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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Art of Writing on Water

posted by on July 17 at 9:10 AM

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

In his final interview, given to the French newspaper Le Monde in the spring of 2004, Jacques Derrida spoke of death and writing: “I leave a piece of paper behind, I go away, I die: It is impossible to escape this structure, it is the unchanging form of my life.” He worried that everything he wrote would simply disappear after he was gone.
If only Derrida had experienced the brief life of a blog post.
I blog, I go away, I die: It is impossible to escape this structure in our post-newspaper, post-book age.

True, there’s more death in a blog than in a book, but it still has its beauty: Blogging is like writing on running water.

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Wow. A sentiment we can relate to, from Chas Mudede of all peoples. This relates to one of the basic teenage questions about mortality: WHy bother? Why bother writing on this running water? I do it to kill time because I'm unemployed. Itchy Homo does it because he's a house-wife who doesn't know how to knit. How about others?

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 9:12 AM

Chaz does it because he gets paid to. And so that the stranger staff can laugh at his ideas.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 17, 2007 9:15 AM

Stick to writing about gigantic, life-giving black boobies, and how disgusting, smelly and worthless elderly people are. At least that stuff is funny (albeit unintentionally so).

Posted by weed | July 17, 2007 9:16 AM

Or, the way Charles practices it:
Blogging is like pissing in running water.

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 9:25 AM

this blog, a news blog, at least. not all blogs have a new post every 10 minutes pushing the one written 10 minutes ago that much farther down until it remains to be seen only in archives. some blogs, particularly the great ones where you can count on a good chunk of time between posts, are like giant tablet-like stones rising from the ground (spec. a grassland) to be etched once more at the base. like running water this base is close to the surface of the earth:

"it is no longer a question of dionysus down below, or of apollo up above, but of hercules of the surface, in his dual battle against both depth and height: reorientation of the entire thought and a new geography." (deleuze, the logic of sense)

Posted by josh | July 17, 2007 9:33 AM

unfortunately CM blogs and then goes away, instead of going away before subjecting us to another post....

Posted by ddv | July 17, 2007 9:34 AM

No one much answered the question. But that's OK. I find I'm not that curious anymore. I'll just assume yer all unemployed bums like me, or you're just web-surfing at work whenever no one looks. Such a dignified medium, this.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 9:44 AM

Derrida was a waste of space. Just another post modernist arrogant "intellectual" desperately trying to get attention. I seriously doubt that in the annuals of philosophy, he will be anything more than a footnote to the latter 1/2 of the 20th century. He is outshined by the likes of Umbeto Ecco, Baudrillard, etc...if you are into post-modernity.

However, if you REALLY want to read something that blows the doors off of the insufferable irrelevance and reductionist post modernists, check out the "Traditionalists" Julius Evola and Rene Guenon. Much more interesting, original, usefull and engaging than horndog Jaques.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 9:52 AM

Itchy's right. I get more use out of Guenon in an average day than I ever did when I was using Derrida. Y'all should switch brands too.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 9:58 AM

The thing Charles is getting at is that blogs, even the "great tablet-like" ones, are impermanent. Links go stale, pictures disappear, and that's just in a matter of months; in fifty years, will JPGs even be readable? Will there even be a way to plug your 2007 hard drive in to something?

The ahistoricality of the web is a subject that hasn't really been addressed. It's like the early days of TV, when there was no tape, or they just wrote over them. The collective memory of a people can disappear.

When the census books were microfilmed in the 1940s, they destroyed the original books. They're doing the same thing with newspapers. But the film or digital copies that remain are pathetically low-quality, and much of them are simply unreadable.

Whereas Derrida's books, regardless of how shitty they may be, will be around close to forever.

Posted by Fnarf | July 17, 2007 10:07 AM

@8 - you're obviously a true intellectual of the subject.

it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find any place where derrida calls himself a postmodernist. rather, he's a part of the post-structuralist movement emerging from the early '60s, and one of the most brilliant, democratic, and cautiously hopeful thinkers of the last 100 years. read him.

Posted by anthow | July 17, 2007 10:07 AM

What a stud. Growl!

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 10:10 AM


I have read "him". Perhaps I should have been more clear. Post-modernity and post-structualism have simply melted together in my mind into the same sea of hyper-reductionist drivel. It was interesting and innovative to me when I was a philosophy major in college woe those many years ago. At the time, the language and play that I saw existing in post-modernity was quite lovely and engaging.

