Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

William Least Heat-Moon On Fonda, New York

In his wonderful book River Horse Across America By Boat, William Least Heat-Moon has this description of Fonda, NY, Montgomery County seat.

Four miles west, across from Fultonville, we pulled up in Fonda to a high concrete docking wall that made clambering ashore from our low decks difficult. The village was a tired place, and we ate a tired Chinese meal, and bought tired ice cream cones at a tired filling station, and walked tiredly back to our bunks.

Anyone who has been in Fonda, knows how true this description is. The only thing more tired is the county office building.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Don't Criminalize Attempted Suicide

In days of old, attempted suicide was a crime. Ironically, the penalty for it was death. For a long time now attempted suicide has not been a crime, but things are changing. A man parks his vehicle on the railroad tracks in order that a train will hit and kill him. At the last minute, he changes his mind and jumps out. The result was a terrible tragedy with many people killed and injured. The man who wanted to kill himself has been charged with murder.
Yesterday, in Troy a 45 year old disabled man living in a state Department of Health supportive living program was arrested for arson after attempting to kill himself by setting his room on fire.
One wonders what will be next: People attempting to kill themselves with carbon monoxide arrested for environmental pollution. People surviving a jump off the Dunn Memorial Bridge arrested for illegal diving. People slitting their wrists arrested for practicing surgery without a license.
The point the authorities seem to be driving home is--if you are going to kill yourself, make sure you don't fail.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Liberal Bent Of The University at Albany.

There have been a couple articles and editorials in The Daily Gazette and The Sunday Gazette over the past month or so discussing the liberal bent of academia in general. I cannot speak about it in general, but I can in particular. I graduated from SUNY Albany with a M.A. in English, and almost all of my professors were Bush bashers (Bush, Sr.). Some of my professors were neo-marxists. Indeed, Marxism is discredited everywhere in the world except for a few countries and the English Departments of most universities. Below are the stated purposes of a course currently being offered in the English Department's graduate program at the University of Albany. The name of the course is Poetics and Literary Practice. While its obvious that this professor is not a neo-marxist, he certainly is no friend to Republicans. I wonder what Joe Bruno would have to say if he knew what the English Department at Albany was teaching about Republicans.

Several Attempts to State the Purpose of the Course

To rid the world not only of Platonism but of all of the Pythagorean Platonistic worries that trouble the poststructuralists. This will not be easy. the cosmological imperative that we hope to overturn (as stated by Alfred North Whitehead): “no entity can be conceived in complete abstraction from the system of the universe.” The adventures in the museums will be to look for free-standing entities. This, of course, does not mean they will not be in the universe, only that their conception does not belong to its system.

To understand how the closure of metaphysics also involves the end of politics and the Olympic games.

To understand why George Bush was elected in 2000; to understand further why he was elected again in 2004. The question of the relation of these events to the end of Platonism will be raised. The question of vestigial Platonism in liberalism will be raised.

“An Earth of value / to construct one” (Charles Olson).

To examine the difference between an Earth of value and Republican values.

To investigate the failure of classical logic to provide sufficient value places (true/false, object/subject, and so forth), and to begin to think about thinking with a logic that provides multi-value places.

We will look into certain aspects of military strategy, business management, and the history of Chile.

We will think about what art might be when the writings of people like Olson, Duncan, and Smithson are beyond the literate skills of all but the specially trained (now, example).

And so forth.