Log in

"The charm which M. Sardou is not of a very high quality; he makes a play very much as he would make a pudding; he has his well-tested recipe and his little stores of sugar and spice, from which he extracts with an unimpassioned hand exactly the proper quantity of each. The pudding is capital, but I can think of no writer of equal talent who puts so little of himself into his writing."

-HJ, "The Parisian Stage" (1876)

Henry James Liked Pudding. And Theatre.

"Realism is a very good thing, but it is like baking a pudding in a porcelain dish; your pudding may be excellent but your dish gets cracked. An actor who attempts to play Shakespeare must establish for himself a certain Shakespearean tradition; he must make sacrifices. We are afraid that as things are going, most actors find it easier to sacrifice Shakespeare than to sacrifice to him."

HJ in "Mr. George Ringold" (1875)
So many games, especially those with a Wild West settings like the Doomtown CCG, or Dust Devils RPG rely on poker mechanics. (I have been a fan of both games for years).

You realize Faro was the big social card gambling experience in early 19th centuryAmerica? From Arizona to Civil War battlefields, the game was everywhere. Dealers walking around with fancy Faro sets and boxes. I cannot remember a single cowboy movie where they are playing the game.

It seems to me there are a number of antique card games that might be used in conjunction with historical settings and themes:

  • There is conquin which indigenous North Americans remade as Coon Can (or Koon Kan) and is part of the Rummy family.

  • The multi-stage gambling game from Germany Poch, remade as Tripoley. If you are doing a 15th or 16th century setting, it is a possible choice, along with other games documented here.

  • And the 3-way game Ombre has an interesting property: The Ombre is in a position of competition against the other 2 players. Any game in which the Black Queen trumps all other cards is one with a lot of thematic resonances. Solo takes away the stable role of the Ombre, and all players compete against each other and in which there are no fixed partnerships but fixed partnerships may arise in play. Sounds like a great game for competition and scheming.

Speculating about Objects

The Speculative Turn collection addresses the issue of objects.

How are objects to be given their due? By "explaining their existence in terms of a deeper material basis" or "letting them exist only in their appearances, relations, qualities, or effects"? Neither, replies Harman, taking the actualist position. Neither, replies Grant, from a realist position. There is an outside to objects and an anteriority to them, but not a substance like that of the object. It is a real domain of "pure productivity" that is "irreducible to fully constituted objects" (26).

The challenge is how to examine the history of objects as worked with and perceived by embodied persons which achieves some kind of actualism, never mind a more comprehensive realism.

Excited about Speculative Realism? Me Too!

From the intro to a great open access book from re-press.org: The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism.

The Zero Books blog characterizes speculative realism as a "contemporary philosophy which defines itself loosely in its stance of metaphysical realism against the dominant forms of post-Kantian philosophy or what it terms correlationism."

And it sounds like this:

"Freud's death drive ... argues that the disspiative tendency towards death must neccessarily be channelled through the available affordances of the organism. It is this system of affordances that Negarestani labes the 'necrocracy' and it is the organism's local necrocracy which determines the possibilities and limites of any emancipatory image. Capitalism, as a necrocratic regime, is therefore a restrictive and utterly human system which binds the excess of extinction to a conservative framework grounded upon the human's means of channelling the death drive. As such it remains incapable of any truly emanicpatory potential, even in its accelerationist variants."

Right on.

These folks?


The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism
Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek and Graham Harman (eds.)

Continental philosophy has entered a new period of ferment. The long deconstructionist era was followed with a period dominated by Deleuze, which has in turn evolved into a new situation still difficult to define. However, one common thread running through the new brand of continental positions is a renewed attention to materialist and realist options in philosophy. Among the current giants of this generation, this new focus takes numerous different and opposed forms. It might be hard to find many shared positions in the writings of Badiou, DeLanda, Laruelle, Latour, Stengers, and Zizek, but what is missing from their positions is an obsession with the critique of written texts. All of them elaborate a positive ontology, despite the incompatibility of their results. Meanwhile, the new generation of continental thinkers is pushing these trends still further, as seen in currents ranging from transcendental materialism to the London-based speculative realism movement to new revivals of Derrida. As indicated by the title The Speculative Turn, the new currents of continental philosophy depart from the text-centered hermeneutic models of the past and engage in daring speculations about the nature of reality itself. This anthology assembles authors, of several generations and numerous nationalities, who will be at the center of debate in continental philosophy for decades to come.

Histories of Perception: The Challenge

"[T]here could be ... reinterpretation of the history of perception such that both its micro and macro characterstics are accounted for." (56)

OK: who's got that theory?

Ihde, Don. "Is There Always Perception?" Consequences of Phenomenology. Albany: State University of New York P, 1986. 48-67. EPUB file.
"However described, the referent to which description applies, across the switches from homology and analogy, to natural histories, to biology, is what may be called the plant and animal world. Foucault is certainly correct in pointing out how our understadings of these kingdoms have changed, particularly with respect to our cultural history ... only by bracketing the referent world can one focus upon the changing interpretative structures and bring them into focus." (56)

Ihde, Don. "Is There Always Perception?" Consequences of Phenomenology. Albany: State University of New York P, 1986. 48-67. EPUB file.

Overcoming sedimented habits of synthesizing, narrativising, and universalizing is something to which historians should commit themselves. But what is the cost? And what to make of the new speculative materialism and the older themes of epistemic shifts and regimes of power/knowledge?

On the Die Contemplated by Husserl

"Husserl's dies -- a small cube -- is always both given as a three-dimensional set of profiles before one and the infinity of meant, but concretely possible profiles which constitute the depth of the cube. Multidimensionality is found in this interplay of present and meant and in the location of the object in a field and in the notions of inner and outer horizons." (50)

Ihde, Don. "Is There Always Perception?" Consequences of Phenomenology. Albany: State University of New York P, 1986. 48-67. EPUB file.

Rosa L. Rolls the Dice

“Bourgeois society faces a dilemma,” socialist Rosa Luxemburg writes, “either a transition to Socialism, or a return to barbarism ... we face the choice: either the victory of imperialism and the decline of all culture, as in ancient Rome—annihilation, devastation, degeneration, a yawning graveyard; or the victory of Socialism—the victory of the international working class consciously assaulting imperialism and its method: war. This is the dilemma of world history, either-or; the die will be cast by the class-conscious proletariat.”

Looking at the last century I would have to say they got snake eyes, dogs, or the kali throw.

Better luck next time?


Latest Month

September 2015



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow