Friday, November 20, 2009

From Dr Mabuse to Doc Benway: The myths and manuscripts of Naked Lunch

... And the final reason is that we shouldn't throw away any part of Naked Lunch, even ones parasitic upon it — which would include Burroughs' own “Deposition” — without looking closely at it first. For this is the irony: although the genetic myths have promoted lazy readings of Naked Lunch, they themselves have been very lazily read — repeated a lot, but never closely examined. And so, before looking into Naked Lunch's manuscript history, let's consider the mythic version of Naked Lunch's writing as told by that most potent mythmaker of them all: Jack Kerouac.

We begin with sausages — or to be more precise, “bolognas” — which feature in Kerouac's account of helping Burroughs in Tangier, during spring 1957, turn his mess of writing into a manuscript. This is how Kerouac famously describes his collaboration with “Bull Hubbard” on “Nude Supper” in Desolation Angels (1965):

When I undertook to start typing it neatly double-space for his publishers … I had horrible nightmares … like of pulling out endless bolognas from my mouth, from my very entrails, feet of it, pulling and pulling out all the horror of what Bull saw, and wrote…

There are two things here. Firstly, Kerouac's notorious nightmares arise not just from reading the text of Naked Lunch but from typing it — and not just from typing it, but from trying to do so “neatly double-space for his publishers.” That is to say, making it into a clean copy — which inevitably recalls all those legends of the manuscript's disgusting physical condition: blood-stained, the ends of the pages eaten away by rats, etc. This is the context for Kerouac's nightmares, the paradox of trying to accommodate Burroughs' toxic writing to the needs of general cultural production, to make Naked Lunch fit for public consumption.

The second thing would be the bolognas themselves. Sausages are, of course, made of the very cheapest cuts, those parts of the animal that are better left unnamed — the otherwise unspeakable and unsalable body parts that make me glad to be a vegetarian. Kerouac's point, in short, is that Naked Lunch comprises all that is impossible to swallow if you actually see what is on the end of your fork. No mere load of baloney, Kerouac's sausages make a precise reading of the book's title. ...

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[ Via Naked Lunch @ 50 ]

Wall Streeters defend bonuses as part of culture

 Executives at the Reuters Global Finance Summit rallied to the defense of the industry's resurgent bonus practices, arguing that there was no clear link between generous compensation and last year's market meltdown.

Bonuses have long been a part of Wall Street's culture, dating back to a time when partnerships dominated the industry. Recent reports indicating that near-record amounts will be paid out just months after many firms benefited from government bailout moves have raised public outrage.

But executives at the summit in New York have argued that the anger is misplaced.

"The focus on bonuses as the cause of risk-taking is just wrong," former Merrill Lynch chief executive John Thain told the summit.

Wall Street bankers and traders historically have looked to their bonuses as a major piece of the yearly income. For high-ranking executives, bonuses can be more than $1 million.

A year removed from the heart of the financial crisis, Wall Street's dominant banks are preparing to give massive year-end paydays to their employees.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, for example, has already has set aside nearly $17 billion to pay its people at the end of the year. Goldman earlier this year repaid $10 billion it borrowed from taxpayers during last year's bailout.

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Swine flu vaccine resistance making a dent


European scientists and health authorities are facing angry questions about why H1N1 flu has not caused death and destruction on the scale first feared, and they need to respond deftly to ensure public support.

Accusations are flying in British and French media that the pandemic has been "hyped" by medical researchers to further their own cause, boost research grants and line the pockets of drug companies.

Britain's Independent newspaper this week asked "Pandemic? What Pandemic?"

France's Le Parisien newspaper ran the headline: "Swine flu: why the French distrust the vaccine" and noted a gap between the predicted impact of H1N1 and the less dramatic reality.

"Although some 30-odd people have died....the disease is not really frightening," it said. "Dangerous liaisons between certain experts, the labs and the government, the obscurity of the contracts between the state and the pharma firms have added to the doubt."

In response, scientists are walking a fine line. They say that although the virus is mild, it can still kill, and that the relatively low fatalities in Europe are in part, the result of official response to their advice.

However, in Britain, health authorities' original worst-case scenario -- which said as many as 65,000 could die from H1N1 -- has twice been revised down and the prediction is now for around 1,000 deaths, way below the average annual toll of 4,000 to 8,000 deaths from seasonal winter flu.

Profiling of Kenya forest squatters begins

The government has started profiling inhabitants of the Mau forest to locate their original homes in the ongoing resettlement, amidst accusations that it was abusing human rights in its effort to rehabilitate the water tower.

The chairman of the Mau Complex Secretariat Hassan Noor Hassan said the evictees would be required to give details of their place of birth to trace their ancestral homes which is where they are expected to relocate to.

“The profiling process is going to be done by Friday and as soon as it is complete we will be able to identify where every person comes from and be able to support him to reach his destination,” he stated adding that the procedure would be coordinated by current Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner.

Asked why the profiling process was not done prior to the eviction, the former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner said: “We are not late at all. It was supposed to be done at the exit point as people were leaving the forest. How would we have done it with people scattered all over the place?”

He also added that Kenyans should stop accusing the government of being inhumane in its relocation efforts and instead focus on the greater good that the country would get once the plans were fully effected and the restoration plans implemented.

“If anybody is saying that we have not been humanitarian in our eviction plans then they are entitled to their own opinion. We have not moved people using askaris (police) and people moved out voluntarily. They heeded the government's call when the relocation notice was given by Kenya Forest Service and we did not drag anyone out,” he explained.

