The tree didn't have a chance. I've also learned something about taking down a tree. The head cutter begins with a lighweight chainsaw to loosen up his arms. Then, as he gets stronger, he switches to heavy ones. This keeps him from getting tired
In an effort to escape the pressure of an impending deadline (a paper that has to be delivered in a few days in Las Vegas, a paper which is not finished, and a paper which is bugging me when what I really want to do is imagine myself next to the pool in a floppy hat, sunglasses, avec cocktail--an image that I've actually tried to realize through the purchase of this hat, and, I sheepishly confess, self-tanner, since I live in a cold, cold clime, but which now leads me to extend the following advice: one should never, ever, put on self-tanner when one is drunk) I saw a terrific movie--The Final Cut, directed by Omar Naim and starring Robin Williams.
The idea of the film is that parents implant in their unborn child a digital chip--the Zoe implant-- that records everything the child sees and hears from birth to death. Once the person dies, a 'cutter' assembles a life story of the person to show at a 'remembering,' a ceremony commemorating the person's life. There is a fairly elaborate ethics around the Zoe implant. Parents should tell the child that they have one, generally before the child is 21. Cutters are not allowed to have implants. (For pedants, like me, worried that viewing the footage would take a lifetime, there is reassurance, a machine, the Guillotine, sorts through the footage, filing and organizing it. So, a cutter could completely ignore the person's sleeping life, toilet use, etc.)
In the film, protestors are organized against the implant. We are told that some people have committed suicide upon learning that they have an implant, that others have changed their life, and that 'society as we know it is completely different.' But what these differences are remains unsaid. We also know that Robin Williams thinks of his work as that of a 'sin eater,' as one who ingests the horrible, unspeakable acts that each of us, at some point, commits.
But what should we make of the Zoe implant? What would it mean to have every aspect of our life recorded? Is this another version of divine judgment, of the sense that one must be accountable for every moment of one's life? Is it the sense that accountability is impossible because another will edit, will shape one's life in a way that one cannot determine? Is it a sense of impossible exposure, of the ultimate loss of privacy? Is it that we don't want others to know how we see them? That this revelation from the place from which I see that is nonetheless not me ruptures the Symbolic order, the order of the appearance, with the idiocy of the Real of the gaze?
Link: Spurious. This is excerpted from Spurious. Not what I expect to find there. You really need to read the whole thing.
Team Aniston, Team Jolie. No, I can't decide. These people are gods, and the gods really do walk among us. We resent them, these gods, which is why we like seeing them on bad hair days. But this resentment is part of the awe we feel for them. Awe! I can imagine Jolie would be smaller than she appears on movie posters and in films. How tall is Brad Pitt? Quite tall, I think to myself. It's his proportions, you can tell. And I remember, all of a sudden, the picture of Johnny Depp, drunken, dissolute, with the British policeman who arrested him. He was tiny, birdlike. He was a drunken bird loose in London. I thought: his small stature betokens a god. He is a god and so too Vanessa Paradis.
I tend to be decisive and this one is easy--Aniston. She's a Friend.
I had an interesting conversation with my father last night. He had watched Bush on television opposing stem cell research. The staging included children who had been the products of invitro fertilization, of frozen embryos. Bush had them around as he emphasized that he was on the side of potential life. Terri Schiavo--again, the right wing case was rooted in potential, that she could potentially recover, get better, wake up. With medical advances everyday, anything is possible. Example three: war on terror; the nation must be protected from any potential attack, any potential terrorist. Anything goes.
What is interesting in all this is the argument from potential (which also fits with the zero-tolerance approach to crime, a topic my partner, Paul, writes on). The emphasis on potential has now displaced the risk society's emphasis on probability. A sort of general acceptance of the argument from potential, a seeming inability to combat it, seems crucial to the current right wing hegemony. The unconscionably lame Democrats completely role over in the face of this argument, employing it themselves as they act as if they had already lost and have to defend themselves anew.
How might one combat the argument from potential? Can it be done without a reliance on probability? It seems that this opposition is crucial for right wing attacks on science. Science doesn't know for sure, anything is possible, if that's the case, one should, as a principle of morality, err on the side of potential life, potential security, potential freedom (what's a few hundred thousand dead Iraqis in the face of freedom's potential?)
from Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes II to Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, for commander, U.S. Southern Command, Dec.
2, 2002; CIA KUBARK manual
Posing a detainee in an erect standing position for a period of several
hours. No restraints or external devices are used. Variations of this
technique include the extension of one's arms outward to the side. In
an addendum to his memo approving this technique, Rumsfeld asked, "I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"
to one Army intelligence officer with personal knowledge of these
practices, soldiers in the field developed harsher variations of the
stress technique. In one position reportedly improvised by soldiers in
the field, known as a "short shackle," detainees are bound at the wrist
and ankle with metal or plastic handcuffs and then doubled over with
their wrists bound to their ankles, either while lying on the ground or
Other stress positions
documented by Army investigators include the suspension of detainees
from a shackle in the ceiling, with the arms extended, sometimes
without their feet touching the ground. This practice bears a striking
resemblance to the "strappado" first used in the 13th and 14th century during the Italian Inquisition,
in which victims were suspended from the ceiling with a system of ropes
and weights to induce pain in a series of five degrees of increasing
intensity. Army investigators found that a version of strappado was used on Mullah Habibullah and Dilawar at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.
Can over engagement, over investment lead to emptiness? From thinking to blank in the blink of a plastic eye? Lay me down and my eyes will close. Too much becomes nothing. I also have an oddly large forehead.
During 2004, the human rights of ordinary men, women and children were disregarded or grossly abused in every corner of the globe. Economic interests, political hypocrisy and socially orchestrated discrimination continued to fan the flames of conflict around the world. The “war on terror” appeared more effective in eroding international human rights principles than in countering international “terrorism”. The millions of women who suffered gender-based violence in the home, in the community or in war zones were largely ignored. The economic, social and cultural rights of marginalized communities were almost entirely neglected.