May 19th, 2009


There's an issue of Telos on one of the bookshelves I can see from where I'm sitting. It's the Fall, 1991 issue, from the period when many of the journal's contributors were making a strange turn away from traditional leftism to a critique of the state that borrows heavily from the right-wing political theorist Carl Schmitt. I bought the issue before the full scope of that turn had become apparent and, what is more, before I knew who Carl Schmitt was. I just knew that Telos had published many articles on the subjects in which I was refining my interest. Once I realized what was going on with Paul Piccone and his crew, though, I put my post-1989 issues in a box and decided I should spend my time on less shady reading.

It's interesting, then, that this particular issue I'm looking at, which somehow escaped banishment, should be exerting such a strong pull on me at the moment. Maybe it's just an accident. But I'm starting to worry, perhaps with a tinge of excitement mixed in, whether some of the verities on which I self-consciously reconstructed my worldview as an undergraduate are in danger of crumbling in the face of the massive pressures of the present conjuncture. More likely, my political thinking is just in need of some adjustments, rather than a wholesale overhaul. I've often found it productive to read work whose basic premises I reject on principle. I do feel like I'm going to have to pull the issue off the shelf and give it a look, though, as troubling as its contents may prove.

Tortoise Tripleheader

Felicia is proud to announce the return of tortoise season, a threshold marked not only by her brother Max's decision to join her in above-ground pursuits, but the release of a new single by the eponymous post-rock outfit identified with Chicago's Thrill Jockey label. It's a great song, which works oddly well when you play it in two or three overlapping browser windows. In the words of Felicia, "It's tasty!"

In the spirit of full disclosure, though, I have to confess that Felicia has been cruising since February -- it was an unusually mild winter in Tucson -- thereby prompting me to revise a line from a poem I composed in the callowness of youth: "Even this tortoise here knows no time. . ."