Dasein, Red Elephant.

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Elephant Links category.

CUBE and Existentialism

Exit, does it Exist?


It’s all the same machine right. Pentagon. Multinational coorporations.The police! If you do one little job. You build a widget in Saskatoon.The next thing you know, it’s two miles under the desert, the essentialcomponent of a deathmachine.I was right! All along my whole life I knew it.I told you Quentin. Nobody’s ever call me paranoid again. We gotta get outof here and blow the lid of this thing.

Holloway, you don’t get it.

Then tell me, please, I need to know.


It’s maybe hard for you to understand, but there’s no conspiracy. Nobodyis in charge. It’s a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a masterplan.Can you grasp that? Big brother is not watching you.


What kind of fucking explanation is that?


It’s the best you´re gonna get. I looked and the only explanation I can come to is that there is nobody up there.


Somebody had to say yes to this thing.


What thing? Only we know what it is.


We have no idea, what it is.


We know more than anybody else. I mean somebody might have knownsometime, before they got fired or voted out or sold it. But if this place ever had a purpose, then it got miscommunicated or lost in the shuffle. This is an accident, aforgotten propetual, public, worksproject. Do you think anybody wants to ask questions? All they want is a clear conscience and a fat paycheck. I mean, I lead on my desk for months. This was a great job!


Why put people in it?


Because it’s here. you have to use it or admit it’s pointless.


But it is pointless!


Quentin… That’s my point.

Philosophical References

I see Holloway as the voice against Existentialism.
I see the Holloway in all of us.
Holloway is our liability to Reason, to wax Fatalism over our own meaningless Existence.
Holloway is Absurd due to her hunger for reasonable-ness from an Existence that cannot feed her with it.
By believing that ‘Pentagon. Multinational coorporations, The Police’ is responsible for her plight, she is succumbing to a bout of Bad Faith, thus, renouncing the control she can have as a free being.
Holloway’s way is indeed, hollow.

Worth asserts that Freedom is not as primary to Man as we would like believed.
What we really want is, Comfort and happiness, which many of us would gladly trade Freedom for; without hunger, without the pangs of conscience. To quote Radiohead, Fitter, happier, more productive pigs in a cage on antibiotics.
Worth understands that we are nothing but atoms, pieces of dusts, darting around space, aimless; gone wrong like always, like before.


Transcendentalism in freak folk: Devendra Banhart

I came across Devendra Banhart while scavaging thru Insound for downloads couple of years back; when Kai(redelephant) was the only contributing member of this site. (God knows where the bugger went, please let me know if you have any remote information leading to his whereabouts coz we miss the guy terribly!)
The Body Breaks is one of the earliest tracks i’ve heard and needless to say, i was hooked. It struck me as something out of a late-6o’s vinyl, what with that stalking, blues-folk riff fingerplucked in elastic time and trembling trembling nasal lilt ;somewhat Nick Drake-ish(pardon my musical inexposure, i was just a wee nymph then… any folk-guitar-and-vocals combination would immediately be followed by exclamations of ”so Nick Drake!’ or ‘how Elliott Smith!’  however, my opinion did change after exploring Bryter Layter) but, with a spook vibe, raw, surreal and intensely refreshing due to his unconventionally uncompromising philosophy of being able to ‘write and sing shit about anything and everything'(forgot the source, was a long time ago). Ay Mama from Niño Rojo is a searching, ruminative chant which somehow evokes a sense of mysterious spiritual well-being. The Black Babies, an early ep, is possibly recorded on a four-track analog recorder as warm overtones and an all-too-apparent tape hiss is detected.
Has modern music lost its magic to Digital Audio Workstations, over-mixing/producing, and the click-track monster?
Is fluidity in rhythm seen as a technical deficiency on a musician?(Hey if that’s really the case then Rubato should not be listed  in the musical dictionary of italian terms, right?)
How about the loudness war? Does amplitude equates aptitude?
As artists/musicians, are we afraid to
‘live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life’
to seek from the eclectic soul an individual vision of  beauty born from necessity;
much like Banhart, a musical-Thoreau.
Or would we prostrate to pre-concieved industry standards and hex our masterpieces with mindless VST plugins, metronomes and  a whole plethora of digital processes.
Indeed, it’ll be sad to learn that
when it came time to die, to discover that I had not lived.’

Oscar Wilde and Greek Love

I am uneasingly alarmed by the ratio of straight to gay men in the creative industry. As a young bisexual female fed on disgustingly Asian values seeped with messages of  filial piety and self-less procreation,bringing home the dude who’s gonna make Ma proud seems somewhat like a task.
Oscar Wilde, the great Victorian poet and playwright, notoriously known for his appetite for young renters and his highly volatile relationship with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, wrote in De Profundis ‘ I am a born Antimonian. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws.’  According to ‘The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde’ by Neil McKenna, the Antimonians were ‘ a sixteenth century sect of dissenters who believed they were God’s chosen people, the elect, predestined for salvation, and consequently they were not bound by conventional moral laws’.
The term ‘Greek Love’ was also coined by Wilde with reference to male-to-male romantic(and sexual) bonding practiced in Ancient Greece. Legend has it that Ganymede, a beautiful Trojan prince was abducted and anally-raped by the god Zeus and then kept as his catamite.
Indeed, it is hardly surprising  that a man with seemingly divine brilliance like Wilde  should also covet ‘divine’ pleasures.
Pederastic bigot in some delusional bubble of grandeur?
Does it mean that, according to Wilde’s gospel of ‘The Love that dare not speak its name’, the majority of heterosexuals(Unchosens) are damned to  sordid, mundane existences since their tastes and habits are less than ‘evolved’?
Is that why I’ve never met a guy who wants to jump my skinnies and knows his art history at the same time?
I guess i’ll stick to Andre Raffalovich’s theory- that a hetereosexual’s destiny is to make babies whereas a homosexual should channel his sexual angst and abnormalities to nobler pursuits like Art!!!
As always,  i’ll  go like ‘bummerz..’ whenever i’m stalking out some cute gay artist/musician/model’s facebook profile…..

Mamet’s Wicked Son


The New York Times reviews David Mamet’s The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred and the Jews. I honestly haven’t seen his film Homicide and so I’m not too convinced about the reviewer’s comments. Still, an interesting book to check out.


But there was a slight problem with Mamet’s Jews: They were unrecognizable. Their anxieties seemed from an earlier era. They belonged to no real place, just one of Mamet’s Hopperish lonely cities. They spoke Mamet-speak, which is to say, a language so hyperreal that it sometimes sounded quite unreal. They were, in fact, contrivances, created to highlight Mamet’s hobgoblins and hobbyhorses. One encounters the same schism, and the same ambivalence, in “The Wicked Son,” Mamet’s examination of the modern Jewish psyche. Like everything he does, it is blunt and bracing, honest and provocative, original and gutsy. At the same time, it’s not exactly clear which Jews Mamet is talking about, what decade they live in, how fairly he treats them or even how many of them there are.

Remembering War: Frontline Verses

The New Trade

In the market-place they have made
A dolorous new trade.
Now you will see in the fierce naphtha-light,
Piled hideously to sight,
Dead limbs of men bronzed in the over-seas,
Bomb-wrenched from elbows and knees;
Torn feet, that would, unwearied by harsh loads,
Have tramped steep moorlands roads;
Torn hands that would have moulded exquisitely
Rare things for God to see.
And there are eyes there – blue like blue doves’ wings,
Black like the Libyan kings,
Grey as before-dawn rivers, willow-stirred,
Brown as a singing-bird;
But all stare from the dark into the dark,
Reproachful, tense, and stark,
Eyes heaped on trays and in broad baskets there,
Feet, hands, and ropes of hair.
In the market-places . . . and women buy . . .
. . . Naphtha glares . . . hawkers cry . . .
Fat men rub hands . . .
O God, O just God, send Plague, lightnings . . .
Make an end!
Louis Golding

Rivaling the best of Owen’s work, this powerful poem is taken from Voices of Silence: The Alternative Book of First World War Poetry, by Vivien Noakes, published by Sutton Publishing. Released for Remembrance Sunday, this collection of frontline verse showcases work by several poets, including Hampden Gordon and Jessie Pope. See more selections at Times Online.


Elephant Links: Zinn, Stanford Writing.

Mark Quinn, Winter Garden 6 (2004)

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Elephant Links: Islam-SciFi, Writing Tips

Self-portrait with the Yellow Christ, Paul Gauguin (1890)

Ancient literary forms, even-metered or otherwise, can find inadvertent modern expression in contemporary everyday speech.” (tags: theory)

From the Free Range Librarian blog, MFA student Schneider offer 18 helpful tips on how to develop your writing skills. (tags: writing)

“People from Islamic backgrounds were generally portrayed with negative conotations in stories set in the near future but characterizations of Muslims in the distant future are generally positive.” (tags: literature)

Elephant Links: Ecological Disaster, Lament, Moore

Tiger Hunt, Eugene Delacroix (1854)

Baudelaire, who was a great admirer of Delacroix, wrote about this work:

“Delacroix, an alchemist of color, miraculous, profound, mysterious, sensual, awesome: explosive color and subdued color, a penetrating harmony. The gestures of man and animal. The scowl of the beast, the snufflings of animality.”

An excerpt from this wonderful book where Borradori talks to European intellectuals, Habermas and Derrida about Terrorism and the signifance of 9-11. (tags: theory)

“It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself..but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” (tags: reviews)

“If I’ve learned anything from hanging out with the Eastern European dissident crowd, it’s make no decision out of fear.”. I loved the fact that Sterling read a poem by Carl Sandburg at the end (tags: news)

Second part of the The Beat’s interview with Alan Moore on V for Vendetta. (tags: writers)

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Elephant Links: Manhatten, Derrida, AudioBooks

Metropolitan Triptych, Francis Bacon (1981)

LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain. Volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then release the audio files back onto the net. (tags: audiobooks)

A blog from the perspective of an agent. Useful info for anyone looking to get their work published. (tags: blogs)

A lovely map indexed with literary entries involving Manhatten by writers such as Kerouac, Plath. Stephen King, Pynchon, and Langston Hughes. New York must be one of the most written-about places in the world! (tags: literary)

“Deconstruction, the philosophical method he promoted, means not destroying ideas, but pushing them to the point where they begin to come apart and expose their latent contradictions.” (tags: philosophy)

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Elephant Links: Rhetorica, Nabokov, Fukuyama

The Cock Fight, Jean-Leon Gerome (1848)

A collection of links to Professors who keep an active blog. Methinks this is a good opportunity to explore the strange species that is the academic. If you find an interesting blog, let me know! (tags: blogs)

“The greatest literary influence upon Kafka was Flaubert’s. Flaubert who loathed pretty-pretty prose would have applauded Kafka’s attitude towards his tool.” (tags: literary)

Excellent site, includes exercises on starting to write, effective writing, revising, proofreading, and types and genres of literary and academic writing. Super for college students! (tags: writing)

An nice little website where artists post their drawings of literary figures such as J.D Salinger, T.S Eliot, Herman Melville and Aldous Huxley. (tags: websites)

Fukuyama predicts that “one of the consequences of a perceived failure in Iraq will be the discrediting of the entire neoconservative agenda and a restoration of the authority of foreign policy realists.” (tags: reviews)

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Elephant Links: Moleskine, C Theory, Writing Tools

Le Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe, Edouard Manet (1863)

A website that explores urban planning, architecture and its relationship to communities and social conditions. Latest articles explore the landscapes of metropolitan Dubai and the surburban sprawl of Southern California’s Antelope Valley. (tags: websites)

Moleskine are little black notebooks and diaries that have been the notebook of choice for many famous writers and artists such as Van Gogh, Chatwin, Hemingway, Matisse and Céline. I never did have one of those, but they sure do look good. Yummy. (tags: websites writing)

An intriguing piece by Menachem Feuer on the shift from modernist to postmodernist forms of criticism. “Benjamin tells us that criticism must change and the model for this change is the advertisement ” (tags: theory)

An absolute must-read for freelance writers, journalists or anyone who wants to improve their writing skills. Includes very helpful practice assignments. (tags: writing)

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Elephant Links: Superflat, Barthes, Beckett

The Decadent Romans, Thomas Couture (1847)

Hiroki Azuma, a prominent Japanese literary critic examines the relationships between Murakami’s superflat conceptuality and otaku culture. “Otaku” is a Japanese word indicating a new cultural group which emerged in 1970s, built from various post-war Japanese subcultures such as manga, anime, Sci-Fi, tokusatsu films, models, computer hacking. (tags: theory)

“Once the Author is removed, the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing.” (tags: theory)

An interesting website that allows you to find out where your favorite celebrity, writer or thinker is buried. Includes pictures of their graves. (tags: websites)

Free MP3 of Beckett’s plays on BBC. The trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable is also available at this site. (tags: writers audio)

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Elephant Links: Malamud, Rorty and Po-mo

Superflat Monogram (detail), Takashi Murakami (2003)

Along with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, Malamud, who died in 1986, was part of a triumvirate of American Jewish writers who dominated the national literature in the 50's and 60's. Malamud won the Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Awards. In works like "The Assistant", "The Magic Barrel" and "The Fixer" he borrowed from myth and folklore and transformed the stories of ordinary Jewish lives into moral fables.