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How the tables have turned

Fun and Facts About America, John Sutherland Productions. Creative Commons license: Public Domain. This Cold War-era cartoon uses humor to tout the dangers of Communism and the benefits of capitalism.

Obama may put Americans under world judges' power

Michael Carl reports for World Net Daily :

President Obama has dispatched a delegation this week to The Hague to explore issues involving the United States' possible participation in the International Criminal Court, an organization critics charge could be used to prosecute Americans under international legal standards for actions that are not crimes in the U.S.

Andy Laney of the U.S. State Department confirmed the delegation is comprised of members of the State Department as well as the Defense Department. He said they were dispatched on a week-long trip because of U.S. concerns over how "aggression" is defined internationally.

"There is an inter-agency party, half from the State Department, half from the Defense Department, there to engage other delegations on matters of U.S. interest and specifically over our concerns on the definition of the crime of aggression," he said.

Critics, however, warn that they believe former U.S. war crimes prosecutor Ambassador Stephen Rapp is on a trip that involves more than just the definition of a word.

"The Obama administration would like the U.S. to be a party to the court," said Brett Schaefer, an international regulatory expert with the Heritage Foundation.

"The Obama administration would like to establish closer ties with the ICC if it turns out the U. S. can join the court. The objective here is to address the major objections to the U.S. joining the court," he said.

White House officials declined to comment.

The court was introduced to the U.S. when President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute in 1998. But President George W. Bush pulled the U.S. out in 2003 over concerns that the ICC might prosecute American soldiers for war crime charges coming from the U.S. campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Mahatma Gandhi, civil disobedience and the Salt March

From: Minivan News

For his civil disobedience campaign, Gandhi chose to contravene The Salt Acts because they not only appeared to be basically unjust but also because they symbolized an unpopular, unrepresentative and alien government.

When Gandhi began his campaign revenues realized from the Salt Tax amounted to 25,000,000 pounds sterling.

The salt tax had a long and ugly history. The British East India Company considered this taxing of a necessity, salt, as an excellent way of earning revenue. The salt tax initially was imposed in the form of 'land rent' and 'transit charges' before it was consolidated into duty in 1762. Thus India became dependent on imported salt from Liverpool, Spain, Romania, Aden and Mussawah.

Burdened by extravagant charges, the local salt industry soon found itself unable to compete with imported salt.

In an effort to completely corner the salt market, the English began to tax Indian salt which drove the price of salt still higher. Even this was apparently not enough because the English introduced the Salt Act which gave a monopoly on salt production to the government. Violation of the law was punishable with the confiscation of salt and six months imprisonment.

With the price of salt going through the roof the Indian National Congress and prominent national leaders pleaded with the British, arguing that the burden of the Salt Act was borne by the poverty ridden masses.

Gandhi understood that salt was the only relish which the teeming poor in Indian villages could afford to their monotonous diet. Next to water and air, it was perhaps the greatest necessity of life, the only condiment of the masses and indispensable for land, life and several industries.

By choosing the salt law to defy the British Laws, Gandhi exhibited his political genius and shrewdness. This tax on a natural product from the sea water and consumed by every person and animal was symbolical of human oppression and thus Gandhi was able to convey his message to the masses with ease. By calling on the people to pick up salt from the earth or distil it from the sea as their natural right, Gandhi was able to rally the people of India behind him. Salt became the symbol of revolt and resurgence of the Indian people.

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Salt Satyagraha

The Salt Satyagraha was a campaign of nonviolent protest against the British salt tax in colonial India which began with the Salt March to Dandi on March 12, 1930. It was the first act of organized opposition to British rule after Purna Swaraj, the declaration of independence by the Indian National Congress. Mahatma Gandhi led the Dandi march from his Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, Gujarat to produce salt without paying the tax, with growing numbers of Indians joining him along the way. When Gandhi broke the salt laws in Dandi at the conclusion of the march on April 6, 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the British Raj salt laws by millions of Indians.[1]

Gandhi was arrested on May 5, 1930, just days before his planned raid on the Dharasana Salt Works. The Dandi March and the ensuing Dharasana Satyagraha drew worldwide attention to the Indian independence movement through extensive newspaper and newsreel coverage. The satyagraha against the salt tax continued for almost a year, ending with Gandhi's release from jail and negotiations with Viceroy Lord Irwin at the Second Round Table Conference.[2] Over 80,000 Indians were jailed as a result of the Salt Satyagraha.[3] The campaign had a significant effect on changing world and British attitudes toward Indian independence,[4][5] and caused large numbers of Indians to actively join the fight for the first time, but failed to win major concessions from the British.[6]

The Salt Satyagraha campaign was based upon Gandhi's principles of nonviolent protest called satyagraha, which he loosely translated as "truth-force."[7] In early 1930 the Indian National Congress chose satyagraha as their main tactic for winning Indian independence from British rule and appointed Gandhi to organize the campaign. Gandhi chose the 1882 British Salt Act as the first target of satyagraha. The Salt March to Dandi, and the beating of hundreds of nonviolent protesters in Dharasana, demonstrated the effective use of civil disobedience as a technique for fighting social and political injustice.[8] The satyagraha teachings of Gandhi and the March to Dandi had a significant influence on American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., and his fight for civil rights for blacks and other minority groups in the 1960s.

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D.U.M.B.s - Deep Underground Military Bases


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