"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Pattern Recognition
(or Fear and Loathing in Globalization)

William Gibson's Pattern Recognition gives Fredric Jameson a jouissance attack.
Cayce Pollard's talent, lying as it does halfway between telepathy and old-fashioned aesthetic sensibility, is in fact what suspends Gibson's novel between Science Fiction and realism and lends it its extraordinary resonance. To put it simply (as she does), Cayce's business is to 'hunt "cool"'; or in other words, to wander through the masses of now and future consumers, . . . in order mentally to detect the first stirrings of anything likely to become a trend or a new fashion. She has in fact racked up some impressive achievements, of which my favourite, mildly redolent of DeLillo, is the identification of the first person in the world to wear a baseball cap backwards (he is a Mexican). But these 'futures' are very much a business proposition, and Cayce is something like an industrial spy of times to come. 'I consult on design . . . Manufacturers use me to keep track of street fashion'; these modest formulas are a little too dry, and underplay the sheer physicality of this gift, which allows her to identify a 'pattern' and then to 'point a commodifier at it'.
But Cayce's gift is drawn back into our real (or realistic) world by the body itself; she must pay for it by the nauseas and anxiety attacks, the commodity bulimia which is the inevitable price of her premonitory sensibility—no doubt nourished by obscure traumas, of which the latest is her father's mysterious disappearance in Manhattan on the morning of 9/11. It is as if the other face of the 'coming attraction', its reification and the dead-end product of what was once an active process of consumption and desire itself, were none other than the logo.
These nauseas are part of Cayce's navigational apparatus, and they stretch back to some of the oldest logos still extant, such as her worst nightmare, Bibendum, the Michelin Man, which is like that crack through which the Lacanian Real makes its catastrophic appearance. 'National icons', on the other hand, ‘are always neutral for her, with the exception of Nazi Germany’s . . . a scary excess of design talent’.
(via Gawker interview with Sasha Frere-Jones)
No problem, as long as the neocons don't invade
Samantha Power writes about Darfur:
Neither President Bush nor Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke publicly about the killings in Darfur before March of this year, by which time some thirty thousand people had died as a result of ethnic cleansing.
Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis 2 is out. Here are the dates for her book tour.

Neal Pollack sells out
Maud Newton reports:
While the news is of little interest to me personally, Neal Pollack’s many fans may be interested to learn that the film rights to Never Mind The Pollacks, “the totally untrue adventures of Neal Pollack – world’s greatest living rock critic,” were sold last week to Warner Bros., for a price between $250k -$500k.
He better not beg us to buy his books anymore.