Og forresten så må i hen og læse Suvi mot Nordpolen. Uten tvil den cooleste nye bloggen på lenge.
TWITTER | @martingruner
(And now a word from our sponsors)
Jeg har litt for mye å gjøre for tiden og har ikke tid til frivole luksuser som blogging eller lunsjpauser. Dessuten har vi ikke internett hjemme ennå, og mitt trådløs-kort har gått til det store, åpne nettverk i himmelen. Derfor litt stille her. Men jeg dropper kjapt innom nå og sier hei og hallo og forteller dere om hva som skjer.
Det som skjer er
1. Jeg har blitt med i arrangementsgruppen for Litteratur på Blå.
Litteratur på Blå er et ukentlig litteraturarrangement, som avholdes hver tirsdag på Blå i Oslo. Arrangørene er tre tidligere redaktører for Bøygen - Eline Skaar Kleven, Kristian Meisingset og Marius Fossøy Mohaugen - og meg. Vi starter opp nå den 4. september med et møte om politisk litteratur:
Mer info om Litteratur på Blå finner du på nettsidene våre, med urlen jeg liker å tenke på som "litteraturPabla." Og husk å melde deg på på Underskog. Det fins også en fjesbokevent.Politisk litteratur, 4. september kl 19: Først et intervju med Izzet Celasin, én av vinnerne av Gyldendals konkurranse om beste politiske roman med romanen Svart himmel, svart hav. Deretter en mer prinsipiell samtale omkring politisk litteratur. Hvordan skal man forstå termen "politisk" når den er knyttet opp til litteratur? Hva gjør politisk litteratur politisk?" Panel: Bendik Wold (redaktør for Klassekampens bokmagasin), Kjetil Strømme (redaktør i Aschehoug), Cathrine Krøger (kritiker), Irene Engelstad (hovedkonsulent Gyldendal). (Møteleder: Marius Fossøy Mohaugen)
Det første møtet jeg skal være ordstyrer for er den 18. september. Det blir en samtale om samtidsdramatikk med dramatikerne Arne Lygre og Maria Tryti Vennerød.
2. I morgen, 1. september, trer jeg til som kalenderredaktør i Litlive.
De fleste kjenner vel Litlive, men her er introteksten:
Redaksjonen består p.t. av Annelie Axén (SE), Mariann Enge (NO), Martin Glaz Serup (DK), Thomas Nystrøm (DK) og webmaster Bo Sørensen (WWW). Fine folk, som jeg er utrolig spent på å jobbe sammen med. Jeg kommer hovedsaklig til å ha ansvaret for å vedlikeholde og oppdatere kalenderen. Mer om dette senere.Det danske website Litlive.dk blev grundlagt i 2003 af Martin Glaz Serup og Pablo Henrik Llambías. Fra 2007 er Litlive et skandinavisk website, bestående af de tæt sammenkoblede domæner Litlive.dk, Litlive.se og Litlive.no.
På Litlive finder du en kalender med aktuelle oplæsninger af skønlitteratur i Norge, Sverige og Danmark, samt anmeldelser af skønlitteratur, skrevet af vores faste stab af nordiske kritikere.
Og forresten så er jeg i Litlive-ærend å finne på Verbale Pupiller i Århus, 14-16. september.
3. Jeg frilanser som en gal
Jeg har hatt ganske mye jobb nå i august og videre i september som frilans oversetter. Jeg har oversatt tekster for Kunsthøyskolen i Bergen, Audiaturkatalogen (festivalen nærmer seg med stormskritt - 27-30 september. Håper dere kan være der), og den nyoppstartede Tolkeutdanningen i Oslo (se forresten denne saken). Ikke desto mindre er jeg sikkert interessert i mer frilansgreier, så send meg en mail om du trenger noe. Jeg oversetter engelsk-bokmål, norsk-engelsk, dansk-bokmål, svensk-bokmål og "bokmål"-bokmål, jeg redigerer, jeg kritiserer, jeg interprerer og er ganske hendig med en støvsuger.
g m a i l dot c o m
In other news, så har Mikkel bursdag. Gå bort og si han
Valgkampen har fått litt fyr i Svblogg.no, en fellesblogg for Hordalandske SV-ere som jeg har vært litt med på arbeidet med i oppstartsfasen. Nå må det bare komme litt debatt i gang i kommentarfeltene. Registrer deg og bli med i debatten! (Origo, som driver softwaren, er et norsk sosialt nettverking-site drevet av Bengler, folkene som lagde Underskog.)
Another really interesting (though random and useless) fact I learned in the Wright speech of the previous post: The Battle of Vienna in 1683 took place on September 11th. This was the furthest to the North that the Ottoman Empire ever got, and the furthest North the Islamic world had ascended into Europe before being beaten back. What a coincidence, two major turning points in Islamic history taking place on the same day, 318 years apart.
"In other words, they were a lot like us"
Lawrence Wright talks about Al-Qaeda. He's the author of The Looming Tower. The central argument is that the uniting sociological factor among jihadists today is alienation and cultural displacement. Most members join in a different country from where they were born. Also: moslems are 1/5th of the world's population, but roughly half of all poor people are moslem.
Looks like an incredibly interesting talk. I'm going to watch it later.
and speaking of single-celled organisms...
Man, I love the word polysemic, and not just because it sounds totally dirty, yet isn't. It's also one of those words I keep forgetting the English language has, and it always takes me by surprise when I remember it. It always feels like rediscovering it every time I come across it.* When I'm translating, and I come across the Norwegian word "flertydig" or "mangetydig" (which are far more commonly used than their English equivalents), I try to work out a series of words in my head meaning the same thing**, elaborations like "having several meanings", "multiple meanings", etc. And then I remember polysemous or its partner in crime multivalence** and I'm home free.The polysemic champion must be 'set'. Superficially it seems like a wholly unseeming monosyllable, the verbal equivalent of a single-celled organism. Yet it has 58 uses as a noun, 126 as a verb, and 10 as an adjective [and] it take the OED 60,000 words...to discuss them all.
* Any double-entendre in the previous two sentences is completely unintended. Seriously.
** Did you realise that polysemic is the equivalent of multivalent? So many levels, dude.
Which basically means that in the simplest stages of life, we were socialist. Then, as we developed into multiple cells, Darwinian competition took over, and we, as a species, became capitalists. Now we're trying to get past the simplistic, childish world-views of competition and capitalism, in order to reach socialist utopia.Whatever Carl Woese writes, even in a speculative vein, needs to be taken seriously. In his "New Biology" article, he is postulating a golden age of pre-Darwinian life, when horizontal gene transfer was universal and separate species did not yet exist. Life was then a community of cells of various kinds, sharing their genetic information so that clever chemical tricks and catalytic processes invented by one creature could be inherited by all of them. Evolution was a communal affair, the whole community advancing in metabolic and reproductive efficiency as the genes of the most efficient cells were shared. Evolution could be rapid, as new chemical devices could be evolved simultaneously by cells of different kinds working in parallel and then reassembled in a single cell by horizontal gene transfer.
But then, one evil day, a cell resembling a primitive bacterium happened to find itself one jump ahead of its neighbors in efficiency. That cell, anticipating Bill Gates by three billion years, separated itself from the community and refused to share. Its offspring became the first species of bacteria—and the first species of any kind—reserving their intellectual property for their own private use. With their superior efficiency, the bacteria continued to prosper and to evolve separately, while the rest of the community continued its communal life. Some millions of years later, another cell separated itself from the community and became the ancestor of the archea. Some time after that, a third cell separated itself and became the ancestor of the eukaryotes. And so it went on, until nothing was left of the community and all life was divided into species. The Darwinian interlude had begun.
The Darwinian interlude has lasted for two or three billion years. It probably slowed down the pace of evolution considerably. The basic biochemical machinery of life had evolved rapidly during the few hundreds of millions of years of the pre-Darwinian era, and changed very little in the next two billion years of microbial evolution. Darwinian evolution is slow because individual species, once established, evolve very little. With rare exceptions, Darwinian evolution requires established species to become extinct so that new species can replace them.
-- Freeman Dyson, "Our Biotech Future"
Ok, I'm kidding, but I'm only half-kidding. But read the whole article. It's very interesting.
I've discovered a quite wonderful screensaver for the design-conscious, fashion-oriented trendnïsse (as we say in Finnmärck). It's quite simply an old-style flip clock on your computer screen. It's available for free, for both mac and windows.
Walker Rettberg replies to Lovink
Jill Walker Rettberg has a reply to Geert Lovink's article "Blogging, the Nihilist Impulse" which, you may recall, I had a long response to back in June. Then I got a reply from Lovink, and so on and so forth. Here's everything I've written about Lovink's article on this blog.
Jill's response is great. Very considered and voicing lots of interesting objections to Lovink's essay, not least her critique of his lack of examples, and the discussion of the "positivist" argument.
long on titles, short on funny
XKCD is, I think, almost as close as you can get to having humor custom-made for me. I don't get all the math jokes or all the PERL jokes, but who cares?
One of the things I like about the comic is the title-box jokes you get when you place your cursor above the comic (try hovering over the link above). A sort of meta-comment, usually, or a note from the author. I love these kinds of uses of text: writing on the margins, or in the metadata or the colophon or whatever, telling stories where there aren't supposed to be any. Writers like David Foster Wallace or Dave Eggers do that stuff all the time, and many of those people who are most adept at using the web as an artistic (or whatever) medium use these hidden or forbidden surfaces. Only trouble is, Firefox doesn't let you read titles that are above a line in length, which is a really annoying problem which has troubled me forever. As it turns out, this is a known problem, and there is a fix for it. This Mozilla plugin called Long Titles makes Firefox display the full titles. It's a known bug that doesn't get fixed, apparently.
Other types of surfaces for writing these things: Flickr tags, Blogger labels, hidden messages in html source code (yes, I sometimes look for these, and sometimes even find them), footnotes, chapter headings, toilet walls, etc.
Gerard Genette, a French literary theorist, calls these things paratext. It is defined as those cultural signs which present the text as text for reading (and text, in this case, = anything, really). Basically, the stuff outside the text which tells you what the text is and how to read it. A typical trait of postmodern art, particularly literature, is that more and more of the text creeps out into the paratext, blurring the distinction.
I also like the sudden moments of serious in xkcd, which remind me of Calvin & Hobbes. This one, for instance, struck a chord.
"Æsj. Han har blod og urin over hele seg. Han trenger sikkert ikke å komme på sykehus."
Jeg syns det er oppløftende midt i all galskapen å se at det er så sinnsykt mange bilder av det som skjedde i ambulansesaken. Se på Dagbladets nettside med artikkelen. Fotoet som er øverst på siden er fokusert på den blådende Ali Farah på bakken, men allikevel ser vi minst to mobilkameraer. Når alle går rundt med fotografiapparater og videokameraer bokstavelig talt i lommen, så er det plutselig mye vanskeligere å slippe unna med overgrep, både for statlige ansatte og privatpersoner.
Idag morges måtte jeg rydde opp i minnet på mobilen min. Der fant jeg (i tillegg til et noe arbitrært klipp der en alkoholiker danser foran en folkemengde utenfor Sundt-bygget til Trio Mædieval og Arve Henriksen ("kunst i rute" under Festspillene)) en serie med foto av denne episoden fra da jeg var i Danmark under karikaturstriden. Jeg husker stadig at det sto minst 15-20 folk med mobiler og kameraer der og tok bilder av demonstrasjonen og politiets reaksjon.
