caitlin’s meadow wallpaper, the future of fashion may be in hagfish slime, dada and 291

caitlin's meadow wallpaper

caitlin’s meadow wallpaper. as i write this WordPress has this wonderful new bug that no matter where you try to insert a graphic, it places it at the top.

Even science posts try to use headings that grab attention and generate traffic. This one pretty much lived up to the hype, Hagfish Slime May Cover Models in Future Fashion Shows

Though hagfish clothes are still only a fashionista’s dream, researchers have completed the first step in making this idea a reality. They’ve harvested slime from the fish, dissolved it in liquid and reassembled its structure in a process not unlike spinning silk.

The slime is composed of a special protein belonging to the same family as bone and nails. It’s released from glands along the sides of the fish’s tube-like body. The slime smells like dirty seawater and feels like snot. Holding a glob of the stuff up in the air allows water to drip out of it, leaving behind a threadlike mush. The threads are 100 times smaller than a human hair, and the researchers think the concoction can eventually be woven together to produce a sustainable material with the same strength as nylon or plastic.

I had visions of massive tanks of poor hagfish being harvested for their special slime. The plan is, should it reach that point, is to transplant the slime making genes into bacteria. Cultivate the bacteria is massive industrial vats to make the new fabric or plastic. I can imagine the screen at dinner now: Nice shirt, what’s it made of? Nagfish spit and mucous. Oh, cool.

cover of 291, edited by Alfred Stieglitz, 1915.

cover of 291, edited by Alfred Stieglitz, 1915291 was an interesting publication both in content and breaking new ground in publishing. It was probably the first magazine to first express the dada esthetic in the United States. it was also the first magazine to attempt to be a work of art in itself.

We won the election, but with the media’s help with framing, the austerity zombies seem to be winning the messaging wars. There are a few reasons for this. One is that the average person hates to read about economics, thus doesn’t know anymore than Fox News or NBC tells them, The Obscenely Rich Men Bent on Shredding the Safety Net

2. “Reform” means rob. When the say “reform” the tax code, they mean “make taxes even lower for the rich.” The wealthy do not pay their fair share of taxes in the United States, which is a major reason there is a large deficit in the first place. When the very wealthy pay lower tax rates than ordinary working people, the result is an increasing redistribution of income upward that puts the U.S. in the top 30 percent in income inequality out of 140 nations, according to the Central Intelligence Agency [7]. We’re a shameful #42. Income inequality is not only unfair, it’s dangerous and makes society unstable.

[   ]….5. “Fiscal conservative” means economically confused. Longtime Wall Street executive Steve Rattner, one of Obama’s auto bailout czars, has been using his influence to attract tycoons from the financial industry to the Fix the Debt movement. Over the last year, Rattner has been on a crusade to convince Americans that they should put aside their worries about real crises like unemployment to focus on the deficit. Rattner, like many of his cohorts, poses as a moderate whose thinking is needed to counter the advice of respected economists like Nobel Prize-winners Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, who have long been warning that defict hysteria is not only counterproductive, but based on a lack of understanding of how the economy actually works.

Political economist Thomas Ferguson, who teaches at UMass Boston and is a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, described the dubious policies the fixers defend:

“Talk about the audacity of hope! The people who brought you the Great Recession by pushing deregulation and financial leverage to insane dimensions are back. Now they propose to ‘fix the debt’ by throwing average Americans who generously bailed them out in 2008-09 over the fiscal cliff.

