Xenia I

Xenia I

Avevamo studiato per l’aldilà
un fischio, un segno di riconoscimento.
Mi provo a modularlo nella speranza
che tutti siamo già morti senza saperlo.
Non ho mai capito se io fossi
il tuo cane fedele e incimurrito
o tu lo fossi per me.
Per gli altri no, eri un insetto miope
smarrito nel blabla
dell’alta società. Erano ingenui
quei furbi e non sapevano
di essere loro il tuo zimbello:
di esser visti anche al buio e smascherati
da un tuo senso infallibile, dal tuo
radar di pipistrello.

Eugenio Montale


Locuta Lutetia

Meriggiare pallido e assorto – Schubert “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen”

Felicità raggiunta : Eugenio Montale | controappuntoblog.or

Il primo gennaio : Eugenio Montale – Mozart – Clarinet ..

Non Chiederci La Parola Montale – Lieder ohne Worte, Op …

La vita oscilla Eugenio Montale – Carlos Kleiber “Symphony …

Hai mai mirato sul ciglio d’un burrone, il cappero

i limoni di Eugenio Montale – Richard Galliano – Opale …

L’agave sullo scoglio Montale – Giorgio Mirto: Su Bentu – …

Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato – “Dissipa tu se lo …

Piccolo testamento – Tchaikovsky – Arabian Dance …


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Mary Osborne – Mary Osborne Trio

Marian McPartlandb – The Marian McPartland Trio


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Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says

Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says

By Peter Van Buren

March 30, 2015

A huge video screen on Sword Beach shows U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin as they arrive for the International 70th D-Day Commemoration Ceremony in Ouistreham June 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

People in the United States feel under threat, both from beyond our borders and within them. In fact, when asked about both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was a pretty darn close call — 20 percent saw Putin as an imminent threat compared to 18 percent who said the same about Obama.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll asked more than 3,000 Americans what they see as some of the biggest threats to themselves and the country. You can slice and dice the information in literally hundreds of different ways here. People were shown a range of potential threats and then asked to rate how dangerous they were with one being no threat and five meaning the threat is imminent.

I think it’s safe to say that a national security expert might not agree with the public’s choices.

More people fear Boko Haram, a scary but ragged Islamic radical group in Nigeria that might have trouble paying for plane tickets to the United States, than Russia, which recently invaded a major European country. And a whopping 34 percent consider Kim Jong-un, the leader of impoverished North Korea, an imminent threat. Kim may have a couple of nukes, but otherwise his nation is a basket case, so poor that it relies on international aid to feed itself. Though considering how fast Sony Pictures pulled “The Interview” from theaters, I guess the public’s not alone in being afraid of the young man with the unique hairstyle.

Perhaps the most disturbing part, however, is how Americans view each other, simply because of the political party they favor. Thirteen percent of us see the Republican and Democratic parties as an imminent threat. That’s the same number who think the Chinese might be. Quick reality check: neither political party is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, nor could they cripple us economically in an afternoon. Nor has either party independently building an army that may soon be able to rival that of the United States — that we know of, anyway.

It’s also interesting to see that both sides of the political aisle are worried about themselves: 38 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of Republicans think their own party is something of a threat. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but when you’re scared of the party you’ve gotten into bed with, something seems amiss.

Meanwhile, the world is certainly worried about the United States. In a Gallup survey of people in 65 countries, about one quarter named the United States as the greatest threat to world peace. Maybe that should not be so surprising, as only about half of Americans know which country was the only one to ever drop a nuclear bomb.

But the Reuters/Ipsos survey didn’t limit itself to “things that are imminent threats.” It also asked about “people who are imminent threats.”

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahirithe late Osama bin Laden’s replacement — came in as number one, which makes sense since al Qaeda is the only Islamic militant group to successfully strike inside the United States.

What made less sense is that Jihadi John, Islamic State’s on-camera executioner, who is largely a media creation, right down to his name, is seen as an imminent threat by 38 percent of respondents. The man himself is somewhere in Syria or Iraq and isn’t even willing to show his face to the public, though he’s proud to show his bloody work.

The final survey category asked Americans which beliefs, movements, trends or phenomena pose a threat. While millions of people are trapped in minimum-wage, part-time jobs that offer little hope of every leading to a better life, terrorism is still considered threat number one, pulling in an impressive 55 percent. (Nine percent of people say they’re not sure what the top threat is, and that’s fair enough since Reuters threw a buffet of scary choices at them).

