Tuesday, November 30, 2010

os deuses e os mortos

He had found the thing which modern people call Impressionism, which is another name for that final scepticism which can find no floor to the universe. (GK Chesterton, The Man who was Thursday) | Manisha Ma Bhairvara worships the Goddess and engages in tantric ceremonies in the cremation grounds of Tarapith, in Bengal. Lal Peri is a devotee of the Sufi saint Lal Shabbaz Qalander. Tashi Passang lives as a Tibetan monk in Dharamsala, in India. Hari Das is possessed nightly by a god during a cycle of theyyam ritual performances every December to February in Kerala. Rani Bai is a sacred prostitute (a devadasi) in a town in northern Karnataka. Kanai is a blind minstrel who sings with the Bauls ("crazies"), an antinomian sect, at Kenduli, in West Bengal. Mataji wanders as a member of a sect of Digambara ("sky-clad", that is, naked) Jains at Sravanabelgola. Mohan was a low-caste singer of the epics of the cavalier hero and deity Pabuji in Rajasthan. Srikanda Stpathy is a Brahmin idol-maker [...] (W Doniger, "Balm for the wounds", TLS Jan 8 2010) | For the proponents of the so-called B-theory, there is no ontological difference between what is past, present or future: all events are equally real, wherever and whenever they occur. For the proponents of Presentism - much in vogue - reality is confined to the here and now: both past and future are equally (and completely) unreal [...] There is also the "Moving Spotlight" view, which grants some degree of reality to both the past and the future, but holds that only those events that fall under the steadily advancing beam of the present are fully real. (B Dainton, "Past, what past?", TLS Jan 8 2010) | The nadir was probably signalled in 1985 by the great schism in the British Worker's Revolutionary party, when the scandal over the late Gerry Healy's antics with new female members caused a split into two factions known to party members themselves as the "fuckers" and the "wankers". (Donald Rayfield, "Death imitates art", TLS Oct 23, 2009, p.12) | Memory Lane (Mikhael Hers, 2010): trailer


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

saevit toto Mars impius orbe

So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind. Enlil did this, but Ea because of his oath warned me in a dream. He whispered their words to my house of reeds, "Reed-house, reed-house! Wall, O wall, hearken reed-house, wall reflect; O man of Shurrupak, son of Ubara-Tutu; tear down your house and build a boat, abandon possessions and look for life, despise wordly goods and save your soul alive. Tear down your house, I say, and build a boat. These are the measurements of the barque as you shall build her: let her beam equal her length, let her deck be roofed like the vault that covers the abyss; then take up into the boat the seed of all living creatures." N.K. Sandars, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Story of the Flood, (Penguin: 1960), p.108 | [...] their minds acid with professional jealousy, farcical ghosts who called one another cher maitre... U. Eco, Foucault's Pendulum | I’ve spent ten days being depressed. Now I’m starting to get better. It seems that I may be liquidating a whole bunch of my neuroses forever. For three days I have sat through high-speed psychoanalysis with one of the most renowned doctors in the States (the editor of The Psychoanalytic Review), my good friend Dr Stragnell. Very interesting. We have uncovered fifty per cent of my ‘doubt’ complex – this is, of course, my sore spot. We have been applying a scientific method – this isn’t the usual quack treatment. The latest hysterical depression (during my present fortunate circumstances!) upset me so much that I decided to root out the guilty group of neuroses (without touching the others). My decision happened to coincide with Dr Stragnell’s arrival (sometimes I’m lucky). It’s very interesting to see how my doubt obsession developed and who and what are guilty. Imagine, Pearl! I will no longer need constant affirmation! To hell with it all! I will be able to do everything! S. Eisenstein: link | "Jott, junge Herr, sunst schrewen S' doch ümmer ihrst, o'r schicken uns Baarschen o'r den kleenen inglischen Kierl. Un nu keen Wort nich. Awers ick wußt et joa, as de Poggen hüt oabend mit ehr Gequoak nich to Enn koam künn'n. 'Jei, jei, Mutter', seggt ick, 'dat bedüt wat!' Awers as the Fruenslü sinn! Wat seggt se? 'Wat sall et bedüten?' seggt se, 'Regen bedüt es. Un dat's man gaud. Denn uns Tüffeln bruken't.'" Fontane, Schach von Wuthenow

