Gayatri Spivak

spivak

You may know GAYATRI CHAKRAVORTY SPIVAK (born 1942) as a pathbreaking and formidable writer, critic, and translator — the patron saint of postcolonial theory, even. But I know her as the vigilant, exacting, funny, supportive teacher who (my sophomore year at the University of Texas at Austin) exploded my worldview. Her masterworks — including In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (1987), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), and An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012) — helped transform the field of Comparative Literature from a niche guild populated by ascetic types into a powerhouse field of multicultural, transnational, politically wised-up cultural studies programs investigating the social-justice realities lurking in the bowels of an empire’s library. Her translation of Derrida‘s Of Grammatology left an enduring mark on late 20th century intellectual history. As the photo here suggests, Spivak is intense to the point of ferocity; her lectures were momentous. She changed my life, and I am forever in her debt.

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On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: August Derleth, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Plastic Bertrand.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).

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King Goshawk (9)

Cuinbattle

The 1926 satirical sf novel King Goshawk and the Birds, by Irish playwright and novelist Eimar O’Duffy, is set in a future world devastated by progress. When King Goshawk, the supreme ruler among a caste of “king capitalists,” buys up all the wildflowers and songbirds, an aghast Dublin philosopher travels via the astral plane to Tír na nÓg. First the mythical Irish hero Cúchulainn, then his son Cuanduine, travel to Earth in order to combat the king capitalists. Long before the hero of Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, these well-meaning aliens discover that cultural forms and norms are the most effective barrier to social or economic revolution.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize King Goshawk and the Birds, which has long been out of print, in its entirety. A new installment will appear each week.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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BOOK I: A Corner in Melody

Chapter 9: Why the Censors were so Zealous

You must understand that in those days every action, word, and thought of which man is capable was most thoroughly regulated by law. Like every other product of human endeavour, the process of legislation had been so perfected and accelerated by the marvellous progress of science during the previous quarter of a century, that the output of laws at this period baffles computation. Indeed, there were so many that it had been found necessary to double the number of judges; yet even so it would have been impossible to administer all the new statutes and punish all the new crimes without rather neglecting the old ones. (It was for this reason that Cúchulainn was able to get away with an assault or two, so long as he kept his hands off millionaires.) The penalties for breach of any law were necessarily very severe, for the complexity of the system made the smallest infringement a matter of such consequence that only the most powerful deterrents could save the courts from being glutted with cases. So great, however, was the legislative zeal of the age that although, as a contemporary wit observed, there were already so many laws that it was almost impossible to obey one without breaking another, nevertheless the promulgation of new ones continued unabated, so that it had become a matter of vital necessity for every citizen to read his newspaper in the morning with the closest attention, lest inadvertently he should commit an act which had been made criminal while he was in bed; as happened once to some forty thousand people of Dublin, who on a morning in March found themselves lodged in gaol for blowing their noses in public, being unaware that this action had just been incorporated as Schedule 678 of the Public Modesty Act.

However, there was as yet no law to protect the wise from the malice of the ignorant; though there were many to protect the ignorant from the assistance of the wise. Hence the fate that befell the Philosopher in our first chapter.

You must further understand that these were the days of paternal government. All over the world the governments had decided to abolish temptation, it being generally conceded, by philanthropists, social reformers, and statisticians, that man’s character was now so weak that at the mere appearance of temptation he must instantly succumb. The manufacture of wine, beer, spirits, and tobacco had long since been entirely suppressed. The vine and the tobacco plant were actually extinct, and in France there was a law ordaining that any one who should see a wild seedling of either must, under severe penalties, report it at once to the authorities for destruction. Substitutes for the banned commodities were, however, illicitly manufactured in great abundance. The Germans invented an imitation beer, made by soaking scrap iron in a mixture of vinegar and water; there was an insuppressible trade in Ireland in a kind of whisky of immense strength and unknown origin; and the ingenuity of the French had succeeded in extracting a very potent liquor from the common blackberry. For tobacco-substitute, every conceivable plant had been put under contribution, the chopped and dried leaves being usually smoked in pipes of plain deal, which, in the event of a raid by the Inspectors of Morals, would be readily consumed if thrust into a fire. Some of the more venturesome would even smoke cigars of brown paper in the street, and if they saw an Inspector approach, would extinguish and unroll it and wrap it like parcelling round a cake of soap or some such trifle kept for the purpose.

Even more thorough were the methods employed to save the citizens from the temptations of the flesh. The costumes of women, both as to cut and material, were all regulated by statute, the length of the skirt and the thickness of the stockings being the subjects of most stringent legislation; for the enforcement of which the Inspectors were furnished with tape-measures and calipers, with instructions to test any garment that might excite their suspicions.

Needless to say, the arts had received a full share of the attention of these paternal governments. The nude was a forbidden subject; and there had been a great holocaust of existing works in this genre many years ago. Fully two-fifths of the world’s literature had suffered the same fate, and another fifth had been so mutilated by the expurgators as to have been rendered unrecognisable to its authors. The Old Testament had been reduced to a collection of scraps, somewhat resembling the Greek Anthology; and even the New Testament had been purged of the plainer-spoken words of Christ which were offensive to modern taste. All new works had to undergo a prolonged inspection by a board of Censors, whose jurisdiction, however, did not extend to musical comedies or Sunday papers.

