Saturday XXXVIII: Sour and the Tower • 12 January 2008

So. Speaking of dead brilliant women whose not-unbrilliant husbands got in their names. Dead brilliant women who will be remembered because of—and yet also so forgotten because of—those husbands. Last week, Laura Huxley. This week, Alice Coltrane. She died a year ago today. Brilliant Alice.

I’m noting for the record that vocab around here has been getting ahead of itself. Tapas—Grenadine appetizers? Siddhis—the plural of Sith? Nadis—bad people? Oops. I forget how much of my idiolect is dead languages—Sanksrit for the yoga and Latin for the (ivory) tower.

Ridiculing the latter has become too easy for me, I realized on new years. A professor whose mind I love is stateside again and I’m remembering that, for what they’re worth, intellects can be machine sof beauty. His is light and tough, hungry and fast. Refined like an Oxford don, and decorated with poetry and anime and about a dozen fluent languages.

Apropo of the tower, maybe my drawing it two weeks ago out of the tarot deck is worth more than I know. Since then everything is noisy mismatch between my visceral expectations for 2008 (great great things) and my lived experience of it (strange inner bullshit). I feel like an ingrate for even noticing the bullshit, here in world-historical paradise. There is incomparable abundance in Santa Monica, California, 2008, as I sit around studying far-flung sweatshops and global pollution, with colleagues mired in the political violence and disease of one century or continent or the other. And here: lack of resistance, lack of real difficulty, lack of outer conflict. It’s weird that sometimes the ease it makes me feel lost and dark.

Trust your feelings? That’s a call to intuition, not to the reification of emotions! I will sort it out. Not that I’m all happy and shit about it just now. Not at all. Salty Saturday links:

● Supply chains in which slavery is happening now.

● So many books arriving in the mail. I strongly dislike owning them, but what do you do? There was a grant to finish off with the year, so now all this printed tonnage is arriving. Not a single volume of it fiction. So would someone please read this so I can live through you? I don’t know why I like Coetzee so much. He is something between a sick old man and a great human soul.

● Do we have a natural bias toward superstitions? Here are some evolutionary biogists arguing irrationality is evolutionarily efficient. Their philosophy reeks. And yet, the argument itself is almost good.

● You know about what goes on at Fort Benning, right? Today is the first large peace vigil to close the School of the Americas, the training camp for Latin American Paramilitaries. The annual peace gathering in Georgia is in two weeks.