I’m not saying Bob Dylan isn’t deserving of laurels, though one might consider Dylan to have been adequately lauded in his own century. When the Nobel Prize for literature goes to a songwriter, what does that say about the committee’s regard for contemporary literature?
Thank God for Maurice Sendak! Before he came around with his artwork it was all Walt Disney style excess saccharine ‘sweet’, Lassie, and Flipper. He revolutionized the story writing and design of kids books. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ author Maurice Sendak dead at age 83.
Let me first begin with how I was exposed to Ayn Rand. I am in high school and awhile back my teacher was doing a course on homelessness. In a ‘prompt’ that she gave me as to what are the causes of homelessness, I answered CAPITALISM. A week later I was astonished to get back my paper with a Zero. I showed this to many people all of whom agreed that it was in no way deserving of a zero. My dad and I took this question as to why I had gotten a zero on my paper to the teacher. I wasn’t expecting much but even after one hour of asking my English teacher why I had gotten a zero on my paper she had no reasonable answer other than that I had not followed the ‘format’ correctly, even though I had a previous organizational sheet on which I based my writing on following her format. she ended by saying I was a horrible writer; we gave up trying to get to through to such a numbskull.
My new favorite children’s book is a 1963 story by Marion Borden, about a little red tractor named Stubby who delays plowing the meadow until all of his wild animal friends have resettled to safety. It’s a comprehensive list, considering the reading level, of the biodiversity displaced by agriculture. How unwitting is the portrayal of man’s clueless arrogance? It’s suggested by the story’s presentation of farming as inherently natural as Manifest Destiny.
Banned Books, p.2–
I put a lot of faith in an internet resilient enough to remain an unrestricted archive of crowd-sourced human knowledge, even more I hope public data will eventually permeate the proprietary, but continued access to subversive literature I have little doubt will meet the full brunt of digital book burners. If there’s any text not to download unto your Kindle, as an easily vaporized or expurgate-able file, it’s one of these classic oft-censored, perpetually-offense-giving titles. These are the dystopian novels and science fictions which paint a bleak picture of the society we are engineering.
In his novel Youth, Joseph Conrad wrote about a doomed coal steamer named “Judea.”
A propos of nothing much (Conrad’s theme was not solely about hubris), the story was based on events in Conrad’s own life and his early maritime experiences on a ship which was actually called “Palestine.”
“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them!
“With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.
Poor wolf man, he’s the bastard of the horror big three. Dracula and Frankenstein have antecedents in folklore but bloomed on the quills of novelists. The werewolf traces back to the Greek, yet no one will pull him from the doghouse, not that Hollywood doesn’t keep trying. Whenever I see the cinematic transformation of man to beast, from An American Werewolf in London to the latest Wolfman offering, I can’t help but recall the terrifying hairification of Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor, itself a spoof of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, regarded as the most literary of inferences to lycanthropy. But Robert Louis Stevenson wrote another short story seldom cited as a werewolf tale. Curious, because I think it holds the key to the man- wolf allure, when it’s not gay teen cheese. In his 1887 Olalla, RLS described the entrancing menace and tormented fate of the lupine-afflicted without mentioning the word.
I was recently subjected to a road trip audio book disgorged from an auteur who shares the eminent surname of Burroughs. But unlike Wyeth the younger who had the advantage of genes, this literal-bastard is of no relations and has to defraud us with a bone through his gilded celebrity cage. It gives me the willies to consider that admirers of Running With Scissors think it’s a creative bone.
You know you’re a Post- Baby Boomer when you had to learn that Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds was not an Elton John song. I remember being told by a nanny that you liked either the Monkeys or the Beatles. They broke up before I began listening to pop music. John became an activist, Paul was determined to return to commercial sounds, and George and Ringo faded to slackerdom, having ever only composed While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Octopus’s Garden between them, so I thought. I knew only the Beatles Red and White anthologies.
A lot of us have literally fallen in love with Ted Haggard, and now that he is immersed in sin he seems even sexier! So that brings me to the question of where can one go to get an inflatable Ted Haggard Sex Doll? Don’t worry, I won’t molest it if I find one, I strictly want him around for a platonic relationship based on Christ.
I hate random stream of consciousness when you can tell the author thinks they’re building to something. It’s so, so tedious. Such was my reaction to officially-described poet Elizabeth Alexander, who recited a piece she composed for the inauguration of the First Black American President. I’ll just note Alexander is a professor at Yale, the alma matter of Bush, Kerry, et al the Skull and Bones secret society.
A highlight of the Christmas season every year is gathering my big family together under one roof — my children, my parents, five siblings and their spouses, and twelve (thirteen by year’s end!) nieces and nephews. Everyone is married now, save me and the kids, but I can recall many holidays when new boy- or girlfriends were part of the celebration.
