New(ish) Genghis Tron Record: Is Good!

Lots of new music coming out lately, haven’t had time to listen to it much and since Paco pretty much 99.9% retired from informing the public about good stuff, I thought I’d mention this new(ish) great record from Genghis Tron called “Board Up The House” – it’s pretty good considering that GT’s previous work left me intrigued but not very impressed. I mean we will always have An Albatross or Agoraphobic Nosebleed, but this last work by GT is impressive: less grindcore and electronics, more good old fashioned rocking and yelling and generally making-noise material. Continue reading

Sarah (Van) Palin Obsession

As I am told, Palin is pronounced the same way as Halen in “Van Halen” – probably not a very good association for this conservative VP candidate – as everyone and their mother are talking about her, I cannot stop thinking about this particular choice. Clearly, I don’t have the grasp of politics that would allow me to launch into a detailed analysis of what this selection means for the upcoming election.  What surprised me the most was an orchestrated campaign to praise this choice by right-wing circuit: I mean I realize that most of the things said about her are going to be partisan, but the whole thing leaves even the most cynical part of me wondering about the present political discourse and its crushing ability to talk up or talk down basically anybody.  In a sense, this move by McCain shows that whoever told him to do this, knew that it is all about likability of the person, not about the political credentials – I know I’ve been reading about how people vote with the gut, not their head, but this is becoming a bit ridiculous… I mean watch this, for example, – really? Do Republicans really think that people are complete morons? Continue reading

Seyla Benhabib Interview

Seyla Benhabib interviewed by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen:

Seyla Benhabib: Political philosophy has been my first orientation in philosophy for a very long time. What motivated this was primarily the fact that I’m the generation of the student movement. And the kinds of questions that we seemed to be asking in ’68 led to a certain intellectual orientation. Thirty years ago (1977) I wrote my dissertation on Hegel’s political philosophy, on a comparison of his concept of right with the natural rights tradition. Before that, my senior thesis was on Hobbes. So this is a long standing concern and interest. Of course, over the years one evolves and changes. The most important recent shift came around mid-90s after I started working more empirically on questions of multiculturalism, citizenship and immigration within the European Union. I took a more institutionalist and empirical turn by beginning to look at some concrete discussions. Immersing myself in the new literature about European Union, immigration and women’s rights, I had a feeling that to be able to do the political philosophy of the present as opposed to studying the history of political thought. One had to come to grips with the society around one and with the transformations that were taking place in the current moment. 

Read the rest here.

Новое Литературное Обозрение, 2008 (№91)

New issue of New Literary Review is out (in Russian): there’s an excellent section dedicated to Gustav Shpet whose translation of Hegel’s Phenomenology (done in an exile shortly before his 1937 execution) is still a classic…

Новый номер Нового Литературного Обозрения можно почитать в Журнальном Зале:

Содержание номера:


Medvedev in Financial Times (English/Russian)

Why I had to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions

By Dmitry Medvedev

Published: August 26 2008

On Tuesday Russia recognised the independence of the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It was not a step taken lightly, or without full consideration of the consequences. But all possible outcomes had to be weighed against a sober understanding of the situation – the histories of the Abkhaz and Ossetian peoples, their freely expressed desire for independence, the tragic events of the past weeks and inter national precedents for such a move.

Not all of the world’s nations have their own statehood. Many exist happily within boundaries shared with other nations. The Russian Federation is an example of largely harmonious coexistence by many dozens of nations and nationalities. But some nations find it impossible to live under the tutelage of another. Relations between nations living “under one roof” need to be handled with the utmost sensitivity. To continue reading, go here.

Почему я был вынужден признать области, отделившиеся от Грузии 

Дмитрий Медведев (Reference: Inopressa)

Во вторник Россия признала независимость территорий Южная Осетия и Абхазия. Этот шаг не был предпринят с легкостью, без всестороннего анализа возможных последствий. Но все варианты исхода событий пришлось соизмерять с трезвым пониманием ситуации – с историей абхазского и осетинского народов, самостоятельно выражаемым ими стремлением к независимости, трагическими событиями минувших недель и прецедентами, созданными для такого шага в мире.   

