That! Literary Review issue #1 release, short story “Talking money, Judaism Christianity Paganism women and Life with Uncle Chaim”


My fiction short story relating to travels in Poland was published in the first issue of That ! Literary Review (released Spring 2016.) The journal is edited by the excellent Blake Gerard & co.

http://thatliteraryreview.com/PDFs/THAT1.pdf

See page 12 for Uncle Chaim,( in the Pdf available on the website or buy the magazine, the latter is preferred by all.)

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From Preface to a Manifesto / The Artists’ Manifesto in the Time of Dangerous Managers. In CounterPunch with Ron Amir


Charcoal drawing by Ron Amir (with the head of Richard Wagner, pioneer of the manifesto form )

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“Para subir a tu balcón” drawing made on a bus in Lithuania, mixed media, Arturo Desimone, 2011,

 

“Manifestoes arise, or up-load, announcing storm, revolution. Their authors more likely listen to techno or Eco-Pop than to Stravinsky or to Stravinsky’s heirs today (composers currently writing in obscurity and poverty’s perpetual autumn, symphonies that never get whistled by any Philharmonic)

The manifestoes proliferated, glistening like moths in the vast web, are usually not unlike the theoretical revolts of academics, who show disdain for the embodied and material art forms and novels. It were as if the theorists of literature and of nature, who seek to replace poets and writers with themselves, in their avoidance of actual literature or of actual material visual arts, were a class of defiant monks and nuns showing abstinence against the naked, physical body of a woman. That woman upon a bed in all her sexual gloria and splendour of perfumed meats, animated by a lightning symphony in orgasm heat and melody is Diothema, The concubine of poets rejected by Socrates, mumbling old Greek coward. In the only singing Platonic dialogue, The Symposium, Socrates attends a wine-banquet only to say “no” to wine, and before falling asleep he boasts of how he recently said “no” to being seduced by the mystery priestess Diothema (she who slept with all poets)

A poet, (according to the Argentinian exile poet of militance-par-excellence Juan Gelman, and according to many poet-lieutenants mummified within the Chinese terracotta armies) does Not sit down to write with a poem-production-plan. Gelman: “he opens the door when the signora arrives and even if he can tell she has slept with medio mundo, with half a world in a van and is drunk, he lets her in and writes, her hand on his hand”

But sober, liver-breath Socrates said “no” to Diothema’s advances, for he was an anti-poet, thinking himself wise. He preferred (cultural) Theory to art, wine, the erudite flesh, and avoided the theatre, advocating a society dedicated to war but without the institutes of art that taught the depth and reality of tragedy affecting the losers of wars.

Today the pilots of drones, who work in safety in control centres in the United States while bombing targets in faraway countries, claim to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Unlike their victims, they do not understand tragedy: postmodernity’s culture only understands consolation and therapy as its highest expression. The mirror image of the drone pilot in the control centres are the academics and curators of the protocol centres who filter language and images.

Academics praise the cross of Theory: literary/critical Theory and dross Discourse can be perfect, a diaphanous perfect river, without shit or signora-whores’ panties strangling crocodiles as Argentine gentlemen dive after them. Water without irrational and inexplicable and un-medicated nightmares flowing through that river that flows encircling the Cidade Doliente.

 

Utopias always seem flawless, as a blueprint—best never to attempt them, and to remain at poorly executed parody, in a library of manifestoes for revolutions and blueprints for utopia, all trembling at the whistling fart of the snow-owl of Minerva who hoots a language of calculus and programming, using spin-words like ‘’monological’’ and ‘normatives’’ or ‘’ostensibly’’ Can a poet who uses the foul word ‘’ostensibly’’ ever have the recklessness, the poetic craft to spew a mouthful of rum onto an electric socket in between the long hours writing, in relatively destitute absolute loneliness on Rachmaninov’s Island of the Dead Souls?

 

At best, the often-attempted artist manifesto becomes a document of nostalgia, like an old vintage record player with a metallic horn, an African mask, or a picture postcard of the city of Baghdad.

 

The manifesto, as an article of nostalgia can serve as a reminder, perhaps a reassurance, that the spirit humour and passion of courageous young artists in the 1920s and 1930s is certainly not repeating itself any time soon, a weepy bygone. The socio-economic, cultural, intellectual context of the manifesto has been collapsed and eradicated so that its production becomes the opposite of the original feat. Is it then the same? For that matter, if street-art graffiti is made provisionally, with state subsidies, permits and security-supervision from Sarkozyist French officials is it still graffiti?

 

Cultural theory replaces art with theories and has seized upon the manifesto as yet another artefact of retro and what Susan Sontag coined “camp.” The era of the Death of the societal role of the Author was brought about by academia’s despotism, by the neoliberal publishing industry and the rise of pragmatist meritocracy. The concert celebrating diversity within meritocracy, as supervised by the Obama-Clinton mainstream of the United States’ Democratic Party, needed to claim literature as its pastoral field of figuration, non-fecund. But the era of Death of the Author, with a most un-ceremonial burial, has seen the rise of the Cultural Theorist as the preeminent intellectual life-form in the capitalist laboratory.

