The Sunset Limited

It takes only two or three hours to read, but it leaves one with a lifetime of contemplation. Or to put it more precisely, a contemplation of lifetime.

Sunset Limited

From the jacket:

A startling encounter on a New York subway platform leads two strangers to a run-down tenement where a life or death decision must be made.

In that small apartment, “Black” and “White,” as the two men are known, begin a conversation that leads each back through his own history, mining the origins of two fundamentally opposing world views. White is a professor whose seemingly enviable existence of relative ease has left him nonetheless in despair. Black, an ex-con and ex-addict, is the more hopeful of the men–though he is just as desperate to convince White of the power of faith as White is desperate to deny it.

Their aim is no less than this: to discover the meaning of life.

DJ Begga Rocks My World!

I have no idea who DJ Begga is, or where he comes from. The language in the video appears to be Korean, but I can’t be sure. All I know is that last night I was listening to this playlist of Turkmenistani pop songs on Youtube when DJ Begga came on and changed my life. Thank you DJ Begga! You’ve reminded me of what it means to be free. The world’s laid out in front of me and I’m ready to jump in it. I am reborn in your spirit!:

All I Need

Here’s a wonderfully creative Radiohead video hitting on all the ambiguities of “need.” Most of the personal “need” in my life right now is very positive. I do, however, understand the pitfalls both personally and globally:

“All I Need”

I am the next act waiting in the wings
I am an animal trapped in your hot car
I am all the days that you choose to ignore

You are all I need
You are all I need
I am in the middle of your picture
Lying in the reeds

I am a moth who just wants to share your light
I’m just an insect trying to get out of the night
I only stick with you because there are no others

You are all I need
You are all I need
I am in the middle of your picture
Lying in the reeds

It’s all wrong
It’s all right
It’s all right
It’s all wrong
It’s all right
It’s all right
It’s all right

A Song for You

Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, and Ray Charles, but the song really gets goin’ when Ray hits the mic.

People make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please in circumstances of their own choosing, rather they make it in the present circumstance, given and inherited.


The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte – Karl Marx 1852

Section I, paragraph 2

Die Menschen machen ihre eigene Geschichte, aber sie machen sie nicht aus freien Stücken, nicht unter selbstgewählten, sondern unter unmittelbar vorgefundenen, gegebenen und überlieferten Umständen. Die Tradition aller toten Geschlechter lastet wie ein Alp auf dem Gehirne der Lebenden. Und wenn sie eben damit beschäftigt scheinen, sich und die Dinge umzuwälzen, noch nicht Dagewesenes zu schaffen, gerade in solchen Epochen revolutionärer Krise beschwören sie ängstlich die Geister der Vergangenheit zu ihrem Dienste herauf, entlehnen ihnen Namen, Schlachtparole, Kostüm, um in dieser altehrwürdigen Verkleidung und mit dieser erborgten Sprache die neuen Weltgeschichtsszene aufzuführen.

People make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please in circumstances of their own choosing, rather they make it in the present circumstance, given and inherited. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare upon the minds of the living. And just when they appear to be revolutionizing themselves and their circumstances, in creating something unprecedented, in just such epochs of revolutionary crisis, that is when they nervously summon up the spirits of the past, borrowing from them their names, marching orders, uniforms, in order to enact new scenes in world history, but in this time-honored guise and with this borrowed language.

VII: Summary

Die soziale Republik erschien als Phrase, als Prophezeiung an der Schwelle der Februarrevolution. In den Junitagen 1848 wurde sie im Blute des Pariser Proletariats erstickt, aber sie geht in den folgenden Akten des Dramas als Gespenst um. Die demokratische Republik kündigte sich an. Sie verpufft am 13. Juni 1849 mit ihren davongelaufenen Kleinbürgern, aber im Fliehen wirft sie doppelt renommierende Reklamen hinter sich. Die parlamentarische Republik mit der Bourgeoisie bemächtigt sich der ganzen Bühne, sie lebt sich aus in der vollen Breite ihrer Existenz, aber der 2. Dezember 1851 begräbt sie unter dem Angstgeschrei der koalisierten Royalisten: „Es lebe die Republik!“

The social republic appeared as a phrase, as a prophecy, on the threshold of the February Revolution. In the June days of 1848, it was drowned in the blood of the Paris proletariat, but it haunts the subsequent acts of the drama like a ghost. The democratic republic announces its appearance. It is dissipated on June 13, 1849, together with its deserting petty bourgeois, but in its flight it redoubles its boastfulness. The parliamentary republic together with the bourgeoisie takes possession of the entire state; it enjoys its existence to the full, but December 2, 1851, buries it to the accompaniment of the anguished cry of the coalesced royalists: “Long live the Republic!”

…and France was Napoleonic once again. See Marx’s “follow-up” The Civil War in France (1871) for insight into how all of this continues on, and on, and on, and…

Shudders of 1848 Always Quaking Through

Of course, they ripple back and forth.

I mean, c’mon, 1848 was no 1789.

Ah…1789, what a twist!

But it’s not the only one. Lately I’ve been looking into how the European Revolutions of 1848 are relevant as a dialectical pivot in European social, political, and cultural critique.

In honor of a weekend spent with my head in that captivating year, I dedicate this Sunday morning’s videos to the nation that started the marde rolling: beloved France!

Sometimes the insanity of the world around you boils over into everything you see. Daft Punk with “Technologic”:

In our annoyingly monikered “Golbalized World,” political and social critiques necessarily cut across cultures. Rule of thumb: have respect for me when I critique your ways and I’ll promise the same in return. We should be able to learn a lot by sifting through the inconsistencies in each other’s analysis.

MC Solaar with “Le Nouveau Western”:

It’s especially intriguing when the tough ribbing is accompanied by a visible—or slightly below the surface—fascination of and love for the “other.” The previous clip exemplifies that feeling as much as this next one.

Yesterday I also experienced a “Belleville Rendez-vous” Mine was in Illinois, but ah, as I said, the shudders!:

And it’s nice when we can sculpt that love into something wholly new:

Ah, le pastiche!

Here’s Cassius letting “1999” ripple:

Dimtri From Paris with:

“Une very stylish fille”:

and “Sacré Français”:

Finishing up with transcontinental trust vis-à-vis Air.

Some sort of ingenious mash-up of Japanese TV series smash Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon )(美少女戦士セーラームーンand Air’s “Clouds Up”:

Air with Sofia Coppala on visuals. From The Virgin Suicides. “Playground Love”: