Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Wednesday October 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:24 PM

War of Ideas

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently declared a “war of ideas.”

Here is some background– notes made to help clarify my own thoughts.

Today, the 22nd “Socialist International Conference,” held every 4 years, concludes.  This is a non-communist gathering of various countries’ Social Democratic parties.  It has been called a gathering of “dinosaurs” (rather like the Democratic Party in the United States, or Tony Blair).

More relevant is the following history:

The First International
Founded in London, led by Karl Marx.

The Second International
Founded at a Paris congress, collapsed with the outbreak of World War I.

The Third International
Founded by the Russian revolution, also known as the Comintern.  Said to have ended with the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact, officially dissolved in 1943.  Succeeded by a Stalinist, hence non-international, organization.

The Fourth International
Founded by Trotsky in 1938.  Ended in various splinter groups after World War II.

The Fifth International
In process of formation.
See Movement for a Socialist Future and
The Fifth International?.

Wednesday October 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:49 AM

Pulitzer Ritual

Today is the feast day of
Saint Joseph Pulitzer,
who died on October 29, 1911.

In his memory, here are two links:

A Columbia Journalism Review article

on the Indymedia movement, and the movement’s own site,



Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Tuesday October 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:53 AM

In Memory of Soong Mayling

Dissing Dissent:
In White House actions, a troubling echo of life in communist China
By Liu Baifang

This is from the well-organized leftist site

Related links:

Commentary on Baifang essay, and

two links that appear to be about this same Liu Baifang:

Liu Baifang, wife of Orville Schell, and

Liu Baifang, Producer
(Red Corner, Gate of Heavenly Peace).


Tuesday October 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:06 AM

Going Beyond

“Any American who tries to go beyond ‘America good, terrorists evil,’ who tries to understand — not condone — the growing world backlash against the United States, faces furious attacks delivered in a tone of high moral indignation.”

Paul Krugman, 10/28/03 NY Times

And those who launch those furious attacks face a reborn, well-armed, well-organized, international socialist movement with their own grandchildren in the vanguard.  No, Communism is not dead.

For a view of this movement from the left, click here.

For a view from the right, click here.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Monday October 27, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 AM

Dream of Heaven, continued

“…I am going up the hill on the grass behind juniper trees birches the road dusty she is coming up the other side yes there she is look it is who is it not Berty no Molly no a girl with red hair comes through the oak trees beautiful loves me puts out her hand kisses me we are kissing become one face floating in air with wings one fused face with wings Turner sunset and this and this and this and this and this WINGbeat and WINGbeat where whirled and well where whirled and well where whirled and well —”

Great Circle, by Conrad Aiken, 1933.
    Pp. 297-298 in paperback published by
    Arbor House, New York, 1984.

For related material, see the poems of Conrad Aiken, the 1947 novel Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, and the 1936 poem “Altarwise by Owl-Light,” by Dylan Thomas, whose birthday is today.

Surrealist postscripts:

The above dream contains a Turner sunset; a critic once called the work of Turner “pictures of nothing.”  For details, see my entry of 8/23.

The time of this entry, 8:28, is a reference to the date, 8/28, of the Feast of St. Augustine, who was puzzled, as many still are, by the nature of time.  For details, see my entry of 8/28.

Monday October 27, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:20 AM

Dream of Heaven

“Heaven is a state, a sort of
metaphysical state.”

— John O’Hara,
Hope of Heaven, 1938

“Frère Jacques, Cuernavaca,
ach du lieber August.”

— John O’Hara, Hope of Heaven 

Frère Jacques
is a
  “canon à quatre voix.”

For another, purely visual,
four-part canon, see the
owl-like picture

in the web page
Poetry’s Bones.

See, too, the Wallace Stevens poem
The Owl in the Sarcophagus,”
and hear Stevie Nicks as the voice
of The Wizard Owl in a story titled
 Frère Jacques.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Sunday October 26, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:22 PM

Long Time Gone

Today’s hymn from KHYI, Plano, Texas…
(played at 11:15 AM Sunday, CST):

They got money but they don’t got Cash;
They got Junior but they don’t got Hank.

From the album Real Time,
by Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott.

Update of 1:50 PM EST…

Thanks, too, KHYI, for what may be
becoming my favorite Texas hymn
(played at about 12:45 PM CST)….

