Daily Archives: March 15, 2011

Verbal Poltergeists

Our earlier post on runaway autocorrect functions suggests that they are slapstick parodies of the observations below. We are our own poltergeists.

“Do we use language or are we used by it?” (CW 6, 595)

“Nobody is capable of free speech unless he knows how to use language, and such knowledge is not a gift: it has to be learned and worked at.” (The Educated Imagination, 64)

Ides of March


The assassination of Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome — ugly, the way these things always are

Frye in one of the notebooks on Renaissance literature:

The liberal who sits & hopes that somebody will assassinate Hitler of McCarthy or Huey Long is Brutus without Brutus’ courage & responsibility. He thinks of such people as destroying human relations by engrossing power. That is, essential social relations to him are the personal ones: he has no tragic conception of society. Antony, with his ruthlessness, his use of others (Lepidus) as “property,” his contemptible rhetorical tricks & his exploiting of Caesar’s will is still able to consolidate a society. He never makes a human contact: his loyalty to Caesar is the exception that proves the rule. . . Caesar does make personal contacts, & makes himself impersonal by an effort of will: as is said, the way to flatter him is to tell him he can’t be flattered. (CW 20, 268-9)