The number two perceived threat is cyber attacks and cyber spying. It’s not clear from the questions whether people are more afraid of cyber snooping from overseas or by the National Security Agency here at home.

Should we be surprised that 25 percent of respondents see Islam as an imminent threat? Only 24 percent see global warming — a scientific certainty that will change the way everyone on the planet lives, and not for better — the same way.

But threats come and go in the public’s mind as events change, and perhaps the list reflects what people are hearing as much as what they’re thinking.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad used to rank high in people’s imaginations. Only 17 percent see him as a threat now, but a year and half ago, Secretary of State John Kerry put him on a list he apparently keeps that also includes Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Today, despite being more alive than Hitler or Saddam, Assad is just “meh” to most of us.

Lower on the list of beliefs and movements we feel are imminent threats sit Judaism and Christianity (7 and 6 percent, respectively), thus pulling in all three major Western religions. Still, many Americans feel atheism is an even bigger threat — 12 percent.

Depressingly, people see gay rights (12 percent) and women’s rights (5 percent) as imminent threats. We haven’t come such a long way, baby.

We’re scared here in the home of the brave. We see danger everywhere, even viewing the religious beliefs of our neighbors and the expansion of basic rights to all Americans as imminent threats. There are real bad guys out there, monsters who would do us harm. But far too many of these survey results suggest we are also very scared of each other. Now that is a real threat.



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Marx, Lenin, Hegel, and Goethe on genius and freedom of the press

Marx, Lenin, Hegel, and Goethe on genius and freedom of the press

Mikhail Lifshitz
The Philosophy of Art
of Karl Marx

It is interesting to compare Marx’s “Debates on the Freedom of the Press” (1843)[1] with Lenin’s “Party Organization and Party Literature” (1905),[2] in which he speaks of creating a free press, “free not only in the police sense of the word, but free from capital as well — free from careerism; free, above all, from anarchic bourgeois individualism.” As opposed to the “mercenary commercial bourgeois press,” and the “deluded (or hypocritically delusive) dependence” of the bourgeois writer “upon the money bags, upon bribery, upon patronage,” Lenin set up the principle of party literature. While Marx’s articles in the Rheinische Zeitung were on an incomparably lower level of political understanding, there can be no doubt that even in 1842 Marx directed his criticism against not only police censorship but also against freedom of the press in the bourgeois sense.[3] And he also showed, even at this early stage, some signs of the doctrine of party literature.

From the point of view of Marx’s political beliefs in 1842, the struggle for party literature coincided with criticism of feudal-bureaucratic censorship. And herein lies the great difference between Lenin’s conception of “party” and that of the young Marx. Lenin held that the destruction of feudal censorship was a problem of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, whereas party literature is a weapon of the proletariat in its struggle against anarchic bourgeois literary relations. No doubt the two problems are not separated by a Chinese wall; one grows out of the other. Nevertheless, they are different and within certain limits even opposed. To confuse the democratic ideal of a free press with the problem of saving it from the freedom of a “literary trade” was characteristic of young Marx as a revolutionary democrat.

48055a Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels en la imprenta de la Rheinische Zeitung, Colonia - Museo Marx & Engels, Moscú ✆ E. Chapiro © Ñángara Marx1

The censor was his principal opponent. Obeying the dictates of the government, the censor attempted to eradicate every trace of party struggle in literature, prohibiting even the use of party slogans. Already in his first article on freedom of the press, “Comments on the latest Prussian Censorship Instruction” (1842), Marx unmasked the duplicity of the Prussian government which, while suppressing all party struggle, actually came out as “one party against another.” The censor’s instructions contained some “aesthetic criticism.” The writer was expected to use a “serious and modest” style. As a matter of fact, however, any crudeness of style could be forgiven provided the content was acceptable to the government. “Thus the censor must sometimes judge the content by the form, sometimes the form by the content. First content ceased to serve as a criterion for censorship; and then in turn form vanished.”[4]

The censor’s aesthetics imposed on the writer mediocrity on principle. “The truth is universal. It does not belong to me but to everybody. It possesses me, I do not possess it. My possession is the form which constitutes my spiritual individuality. Le style, c’est l’homme. And how! The law permits me to write, but on condition that I write in a style not my own!”[5] The only legitimate style, according to the royal censorship regulations, was one of vague monotony, a grey official style. “Voltaire said: Tous les genres sont bons, excepté le genre ennuyeux [Every style is good, except the boring style]. Here the genre ennuyeux is the only one permitted.”[6] There is a resemblance between genius and mediocrity. The former is modest, the latter pale. But the modesty of the genius does not mean a renunciation of clarity, conviction, power of expression. “The essence of the spirit is always the truth itself,” wrote Marx. “And what do you interpret as its essence? Modesty. Only a rogue is modest, says Goethe; it is your wish to transform the spirit into such a rogue? Or would you not prefer modesty to be that modesty of genius of which Schiller speaks? Well, then, first transform all your citizens, and above all your censors, into geniuses. In which case the modesty of genius will not, like the language of cultured men, consist in speaking with the accent and employing the dialect which is proper to him; it will consist in forgetting modesty and immodesty, and getting to the bottom of things.”[7]