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An interesting post over at Posthegemony talks about Douglas Oliver's Diagram Poems. In a radio interview from 1999, Douglas Oliver commented on the separation between mainstream and experimental poetry: “If you write poetry from a different point of view, you run the risk of falling in the gutter."

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An January 2006 article by Rorty that was published in vol.3 of Kritikos, an international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image. This short piece from Rorty is written in his usual, accesible style and is definetly worth a quick read.

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A nice little page that clearly delineates the distinctions and differences between modernity and post modernism. This site is primarily dedicated towards socio-cultural dimension of postmodernism, through the theories of Baudrillard, Jameson, Benjamin and Lyotard.

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Elephant links: Adorno, Critical Theory, Born Mag

Dusk, the game of Croquet, Pierre Bonnard (1892)

Born Magazine is an experimental venue marrying literary arts and interactive media. Original projects are brought to life every three months through creative collaboration between writers and artists(tags: magazines art)

A prominent literary theorist, Fish is known for his analysis of interpretive communities — an offshoot of reader-response criticism. In this interview, he talks about the value of speech and rhetoric.(tags: theory)

A large collection of valuable links to thinkers such as Lacan, Lyotard, Marcuse, Merleau-Ponty, Said and Deleuze etc.(tags: theory)

I found this book a very difficult read. A work of theoretical brillance and the pinnacle of the Frankfurt School, Adorno offers the most complete exposition on onotological ideologies. Worth reading for his incredible analysis of Heidegger and Hegel.(tags: theory)

“Feminist theory needs to challenge that prevalent modern assumption on the autonomy of the economic which has been equally harmful for comprehending gender. Yet in this respect feminist theory has in Marx both a strong ally and a serious opponent.”(tags: theory)

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Elephant Links: History of Art


New York Times article on the revision of "Janson's History of Art", a traditional text used to teach art in U.S colleges and high schools. (tags: reviews)

Barbarella, Barbie, Barbelith

From Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, a comic series that is pretty damn good.

redelephant: Recently discovered Barbelith Underground, "an experimental online community centred around unique message-board software" The site has some interesting forums on politics, fashion, art, music and collaborative creative projects. It's literary message board has several discussions of topics such as Samuel Delany's difficult sci-fi novel Dhalgren, Bret Easton Ellis's Lunar Park and H.P Lovecraft (nice!).

Dogmatika – A Literary Zine

21 - Kandinsky Diversi cerchi.800x600.jpg
Wassily Kandinsky, Several Circles (Einige Kreise) 1926

redelephant: Was browsing around The Sigla Blog and came to know about Dogmatika, a literary e-zine with features, writers interviews, book reviews and a daily blog. Run by Belfast-based Susan Tomaselli, the zine doesn't have much content yet but I like the format. Heck, they even have a poet-in-residence!

Ah.. the perfect career. A writer-in-residence paid to snuggle with stockpiles of japanese delicacies in a cosy little cottage. Strong tea patios and donut conversation afternoons. Writing like a mad man, candles at the window. Really quaint. But I always felt there's a strange domestication about the whole thing. Something akin to Ted Hughes's Jaguar.






To Victory Square by Kim Chol Ryong

redelephant:This just in. An anti-jihad manifesto from 12 intellectuals, including Salman Rushdie and Bernard Henri-Levy has just been posted yesterday evening on the website of Jyllands-Posten, a cheeky Danish newspaper, publisher of the controversial Prophet Mohammad cartoons.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

Strong words. Nothing really soul stirring, but still…a manifesto! How exciting! We haven't had one of those thrown into the public sphere in a long time. A lot has already been said about this manifesto, particularly by Paul Allen at the Brussels Journal and I'm sure there's more to come.

No End of History, no end in sight. Poor Fukuyama, what do you have to say?

Do you list?


redelephant: Listmania! Hip literary critic Larry McCaffery, an English Professor at San Diego State University, lists out the 100 greatest hits in 20th Century literature.

Lists are many things: memory aids, containers of information, a means of organizing materials, efforts to prioritize and overcome chaos and entropy. The following list of the 20th Century’s Greatest Literary Hits is all of the above, as well as being a means of sharing with my readers my own views about what books are going to be read 100 or 1000 years from now.

Ulysses Syndication


In honor of the 100th anniversary of James Joyce's Ulysses, Botheration! is showing one page of the novel every day untill June 14, 2006. If you use RSS feeds, you can start from the beginning and subscribe for a daily page feed. Sounds like a good idea to make sure you get to the end of the book.

Other RSS book feeds include Alice in Wonderland and the Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, and Charles Pooter's the Diary of a Nobody.