Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Movies and radio need no longer pretend to be art. The truth that they are just business is made into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce. They call themselves industries; and when their directors’ incomes are published, any doubt about the social utility of the finished products is removed.

-Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment

Critics who describe music with adjectives remain essentially untouched; they reassure both themselves and us that the content of music is vastly important -- or else why write? -- and that we need never be afraid we'll find out what it really is.

-Greg Sandow, The Secret Of The Silver Ticket, Village Voice, April 1986

Monday, 21 April 2008

JK Rowling should thank her lucky stars Ursula LeGuin and Jane Yolen aren't the suing kind and get on with writing her next adverb-heavy doorstop already.

Lots of my fellow Indian lefties need realise it doesn't sound so convincing when you decry genocide and imperialism elsewhere and turn a blind eye to anything done by commies. This is just a rerun of how British lefties of a certain generation were all agog with blind praise for Stalin.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Long meeting at work, a poem happened:


Inside is a stranger, stuck
Done to death himself
Such a state, such a strait
Jacketed sort, wears ties

Worn ties, discarded bonds
For securities exchanged
Traded away life bygone
When found fear of living

Unafraid, dwells, unaware
In silent shell, living dead:
A stranger.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

and you read your emily dickinson

IN A LIBRARY.
A precious, mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty.
And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true;
He lived where dreams were sown.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.

- Emily Dickinson

Thursday, 10 April 2008

'Christianity, whose cruel emblem, the cross, has always had for me an element of the monstrous, brought something alien and hostile into nature and its innocent instincts...The battle of the spirit with the senses is the gospel of modern man. I do not care to have a share in it.'

'...furs have a stimulating effect on all highly organized natures. This is due both to general and natural laws. It is a physical stimulus which sets you tingling, and no one can wholly
escape it. Science has recently shown a certain relationship between electricity and warmth; at any rate, their effects upon the human organism are related. The torrid zone produces more passionate characters, a heated atmosphere stimulation. Likewise with electricity. This is the reason why the presence of cats exercises such a magic influence upon highly-organized men of intellect. This is why these long-tailed Graces of the animal kingdom, these adorable, scintillating electric batteries have been the favorite animal of a Mahommed, Cardinal Richelieu, Crebillon, Rousseau, Wieland.'

'...woman, as nature has created her and as man is at present educating her, is his enemy. She can only be his slave or his despot, but never his companion. This she can become only when she has the same rights as he, and is his equal in education and work.'

- Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, all from 'Venus In Furs'.

I'm not sure how aware Leo was of the implications of that last passage. Was he, or wasn't he, foreshadowing aspects of feminism? (It wouldn't precisely be a strict chronological foreshadowing, I realise that.)

(Yes, my plan to become preternaturally well-read proceeds apace.)