Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 30, 2009
Religion for Radicals:
An Interview with Terry Eagleton
by Nathan Schneider
Literary critic Terry Eagleton discusses his new book, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, which argues that “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens “buy their rejection of religion on the cheap.” He believes that, in these controversies, politics has been an unacknowledged elephant in the room.
Nathan Schneider: Rather than focusing on “believers” or “atheists,” which are typically the categories that we hear about in the new atheist debates, you write about “a version of the Christian gospel relevant to radicals and humanists.” Who are these people? Why do you choose to address them?
Terry Eagleton: I wanted to move the arguments beyond the usual, rather narrow circuits in order to bring out the political implications of these arguments about God, which hasn’t been done enough. We need to put these arguments in a much wider context. To that extent, in my view, radicals and humanists certainly should be in on the arguments, regardless of what they think about God. The arguments aren’t just about God or just about religion. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Marx, The Brits, Words | 1 Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 21, 2009
The subversion dialogues
Kate Braverman holds a genteel conclave with William T. Vollmann about guns, whores, whiskey, death, and other literary matters
When I moved to the Bay Area a few years ago, I gravitated to the second-hand section of Berkeley’s Black Oak Books. It’s the cult library of books you meant to read but didn’t quite get to. The first year, the novels that most astounded me were Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky, Don DeLillo’s Underworld, and the fictions of William T. Vollmann. In particular, Vollmann’s The Royal Family is a savage, glittering novel of the San Francisco underbelly of prostitutes, pimps, private detectives, and drugs written with the audacity, skill, and authority of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. But the social and psychological issues are more complex and ambiguous. Vollmann’s uncompromising antiauthoritarianism, his daring deviation from conventional narrative into literary criticism asides and essays, the sheer epic scale of the ambition, unhinged me. I felt as if I was in the presence of punk high art, renegade genius, and a contagious subversion I wanted to join.
Kate Braverman Black Oak has a wall of your books. I read your novels and short fiction and inquired about you to other writers. You have an enormous reputation as an outlaw, a recluse, and a profoundly important literary force.
William T. Vollmann I’m sure they’re all making a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Mexican Food, The Americans, Words | 5 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 14, 2008
For a Radical Ethics of Equality* (in English)
For a Radical Ethics of Equality*
June, 22 2007
By Ezequiel Adamovsky
What does it mean today to be Anticapitalist? Today, left identity is an identity in crisis. Reconstructing a movement for radical emancipation is therefore going to require a critical examination of our legacy. This task quickly reveals that one of the biggest shortcomings of the left tradition is to be found in the lack of an ethical dimension to political action. The following essay attempts to analyse the reasons behind this inherited ethical vacuum and its impact on left practices. It goes over some key moments in the history of the relationship between moral thinking and emancipatory politics, including the Marxist tradition’s rejection of moral thinking and some later attempts to recover it. Furthermore, it argues the absolute necessity of anchoring all militant will to radical egalitarian ethics, capable of guiding our actions in a clearly emancipatory direction. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Anarchy, Marx, Words | 2 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 13, 2008
The master theorist of the resurgent global left may have been outsmarted by the current economic meltdown. But his all-too-perfect system may never have to acknowledge such real-world inconsistencies.
BY SCOTT MCLEMEE
Ten years ago, as the antiglobalization movement began imposing itself on both the windowpanes of Starbucks and the narcotic slumbers of the mass media, there emerged in the United States a certain fable about what was (at the time) the newest New Left. It verged on a belief in the Immaculate Conception. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Communism, Words | 1 Comment »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 9, 2008
Our great dissident poet, born 400 years ago today, did more than just hymn the praises of revolt
Most poetry in the modern age has retreated to the private sphere, turning its back on the political realm. The two intersect only in such absurd anomalies as the poet laureateship. But whereas Andrew Motion does his bit to keep the monarchy in business, one of the greatest of English poets played his part in subverting it. John Milton, who was born in Cheapside 400 years ago today, published a political tract two weeks after the beheading of Charles I, arguing that all sovereignty lay with the people, who could depose and even execute a monarch if he betrayed their trust. Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 9, 2008
Interview with Simon Critchley, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Essex
Conducted by: Tom McCarthy (General Secretary, INS)
Venue: Office of Anti-Matter, Austrian Cultural Institute, London
Present: Tom McCarthy, Simon Critchley, Corin Sworn, Anthony Auerbach, Penny McCarthy, Victoria Scott, Paul Perry, Alexander Hamilton, Jen wu, Others
Tom McCarthy: You write in your book Very Little… Almost Nothing: Death, Philosophy, Literature that the task of philosophical modernity is the thinking through of the first death, the über death, which is the death of God. So my first question is: what is the meaning of this death?
