Category Archives: Laundry List

Scissor Dance: The Poet Lenin, Full of Snow

abyss stares back 1 crop luck cont shad

The poet Lenin, full of snow or smeary stars, harangues the Soviet of Owls, while the abyss stares back.

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

Friedrich Nietszche, Beyond Good and Evil


Grendel’s Laundry List: Unaddressed Audience

If you address yourself to an audience, you accept from the outset the basic premises that unite the audience. You put on the audience, repeating cliches familiar to it. But artists don’t address themselves to audiences: they create audiences. The artist talks to himself out loud. If what he has to say is significant, others will hear and are affected.

The trouble with knowing what to say and saying it clearly and fully is that clear speaking is generally obsolete thinking. Clear statement is like an art object. It is the afterlife of the process which called it into being.

Ted Carpenter

A clear idea is therefore another name for little idea.

Edmund Burke

How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?

Leonard Cohen

Grendel’s Laundry List

Like every iconoclast, I have broken my idols in order to offer sacrifices to their debris.

For the madman, any scapegoat will do. He endures his defeats as an accuser; objects striking him as culpable as human beings, he assaults whatever and whomever he pleases; delirium is an expanding economy.

Limited to larger discriminations, we fall back on our defeats, failing to find their cause or their sustenance outside ourselves; common sense compels us to a closed economy, the autarky of failure.

Thou shalt be objective!–curse of the nihilist who believes in everything!

E. M. Cioran, All Gall Is Divided


Grendel’s Laundry List: Bentham on Stilts

jeremy-benthams-head-qmark-holgaMummified head of Jeremy Bentham

That which has no existence cannot be destroyed — that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts. But this rhetorical nonsense ends in the old strain of mischievous nonsense for immediately a list of these pretended natural rights is given, and those are so expressed as to present to view legal rights. And of these rights, whatever they are, there is not, it seems, any one of which any government can, upon any occasion whatever, abrogate the smallest particle.

Whenever you are about to be oppressed, you have a right to resist oppression: whenever you conceive yourself to be oppressed, conceive yourself to have a right to make resistance, and act accordingly. In proportion as a law of any kind—any act of power, supreme or subordinate, legislative, administrative, or judicial, is unpleasant to a man, especially if, in consideration of such its unpleasantness, his opinion is, that such act of power ought not to have been exercised, he of course looks upon it as oppression: as often as anything of this sort happens to a man—as often as anything happens to a man to inflame his passions,—this article, for fear his passions should not be sufficiently inflamed of themselves, sets itself to work to blow the flame, and urges him to resistance. Submit not to any decree or other act of power, of the justice of which you are not yourself perfectly convinced. If a constable call upon you to serve in the militia, shoot the constable and not the enemy;—if the commander of a press-gang trouble you, push him into the sea—if a bailiff, throw him out of the window. If a judge sentence you to be imprisoned or put to death, have a dagger ready, and take a stroke first at the judge.

The day has been, I grieve to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated by the law exactly upon the same footing as, in England for example, the inferior races of animals are still. The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not Can they reason?, nor Can they talk?, but Can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham, A Critical Examination of the Declaration of Rights

Grendel’s Laundry List: I don’t share them with them


Karl Krauss by Oskar Kokoschka, 1901

I hear noises which others don’t hear and which disturb for me the music of the spheres, which others don’t hear either.Many share my views with me. But I don’t share them with them.

The tyranny of necessity grants its slaves three kinds of freedom: opinion free from intellect, entertainment free from art, and orgies free from love.

Sentimental irony is a dog that bays at the moon while pissing on graves.

An aphorism can never be the whole truth; it is either a half-truth or a truth-and-a-half.

The closer the look one takes at a word, the greater the distance from which it looks back.

One of the most widespread diseases is diagnosis.

In one ear and out the other: this would still make the head a transit station. What I hear has to go out the same ear.

I have often been asked to be fair and view a matter from all sides. I did so, hoping something might improve if I viewed all sides of it. But the result was the same. So I went back to viewing things only from one side, which saves me a lot of work and disappointment. For it is comforting to regard something as bad and be able use one’s prejudice as an excuse.

There is no more unfortunate creature under the sun than a fetishist who yearns for a woman’s shoe and has to settle for the whole woman.

The esthete stands in the same relation to beauty as the pornographer stands to love, and the politician stands to life.

The superman is a premature ideal, one that presupposes a man.

When someone has behaved like an animal, he says: “I’m only human!” But when he is treated like an animal, he says: “I’m human, too!”

There is no doubt that a dog is loyal. But does that mean we should emulate him? After all, he is loyal to people, not to other dogs.

The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people meaner.

Karl Kraus (1874-1936) was an Austrian writer, journalist, satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, and poet.

The risk run by the aphorist is that people will grow restless between aphorisms, because they aren’t getting enough of what it says on the label.

Clive James

Grendel’s Laundry List: Mis-unda-stend each udda

We very often express in a categorical form a judgment of which we do not feel assured, we even lay stress on its absolute validity. We want to see what opposition it will arouse, and this can be achieved only by stating our assumption not as a tentative suggestion, which no one will consider, but as an irrefutable, all-important truth. The greater the value of the assumption has for us, the more carefully do we conceal any suggestion of its improbability.

Lev Shestov, All Things are Possible

Faith isn’t believing something even if you suspect it might be untrue. It’s doing something even if you suspect it might be pointless.

Darryl Cooper

Philosophers can often be classified in terms of their favorite parts of speech: there are those who believe that nouns designate the only reliable aspects of being; others, of a contrary view, who see those nouns as simply unkempt nests of qualities; and all are familiar with the Heraclitean people who embrace verbs as if you could make love to water while entirely on land. I have personally always preferred prepositions, particularly of, and especially, among its many meanings, those of possession and being possessed, of belonging and exclusion.

 William Gass Life Sentences

The state of reflection is a state against nature, and the man who meditates a depraved animal.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Lenguage is that we may mis-unda-stend each udda.

Krazy Kat


Grendel’s Laundry List is an irregular but continuing series of readings in texts helpful to an understanding of the Atheology and Theodicy of the Seventh Day Atheist Aztec Baptist Church.

Being There Being Here…

If you are old enough, you may have seen the 1979 movie Being There, based on the novel by Jerzy Koszinski.  Peter Sellers played the lead character, Chance, aka Chauncey Gardiner. Trump is evil Chauncey Gardiner. Trump doesn’t read. Trump likes to watch.

Per Steve Benen at Maddow Blog: