A recent posting by Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping:
followed by an additional comment by one of his friends.
In his "Theses on the Philosophy of History," Walter Benjamin uses a Paul Klee painting, Angelus Novus, as his point of departure for thesis number nine। "This is how one pictures the angel of history," Benjamin writes. "His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
Benjamin's figuration of the angelus novus is one of my favorites. The whole essay is really great (and I recently reread it because I am writing a paper on Chris Marker's "The Last Bolshevik" and Benjamin's concept of redemption as a mode of critical ethics as it relates to the cinematic archive-yay!).Find it here: http://www.efn.org/~dredmond/ThesesonHistory.html