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Operation Mincemeat involved Allied spies dressing up a corpse and dropping it off the coast of Spain with faked Super Secret Invasion Plans in its pockets. Dead men do tell tales: The subterfuge was successful, Hitler was convinced, and he moved troops to Greece instead of Sicily. Reportedly, the mastermind behind the plot sold it to the British intelligence supervisors by pointing out that corpses rarely crack under torture.

The heroic corpse has gone unnamed for all of the intervening decades, though there have been contenders in the running, a film and previous books on the subject. The plotters went to their graves without ever revealing whose body made Operation Mincemeat possible. Now, however, historian Denis Smyth has written a book, claiming he has convincing evidence identifying “Major Martin” as Glyndwr Michael: a homeless Welshman who died eating rat poison.

It is time for Mr. Michael to get his propers. The Brits’ level of respect for their ersatz hero is evident in the operational codename Mincemeat. And even today, there are those who would deny Mr. Michael’s contribution. John Steele authored an earlier book, in which he claims that “Major Martin” was a sailor aboard the HMS Dasher. One can detect a frisson of disgust at the mere idea that the war-hero corpse-spy could have been a lunatic of the underclass: “There is no comparison whatsoever between the body of an alcoholic tramp and that of a Royal Marine,” he told the Telegraph.

Let us lift a pint tonight in commemoration of Mr. Michael’s unsung contributions to the Last Great War, and praise the ghosts of uncounted numbers other filthy, raving, suicidal, homeless madmen whose magnificence and humanity have been disregarded.

 

 

(image courtesy of kitschy kitschy koo)

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I made this little book as a gift for a friend. It’s a portrait without a face; a portrait of an artist through photographs of his living space. There’s not much of a preview at the website because, well, the self-publishing outfit I used wants to make money. But if you’re feeling rich and like surprises and want to support amateur photography as sentimental talisman, then, by all means, go ahead and buy the book. And if you don’t want to buy it, I’ll show you my copy. I rather like how it turned out: a little creepy, a little Zen, a little phenomenological, a little fetishistic…my friend has great stuff in his house. Take a look.

(Note – clicking the photo will just enlarge it; click the blurb.com link above to see the book webpage…)

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The journal Collapse is verrrrry interessssting. And it’s available now for free download (click through the picture above, or here:)

http://freeourbooks.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/collapse-iv-philosophy-and-scien…

A few appetizing tidbits from within:

“Blasphemous life is the life which is living but that should not be living.”

– Eugene Thacker, in re: Lovecraft, in “Nine Disputations on Theology and Horror.”

“The spread of the tentacle – a limb-type with no Gothic or traditional precedents (in ‘Western’ aesthetics) – from a situation of near total absence in Euro-American teratoculture up to the nineteenth century, to one of being the default monstrous appendage of today, signals the epochal shift to a Weird culture.”

– China Mieville, in “M. R. James and the Quantum Vampire: Weird; Hauntological: Versus and/or and and/or or?”

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I’ve long been enamored of the idea that We don’t need institutions to do our intellectual/cultural exchanging, that We are in fact constricted and muffled by our over-reliance on institutions, and that We should be taking matters into Our own hands. I’m always hearing my university-affiliated compatriots complaining about bureaucratic turf wars and Kafka-esque administrative procedures. After my modest attempt at gradskool participation, I don’t envy them.

The thing I DO miss about gradskool is the ampleness of opportunity for long, impassioned arguments. The kind that begin with current events and quickly head for the stratosphere of philosophical speculation, or dig into the underguts of sex and hunger. I miss having a readymade group of compatriots who have all read, and thought about, the same books.

But I don’t think I need gradskool to create that sort of atmosphere. Let’s just Do It Ourselves. Let’s have monthly thematics, and networked seminars, and debates with guest presenters. Except let’s eliminate conference rooms, fluorescent lights, powerpoint, and external funding. We can use kitchen tables and barrooms and midnight parkbenches, and bonfires and candlelight and sunshine, and the good ol’ fashioned human voice, and face, and gesture. And fuck funders – we can make our own vodka and sandwiches. Potlatch film festivals; bookfeasts…these aren’t new ideas. Let’s execute. (Misha, Ice Lady, DJ Quodlibetical Demiurge, Princess Roger, Milutis, Burke, Meghatron, Zed Equals Zee, The Old Man, Jason Z: I’m CALLING YOU OUT.)

So, as a suggestion. Eliminative Culinarism has a piquant list of Speculative Realist Cinema and Literature. Maybe we could collectively accumulate copies of these titles, distribute them amongst ourselves, and have a day of viewing/discussion/imbibing? In MY utopia, this would be a typical weekend. Xoxoxoxox.

So, here’s a link to The Coming Insurrection, by The Invisible Committee. This text featured heavily as evidence in a French anti-terrorist sabotage trial. 22 people were arrested in connection with producing the manifesto. And that, childrens, should be reason enough to take a peek.

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“Can there be any greater cruelty for a lover than the unfaithfulness of the woman he loves?”

“Indeed!” she replied. “We are faithful as long as we love, but you demand faithfulness of a woman without love, and the giving of herself without enjoyment. Who is cruel there – woman or man? You of the North in general take love too soberly and seriously. You talk of duties where there should only be a question of pleasure.”

“That is why our emotions are honorable and virtuous, and our relations permanent.”

“And yet a restless, always unsatisfied craving for the nudity of paganism,” she interrupted, “but that love, which is the highest joy, which is divine simplicity itself, is not for you moderns, you children of reflection. It works only evil in you. As soon as you wish to be natural, you become common. To you nature seems something hostile; you have made devils out of the smiling gods of Greece, and out of me a demon. You can only exorcise and curse me, or slay yourselved in bacchantic madness before my altar. And if ever one of you has had the courage to kiss my red mouth, he makes a barefoot pilgrimage to Rome in penitential robes and expects flowers to grow from his withered staff, while under my feet roses, violets, and myrtles spring up every hour, but their fragrance does not agree with you. Stay among your northern fogs and Christian incense; let us pagans remain under the debris, beneath the lava; do not disinter us. Pompeii was not built for you, nor our villas, our baths, our temples. You do not require gods. We are chilled in your world.”

The beautiful marble woman coughed, and drew the dark sables still closer about her shoulders.


                                   – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs
, 1870

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