Love at the Five and Dime,
by Nanci Griffith

Sunday October 26, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:17 AM


Trotsky’s Birthday

Part I:

From my entry of July 26, 2003, in memory
of Marathon Man director John Schlesinger:

Bright Star and Dark Lady

“Mexico is a solar country — but it is also a black country, a dark country. This duality of Mexico has preoccupied me since I was a child.”

Octavio Paz,
quoted by Homero Aridjis

Bright Star


Dark Lady

For the meaning of the above symbols, see
Kubrick’s 1x4x9 monolith in 2001,
the Halmos tombstone in Measure Theory,
and the Fritz Leiber Changewar stories.

No se puede vivir sin amar.

Part II:
Sunday in the Park with Death

  To Leon from Diego —
Details of a mural,
A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon
in Alameda Park,
Fresco, 1947-48,
Alameda Hotel, Mexico City:

Three’s a Crowd:


Saturday, October 25, 2003

Saturday October 25, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

On the Left


See this analysis of the organizers of today’s March on Washington.  For a much better organized Commie effort, click here.

On the right

A site in honor of Picasso’s birthday

Saturday October 25, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:38 AM

Rummy, here’s your
“war of ideas”

The Hunt for Red October

Today is the anniversary of the triumph of Lenin in the October Revolution.

General background on the two sides:

        Progressive and Left

In today’s news: March on Washington

Friday, October 24, 2003

Friday October 24, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:38 AM

War of Ideas

Toby Ziegler
of West Wing

Click on the above picture for
my Aug. 17, 2003, entry,

A Thorny Crown of Ideas.

Rumsfeld Suggests New Agency
for ‘War of Ideas’

Reuters logo

Friday, October 24, 2003 12:50 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview published on Friday that the United States needs to sell its message more effectively and that a new agency would help fight a “war of ideas” against international terrorism.

“We are in a war of ideas, as well as a global war on terror. And the ideas are important and they need to be marshaled, and they need to be communicated in ways that are persuasive to the listeners,” Rumsfeld said in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Times.

“The overwhelming majority of the people of all religions don’t believe in terrorism. They don’t believe in running around killing innocent men, women and children. And we need more people standing up and saying that in the world, not just us,” Rumsfeld was quoted as saying.

For the details of a rather famous religious text that shows Rumsfeld to be lying, see my note of July 31, 1997,

Vacation Bible School.

(The detail that makes Rumsfeld’s statement a lie is the word “all,” which is contradicted by the religion of Orthodox Judaism.  Another detail of interest is the word “Joshua” in the Vacation Bible School entry.  Recall that this was the real name of the Jew now known as Jesus, and that many of his followers may have hoped he would star in a bloody sequel to the Book of Joshua.  Hence the “thorny crown” phrase in the West Wing link above.)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Thursday October 23, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:25 PM


Thursday October 23, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 AM

For the Dead of
St. Ursula’s Day

In the spirit of Southie…



To admirers of
Elliott Smith
from admirers of
Louise Day Hicks,
a link:


“To admirers, Mrs. Hicks
spoke the truth
to liberal power
in simple declarative sentences.”

Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

“The time had come for him
to set out on his journey westward.
Yes, the newspapers were right:
snow was general all over Ireland.”

James Joyce, “The Dead”

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Tuesday October 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:07 AM

Saint Ursula’s Day

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”

— Saying attributed to 
   Saint Ursula K. Le Guin
   (10/21/1929 – )

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Saturday October 18, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 AM

For St. Gwen Verdon:

Enter Dancing

From Daily Quotational Lattice:

The story of the day is “Dance in America,” about a dancer who has dinner with some friends.  Take note if you’re a dancer: Ariel, a bona fide dancer, deems the quotes about dancing to be “very powerful.”

“I tell them dance begins when a moment of hurt combines with a moment of boredom.  I tell them it’s the body’s reaching, bringing air to itself.  I tell them that it’s the heart’s triumph, the victory speech of the feet, the refinement of animal lunge and flight, the purest metaphor of tribe and self. It’s life flipping death the bird.  I make this stuff up.”

“I am thinking of the dancing body’s magnificent and ostentatious scorn.  This is how we offer ourselves, enter heaven, enter speaking: we say with motion, in space, This is what life’s done so far down here; this is all and what and everything it’s managed–this body, these bodies, that body– so what do you think, Heaven?  What do you fucking think?”

“Dance in America,” by Lorrie Moore

Friday, October 17, 2003

Friday October 17, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:15 PM

Happy Birthday, Arthur Miller

Miller, the author of “The Crucible,” is what Russell Baker has called a “tribal storyteller.”

From an essay by Baker in The New York Review of Books, issue dated November 6, 2003 (Fortieth Anniversary Issue):

“Among the privileges enjoyed by rich, fat, superpower America is the power to invent public reality.  Politicians and the mass media do much of the inventing for us by telling us stories which purport to unfold a relatively simple reality.  As our tribal storytellers, they shape our knowledge and ignorance of the world, not only producing ideas and emotions which influence the way we live our lives, but also leaving us dangerously unaware of the difference between stories and reality.”

— Russell Baker, “The Awful Truth,” NYRB 11/6/03, page 8 

Here is a rather similar view of the media:

“Who Rules America?”.

The attentive student of this second essay will have no difficulty finding a single four-letter word to replace both of Baker’s phrases “rich, fat, superpower America” and “politicians and the mass media.”

Baker’s concern for “the difference between stories and reality” is reflected in my own website The Diamond Theory of Truth.  In summary:

“Is it safe?” — Sir Laurence Olivier

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Thursday October 16, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:23 PM

Cursing the Darkness

From my entries on this date last year

“…we shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust by God’s grace shall never be put out.”

Thought for today:

Render unto Rome that which is Rome’s.

See also my remarks of January 29, 2003,
on the opening in New Zealand of
Cullinane College.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Wednesday October 15, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:01 PM

The One Culture

Today’s birthdays:
Friedrich Nietzsche and C. P. Snow.

Recommended reading–

The Two Cultures Today, by Roger Kimball, which begins with a quotation from Nietzsche:

“It is not a question of annihilating science, but of controlling it.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Tuesday October 14, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 PM

Saint Leonard’s Day

From a review of Leonard Bernstein’s 1973 Norton lectures at Harvard:

The truly emblematic twentieth-century composer is Mahler, whose attempts to relinquish tonality are reluctant and incomplete, and whose nostalgia for past practice is overt and tragic. Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, his “last will and testament,” shows “that ours is the century of death, and Mahler is its musical prophet.” That is the “real reason” Mahler’s music suffered posthumous neglect–it was, Bernstein says, “telling something too dreadful to hear.” The Ninth Symphony embodies three kinds of death–Mahler’s own, which he knew was imminent; the death of tonality, “which for him meant the death of music itself”; and “the death of society, of our Faustian culture.” And yet this music, like all great art, paradoxically reanimates us.

Joseph Horowitz, New York Review of Books, June 10, 1993

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Sunday October 12, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:36 PM

Hello, Columbus

“Dunne is to Irish Catholics as
Philip Roth is to Eastern European Jews,
and True Confessions is Dunne’s
Goodbye Columbus.”
Amazon.com review

Sunday October 12, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:36 PM

Spinnin’ Wheel, Spinnin’ True

See last year’s
October 12 entry

“She’s a Twentieth Century Fox.”

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Saturday October 11, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

For Patricia Collinge

of Collinge-Pickman Casting, Boston, whose credits include casting for the film A Civil Action.

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes…”

KHYI just played Tish Hinojosa’s “Something in the Rain.”  Here, Ms. Collinge, is a rather strange website related to the themes of A Civil Action and to Hinojosa’s song:

Something in the Rain

Saturday October 11, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:25 AM

The Mysterious West

Thanks again to KHYI, Plano, Texas, for great poetry.  In tonight’s KHYI playlist…

From Spike and Jamie:







From Tish Hinojosa:

It’s the way of life in the real west…”

A search for information on the singer of “Real West” led to a site in Japan that mentions Hinojosa, among many other makers of recommended music:

From Japan–

Random Diary & Essay

“an example of understand beyond language is still possible”

Such an example is one of the themes in a movie I admire greatly….

Ghost Dog – The Way of the Samurai.

The hero’s understanding of what his friend says, even though he does not know the friend’s language, is a recurring theme in this film.

As for me… “No entiendo.  Sigo trabajando.”

Friday, October 10, 2003

Friday October 10, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:04 PM


As the president of Harvard has pointed out,  many have found good reasons recently to become anti-Semites.

Here are three good reasons to be pro-Semitic:

  1. Jordan Ellenberg’s course on Numbers, Equations, and Proofs this fall at Princeton,
  2. Ellenberg’s phrase, contained in a syllabus for that course (3-7 Nov. 2003):
    “The heartbreaking failure of unique factorization,” and
  3. Ellenberg himself.

Unlike many with a Harvard background who project with success the appearance of intelligence, Ellenberg seems to be in fact genuinely intelligent… a rare thing.

He also seems to be Jewish… This may be false, though, since Elllenberg, intelligently, does not state any ethnic or religious preferences.

Fine Hall 1201

The classic question of Sir Laurence Olivier– “Is it safe?”– may, in view of the above, be answered in the affirmative… provided, that is, that the “it” refers to number theory at Princeton… one of the crowning glories of Western civilization.

Friday October 10, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:44 PM


To hear a story, or to read it straight through from start to finish, is to travel along a one-dimensional line.  A well-structured story has, however, more than one dimension.

Juxtaposing scenes shows that details that seem to be far apart in the telling (or the living) of a story may in fact be closely related.

Here is an example from the film “Contact,” in which a young girl’s drawing and a vision of paradise are no longer separated by the time it takes to tell (or live) the story:

(See my entry of Michaelmas 2002.)

For details of how time is “folded”
by artists and poets, see the following:

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle,

and Time Fold, by S. H. Cullinane.

Friday October 10, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:35 AM

The West Wing’s
Story Line

From USATODAY.com, Oct. 9, 2003:

News analysis by Judy Keen, USA TODAY

Posted 10/9/2003 9:40 PM 
Updated 10/9/2003 9:42 PM

WASHINGTON — President Bush’s fierce defense Thursday of the war with Iraq was part of an effort to regain control of the debate over the wisdom of the conflict….

Bush’s insistence that the United States “won’t run from a challenge” in Iraq was a sign that he and his top aides are doing what they always do when they’re in trouble. They attempt to recapture equilibrium by confronting critics and trying to control the story line.

See also the “story theory of truth”
versus the “diamond theory of truth.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Wednesday October 8, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:09 PM

“Fair and Balanced”?

“Schwarzenegger made a lot of promises that we know are lies,” Bob Mulholland, the campaign adviser to the California Democratic Party, said today. “And now he’s going to find out that being in the governor’s office is not a movie script. We’ll be holding his feet to the fire.”
Kirk Semple,
NY Times, Oct. 8, 2003

Franken disgusts me, so I’m with Arnie.

As for Mulholland… click here.

Update of 5:35 PM:

I see the NY Times has killed the Semple story and replaced it with another at the above Times link.

Wednesday October 8, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 AM


“A ray of light striking through a wall or window… is a conventional sign of the Annunciation.”

by James Cameron, 1991

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Tuesday October 7, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:09 PM

Judgment Day

“…Mondrian and Malevich are not discussing canvas or pigment or graphite or any other form of matter.  They are talking about Being or Mind or Spirit.  From their point of view, the grid is a staircase to the Universal….”

— Rosalind Krauss, “Grids”

Krauss is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University.

For more on Meyer Schapiro, see the link on the phrase “art historian” in my March 10, 2003, entry.

To view that entry in a larger context, see the web page Art at the Vanishing Point, which includes a picture of Mondrian’s own Paris staircase.  The picture below might be thought of as illustrating Krauss’s “grid is a staircase”… a staircase to, in fact, a vanishing point.


Frame not included in
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day

For a different view of what the New York Times Book Review has characterized as “high culture,” see the link on that phrase also in my March 10, 2003, entry.  This leads to a work by T. S. Eliot titled Christianity and Culture.   See too the remarks of the Meyer Schapiro Professor in my Oct. 5, 2003, entry, “Art Theory for Yom Kippur,”  in which she likens the Cross to Pandora’s box.

Eliot’s attitude toward this Jewish approach to high culture might be summarized by the following remarks of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Dr. Silberman: You broke my arm!

Sarah Connor: There are two-hundred-fifteen bones in the human body, [expletive deleted]. That’s one.

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Sunday October 5, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 PM


Born on this date:
Producer Joshua Logan.

March 9, 1975:
Broadway Tribute to Joshua Logan

March 9, 2000:
Is Nothing Sacred?

“Of course there is nothing afterwards.”
Thoughts of a dying man in Nabokov’s The Gift

“There is nothing like a dame.”
— Oscar Hammerstein II, South Pacific

For more on the religious significance of the date March 9, see

Art Wars.

Sunday October 5, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:09 AM

At Mount Sinai:
Art Theory for Yom Kippur

From the New York Times of Sunday, October 5, 2003 (the day that Yom Kippur begins at sunset):

Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, whose interpretations of religious law helped sustain Lithuanian Jews during Nazi occupation…. died on Sept. 28 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. He was 89.”

For a fictional portrait of Lithuanian Jews during Nazi occupation, see the E. L. Doctorow novel City of God.

For meditations on the spiritual in art, see the Rosalind Krauss essay “Grids.”   As a memorial to Rabbi Oshry, here is a grid-based version of the Hebrew letter aleph:

Rabbi Oshry


Click on the aleph for details.

“In the garden of Adding,
Live Even and Odd….”
— The Midrash Jazz Quartet in
       City of God, by E. L. Doctorow

Here are two meditations
on Even and Odd for Yom Kippur:

Meditation I

From Rosalind Krauss, “Grids”:

“If we open any tract– Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art or The Non-Objective World, for instance– we will find that Mondrian and Malevich are not discussing canvas or pigment or graphite or any other form of matter.  They are talking about Being or Mind or Spirit.  From their point of view, the grid is a staircase to the Universal, and they are not interested in what happens below in the Concrete.

Or, to take a more up-to-date example, we could think about Ad Reinhardt who, despite his repeated insistence that ‘Art is art,’ ended up by painting a series of black nine-square grids in which the motif that inescapably emerges is a Greek cross.  There is no painter in the West who can be unaware of the symbolic power of the cruciform shape and the Pandora’s box of spiritual reference that is opened once one uses it.”

Meditation II

Here, for reference, is a Greek cross
within a nine-square grid:

 Related religious meditation for
Doctorow’s “Garden of Adding”…

 4 + 5 = 9.

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Saturday October 4, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:48 PM

Today’s birthday: ageless Charlton Heston.

Happy Birthday, Moses!

Elaine Pagels,
authority on the Gnostic gospels,
p. 12, New York Review of Books,
issue dated Oct. 23, 2003

Saturday October 4, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:29 AM

Meditation for the High Holy Days:

Noble Lies or Criminal Fraud?

On Noble Lies:

Leo Strauss, who for many years taught an esoteric reading of Plato at the University of Chicago, believed that an educated elite could rule through deception. A circle of his former students, now in appointed public office, are in a position to make Strauss’s teaching national practice.”

America, the Jesuit weekly, July 7, 2003

(“Words are events.”– Walter J. Ong, S.J.) 

On Criminal Fraud:

“There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas…. This whole thing was a fraud.”

Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Iraq war, Sept. 18, 2003

“Nothing could be a more serious violation of public trust than to consciously make a war based on false claims…. [The Bush administration’s] handling of intelligence and its retaliation against its critics may have been criminal.”

Gen. Wesley Clark, Oct. 3, 2003

On the Good versus the True

According to one reading of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance– a book that deals with, among other things, the reading of Plato at the University of Chicago (see the Jesuit remarks above)– the Good is the enemy of the True.  This is a reading that may well appeal to Bush supporters, who would of course like to be on the side of the Good.  Let them recall two Middle Eastern sayings:

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,”

“Satan is the father of lies.” 

Friday, October 3, 2003

Friday October 3, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:23 PM

Time and the Grid

Art theorist Rosalind Krauss and poet T. S. Eliot on time, timelessness, and the grid.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Thursday October 2, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:15 AM

For Wallace Stevens’s Birthday

Unlicensed Metaphysics:
Annie Dillard Revisited

Noticer: The Visionary Art
of Annie Dillard

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