At some point along the way, however, I recognized that it was nothing more than the retelling of centuries old heresies in an intellectually inconsistnat fashion. It has lead to a glut in lazy scholarship, the embracing of some of the most attrocious writing in every academic field, and has confused language with ideas - (not meant in a sign theory direction).

Save my criticism of reductionism which is held in such high regard by derrida.

The most powerfull thinkers of the 20th century, IMO, are Nietzsche, Whitehead, and Guenon. Everything else is a commentary on their works, or a commentary on the Republic - Unenlightened and vindictive.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 10:20 AM

Fnarf- People should understand most slog posts without requiring explanation. They aren't rocket science. But somehow when I explain them for the shmucks I don't come off that cool. Do you store all your useful information in the part of the brain where I'm keeping Dead MIlkmen lyrics?

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 10:21 AM

I don't know any Dead Milkmen lyrics. Maybe that's it. The surprising thing is, my brain is the size of a walnut. It's my head that's big, but the bone is three inches thick.

Posted by Fnarf | July 17, 2007 10:24 AM

Hey Chris,

Philosophy is usefull. Its powerfull. It's art.

Its one of the only true pursuit of the human mind.

It isn't a collection of books that you glean for interesting quotes to throw out at BBQ's after a couple of Lowenbrau's with the prolls.

And Derrida was an asshole.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 10:25 AM

philisophy is useful and powerful? own goal ecce.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 17, 2007 10:31 AM

philisophy is useful and powerful? own goal ecce.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 17, 2007 10:31 AM

fnarf @ #10: i think you're right. blogs are impermanent; the internet still seems to me like a beautiful dream and waking from it a real possibility. what i like about blogs is their ability to create images within the mind: of people, places, ideas, even abstract imagery. images from the early days of tv that you mention are still very much with those who can lucidly remember them. the thing i find so exciting about blogs is the aspect of communication that seems to be integral to them. could this facilitation of communication be what the dream of television was originally thought to accomplish?

Posted by josh | July 17, 2007 10:33 AM

@ecce, "Proll?" Did you mean "prole?" Nevermind. I must quote Hegel over a 'brau with my bros. Word.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 10:39 AM

Okay holmes,

Go have some fun with the 'bros.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 10:52 AM

@ecce, "Holmes?" Did you mean "homes?" Nevermind. I wouldn't actually know a Hegel quote from a Batman quote and I don't drink. Word.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 11:00 AM

I meant Holmes.

I assume you got the reference.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 11:07 AM

@22: A brief primer:

"This is the weapon of the enemy. We do not need it. We will not use it. Our weapons are quiet. Precise. In time, I will teach them to you. Tonight, you will rely on your fists and your brains. Tonight, we are the law. Tonight, I am the law." - Batman

"The essence of the modern state is the union of the universal with the full freedom of the particular, and with the welfare of individuals." - Hegel

"People think it's an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It's never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I'm doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn't that day. And tomorrow won't be either." - Batman

“The state of man's mind, or the elementary phase of mind which he so far possesses, conforms precisely to the state of the world as he so far views it.” - Hegel

"The training is nothing! The will is everything! The will to act." -Ra's Al-Ghul (from the last Batman movie)

“To be free is nothing, to become free is everything.” - Hegel

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 11:18 AM

Why are people still responding to E**e?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 11:32 AM

Mr. Poe,

I thought my post was well thought our and insightfull. There are just entirely too many haters in the room.


Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 11:39 AM

@24: Ooooooooh, THAT Hegel. I was thinking of the other guy. Y'know. The one with the cape.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 11:50 AM

@1: I think many people post to this blog and others, to feel connected in an ever alienated world of cubicles and telephones. I don't think that blogs are like writing on water. The ideas they send out seep into the conscience of those that read it, warping into different opinions, infecting others, spreading news and humor.

Even the ridiculous of Chav's posts seem to generate more comments than any of the art posts on Slog. He gets people on weird tangents, and there is something to be said for the inane things he writes that people take to a new level, like in this post for example.

and no, I am not unemployed. =)

Posted by Original Monique | July 17, 2007 12:35 PM

Charles, are you seriously comparing yourself to Derrida?


Posted by ben | July 17, 2007 2:21 PM

According to the article, Derrida's widow, Marguerite, withheld much of Derrida's papers from the archive. Perhaps she will post them online. Indeed, this would be Derrida's indirect intention, possibly.

Posted by Billy | July 17, 2007 2:21 PM

@28- Thanks for the answer, Mo! I'm sure that's part of why I'm posting here, too.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 3:17 PM

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