I’m not sure I understand what people are finding so outrageous/funny/parodyable about Kanye and Kim Kardashian’s Vogue cover. Is it just that they themselves are clownish and thus anything they do is inherently funny or what? It seems like pretty standard Hollywood-worship fluff to me.

Here I am at the summit of the aesthetic.

"Here I am at the summit of the aesthetic. And in truth, he who has humility and courage enough to let himself be aesthetically transformed, he who feels himself present as a character in a drama the deity is writing, in which the poet and the prompter are not different persons, in which the individual, as the experienced actor who has lived into his character and his lines is not disturbed by the prompter but feels that he himself wants to say what is being whispered to him, so that it almost becomes a question whether he is putting the words in the prompter’s mouth or the prompter in his, he who in the most profound sense feels himself creating and created, who in the moment he feels himself creating has the original pathos of the lines, and in the moment he feels himself created has the erotic ear that picks up every sound—he and he alone has brought into actual existence the highest in aesthetics.”

- Søren Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous Judge William describing the presence of beauty in the ethical life in Either/Or.

To live “in the moment” is to deny personal continuity, or personal narrative. Living “in the moment” is to fragment yourself. Embrace life as a continuous struggle and striving, a building of character, personality, and behavior; embrace life as the narrative you yourself may create, in concert with the infinite. And as such you are experiencing the beauty in its highest form, a living, lived artwork which is one with the infinite.

Cry in public.

Cry in public.

The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage

"Marital love…has its enemy in time, its victory in time, its eternity in time—therefore, even if I were to imagine away all its so-called outer and inner trials, it would always have its task…it is obvious that this love cannot be portrayed. It always moves inward and spends itself (in the good sense) in time, but that which is to be portrayed by reproduction must be lured forth, and its time must be foreshortened. You will be further persuaded of this by pondering the adjectives used to describe marital love. It is faithful, constant, humble, patient, long-suffering, tolerant, honest, content with little, alert, persevering, willing, happy. All these virtues have the characteristic that they are qualifications within the individual. The individual is not fighting against external enemies but is struggling with himself, struggling to bring his love out of himself. And these virtues have the qualification of time, for their veracity consists not in this, that they are once and for all, but that they are continually. And by means of these virtues, nothing else is acquired; only they themselves are acquired. Therefore, marital love is simultaneously commonplace…and also divine, and it is divine by virtue of being commonplace. Marital love does not come with external signs, not like that bird of fortune with rustling and bustling, but is the incorruptible essence of a quiet spirit."

- Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, Judge Williams on ”The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage”


As human beings we are fortunate enough to have the ability to know and understand, to a certain extent, our relationship with nature, and more fundamentally our intimate connection and origination from it. It seems that a natural implication then is that we do not have to think of ourselves as “individuals” or discrete parts which must exercise our own individual need to survive and, as an inevitable result, cast the concerns of other people and living things aside. It may be the case that we are naturally inclined to act in our interests or in the interests of those close to us, but the fact that we are psychologically and physiologically “designed” to act and behave a certain way doesn’t mean we have to disregard the actual truth: that from both a top-down or bottom-up perspective, we are not individuals, that the breaking down of the universe into discrete parts is a uniquely human activity that actively alienates us from the reality of our interconnection and—a term I’ll use at the risk of sounding cheesy or hokey—our “one”-ness, spiritually-speaking or otherwise.

We should make it an obligation as human beings to regularly acknowledge this fact: that despite our relative uniqueness, we are ultimately connected in a way decidedly not unique, but in a way just like every other creature or object in the universe. It may not prevent us from regularly asserting our individuality and dominance over other things (animal, mineral or vegetable, etc.) but at the very least it may occasionally knock us out of our insular ways of thinking and slowly move us ever closer to a more communitarian or cosmopolitan ethic, or at the very least to a more generally compassionate one.

"The Fates guide the willing; the unwilling, they drag."

"Man’s life is a line that nature commands him to describe upon the surface of the earth, without his ever being able to swerve from it, even for an instant. He is born without his own consent; his organization does in nowise depend upon himself; his ideas come to him involuntarily; his habits are in the power of those who cause him to contract them; he is unceasingly modified by causes, whether visible or concealed, over which he has no control, which necessarily regulate his mode of existence, give the hue to his way of thinking, and determine his manner of acting. He is good or bad, happy or miserable, wise or foolish, reasonable or irrational, without his will being for any thing in these various states…Man, in running over, frequently without his own knowledge, often in despite of himself, the route which nature has marked out for him, resembles a swimmer who is obliged to follow the current that carries him along: he believes himself a free agent, because he sometimes consents, sometimes does not consent, to glide with the stream, which, notwithstanding, always hurries him forward; he believes himself the master of his condition, because he is obliged to use his arms under the fear of sinking."

preach it

Foreign Words We Could Use in English


  1. Kummerspeck (German)
    Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
  2. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
    You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it?
  3. Backpfeifengesicht (German)
    A face badly in need of a fist.
  4. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
    You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet?
  5. Fremdschämen (German)
    ; Myötähäpeä (Finnish)
    The kindler, gentler cousins of Schadenfreude, both these words mean something akin to “vicarious embarrassment.”
  6. Seigneur-terraces (French)
    Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money.
  7. Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
    This word is the hopeful declaration that you will die before someone you love deeply, because you cannot stand to live without them. Literally, may you bury me.
  8. Slampadato (Italian)
    Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.
  9. Koi No Yokan (Japanese)
    The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.
  10. Boketto (Japanese)
    It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.
  11. L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
    Literally, stairwell wit—a too-late retort thought of only after departure.
  12. Hygge (Danish)
    Denmark’s mantra, hygge is the pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.
  13. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
    There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense.

(via ella-gance)

2013 Reading: Animal Liberation (Singer, 2002)

The core of this book is the claim that to discriminate against beings solely on account of their species is a form of prejudice, immoral and indefensible in the same way that discrimination on the basis of race is immoral and indefensible. I have not been content to put forward this claim as a bare assertion, or as a statement of my own personal view, which others may or may not choose to accept. I have argued for it, appealing to reason rather than to emotion or sentiment. I have chosen this path, not because I am unaware of the importance of kind feelings and sentiments of respect toward other creatures, but because reason is more universal and compelling in its appeal…

Unless you can refute the central argument of this book, you should now recognize that speciecism is wrong, and this means that, if you take morality seriously, you should try to eliminate speciesist practices from your own life, and oppose them elsewhere. Otherwise no basis remains from which you can, without hypocrisy, criticize racism or sexism.

We have seen that speciesism has historical roots that go deep into the consciousness of Western society. We have seen that the elimination of speciesist practices would threaten the vested interests of the giant agribusiness corporations, and the professional associations of research workers and veterinarians….Moreover the public has—or thinks it has—an interest in the continuance of the speciesist practice of raising and killing animals for food and this makes people ready to accept reassurances that, in this respect at least, there is little cruelty. As we have seen, people are also ready to accept fallacious forms of reasoning…which they would never entertain for a moment were it not for the fact that these fallacies appear to justify their preferred diet.

That comes from the conclusion of Animal Liberation, definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read. Incredibly insightful and hard-hitting, it’d be hard to justify eating meat after reading the whole thing; even if you kept doing it, I can’t imagine you’d actually think it was ethically justified (religious beliefs are the only thing I can see trumping Singer’s arguments). Wonderful read. Highly recommended to anyone—vegetarian, vegan, on the fence, totally not-on-the-fence-at-all “bone collector,” etc.

Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. 

To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.

Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.

I’m sure he’s not but Anthony Bourdain seems like kind of an idiot.