Saturday, December 27, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 205

Sedulously Seeking

He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.
Henry Thoreau, Walking

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 204

Tongue-Tail Party for Wise Wags

The bottom of the mind is paved with crossroads.
Paul Valéry

Sure you can listen intoxicated. Or lace up the boots, put in the earbuds, take the dog, and walk this talk.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 203

Hors D'oeuvres For The Turning Table

Quite simply, to approach any utterance as if its meaning is separable from its presentation is to disallow art in every positive sense of that word. It is to strip away the individuation that might make a work a new witness, and it is to violate the bond of reader and writer. The essence of our art lies in creating a lingering dream, good or bad, that other souls can enter. Dreaming one's soul into another's is an urgent business of the human mind: the dreaming itself, not whatever agenda can supposedly be extracted from it. As art, it plays on the nerves and senses like a dream. It unfolds over time like a dream. It makes its own often disturbing and often inexplicable appeal to memory and emotion, creating itself again in the consciousness of the reader or hearer.
On "Beauty"
By Marilynne Robinson
From Tin House
Pushcart Prize XXXVII
Best Of The Small Presses

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 202


Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 201

Freelance Parlance

We know that humankind has sat around its fires from time immemorial and told its tales and told them again, elaborating and refining, and we know that certain of these tales have become myth, epic, fable, Holy Writ. Now, because we have devoted so much ingenuity to the project, we have devised more ways to tell ourselves more stories, which means only that an ancient impulse is still so strong in us as to impel the invention of new means and occasions for telling and hearing to satisfy this appetite for narrative. At the most fundamental level, narrative is how we make sense of things - that is, our experience of ongoing life is a story we tell ourselves, more or less true, depending on circumstance. I believe this narrative is the essential mode of our being in the world, individually and collectively. Maintaining its integrity - maintaining a sense of the essentially provisional or hypothetical character of the story we tell ourselves - is, I will suggest, our greatest practical, as well as moral and ethical, problem. Fiction is narrative freed from the standard of literal truth. In effect, it is the mind exploring itself, its impulse to create hypothetical cause and consequence.
On "Beauty"
By Marilynne Robinson
From Tin House
Pushcart Prize XXXVII
Best Of The Small Presses

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 200

A Celebration of Fooling Around

Why make a big deal of something because it is represented by a "round number"? Why not celebrate a triangular, tetrahedronal, or conic  number?

This is the 200th Extraordinary Discourse documentary, or, to be precise, the 200th segment of a thematic associational documentary, which is also a long train tracking from thousands of windows the landscapes of the last 30+ years of humanity's death-rebirth process. As we apprehend and attend the process of our initiation, we must come to terms with the necessity of Play, with the necessity of celebrating our bodies, with the necessity of Food and belly-laughs and Fooling Around and Doing Nothing.
Jack Saturday

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 199

Odd Corners Of The Talk Garden

Maid Marion (Olivia De Havilland): “You speak blasphemy!”
Robin Hood (Errol Flynn): “Fluently!”

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 198

Long Story Shorts

To act otherwise, you have to imagine otherwise.
Henry Giroux

Spreading information is activism.
Helena Norberg-Hodge

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 197

Glad This Got Said

There are very few human beings who receive the truth complete... Most acquire it fragment by fragment like a laborious mosaic.
Anaïs Nin

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 195

Ear Drum Taps

When we try to pick anything out by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
John Muir

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 194

Even As We Speak

We delay because it is argued that talking is too risky –
but experience suggests the real risk lies in not talking.
How to talk to terrorists
Jonathan Powell
Tuesday 7 October 2014
The Guardian

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 193

Deviant Curricula

You will notice that I have said nothing about the accommodation for the actors. If course it is always terrible, but even here there has been a change. In the old theatres they had smelly kennels in which to change their clothes. But nowadays after the School Board has cut the estimates and changed the plans, they have nothing at all. Have you ever tried to transform yourself into a great character of drama in a schoolroom? The ghost of dead mathematics teachers clutch at your costume and smear your make-up actors of an earlier day dressed in bad conditions too, even in barns, but the barns were unmistakably associated with Life; those schoolroom dressing accommodations speak of education, of repression, of being kept in after four, and their air vents whisper of lingering and chalky death. Humor is put to silence, Passion is rebuked, and Imagination is made to dance in chains.
Robertson Davies
How To Design A Haunted House

