary of LeAlan Jones, then thirteen, and Lloyd Newman, fourteen, recorded in 1993 on Chicago’s South Side.

(It is in a BBC-backed programme that LeAlan Jones revisits the diary fifteen years later and comments on his mother’s mental illness, at the onset of which she conversed with Ronald Reagan on the porch: her paranoia was politically inspired … he goes on to wonder about how many such mental illnesses are politically inspired.)


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JK in reluctant blue


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