Triangel Gutshof

Vesper Haus

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Kleiner Buchladen raus, teure Galerie rein

Peter Unfried:

Trotzdem ist der Glaube immer noch lebendig, schreibt der New Yorker, dass San Francisco eine superprogressive Stadt sei. Very leftleaning, also linksdrehend. Darüber habe ich mit dem Reporter George Packer gesprochen, der in seinem grandiosen Buch „Die Abwicklung“ den Absturz der amerikanischen Mittelschicht skizziert.

Amerika sei immer mehr wie Wal-Mart geworden, sagt Packer: billig.

I find Unfried referencing George Packer to describe San Francisco both fitting and hilarious. There are a number of good lines here: Jaron Lanier on bunker-building in New Zealand made me laugh, knowing a couple builders as I do.

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Natalia Gorbanevskaya

I found this article thought-provoking for a number of reasons. As 2018 draws to a close several media sites have published stories reminiscing about Apollo 8 and Earthrise, and rightly so — when I think of 1968 I think of Têt, MLK, RFK, Chicago, Prague, and Apollo 8. The article’s closing paragraph is jarringly disconnected with the previous train of thought and can safely be omitted. What interested me were the names Dubček, Kundera, Havel, Forman, and Gorbanevskaya, which prompted memories of the 1980s, when I read Kundera, watched Forman films, and knew of the imprisonment of people like Gorbanevskaya who had struggled for a socialism with a human face.

In the late 80s in a living room in Berkeley I remember my listening to Joan Baez’s plaintive sincere ballad to Gorbanevskaya being met with patronizing amusement by those who, cooler than me, preferred Talking Heads, R.E.M., and pretentious poser Bono. We age. I now read Kafka in German, continue to read of Dubček. The Berkeley crowd feels itself tortured by Trump and yearns for capitalism with a Hillary Clinton face.

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Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now


The crash, at about 10am GMT, caused Amazon customers to complain about not being able to play festive songs, turn on their living room lights or get cooking instructions for Christmas dinner.

Richard Hyland tweeted: “Good day for Amazon’s Alexa to crash. It’s not like people might want to register new devices or play music or anything.”

As I understand it, this man is communicating in a format whose message length is limited to 280 characters in order to speak ironically about his inability to play music because of a failure in connectivity between a listening device in his home and the computer servers of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

I am pondering the thinking behind these people’s difficulty. One chooses to make one’s ability to turn the lights on or play festive music in one’s living room dependent on the functioning of an always-on microphone which eavesdrops on the conversation in one’s home.

What concept can Amazon Alexa customers have of “private conversation”?

How might limiting message length to several hundred characters affect one’s ability to formulate an argument?

Has irony become a default tone for public discourse? If discourse is programmatically ambiguous, if content is by default freighted with incongruity what effect might this have on one’s ability to frame and interpret argumentation?

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Die konservativen Parteien wollen kein »Ein­wanderungs­gesetz«, weil sie nicht wollen, dass Deutschland ein Einwanderungsland wird, stattdessen sprechen sie von einem »Fach­kräfte­zuwanderungs­gesetz« — was faktisch das Gleiche ist, aber eine andere sprachliche Wirklichkeit entstehen lässt. Und sie sprechen von »Lohn­untergrenze«, weil sie nicht »Mindestlohn« sagen wollen.

—Robert Habeck, Wer wir sein könnten, (Köln: Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2018), 24.

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Ascendancy of neoliberalism

Henry Giroux:

The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making. It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship.

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Lublin Government

With apparent contempt, Cadogan asked whether the Polish government had any other ideas as to how they should conduct their business. Tarnawski offered no alternative and briefed Cadogan on Polish reports about Soviet arrests and killings of members of the Polish underground, declaring that it “must be stopped.”

“I pointed out however,” wrote Cadogan in his report on the meeting, “that it was really no use saying ‘this must be stopped’ when the Russian Army was in occupation of the country and Russian authorities in practical control.”

—Serhii Plokhy, Yalta, (London: Penguin, 2010), 163, on Under-Secretary Cadogan’s January 26, 1945 meeting with Polish foreign minister

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Kurt Huber

I’m watching Verhoeven’s Weisse Rose again. I’m impressed with it every time I see it. Finally got to Forchtenberg a couple weeks ago, which adds a certain resonance.

It’s funny how we see the same film differently re-watching over time. I know many viewers relate to Sophie Scholl, but never having been a college-age woman I was never particularly drawn to her, interested much more in Hans Scholl, especially his written reflections on both morals and ethics, including the Catholic inspiration. In this film I find his initial monologue to Sophie explaining his actions moving each time I hear it.

Today I find myself focusing on Martin Benrath’s Kurt Huber. It was actually Huber’s leaflet Hans and Sophie were handing out when they were arrested. Perhaps it’s his age and balding pate which drew me this year, but in his heated exchange with his wife explaining the need for resistance to the state, Verhoeven’s Huber mentions teaching Erkenntnistheorie. I stopped the film, opened Wikipedia, and there it wasJoseph Geysers Stellung in Logik und Erkenntnistheorie. There are so often worlds within worlds.

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Messages to Russia


A Royal Navy warship which has been sent to Ukraine will send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the UK’s defence secretary says.

Crimea used to be part of an independent Ukraine, but it was annexed by Russia in 2014.

I find this last sentence interesting entertaining. How can this stuff be printed? There’s so much good history available, it’s a bit frustrating sometimes: I haven’t finished Plokhy on Yalta yet, and want to read him on Chernobyl.

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Silver Bullet

Glenn Greenwald:

To me, as a lawyer, if you think about why Robert Mueller was appointed, it’s because there were potential crimes committed during the 2016 elections. Thus far, he has indicted no American for any crimes in connection with the election. He’s indicted Russians for crimes in connection with the election, and he has indicted Americans for lying during the investigation, or over unrelated crimes like Manafort and his tax evasion and money laundering schemes, unrelated to the election. So, nothing in the past two weeks, or even in the past year, has changed my mind on whether there was criminality as part of the Trump campaign, and the 2016 election, and the Russians.

I thought this whole interview was worth reading for a number of reasons, not least of which is for the extent to which The Observer several times very openly accuses Greenwald of being offside. The Observer‘s refusal to engage on the subject of Harding and Manafort was likewise significant to me.

I realized years (decades?) ago how foolish the injunction “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention” was. Perpetual outrage seems as ill-advised as perpetual despair, shock, horror, etc. A nurse friend years ago told me of the black humor she and her colleagues used to deal with the emotions they experienced working with intense pain, suffering, death. The sort of dark humor and heavy irony I constantly see on social media seems as off the mark of “fully human” attitudes as outrage.

I am drawn to the ways in which classical poets and artists dealt with this question. We are told Odysseus suffered great torment and struggled to join the sirens with all the strength he had. How might he have conditioned himself such that he might have remained untied, ears open, sane?

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