Distribution Automatique

Saturday, January 17

Debussy on Canvas: Rosenquist at the Guggenheim

When you live with an artist in love with galleries,
museums and art shows you go to a lot
of them and spend quite a lot of time
listening and looking and nodding repectfully
without having a clue as to what the art is
all about. But tonight's visit to the Guggenheim
Museum brought an entirely different sort of
experience. The James Rosenquist retrospective {click here}
was a competely pleasureable
experience, a joy to behold. Here are a few more of
the images from the Rosenquist
Retrospective {click here}
but even this selection of images
doesn't capture the range and excitement of these
paintings, many of which can take up an entire huge

Rosenquist's work rarely seems to be about pain or sadness,
though one large painting includes a version of Picasso's
Guernica. This may be the first artist I have ever seen
who could be visionary, while working in such a large
scale without being tragic or agonized. Rosenquist work is
light without being lightweignt, when there is irony it
is not puncturing, but is harmonized into an overview
that includes lush beauty and sensuality. Rosenquist
is cinematic to an exciting degree, and while we see many
of the familiar images of Pop Art, this work employs such
themes without a cartoony sense of strained humor, and
somehow I didn't feel the art to be blaring even when many
images employed in the work were. There are innumerable
references to art history. In one painting from 1966, Rosenquist
attaches a broken pane to the painting in a clear reference
to Duchamp. Yet these references do not come across as
either labored or ironic, they show a witty, even cinematic
kind of reflexivity of the artist's formal process such
you might observe in a great filmaker like Robert Altman
(I saw "The Player" recently; and have long been a fan of "Three Women");
Rosenquist uses art historical references the way a good
filmaker refers consciously or unconsciously to film history
and weaves them respectfully, but unintrusively, into the whole.
Also, while not always offering the vertical scale that might
reflect the scale of the paintings in the most complimentary way, the
Guggenheim offers a horizontal overview of many paintings
at a time which shows Rosenquist's complex, layered development and
cinematic qualities to great effect.

Rosenquist shows lots of wit and insight about time and history. In
1947, 1848, 1950, R depicts three kind of ties in
1950's tv style black and white. This painting was made
in 1960. Rosenquist seems supremely sensitive to technology's
continual reshaping of the way the eye receives color. Toni mentioned
Walter Benjamin and I thought that Rosenquist was doing
deconstruction long before the advent of Jacques Derrida.

As in the best collages, there is no need here to avoid narrative,
but also no ongoing need to recount history in either a sentimental
or a journalistic way. In this use of fragmentation, some elements
of harmony, whether about movement, color or tone, are always
insisted on- this is the classic aspect. As a result, as with my
favorite composers, notably Chopin and Debussy, the melodic
line goes anywhere from memorable to hypnotizing; but there is
always melody and there is always grace
Pleasurable melody remains the most memorable
of the sometimes fragmented and abstract,
yet never incoherent forms of narrative.
R is never maudlin, most particulary in his use
of color, which never precludes the phantasmagoria
of tv, cinema, advertising, notably neon- and there are numerous
references to the black and white era of tv and cinema- these are
lush and redolant with recent history and its overlay with the present.

The show closes on January 25th. Friday nights at the Guggenheim
are pay as you wish, and since the tourists have gone home, and
it is cold, you probably won't find it crowded; we didn't, and the
two hours we spent there went by in a minute.

Friday, January 16

Think daring political action
Think daring film creation and curating
Think daring writing and blogging
Think Froth (Marianne Shaneen) {click here}

Froth {click here}
is back
with that revolutionary attitude
we've all been missing!

Welcome back to blogging Marianne!
My essay "Blogging and Narcissism" was posted on Sunday, January 11th, in response to Ernest Priego's January 11th essay "Primary Passions". My sincere thanks to Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego) {click here}, Boynton {click here}, Paula's House of Toast {click here}, Wood s Lot (Mark Woods) {click here}, The Cassandra Pages {click here}, This Journal (Brother Tom Murphy) {click here}, The Well Nourished Moon (Stephanie Young) {click here}, Bellona Times (Ray Davis) {click here}, Ought (Ron Henry) {click here} , Blaugustine (Natalie D'Arbeloff) {click here}, Cahiers de Corey (Josh Corey) {click here} , Mairead Byrne, Sheila Murphy, Gregory St. Thomasino, Topher Tune's Times (Christy Church) {click here}, Blue Kangeroo (Jean Vengua) {click here} , Blogmatrix Rss Feed for January 14 {click here} , Live Journal {click here} , Moonshine Highways (Amy Bernier) {click here} ,...something slant {click here} , and Savoradin.com {click here} for recent links and kind words.
If I missed anybody, thanks to you too, and
please let me know so
*fait accompli* can publish an

Thursday, January 15

Bibliography for "The Narcissistic Personality"

*(Highly Recommended)