Marx als Prometheus, 1843

In this connection Marx’s views were not unlike those of Goethe and Hegel on the “one-sidedness” of genius.[8] Genius, they thought, is marked not by a spineless neutrality to all things, but rather by its definite attitude, its one-sidedness. According to Hegel, the artistic renaissances of the past were bound up with the undeveloped state of social relations, with the artist’s dependence upon a solid structure of social life, upon definite contents and traditional forms. Hegel regarded the dissolution of this original definiteness as necessary and progressive. But together with progress and the realization of freedom comes also artistic decadence. “When the spirit attains a consciously adequate and high form, and becomes a free and pure spirit, art becomes superfluous.”[9] The contemporary “free” painter (the art of bourgeois society Hegel calls “free art”) is deprived of any engrossing content. His reactions are all automatic, and he knows but a cold devotion to epochs and styles. Everything attracts him, and nothing in particular. “Free art” becomes a world of stylizations, paraphrases, individual cleverness, and originality.

Young Marx’s views have much in common with this doctrine of Hegel’s. Among Marx’s marginal notes on Grund’s book we find the following passage:

It has been observed that great men appear in surprising numbers at certain periods which are invariably characterized by the efflorescence of art. Whatever the outstanding traits of this efflorescence, its influence upon men is undeniable; it fills them with its vivifying force. When this one-sidedness of culture is spent, mediocrity follows.[10]

As we already know, from his entire career in the Rheinische Zeitung, for example, Marx did not believe that creative art is irretrievably lost with the past.

On the contrary, he showed artists the way out of the crisis which overwhelms art in a society where “self-interest” predominates. This way out Marx saw in the identification of the artist’s individuality with a definite political principle, in the open and vigorously stressed “accent and dialect” of a political party. It was with this idea in mind that he attacked the vagueness of romanticism, its flirtations with primitive poetry and modern mysticism, the middle ages and the Orient.


It would not be correct, however, to identify this viewpoint on the part of Marx with the Hegelian doctrine of the “self-limitation” of genius. ‘The man who will do something great,” wrote Hegel, “must learn, as Goethe says, to limit himself. The man who on the contrary would do everything really would do nothing, and fails.”[11] True enough, Hegel criticized the romantics for their aesthetic polytheism, their excessive versatility, their lack of self-limitation. But these ideas Marx interpreted in an entirely different way. “Self-limitation,” as Hegel conceived it, had nothing to do with a revolutionary party and its political principles permeating the creative work of the artist or poet. Quite the contrary, self-limitation must take place within the confines of bourgeois society. In revolution Hegel saw only negative freedom brought about by some “faction” which, if victorious, becomes another government. Such change, according to Hegel, is only a transitory step towards a better-organized constitutional state, in which every person is a particle in the scheme of the division of labor. Consequently Hegel, contrary to his original plan, justified the “free art” of bourgeois society in that the artist, after confining himself to a definite theme, must devote himself to its traditional interpretation. Thus bourgeois society, on the very day after the revolution, sought to adopt the “continuity” and “certainty” of the old social forms which it had fought as a destructive force. And this was what Hegel had in mind in demanding that the artist becomes conscious of his “individuality and definite position,” and perform his share of work under the protection of a well-organized governmental police.

“Certainty,” in the Hegelian sense of the word, by no means conflicts with the “free art” of bourgeois society, and provides no escape from its false liberty. Only partisanship in art, partisanship in the sense indicated by Marx and Lenin, can give the modern artist that precision and concentration of will, that creative “one-sidedness” which is essential to genuine art. The beginnings of this doctrine can be found in the creed of young Marx in the period of the Rheinische Zeitung.

