ahorbinski: an imperial stormtrooper with the word "justic3" (imperial justice)
When academic journals are charging $20,000 for a subscription, they have become obstacles to knowledge rather than enablers. […] The new age of open access should have us learning from the wisdom of the founders of the United States, who saw copyright as a necessary temporary restriction on access that should last a reasonable period (fourteen years back then, seventy years after the death of the rights holder now) before a work would enter the public domain - a sensible balancing of incentives for creators and the good of an educated, creative public.

--David Weinberger, Too Big to Know (183-85)
ahorbinski: My Marxist-feminist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.  (marxism + feminism --> posthumanism)
There are people who will say that democracy is neither an intelligent nor a fair system, and that those who have the money are also the best rulers. But I say, first, that what is meant by the demos, or people, is the whole State, whereas an oligarchy is only a section of the State; and I say next that though the rich are the best people for looking after money, the best counsellors are the intelligent, and that it is the many who are best at listening to the different arguments and judging between them. And all alike, whether taken all together or as separate classes, have equal rights in a democracy. An oligarchy, on the other hand, certainly gives the many their share of dangers, but when it comes to the good things of life not only claims the largest share, but goes off with the whole lot. And this is what the rich men and the young men among you are aiming at; but in a great city these things are beyond your reach. What fools you are! In fact the stupidest of all the Hellenes I know, if you do not realize that your aims are evil, and the biggest criminals if you do realize this and still have the face to proceed with them.

--Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, VI.39-40
ahorbinski: A picture of Charles Darwin captioned "very gradual change" in the style of the Obama 'Hope' poster.  (Darwin is still the man.)
The discursive process is a complex negotiation of knowledge, practice, and power, whose work lies precisely in obscuring the ontological gap that separates reality, in all its multiplicity and polysemy, and its representation, whose effect is to close off certain forms of meaning in favor of others. All this is a rather complicated way of saying that readers of this book should not assume that sexual behavior actually took place, in all instances and for all individuals, in the way that written texts describe it. Let us ourselves hope that future generations will not judge what we do in bed, or who we are as people, simply on the basis of the portrayals in our fiction, the proscriptions in our law codes, or the diagnoses of our physicians and psychiatrists.

       --Gregory Pflugfelder, Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950 (9)
ahorbinski: an imperial stormtrooper with the word "justic3" (imperial justice)
If now isn't the time to refuse the naturalization of capitalism and the ideological insistence on its benevolent and civilizing character, then there never will be a time.

--Mark Driscoll, Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, the Dead, and the Undead in Japan's Imperialism, 1895-1945 (5)
The book is excellent, by the way; one of the best I've read all year.
ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
History is not memory, the conservation of the archive; the tendency to identify history and memory is well the sign that our conservative epoch dreams only of the status quo, that it desires no more than what has come and has no interest in the possibility of another history that has been lived and experienced.

--Harry Harootunian, "Japan's Long Postwar: The Trick of Memory and the Ruse of History"

As ever, I don't agree with Harootunian completely, but he certainly says things worth thinking about.

I'm teaching for The History & Practice of Human Rights this semester, and I actually had something of a breakthrough recently while talking to one of my roommates about the readings for the class. People say that human nature doesn't change, as a reason for cynicism or pessimism or despair, and I actually think that's very true; human nature doesn't change. But the trick is that human nature doesn't have to change; what needs to change are the structures of society and culture that we create around ourselves, and if history shows anything, it's that doing so is perfectly within our capability. Already know we, to paraphrase Yoda, that which we need. And yes, "progress" is uneven at best and an illusion at worse and there remains so much to be done, but we aren't a priori barred from accomplishing anything by our natures.
ahorbinski: Emma Goldman, anarchist (play the red queen's game)
The thing gets made, gets built, and you’re the slave
who rolls the log beneath the block, then another,
then pushes the block, then pulls a log
from the rear back to the front
again and then again it goes beneath the block,
and so on. It’s how a thing gets made – not
because you’re sensitive, or you get genetic-lucky,
or God says: Here’s a nice family,
seven children, let’s see: this one in charge
of the village dunghill, these two die of buboes, this one
Kierkegaard, this one a drooling

nincompoop, this one clerk, this one cooper.
You need to love the thing you do – birdhouse building,
painting tulips exclusively, whatever – and then
you do it
so consciously driven
by your unconscious
that the thing becomes a wedge
that splits a stone and between the halves
the wedge then grows, i.e., the thing
is solid but with a soul,
a life of its own. Inspiration, the donnée,

the gift, the bolt of fire
down the arm that makes the art?
Grow up! Give me, please, a break!
You make the thing because you love the thing
and you love the thing because someone else loved it
enough to make you love it.
And with that your heart like a tent peg pounded
toward the earth’s core.
And with that your heart on a beam burns
through the ionosphere.
And with that you go to work.

