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Bring Me the Time Machine - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Bring Me the Time Machine
I picked up Walter Benjamin, On Hashish in the Borders in Redmond Town Center last week. I initially thought it was just a translation of pieces I'd already read in German. But it turns out that a lot of it is from previously unpublished material, thereby overcoming my resistance to reading him in English. I started by flipping through the book and lighting on random passages, as is my wont with non-fiction texts. Now I've started from the beginning in earnest. And I've already learned things I hadn't realized about the link between his literary and pharmaceutical experiments. Here's one of the notes he made after his first time, dated 3:30am, December 18th, 1927:
One is very much struck by how long one's sentences are. This, too, connected with horizontal extension and (probably) with laughter. The arcade is also a phenomenon of long horizontal extension, perhaps combined with vistas receding into distant, fleeting, tiny perspectives. The element of the diminutive would serve to link the idea of the arcade to laughter. (Compare the Trauerspiel book: miniaturizing power of reflection.)
In other words, the byways of the Passagenwerk he was at this point commencing to write were filled with more than one flavor of smoke from the get-go. I suppose Lance Olsen is right to transpose the spirit of the Aracdes Project to a fictional take on the Mall of America. I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to browse the racks at Hot Topic with Walter.

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5 comments or Leave a comment
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: September 17th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I've been wanting to get my hands on that since I read the feature about it and dear Benjamin in the New Yorker a few weeks back. It's worth getting your hands on. I'll try to find the issue lurking in our apartment to photocopy...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 17th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I missed that. If you can track down a copy and mail or PDF it to me, I'd be most grateful.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: September 17th, 2006 11:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I don't know how long they stay archived on the web for free but I think you can view it here--http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/articles/060821crbo_books

And I sent you an email.
From: batdina Date: September 17th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
your theory posts tend to create the following in our kitchen, almost every time:

leela_cat: c's theory posts tend to make my head spin and make me grateful I didn't go to graduate school.
batdina: I love them. Guess I'm still a theory head.

Just thought you should know.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 17th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I radically underestimate my ability to make heads spin. Unless I hear from someone about it, as I am here, I see everything I do as rather self-evident. It's great to have a reality check. And also to know that I'm being discussed in such lovely company!
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