Lenin-640x360 LeninLeggePravda


[1] Debatten über Pressfreiheit (Debates on the Freedom of the Press), MEGA, I, I/1, pp. 179-229.
[2] V I Lenin, Collected Works, X, Moscow 1962, pp. 44-49.
[3] “Comments on the Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction,” in Easton and Guddat (eds.), op cit. (footnote 6), pp. 67-92.
[4] Ibid., p. 90.
[5] Ibid., p. 71.
[6] Ibid., p. 73.
[7] Ibid., pp. 72-73.
[8] “Limitation” of aim and work is a recurrent theme in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre. “Many-sidedness prepares, properly speaking, only the element in which the one-sided can act…The best thing is to restrict oneself.” (Part I, Ch IV), and “To be acquainted with and to exercise one thing rightly gives higher training than mere halfness in a hundred sorts of things” (Part I, Ch XIII). Cf Part II. Ch XII. and the poem Natur und Kunst. For one-sidedness in Hegel see footnote 10 below.
[9] G W F Hegel. The Philosophy of History, New York 1956.
[10] Marginal note in Grund. p. 25 — ML.
[11] G W F Hegel, Logic, translated by William Wallace, London 1931, p. 145.


come possano conservare per noi gusto d’arte e, in un certo senso, valere come norma e inarrivabile modello. K. Marx – Leopardi – Ultimo canto di Saffo


L’eterna giovinezza dell’arte | controappuntoblog.org

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Via Paolo Fabbri 43

Un po’ Domenico Modugno senza frac ma con lo zaino, un po’ Franzen con le Correzioni da fare alla squadra, un po’ Chandler senza tinte fosche, un po’ Scopigno più alto e con la barba ma stessa dimestichezza con il quotidiano, e un po’ anche Uomo Tigre che cammina solitario nella notte. Jürgen Klopp che se ne torna – triste y final – a casa, dopo la sconfitta di Champions del suo Borussia contro la Juventus. Dopo aver salutato la Coppa, la sua squadra e dei tifosi italiani. È un kamikaze lanciato contro l’altro calcio. Il suo è puro artigianato, è comincia fuori dal campo. Non lo sa ma prima di essere una allenatore tedesco e moderno, è un allenatore carducciano: per come pensa e si muove, e per quello che lascia dietro di sé. Oltre Carducci – che allenò senza poter raggiungere la Champions che allora era Coppa dei Campioni –, ricorda Guccini perché gioca l’etica con un calcio estetico. Vive e allena con la difesa abbassata, senza distanza dalla vita. Non perde tempo, non si astrae, non macina l’assurdo, ha lavorato su un giro di accordi conosciuti costruendo l’evoluzione calcistica delle strofe di Dylan. Edmondo Berselli direbbe che siamo di fronte a una “contraddizione insoluta”, trattandosi di un allenatore di grande taglio, e dopo avergli dato ragione, però, gli mostreremmo la foto di Massimiliano Nerozzi. Klopp, spalle alla macchina fotografia, cartacce che volano intorno, stadio di lato: se ne torna a casa; manca solo la Dietrich che triste canta in sottofondo “Lili Marleene”, oppure Guccini con la strada di Dortmund – al posto delle stoviglie – color nostalgia. Niente di eroico, piuttosto una scelta di normalità. Proprio come mettere sulla copertina di un disco il proprio indirizzo. È l’età adulta del calcio, quello senza ossessioni né macerie davanti a una eliminazione. È una camminata che sottolinea il concetto, il risultato di una cultura che fa a meno del divismo, complice un ambiente dove lo sport è valore, prima di tutto. È sempre difficile tornare a casa dopo una sconfitta, riflettere sull’ordine non spontaneo che ha preso il tuo centrocampo, contare le volte che Tevez ha tirato in porta senza che nessuno riuscisse a contrastarlo, farsi autorità rispetto alle discese non viste persino di Lichtsteiner, ai numerosi passaggi centrali che hanno scavalcato la tua difesa, alla semplice mancanza di occasioni per i tuoi attaccanti, concludendo con l’unico rimando bibliografico possibile: essere orfani di Lewandowski non è facile per nessuno.

foto di Massimiliano Nerozzi


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Ce petit atelier de Brooklyn qui confectionne la combinaison spatiale que VOUS pourriez porter dans quelques années

Ce petit atelier de Brooklyn qui confectionne la combinaison spatiale que VOUS pourriez porter dans quelques années

Alors que les hommes sont de plus en plus nombreux à sillonner le noir espace, des entrepreneurs réfléchissent à la tenue des prochains touristes qui s’y rendront.

