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First they came for Gilbert Gottfried
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a shrill comedian
Then they came for Catullus
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Latin poet
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

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Dr Thurgood: Larry! 
Larry David: Hi. I know I don’t have an appointment, but I got a bill in the mail today… am I to understand that you charge me for talking to me on line in a baseball card show? Is that possible? 
Dr Thurgood: Well yes, it is. 
Larry David: Dr Thurgood, we spoke for all of three minutes! 
Dr Thurgood: Let me just point out, Larry, that sometimes when people suffer with what I might call the more dramatic forms of narcissism, they have a hard time gauging how long they have been talking about their problems for themselves. 
Larry David: You’re saying I’m a narcissist? 
Dr Thurgood: Larry, maybe I can help you understand this way. I had a client, he was quite an illustrious, well-known director. I don’t want to reveal who he was, but he did direct Star Wars… And he enjoyed, in his repertoire of things that he liked, to see prostitutes. Now, in that particular situation, if he were to hire a prostitute, let’s say for an hour, which was normal for him… 
Larry David: You might as well call him George Lucas, I mean that’s who directed Star Wars
Dr Thurgood: Oh, well, I would never say that. I would never say that. 
Larry David: Well, you just told me who it was. 
Dr Thurgood: I merely alluded to the fact that he was a well-known director. Now, one of the things he needed to complete his work, it was important for him… 
Larry David: Everybody knows who directed Star Wars
Mr. Thurgood: Well, not everyone is in show business, Larry.  
Larry David: Okay, good… all right, go ahead. 
Dr Thurgood: My point is… 
Larry David: God only knows what you’re saying about me! 
Dr Thurgood: No one asks about you. 
Larry David: I didn’t ask about George Lucas, but you just brought him up! 
Dr Thurgood: I merely said “a well-known director”. And here’s my point: he used to frequent prostitutes. And very often he would hire them for an hour, which was their minimum, but it only took him three or four, maybe five minutes to complete the shot, if you understand what I’m saying. However! they considered it fair and he considered it fair to pay them for the full hour—that was the way they did business. 
Larry David: First off, I am appalled by what you just said to me… 
Dr Thurgood: He has a right to do what he wants. He is an adult. 
Larry David: It’s supposed to be confidential! 
Dr Thurgood: And it is. 
Larry David: You’re not supposed to be telling people! 
Dr Thurgood: It’s merely my way of illustration. My point is that people need various things to help them function, and my hope is that I was doing that for you. Well, it was good to see you. 
Larry David: And congratulations, doctor, I think you’ve stumbled upon the perfect analogy for exactly what you do. 
Dr Thurgood: Well, it’s somewhere between a hobby and a profession for me, just as it is for them.  
Larry David: Uh huh. 
Dr Thurgood: Good seeing you. 
Larry David: Okay. 
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 8, Episode 9
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The Fugs, named after Norman Mailer’s euphemism punctuating the pages of The Naked and the Dead, were conceived in a former kosher meat store on East 10th Street in late 1964, when 26 year old Ed Sanders published 42 year old Tuli Kupferberg’s poetry in his highbrow literary journal, Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts:
We drew inspiration for the Fugs from a long and varied tradition, going all the way back to the dances of Dionysus in the ancient Greek plays and the “Theory of the Spectacle” in Aristotle’s Poetics, and moving forward to the famous premier performance of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi in 1896, to the poèmes simultanés of the Dadaists in Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire in 1916, to the jazz-poetry of the Beats, to Charlie Parker’s seething sax, to the silence of John Cage, to the calm pushiness of the Happening movement, the songs of the Civil Rights movement, and to our concept that there was oodles of freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution that was not being used.

Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg photographed by Richard Avedon in 1967
The Fugs consisted of three members: Tuli Kupferberg, native New Yorker and “one of the leading Anarchist theorists of our time,” Ken Weaver, humorist and poet, and Ed Sanders, fellow poet and leader of the group. Their inspiration was irreproachable. Their performance was parodic. There were musicians, there were noisemakers, and then there were The Fugs. “From now on nothing holds us back, cacophony forever”, crowed Ed Sanders during a 1964 recording session. The form suited the subject. Nothing is Kupferberg’s inspired paraphrase of a Yiddish potato folk song into a supreme ode to negativity:
Monday nothing, Tuesday nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday for a change a little more nothing
Saturday once more nothing

Sunday nothing, Monday nothing
Tuesday and Wednesday nothing
Thursday for a change a little more nothing
Friday once more nothing

Montik gar nicht dinstik gar nicht
Mitvokh und donershtik gar nicht
Fraytik in a noveneh a gar nicht kuggele
Shabes vayter garnicht

Lunes nada martes nada
Miércoles jueves nada
Viernes por cambio poco mas nada
Sábado otra más nada

January nothing, February nothing
March and April nothing
May and June a lot more nothing
Ju-u-ly nothing

29 nothing
32 nothing
39, 45 nothing
1965 a whole lot of nothing
1966 nothing

Reading nothing, writing nothing
Even arithmetic nothing
Geography, philosophy, history nothing
Social Anthropology nothing

Oh, Village Voice nothing, New Yorker nothing
Sing Out and Folkways nothing
Harry Smith and Allen Ginsberg
Nothing nothing nothing

Poetry nothing
Music nothing
Painting and dancing nothing
The world’s great books a great set of nothing
Arty and farty nothing.

