Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In a galaxy far, far away...

Time has not been kind to Halliday's neo-Whorfian style, in which "the grammar" is reified as a mysterious cognitive agency responsible in part for shaping the speaker's experience not only of language but of the world. [...] For [Halliday's mentor] Firth, "systems" are set up by the linguist as a way of organizing metalinguistically the discussion of language and languages. Their construction is itself the principal "scientific" activity of the linguist; but it is an avowedly hocus-pocus activity. The "systems" are not, as Halliday seems naively to believe, objectively present in, even less constitutive of, the kinds of enterprise in which you and I - as readers and writer of a text - are, here and now, semiologically engaged.
Roy Harris, "The Grammar", TLS Nov 17 2006, p.31

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Spoil 1.85

Die traditionellen geschichtlichen Mächte - Dichtung, Religion, Philosophie -, die sowohl in der hegelianisch-kojèvschen als auch in der heideggerschen Perspektive das historisch-politische Schicksal der Völker wach hielten, sind seit einiger Zeit in kulturelle Schauspiele und in private Erfahrungen verwandelt worden und haben jegliche historische Wirksamkeit verloren.

The traditional historical powers - Poetry, Religion, Philosophy - that kept alert the fate of nations, according to either a Hegelian-Kojèvian or a Heideggerian perspective, have for some time already been transformed into cultural spectacles and into private experiences and have lost all historical effectiveness.

Giorgio Agamben, Das Offene, 86.

Are there any reported sightings of Agamben smiling?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

nichts 0.3

(1) Bald darauf ging er wieder durch das Dorf. Da lief ein Junge heran und stieß ihn an der Schulter. Da wurde Jesus sauer und sagte zu ihm: "Du sollst deinen Weg nicht fortsetzen!"
Und sofort fiel er hin und starb. Einige, die sahen, was geschehen war, sagten: "Woher stammt dieser Junge, daß jedes seiner Worte vollendete Tat ist?"
(2) Die Eltern des Verstorbenen gingen Josef an und beschwerten sich bei ihm mit den Worten: "Du, der du ein solches Kind hast, kannst nicht weiter bei uns im Dorf wohnen, es sei denn, du lehrst ihn, zu segnen statt zu verfluchen. Er bringt ja unsere Kinder um."

"Das Kindheitsevangelium des Thomas, 4. Kapitel", in Ceming, Werlitz (Hrsg.), Die verbotenen Evangelien. Wiesbaden 1994, S. 97.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

biosphere 0.92

Saturday, January 13, 2007

biosphere 0.91

Friday, January 12, 2007

From behind 2.17

Astrologie ist im Grunde eben nichts anderes als auf die Zukunft projezierter Namensfetischismus: Wen z.B. bei seiner Geburt im April Venus beschien, der werden den Venusqualitäten der Göttermythe entsprechend, der Liebe und den leichten Freuden des Daseins leben...

Astrology is basically nothing other than name fetishism projected onto the future: for instance, those whose birth in April was illuminated by Venus are thus thought to live a life of love and the easy pleasures of existence, all in accordance with the qualities of the myth of the divine Venus...
Aby Warburg, Italienische Kunst und internationale Astrologie im Palazzo Schifanoja zu Ferrara (1912)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

File 1.75

The first sentence of every novel should be: 'Trust me, this will take time, but there is order here, very faint, very human.'
M. Ondaatje, In the skin of a lion

From behind 2.16

...daß ich vor zwei oder fünf Jahren genau zu derselben Einsicht gekommen bin - nur habe ich sie dann wieder vergessen, weil es mir nicht gelungen ist, nach meiner Einsicht zu leben; ich habe das Gegenteil gelebt mit zäher Energie.

...that two or five years ago I came to the same conclusions - but I forgot it all again since then, because I did not succeed in living by these conclusions; I have lived against them with a tenacious energy.
M. Frisch, Montauk

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Boil 2.08

There is frank talk of ‘preacherly drivel’ and a fine description of Queen Victoria as the ‘much-beloved though humourless dumpling of legend’. Another character enters ‘a condition a little displaced from what he’d always thought of as his right mind’. We hear of ‘long moon-stung waves’ and a ‘low tobacco-stricken voice’. There are many versions of the trope Pynchon so loved in V (‘sailors being, under frequently sentimental and swinish exteriors, sentimental swine’), the one that says disguise is no disguise. ‘Certain telltale nuances’, for example, give Russian spies away: ‘fur hats, huge unkempt beards, a tendency in the street to drop and begin dancing the kazatsky to music only they could hear’. An Indian researcher is evoked as a person who ‘didn’t say much, but when he did, nobody could figure out what he meant’. Pynchon even uses the biblical phrase ‘it came to pass’ as if it was just another narrative convenience, and in what I think is my favourite drop from the divine to the demotic, announces the arrival of a creature who is ‘the angel, if not of death at least of deep shit’.

Review of Against the Day

From behind 2.15

'after a course of light holiday literature his
vocation for the sea had declared itself'
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim