A Series of Trite Observations

Thu Feb 22, 2007

I’m enjoying The Puppet and the Dwarf at the moment. Žižek reminds me much of McLuhan. Facts don’t matter for either. In the space of a few pages, Žižek has claimed that Martin Luther King made a radical anti-capitalist turn in the last few weeks before his death and that the Japanese Army relied on a Zen mantra similar to “the sword that kills is the sword that saves” to justify their actions in Korea and Manchuria. These are not even the kinds of claims that can be checked. As with McLuhan, Žižek just wants to make as many connective gestures as possible. That’s what makes both, generally speaking, fun to read but dangerous to the untutored. I’m trying to imagine if Žižek is going to make some use of Godel’s ontological proof in this book. I hope so.

Our local ABC affiliate is delaying Lost until tomorrow because of the NC State-UNC basketball game. I wouldn’t say I’m livid with rage, exactly, but mysteries were going to be revealed. Mysteries! I expect Prester Hume to exclaim “Siamo contenti? Son dio ho fatto questa caricatura!” and vanish in the silence of the polar night. Hurley will mistakenly eat the Australian baby. One machine will have just printed the eight billioneth name of god. Nothing is revealed.

I’ve read the Farm Hall Transcripts, and though I don’t believe that Heisenberg knew much at all about how to engineer a nuclear bomb, it’s interesting to contemplate him as an avatar of destruction equivalent to von Braun—but hidden from the normal course of history. I can’t remember when the transcripts were declassified, but I suspect it was long after Pynchon wrote Gravity’s Rainbow. I see a course correction about this in Against the Day, which I like too much to read quickly.

The joke on pp. 88-89, for instance, relying on “money/honey” and “tennis/penis”—this is a “classic Bosnian joke?” I just finished the book, and I waited in vain for a Lacanian explication of 2 Corinthians 12:2.

Finally, Poe to George W. Eveleth, Feb 29, 1848:

As to the Lecture, I am very quiet about it—but, if you have ever dealt with such topics, you will recognize the novelty & moment of my views. What I have proposed will (in good time) revolutionize the world of Physical and Metaphysical Science. I say this calmly—but I say it.