Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An end to Lonely Thinking

We’re remaking the Home page for CODOH. When Gustavo (my local Web master) got here we realized that he’d left a couple programs at his house so we drove over to get them. He lives about two miles north of here in the foothills. He told me that one night last week he heard a shootout about a block from his house. Two AK-47s and a handgun. Two men were murdered. They took so many rounds that their heads were severed from their bodies, as well as both hands of each corpse. It was deliberate amputation by bullets. Ugly. Never heard of that one. I still recall the unique sound of the AK-47 in Vietnam. Light and very fast. More than seven hundred rounds per minute. Do I remember that right? Oddly, I don’t remember the sound from Korea where AK-47s were a standard Chinese infantry weapon. Memory is getting ragged around the edges. Maybe the growing violence in Baja will refresh memory. No especial need for it.

***

We hear from France that revisionist Pierre Guillaume was arrested in Orléans "in the Loiret” (that is, a district or county) on a warrant issued in Paris. He was immediately released on bail and will be prosecuted for incitement. Last February he distributed, in Paris, flyers denouncing the "leftist Jewish lobby", allegedly signed by former Prime Minister Raymond Barre, deceased since August 2007.

PG admits he distributed the flyers in several regions but he was trying to get people to think, not incite hatred. Guillaume is the former proprietor of the publisher "La Vieille Taupe" (The Old Mole) and was Faurisson's first publisher, as well as Roger Garaudy's publisher. Orléans is on the Loire but I don't know what the "Loiret" is.

***

Art Spiegelman is the author and artist responsible for Maus, the remarkable comic strip and then book published in the 1970s. In it the Jews were mice, Poles pigs, Germans cats, and Americans dogs. It was based on stories his survivor father told him over the years. Spiegelman didn’t/doesn’t know anything about gas chambers but I am reminded that he drew them anyhow, including cut-away views of the inside of those uniquely murderous WMD. When Robert Faurisson issued his challenge to the academic and Holocaust-market worlds to “draw me or show me a gas chamber,” Art Spiegelman might well have answered the challenge. But he’s a modest sort.

Spiegelman says that Maus, for all its success—he got a Pulitzer Prize for it in 1992—has been a mixed blessing. "On the one hand,’ he says, it’s success ‘gives me license to do almost anything I want. On the other hand, it's a straitjacket. All people really want me to do is Maus III. But wait. The war ended, my father's dead. There's no Maus III. Or at least make a 'Maus' movie. But the one thing I am adamant about is that I'm not going to be the Elie Wiesel of comic books."

I can understand that. Spiegelman is clear about his mice and pigs being fictional characters. Elie Wiesel on the other hand. . . .

***

An end to Lonely Thinking

According to philosopher Kristof Nyiri, the man behind a conference in Budapest on 21st century communication and the mobile information society, communication has always been a central and unavoidable focus of European philosophy. Now, in the context of today's explosion in technological communication, we are attempting to re-formulate the questions traditionally asked in philosophy.

When asked to elucidate on this new formulation, Nyiri said: "Man was originally a communicating being. The philosophers of the 19th century were still very aware of this fact, then in the 20th century it went out of fashion for a number of decades and now in the era of the mobile phone, we are seeing ourselves confronted with the idea again. We are witnessing a re-evaluation of the idea of personal contact. This is part of man's most basic nature, but during the centuries of book printing, the technologies of lonely thinking, this was forced into the background. Today we are seeing a return to this primordial world of thought."

Interesting. I think the Internet, too, is part of the culture that Nyiri is talking about.

***

Several days after the first session with Chemotherapy my right forearm erupted in red hives, some with pus in the center begging to be scratched. Overnight. The sight of it was startling. Dr. Go told me to make an appointment with the dermatologist as sometimes chemo can create pre-cancerous eruptions resembling what happened to the arm. What with one thing and another, I didn’t make the appointment. One day last week the back of each hand broke out with the same eruptions. Tomorrow and the next day I’ll be at the VA Hospital in La Jolla. I’m not completely ga-ga. Surely I’ll take care of the dermatology business while I’m there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loiret is the name of the départment, Orléans being its principal town.