Не все народы планеты имеют собственные национальные государства. Многие благополучно живут на территориях, которые делят с другими народами. Российская Федерация – образец преимущественно гармоничного существования многих десятков народов и народностей. Но некоторые народы находят невозможной жизнь под опекой другого народа. Отношения между народами, живущими “под одним кровом”, необходимо регулировать с крайней деликатностью. Continue reading

The Lobotomist

Thanks to this BBC 4 documentary about surgery (I’m not in the UK, so I had to download the torrent which is of a great quality) – Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery – I got to also enjoy this PBS program on Walter “The Lobotomist” Freeman:

Walter Freeman at W. V. State Hospital, 1952.


“The precipitous rise and fall of lobotomy raises important questions about medical innovation,” says filmmaker Barak Goodman. “At what point do interventions meant to alleviate suffering begin to conflict with essential human qualities?”

It was hailed by the New York Times as “surgery of the soul,” a groundbreaking medical procedure that promised hope to the most distressed mentally ill patients and their families. But what began as an operation of last resort was soon being performed at some fifty state asylums, often to devastating results. Little more than a decade after his rise to fame, Walter Freeman, the neurologist who championed the procedure, was decried as a moral monster, and lobotomy one of the most barbaric mistakes of modern medicine.

American Experience presents The Lobotomist, the gripping and tragic story of an ambitious doctor, the desperate families who sought his help, and the medical establishment that embraced him. From award-winning producers Barak Goodman and John Maggio (The Boy in the BubbleThe Fight), this one-hour film features interviews with Dr. Freeman’s former patients and their families, his students, and medical historians, and offers an unprecedented look at one of the darkest chapters in psychiatric history.

The great lesson of lobotomy, of course, is the issue of surgical intervention and mental illness: with the mind/body distinction between progressively disregarded by both folks in the medical profession and those of us on the humanities side, is there a future lobotomy-like procedure that is bound for a comeback?

A Journey of Dmitry Shostakovich (2008)

You can watch the whole documentary about Shostakovich here

A Journey of Dmitry Shostakovich
2008 | 67 min.  Dmitry Shostakovich, the greatest composer of the 20th century, remains one of its biggest mysteries. The nine chapters of the film are framed by nine days of the last round-trip journey of the composer’s life: a trip on a Soviet ocean liner to the United States. The film is narrated primarily in words of Shostakovich’s letters and diaries, which sharply contrast with the propaganda movies shown on board the ship, as the twentieth century itself weaves myth and reality. Never-before-seen archival fragments of the composer’s life – newsreel footage, photographs, letters, and personal memoirs – provide a unique perspective on issues of the artist versus the state, and truth versus survival. In contrasting official truth with personal truth, the film offers insight into the mystery of how Shostakovich was able to penetrate, through his music, the ironclad curtain and deeply affect Western audiences. Shostakovich’s music, full of dark sarcasm and glory, lyricism and sorrow, laughter and melancholy, plays the leading part throughout the film.

Neutralization of Cerebrality: What Is Psychic Event?

Second part of Malabou’s Les Nouveaux blessés is called La neutralisation de la cérébralité (Neutralization of Cerebrality) and consists of four chapters:

chapter 5: Qu’est-ce qu’un événement psychique?

chapter 6: La “théorie de la libido” et l’altérité du sexuel à lui-même: névrose traumatique et névrose de guerre en question.

chapter 7: La séparation, la mort, la chose: Freud, Lacan et la rencontre manquée.

chapter 8: Objection de la neurologie: “réhabiliter l’événement”.

This part of the book opens with a discussion of the theme that has already been mentioned in the first part, namely, the problem of articulating a position concerning the nature of the “psychic event” using both the resources of psychoanalysis and neuroscience. Continue reading

Gergiev in Tskhinvali

A story from today’s Independent

Many have lost relatives, some no longer have homes, but they all put on their best evening dress and flocked to Tskhinvali’s central square to see one of the world’s most famous conductors lead an emotional concert in support of his people – and Russian military action.


Valery Gergiev has given some extraordinary concerts in his time, but last night he conducted perhaps the most unusual and emotional concert of his career.

As dusk fell, the sounds of Dmitry Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony rang out, less than two weeks after the capital of Georgia’s breakaway territory of South Ossetia saw fierce fighting between Russian and Georgian troops.