Homer

The Construction of the Administrative State

Blanchot (commenting on Priam's supplication of Achilles) says the choice in Homer is violence or speech. In Vergil, in the modern state, our choice is only violence or the silence, whether of Dido or Ajax, imposed upon us by our isolation within the emptiness of our dreams (Milton).

Quotation out of context (1): Epiphanic Stand-Alones

I've been thinking about quotations out of context for a long time: probably since Ray Bradbury made me fall in love with Yeats without my reading a word of him except Bradbury's quotations in title and epigraph. When such quotations are great -- and really that's the most fundamental reason for wanting to quote, or at least for remembering quotations, getting them by heart -- there are two ways they can be great:

Bloopers and essentialism

Bloopers are bloopers, but the study of bloopers is Theory. The study of bloopers can also be fun, and should be (even if an air of quasi-tragic resignation in the face of bloopers is the central, melodramatic posture of deconstruction). It can also tell us a little about the ways that we're all essentially essentialists.

I am, at any rate.

The Ghosts of War

“What? We fought the war for nothing? We suffered so much just for a phantom?”

Are these the furious questions of an anti-war protester? A returning Iraq veteran? A disillusioned President Obama? No --Euripides wrote these lines more than two thousand years ago in his play, Helen, a work that cries out about the tricks played on soldiers by the powerful.