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RBD2021: Fidel and Religion

“To pay a denarius to each one who worked that day implies a distribution more in keeping with needs, a typically communist formula.” –Fidel Castro

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RBD2021: Damming the Flood

“Aristide emerged as the crystallization of Haitian demands for social transformation because he managed to combine a concrete strategy for acquiring practical political power with the uncompromising inspiration of liberation theology.” –Peter Hallward

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RBD2021: Marx’s 1844 Manuscripts

One thing my adolescent piety politics got right was that to hear the word of Jesus puts one out of step with contemporary politics. It took an encounter with the early Marx to really show me how.

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Blood tells the truth very quickly.

Some timely court testimony from Daniel Burns, of the St. Patrick’s Day Four, charged with trespassing after pouring his blood in a military recruitment center in 2003 before the impending Iraq invasion: “I poured blood carefully. I didn’t throw it or splash it; exaggerations. And it dropped down. And then I saw the flag; I […]

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Nazism: Illusion, Waste

At the beginning of winter I was steeped in Arendt, now I’m tarrying with Virilio. Two similarities between their analyses of Hitler’s regime keep coming up: the creation of a society of total illusion and a state that constantly sabotages itself by excessive waste. In Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt continually underscores the role of propaganda […]

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Trump and War and Cinema

Here’s a small sampling of passages in Paul Virilio’s War and Cinema where I saw fit to make a marginal note about Donald Trump. Some are more suggestive than others, and the passages aren’t meant to create a 1:1 correlation between the subject matter and Trump (e.g. sometimes they suggest important differences or flag an […]

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Sloterdijk’s Jesuits

I just picked up a copy of Peter Sloterdijk’s latest English release, a collection of essays entitled Not Saved: Essays After Heidegger. The collection, which was released in German in 2001, is part of a burgeoning translation industry that tries to get English readers up to speed with Sloterdijk’s prolific and ongoing career. The subtitle […]

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From Topology to Dromology: A Brief Sketch of Paul Virilio

Paul Virilio, born in 1932, spent his early life on the northern coast of France. His childhood, growing up alongside the Second World War, was marked by routine bombings, as Nantes became a Nazi occupied port. Like many other postmodern theorists, the French experience of the war and subsequent French political problems, like the Algerian […]

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A Secular Church? McLuhan, Catholicism, and the War of Identity

I’ve been tracking McLuhan’s relationship to his Catholic faith for the last several weeks, specifically going through The Medium and the Light, a collection of interviews, addresses, outlines, etc. centering on religion. True to form, McLuhan’s thoughts are a mixture of what feel like off-the-cuff statements and long-percolated and crystallized observations. Reading all these documents […]

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Pope Francis, Software Pope

“To come back to our comparison, the choice between two forms of authority makes me think of the difference between hardware and software. The written or printed paper is hardware; the spoken or recorded word is software. Pontifical documents were hardware, as stable and solid as matter. The new form is software, as malleable as […]