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 192

Intellectual Horseplay

The truly great advances of this generation will be made by those who can make outrageous connections, and only a mind which knows how to play can do that.
Nagle Jackson

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 191

Rescued From Old Contexts

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
Ursula Leguin

True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced.  A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.
Tom Robbins

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 190

Stroll This Arcade

…what the poet nevertheless demands is a kind of society in which tranquility, withdrawal, is a natural right. He must be able to go into the press and out of it as easily as he passes from his own house into the street. The charge he makes against the modern world is that it has invaded his house of quiet, invaded it with cares and rumors, insistent political and totalitarian wars.

The poet is therefore compelled to demand, for poetic reasons, that the world shall be changed. It cannot be said that his demand is unreasonable: it is the first condition of his existence as a poet.
Herbert Read,
To Hell With Culture

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 189

Spare Game Change


by W. S. Merwin

Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 188

A Diversity of Voices

If one makes a lot of speeches, one is sure to
be seized at some point by the desire to stop posturing as an authority, and to
borrow the motley of the clown.
Robertson Davies
Intro to How To Design A Haunted House

It worked as astrology does work - in a sort
of lurching, flouncing, vertiginous fashion that sometimes seems to produce
utter nonsense, and at other times comes up with a piece of blazing truth.
Robertson Davies
What Will The Age Of Aquarius Bring

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 187

Shop Talk NOT

Ken Kesey and his merry pranksters (…) had been absolute technological freaks. They were obsessed with the idea of recording their lives in every possible way. They kept tape recorders running all the time. They even used videotapes.They used tape-lag mechanisms. They took movies of their own lives. They kept diaries. They had strange diaries in which you couldn’t write in your own diary; only other people could write in your diary.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 186

Premier Free Radical Scavenge

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Wendell Berry

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 185

No Bodies! Just Voices

For now imagination, a gangly vine,
Grabs for a life.
from Likes Buttered Toast,
By Elizabeth Powell
From New Ohio Review

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 184


My brother once commented, 'Now I get how writers work. You're magpies.' Which we both understood to mean: Writers scavenge from wherever they can, In the case of 'Divine,' I scavenged from Dante, Plato, the Bible, fairy tales, old vampire movies….  When I googled 'magpies' for this statement, I discovered they possess a few more writerly traits: they are clever and often despised, little poètes  maudits. The Chinese considered them messengers of joy, but the Scots thought they carried a drop of Satan's blood under their tongues. They are fond of bright objects.
Kim Addonizio
The Best American Poetry 2013

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 183

Antidotal Evidance

How do we measure? In as many ways as there are things to measure. We measure in stacks and skeins and stories, a lovely word for a building's height that comes to us from Gothic cathedrals who described the heights of their constructions by the number of stacked stained-glass windows they installed.
Made To Measure
Sue Allison
from The Antioch Review

But my thoughts, I knew, moved in their own ways, logic clumping along on its path and imagination buzzing erratically from lilac to honeysuckle to rosebud, as well as violet, dandelion, red clover, morning glory, and all the other weeds I spent long afternoons prying out of the yard with a forked cultivator.
Helen Keller Answers The Iron
by Andrew Hudgins
from  The Kenyon Review

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 182

Spoken-Word Shenanigans

Doggie Daddy and Max Weber in the same pot! Or on it. Plus, of course, the unusual suspects.

Title stolen from the intro to Spider Robinson's podcast, Spider on the Web. Go enjoy him!