A STAGE VERSION- Greek myth would be no more complicated than JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, or GRG Lucas, but I suspect that to impress Homer unto modern audiences might have the disagreeable consequence of educating them.
TWILIGHT- For those parents who have unwittingly encouraged their daughters to delve into Twilight, where our episodic fascination with Dracula lore is adapted for the young adult romance genre, be forewarned that author Stephenie Meyer may have fogged her rose-colored glasses with romantic nostalgia from her Mormon upbringing: old older men, arranged marriages, and, if you’ll pardon the dropped pretense, date rape.
Better you than your child?
“”I am full of holy joy and free booze,” said Cobbler. I feel moved to sing. It is very wrong to resist an impulse to sing; to hold back a natural evacuation of joy is as injurious as to hold back any other natural issue. It makes a man spiritually costive, and plugs him up with hard, caked, thwarted merriment. This, in the course of time, poisons his whole system and is likely to turn him into that most detestable of beings, a Dry Wit. God grant that I may never be a Dry Wit. Let me ever be a Wet Wit! Let me pour forth what mirth I have until I am utterly empty — a Nit Wit.”
—from Tempest-Tost, by Robertson Davies, who died on this day in 1995
SUNY Binghamton student Tim LaPietra coaxed Ted Kaczynski to write a parable for the Autumn 1999 issue of the campus publication OFF! Predictably, the peer review of SHIP OF FOOLS was snarky, e.g. Watership Dim and Rime of the Ancient Unibomber, but no match for Kaczynski’s send up.
Those interested in Darfur might want to check this book, ‘The Scramble for Africa’, out some when it comes out? Especially with the Biden, Obama gang headed towards the White House soon. Certainly this is a timely release for this book.
Shattering a ‘national mythology’ Shlomo Sand’s book is titled “When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?” and you probably will not find it stacked up on tables for sale in Barnes and Noble or Borders. I don’t expect it to be readily available for Colorado Springs librarian patrons either. Ask for it though.
When Americans step inside the big chain publishers’ bookstores, Barnes and Noble and Borders, they are almost always under the delusion that they are inside real bookstores containing real books. Nothing could be farther from the truth though. We instead have merely entered into the realm of publishing as product.
It is the close of a busy and vexatious day — say half past five or six o’clock of a winter afternoon. I have had a cocktail or two, and am stretched out on a divan in front of a fire, smoking. At the edge of the divan, close enough for me to reach her with my hands, sits a woman not too young, but still good-looking and well dressed — above all, a woman with a soft, low-pitched, agreeable voice. As I snooze she talks – of anything, everything, all the things that women talk of: books, music, the play, men, other women. No politics. No business. No religion. No metaphysics. Nothing challenging and vexatious – but remember, she is intelligent; what she says is clearly expressed… Gradually I fall asleep — but only for an instant… then to sleep again — slowly and charmingly down that slippery hill of dreams. And then awake again, and then asleep again, and so on.
I ask you seriously: could anything be more unutterably beautiful?
H. L. Mencken
It was a hard lesson for the Soviets, and before them the Soldiers of the Queen. I think Kipling’s advice bears repeating as we consider that American casualties are on the rise in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the Forgotten Campaign of the GWOT, where we’re still taking a victory lap in a pool filling with crocodiles.
When I go into bookstores these days it makes me kind of sick. The problem is not merely that WalMart sized chains like Borders and Barnes and Ignoble only distribute trash in their outlet. No, the problem is much greater than that and consists of the reality that nothing of much worth has been published in many, many decades now. It’s hard to find much worth reading even in the independent bookstores out there.
While in Ushuaia, I took a boat ride through the Beagle Channel to faro del fin del mundo or, as it is more commonly known in our secret language — known to almost no Argentinians — lighthouse at the end of the world. This is the very same lighthouse around which Jules Verne spun his pirate tale The Lighthouse at the End of the World.
I imagine that Cape Horn, south of the Beagle Channel, probably boasts a lighthouse or two of its own. But, as with most things he wrote about, Jules was darn close to correct!
What do you suppose Bush’s wordsmiths had in mind to choose the arcane term “hectoring?” They’ve been quite astute at framing issues with novel usage like “surge” and other reinventions to frustrate our lexicography. (I’m having a flashback to another Jonathan Winters / Arsenic and Old Lace expropriation. I’ll think of it in a second.) We’re being led to infer that Bush knows his Homer, although we’re more likely to believe he saw the movie. Clearly he didn’t stay awake for long. Hector was the protector of Troy, and lent his name to the colloquialism for his constant criticism —in opposition to the war! Ultimately he died a valiant death, unlike a number of the warmongers.
Posted: March 29th, 2008 under Uncategorized.