Simon Critchley: It’s a big question. Nietzsche said ‘God is dead’, and that’s written on toilet walls all over the world. But he then went on to say: ‘And we have killed him.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in aRT, Poetry, Words | 3 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 8, 2008
I am on a Roberto Bolano kick right now, so excuse this indulgence.
Go and read his books; and, will someone please translate his poetry into english.
Roberto Bolaño belongs to the most select group of Latin-American novelists. Chile of the coup d’état, Mexico City in the 1970s, and the reckless youth of poets are some of his frequent subjects, but he also takes up other themes: César Vallejo’s deathbed, the hardships endured by unknown authors, life at the periphery. Born in Chile in 1953, he spent his teenage years in Mexico and moved to Spain at the end of the seventies. As a poet, he founded the Infrarealist movement with Mario Santiago. In 1999 he won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, previously awarded to Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, for his novel Los detectives salvajes [The savage detectives], for which he also received the prestigious Herralde Prize.
A prolific writer, a literary animal who makes no concessions, Bolaño successfully combines the two basic instincts of a novelist: he is attracted to historical events, and he desires to correct them, to point out the errors. From Mexico he acquired a mythical paradise, from Chile the inferno of the real, and from Blanes, the town in northeast Spain where he now lives and works, he purges the sins of both. No other novelist has been able to convey the complexity of the megalopolis Mexico City has become, and no one has revisited the horrors of the coup d’état in Chile and the Dirty War with such mordant, intelligent writing.
To echo Bolaño’s words, “reading is more important than writing.” Reading Roberto Bolaño, for example. If anyone thinks that Latin-American literature isn’t passing through a moment of splendor, a look through some of his pages would be enough to dispel that notion. With Bolaño, literature—that inexplicably beautiful bomb that goes off and as it destroys, rebuilds—should feel proud of one of its best creations.
Our conversation took place via e-mail between Blanes and my home in Mexico City in the fall of 2001. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Drugs, Poverty, Punk Rock, Words | 3 Comments »
Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 7, 2008
In Philip K. Dick’s 1953 short story “The Preserving Machine,” an impassioned inventor creates a device for “preserving” the canon of classical music — the sacred and, he fears, impermanent beauties of Schubert, Chopin,Beethoven and so forth — by feeding it into a device that transforms the compositions into living creatures: birds, beetles and animals resembling armadillos and porcupines. Outfitting the classic pieces in this manner, then setting them free, the inventor means to guarantee their persistence beyond the frailties of human commemoration, to give them a set of defenses adequate to their value. Alas, the musical-animals become disagreeable and violent, turn on one another and, when the inventor attempts to reverse-engineer his creations in order to prove that the music has survived, reveal themselves as a barely recognizable cacophony, nothing like the originals. Or has the preserving machine revealed true essences — irregularities, ferocities — disguised within the classical pieces to begin with? Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by voidmanufacturing on December 4, 2008
Martin Amis’ tiny blonde daughter answers the door to their vast Primrose Hill house, beaming and waving — and then a moment later, the 58-year old novelist appears behind her, with his sad, semi-scowling face sucking on another roll-up. He leads me through into his front room, a huge, swollen nest of books: paperbacks, hardbacks, fictions, histories. This is where the novels that thrilled me as a teenager — the bitter genius of Money and London Fields, the novels that distilled the eighties — were born. This is where we are going to have to discuss The Race Row. Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by voidmanufacturing on August 23, 2008
For the last couple of decades, the intellectual situation in France has been marked by countless discussions about the status to be accorded to the word “Jew” within the divisions of thought. Read the rest of this entry »
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