One trusts that even in our money-driven political system, their transparently self-interested nonsense will be firmly rejected. There is no reason why anyone needs to do anything at all about Social Security for a long time; as even Peter Orszag admits in the fine print. It just isn’t a driver of the deficit.


the distinction between conservative and subversive comedy

In 1983 Umberto Eco’s novel Il nome della rosa or The Name of the Rose was published. There was also a movie version with Sean Connery and a very young Christian Slater. While the movie received mixed reviews, the novel was generally considered very good. It was more ambitious than the average novel, especially a first novel. While it could be read

as an intriguing historical mystery novel, it is a page turner, the themes and subtext were a complex commentary. Eco also included some biblical analysis, required to understand the motivations of the killer and the inquisitors. In addition were some of Eco’s own thoughts on literary theory, religious and cultural symbolism, metaphors as part of culture and the history of Medieval Europe. Comedy also plays a large role in the theme. Comedy can be very subversive. That is a fundamental reason that authoritarians of any stripe are not generally very funny or tolerate of humor. Fox News has tried several shows that have tried to emulate Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. All have failed in achieving the same popular success. When your side represents the powerful elite and the working class eliminationists who fed on ethnocentrism, it is difficult to be subversive. papers like this, serious papers, that reference other serious papers on the nature of comedy and psychoanalysis, are themselves ripe for comedy. These people are being awfully serious about having some rhetorical fun. Beneath that are some interesting questions about how people and societies change. Freud had huge hopes for “talk therapy” not just as an agent of personal epiphany that would cause people to change after their new insights, but that these insights would spread across culture and politics. In turn we would have a more tolerant enlightened society. While there has been progress, things have not worked out in the revolutionary way that Freud had hoped, Psychoanalysis and Comedy: The (Im)Possibility of Changing the


Socio-Symbolic Order

To examine the problem of the (im)possibility of change in the above sense, and more specifically of the disappointing therapeutic effects of knowledge, we shall turn to the latest book by Alenka Zupancic, The Odd One In, which approaches the problem from the angle of comedy.[6] By choosing comedy as a framework for discussing the impasses of psychoanalytic treatment, Zupancic goes against the grain of established theory that conceives such impasses on the model of tragedy. Ever since Aristotle, whose theory of tragedy Freud did much to revive (as well as to return to its medical roots),[7] there has been a clear conceptual bias towards tragedy as a paradigm for understanding the predicaments of human existence. Yet Freud was not as insensitive to the hermeneutic potential of comedy as the one-sided development of subsequent psychoanalytic theory would seem to suggest. He might have agreed with Socrates that the dramatists of the psyche have to combine tragedy and comedy to capture the elusive workings of the soul.[8] Zupancic’s study makes an even bolder claim, arguing that comedy offers a more adequate and fundamentally different perspective on the fundamental questions of psychoanalysis.[9] The problem of genuine psychological, and by implication social, change are not to be understood from the

tragic (Oedipal) paradigm but from comedy.

According to Zupancic, comedy and psychoanalysis are closely related practices because they are both engaged in subverting our customary (imaginary/neurotic) beliefs and behavior. As such, they share a number of structural similarities on account of which they are capable of elucidating each other.[10] As Freud already observed in his study on jokes, the joke represents an act of “rebellion against authority, a liberation from its pressure”.[11] Similarly to psychoanalysis, and by means of common strategies, such as puns, omissions, condensation, etc., the joke provides a space in which it is possible to express all sorts of socially (or psychologically) unacceptable ideas without the usual constraint of authority.

They do not get much into comedy or jokes and laughing as just a way people relieve nervous tension, though that has sociological implications as well. The situation in which one should not laugh – being lectured by the school principal about one’s clearly bad behavior, making fun of others at a funeral, snickering at a neighbor’s property damage – are all situations which society has declared are very serious. Sometimes so serious they’re funny.

illustration from Hatyakari Ke by Panchkori Dey


illustration from Hatyakari Ke or Who is the Murderer? by Panchkori Dey. Panchkori Dey (1873–1945) was a Bengali writer of detective fiction. As Agatha Christie had her Hercule Poirot, Dey had Arindam Bosu, a dhoti-wearing detective working in India and Europe, and Jumelia, a nefarious criminal. I’m not sure who did the illustration. This one is from the Urdu translation sometime after 1903. The plot of Who is the Murderer? revolves around an arranged marriage by a father who wants his daughter to marry a sleazy young man. The arrangement was made to the father’s prime goal, financial considerations. The novel highlights the social evil of such marriages, focusing on the suffering of the young women involved.