The body politic

“If there were a man who dared to say all that he thought of this world there would not be left him a square foot of ground to stand on. When a man appears the world bears down on him and breaks his back. There are always too many rotten pillars left standing, too much festering humanity for man to bloom. The superstructure is a lie and the foundation is a huge quaking fear.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Feeling free, are we

“As soon as the corporeal presence of the industrial slave has fully entered the composition of the assessable output of what she can produce—her physiognomy being inseparable from her labor—the distinction between the person and the activity of that person becomes specious. The corporeal presence is already a commodity, independently of and in addition to the commodity this presence contributes to producing. Henceforth industrial slaves either establish an intimate relation between their corporeal presence and the money this presence brings in, or else they substitute themselves for the function of money, being money themselves: at once the equivalent of wealth and the wealth itself.” – Pierre Klossowski, Living Currency

How much for the lusty wench

“The vitrified aspect of the face of the Young-Girl must be explained by her status as commodity: She is the crystallization of a certain quantity of labor spent to put her in accordance with the norms of a certain type of exchange. And the form of the Young-Girl’s appearance, which is also that of a commodity, is characterized by the obscuring, if not the voluntary forgetting, of this concrete labor.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl (emphases in original)

Squinting and crying out

“One is ejected into the world like a dirty little mummy; the roads are slippery with blood and no one knows why it should be so. Each one is traveling his own way and, though the earth be rotting with good things, there is no time to pluck the fruits; the procession scrambles toward the exit sign, and such a panic is there, such a sweat to escape, that the weak and the helpless are trampled into the mud and their cries are unheard.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

The necessary work

“For the man in the paddock, whose duty it is to sweep up manure, the supreme terror is the possibility of a world without horses. To tell him that it is disgusting to spend one’s life shoveling up horse turds is a piece of imbecility. A man can get to love shit if his livelihood depends on it, if his happiness is involved.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

And the mind hungers

“Had one single element of man’s nature been altered, vitally, fundamentally altered, by the incessant march of history? By what he calls the better part of his nature, man has been betrayed, that is all. At the extreme limits of his spiritual being man finds himself again naked as a savage. When he finds God, as it were, he has been picked clean: he is a skeleton. One must burrow into life again in order to put on flesh. The word must become flesh; the soul thirsts.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Watching shadows on the wall

“On the meridian of time there is no injustice: there is only the poetry of motion creating the illusion of truth and drama. If at any moment anywhere one comes face to face with the absolute that great sympathy which makes men like Gautama and Jesus seem divine freezes away; the monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung-heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured, disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui—in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off. All the while someone is eating the bread of life and drinking the wine, some dirty fat cockroach of a priest who hides away in the cellar guzzling it, while up above in the light of the street a phantom host touches the lips and the blood is pale as water. And out of the endless torment and misery no miracle comes forth, no microscopic vestige even of relief. Only ideas, pale, attenuated ideas which have to be fattened by slaughter; ideas which come forth like bile, like the guts of a pig when the carcass is ripped open.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (emphasis in original)

One-party state

“The ‘dictatorship of beauty’ is also the dictatorship of ugliness. It does not signify the brutal hegemony of a certain paradigm of beauty, but rather, more radically, the hegemony of the physical simulacrum as the form of the objectivity of beings. Understood as such, we can see that nothing prevents such a dictatorship from extending over everyone—the beautiful, the ugly, and the indifferent.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl (emphasis in original)

The adult dose

“New York makes even a rich man feel his unimportance. New York is cold, glittering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit. A constant ferment, but it might just as well be going on in a test-tube. Nobody knows what it’s all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre. Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Turn-about and fair play

“The rhetoric of the war of the sexes, and thus for now, of women’s revenge, operates as the ultimate ruse through which the logic of virility will have vanquished women without their knowledge: by enclosing them, at the price of a simple role reversal, in the submission/domination alternative, to the exclusion of all else.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl

Everybody’s watching

“There is nothing in the Young-Girl’s life, even in the deepest zones of her intimacy, that escapes alienated reflexivity, that escapes the codification and the gaze of the Spectacle. This intimacy strewn with commodities yields entirely to advertising, and is entirely socialized as intimacy, which is to say that she is part-for-part subject to a fallacious commonality that does not allow her to express herself.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl (emphasis in original)

Not as a possession

“For a hundred years or more the world, our world, has been dying. And not one man, in these last hundred years or so, has been crazy enough to put a bomb up the asshole of creation and set it off. The world is rotting away, dying piecemeal. But it needs the coup de grâce, it needs to be blown to smithereens. Not one of us is intact, and yet we have in us all the continents and the seas between the continents and the birds of the air.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (emphasis in original)

A sanguinary folk

“Things are always happening. It seems wherever I go there is drama. People are like lice—they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can’t get permanently deloused. Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It’s in the blood now—misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch—until there’s no skin left.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Getting away with murder

Justifiable homicide is that which is committed either, 1st, by unavoidable necessity, without any will, intention or desire, or any inadvertence or negligence in the party killing, and therefore without blame; such as, by an officer, executing a criminal, pursuant to the death-warrant, and in strict conformity to the law, in every particular; or, 2dly, for the advancement of public justice; as, where an officer, in the due execution of his office, kills a person who assaults and resists him; or, where a private person or officer attempts to arrest a man charged with felony and is resisted, and in the endeavor to take him, kills him; or, if a felon flee from justice, and in the pursuit he be killed, where be cannot otherwise be taken; or, if there be a riot, or a rebellious assembly, and the officers or their assistants, in dispersing the mob, kill some of them, where the riot cannot otherwise be suppressed; or, if prisoners, in gaol or going to gaol, assault or resist the officers, while in the necessary discharge of their duty, and the officers or their aids, in repelling force by force, kill the party resisting; or, 3dly, for the prevention of any atrocious crime, attempted to be committed by force; such as, murder, robbery, house-breaking in the night time, rape, mayhem, or any other act of felony against the person. But in such cases, the attempt must be not merely suspected, but apparent, the danger must be imminent, and the opposing force or resistance necessary to avert the danger or defeat the attempt.” – Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (footnotes omitted; emphases in original)

Who’s there by your side

“Any writer who accepts or partially accepts the discipline of a political party is sooner or later faced with the alternative: toe the line, or shut up. It is, of course, possible to toe the line and go on writing—after a fashion. Any Marxist can demonstrate with the greatest of ease that ‘bourgeois’ liberty of thought is an illusion. But when he has finished his demonstration there remains the psychological fact that without this ‘bourgeois’ liberty the creative powers wither away. In the future a totalitarian literature may arise, but it will be quite different from anything we can now imagine. Literature as we know it is an individual thing, demanding mental honesty and a minimum of censorship. And this is even truer of prose than of verse.” – George Orwell, “Inside the Whale”

Let those who have eyes see

“When one looks back at the twenties, nothing is queerer than the way in which every important event in Europe escaped the notice of the English intelligentsia. The Russian Revolution, for instance, all but vanishes from the English consciousness between the death of Lenin and the Ukraine famine—about ten years. Throughout those years Russia means Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, and exiled counts driving taxi-cabs. Italy means picture-galleries, ruins, churches, and museums—but not Black-shirts. Germany means films, nudism, and psychoanalysis—but not Hitler, of whom hardly anyone had heard till 1931. In ‘cultured’ circles art-for-art’s-saking extended practically to a worship of the meaningless. Literature was supposed to consist solely in the manipulation of words. To judge a book by its subject matter was the unforgivable sin, and even to be aware of its subject matter was looked on as a lapse of a taste.” – George Orwell, “Inside the Whale”