But the efforts of the governments to abolish the occasions of sin did not end here. It was ordained that if a person were to behave in such a way as to tempt any one to murder him, he could be arrested and imprisoned at the President’s pleasure; to abolish the temptation to bear false witness, the practice of calling witnesses in legal proceedings was being gradually discontinued; and anybody whose poverty might render him liable to steal could be put under restraint until such time as his circumstances should improve. The Party of Civil Liberty, however, had by tremendous exertions succeeded in preventing the passing of a law forbidding the rich to flaunt their wealth in the faces of the poor. It was but a trifling omission from such an exhaustive code. Such indeed was the zeal of the authorities in their war against temptation that it was a frequent occurrence for the police on duty in the law-courts to arrest all the members of the public present, the jury, the lawyers, and even the judge himself, to save them from hearing some unsavoury detail of a case.

Yet in spite of all these laws and regulations the general behaviour of the human race was in no wise improved; a thing which the purveyors of morals were hard set to explain. Wars and individual murders were more frequent than ever before; thoroughfares in the great cities were often rendered impassable on Saturdays and Sundays by the prostrate forms of men and women drunk with poteen or blackberry wine; and the white slave traffic was paying dividends of sixty-two per cent on its ordinary shares, which were openly purchased by respectable citizens. Governments and peoples still preserved an attitude of mistrust and feelings of hatred in their relations with one another; and internal politics were largely a matter of flamboyant posters, mean little handbills, and dirty language.

So much for the measures taken for the elimination of moral temptations from the ways of the world. Political and social stability were preserved by the same means; there being in every country a law forbidding the speaking or writing of any word declaring, implying, or insinuating that the legislative, executive, or judicial system of that country was not the best conceivable for that country. Thus in one country it would be forbidden to criticise plutocracy disguised as monarchy; in another to criticise plutocracy disguised as republicanism; and in Ireland it was high treason to condemn the system of flamboyant posters, mean little hand-bills, and dirty language. It was customary also for states entering into an alliance to make a mutual compact by which each state was to suppress criticism of the government of the other. Hence the Spaniards and Portuguese could criticise neither monarchy nor republicanism; and the Irish and Russians were debarred from comparing capitalism with communism; as for the English, so multifarious were their alliances and understandings that they could criticise nothing at all: which suited their temperament to perfection.

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION: “Radium Age” is HiLobrow’s name for the 1904–33 era, which saw the discovery of radioactivity, the revelation that matter itself is constantly in movement — a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. This era also saw the publication of genre-shattering writing by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Olaf Stapledon, Karel Čapek, H.P. Lovecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Philip Gordon Wylie, and other pioneers of post-Verne/Wells, pre-Golden Age “science fiction.” More info here.

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

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February 22, 2014



February 22, 2014

Since the early eighties, the presence of David Sylvian, has weighted heavily in my mind and soul, which are not that odd.   Of course, my love for Sylvian’s music and image would mean nothing if it wasn’t attached to a memory of a love that didn’t happen.  It should have happened, but alas, the stars were not working towards my favor.  I pretty much put all of this in the back of my mind, but by chance this morning, I ran across the girl in question and the recent Sylvian album “Died In The Wool.”

Some years ago I was attracted to a girl where everything between us seemed perfect, but she was involved with another, and her affair with the young man was going back and forth.  It was as if a tide was hitting the shore, where he came upon her life and then leaves.  I would somehow come in-between the waves, but I could never stay long, due that he always was on his way to her home, her heart, and it was totally accepted by her friends that this was her long-suffering boyfriend.  The thing that really connects me to her was not her record collection, but the fact the fact that she owned 12” singles of early Japan releases with a few Sylvian recordings.  Japan was Sylvian’s first band, and what is interesting about them at the time was that they were not that interesting.  When I first heard them, I thought they were a Roxy Music rip-off, and of course, their name… It is common knowledge that all bands that name themselves after cities or countries tend to suck.   But after I got over that prejudice, I noticed the textural beauty and tension between Sylvian’s Bryan Ferry like-vocals, and the instrumentation that was full, but spare at the same time.  There was surface like oriental sounds to their arrangements, but what makes it all work, was Sylvian’s voice and the slippery fretless bass of Mick Karn and the minimal backing of David’s brother Steve Jansen on drums and keyboardist Richard Barbieri.



Over time I would lose interest in the David Sylvian world, not due to this excellent music-making, but more to the fact that my life was changing and I was adopting new music or thoughts in my world that didn’t have anything to do with my past.  This was something that I had in common with Sylvian was his need not to repute the past, but keep going on a forward direction.  For the casual listener, the Sylvian catalog sounds not that different, but the fact is in existence is a whole philosophy in the works, with respect how he sees his music.  So the thought that he would do material from the Japan days on stage is unthinkable.  One does not really know if he is comfortable with his past, due that he was very much set in the pop music world as a teen idol of sorts.  He was, or is, regarded as the most beautiful man in British Pop, but I don’t think he had the personality to carry that over to his private life.  



His privacy is virtually fortress like, as a fan I rarely know what or where he is.  One gets a series of facts, for instance he has two children from a marriage with Ingrid Chavez.  But beyond that his life is a mystery to me.   The late and great Mick Karn was considered to his equal in Japan, but they had a disagreement, that is customary when one is in a band together.  The curious thing is that there are two distinctive sounds in Japan.  One is Sylvian’s voice, and the other is the bass playing by Karn.  For me, the big difference on a Sylvian solo project is the absence of a bass sound.  The music, overall, is not that different, but there is only space there on the solo recordings in replacement for the fretless bass by Karn.  So in a sense, Karn is only replaced by silence.  This I think is very beautiful.

