Jacques Besse — a schizo on a walk

besse“The women are not the only ones who reject me. The north refuses me and I do not make it to the Seine. I turn onto the rue des Beaux-Arts to trudge back toward the Luxembourg Gardens. I will find a bench there and will perhaps see the situation more clearly. It is around 3 pm” (Besse 1999 [1969], 31, my translation).

I’ve been slowly making headway on a translation of Jacques Besse’s novella La Grande Pâque, which informed Deleuze and Guattari’s comments in Anti-Oedipus about the schizo out for a walk:

“In a great book by Jacques Besse, we encounter once again the double stroll of the schizo, the geographic exterior voyage following nondecomposable distances, and the interior historical voyage enveloping intensities: Christopher Columbus calms his mutinous crew and becomes admiral again only by simulating a (false) admiral who is simulating a whore who is dancing” (87).

I am about a third of the way through the translation, which presents a unique set of challenges: first, it’s fiction so the language is much different than the theory that I am more accustomed to translating, but second, it is nothing if not a map of intensities. The references to historical events, religious imagery, the geography of Paris, the changing states of Besse’s nerves, etc., careen across the pages. A great book, indeed.


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Trump’s Electoral Victory Signals Dangerous Turn in Capitalism by Peter Hudis

The freedom movements in the U.S., and indeed around the world, have been dealt a serious blow with the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. This is one moment when “staring the negative in the face” without succumbing to either despair or superficial explanations of the reason for his election becomes […]


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Andy Warhol on originality

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PKD’s Timothy Archer on music (vs. Bifo on poetry?)

Becoming Poor


Regarding our conversation of why Bifo was interested in poetry, rather than, say, music: this is a short passage from Philip K. Dick’s The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, in which the title character is discussing Beethoven’s Fidelio with his daughter-in-law:

“It goes beyond beauty,” Tim said. “It involves an apprehension of the nature of freedom itself. How can it be that purely abstract music, such as his late quartets, can without words change human beings in terms of their own awareness of themselves, in terms of their ontological nature? Schopenhauer believed that art, in particular music, had — has — the power to cause the will, the irrational, striving will, to somehow turn back onto and into itself and cease to strive. He considered this a religious experience, although temporary. Somehow art, somehow music especially, has the power to transform man from an irrational thing into some rational entity…

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David Ruccio on “Class before Trumponomics”

Ruccio has posted three incredibly clear and insightful installments on the state of class relations in the US since WWII. They’re great empirical support for many of the economic trends that those of us who deal in political/urban theory are used to reading, but without any concrete evidence.




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#blacklivesmatter & #nodapl – from UW CBE students

I’m not sure how long this will last, but it was refreshing to see on Gould Hall this morning. Combined with some recent college-wide interest in helping with Tent City 3, and new courses on race and social justice, CBE is showing a more intense commitment to these critical issues than I’ve seen over the last seven years on campus.


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Sure, you can learn French words from an app…

Becoming Poor

…but if you really want to learn it, get a French lover. Evan’s words of wisdom today reminded me of this commercial — or one like it — that I saw within the last year or so.

We were talking about Bifo’s assertion that children today learn more words from the “linguistic machine” than their mothers. This machine, as we understood it, is the network if caretakers and media that participate in the child rearing process. Bifo was raising the question of the potential effects of severing the emotional connection to the mother from language acquisition, and he pointed out the way that contemporary fiction renders the fragility of affective connections (he mentions Franzen’s The Corrections, and I assume he’s referring, at least in part, to Chip’s strange fall and distance from his family — a drug-fueled affair with a student, stealing fresh salmon by stashing it in his…

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