A Last Word


h/t thisisnthappiness.com

As little as that last post, though written as a “last comment” or at least my last comment for a very long and contentious set of discussion threads, can be known to be a last comment at all, whether if at all it will stand as a last word, or as little as an old favorite poem under the same title has ever turned out to be what it says it is, is this post what it purports to be, unless it happens after all to be. (It’s never happened, but it has happened, though it could never have happened.) Somewhere, I am confident, someone, Dostoevsky at least implicitly, maybe Monty Python, has parodied the self-legendary man preparing delivery of his last words, then discovering to his very highly qualified disappointment that they were not his last words at all, not even close: He’s actually on the road to recovery or possibly as fit as ever (not necessarily very). Even in such an instance of utter self-embarrassment before God or no one or one’s own nothingness, both impending or always already or thus finally established, one’s not so final words still would be in the genre if not perhaps in fact. We know as well that the tradition of last words is often a false tradition: Someone it seems always comes along to raise doubts as to whether the last words of the recalled personage really were uttered, or, if uttered at all, really were last, the really last words being presumably always only lost.1 The last not lost words will thenceforth be treated not as the last words of the living being, but the last words of the living being’s falsified and falsifying public character, a quotation to be re-quoted always as though in an extra set of quotes, and which in this way will record the death a second final time, with second final finality, of the more fully realized de-realization of the life as in theory lived by the one who has in theory died, but now, as ever, is restored to a properly un-real immortality among us, or anyway for as long as we care to care and happen to be – all in all and nothing, nothing in all, re-stating the ultimate original question of what we ever justifiably at all could ever have thought so ever could think had ever lived so would ever have lived at all. Therefore, we are compelled to say, or so we say, or so someone says, or something seems to seem to say someone or something says, last words though only ever never last words are still last words precisely as last words ever only are words that last a little as last until they do not at all as they never did.

A Last Word

Let us go hence: the night is now at hand;
The day is overworn, the birds all flown;
And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown;
Despair and death; deep darkness o’er the land,
Broods like an owl: we cannot understand
Laughter or tears, for we have only known
Surpassing vanity: vain things alone
Have driven our perverse and aimless band.
Let us go hence, somewhither strange and cold,
To Hollow Lands where just men and unjust
Find end of labour, where’s rest for the old,
Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.
Twine our torn hands! O pray the earth enfold
Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.

 –Ernest Dowson, 1896, 1899

All of which is to say, at last, finally, this, again: For multiple convergent practical, financial, personal-constitutional, and probably other reasons, I need to take a break from blogging as “blogging” – i.e., as responding to current discussion “out there” – and also from blog-commenting. I may continue to publish pieces here as time permits and dispirit weakens, will remain likely I suspect to engage in side-discussion and to respond to comments, but I gottalotta nothing to do right about now, too much to do to write about right about right about now.


  1. Later thought: Seems to me that one of the best examples of the difficulties of the tradition would be the differing treatments of Jesus Christ crucified in the Gospels, then the complication of The Last Supper, then the further complication of the Day of Judgment, and further complications again of the reign on Earth or in Heaven… The last word of Christianity on last words is that in the most important sense there are none. []

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

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  1. […] whose name perhaps too obviously realizes the same motif, might agree with Ernest Dowson: “O pray the earth enfold/ Our life-sick hearts and turn them into […]

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Noted & Quoted


[C]limate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must.

It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by 2050, carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use (deforestation, cow farts, etc.) will have to zero out; and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do. Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the 1980s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. Now we’ve found a way to engineer our own doomsday, and surely we will find a way to engineer our way out of it, one way or another. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet. But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

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They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin. Moscow's meddling to that point was seen as deeply concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on voting systems before and on Election Day. They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia's efforts to discredit the outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.

This, right here. This is where they choked. The American people had damned close to an absolute right to the information their government already had. The most fundamental act of citizenship is the right to cast an informed vote. The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy. Would Donald Trump have raised hell if the White House released what it knew? Of course, he would have. But, as it was, the American people went to vote with only about half of the information they needed to assess his candidacy. This was a terrible decision.

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Changing views of U.S. presidents over past decade and a halfAs Pew Research Center’s global surveys from George W. Bush’s presidency illustrated, many of Bush’s key foreign policies were unpopular, and by the time he left office Bush was viewed negatively in most of the countries we polled. His successor, Obama, generally received more positive ratings throughout his White House tenure.Today, in many countries, ratings for President Trump look very similar to those for Bush at the end of his term. This pattern is especially clear in Western Europe. In the UK, France, Germany and Spain, the low levels of confidence in Trump are very similar to the poor ratings for Bush in 2008.

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just a note on your observation about the whiskey rebellion


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