It’s curious that people who think there’s nothing better than complete liberation of an individual (aka a desiring subject) from all constraints are the same ones who worry about the planet’s resources being depleted. And the people who don’t give a crap about the global warming or finite resources are waging a quixotic battle to resist this complete liberation of desiring consumers. 

The most interesting question all of us should answer is where each of us believes the barrier to the desiring individual’s freedom should be. And who or what should place and maintain that barrier. God is no longer there to do that even for the very religious. The state is retreating from the task. The community has crumbled away. Where will the subjectivity that recognizes barriers come from? 

Book Notes: Thanksgiving Reading

Here is what I’ve read over and since Thanksgiving:

Jane Robins’ White Bodies – I like British mysteries because their authors don’t try to make at least one character into an idealized goody-goody person that readers will want to identity with. This novel’s characters are all utterly disgusting and creepy. The novel itself is a total mess. But it’s an enjoyable, mindless read for the holidays, especially if you have a very strong stomach because eww, disgusting perversions of incestuous nature. I won’t read anything by this author again but I had a good time with this one.

Sophie Hannah’s Keep Her Safe – maybe not her best because it’s a standalone but Hannah is a profound person, if a bit given to indulging in a about Americans. A good, intense mystery with its own cast of deeply unlikeable characters.

As for more serious stuff, I read Joseba Zulaika’s brilliant 2006 essay The Dust of ETA. It’s the best, most intelligent and deep thing I have read on ETA so far. The only thing I didn’t like was the epilogue because it was repetitive, reductive, and needlessly weepy. But the analysis of nationalism in the age of post-nation state is superb. 

These days I’m all about Basques and murder mysteries. I have no idea where the Basque obsession is coming from. It’s nationalism, I guess. I want to keep talking about it but the Catalan literature is leaving me cold. Which is obviously my limitation and not the Catalonians’.

What’s the Strategy?

So Trump is trying to block the merger between AT&T and Time Warner? In our language, that means he’s in favor of net neutrality, right? OK, what do we do now? Are we now against net neutrality? Or are we not noticing? Or going all “fascist! assault on freedom of speech!”? Or saying “yes but it’s because of evil reasons”? 

‘Tis the Season

I didn’t grow up here, so holiday traditions are unknown to me. I can’t rely on my childhood experience to make holidays right for Klara. I wish there were a handbook titled, “For Immigrant Parents of American Kids” with checklists for every holiday and age group.

For instance, I just discovered that you are supposed to take a kid to visit something called “Mall Santa.” And the best local one just retired, plunging parents into despair. So now that I’m aware of the tradition, I’m on it, looking for Mall Santas in the area and googling the details of the tradition.

Is there anything else I’m supposed to do around Christmas? We have the lights, the tree, and the stockings. I also know that you need to leave milk and cookies for Santa. I know about elves on shelves and love the idea but Klara is probably too little.

At least, nobody has tried to make the date of Christmas fluid, like they do with Halloween. 


I thought I’d seen it all but no. Lawrence at MSNBC is singing sycophantic, pathetic, groveling praise of . . .  Larry Summers, of all the possible evildoers. Larry Summers! Because he doesn’t like Trump’s tax plan. Of course, for anybody who has been alive in the last decade, “not liked by Summers” is a ringing endorsement. 

All that’s missing is for Greenspan to chime in. I also hear Mugabe is free, so maybe he can make an appearance, since we are desperate for disgusting creeps to tell us this tax plan sucks. 


Cutting corporate tax rates from 35 to 20% is a massive bet on the nation-state. It’s the first real action in defense of the nation-state model. For the first time since last November, I’m intrigued. I don’t think it will work, unfortunately. I don’t think anything will work at this point. But it’s interesting to see there’s a non-military effort to keep it going and beat the odds. 

Once again, I would love beyond what words could describe to hear what my side is proposing as an alternative. Ditch nation-state? Try to preserve it? How? Instead, there’s nothing but the entirely vacuous prattle about graduate students and inheritances. I’m as resentful towards folks who get to inherit as the next person but none of this addresses the burning issue of the times. And we have all seen what happens to political candidates who go, “What globalization? I haven’t heard.”

Conyers and Lauer

The good thing is I dont know who Conyers and Lauer are, so I’m upset like I was about Franken. I really thought he was a decent person, idiot me. 

Who would be the greatest disappointment for you if you found out they were harassers? (Entertainment, politics and media all work, especially since they are the same thing).

Why Does He Keep Tweeting?

“But why, why are they selling these cancer sticks? Don’t they know smoking kills?” protested a customer as he bought 3 blocks of Camel Lights.

“Exactly! And why do they sell alcohol? Don’t they know it’s bad for you?” exclaimed another one while paying for a crate of Grey Goose.