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a love supreme

The Liberal Democrats were drawing up plans to abandon Nick Clegg's flagship policy to scrap university tuition fees two months before the general election, secret party documents reveal. As the Lib Dem leader faces a growing revolt after this week's violent protest against fee rises, internal documents show the party was drawing up proposals for coalition negotiations which contrasted sharply with Clegg's public pronouncements. (guardian) | [...] the Observer has learned that defence firms are working closely with UK armed forces and contemplating a "militarisation" strategy to counter the threat of civil disorder. The trade group representing the military and security industry says firms are in negotiation with senior officers over possible orders for armoured vehicles, body scanners and better surveillance equipment. (guardian) | For many people, up to the end of the seventeenth century, dragons and fairies were part of everyday life. Dragon skins hung in some parish churches and ploughing regularly turned up elf arrows, little-worked flints of great delicacy. (R Hill, "Giant Steps", TLS Nov 13 2009)

Friday, November 12, 2010

sistema macchina della luce d'oro

Nobody has greater respect than I have for your judgment in socks, in ties, and - I will go farther - in spats; but when it comes to evening shirts your nerve seems to fail you. You have no vision. You are prejudiced and reactionary. Hidebound is the word that suggests itself. (Wodehouse, Clustering around young Bingo) | Jan Tschichold was one of the most distinguished typographers of the last century, and has had many admirers, among whom he himself was not the least (S. Carter, "Poor Typists", TLS April 10 2009) | In life a podgy, balding man of middling height, in death he was transformed into a firm-jawed figure eight-feet tall, perched on top of an imposing granite plinth, and surrounded by railings to protect him from the sticky fingers of "mischievous boys and others". | Despite some nervous attempts to blame the local Inuit population, not least by Dickens in a shrilly racist article published in Household Words, the evidence was clear: whether through choice or necessity, the survivors had turned to cannibalism. (R. Douglas-Fairhurst, "Terror to terror", TLS Nov 13 2010) | [...] the "Central Six" that psychologists have categorized: general intelligence, openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, stability and extraversion. Being able to signal our characteristics is important because the perception by others of those characteristics affects their willingness to join us in all of the encounters and partnerships we undertake [...] So to send a credible signal about their vast earning power, the truly rich have to waste money on baubles whose only merit is their being unaffordable to the poor. To signal their intelligence the brainy may likewise have to do some really pointless and wasteful things (like write sonnets or compose symphonies) that are just too difficult for the unintelligent person to do. That said, natural selection has, over vast stretches of time, trained us to want to do these things, so that sonnets and symphonies...cease to seem so pointless and wasteful. But they are no less baubles for that. (P. Seabright, "Why we walk the dog", TLS Nov 13 2010) | Zur Sühne für eine halbe Schuld (und ich rechne hoch, wenn ich von einer halben Schuld spreche), will sie die ganze tragen, auch vor der Welt, und will sich in jenem romantischen Zuge, der ihr eigen ist, aus ihrem Unglück ein Glück erziehen. | As atonement for her half of the blame (and I am rounding up when I speak of half of the blame) she wants to carry all of it, before the entire world, and, through that romantic inclination peculiar to her, she desires to rear happiness from her misfortune. (Fontane, Schach von Wuthenow)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

the passage to cosmos

[The devil] is as high as a child of two. Its depth is a foot, fifteen inches. The air stirs around it, invisibly. I am cold, and rinsed by nausea. I cannot move.... It has no edges, no mass, no dimension, no shape except the formless; it moves. I beg it, stay away, stay away. Within the space of a thought it is inside me, and has set up a sick resonance within my bones and in all the cavities of my body. (Hilary Mantel, Giving up the Ghost) | For I dance /And drink, and sing, /Till some blind hand /Shall brush my wing. (Blake) | But I pray to Mnamosyna, the fair-robed child of Ouranos (Pindar) | And live alone in the bee-loud glade | Lee Barker as Tarzan: link | The old Baron, the most loquacious man of his time, was effectively silenced. (Laura Dassow Walls, The passage to Cosmos): link | Im raschen Trabe ging es, die Friedrichstrasse hinunter, erst auf das Rondell und das Hallesche Tor zu, bis der tiefe Sandweg, der zum Kreuzberg hinaufführte, zu langsameren Fahren nötigte. | They went down Friedrichstrasse at a quick trot, first toward the roundabout and the Hallesche Tor, until the deep sandpath leading up to the Kreuzberg necessitated slower driving. (Fontane, Schach von Wuthenow)