no one leaves this world uneaten

To claim an interest, I have been in social media for over 21 years, and signed up on Facebook long before it opened beyond Harvard students and alumni. From this perespective, I am reminded of an anecdote told by Jerry Weintraub:

Samuel and Rose Weintraub came west to visit their older son, the one who would not go into the gem trade, to see what kind of life he had made for himself. “Now I have a big mansion in Beverly Hills, a Rolls, a chauffeur, fresh flowers, butlers, swimming pools—everything,” Jerry told me. “My mom and dad arrive, and I pick them up with my driver, and my mom is beaming. We get to my house and we’re serving caviar, Havana cigars for my father, and champagne—the whole deal. After a couple of days of this, my dad says, ‘I want to talk to you. Let’s take a walk.’ We get outside and he says, ‘I want to ask you a question and I want you to tell me the truth and I don’t want any bullshit from you. Are you in the Mafia? How did you get all this? You were never that smart.’”
    I’m creative. I did it.
    Where’s your inventory? How can you have this much money and not have an inventory? It doesn’t make sense to me.
    “The next day I made arrangements. My mother’s favorite was Cary Grant. And horses. We drove to Hollywood Park [racetrack] and Cary Grant was waiting for us. He opened the door and looked at my mother and said, ‘Rose, I’m your date for lunch.’
    “They had lunch and he made her bets for her and sat with her. I don’t think my father liked it so much. That evening I made a dinner party with all the stars. And Cary came. I remember going to the bar, and my mom was having a glass of champagne. And Sinatra came up and said, ‘Hey, Rose, I heard you had a great date for lunch today.’ And she said, ‘Yeah, but I like my Sammy better.’”

— Rich Cohen, “Jerry Weintraub Presents!”, Vanity Fair, March 2008

In the instant conversation, I am struck by the preponderance of cutting edge XXIst century cinematographers channeling an itinerant Jewish jeweler from a century ago. Lighten up. Everyone serves as inventory to all sorts of entities, from governments to maggots. No one leaves this world uneaten. My favorite strategy is enjoying the set and its setting whilst pacing my consumption, as an agent and patient alike.

it was twenty years ago today: a marginal screed in progress

Message-ID: <>
Date: 15 Mar 91 22:59:27 GMT
In article <> (Jakob G}rdsted) writes:

I myself think, that the 1/20 should be sustained. Not because I dislike gays or think they should not practice what makes them feel good, but because heterosex have a better performance rate in reproducing mankind, compared to homosex, so far. And like we should not rid this planet of trees or elephants, we should not work against nature/evolution. I dunno about these last lines. Maybe it’s just thoughtscrapup, whatdoyasay?

I myself wholeheartedly agree, and would welcome some rational argument for or against this position.
    First, about the use of ‘should’. In my case, and in the present context, I use it to refer to some transcendental moral values. All moral relativists are invited to turn the flamethrower on, as I hereby state that, not being a Politically Correct person, I believe in the objective existence of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.[1] […] I believe that in the realm of politics, there is no place for moral judgements. Morality neither can (in practice), nor should (morally) be legislated. The best that a government can hope for is to guide its laws in accordance with some standard of common Good.
    A corollary of the above: homosexuals, drug users, gun owners, in short everyone who deviates from that, which by any statistical standard may be accepted as the Norm, have absolutely the same rights as everyone else, provided that they, as individuals, do not injure or coerce anybody else. “Setting a bad example” does not count as coersion.
    This is the old “consenting adults cannot do anything legally wrong to each other” thesis. Note that children are automatically excluded, until they reach legal majority.[2]
    Concerning the main issue: death is the price we, as a species, pay for the privilege of having sex. While, as Sade among many others very clearly understood, the degree of erotic excitement increases with any increase in the distance between recreation and procreation, some measure of restraint must be imposed on this distance out of moral considerations. Where to draw the line is subject to many questions. Personally, I believe that many organized religions go to far in their proscription of “spilling the seed on the ground”, birth control, and so on. On the other hand, it is equally clear to me that, until and unless homosexual reproduction has been invented, homosexual intercourse will remain morally wrong. tl:dr

from disgust to reason

The trouble with Martha Nussbaum’s analogy between revulsion at “taking the penis of one man and putting it in the rectum of another man and wriggling it around in excrement”, and discarded disgust-based policies, from India’s denigration of its “untouchables” to the Nazi view of Jews, to a legally sanctioned regime of separate swimming pools and water fountains in the Jim Crow South, is that only the first moral sentiment has a sound basis in physiology. Any sort of anal penetration is intrinsically harmful, even when it gets done by a proctologist, just as any sort of radiation exposure is harmful, even when it is administered for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. The physical effects of anal penetration, precipitated by the concomitant trauma to the connecting tissue, are analogous to injecting raw sewage into the recipient’s bloodstream. Incontinence is another common and well-documented effect of receptive anal intercourse. By contrast, no health liabilities inhere in being a Jew or a Dalit, or mixing different races at a common water supply. If in doubt, consult your doctor.

the poverty of libertarianism

A problem for libertarians:

Following Aristotle and Aquinas, it is customary to distinguish commutative justice, which deals with the relations that arise between individuals, between individuals and groups, and between groups that comprise any given community, from distributive justice, which deals with the overarching relation of that community as a whole to all of its constituent individuals and groups. Continue reading the poverty of libertarianism

integrity and blame

Howard M. Kaminsky of 6130 Ridge Lane, Ocean Ridge, Florida 33435 writes in a letter to the TLS regarding Bernard Wasserstein’s Commentary on Hannah Arendt:

As for his charges relating to Arendt’s use of Nazi authors and her inadequate love of the Jewish people, I admit, Jew that I am, to believing that some Nazi authors had important things to say not unrelated to their Nazism, above all the viciously anti-Semitic but incomparably brilliant Carl Schmitt (whom Arendt used even more than she says), and I also believe that Jews have created gentile hostility by demanding equal rights but refusing to surrender their ethnic integrity. Books have been written about this by a number of authors who are not overtly anti-Semitic—e.g. Kevin MacDonald and Albert Lindemann—and Arendt’s analysis of Jewish “responsibility” for anti-Semitism can hardly be dismissed as due to her “perverse world-view”, let alone her “combination of ira et studio [sic]”.

Setting aside the insinuation of covert anti-Semitism, the notion of the Jews having created gentile hostility by demanding equal rights but refusing to surrender their ethnic integrity is baffling. Is it likewise possible to blame women for having created male hostility by demanding equal rights but refusing to surrender their sexual integrity? For that matter, is it possible to blame any man for having elicited the hostility of his peers by demanding equal rights but refusing to surrender his personal integrity? If the claim is that ethnic descent or religious confession are somehow unlike biological sex and personal identity in their moral implications, why is that the case, and how so?

yak or tiff

The way of the warrior is the complement of rhetoric in the practice of persuasion. Humans being rule-bound animals, as with discursive eristic, the knack of empty hand combat is to determine the main rule that constrains your adversary, and embarrass him into submission by breaking it. And since more training redounds to more rules, he who broadcasts his practice, does so to his own strategic disadvantage. Which is to say that there can be no such thing as a martial art.
    ObBook: Gorgias
    Monday, 3 July 2000, 12:00 am