Punktovergrepene blir lettere og lettere å dokumentere. Det som blir vanskeligere og vanskeligere å snakke om er tilsynelatende de strukturelle overgrepene som punktovergrepene er artikulasjoner av. Fordi vi kan se de grove, enkeltstående overtrampene så mye tydeligere blir det kanskje vanskeligere å se store, strukturelle problemer?
Nixon: I want to show you this kitchen. It is like those of our houses in California.
[Nixon points to dishwasher.]
Khrushchev: We have such things.
Nixon: This is our newest model. This is the kind which is built in thousands of units for direct installations in the houses. In America, we like to make life easier for women...
Khrushchev: Your capitalistic attitude toward women does not occur under Communism.
Khrushchev: You’re a lawyer of Capitalism, I’m a lawyer for Communism. Let’s kiss.
God I miss the cold war.
and now, vice president Cheney on why the invasion of Iraq was a mistake
Real life has me a little busy right now with actual paying jobs. I'm working on a couple of translations while applying for jobs with steady paychecks, in order to pay off my annoying new friends mr. Mortgage and mr. Student Loan. Also, no internet at home (or, y'know, furniture), so kinda difficult to find the time to write blog posts when I need to spend my actual internet time looking for work and answering emails.
So in lieu of actual posting, I can, at least, give you some links to what I'm reading online these days (or rather, saving in an open tab and reading offline when I get home).
First off, there's this massive profile of Bill Clinton in the New Yorker. It focuses on the post-presidency, and is from last October. It does spend a little too much time on the whole will-Hilary-run-or-not-issue, which is not too interesting to us now, but the personal observations of what Clinton is like in person are priceless. David Remnick, the reporter, is, as a recent New York Review of Books article (only available to subscribers) observed, at his best noting significant personal habits and actions by his subjects.
Also in the New Yorker, this fantastic piece on the CIA black sites. How some asshole legislator (+ the president, secretaries of Defense, attorneys general and vice-presiden) can sit in their office and tell us that simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, induced hypothermia, sensory deprivation and forced exposure to extreme noise is not torture and still sleep at night signifies, to me, having moved beyond the realm of being a part of the human race. The piece is well-researched, well-written and horrific. Investigative reporting at its very best. It clearly shows that the US has by now let go of its already-tenuous status as a democracy, and that the Bush administration is deeply implicated in war crimes.
I'm going to read this review of Don DeLillo's Falling Man as soon as I get done with the novel. I'm only about 1/3rd of a way into it so far, but it doesn't quite seem to be an adequate artistic response to 9/11. More on this, maybe, later.
And I've just gotten started on this article on guaranteed basic income in the Boston Review. It seems thorough and interesting.
In print, I'm working simultaneously on Hermione Lee's excruciatingly well-researched biography, Virginia Woolf (it must be the definitive biography of her), Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, Falling Man and Sara Stridbergs Drömfakulteten.
The last one is an acclaimed Swedish novel about Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto, about which I have no sense of humour whatsoever, and shooter of Andy Warhol. More on this, maybe, later.
Mikkel, you're going to love this:
So I'm reading this spidergoat-related article in the NY Times*, and listening to my iPod. And the second I get to the bit where it says "milk silk", "Lullaby" by the Cure comes up on shuffle. First line: "on candystripe legs the spiderman comes". Holy synchronicity, Spiderman!
* Reason I was reading it? I watched the Simpsons movie trailer where Homer is singing "spider pig, spider pig".
Kayfabe. Quite possibly the most awesome new word I've learned all year.
"The history of the response to African AIDS can be divided into two phases: (1) fiddling while Rome burns, and then (2) trying to use the fiddles to put out the fire."
Very interesting article on AIDS in Africa by William Easterly in the NYRB. It's a review of this book. The Invisible Cure, by Helen Epstein.