Saturday, February 03, 2007

from an interesting gathering of legal & literary documents, a lawyerly take on Charles Reznikoff's "Testimony"--

"Every law library in America contains the identical mountain of raw material which Reznikoff taught himself to mine and refine. His work shows all of us who use those libraries something new about the significance of the relics we handle..."

Friday, February 02, 2007

new film on Albert Ayler--

"Ayler saw himself as a jazz missionary, revealing a new improvisational path that didn't depend on the chord-changes of The Great American Songbook, but was more like impulsively painting in sound. His playing often resembled the mixture of exultation and terror expressed by the possessed in religious rituals - and Ayler was definitely a man possessed. One of the most revealing episodes in Collin's documentary occurs in a church: the camera pans across transported faces, with Ayler's impassioned vibrato, banshee-long notes and spine-tingling barks as the soundtrack. Ayler grew up in those churches, and the juxtaposition fits perfectly..."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

the stuffed polar bear ("Peppy" his name, it turns out) from the Fox's Glacier Mint factory, sold in '73 & now in someone's house, from nanoq, a poignant survey of similar bears in British institutions...

remembering in the "Orient" cinema in Ayr '69-70(a bingo-hall but preserving some of its tatty chinoiserie in '92) the combination of disinfectant and the menthol cloud hovering over the pre-popcorn Scottish crowd ("Shalako", with Connery & Bardot) crunching & chain-sucking their "glassy'er munts" a real head-clearer, like stepping into a cool mountain stream...I used to think about that bear a lot...

South Wellington Trees

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

an Oscar for Morricone

"The same recipe had worked, on a majestic scale, with “Once Upon a Time in America,” where the movie’s most plaintive theme was touched off not just by an old man gazing through the window of his boyhood hangout but also by one of his friends, filmed as a kid, scooping cream from a charlotte russe. What ignites Morricone, in other words, is less the nostalgic impulse than those pure, primal experiences which are destined to become the objects of nostalgia—the laying up of treasures upon earth."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

new onedit features (above) Emblems by Thomas Evan & translations by Tim Atkins, poems by Kit Robinson, Leslie Scalapino &c &c....

Monday, January 29, 2007

Is America Afraid of Freedom?

"In the landmark free-press 1971 'Pentagon Papers' case (New York Times Co. v. United States)—in which the Nixon administration demanded severe punishment for the New York Times's having published highly classified information on government conduct (and lies) in the course of the Vietnam War—Justice Hugo Black, writing in the majority, warned of government brandishing 'national security' to silence the press in time of war. 'The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic,' Black wrote. 'The Framers of the First Amendment, fully aware of both the need to defend a new nation and the abuses of the English and Colonial governments, sought to give this new society strength and security by providing that freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly should not be abridged.'
But among the dissenters, Justice Harry Blackmun warned: 'The First Amendment . . . is only one part of an entire Constitution. Article II of the great document vests in the Executive Branch primary power over the conduct of foreign affairs and places in that branch the responsibility for the Nation's safety . . . I cannot subscribe to a doctrine of unlimited absolutism for the First Amendment . . .

'If damage has been done . . . and these newspapers continue to publish the critical documents and there results the death of soldiers [and] the prolongation of the war . . . then the Nation's people will know where the responsibility for these sad consequences rests.'

As George W. Bush continues to act, and believe, in the 'inherent power' of the commander-in-chief, the John Roberts Supreme Court will, in time, decide whether Hugo Black's understanding of the First Amendment prevails or whether Harry Blackmun, Alberto Gonzales, and Commander Bush speak for the nation as the press becomes strictly controlled for a long time to come..."
good Gary Wills in NYT--At Ease, Mr. President

"When Abraham Lincoln took actions based on military considerations, he gave himself the proper title, “commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” That title is rarely — more like never — heard today. It is just “commander in chief,” or even “commander in chief of the United States.” This reflects the increasing militarization of our politics. The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. In wartime, it is true, people submit to the national leadership more than in peacetime. The executive branch takes actions in secret, unaccountable to the electorate, to hide its moves from the enemy and protect national secrets. Constitutional shortcuts are taken “for the duration.” But those impositions are removed when normal life returns.

But we have not seen normal life in 66 years. The wartime discipline imposed in 1941 has never been lifted, and “the duration” has become the norm. World War II melded into the cold war, with greater secrecy than ever — more classified information, tougher security clearances. And now the cold war has modulated into the war on terrorism.

There has never been an executive branch more fetishistic about secrecy than the Bush-Cheney one. The secrecy has been used to throw a veil over detentions, “renditions,” suspension of the Geneva Conventions and of habeas corpus, torture and warrantless wiretaps. We hear again the refrain so common in the other wars — If you knew what we know, you would see how justified all our actions are.

But we can never know what they know. We do not have sufficient clearance..."

Sunday, January 28, 2007