Fucking nothing, sucking nothing
Flesh and sex nothing
Church and Times Square all a lot of nothing
Nothing nothing nothing

Stevenson nothing, Humphrey nothing
Averell Harriman nothing
John Stewart Mill nihil nihil
Franklin Delano nothing

Karlos Marx nothing, Engels nothing
Bakunin, Kropotkin nyothing
Leon Trotsky lots of nothing
Stalin less than nothing

Nothing nothing nothing nothing
The whole scene’s a whole lot of nothing
Nothing lots and lots of nothing
Nothing nothing nothing nothing NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING

Nothing nothing nothing NOTHING nothing
Lots of it

Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
Not a Goddam thing.
Here’s wishing Tuli Kupferberg a whole lot of Nothing.

Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Sanders photographed by Bob Gruen in 2003
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Thank you, U.S.A. You are the only land to support the vocation of an assclown.
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     „Niemals geboren zu werden wäre das beste für die sterblichen Menschenkinder“, „Aber“, setzen die Weisen der „Fliegenden Blätter“ hinzu, „unter hunderttausend Menschen passiert dies kaum einem.“
    Der moderne Zusatz zum alten Weisheitsspruch ist ein klarer Unsinn, der durch das anscheinend vorsichtige „kaum“ noch dümmer wird. Aber er knüpft als unbestreitbar richtige Einschränkung an den ersten Satz an, kann uns also die Augen darüber öffnen, daß jene mit Ehrfurcht vernommene Weisheit auch nicht viel besser als ein Unsinn ist. Wer nie geboren worden ist, ist überhaupt kein Menschenkind; für den gibt es kein Gutes und kein Bestes. Der Unsinn im Witz dient also hier zur Aufdeckung und Darstellung eines anderen Unsinns wie im Beispiel vom Artilleristen Itzig.
Never to be born would be the best thing for mortal men.’ ‘But’, adds the philosophical comment in Fliegende Blätter, ‘this happens to scarcely one person in a hundred thousand.’
    This modern addition to an ancient saw is an evident piece of nonsense, made sillier by the ostensibly cautious ‘scarcely’. But the addition is attached to the original statement as an indisputably correct limitation, and is thus able to open our eyes to the fact that this solemnly accepted piece of wisdom is itself not much better than a piece of nonsense. Anyone who is not born is not a mortal man at all, and there is no good and no best for him. Thus the nonsense in the joke serves to uncover and demonstrate another piece of nonsense, just as in the example of Artilleryman Itzig.
—Sigmund Freud,
Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten‎, Deuticke, 1912, p. 45
Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, translated by James Strachey, Norton, 1990, pp. 65-66

I got a real depressing letter from my folks about two weeks ago, because I haven’t been taking real good care of my money. They said, ‘Sam, we can’t send you any more money. You’re out of control, and you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing with your cash. And… you’re old enough to be on your own.’ I said, ‘Oh, okay’… and I called them. I said, ‘Mom, get dad on the phone too, wake him up, I know it’s late, but I want you both to hear this. You know, before I was your little son—before I was your baby—before I was your loan—I was a free spirit in the next stage of life. I walked in the cosmos, not imprisoned by a body of flesh, but free, in a pure body of light. There were no questions, only answers. No weaknesses, only strengths. I was light, I was truth, I was a spiritual being, I was a God!!! But you had to FUCK and bring my ass down HERE! I didn’t ask to be born! I didn’t call and say: ‘Hey, please have me so I could work in a fuckin’ Winchell’s someday!’ Now you want me to pay my own way? FUCK YOU! PICK UP THE FUCKIN’ CHECK, MOM! PICK IT UP!
This year’s winner of the Bookseller/Diagram prize for the oddest title of the year is Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Other finalists included How Green were the Nazis?, Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan, and the book I’m reviewing here. The title is indeed odd. But it isn’t intended merely to be catchy, another one of those volumes appealing on the cover but deadly dull within. Benatar appears genuinely to believe that we are all harmed, and fairly seriously harmed, by being brought into existence and that it would really be better, and better for us, had we never been born. There are two important and immediate objections: how can something that odd, that strange, possibly be true? And, if it is true, why don’t we all, or at least those who believe it, go and put an end to things now? Why is Benatar still with us? Is he still with us? He is, and he thinks he has an answer to these objections. I’ll come to these below.
So, give Benatar a charitable reading and there are still objections to be made. Give him what may in the end be a fairer reading, and the objections are stronger. Both in the paper and the book he argues thus: suppose you have to choose between two packages. The first contains something good and something bad, while the second contains something good and something neutral. The second package is to be preferred. But the first package is one in which we exist, and where our lives involve both goods and bads, or pleasures and pains. The second is one in which we don’t exist, and so there are no pains—something good, and no pleasures—something not bad, or neutral. So, on balance, existence is worse than non-existence. This is a dreadful argument. It’s most obviously dreadful in taking no account of the quantities of pleasure and pain involved. You might think that Benatar must at least anticipate this objection. Certainly in the paper he doesn’t. Not so in the book. There (pp. 45-47) he does attempt to address this challenge. But as he appears almost altogether to misunderstand it, there is just no force in his reply.
Reviewed by Christopher Belshaw, The Open University
Let us follow David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 45-47:


