The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

March 14, 2009


so the sign of the body is the body of the sign, the sign-body or body-
sign, and these are meaning by virtue of the signature but doesn't this
collapse with the incipience of death - meaning towards non-meaning as
asymptotic towards death - when does meaning collapse - disappear - what
constitutes the falling-away of meaning - the disappearance of locus -
it's towards classical physics that one takes comfort in the return - the
replete or fecund sign - let's say signifier, pointing-towards - but there
are many histories - let's say an infinite number - intrinsic pointers -
at the other end, defuge, exhaustions - let's say, from the appearance of
the subject - the apparency, appetition, of one - singularity reined in by
virtue of the corral of the sign-body - what appears to be genidentity -
it's here that the masquerade begins - all those tendrils towards death -
what happens when the subject loses the fecundity of origins through its
disappearance - from the viewpoint of the subject, the world is over-
wrought - now one might turn towards the virtual or inscribed body - a
collocation of confused signifiers - the mind and its disappearance -
eternity inhabits the virtual - that's the _subject_ speaking - death
comes but death comes about - when signs come and the signs are unnamed -
when the signs are innumerable - when the signs are a-signifying, inert,
obdurate - when the signs are speechless - then death appears - death
appears without significance - the anguish of death is this - the lack of
significance - abject spew of the lack - neither this nor that - not both
this and that - but one's not around for any or all of this - the anguish
of death is this - that one's not around - neither for the news or the
weather -

the ~/accident

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2009 02:07:03 -0400
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: Ted Rall: Reasons to Be Cheerful

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Ted Rall

NEW YORK--It's the end of the world as we know it and,
while I can't say I exactly feel fine, it's all too
easy to dwell on the downward spiral of our job
prospects and 401(k)s. Even in the midst of economic
collapse (possibly presaging political disintegration
and ultimately social chaos), there's cause for
optimism. And so, in the same spirit of contrarianism
that drove me to declare the boom economy of the late
1990s a sham we'd all live to regret, here are nine
good reasons not to kill yourself over the economic

1. Bushies Will Pay. President Obama is inclined to
"look forward as opposed to looking backwards" when it
comes to investigating Bush and his minions for
torture, war crimes and spying on Americans.
Fortunately, one of Obama's first acts as president
ensures the bastards will probably get what they

Obama has ordered government agencies to revitalize the
Freedom of Information Act, which requires that
declassified government records be released to the
public. Under Bush, the flow of documents slowed to a
trickle. New FOIA requests will enjoy "a clear
presumption" that "in the face of doubt, openness
prevails." Investigative journalists will now be able
to use FOIA to uncover Bush Administration officials'
nefarious deeds, forcing Obama's Justice Department to

Should they waterboard Rumsfeld? Only if it's on pay-

2. Conservatives Are Discredited. Your fat chain-
smoking doctor may give you good advice, but will you
heed it? So it is with Republicans. They're right about
Obama's fiscal stimulus plan: it won't do much to help
the economy and will drive the deficit even higher. But
no one's listening. "Most of the people who are
complaining about Obama's fiscal irresponsibility today
uttered not a peep of complaint about Bush," writes
John Chait in The New Republic. America needs a loyal

But the Republicans aren't cut out for that role. The
collapse of free-market capitalism calls for a dramatic
realignment. This new political landscape should place
Obama's ideas on the right, with new parties emerging
to his left. The Republican Party, obsessed with gay
marriage and flag burning and school prayer, was always
an irrelevant distraction. Now everyone knows.
3. Heck of a Job, Barry. After three insanely wasteful
false starts, Obama is finally on the right track vis-
à-vis the mortgage crisis. His economic team still
doesn't get that what we need is "trickle up"--bailing
out homeowners means banks get paid and toxic assets
get revalued--but they're getting there.

Thank God, it's finally possible for squeezed
homeowners to refinance their mortgages before getting
foreclosed upon or, as was required previously, messing
up their credit by missing two payments. "If you can
illustrate that your income is no longer enough to meet
your mortgage payment--because your paycheck shrunk,
your expenses rose or your mortgage is about to reset
to a higher payment--you may qualify," reports The New
York Times. About time.

4. Retail is dead. Long live retail. Big retail outlets
like Circuit City and Virgin Megastore are going out of
business, leaving tens of millions of square feet of
commercial space vacant and tens of thousands of
workers unemployed. Granted, the reasons for some of
these closures are kind of dumb. Virgin's store in New
York's Times Square, the highest-volume music outlet in
the nation, earned $6 million a year in profit. But
because Virgin only paid $54 a square foot at a
location where the going rate was $700, they were
kicked out in favor of a women's clothier, Forever 21,
that analysts say probably won't last either. Stupid.

Nevertheless, this nascent Depression will no doubt
repeat the historical formula that favors smaller
stores over big ones. Those of us who mourned the loss
of mom-and-pop hardware stores and their individualized
service and community ties may live to see them again.

5. Small Big-City Newspapers. When there's talk of
losing an iconic powerhouse like The San Francisco
Chronicle, you know the model of the traditional big-
city paper, employing hundreds of union-represented
reporters working out of a big hulk smack in the middle
of downtown, is in trouble. But there's still a future
in print. Why? Because that's still where the money--
subscribers willing to pay for news and advertisers
eager to reach them--are. And because people need
reliable originally-reported info (yes, I'm talking
about you, bloggers).

Look for new, lean and mean dailies to spring from the
ashes, mixing the stripped-down content of free
commuter dailies like The Washington Examiner with the
low-budget staffing of alternative weeklies. Hire 30 or
40 people (most of whom type their stories at home),
buy a lot of syndicated and wire service content, rent
a tiny editorial office in the slums, and voila! The
rebirth of print.

6. Culture Gets Cool Again. American fiction peaked in
the 1930s, rock music while riding the economic
rollercoaster of the 1970s. The roaring 1990s weren't
so awesome. Historians say there's an inverse
relationship between the vitality of popular culture--
movies, music, literature--and the economy. (So the
Bush years were fiscally sound. Hm.) Rising
unemployment, furloughs and decreased business activity
give people more time to be creative. Where stability
ossifies, uncertainty inspires. Even contemporary art,
competing with the fashion industry for the title of
most vacuous, could conceivably stage a comeback.

7. Tough Times Are Interesting. My mom grew up in Nazi-
occupied France. As you'd expect, it sucked--a fact
that she constantly reminded me of via incessant hair-
raising stories over the years. Recently, however, she
had an epiphany. "It was hard," she said, "but they
were exciting times." If you survive the meltdown,
you'll dine out on your tales of fear and deprivation
for the rest of your life.

8. Rich People Still Have Money. Where would you invest
your money if you were rich? Savings accounts are a
joke. The stock market has lost over 50 percent of its
mid-2008 value. Foreign markets are worse off than
ours. Real estate? Don't even start. If you had money,
there'd be only one logical place to park it: in a new
business. Venture capital will plant the seeds for the
next wave of employers.

9. Everything Could Go To Hell. If all else fails and
numbers one through eight fail to materialize, Rush
Limbaugh could get his way. Obama could fail. The
United States could collapse. Our economy could
evaporate. Which would be OK, too. Because if
everything goes to hell, we will enjoy a rare
opportunity to transform our society and economic
system from one that works for a few to one that
benefits everyone.


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