A need of a young generation to have novelists and poets to turn to has been frustrated. It is like the need of an individual woman for a baby of her own and the need of a man for a concubine: related drives. The young lovers need poets of passion to articulate fire and stars wine, and not cultural theorists who lecture on the crisis in the marriage market, yet they only get plenty of the latter. Cultural theorists have served as an awkward substitute for the disappearance of the societal (and cultural and economic) role of the author. Slavoj Zizek is incomprehensible and buffoonish when speaking about love, human passions, toilets or evil. And yet the young audience has few others to turn to, they hunger for an augur who will advise them on shattering and exposing their parents’ middle class fantasies and how will invigorate them to challenge petty bourgeois values. In the absence of a Norman Mailer having been able to arise from obscurity in the time of wars, their shamans have been academic cultural theorists: between the clownish apocalyptic humour of Zizek, and the selfish, careless experiments in misshaping their bodies into hermaphroditic forms, as advised by gender-theory. The Slovene is more believable than Judith Butler. Butler, hyped and profit-driven stage philosopher with 10.000 underpaid slaves, recently stated in an interview with the LA Review of Books that her vision of a radical politics is one that never manifests as a party with defined demands or dogmas. Butler’s politics prefers to be forever faceless, phantasmal and hermaphroditic, so as to flirt with indefinite and unborn perfection.. Her primary form of political statement is that of the parody of archaic gender roles: as in childhood, it is made impossible once more to tell a man apart from a woman; the soul, the prison of the body as Foucault maintained, must be cast off like yesteryear’s denim: but in all that din and enthusiasm, what then remains of desire? How, then, to intelligently subvert societal scripts and roles, when all the imprisoning inscriptions that made up the soul are erased or can no longer be read by the trained illiterates?

 

Subverting the rules in poetry cannot be achieved in a vacuum without prior knowledge of literary history, art and philosophy; simply throwing out all poetry and studying engineering instead is not a way to subvert. Jazz musicians like Duke Ellington were immersed in various European and African musical traditions in order to know how to prepare a revolutionary form. This subverting being a man or a woman is perhaps not all that different. How can the young subvert what they never learned, the scripts, the language, the symbols of being a man or being a woman, how can they transcend or even define or speak about the limitations of their genders without having truly worn them or ever learned to read them?  Oppressive and colonizing structures of the European Union meanwhile adopt and promote gender theory in the educational systems of indebted countries.

 

The revival of meritocratic-feminism is a repudiation of desire itself, a cleansing. The pragmatism-and-business-driven society continues to seek new weapons against desire, allowing only the art that has been properly sanitized for the de-sexualization and de-politicization of society. Butler and the hydra of gender theory is today’s equivalent of Timothy Leary, Harvard prof who advised young people to take lysergic acid: only Butler is far more cautious, not abusing the pharmaceutical hormones she prescribes, and making sure never to be kicked out of academia unlike Leary, (who got jailed and escaped, admirably un-Socratic hallucinatory jailbird shooed)

 

Parodies and post-politics in an imagined paradise fit the imperial first world’s cultural trend of absurdist farce as the predominant form of (aesthetic) expression. Manifestoes seem incapable of surpassing such radical ironism and absurdism, as embodied in cultural theorists who seem to be the natural continuations of Marcel Duchamp’s tongue-in-cheek flatulent posturing.”

 

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/18/the-artists-manifesto-in-the-age-of-dangerous-managers/

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Erich Fromm: On Learning the Art of Loving


Vox Populi

The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering. What are the necessary steps in learning any art? The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice. If I want to learn the art of medicine, I must first know the facts about the human body, and about various diseases. When I have all this theoretical knowledge, I am by no means competent in the art of medicine. I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until…

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“The War on Memory Begins in Argentina”: Publication in Open Democracy.net


IN ENGLISH: https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/arturo-desimone/war-on-memory-begins-in-argentina

 

EN CASTELLANO: https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/arturo-desimone/guerra-contra-la-memoria-en-argentina

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In Celebration of a grand diversity of prison Wardens for Hire!