Not long ago, and by total chance, I ran into the girl, which instantly reminded me of David Sylvian.  The one thing that came to mind was she was as exquisite as ever, and she eventually married her boyfriend and now has a family.   The funny thing is that our relationship hasn’t really changed, except there is a great deal of silence between us.  On the other hand, she asked if I still liked David Sylvian's music, and told me about the “Died In The Wool” album, and said I should get it. We hugged and then she left my world.  Later, I purchased the Sylvian album, and even though it didn’t exactly bring me back to the past, it was a voice from yesterday, but talking to me today.   Currently I am grateful that she is healthy and seems happy, and I now have a new David Sylvian album to listen to.
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victoriousvocabulary: ZHĀNGYÚ [noun] Chinese: 章鱼 – octopus; a…



victoriousvocabulary:

ZHĀNGYÚ

[noun]

Chinese: 章鱼 - octopus; a cephalopod mollusc with eight sucker-bearing arms, a soft sac-like body, strong beak-like jaws, and no internal shell.

Etymology: zhāng (章 - article, seal,chapter, order, regulation) + (鱼 - fish).

[Patrick Seymour]

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ghosts-in-the-tv: EAI 640 Digital Computing System, (1966)







ghosts-in-the-tv:

EAI 640 Digital Computing System, (1966)

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fyblackwomenart: #afrofuturistic



fyblackwomenart:

#afrofuturistic

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W.E.B. Du Bois

DuBois-GraceCt

On February 27, 1951 recently widowed W.E.B. DUBOIS (1868–1963) wed author Shirley Graham in her St. Albans, Queens home. After honeymooning in the Bahamas, the couple moved to 31 Grace Court in Brooklyn Heights, a townhouse purchased from playwright Arthur Miller. At 83, DuBois’ life was one of diverse, monumental, often fractious achievement. In literature, he’d authored three masterpieces: Souls of Black Folk (essays, 1903); Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil (proto-modernist collage, 1920); and Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 (history, 1935). Increasingly anti-capitalist, in 1950, DuBois was the American Labor Party’s candidate for U.S. Senator. “A GIANT OF THE PEOPLE,” read one ad, “Climaxes his half century fight for Peace and Humanity against the little men of War and Bias.” The little men were not amused and in February 1951, DuBois and four other anti-war activists were indicted for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act; after their acquittal, the State Department denied both Dubois’ passport renewals. Such persecution took its toll, most depressingly in a fatuous March 1953 eulogy for Josef Stalin. Still, there were graces. In June, DuBois spoke at Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s Brooklyn funeral and in October 1956, when The Nation published DuBois’ anti-electoral essay “Why I Won’t Vote,” an unexpected letter to the editor followed. “When I was a very young man,” recalled Henry Miller of Big Sur, California, “I attended his lectures, read his books. I owe a great deal to him — he was one of the truly great influences in my life.”

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REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: W.E.B. DuBois’s Radium Age science fiction story “The Comet”.

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Aziz Ansari, Jean-Paul Clébert, Kazimir Malevich, Terence Fisher.

READ MORE about members of the Anarcho-Symbolist Generation (1864–73).

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Huntingtower (8)

buchan

Huntingtower was a departure for John Buchan. Published between the third and fourth of his tremendous Richard Hannay novels, the book’s protagonist is not a soldier-turned-spy, but instead a retired Scottish grocer who joins a quixotic effort to rescue a Russian noblewoman from Bolsheviks. Adventure literature exegetes agree that with this novel, Buchan was attempting to take the curse of irony off the word “adventure” — that is, to bring adventure into everyday life.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize John Buchan’s Huntingtower, which was first published in 1922. A new installment will appear each week for sixteen weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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Chapter 8: How a Middle-Aged Crusader Accepted a Challenge

The first cocks had just begun to crow and the clocks had not yet struck five when Dickson presented himself at Mrs. Morran’s back door. That active woman had already been half an hour out of bed, and was drinking her morning cup of tea in the kitchen. She received him with cordiality, nay, with relief.

“Eh, sirs, but I’m glad to see ye back. Guid kens what’s gaun on at the Hoose thae days. Mr. Heritage left here yestreen, creepin’ round by dyke-sides and berry-busses like a wheasel. It’s a mercy to get a responsible man in the place. I aye had a notion ye wad come back, for, thinks I, nevoy Dickson is no the yin to desert folk in trouble…. Whaur’s my wee kist?… Lost, ye say. That’s a peety, for it’s been my cheese-box thae thirty year.”

Dickson ascended to the loft, having announced his need of at least three hours’ sleep. As he rolled into bed his mind was curiously at ease. He felt equipped for any call that might be made on him. That Mrs. Morran should welcome him back as a resource in need gave him a new assurance of manhood.

He woke between nine and ten to the sound of rain lashing against the garret window. As he picked his way out of the mazes of sleep and recovered the skein of his immediate past, he found to his disgust that he had lost his composure. All the flock of fears that had left him when, on the top of the Glasgow tram-car, he had made the great decision had flown back again and settled like black crows on his spirit. He was running a horrible risk and all for a whim. What business had he to be mixing himself up in things he did not understand? It might be a huge mistake, and then he would be a laughing stock; for a moment he repented his telegram to Mr. Caw. Then he recanted that suspicion; there could be no mistake, except the fatal one that he had taken on a job too big for him. He sat on the edge of his bed and shivered, with his eyes on the grey drift of rain. He would have felt more stout-hearted had the sun been shining.