—Thomas Lux, 'An Horatian Notion', from Split Horizon, 1994.
ahorbinski: A DJ geisha (historical time is a construct)
Second, because a broader interest in manga and anime history is relatively recent, and because histories to date have often been rather informal, the histories of manga and animation in Japan have tended to rely on and to reproduce the entrenched paradigms for understanding Japanese history, rather than considering how materials such as manga and animations might allow us to rethink how we approach Japanese history or to invent new historical paradigms.

--Thomas Lamarre, "Speciesism, Part II: Tezuka Osamu and the Multispecies Ideal" (53)

This is my larger goal for my dissertation in a nutshell.
ahorbinski: A snakes & ladders board.  (struggle & stagger)
This one's kind of long, but bear with me.

One of the problems with the term ["Westernization"] is that it skirts the heart of the issue: the globalizing reaches of capitalism, a set of processes dominated (though never entirely controlled) by multinational corporations [sic], many of which are not based in the United States. Upon closer inspection, the problem is not merely cultural, as Westernization suggests, but political and economic. Many go so far as to speak of "cultural imperialism." The idea of cultural imperialism is that U.S. domination of globalizing processes leads native peoples to abandon their traditional cultural practices to consume Hollywood movies and McDonald's fries. In this understanding, globalization engulfs the local. It is important, however, to remember that globalization does not only happen to people; it happens by people. Global capital requires national governments to pave its way--through state repression of labor organizing activities, for example, as was the case in Taiwan. Taiwan's export-substitution strategy of economic national development made the "Made in Taiwan" label ubiquitous in North America. Global capitalism did not simply arrive on Taiwan's shores and engulf the island; Taiwan actively courted and absorbed global capitalism into its fold. Its clamoring for admission to the World Trade Organization is a case in point. Nor did multinational capitalists simply swallow Taiwan once on shore. Corporations were forced to localize their practices in order to wrest labor away from Taiwanese family farms and enterprises. Taiwan having transformed itself from a poor agrarian country to a wealthy industrialized one, the next wave of multinational corporations sought the island out not for its labor but for its consumers. Corporations like McDonald's and Coca-Cola had to localize, tailoring their business practices, goods, services, and marketing strategies for the Taiwan market.

--Bonnie Adrian, Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan's Bridal Industry, 11 (citations omitted; emphases original)

This paragraph is about Taiwan, but it could be about anywhere. Should we question globalization and its associated processes? Emphatically, yes, but we shouldn't erase the agencies of groups around the world while we do it, and we shouldn't forget the complex negotiations--usually unequal, but negotiations nonetheless--between corporations and groups that the term 'globalization' flattens.
ahorbinski: A snakes & ladders board.  (struggle & stagger)
Despite Huang's words, the world of ghosts and nightmares remained a part of T'an-ch'eng. The Local History mentioned how unusually superstitious the people were: over half of them believed in ghosts, and magical arts; they venerated women mediums who could conjure up the spirit world as if they were gods; when ill they would never take medicine but consulted the local shamans instead; neighbors would gather in groups and waste thousands of copper coins (which they could not afford) in making offerings as they prayed through the night.

--Jonathan D. Spence, The Death of Woman Wang (15)

Ah, classism.

(Also, how incomprehensible is Wade-Giles? After reading The Clash of Empires, I find it really hard not to feel that it was designed to make Chinese look dumb. I also can't understand how anyone ever attained native proficiency with it. Pinyin is so, so much better.)
ahorbinski: A picture of Charles Darwin captioned "very gradual change" in the style of the Obama 'Hope' poster.  (Darwin is still the man.)
In his essay "Politics and Man in the Contemporary World," Maruyama [Masao] drew on the experience of Martin Niemöller, a German pastor and eventual prisoner of the Nazi regime. Niemöller crystallized his experience--the transformation of equanimity into opposition as Nazi attacks came closer and closer to the church--into two stark injunctions. First, Principis obsta: "Resist the beginning"; second, Finem respice: "Consider the end." Niemöller's own awakening had come too late to prevent the evil that so seared his conscience. Ultimately, then, as Simone Weil thought, we may fail. Her example, however, and Niemöller's and Nanbara's, and Hasegawa's, shows us that we are bound, whatever the result, to continue our attempts to think through our condition. The alternative--to cease thinking altogether--permits no other choice.

--Andrew E. Barshay, State and Intellectual in Imperial Japan: The Public Man in Crisis (xx)
Indeed, we may fail; like Yanagita Kunio, we may begin our attempts from a Kierkegaardian stance of despair. But we must continue to make these critiques, of ourselves and our times; the foreclosure of thought and its inherent possibilities is the final victory of repression.


ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

May 2016

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