Everything that gets exchanged between people,
whether it's spoken or not, is a form of such thought. Human beings are
discourse. The rest is blood and bone and nerves. Call it speech, that flowing
between us. Compare it to the sun, which us always warming us, even when we
can't see it. This speech-sun is invisible, except when it takes form in
Coleman Barks,
The Soul Of Rumi

…the Mercurius, the rogue who is sometimes
benevolent and sometimes a trickster, an enemy to the law and the revenue
officers, but a great friend to people of noble spirit, and to lovers. This
Mercurius figure is by no means confined to this play alone: it is part of the
apparatus of melodrama. Not infrequently the part was represented as being an
Irishman, and much of the character that Irishmen have in popular opinion for
being witty and irresponsible is the result of these stage representations.
Robertson Davies,
Jung and the Theatre

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 181

Some Is Diss, Samizdat

Despite what Archie Bunker said, Edith was never a dingbat. Dingbat is a printer's term for a device that divides text, recognizing some pause deeper than the space between paragraphs, but less profound than the full stop at the end of a chapter. Dingbats dance in the gap. Dingbats come out into the indecisive twilight.

Dingbats are helpful when you're not making sustained, connected sense. Just put in a dingbat, and there's oneiric ellipsis.
Coleman Barks,
Introduction, The Soul Of Rumi

Song Clip:
Guy Clark, Cold Dog Soup

Utah Phillips, Loafer's Glory

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 180

Weighing In On Ways Out

…this fertile border zone, contested marginal land inhabited by those seeking refuge from the law or the sprawl or the iron custody of the market, those who would cross over in search of freedom, or shelter, or belief…
Campbell McGrath, January 17
The Best American Poetry 2013

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 179

Bushwhacking The Cognitive Map

Harvey Wheeler, out on the West Coast at the centre for  the study of democratic institutions, has a view of democracy in which he argues that the great discovery of democracy was to transform every citizen into a guerilla fighter.  The targets of his [sic] guerilla activities were the establishment.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 178

A Libertine's Microbrew

there's a cold wind blowin' through the old east side
it cuts with the devil's curse
they're turning our people into the streets, while
the landloards line their purse
with the greenback dollar of the tourist trade
there's a fortune to be had
make way for the out-of-towners, for
the tenants it's just too bad
this appears to be their attitude.
kick 'em until they're down
they're only welfare cases and
pensioners and they're easily pushed around
we've invited the world to come and stay
and celebrate the fair
i wonder if the world will understand
the homeless walkin' there.
i'm alright jack, and how 'bout you?
i'm gonna catch this wave that's rollin' through
and turn a trick or two
i'm alright jack, no flies on me!
i'm within my rights, my conscience is clear
i am the profiteer
Spirit Of The West - Profiteers

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 177

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom

Take this work ethic and shove it

All paid employments
absorb and degrade the mind

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 176

Guerilla Wordfare

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.
Walt Whitman

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 175

Voices, Choices

Some parts of the gigantic oeuvre of Walt Whitman remind me of the huge canvases of the masters of Renaissance painting. If, looking at those canvases, we direct our attention to a detail, we discover a multitude of carefully painted small scenes. The same is true in Whitman: there is something like a mosaic, composed of units that are autonomous.
Czeslaw Milosz
A Book Of Luminous Things

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 174

Mixing Jar

Love in the Classroom

Al Zolynas

—for my students

Afternoon. Across the garden, in Green Hall,
someone begins playing the old piano—
a spontaneous piece, amateurish and alive,
full of a simple, joyful melody.
The music floats among us in the classroom.

I stand in front of my students
telling them about sentence fragments.
I ask them to find the ten fragments
in the twenty-one-sentence paragraph on page forty-five.

They’ve come from all parts
of the world—Iran, Micronesia, Africa,
Japan, China, even Los Angeles—and they’re still
eager to please me. It’s less than half
way through the quarter.

They bend over their books and begin.
Hamid’s lips move as he follows
the tortuous labyrinth of English syntax.
Yoshie sits erect, perfect in her pale make-up,
legs crossed, quick pulse minutely
jerking her right foot. Tony
sprawls limp in his desk, relaxed
as only someone can be who’s
from an island in the South Pacific.

The melody floats around and through us
in the room, broken here and there, fragmented,
re-started. It feels mideastern, but
it could be jazz, or the blues—it could be
anything from anywhere.
I sit down on my desk to wait,
and it hits me from nowhere—a sudden
sweet, almost painful love for my students.

“Nevermind,” I want to cry out.
“It doesn’t matter about fragments.
Finding them or not. Everything’s
a fragment and everything’s not a fragment.
Listen to the music, how fragmented,
how whole, how we can’t separate the music
from the sun falling on its knees on all the greenness,
from this moment, how this moment
contains all the fragments of yesterday
and everything we’ll ever know of tomorrow!”

Instead, I keep a coward’s silence.
The music stops abruptly;
they finish their work,
and we go through the right answers,
which is to say
we separate the fragments from the whole.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 173

Paraliterate Memeplex

To me, selected lengths of spoken words captured/recorded is the hot-warm-cool-cold cash of any literature you care to underline.
Jack Saturday

Man [sic] the planter, man the basket-weaver, and man the pot-maker came in after the Paleolithic man, and we've had thousands of years of the planter.  When I mentioned this to John Cage, he said, “You know, that’s very interesting, I spend my life hunting mushrooms.  I am not the least bit interested in cultivating them.”  This is a curious illustration of the difference between the two kinds of man.  The hunter is not concerned with classification or specialism or the processes of cultivation, only with discovery.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 172

Fighting The Bullshit

The bullfighters have been losing their jobs.  The bullshit fighters have rolled up their sleeves.

The superior man [sic] abides in his room. If his words are well spoken, he meets with assent at a distance of more than a thousand miles.
I Ching

Words are a kind of information retrieval that can range over the total environment and experience at high speed.
Marshall McLuhan

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 171

Business As Usual NOT

An artist today is never working. He’s
doing what he [sic] wants to do. He’s playing and he’s at leisure at all times,
especially when he’s working hardest. This one of the peculiarities of our
time. The old world of the job, this is neolithic; the world of the job, little
fragmented specialist tasks, is no longer bearable.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 170

Special: Books, Readers, and Writers

Book love is your pass to the greatest, the purest and the most perfect pleasure that God has prepared for His creatures.
Anthony Trollope

All books are either dreams or swords, you can cut, or you can drug, with words.
Amy Lowell

If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.
Don DeLillo

To have access to literature, world literature, was to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom.
Susan Sontag

Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish  I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do  not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a  person until you have met them. It is a ****load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and  accepting, but, Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.
Dave Eggers, in "The Harvard Advocate"

People do not understand what it costs in time and suffering to learn how to read. I have been working at it for eighty years, and I still can't say that I've succeeded.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

You could write it all on a postage stamp:  "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. Your official reality is a lie. We must love each other or die.” I suppose any writer who transcends conventional literature is religious insofar as he does transcend it. That is why you can never actually base an educational system on the "Hundred Best Books.” A hundred of the truest insights into life would destroy any educational system and its society along with it.
Kenneth Rexroth, The Reality Of Henry Miller

This is not a  book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty... what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off-key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse....
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Printer's ink has been running a race against gunpowder these many, many years. Ink is handicapped, in a way, because you can blow up a man with gunpowder in half a second, while it may take twenty years to blow him up with a book. But the gunpowder destroys itself along with its victim, while a book can keep on exploding for centuries.
Christopher Morley

I know from my own experience that to be accurate, language must always usurp something that doesn't belong to it. I keep asking myself what makes verbal images such thieves, why the most apt comparison appropriates qualities that don't belong to it. To get closer to reality we need to catch the imagination unawares. Only when one perception plunders another, when an object snatches material that belongs to another and starts to exploit it—only when things that in reality are mutually exclusive become plausible in a sentence can the sentence hold its own against reality.
The Space between Languages
Herta Müller
translated from the German by Julia Sherwood

Thus, poets were always "pagans," which was why Blake said Milton was of the devil's party but he didn't know it. The devil is, after all, not the devil at all, he is the miming elk shaman dancer at Trois Frieres, with elk antlers and a pelt on his back, and what he's doing has to do with animal fertility in the springtime. At very bottom is the question, "how do you prepare your mind to become a singer." How to prepare your mind to be a singer. An attitude of openness, inwardness, gratitude; plus meditation, fasting, a little suffering, some rupturing of the day-to-day ties with the social fabric.
Gary Snyder

Tis the good reader that makes the book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakenly meant for his ear; the profit of all books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Success

Both bee and oyster, indeed, take so much trouble over their works that one finds the geography books saying:  ‘the oysters of Tinevelly yield the most beautiful pearls on the Indian market’, or ‘The bees of Hymettus produce the sweetest honey in the world.’ From this it is only a step to the ridiculous assumption that the oyster is mainly concerned with satisfying the Bombay pearl merchants’ love of beauty; and the bees in delighting gourmets at the world’s at the world’s most expensive restaurants. The same assumption, almost equally ridiculous, is made about poets.

...unless he despises his fellow-men, he will not deny them the pleasure of reading what he has written while inspired by the Muse, once it has served his purpose of self-information.
Robert Graves, from The Poet And His Public

Quixote is one of the most exquisite books that was ever written, and to lose it from the world's literature would be as the wresting of a constellation from the symmetry and perfection of the firmament--but neither it nor Shakespeare are proper books for virgins to read until some hand has culled them of their grossness.
Mark Twain
Letter to Livy, 3/1/1869

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 169

Anything But

On Institutions And The Individual

Any environment tends to be imperceptible to its users and occupants except to the degree that counter-environments are created by the artist.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me

Any large company composed of wholly admirable persons has the morality and
intelligence of an unwieldy, stupid, and violent animal. The bigger the
organization, the more unavoidable is its immorality and blind stupidity.
...without freedom there can be no morality.
C. G. Jung

"Know all men [sic] by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any incorporated society which I have not joined." This I gave
to the town clerk, and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not
wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on
me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that
time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail
from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to
find a complete list.
Henry Thoreau

We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our educational system.
Charles Bukowski
(thanks to Maria Popova)

We are designed, coded, it seems, to place the highest priority on being individuals, and we must do this first, at  whatever cost, even if it means disability for the group.

This is surely the driving idea behind democracy, and it is astonishing that the system works at all, let alone well. The individuaI is the real human treasure, and only when he [sic] has been cultivated to full expression of his selfness can he become of full value to society.
Lewis Thomas
The Medusa And The Snail

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 168

Along The Way

The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.
C. G. Jung

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 167

Nuggets Dark And Bright

I am a vain fellow, and have a great many ideas
on all sorts of subjects, and like to put them into words and harass the human
race with them.
H.L. Mencken

Such as Women's issues in an abundance economy, Nutsy Land, and fun with Death!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 166

Confronted By The Turn

I taught them all my creating, and striving to create, and carry together into one what in man is fragment, and riddle, and dreadful accident. As creator, guesser of riddles and redeemer of accidents, I taught them to work on the future, and redeem with their creation all that has been.
Nietzsche’s Zarathustra

The new reality being invisible... leading industrial technology's everyday, working reality into the ultra- and infra- visible- the macrophysical and the microatomic,
electronic, metallurgically alloying chemically reacting micriobiologically,
astrophysically exploring ranges of the electromagnetic wave-spectrum of
Universe. And 99.9% of these very real activities are non-directly
apprehensible by the bare human senses and are practically discovered and coped
with only through powerful macro-micro operative instruments.
Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 165

Juking The Orthodoxies

The newborn infant synchronizes body-movements to speech used around her or him... speech is a body-process to the child... the name is in no way distinguished in the child's mind from the thing or event itself. The name enters into logical feedback as a component part of the event, exactly as its smell, taste, touch, and sight do.... a physical response of musculature... the child's thought process is his physical action... by adulthood, the movements have become microkinetic, discernable only by instrumentation, but nevertheless clearly detectable....

...Talking out one's world is frowned on as the communicative, rather than identifying aspects of language are stressed and expected. Along with a continually growing demand for conformity is a demand for silence, unless communication is intended...  ... so the talking out of one's world gets internalized. The internalized language function allies with the secret self operating beneath the mask of outer conformity...
Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 164

People Talking
Through Their Hats


by Carl Sandburg

Proudly the fedoras march on the heads of the some-
what careless men.
Proudly the slouches march on the heads of the still
more careless men.
Proudly the panamas perch on the noggins of dapper
debonair men.
Comically somber the derbies gloom on the earnest sol-
emn noodles.
And the sombrero, most proud, most careless, most dap-
per and debonair of all, somberly the sombrero
marches on the heads of important men who know
what they want.
Hats are sky-pieces; hats have a destiny; wish your hat
slowly; your hat is you.

I seek less to state or display any theme or thought, and more to bring you, reader, into the atmosphere of the theme or thought-  there to pursue your own flight.
Walt Whitman

Speech is a cluster of living beings, moved by rhythms like the rhythms that move the
stars and planets...
Octavio Paz

The full interview with Sam Polk is still available at CBC1's The Current

Joanna Harcourt-Smith

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 163

Speaking Out And Up

As he well knew, man's voice is an all-powerful charm.
of Jesus, from Kazantzakis's
The Last Temptation

Alexander Chen reminisces about studying with
the inimitable Annie Dillard, who echoes Mark Twain’s contention that “all
ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million
outside sources,” Alexander Graham Bell’s assertion that "our most
original compositions are composed exclusively of expressions derived from
others,” and young Virginia Woolf’s observation that "all the Arts …
imitate as far as they can the one great truth that all can see.”
thanks to Maria Popova,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 162

Flâneur's Field Notes

Let your world hear all the voices wanting to speak.
Sheila J Ramsey 

A certain mouse inhabiting a cornfield is invisible, being so small, but once it makes a
sound, then people know it by means of its sound. And so, people are utterly
immersed in the cornfield of this world, and your essence, being extremely
subtle, is invisible. So speak, that they may recognize you.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 161

It's All A Digression

Consciousness is nothing more than maintaining conversation.
James Hillman
We've Had a 100 Years of Psychotherapy And The World's Getting Worse

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 160

Visceral Release

Lots of violence, rambunctious profanity, mass psychosis, and fun! And in case you missed some events, an extended newscast to keep you informed of what you really need to know. If for some inexplicable reason the newscast gets tiresome, the news sequence ends at just after 21 minutes in - feel free to fly over the News like Dorothy flew over the Hammerheads to the land of the Quadlings. There's great stuff after that.

Thanks to Norm MacDonald

Thanks to Mark Maron, WTF podcast.

The term profane is derived from the Latin pro (before) and fanum (temple). …the wild realm of the sacred as it was/is before being caged into the temple of Father Time. It is free time/space. This prehistoric sacred is prior to the patriarchal sequestered "sacred" not merely temporally, but more importantly, in range and depth. Since it is not confined within the walls of any spatial or temporal temple, it transcends the "accepted" dichotomies between the sacred and the profane. The... journey into the wildly sacred background is movement into wholeness/integrity... ...we have to be free to dis-cover our own distinctions, refusing to be locked into these mental temples... try to fit... into these categories is attempting something analogous to fitting natural feet into foot-bindings which at first deform and later function as needed supports for contrived deformity.
Mary Daly, Gyn\Ecology

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 159

Autodidact's Intelligence Gathering

All great ideas and innovations began life as "disruptive" from the periphery, from "outsiders" -- those people just going it alone, often "outside the box." Morris Berman calls these people the New Monastic Individuals (NMI), and Berman thinks this is where the future lies. I'm inclined to agree with him. Berman puts forth a "new monastic" model of action whereby individuals/groups get on and create new ways of doing things, without fanfare or large billboard announcements. Such monastic work, so to speak, often operates below the radar, being authentic in activity rather than seeking visibility. The monastic worker, in seeking change, chooses a way of life that has meaning and that can be a heritage for the family. Often the monastic worker strives for assisting change within their own communities. They are like ink dots on the paper, slowly spreading their impact by diligent yet creative work. What makes this model not only more appealing today, but also much more effective, is the rise of global communications and distributed networks. Now, the hard-working monastics can connect, share, and collaborate.
The New Monastic Individuals
Kingsley Dennis, Ph.D.Sociologist, writer, co-founder of WorldShift International

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 158

Juggle The Hand You're Dealt

If you are a writer or reader of a certain temperament, you celebrate the “postmodern condition,” in which the flux and flow of events dethrone the narrator’s assured voice. If you are a scholar exploring “posthumanism,” you might believe that the human subject can no longer speak as the master of circumstances. Yet if you are an ordinary worker, you need to find your voice. You need, like our Renaissance forbearers, to find principles of continuity and unity in how you account for your material experience.