Quadrant (1) must be negative, because it is bad, and quadrants (2) and (3) must be positive because they are good. (I assume that (3) must be as good as (1) is bad. That is, if (1)=−n, then (3)=+n.) Since (4) is not bad (and not good either), it should be neither positive nor negative but rather neutral.

Employing the value assignments of Figure 2.4 we add (1) and (2) in order to determine the value of A, and then compare this with the sum of (3) and (4), which is the value of B. Doing this, we find that A is preferable to B where (2) is more than twice the value of (1).35 [Where (2) is only twice the value of (1), A and B have equal value and thus neither coming into existence nor never coming into existence is preferable.] There are numerous problems with this. For instance, as I shall show in the first section of the next chapter, it is not only the ratio of pleasure to pain that determines the quality of a life, but also the sheer quantity of pain. Once a certain threshold of pain is passed, no amount of pleasure can compensate for it.

But the best way to show that Figure 2.4 is mistaken is to apply the reasoning behind Figure 2.4 to the analogy of H (Healthy) and S (Sick) mentioned earlier.

Following Figure 2.5, it would be better to be S than H if the value of (2) were more than twice the value of (1). (This presumably would be the case where the amount of suffering that (2) saves S is more than twice the amount S actually suffers.) But this cannot be right, for surely it is always better to be H (a person who never gets sick and is thus not disadvantaged by lacking the capacity for quick recovery). The whole point is that (2) is good for S but does not constitute an advantage over H. By assigning a positive charge to (2) and a ‘0’ to (4), Figure 2.5 suggests that (2) is an advantage over (4), but it quite clearly is not. The assignment of values in Figure 2.5, and hence also in Figure 2.4, must be mistaken. 36 [To take the implications of the value assignments in Fig. 2.5 for Fig. 2.4 as evidence that the analogy between the two cases must be inapt is another instance of treating the avoidance of my conclusion as axiomatic.]
To recap, David Benatar argues that uncontroversial symmetry between the presence of pain being bad and the presence of pleasure being good does not seem to apply to the absence of pain and pleasure. On the contrary, it strikes him as true that the absence of pain is good even if that good is not enjoyed by anyone, whereas the absence of pleasure is not bad unless there is somebody for whom that absence is a deprivation. Consequently, the absence of any possible subject of pain and pleasure would amount to an overall good in the balance of his absent pains and pleasures.

It is equally uncontroversial, and uncontested by Benatar, that absence of pleasure in an extant subject does add up to a deprivation, whence the traditional recognition of acedia, a condition of sloth or torpor leading to listlessness and want of interest in life, as one of the seven deadly sins. It might be argued that the absence of any possible subject of pain and pleasure would amount to a deprivation to his potential creators. Thus within the same framework of sin and salvation, potential parents may suffer from a lack of progeny required to honor them pursuant to the Fifth Commandment, just as God may suffer from a lack of humans required to honor Him pursuant to its predecessors. But this teleological account preempts the utilitarian reckoning of the presence and absence of pain and pleasure. Likewise the human duty recognized by Socrates in the Phaedo at 62b-c, to live as a ward (κτῆμα) of the gods, consigned to their care (ἐπιμελέομαι). The key consideration here is that utilitarianism arises as an exclusive alternative to imputations of human duties or purposes and narratological construals of human lives not lending themselves to a scalar summation of pleasures and pains. It is therefore pointless to bring up such imputations and construals as conclusive rebuttals of Benatar’s utilitarian argument. There are good reasons for rejecting utilitarianism, but the spirit of charity requires the philosopher to set them aside in assessing the merits of arguments made within its tradition.

In this context belongs a critical response to a passage from John Bunyan cited in an earlier discussion of Benatar on Crooked Timber:
The figure in the Sermon on the Mount, contrasting the straight and narrow way to salvation with the broad highway to destruction, has been the basis of a number of sustained allegories, the best known being Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. To keep the figure of a way going for a whole book, the course pursued has to be a very labourious one: this is theologically defensible for Bunyan, even though we can see that the difficulty of the journey is a technical as well as a religious requirement. Toward the end of the second book Bunyan says:
Some also have wished that the next way to their Father’s house were here, that they might be troubled no more with either hills or mountains to go over; but the way is the way, and there is an end. [fn. 41 See John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners and The Pilgrim’s Progress from this World to that which is to come, ed. Roger Sharrock (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), 355 (pt. 2).]
One wonders if there is not a suppressed voice also in Bunyan’s mind asking why we have to be stuck with this spiteful and malicious God who puts so incredibly difficult an obstacle course between ourselves and himself. In the great danse macabre with which the second book concludes, the dying Valiant-for-Truth says, “Though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am,” [fn. 42 Pilgrim’s Progress, 397 (pt. 2).] where the suppressed voice is almost audible. When there are dissenting voices like this murmuring in the subtext, one wonders if the author does not feel some difficulty about his choice of metaphor.
—Northrop Frye, Words With Power: Being a Second Study of ’The Bible and Literature,
The Collected Works of Northrop Frye, Vol. 26, University of Toronto Press, 2008, pp. 90-91
Northrop Frye’s apprehension of a suppressed voice in Bunyan’s mind belongs to the spectrum of legitimate reasons for purging ethical thought of duties and purposes along with narratives that give rise thereto, reducing it to a dispassionate calculus of scalar values. As a famous philosopher pointed out, there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Accordingly, saying that an argument is bad without a thought to back it up, amounts to nothing. Likewise gainsaying a premiss in the calculus of utility, in so far as it amounts to its thoughtless contradiction. The utilitarian project may be a failure, but it begins and ends in rational thought, and deserves to be addressed by rational means.

Insisting in response to Benatar, that some pleasures are worth the pains, let alone recognizing the existence of masochists taking pleasure in pain, gets us nowhere near an argument as an intellectual process comprising a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. The correct utilitarian response to invocations of sadomasochism is reflected in Harsanyi’s distinction between self-regarding and other-regarding utility functions and preferences. Benatar’s argument would stand after discounting all social and empathetic factors. All such factors ought to be discounted in considering, of an individual life, whether or not it is worth being brought into existence. After all, the masochist patient does not take pleasure in any old pain, but revels in being inflicted pain by another agent. So the pain of natural suffering, as distinct from the social kind, suffices to motivate the top half of Benatar’s Figure 2.4. Pain is bad and pleasure is good; whereas lack of pain is bad, but lack of pleasure is indifferent, unless it is a privation. In the balance, better not to create a potential subject for such privation.

It might be objected that a masochist before God could take pleasure in the pain of cancer, as a means of proving himself equal to the challenges raised by his heavenly Father. This is the position of John Bunyan’s Valiant-for-Truth, shored up by many modern luminaries. Thus George Bernard Shaw:
All that you miss in Shakespeare you find in Bunyan, to whom the true heroic came quite obviously and naturally. The world was to him a more terrible place than it was to Shakespeare; but he saw through it a path at the end of which a man might look not only forward to the Celestial City, but back on his life and say: “Tho’ with great difficulty I am got hither,—yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get them.” The heart vibrates like a bell to such an utterance as this: to turn from it to “ Out, out, brief candle,” and “ The rest is silence,” and “We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded by a sleep” is to turn from life, strength, resolution, morning air and eternal youth, to the terrors of a drunken nightmare.
—“Better than Shakespeare”, in Dramatic Opinions and Essays with an Apology by G. Bernard Shaw, New York, Brentano, 1906, Vol. 2, p. 147
And thus Robert Louis Stevenson:
Last and most remarkable, ‘My sword,’ says the dying Valiant-for-Truth, he in whom Great-heart delighted, ‘my sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.’ And after this boast, more arrogantly unorthodox than was ever dreamed of by the rejected Ignorance, we are told that ‘all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.’
—Robert Louis Stevenson, “Bagster’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’”, in Sketches, Criticisms, etc., New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1898, p. 215
The anticipation of trumpets sounding on the other side may well inspire the faithful to withstand the pains of earthly existence. But merely pointing out that the ultimate pleasure of reuniting with God, or some interim ersatz thereof, would be worth the pains that precede it, is irrelevant in the setting of Benatar’s decision matrix. For this point amounts to a postulation that foreclosing the possibility of future pleasure in an as yet unrealized subject always already amounts to a privation. While this postulate is well suited to a hopeful narrative of posthumous salvation, it is less apt for a pure spiritual being about to be imprisoned by a body of flesh, and bears no relevance to a reckoning of worldly utility in prospective lives.

While social and empathetic factors are essential constituents in a worthwhile life, their role in evaluating whether an ongoing life is worthwhile does not find any counterparts in deciding whether a prospective life is worth being brought into existence. There may be no grounds for disputing that all social and empathetic factors ought to be discounted in considering, of an individual life, whether or not it is worth being brought into existence, just as there may be no actual lives having been brought into existence in complete disregard of these factors. In other words, while people invariably have children for selfish reasons, the only good reason to have a child is for its own sake. Some variety of methodological solipsism is indispensable as the correct framework for such deliberation. It may be impossible to understand a person in separation from other people or in separation from his environment. But there is a crucial difference between understanding an actual person in his connection with other people and his environment, and deliberating on the merits of bringing into existence a potential person with merely conjectural interpersonal and environmental connections.

In this regard, Benatar’s observation has devastating consequences for the utilitarian assessment of the choice to bring a new life into existence. If there is nothing bad about never coming into existence, whereas there is something bad about coming into existence, it is always preferable to choose a scenario that involves nothing bad. The same conclusion extends to the voluntary acceptance of bad pains in order to achieve greater pleasures, pursuant to Benatar’s analogy between existence versus non-existence and sickness versus health, as reproduced above.

—Reproduced for, and summarized from, a discussion on CHORA; also see an earlier discussion on Crooked Timber.
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…day 1 of the Master Cleanse, day -10 of the Götzen-Dämmerung.
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        My Debt to German Learning
    My first serious contact with the German learned world consisted in the reading of Kant, whom, while a student, I viewed with awed respect. Read more... )

        Portrait from Memory
    Presenter: This is the BBC Third Programme. We have in the studio Bertrand Russell, who talks to us in the series, “Sense, Perception, & Nonsense, Number Seven: Is this a dagger I see before me?”
    Bertrand Russell: One of the advantages of living in Great Court, Trinity, I seem to recall, was the fact that one could pop across at any time of the day or night and trap the then young G.E. Moore into a logical falsehood by means of a cunning semantic subterfuge. I recall one occasion with particular vividness. I had popped across and had knocked upon his door. “Come in”, he said. I decided to wait awhile in order to test the validity of his proposition. “Come in”, he said once again. “Very well”, I replied, “if that is in fact truly what you wish”.
    I opened the door accordingly and went in, and there was Moore seated by the fire with a basket upon his knees. “Moore”, I said, “do you have any apples in that basket?” “No”, he replied, and smiled seraphically, as was his wont. I decided to try a different logical tack. “Moore”, I said, “do you then have some apples in that basket?” “No”, he replied, leaving me in a logical cleft stick from which I had but one way out. “Moore”, I said, “do you then have apples in that basket?” “Yes”, he replied. And from that day forth, we remained the very closest of friends.”
    — Jonathan Miller, Beyond the Fringe, 1962
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Herewith a convincing candidate for the most nauseating screed in the history of mankind: Read more... ) Snatching lace from top-booted pussy’s vomit takes some kind of Victorian chutzpah. Thanks to Jack Campin for this inspirational tale.
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by Carlo M. Cipolla
illustrations by James Donnelly

THE FIRST BASIC LAW of human stupidity asserts without ambiguity that:

Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

Stupid Person No. 1
At first, the statement sounds trivial, vague and horribly ungenerous. Closer scrutiny will however reveal its realistic veracity. No matter how high are one’s estimates of human stupidity, one is repeatedly and recurrently startled by the fact that:

a) people whom one had once judged rational and intelligent turn out to be unashamedly stupid.

b) day after day, with unceasing monotony, one is harassed in one’s activities by stupid individuals who appear suddenly and unexpectedly in the most inconvenient places and at the most improbable moments.

The First Basic Law prevents me from attributing a specific numerical value to the fraction of stupid people within the total population: any numerical estimate would turn out to be an underestimate. Thus in the following pages I will denote the fraction of stupid people within a population by the symbol å.

Read more... )
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Niggers always want credit for some shit they’re supposed to do. They’ll brag about stuff a normal man just does. They’ll say something like, “Yeah, well I take care of my kids.” You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker. “I ain’t never been to jail.” Whaddya want? A cookie? You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!
Chris Rock
Русский народ никому ничего не должен. Напротив, это ему все должны за то зло, которое он мог причинить миру — и сейчас еще может, — но не причинил. А если и причинил — Чернобыль, то не по злу, а по простоте своей технической. Кто защитил Европу от Чингисхана и Батыги ценой двухсотлетнего ига, кто спас ее от Тамерлана, вовремя перенеся в Москву из Владимира чудотворную икону Божьей матери, кто Наполеона окоротил, кто своим мясом забил стволы гитлеровских орудий? Забыли? А надо бы помнить и дать отдохнуть русскому народу от всех переживаний, обеспечивая его колбасой, тушенкой, крупами, картошкой, хлебом, капустой, кефиром, минтаем, детским питанием, табаком, водкой, закуской, кедами, джинсами, спортинвентарем, лекарствами, ватой. И баснословно дешевыми подержанными автомобилями. И жвачкой.
    Но никто нас не любит, кроме евреев, которые, даже оказавшись в безопасности, на земле своих предков, продолжают изнывать от неразделенной любви к России. Эта преданная, до стона и до бормотания, не то бабья, не то рабья любовь была единственным, что меня раздражало в Израиле.
    — Юрий Нагибин, Тьма в конце туннеля, 19
Russian people do not owe anything to anyone. On the contrary, everyone owes them for the evil that they could have caused to the world — and can cause even now, — but refrained from causing. And even if they did cause evil, as in Chernobyl, it was not out of malice, but due to their primitive technology. Who defended Europe from Genghis Khan and Batu Khan at the cost of a bicentenary yoke? who saved her from Tamerlane, by a timely transfer of Our Lady of Vladimir to Moscow? who cut Napoleon down to size? who stopped the barrels of Hitler’s guns with their flesh? Or have you forgotten? But you should remember, you should help Russian people recover from their tribulations, you should surfeit them with sausage, canned meat, cereals, potatoes, bread, cabbage, yoghurt, pollack, baby formula, tobacco, vodka, snacks, sneakers, denim, sporting goods, medicine, cotton. And fabulously cheap used cars. And chewing gum.
    But nobody likes us, except for the Jews, who, even upon finding themselves secure in the land of their ancestors, continue to suffer from unrequited love for Russia. This love, devoted unto moans and murmurs, be it womanish or slavish, was the only thing that annoyed me in Israel.
     —Yuri Nagibin, Darkness at the End of the Tunnel, 19, translated by MZ
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Reproduced from Zero Mostel’s FBI file:

Stage Door Canteen, Thursday, 13 August 1942


My impression of a peculiar sapiensis Americanis, (the Isolationist Senator), who digs at our great President, is a holder of an X card, cannot get along on the starvation wages of $25,000 a year -- the honorable Senator Phineas T. Pellegra, who never gets excited, who is always very calm and cool as he speaks about the democracy in which he doesn't believe -- in.

My fellow Americans, I take off my hat in America to no one -- but in this great land of opportunity, in this great land of democracy, in the midst of plenty, where we have these various sacred principles that our fathers have fought for in the past, present and future, then I must reiterate that all our strength, that all our power, these same principles which we know to be true on the one hand -- and on the other hand.

I may be vague, but permit me to be serious and bituminous at this moment, to illustrate this story with an incident that was related to me by the president of U.S. Congeal, a struggling monopoly.

He said to me, "Pellegra (he calls me by my first disease), you take your attitude away from your platitude -- what have you got -- FIDUCIARY?" -- and this shows, my fellow Americans, that we cannot pursue a policy... that we cannot pursue a policy... that we cannot pursue a policy of... (DOUBLE TALK) .....FORGET IT!

I say to you, AMERICA FIRST!!!

(And what is the trouble with our war effort? I will tell you. The trouble with our war effort is that we have too many allies... twenty-six... we are too crowded! It is not restricted enough! Why, my golf club has more rules for admission than this war. Before we know it, it will be an unequal battle... the Axis will be outnumbered. Is that fair? Is that the American way?)

One final word. You know, I come from a state where there are no conditions, and if I were to tell the most serious and grievous problem facing the American people about this so-called Japanese attack on Hawaii, I have this to offer to you, my fellow Americans...... From one corner of our great land, in Rhode Island, to the other corner in California..... DOUBLE TALK..... DOUBLE TALK..... DOUBLE TALK..... This one question..... WHAT WAS HAWAII DOING IN THE PACIFIC?
Agent's Note

It is believed the above excerpts taken from the broadcast of Stage Door Canteen on 13 August 1942 by the Columbia Broadcast System resulted in Sokolsky's criticism of the Subject in his column. Attention is directed to the fact that the script was not presented in its original form. The program director made deletions of certain passages in the script, which he apparently felt were in bad taste. These are shown in the script in brackets.
larvatus: (Default)
Thus Peter Cook explains the difference between a proud carrier of culture (Kulturträger) and a humble consumer thereof: Read more... )
DUDLEY: Who does the cooking?
PETER: My wife. My wife does all the cooking, and luckily, she does all the eating as well. She’s not a well woman.
DUDLEY: She’s not a well woman?
PETER: She is not a well woman, and she very much resents having to go down the well every morning to feed the frogs. She dislikes it intensely. We have to lower her screaming on a rope. Frogs don’t like it either.
Read more... )
larvatus: (Default)

            Le Concentrisme


    Vous êtes le premier à vous intéresser à cet imbécile. Voici tout ce que j’en sais : j’ai fait sa connaissance ou, plus exactement, il m’a imposé cette incommodité, la veille de sa mort, à Marseille. Il s’est cramponné à moi dans un sombre bistrot où, à cette époque, j’avais l’excellente habitude d’aller me soûler deux fois par semaine. « Vous avez l’air » me dit-il « suffisamment idiot pour m’inspirer une confiance extrême. Enfin » poursuivit-il — (je ne change rien à ses logogriphes) — « enfin et pour la première fois je tombe sur un animal qui, si j’ose en croire mes yeux, est totalement et idéalement dépourvu d’intelligence, plongé dans une divine et parfaite nullité. » Il s’interrompit, se découvrit, et puis, d’une voix vibrante : « Je vous embrasse, mon frère  ! » s’écria-t-il. Je le repoussai vivement. Il faillit tomber, pâlit, et se mit à tousser d’une façon si douloureuse que je ne pus m’empêcher de regretter la violence de mon geste. Mais il se reprit bientôt et m’adressa de nouveau, maintenant d’une voix à peine perceptible.
    « Monsieur » dit-il, « permettez-vous que je vous pose une question  ? » Read more... )

Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning.

— written after Samuel Beckett’s resignation from Trinity College; published in the Dublin Magazine IX 3 (July-September 1934); reproduced from Samuel Beckett, Collected Poems in English & French, Grove Press, 1977, p. 7
Read more... )

When your mind’s no longer flowing
Through the conduits of knowing,
Train yourself to forgo fretting
Over things not worth forgetting.

—MZ, 13 April 2006, 10:20 PST
larvatus: (Default)
        (Fortune Theatre, London, 1961)

    Yes, I could have been a judge but I never had the Latin, never had the Latin for the judging. I just never had sufficient of it to get through the rigorous judging exams. They’re noted for their rigour. People came staggering out saying ‘My God, what a rigorous exam’—and so I became a miner instead. A coal miner. I managed to get through the mining exams—they’re not very rigorous. They only ask one question. They say ‘Who are you?’, and I got 75% for that. Read more... )
larvatus: (MZ)
    Tis The Season.....
    Due to intense media scrutiny, the annual Gala Daughter Pork Fest has been moved to a new, undisclosed location and the date has been changed.
    Those of you who have daughters. Think for a moment about raping her. Pretty distrubing? Damn right. Now, do you really want to be affiliated with anyone who’s moral compass is so badly out of adjustment that daughter raping falls within the “O.k. to do” list?
    I don’t give a shit if you’ve made 10 million off the turd.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38303 by gloufam, 12/13/05 08:19 pm
    This Just In:
    The hymen is sad…
    When ruptured by Dad.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38332 by gloufam, 12/19/05 06:21 pm
    WebEx Drops Libel Claim Against Zeleny
    Since December 29, 2001, Michael Zeleny has publicized child rape allegations repeatedly made since 1988 by Erin Zhu against her father Min Zhu, better known as the founder and former President and CTO of WebEx Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:WEBX). On Friday, December 23, 2005, WebEx agreed to drop its libel lawsuit filed against Michael Zeleny for asserting that it squandered its shareholders’ assets on a failed coverup of child rape. This capitulation took place in response to Zeleny’s defense of truth asserted in the wake of two judicial sanctions imposed on WebEx for bad faith pleadings. WebEx’s aborted action against Zeleny has been funded by its shareholders’ assets.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38370 by helicalenzyme, 12/24/05 01:33 pm
    management sucks
    Webex has several years advance on the competion in a growing market with huge potential.
    The problem is that Wall street has no confidence in this awful managemnt team. The founder is a pedophile who raped his own daughter (he still makes managment decisions)
    Subrah can not even manage his waistline how is he going to manage a corporation. No one has any respect for this fat east louisiana loser.
    That is why when any company with real management announces anything in the conferencing arena (does not even need to be web based) the stock tanks. Wall street knows subrah can not keep the others at bay. They have seen him fumble before them and not even know how many working days in the quarter.
    Believe me the mediocrity trickles down to every nook and cranny of this organization.
    They can not even maintain 99% uptime in USA during business hours.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38297 by bbbburn, 12/13/05 01:58 pm
    Re: management sucks
    If you have evidence of Min Zhu still making management decisions at WebEx, please contact me. The ensuing housecleaning will benefit all members of the general public investing in WEBX.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38302 by helicalenzyme, 12/13/05 06:12 pm
    WebEx president plans to leave company
    WebEx Communications Inc. said on Thursday that its president, Bill Heil, plans to leave the company.
    No reason was given for Heil’s decision, but the company said he plans to join its Business Advisory Board and will continue at WebEx in the coming months to assist in the transition of his responsibilities.
    ― Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - February 23, 2006
    Bill Heil Bails
    I talked to Bill last May. He didn’t want to stick around for the encore.
    the sinking ship
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38821 by helicalenzyme, 02/24/06 05:07 pm
    Re: Bill Heil Bails
    He was fired and if he wants to get extra money besides his severance he sits in this new position and shuts up. IMHO
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38825 by dayslate90, 02/26/06 11:57 am
    Re: Bill Heil Bails
    you’re right on. He was fired.
    This is why I love investing in companies where the founder(s) are still involved and have a significant share. Too many comapnies wait until the mgt weakness shows up in the numbers, and even then sometimes the board drags its feet.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38826 by munger75, 02/26/06 11:57 am
    Re: Bill Heil Bails
    “This is why I love investing in companies where the founder(s) are still involved and have a significant share.”
    one down, two to go
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38837 by helicalenzyme, 02/27/06 09:58 pm pm
    Re: Bill Heil Bails
    That’s just the Chinese culture, they value family more than we do.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38843 by munger75, 02/28/06 01:40 pm
    I’ve Examined The Facts;
    The allegations are built on pure POPPYCOCK.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38827 by gloufam, 02/26/06 04:03 pm
    Re: I’ve Examined The Facts;
    gloufam seems to be questioning my allegation of child rape coverup by WebEx:
    make amends for mayhem
    WebEx Drops Libel Claim Against Zeleny
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38838 by helicalenzyme, 02/27/06 10:09 pm
    Re: I’ve Examined The Facts;
    Not at all my friend. It was meant as clever word play. Based on POPPY COCK — get it?
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38840 by gloufam, 02/28/06 11:53 am
    Re: I’ve Examined The Facts;
    “Not at all my friend. It was meant as clever word play. Based on POPPY COCK — get it?”
    Please bear with my non-native grasp of English.
    Merriam-Webster identifies poppy as “any of numerous annual, biennial, and perennial herbs or rarely subshrubs of Papaver or sometimes of closely related genera…”, or “an extract from the poppy used in medicines”, or “something possessing the narcotic qualities of the poppy.”
    Are you attributing the narcotic qualities of the poppy to Min Zhu’s penis? That would explain a great deal about WebEx management and its musical chairs.
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 38845 by helicalenzyme, 03/01/06 12:07 am