4. Object Relations

*Sigmund Freud, "Contributions to the Psychology
of Love. A Special Type of Object Choice Made By Men"
(1910) in *Collected Papers volume 4*, pps. 203-216

*Annie Reich, "Narcissistic Object Choice in Women" (1953)
in *Psychoanalytic Contributions* International Universitiies
Press, pp. 179-209

Marjorie Taggert White, "Self-Relations, Object Relations
and Pathological Narcissism", The Psychoanalytic Review, Vol.
67-pp. 4-23

*DW Winnicott, *Playing and Reality*, "The Use of an Object
and Relating Through Identifications", (Tavistock, 1971 pp.86-94)

Wednesday, January 14

Bibiography for "The Narcissistic Personality"

1. Historical Overview

Lord Chestefiield (1756) "Choleric, Good-Natured People", ("The World
Thursday, September 30, 1756, No. 196, pp. 371-376.

Syney E. Pulver, "Narcissism: The Term and The Concept" in
*Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Vol. 18,
pp. 319-41.

Arnold M. Cooper, "Narcissism" from *American Handbook of
Psychiatry,* edited by S. Arieti, Chapter 15, ppl. 297-316.


Psychoanalytic Foundations of the Concept of Narcissism

Sigmund Freud, "On Narcissism: an Introduction" (1914)
*Collected Papers* Valume IV, pp. 30-59

Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917)
*Collected Papers* volume 1V, pp. 153-172

Robert D. Stolorow, "Toward a "Functional Definition of Narcissism"
International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol 565: pp: 179-85, 1975

Karl Abraham, "A Particular form of Neurotic Reisistance Against
The Psychoanalytic Method" (1919) *International Journal
of Psychoanalysis*, Vol. 56: pp: 179-85

3. Developmental Issues

Melanie Klein, "Envy and Gratitude" (1957) in
*Envy and Gratitude and Other Works* 1946-
1963*, 176-235

Sigmund Freud, *The Ego and the Id,*, "The
Ego and the Super-Ego (Ego Ideal)"
(1923), Norton Edition edited by James
Strachey, pp. 22-36

Sigmund Freud, ibid., "The Two Classes of
Instincts" pp. 37-47.

Karl Abraham, op. cit. "Contributions to the
Theory of The Anal Character", pp. 370-393.

Karl Abraham, Ibid., "The Narcissistic Evaluation
of Excretory Processes in Dreams and Neurosis" p 318-322

(to be continued)

I received an interesting letter from a blogger about
"primary narcissism."

Following is an example of recent technical work
in the field of narcissism. Reading psychoanalytic
theory in most instances is similar to doing crossword
puzzles- it can be extremely engrossing, but when you're
done you wonder whether any of it applies to real life.
The other aspect is, that when you read this material, you
can start to think you suffer from every syndrome. If you
think you do, probably you don't. You're just being too
conscientious. So, be careful. A little knowledge, as they say,
is a dangerous thing. With a few striking exceptions, most
people face similar dilemmas and struggle with similar
issues; it's their resources, social circumstances and support
networks that vary so much more greatly.
Also, psychoanalytic theory of this type is
like a lot of poetry, when I come to think about it.
Fascinating to contemplate, but unconnected to everyday
thought and experience. With very few exceptions, life
is more like "The Dream Life of Walter Mitty" than anything theory
or poetry tells us. Still, I enjoy reading more
than almost everything else. Who cares if it applies to
anything much. Maybe I don't want it to.

Anyway, soon I'll publish the bibliography of my course on
narcissism. Here's an appetizer, if you have the stomach
for such things:

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article about the
kind of theory I go in for. But there are as
many psychological
theories as there are varieties of Heinz soups.
They all look good on the labels, but when you taste them it's another story.

"Dark Epiphany: The Encounter With Finitude" by D. Carveth, PhD. {click here}

Anyway, Dr. Carveth, a Canadian
psychoanalyst, seems like an
interesting guy. You might check out his home page
if you are interested and have a moment.

"However, in a sense, all this is beside the point.  For whatever Freud may have meant by "primary narcissism" and Mahler by "symbiosis," by "secondary narcissism" and the "subjective object" Freud and Winnicott do not mean to refer to absolute undifferentiation at all; they are referring to a state in which the cognitively differentiated object is emotionally experienced primarily through projections of the subject's own phantasies and self and object representations and predominantly in terms of the subject's pressing needs.  And they mean to contrast this sort of narcissistic object-relation to one in which the subject is more able to get beyond such projections and egocentric demands for need-satisfaction and to recognize and make empathic contact with the real otherness of the object. "
from Conchology (Gabriel Gudding) {click here}

Friday, January 09, 2004

Go not [of your own accord] to the readings of any authors , nor appear [at them] readily.
But, if you do appear, keep your gravity and sedateness, and at the same time avoid being morose.
-- fr. _The Enchiridion_, by Epictetus