He shuffled to the window and looked out. There in the village street was Dobson, and Dobson saw him. That was a bad blunder, for his reason told him that he should have kept his presence in Dalquharter hid as long as possible.

There was a knock at the cottage door, and presently Mrs. Morran appeared.

“It’s the man frae the inn,” she announced. “He’s wantin’ a word wi’ ye. Speakin’ verra ceevil, too.”

“Tell him to come up,” said Dickson. He might as well get the interview over. Dobson had seen Loudon and must know of their conversation. The sight of himself back again when he had pretended to be off to Glasgow would remove him effectually from the class of the unsuspected. He wondered just what line Dobson would take.

The innkeeper obtruded his bulk through the low door. His face was wrinkled into a smile, which nevertheless left the small eyes ungenial. His voice had a loud vulgar cordiality. Suddenly Dickson was conscious of a resemblance, a resemblance to somebody whom he had recently seen. It was Loudon. There was the same thrusting of the chin forward, the same odd cheek-bones, the same unctuous heartiness of speech. The innkeeper, well washed and polished and dressed, would be no bad copy of the factor. They must be near kin, perhaps brothers.

“Good morning to you, Mr. McCunn. Man, it’s pitifu’ weather, and just when the farmers are wanting a dry seed-bed. What brings ye back here? Ye travel the country like a drover.”

“Oh, I’m a free man now and I took a fancy to this place. An idle body has nothing to do but please himself.”

“I hear ye’re taking a lease of Huntingtower?”

“Now who told you that?”

“Just the clash of the place. Is it true?”

Dickson looked sly and a little annoyed.

“I maybe had half a thought of it, but I’ll thank you not to repeat the story. It’s a big house for a plain man like me, and I haven’t properly inspected it.”

“Oh, I’ll keep mum, never fear. But if ye’ve that sort of notion, I can understand you not being able to keep away from the place.”

“That’s maybe the fact,” Dickson admitted.

“Well! It’s just on that point I want a word with you.” The innkeeper seated himself unbidden on the chair which held Dickson’s modest raiment. He leaned forward and with a coarse forefinger tapped Dickson’s pyjama-clad knees. “I can’t have ye wandering about the place. I’m very sorry, but I’ve got my orders from Mr. Loudon. So if you think that by bidin’ here ye can see more of the House and the policies, ye’re wrong, Mr. McCunn. It can’t be allowed, for we’re no’ ready for ye yet. D’ye understand? That’s Mr. Loudon’s orders…. Now, would it not be a far better plan if ye went back to Glasgow and came back in a week’s time? I’m thinking of your own comfort, Mr. McCunn.”

Dickson was cogitating hard. This man was clearly instructed to get rid of him at all costs for the next few days. The neighbourhood had to be cleared for some black business. The tinklers had been deputed to drive out the Gorbals Die-Hards, and as for Heritage they seemed to have lost track of him. He, Dickson, was now the chief object of their care. But what could Dobson do if he refused? He dared not show his true hand. Yet he might, if sufficiently irritated. It became Dickson’s immediate object to get the innkeeper to reveal himself by rousing his temper. He did not stop to consider the policy of this course; he imperatively wanted things cleared up and the issue made plain.

“I’m sure I’m much obliged to you for thinking so much about my comfort,” he said in a voice into which he hoped he had insinuated a sneer. “But I’m bound to say you’re awful suspicious folk about here. You needn’t be feared for your old policies. There’s plenty of nice walks about the roads, and I want to explore the sea-coast.”

The last words seemed to annoy the innkeeper. “That’s no’ allowed either,” he said. “The shore’s as private as the policies…. Well, I wish ye joy tramping the roads in the glaur.”

“It’s a queer thing,” said Dickson meditatively, “that you should keep an hotel and yet be set on discouraging people from visiting this neighbourhood. I tell you what, I believe that hotel of yours is all sham. You’ve some other business, you and these lodgekeepers, and in my opinion it’s not a very creditable one.”

“What d’ye mean?” asked Dobson sharply.

“Just what I say. You must expect a body to be suspicious, if you treat him as you’re treating me.” Loudon must have told this man the story with which he had been fobbed off about the half-witted Kennedy relative. Would Dobson refer to that?

The innkeeper had an ugly look on his face, but he controlled his temper with an effort. “There’s no cause for suspicion,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned it’s all honest and aboveboard.”

“It doesn’t look like it. It looks as if you were hiding something up in the House which you don’t want me to see.”

Dobson jumped from his chair, his face pale with anger. A man in pyjamas on a raw morning does not feel at his bravest, and Dickson quailed under the expectation of assault. But even in his fright he realised that Loudon could not have told Dobson the tale of the half-witted lady. The last remark had cut clean through all camouflage and reached the quick.

“What the hell d’ ye mean?” he cried. “Ye’re a spy, are ye? Ye fat little fool, for two cents I’d wring your neck.”

Now it is an odd trait of certain mild people that a suspicion of threat, a hint of bullying, will rouse some unsuspected obstinacy deep down in their souls. The insolence of the man’s speech woke a quiet but efficient little devil in Dickson.

“That’s a bonny tone to adopt in addressing a gentleman. If you’ve nothing to hide what way are you so touchy? I can’t be a spy unless there’s something to spy on.”

The innkeeper pulled himself together. He was apparently acting on instructions, and had not yet come to the end of them. He made an attempt at a smile.

“I’m sure I beg your pardon if I spoke too hot. But it nettled me to hear ye say that…. I’ll be quite frank with ye, Mr. McCunn, and, believe me, I’m speaking in your best interests. I give ye my word there’s nothing wrong up at the House. I’m on the side of the law, and when I tell ye the whole story ye’ll admit it. But I can’t tell it ye yet…. This is a wild, lonely bit and very few folk bide in it. And these are wild times, when a lot of queer things happen that never get into the papers. I tell ye it’s for your own good to leave Dalquharter for the present. More I can’t say, but I ask ye to look at it as a sensible man. Ye’re one that’s accustomed to a quiet life and no’ meant for rough work. Ye’ll do no good if you stay, and, maybe, ye’ll land yourself in bad trouble.”

“Mercy on us!” Dickson exclaimed. “What is it you’re expecting? Sinn Fein?”

The innkeeper nodded. “Something like that.”

“Did you ever hear the like? I never did think much of the Irish.”

“Then ye’ll take my advice and go home? Tell ye what, I’ll drive ye to the station.”

Dickson got up from the bed, found his new safety-razor and began to strop it. “No, I think I’ll bide. If you’re right there’ll be more to see than glaury roads.”

“I’m warning ye, fair and honest. Ye… can’t… be… allowed… to… stay… here!”

“Well, I never!” said Dickson. “Is there any law in Scotland, think you, that forbids a man to stop a day or two with his auntie?”

“Ye’ll stay?”

“Ay, I’ll stay.”

“By God, we’ll see about that.”

For a moment Dickson thought that he would be attacked, and he measured the distance that separated him from the peg whence hung his waterproof with the pistol in its pocket. But the man restrained himself and moved to the door. There he stood and cursed him with a violence and a venom which Dickson had not believed possible. The full hand was on the table now.

“Ye wee pot-bellied, pig-heided Glasgow grocer,” (I paraphrase), “would you set up to defy me? I tell ye, I’ll make ye rue the day ye were born.” His parting words were a brilliant sketch of the maltreatment in store for the body of the defiant one.

“Impident dog,” said Dickson without heat. He noted with pleasure that the innkeeper hit his head violently against the low lintel, and, missing a step, fell down the loft stairs into the kitchen, where Mrs. Morran’s tongue could be heard speeding him trenchantly from the premises.

Left to himself, Dickson dressed leisurely, and by and by went down to the kitchen and watched his hostess making broth. The fracas with Dobson had done him all the good in the world, for it had cleared the problem of dubieties and had put an edge on his temper. But he realised that it made his continued stay in the cottage undesirable. He was now the focus of all suspicion, and the innkeeper would be as good as his word and try to drive him out of the place by force. Kidnapping, most likely, and that would be highly unpleasant, besides putting an end to his usefulness. Clearly he must join the others. The soul of Dickson hungered at the moment for human companionship. He felt that his courage would be sufficient for any team-work, but might waver again if he were left to play a lone hand.

He lunched nobly off three plates of Mrs. Morran’s kail — an early lunch, for that lady, having breakfasted at five, partook of the midday meal about eleven. Then he explored her library, and settled himself by the fire with a volume of Covenanting tales, entitled Gleanings among the Mountains. It was a most practical work for one in his position, for it told how various eminent saints of that era escaped the attention of Claverhouse’s dragoons. Dickson stored up in his memory several of the incidents in case they should come in handy. He wondered if any of his forbears had been Covenanters; it comforted him to think that some old progenitor might have hunkered behind turf walls and been chased for his life in the heather. “Just like me,” he reflected. “But the dragoons weren’t foreigners, and there was a kind of decency about Claverhouse too.”

About four o’clock Dougal presented himself in the back kitchen. He was an even wilder figure than usual, for his bare legs were mud to the knees, his kilt and shirt clung sopping to his body, and, having lost his hat, his wet hair was plastered over his eyes. Mrs. Morran said, not unkindly, that he looked “like a wull-cat glowerin’ through a whin buss.”

“How are you, Dougal?” Dickson asked genially. “Is the peace of nature smoothing out the creases in your poor little soul?”

“What’s that ye say?”

“Oh, just what I heard a man say in Glasgow. How have you got on?”

“Not so bad. Your telegram was sent this mornin’. Old Bill took it in to Kirkmichael. That’s the first thing. Second, Thomas Yownie has took a party to get down the box from the station. He got Mrs. Sempill’s powny and he took the box ayont the Laver by the ford at the herd’s hoose and got it on to the shore maybe a mile ayont Laverfoot. He managed to get the machine up as far as the water, but he could get no farther, for ye’ll no’ get a machine over the wee waterfa’ just before the Laver ends in the sea. So he sent one o’ the men back with it to Mrs. Sempill, and, since the box was ower heavy to carry, he opened it and took the stuff across in bits. It’s a’ safe in the hole at the foot o’ the Huntingtower rocks, and he reports that the rain has done it no harm. Thomas has made a good job of it. Ye’ll no fickle Thomas Yownie.”

“And what about your camp on the moor?”

“It was broke up afore daylight. Some of our things we’ve got with us, and most is hid near at hand. The tents are in the auld wife’s henhoose,” and he jerked his disreputable head in the direction of the back door.