“Voice” is both a personal and a social issue. To hold fragmentary experiences together in time requires the capacity to step back from the power of each event to hurt or to disorient. To find one’s voice requires establishing some distance from the immediate, from the noumenal; sheer surrender to the moment weakens one’s voice. Of course in the midst of the most traumatic events, like a civil war, stepping back can occur only after the event is over. But in the sort of traumas to which I have devoted my studies, as in the moments when people are tested at work—told, for instance, they are losing a job—the capacity to stand in and out of a situation at the same time is a practical strategy for survival—with long-term consequences. Workers who can manage this duality are better able to fashion a sustaining long-term narrative for their lives.
Richard Sennett

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 157

Walks Outside The Box

Art has made us myriad-minded.
Oscar Wilde

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 156

Dots Connected And Otherwise

Quotations in my works are like robbers by the roadside who make an armed attack and relieve an idler of his convictions.
Walter Benjamin 

In response, he made himself a diffuse, uncertain thing, a mass of contradictory, irresolvable voices that speak truth plurally.
Zadie Smith,
Speaking In Tongues

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 155

Pivoting The Discourse

By Ezra Pound

From “Contemporania”

Go, my songs, to the lonely and the unsatisfied,
Go also to the nerve-wracked, go to the enslaved-by-convention,
Bear to them my contempt for their oppressors.
Go as a great wave of cool water,
Bear my contempt of oppressors.      

Speak against unconscious oppression,
Speak against the tyranny of the unimaginative,
Speak against bonds.

Go to the bourgeoise who is dying of her ennuis,
Go to the women in suburbs.      

Go to the hideously wedded,
Go to them whose failure is concealed,
Go to the unluckily mated,
Go to the bought wife,
Go to the woman entailed.      

Go to those who have delicate lust,
Go to those whose delicate desires are thwarted,
Go like a blight upon the dullness of the world;
Go with your edge against this,
Strengthen the subtle cords,      
Bring confidence upon the algae and the tentacles of the soul.

Go in a friendly manner,
Go with an open speech.
Be eager to find new evils and new good,
Be against all forms of oppression.      
Go to those who are thickened with middle age,
To those who have lost their interest.

Go to the adolescent who are smothered in family—
Oh how hideous it is
To see three generations of one house gathered together!      
It is like an old tree with shoots,
And with some branches rotted and falling.

Go out and defy opinion,
Go against this vegetable bondage of the blood.
Speak for the free kinship of the mind and spirit.      
Go, against all forms of oppression.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Extraordinary Discourse 154

All These Things And More

2014! Leaping in. The topsoil of this "arcades project" is around 30-some years deep, with, as all good soil, deeper bits and newer shit. I consider myself a longtime player in the underplayground in these 30-odd "neoliberal" bullshit years. Here is my collection of stuff I picked up in my underground tunneling, under the mall, beneath the school, beneath the bottom line. Jump in anywhere, from the first in the series to the most recent - they are equally relevant, their themes endlessly entwine and blend.

Anson Rabinbach, editor of New German Critique summarizes Benjamin’s thought […]:

The world is… dispersed in fragments, and in these fragments, the fragments of the world that God has now turned his back on, reside certain presences, which attest to the former existence of their divine character. You cannot actively go about to discover these divine presences, but they can be revealed.

According to Rabinbach, Benjamin’s method was, similar to Freud’s, an attempt to “unlock” these “emanations” by “juxtaposing things that don’t quite necessarily appear to be related to each other… And this is the Kabbalistic sense, that you cannot go directly at the task, because the disclosure of the emanation is blocked.” Benjamin’s fragmentary “method” produced prodigious results—hundreds upon hundreds of pages of essays, and a frustratingly unfinished book published as The Arcades Project.
The Fragmentary, Mystical Thought of Walter Benjamin Presented by Two Experimental Films
Josh Jones
Open Culture