Sunday, February 24, 2013

deviation - divination

This historiography of sincere forgers is so strange that it is worth considering for a moment. We will see that if we pursue the problem of the forger, it becomes impossible to distinguish between the imaginary and the real. (P. Veyne, Did the Greeks believe in their Myths?, Chicago, 1988, p.103) || Merton unterscheidet behavioristisch unter sozialen "Abweichlern" folgendermaßen: Kreative (innovation), Aufsässige (rebellion), Überangepaßte (ritualism) und Sonderlinge (retreatism), eine Unterscheidung also, der unsere Typologie von Künstler, Revolutionär, Karrierist und Wahnsinnigem analog ist. (M. Schneider, Die kranke schöne Seele der Revolution, Frankfurt/Main, Syndikat, 1980, fn.9, p.261) || There is a story that the greatest scholar of Antiquity, Didymus, who had written more books than he could remember, became angry one day when someone told him a historical anecdote that in Didymus' opinion had no foundation. He relented when he was shown one of his own works in which the tale was said to be true. (P. Veyne, Did the Greeks believe in their Myths?, p.110) || Merton distinguishes between social "deviants" in the following way: innovative, rebellious, excessively conforming (ritualism), and misfits (retreatism). (M. Schneider, ibid., my transl.) || One of Choueiri's favorite cautionary tales is of an experiment conducted during the First World War, in which a tinny Victrola recording and an operatic soprano were cloaked in darkness at Carnegie Hall: the auditors were unable to tell one from the other. The audience's will to hear perfect sound mattered as much as the perception of the sound heard.(A. Gopnik, "Music to your ears", in The New Yorker, January 28, p34) || Und bringt nicht die "Agentur" der gesellschaftlichen Konformität gerade vier Prototypen bürgerlicher Existenz hervor, die in der Kinderstube eher die Subversion der Gesellschaft durch artistische Regelbeherrschung gelehrt worden sind: den Künstler, den Karrieristen, den Wahnsinngen und den Revolutionär? - And isn't it the "agency" of social conformity that brings forth the very four prototypes of bourgeois identity which during their bringing-up were taught the subversion of society by means of artistic control of the rules: the artist, the careerist, the mad, and the revolutionary? (M. Schneider, p.10, transl. mine) || Trying to decide whether to major in psychology or art history, I had gone to his office to see what he thought. He squinted and lowered his head: "Is this a hard choice for you?" Yes! I cried. "Oh," he said, springing back up cheerfully. "In that case, it doesn't matter. If it's a hard decision, then there's always lots to be said on both sides, so either choice is likely to be good in its way. Hard choices are always unimportant." (A. Gopnik, "Music to your ears", p.35)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

horse, meat, cave

In "The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages," there is a startling print of a twelfth-century Irish king who, to prove himself worthy of his crown, is bathing in a vat of horse-meat soup as he chews on a long rope of blood sausage. (M. Sheraton, "Missing Links" in The New Yorker, Dec 3, 2012, p.74) || Combier is the undisputed leading expert on the Palaeolithic cultures and the Ice Age art of the Ardèche region, and Jouve is a physicist specializing in radiocarbon dating. Their article is entitled "Chauvet's cave art is not Aurignacian" (the palaeolithic culture of roughly 35,000 years ago). It is hoped that the research team working at the cave will now deign to answer critiques levelled at its scientific record, after ignoring them for years. (P.G. Bahn, "Rock of Ages" in TLS November 9, 2012, p.29) || Daß Liebe und Obsession etwas miteinander zu tun haben, ist eine Vorstellung, die breiter Zustimmung sicher sein kann. [...] das eigentlich Obsessive liegt nicht im Extrem, im Abgelegenen oder Besonderen des Sexus, sondern in der vermeintlichen Normalität der Liebe. Die kollektive Obsession verbirgt sich in der alltäglichen Zärtlichkeit [...] (C. Berthold and J. Greid, "Endlich lieben - Eine moderne Obsession", in Obsessionen. Beherrschende Gedanken im wissenschaftlichen Zeitalter, (ed.) M. Jeismann, Frankurt, Suhrkamp, 1995, p.199) || In this seventeenth-century Lenten bacchanal [Franz Hals's "Merrymakers at Shrovetide"], the comic character Hans Wurst and other revellers appear woozily besotted with drink and festively bedecked with sausage links. (M. Sheraton, "Missing Links", ibid.) || The town of Göttingen, famous for its sausages and university, belongs to the King of Hannover, and contains 999 hearths, sundry churches, a lying-in hospital, an observatory, a lock-up, a library, and a beer-cellar, where the beer is very good. [...] when I matriculated there five years ago, shortly before being rusticated, it had the same grey look, like an old head on young shoulders, and was already fully equipped with proctors, bulldogs, dissertations, thés dansants, washer-women, reference-books, roast pigeons, Guelph Orders, graduation-day coaches, blockheads, Aulic Counsellors, Judicial Counsellors, disciplinary committees, eccentrics, and many other tricks. (H. Heine, The Harz Journey, Penguin, 2006, p.33-34) || "Is all this the democratization of learning, the new mass scholarship, in which persons of average intelligence but uncommon energy are half-lured, half-driven to collect, compile, and report, without the benefit of reflection, without the incentives of a generalizing purpose, and often without the critical implement of literacy?" (J. Barzun quoted in NB in TLS November 9, 2012, p.32) || [...] und selbst die reflexiven Problembeschreibungen weisen keinen Ausweg aus der fundamentalen Aporie: auf die Liebe angewiesen zu sein und von ihr doch nie mehr als vorübergehend befriedigt zu werden. | [...] and even the reflexive descriptions of the problem do not point to an escape from the fundamental aporia: to be dependent on love, yet to be satisfied by it merely transitorily. (C. Berthold and J. Greid, "Endlich lieben - Eine moderne Obsession", ibid., p.200, transl. mine)