Cartel of Defiance

cartel of defiance (noun): 1. In medieval combat, a formal declaration, delivered by herald, of a combatant's intention to fight and refusal to submit. 2. An electronic assemblage of engaged and enraged citizens. 3. An intertextual mode of reading, writing, and thinking that puts the current political, cultural, and personal moment in dialogue with text/art from the past in counterargument to the ahistorical Memory Hole into which America seems to have slipped.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Even someone believing himself convinced of the non-comparability of works of art will find himself repeatedly involved in debates where works of art, and precisely those of highest and therefore incommensurable rank, are compared and evaluated one against the other. The objection that such considerations, which come about in a peculiarly compulsive way, have their source in mercenary instincts that would measure everything by the ell, usually signifies no more than that solid citizens, for whom art can never be irrational enough, want to keep serious reflection and the claims of truth far from the works. This compulsion to evaluate is located, however, in the works of art themselves. So much is true: they refuse to be compared. They want to annihilate one another. Not without cause did the ancients reserve the pantheon of the compatible to Gods or Ideas, but obliged works of art to enter the agon, each the mortal enemy of each. The notion of a "pantheon of classicity", as still entertained by Kierkegaard, is a fiction of neutralized culture. For if the Idea of Beauty appears only in dispersed form among many works, each one nevertheless aims uncompromisingly to express the whole of beauty, claims it in its singularity and can never admit its dispersal without annulling itself. -- Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life (1.47)


Blogger wg said...

A precious—mouldering pleasure—'tis—
To meet an Antique Book—
In just the Dress his Century wore—
A privilege—I think—

His venerable Hand to take—
And warming in our own—
A passage back—or two—to make—
To Times when he—was young—

His quaint opinions—to inspect—
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind—
The Literature of Man—

What interested Scholars—most—
What Competitions ran—
When Plato—was a Certainty—
And Sophocles—a Man—

When Sappho—was a living Girl—
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante—deified—
Facts Centuries before

He traverses—familiar—
As One should come to Town—
And tell you all your Dreams—were true—
He lived—where Dreams were born—

His presence is Enchantment—
You beg him not to go—
Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize—just so—

~~ Emily Dickinson, #371

1:27 AM  
Blogger kid oakland said...

from the opening passage of Rilke's

Requiem fur eine Freundin

I have my dead, and I have let them go,
and was amazed to see them so contented,
so soon at home in being dead, so cheerful,
so unlike their reputation. Only you
return; brush past me, loiter, try to knock
against something, so that the sound reveals
your presence...

7:43 PM  
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