“Have the tinklers been back?”

“Ay. They turned up about ten o’clock, no doubt intendin’ murder. I left Wee Jaikie to watch developments. They fund him sittin’ on a stone, greetin’ sore. When he saw them, he up and started to run, and they cried on him to stop, but he wouldn’t listen. Then they cried out where were the rest, and he telled them they were feared for their lives and had run away. After that they offered to catch him, but ye’ll no’ catch Jaikie in a hurry. When he had run round about them till they were wappit, he out wi’ his catty and got one o’ them on the lug. Syne he made for the Laverfoot and reported.”

“Man, Dougal, you’ve managed fine. Now I’ve something to tell you,” and Dickson recounted his interview with the innkeeper. “I don’t think it’s safe for me to bide here, and if I did, I wouldn’t be any use, hiding in cellars and such like, and not daring to stir a foot. I’m coming with you to the House. Now tell me how to get there.”

Dougal agreed to this view. “There’s been nothing doing at the Hoose the day, but they’re keepin’ a close watch on the policies. The cripus may come any moment. There’s no doubt, Mr. McCunn, that ye’re in danger, for they’ll serve you as the tinklers tried to serve us. Listen to me. Ye’ll walk up the station road, and take the second turn on your left, a wee grass road that’ll bring ye to the ford at the herd’s hoose. Cross the Laver — there’s a plank bridge — and take straight across the moor in the direction of the peakit hill they call Grey Carrick. Ye’ll come to a big burn, which ye must follow till ye get to the shore. Then turn south, keepin’ the water’s edge till ye reach the Laver, where you’ll find one o’ us to show ye the rest of the road…. I must be off now, and I advise ye not to be slow of startin’, for wi’ this rain the water’s risin’ quick. It’s a mercy it’s such coarse weather, for it spoils the veesibility.”

“Auntie Phemie,” said Dickson a few minutes later, “will you oblige me by coming for a short walk?”

“The man’s daft,” was the answer.

“I’m not. I’ll explain if you’ll listen…. You see,” he concluded, “the dangerous bit for me is just the mile out of the village. They’ll no’ be so likely to try violence if there’s somebody with me that could be a witness. Besides, they’ll maybe suspect less if they just see a decent body out for a breath of air with his auntie.”

Mrs. Morran said nothing, but retired, and returned presently equipped for the road. She had indued her feet with goloshes and pinned up her skirts till they looked like some demented Paris mode. An ancient bonnet was tied under her chin with strings, and her equipment was completed by an exceedingly smart tortoise-shell-handled umbrella, which, she explained, had been a Christmas present from her son.

“I’ll convoy ye as far as the Laverfoot herd’s,” she announced. “The wife’s a freend o’ mine and will set me a bit on the road back. Ye needna fash for me. I’m used to a’ weathers.”

The rain had declined to a fine drizzle, but a tearing wind from the south-west scoured the land. Beyond the shelter of the trees the moor was a battle-ground of gusts which swept the puddles into spindrift and gave to the stagnant bog-pools the appearance of running water. The wind was behind the travellers, and Mrs. Morran, like a full-rigged ship, was hustled before it, so that Dickson, who had linked arms with her, was sometimes compelled to trot.

“However will you get home, mistress?” he murmured anxiously.

“Fine. The wind will fa’ at the darkenin’. This’ll be a sair time for ships at sea.”

Not a soul was about, as they breasted the ascent of the station road and turned down the grassy bypath to the Laverfoot herd’s. The herd’s wife saw them from afar and was at the door to receive them.

“Megsty! Phemie Morran!” she shrilled. “Wha wad ettle to see ye on a day like this? John’s awa’ at Dumfries, buyin’ tups. Come in, the baith o’ ye. The kettle’s on the boil.”

“This is my nevoy Dickson,” said Mrs. Morran. “He’s gaun to stretch his legs ayont the burn, and come back by the Ayr road. But I’ll be blithe to tak’ my tea wi’ ye, Elspeth…. Now, Dickson, I’ll expect ye back on the chap o’ seeven.”

He crossed the rising stream on a swaying plank and struck into the moorland, as Dougal had ordered, keeping the bald top of Grey Carrick before him. In that wild place with the tempest battling overhead he had no fear of human enemies. Steadily he covered the ground, till he reached the west-flowing burn that was to lead him to the shore. He found it an entertaining companion, swirling into black pools, foaming over little falls, and lying in dark canal-like stretches in the flats. Presently it began to descend steeply in a narrow green gully, where the going was bad, and Dickson, weighted with pack and waterproof, had much ado to keep his feet on the sodden slopes. Then, as he rounded a crook of hill, the ground fell away from his feet, the burn swept in a water-slide to the boulders of the shore, and the storm-tossed sea lay before him.

It was now that he began to feel nervous. Being on the coast again seemed to bring him inside his enemies’ territory, and had not Dobson specifically forbidden the shore? It was here that they might be looking for him. He felt himself out of condition, very wet and very warm, but he attained a creditable pace, for he struck a road which had been used by manure-carts collecting seaweed. There were faint marks on it, which he took to be the wheels of Dougal’s “machine” carrying the provision-box. Yes. On a patch of gravel there was a double set of tracks, which showed how it had returned to Mrs. Sempill. He was exposed to the full force of the wind, and the strenuousness of his bodily exertions kept his fears quiescent, till the cliffs on his left sunk suddenly and the valley of the Laver lay before him.