::fait accompli's::
recently updated Bloglinks
links to

Cassandra Pages
[[[[[[-[[[[0{:}0]]]]-]]]]]] (Mark Lamoureux)
Media TIC
Negative Velocity
Heaven (Mairead Byrne)
Unpleasant Event
Home Is Not
Rob McLennan's Blog
Muladar, Movedizo, Muladar (Heriberto Yepez)
MGK (Matthew Kirschenbaum)
under mind

and many others
are now available
on the *fait accompli*
sidebar- below the
and at the Suny/Buffalo
Electronic Poetry Center at
Blogs (EPC) {click here}

Tuesday, January 13

��Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego) {click here}
responds on Monday, January 12 with his "Resistances, Responses," to my response, "Blogging and Narcissism" to his Sunday, January 11 essay, "Primary Passions"


Wish I'd Said That Dep't

"The broken heart of native
for cold

Read it now on
Moonshine Highways (Amy Bernier) {click here}


Backpacking, backtracking,
time traveling with
Boynton {click here}
on a lattice of links, through a looking glass,
down a rabbit hole
to find a tam, that may
or may not be lost,
Joyce, St. Francis
and a few other things
that dogs (and blogs)
and memories can do...


Cahiers de Corey (Josh Corey) {click here} features an interesting collection of quotes from the German Romantics

Consumptive. org {click here} via The Cassandra Pages {click here} reports that the second all-internet *gridblog* is on for January 15 and the topic is "ritual"

Sunday, January 11

Blogging and Narcissism

From Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego) {click here}

"Not unlike psychoanalysis and some forms of
so-called postmodern fiction and art, blogging
works within a double-bind: in the end, blogs
may not be speaking about anything else but
themselves. In other words, the only space to
discuss the possibilities and consequences of
blogging may be the blogs themselves. One
should not forget the theoretical, political
dangers this would imply.
So, a resistance to blogging
would be called for."

Ernesto Priego's critique of blogging is well worth
considering, and would be more troubling if
"narcissism" itself was something truly worth
worrying about. There is one sense that it is
worth worrying about, and that is to the extent
that it prevents bloggers from acting as a group
in our own behalf, and on behalf of the issues
we are concerned about as a group.
As Foucault points out in a book that Ernesto
himself recommended to me on a recent book
buying spree at St Mark's bookstore that we
enjoyed together when Ernesto visited here briefly,
the issue to be concerned about politically is power.
Blogger narcissism is worth discussing, but the
narcissism of our political leaders might be
even more worth discussing.

As Howard Dean has already demonstrated,
there is a great political potential in blogging,
and it might be even greater if we got a few
more literary issues dividing us out on the
table. The greatest danger to bloggers is
the danger of divisiveness, and among the
dangers of divisiveness to all of us and
each of us is self-divisiveness.

Dangerously narcissistic people aren't likely think
about their narcissism, talk about it, or least of all,
write about it. So in my opinion, Ernesto is
not at all a candidate for worrying about his
narcissism. Calling someone a "narcissist" is
particularly contemporary version of a put-down,
kind of like calling someone a "paranoid" or a
"sociopath." But in everyday experience, to the
extent that most people who worry about such
things have anything to be concerned about,
it is not about their assertiveness but their
lack of assertiveness, their passivity. Most
forms of vulnerability are relatively easily
dealt with by addressing the issues with
those concerned. For example, when
recently I was upset by not being invited
to a certain group poetry reading two friends
of mine explained that most people simply ask
to be invited; certainly I should know better after
so many years that this is the case. This is an
example of narcissism, that led to some hurt
feelings and a self-pity party. But it's far from
a psychological disaster, and nothing to be
afraid of talking about, on this blog or anywhere
else. It is exactly this kind of talking that solves
the problem.

Blogging is essentially anti-narcissistic, particularly
for writers since it brings the blogger in contact with
others, and because it has the potential to cause the
writer to feel and be more independent. Narcissism,
for writers and artists mostly has to do with a lack
of parity between fantasy and reality. All writers
suffer from feelings of inadequacy and this is largely
a result of several reality issues; for one thing,
writers do not receive much money for what they do,
and secondly, there are so many competing claims for
the quality of writing work that it is extremely
difficult for writers to get a grip of the value
of their work to others, and sometimes even to
themselves. These are essentially actual social
problems, not individual psychological problems,
but these intense social problems for writers can
easily and do frequently become psychological
problems. Writers are led to attempt to manipulate
the essentially non-existent "market" for essentially
non-existent "market share." There are many
attempts, from Pushcart prizes to Nobel prizes to
alleviate the agony for specific worthy
(in some cases, perhaps, not so worthy) individuals
but this can bring at best only temporary
satisfaction for the writers and their followers.

I am hesitant to point to myself as a example
because, of course, this will immediately position
me as an potential object of Priego's thesis, but I
will say as I have said by now countless times
before that blogging has been of great help to me,
as I feel it has to many others, in taking more
control of my opportunities to work. Mostly
writers have to apply to publishers and curators
of reading series for an opportunity to work.
Now, because of Blogger and Google I am
able to make my work available to practically
anyone. Why is it more narcissistic to work
as a writer than it is as a stockbroker or a
dentist or a psychotherapist? Why wouldn't
anyone who loves to work in their field not
want an opportunity to work as much as they
want? This is what blogging makes possible,
and the community of bloggers that I have been
participating with, that includes Ernesto,
have made possible for each other
in little over a year.

Unlike many groups of writers, this blogging
community it seems to me has remained
open to new bloggers, and while some bloggers
seem concerned to keep their circle of supporters
exclusive, the vast majority are concerned to
increase their incoming and outgoing links.
This is unprecedented. In recent months I have
seen a growth of internationalism in blogging which
is also largely unprecedented. There is great potential
political power in this, as was seen in last year's
international demonstrations against the war against Iraq.

I have never been part of a writing circle as open,
supportive and encouraging as the circle of bloggers
I read every day and write about all the time.
A few issues have been unpleasant, but these are comparatively
rare, and usually the problem can be worked out.
Every single writer's group I have been part of has
eventually submitted to some form of manipulation by specific individuals.
While the writers and publishers have nearly always employed
such manipulative means of helping specific writers usually
with no harm intended to anyone else, but the result has always been to
exclude the quieter and less self-assertive writers,
who in many cases, of course, happen to be women,
but in other cases are just poets who don't
have the stomach for the extensive self-promotion virtually
*always* necessary to build up any degree of notice in this field.
What does "mainstream" recognition result from if not bigger and
better self-promotion? As a result, the small-press writers who have
no stomach for the more flagrant types of self-promotion cluster around
smaller publishers are better writers because they are less capable of
the kinds of self-promotion called for to achieve mainstream status. Please
tell me the exceptions. I would love to hear of them!
But very little of this has much to do with narcissism and
everything to do with ambition. The two are connected, but
not inexorably. There is no simple formula for this. As any philosopher
will gladly tell you, everything is a trade-off.
I can assert without hesitation: every single poet who now enjoys
any form of name recognition has it because they have
been extremely active in seeking to get it.
Usually the author likes to pretend they it just happened
of itself. Who wouldn't? And who in any field tells
all their "professional secrets." This is in the nature of
competition, which is the real culprit, and not usually narcissism.
Competition is the topic everyone knows about
but nobody is talking about, for lots of reasons. But more
on that another time.
The fate of every poet similar in behavior to
Emily Dickenson is identical: obscurity.
This introverted kind of behavior might or
might not suffer from just as much narcissism
as extroverted behavior because narcissism
is not caused by or result from external behavior. Not in
adulthood, anyway.
Narcissism is the result of faulty self-esteem regulation, the origin of which
is trauma in childhood. Narcissists don't benefit much
from either obscurity or fame because external
recognition or external manifestations of their
talent do not make them feel any better
than the privacy and quietness the anonymous
poet might enjoy for their own reasons.
Like pouring water into a bucket with a large hole in it,
admiration or very energetic private
production will not help a narcissist because
the self-esteem regulating mechanism is not
influenced by external behavior. The internal
mechanism is not influenced by behavior,
but rather is in the sway of early experiences
which have damaged the wherewithal to feel
better about oneself by means of self-assertion.

So the bottom line is that blogging will not help
a narcissistic writer very much or hurt one,
or cause a not so narcissistic writer to become
narcissistic. Like so many other psychological
syndromes, it largely resides in the unconscious.
It is because of the unconscious nature of
psychological problems that psychoanalysis
came into existence. And as anyone knows
who suffers from such issues, even with
treatment and much work they have a stubborn
tendency to resist change. Like narcissism,
"resistance" is unconscious.
Blogging might help or make things worse,
but only because the sufferer is doing many other
things-unconsciously- to try to help or make things worse.

In another post, I plan to list part of the bibliography
I offered in the course I gave to psychoanalytic students
on narcissism about ten years ago
at a psychoanalytic training institute.
Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego) {click here} features
an interesting discussion of blogging and narcissism today.

I plan to respond shortly.

First, lunch.

Frank Sherlock at the Bowery Poetry Club
discussed on Overlap (Drew Gardner) {click here}

Nada Gordon and Laura Moriarty readings at Stephanie Young's series
as discussed by Limetree (Kasey Silem Mohammad) {click here}

As reported on
Mike Snider's
Formal Blog and Sonnetariam {click here}

On Tuesday, December 30th Jordan Davis'
Million Poems (Jordan's Poems) {click here}
reached poem #1000