cordially, — Michael
7576 Willow Glen Road, Los Angeles, CA 90046 — 323.363.1860 —
All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett
larvatus: (Default)
    Responding to his government’s recent charges, Borat Sagdiyev, rated as “Number 2 TOP Television Reporter in Kazakhstan”, has officially announced his support of legal action against Ali G’s alter ego Sacha Baron Cohen: “Jagshemash! In response ro Mr. Ashykbayev’s comments, I like to state, I have no connection with Mr. Cohen and fully support my government’s decision to sue this Jew. Since the 2003 Tuleyake reforms, Kazakhstan is as civilized as any other country in the world. Women can now travel on inside of bus, homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hats, and age of consent has been raised to 8 years old. Please, the captain of industry, I invite you to come to Kazakhstan, where we have incredible natural resources, hard-working labor, and some of the cleanest prostitutes in whole of Central Asia. Goodbye! Chenque!”

say what?

Sep. 6th, 2005 08:55 am
larvatus: (rock)

― for David W. Affeld        
„Die Kunst muß erst recht wieder verachtet, für ganz unnütz gehalten werden, ehe wieder was daraus werden kann, oder sie muß auch recht einseitig auf alles angewendet werden. Es ist ein vergeblicher Wunsch, daß uns das Publicum recht verstehen soll.“
“Art must be despised and considered to be completely worthless before anything can be derived from it again, or else it must be applied to everything. It is therefore ridiculous to try for any kind of personal success.”
« Quand j’aurai inspiré le dégoût et l’horreur universels, j’aurai conquis la solitude. »
“Once I have inspired universal disgust and horror, I will have conquered solitude.”

« Ma carrière n'avait pas été un échec, commercialement tout du moins : si l’on agresse le monde avec une violence suffisante, il finit par le cracher, son sale fric ; mais jamais, jamais il ne vous redonne la joie. »
“My career had not been a failure, at least commercially: if you assail the world with sufficient violence, it ends up spewing its filthy lucre; but never, never does it give you back any joy.”

Read more... )
larvatus: (MZ)
    Michael wishes that he could be half as funny as this:
    Tabloids Scream:
    “Min at Work
    “SEC probes Min probes daughter
    “Erection Connection
    “Shitzhu a real dog
    ― Yahoo! Message Boards: WEBX, Msg 37761 by gloufam, 08/25/05 08:13 pm
    In the event, he can only dream of being half as funny as the Kipper Kids.

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