Depuis le début des années 1960, un peu plus de 500 êtres humains ont visité l’espace. L’image que retient le grand public de ces voyages est généralement cette combinaison blanche lourde et massive, surmontée d’un casque opaque, qui empêche de distinguer le visage de celui qui s’y cache. Tout le monde a en tête les premiers pas sur la lune de ces énormes scaphandres mais peu de personnes seraient capables de reconnaître le portrait de Neil Armstrong ou Buzz Aldrin. Pourtant, en 50 ans, les combinaisons ont bien changé.

Toujours plus sophistiquées, les tenues des derniers astronautes à être partis sur la Station Spatiale Internationale, vendredi 27 mars, n’ont plus grand-chose à voir avec les combinaisons argentées, dignes de Star Trek, du programme américain Mercury, lancé en 1958. Surtout, celles qui sont développées actuellement pour les missions futures vont révolutionner le monde de l’espace.

A Brooklyn, une petite start-up fondée par un Américain et un Russe, réfléchit activement aux prochains modèles. Ted Southern et Nikolai Moiseev développent ainsi ce qui sera la combinaison spatiale des prochains pionniers mais aussi des touristes de l’espace dont le nombre devrait exploser dans les 30 prochaines années. Efficace, confortable et élégante, la tenue du futur doit être parfaite et surtout bien plus pratique que ces pénibles scaphandres dont sont affublés les astronautes actuels.

La rencontre entre ces deux hommes date de 2007. Cette année-là, la Nasa lance son concours annuel pour le développement d’un gant spatial, la pièce la plus difficile à réaliser puisqu’elle doit protéger son propiétaire tout en lui donnant le plus de liberté possible. Nikolai Moiseev travaille alors pour NPP Zvezda, l’entreprise moscovite qui réalise les combinaisons russes, dont sont parfois équipés les astronautes européens. Il veut tenter sa chance aux Etats-Unis. Ted Southern a un profil bien plus atypique. C’est un artiste réputé et son travail habituel est très loin de toute considération spatiale. C’est par exemple lui qui a réalisé les costumes du Cirque du Soleil ou encore qui a dessiné les fameuses ailes que portent les mannequins de la marque de lingerie Victoria’s Secret. Il existe un fossé entre les astronautes en armure lourde et ces jeunes femmes légèrement vêtues. Qu’importe pour lui, après tout, la marque de sous-vêtements Playtex a bien réalisé, dans les années 60, les combinaisons des astronautes américains… Ni Moiseev ni Southern ne gagnent le concours mais après s’être rencontrés, ils décident néanmoins de s’unir pour l’emporter deux ans après et finalement créer une start-up spécialisée dans les prochaines combinaisons spatiales. Leur but : la rendre moins volumineuse mais toujours protectrice.

Une combinaison à la fin des années 1950Car rien ne doit être pris à la légère pour ce type de vêtements. Plusieurs pionniers de l’air ont fait l’amère expérience des dangers que représente l’altitude sans être convenablement protégé. En 1875, trois jeunes savants français se lancent dans une course aux records en ballon. Deux vont mourir, un seul pourra témoigner. “Bientôt nous montons, tout en respirant de l’oxygène qui produit un excellent effet” raconte ainsi ce troisième passager. “A une heure vingt, nous sommes à l’altitude de 7000 mètres. La température est de -10 degrés, Sivel et Crocé (ses deux compagnons) sont pâles et je me sens faible. Je respire de l’oxygène qui me ranime un peu. Nous montons encore.” A cette faible altitude, la température chute et l’oxygène se raréfie. La pression diminue entrainant des réactions terribles sur le corps. Si Felix Baumgartner avait sauté de ses 39 km de haut sans son impressionnante combinaison, son corps se serait littéralement dilaté. Et encore, il n’est pas allé jusque dans l’espace, dont le début est défini à 100 km d’altitude. On n’ose imaginer le destin atroce des astronautes de la Station Spatiale Internationale, en orbite à 400 km d’altitude, si l’un d’eux décidait, dans un coup de folie, de sortir en T-shirt dans l’espace.

Pour développer la combinaison du futur, Moiseev et Southern peuvent déjà compter sur les recherches commencées au début du 20ème siècle, lorsque des aviateurs de l’extrême ont réfléchi aux premières combinaisons protectrices. Celles-ci ressemblaient à  s’y méprendre aux scaphandres marins, imaginés par Jules Vernes. Wiley Post, un pilote américain a ainsi testé en 1932 la première tenue pressurisée, gonflée à l’air comme un ballon, pour éviter l’éclatement des cellules. L’aventurier bat un record d’altitude mais va mourir deux ans plus tard dans un crash d’avion. Il a néanmoins posé les bases des combinaisons.


Star Trek è comunista! : star trek the next generation va visto …

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