 

The ever-more common-place resurgence of censorship, and the complacency it enjoys among the generation of the millenials, has gotten me obsessed to the point that I find myself scanning the art exhibitions and Anglo-American literary journals, the chatter of poets, the dishonest dizzy-discourses I encounter, for traces and residue of the collegial commitment to censorship. It seems ”online” comes to mean what is hung up to dry in the sun after a good wash with laundry and detergent.  A sickly weariness pounds my brain, not unlike that weariness of Mr Censor himself. The perhaps unnecessary question, of how to monkey-wrench those overwrought-do-gooders* has gotten me overwrought, as I am after all a ”minority” one way or another who should not have to worry about the open-season on WAsp poets (*the word ‘dog’ is to be found in ”do-gooder” hyphen-broken) My attentiveness to it has begun to resemble how a censor reads every text, checks the pulse of every poem to make sure it beats in the right lackluster, lack-of-rhythm and is low and dim enough, the Censor who listens to every rhetorical jive with his butter-knife ear seeking the ”inappropriate” or offending content. It is like holding up a bill to the light-bulb of an Italian futurist painting, to see if the watermark of the treasurer, the Subsidized Righteous is there. The interventions of that good-looking gang of fellow young-folks of the death-watch, concerned about ”problematic” literature needing their corrosion before a fiasco arises, comes always dressed up in the schooled post-marxist rhetoric from people who read a lot of Foucault and no Stendhal, and who have not listened to Chopin Mazurkas played by Argerich or Rubistein and therefore will never understand a revolutionary etude despite their immersion in studies of the pre-revolution. There is a grand Diversity of Wardens for hire! The chatter of milennial censorious ”vanguardists” of both literary and plastic arts exhibition bear a resemblance to none more radical than Angela Merkel, who recently allowed an inquiry into German-Turkish comedian Jan Boehmermann’s Erdogan jokes, referring to an archaic German law (dubbed the “Shah law” for how the Iranian allied regime used it in the 1960s) that makes offensive speech about a foreign shrunken head-of-state liable for prosecution. Will I be permitted to exhibit my propaganda art for Free Kurdistan in a Deustsches kunsthalle?

It seems a generational affliction, this twisted expression of holiday goodwill during the financial crises’ latest bout of hysteria, this championing censorship as a positive form of social activism, or as a commitment to good causes. In its political colours, all Red and Green and consumptive and full of chimes as that atrocious holiday. What good is the Sadism if sexless and humorless? It is fruit of the generation that came of age during neoliberal hey-day of consumption, reared on the films, music and discourses of that aesthetic, who hid from the financial crises of 2008 by a prolonged sheltering within academia. These now struggle to be heard in a time of artistic over-production that justifies the indifference and the brutality towards the producer of art, whose value plummets on the market scale, as the rising figures of ”curators” censors and information-management within culture gain prominence, the theorist supplanting the writer to fulfill the childish charlatan Derrida’s vision of “Death of the Author, Birth of the ”Reader'” (meaning, the college-bred “Theorist”.)I recently came across a translated quote from a Russian woman poet, Galina Rymbu, who seems confident that “”Poetry must work for a utopian exclusion of the languages of violence, but it can only do this with the help of a certain violence of its own, fiercely struggling with those languages for a future of peace.” Her quite interesting verse, championing the Russian opposition (pre-requisite for Western translation and distribution) is translated by the American Jonathan Platt, and perhaps the violence Platt flatly translates means something else in Russian–the violence of sentimentality, of persuasive communications, of the un-specific, of the careless use of language to support politician’s rhetoric of violence. In translation in the West, however, it serves to justify the Centre-Labour-party models of inclusionary, neoliberal politics and censorship that are imitated by a literary world under financial attack and hoping to regain the protection from progressive political establishments (such as the Labour and Democratic Parties) at the expense of freedom or of ideological and artistic diversity. Which are the languages of violence then, to be excluded by the club-bouncers of that dim land of peace? Ezra Pound’s violence, Celine’s, Knut Hamsun’s?  

 

 

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Vénus Noire: El regreso a un cine donde todas las artes convergen.


¡Libertad y Vida! Zoé Valdés Publicación Digital

VÉNUS NOIRE: EL REGRESO A UN CINE DONDE TODAS LAS ARTES CONVERGEN.

El miércoles asistí al estreno de una de las primeras tandas del estreno de Vénus Noire, un filme del director Adellatif Kechiche, con la actriz cubana Yahima Torres quien hace gala de una actuación magistral. La película dura casi tres horas, las que apenas sentimos, embebidos en la historia. Una historia que fue real, y que si bien ha sido recreada por el autor, no cabe la menor duda, viendo los créditos finales, que Saartjie Baartman atravesó por los sinsabores que nos cuenta el realizador, quien además fuera actor en una obra de Eduardo Manet, entre otras.

Saartjie Baartman nació en Cabo Verde, allí tuvo un hijo con un marino europeo, el niño murió, y ella empezó a trabajar como nodriza para una familia de ingleses. El dueño de la casa se da cuenta de las dotes artísticas…

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Animal fable in Polish translation


My animal fable “The Journey of The Special Bird” translated into Polish by Ewa Chudoba and with drawings in color, got published this year as a bilingual booklet by Miniatura editions, a Krakow indy publisher in Poland. Ewa teaches Polish literature at Krakow Jagellonica university. (The ideal specific audience I had in mind when writing the fable, was one of children and grownups, more specifically, unhappy children who long to be nomadic and adults who look at birds–however, art aims universal) Many thanks to Miniatura for getting the drawings in color and making the bilingual book.

Horacio meets the special birds from the allowed proximity.jpg

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