A small figure rose from the shelter of a boulder, the warrior who bore the name of Old Bill. He saluted gravely.

“Ye’re just in time. The water has rose three inches since I’ve been here. Ye’d better strip.”

Dickson removed his boots and socks. “Breeks, too,” commanded the boy; “there’s deep holes ayont thae stanes.”

Dickson obeyed, feeling very chilly, and rather improper. “Now, follow me,” said the guide. The next moment he was stepping delicately on very sharp pebbles, holding on to the end of the scout’s pole, while an icy stream ran to his knees.

The Laver as it reaches the sea broadens out to the width of fifty or sixty yards and tumbles over little shelves of rock to meet the waves. Usually it is shallow, but now it was swollen to an average depth of a foot or more, and there were deeper pockets. Dickson made the passage slowly and miserably, sometimes crying out with pain as his toes struck a sharper flint, once or twice sitting down on a boulder to blow like a whale, once slipping on his knees and wetting the strange excrescence about his middle, which was his tucked-up waterproof. But the crossing was at length achieved, and on a patch of sea-pinks he dried himself perfunctorily and hastily put on his garments. Old Bill, who seemed to be regardless of wind or water, squatted beside him and whistled through his teeth.

Above them hung the sheer cliffs of the Huntingtower cape, so sheer that a man below was completely hidden from any watcher on the top. Dickson’s heart fell, for he did not profess to be a cragsman and had indeed a horror of precipitous places. But as the two scrambled along the foot, they passed deep-cut gullies and fissures, most of them unclimbable, but offering something more hopeful than the face. At one of these Old Bill halted and led the way up and over a chaos of fallen rock and loose sand. The grey weather had brought on the dark prematurely, and in the half-light it seemed that this ravine was blocked by an unscalable mass of rock. Here Old Bill whistled, and there was a reply from above. Round the corner of the mass came Dougal.

“Up here,” he commanded. “It was Mr. Heritage that fund this road.”

Dickson and his guide squeezed themselves between the mass and the cliff up a spout of stones, and found themselves in an upper storey of the gulley, very steep but practicable even for one who was no cragsman. This in turn ran out against a wall up which there led only a narrow chimney. At the foot of this were two of the Die-Hards, and there were others above, for a rope hung down by the aid of which a package was even now ascending.

“That’s the top,” said Dougal, pointing to the rim of sky, “and that’s the last o’ the supplies.” Dickson noticed that he spoke in a whisper, and that all the movements of the Die-Hards were judicious and stealthy. “Now, it’s your turn. Take a good grip o’ the rope, and ye’ll find plenty holes for your feet. It’s no more than ten yards and ye’re well held above.”

Dickson made the attempt and found it easier than he expected. The only trouble was his pack and waterproof, which had a tendency to catch on jags of rock. A hand was reached out to him, he was pulled over the edge, and then pushed down on his face.

When he lifted his head Dougal and the others had joined him and the whole company of the Die-Hards was assembled on a patch of grass which was concealed from the landward view by a thicket of hazels. Another, whom he recognised as Heritage, was coiling up the rope.

“We’d better get all the stuff into the old Tower for the present,” Heritage was saying. “It’s too risky to move it into the House now. We’ll need the thickest darkness for that, after the moon is down. Quick, for the beastly thing will be rising soon and before that we must all be indoors.”

Then he turned to Dickson, and gripped his hand. “You’re a high class of sportsman, Dogson. And I think you’re just in time.”

“Are they due to-night?” Dickson asked in an excited whisper, faint against the wind.

“I don’t know about They. But I’ve got a notion that some devilish queer things will happen before to-morrow morning.”

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

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cinefamily: Classic Cinema, Sheffield, UK, 1982



cinefamily:

Classic Cinema, Sheffield, UK, 1982

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February 22, 2014


February 22, 2014


“Oh, what’s the bloody point.” I’ve been keeping my journal up for the last 30 something years, and as I re-read passages I realized I haven’t really went forward as a human being.  Old age doesn’t really suit me, but neither did my youth or middle-age did anything for me.  One thing that has been consistent in my life is basically boiling down to a theory by Arthur Schopenhauer that our world, or I should say “my” world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction.  My passion for Cyrinda never faltered, and when she left me for David, I thought for sure, my world, will be completely crushed.  Instead, I find my pain of losing her to another man as something of a turn-on for me.  I never felt more alive, when I am mourning for a lost love.  



Luis Buñuel’s film “L’Age d’Or pretty much described my romantic sensibilities.  At all cost of trying to get the girl, when the girl is not that interested in you anymore. Cyrinda went off with other men, very famous men, and I never failed to watch her from a great distance, or the gossip pages of various magazines.  The illness from my passion made me feel like Dwight Frye, when he is found on the ghost ship with Dracula’s casket.  I feel my obsession is chaining me to the memory of Cryinda, yet in reality, did even that love exist?



Some years ago, I became obsessed with the relationship between the female writer George Sands and Frédéric Chopin, which started out brilliantly but became a chore for Sands.  As Chopin got physically ill, he has been quoted as saying that his doctors have told him that "the first said I was dead; the second said I was dying; and the third said I was about to die.” I too felt illness creeping up on me for the past 30 years, and I wonder if tomorrow will exist for me, once I give up my daily obsession about a lost love, that in reality was not even close to love. 

One of the things that keep me going with respect to my journal is my major influence, Jules Renard, who kept his journals from 1887 to 1910.  In them, he kept his thoughts and observations on daily life, which for me, was uplifting and fascinating at the same time.  One quote from his journal stays in my mind, “Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.” If only I take that advice literally, I would be a happy man.  But also his comment “If one were to build the house of happiness, the largest space would be the waiting room, ” is very truthful as well.  And it is perhaps my “love” for Cryinda is placed in that waiting room.


Nonetheless, in the end, I just don’t know.  Oh, what’s the bloody point. 


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Prosthesis

We really are living in a great age of prosthetics (it is one of my favorite things about doing the New York City Triathlon, too, which is otherwise a rather overpriced and crowded and hot race, that you see so many young fast athletes racing on prosthetic legs). (FT site registration required.)

(Photo credit: Takao Ochi for the FT)

This picture makes me think of my mild prejudice against most performance art - given the possibilities of avant-garde musical performance, why wouldn't you be a musician instead? You get all the potentially good parts of performance art plus music....

Writing from Cayman. I made it here safely, only as so often the case at the cost of a minor lung ailment! No exercise this weekend, accordingly & unfortunately, but it is still very nice to be here, even with massive pile of work and lungs like creaky bellows. Light reading along the route: Mark Billingham, From the Dead (not actually a new book and rather inferior to the usual Thorne standard, which may explain why it wasn't published in the US at the time); Victor Gischler, The Deputy (enjoyable gonzo noir, slightly under-proofread); James S. A. Corey, The Butcher of Anderson Station. Just now dug in on the first installment of one of my favorite books from childhood, one of the best value-for-money (re)reading opportunities on the internet!
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fyblackwomenart: Artist: Black Comix



fyblackwomenart:

Artist: Black Comix

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“Crowdworking is often hailed by its boosters as ushering in a new age of work. With the zeal of…”

Crowdworking is often hailed by its boosters as ushering in a new age of work. With the zeal of high-tech preachers, they cast it as a space in which individualism, choice and self-determination flourish. “CrowdFlower, and others in the crowdsourcing industry, are bringing opportunities to people who never would have had them before, and we operate in a truly egalitarian fashion, where anyone who wants to can do microtasks, no matter their gender, nationality, or socio-economic status, and can do so in a way that is entirely of their choosing and unique to them,” asserts Lukas Biewald, the CEO of CrowdFlower, in an e-mail exchange. (CrowdFlower claims to have “among the largest, if not the largest, crowd” available, with roughly 100,000 workers completing tasks on any given day.)

But if you happen to be a low-end worker doing the Internet’s grunt work, a different vision arises. According to critics, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk may have created the most unregulated labor marketplace that has ever existed. Inside the machine, there is an overabundance of labor, extreme competition among workers, monotonous and repetitive work, exceedingly low pay and a great deal of scamming. In this virtual world, the disparities of power in employment relationships are magnified many times over, and the New Deal may as well have never happened.

As Miriam Cherry, one of the few legal scholars focusing on labor and employment law in the virtual world, has explained: “These technologies are not enabling people to meet their potential; they’re instead exploiting people.” Or, as CrowdFlower’s Biewald told an audience of young tech types in 2010, in a moment of unchecked bluntness: “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes. But with technology, you can actually find them, pay them the tiny amount of money, and then get rid of them when you don’t need them anymore.”



- How Crowdworkers Became the Ghosts in the Digital Machine | The Nation
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Joanna Russ

Joanna_Russ_obit

JOANNA RUSS (1937–2011) loved science fiction — but the genre also inspired her to an incisive, productive anger. As a writer, critic, and academic, she wrenched the genre apart and put it back together again with unexpected spaces for new kinds of stories. For Russ, sf was a serious field that demanded serious engagement and revision, especially the utopian and liberatory interventions of feminist and queer thought. Her Alyx stories, published in the late 1960s and early 1970s, are sword-and-scorcery pastiches that show a deep familiarity with Golden Age tales… but feature, instead of marauding mercenaries, a small female thief who relies on reason as much as she does on her dagger. Later, in Russ’s devastating We Who Are About To… (1977), an ill-assorted and unskilled party of space travelers are shipwrecked but immediately plan long-term colonization of their new planet — all except the protagonist, who rejects the logic of forced reproduction and the frantic denial of impending death. In a diary format, the narrator details the death spiral of the travelers’ faux-civilized society, and the way her own political and religious history inflects her self-defense. It’s a novel about death (and thus, life) that stubbornly slips genres and rewards multiple readings. Russ wrote much less after the 1980s due to health issues and remains best known for her novel The Female Man (1975) and her criticism. But that’s another story.

the-female-man-joanna-russ_book

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On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Ishmael Reed, Hugo Ball, Luis Buñuel, Terry Eagleton.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).

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“Today the National Highway Safety Administration officially published two recall announcements, one…”

Today the National Highway Safety Administration officially published two recall announcements, one from Tesla Motors and one from GM. Both are related to problems that could cause fires. In the case of GM, trucks left idling can overheat and catch fire—eight fires have been reported. In Tesla’s case, an overheating charger plug seems have to have been the cause of a fire in a garage (it’s not clear if the problem had to do with miswiring of the wall charger, damage to the plug, or something else).

Both problems can be addressed with software updates–in Tesla’s case, the software detects charging problems and decreases charging rates to avoid overheating (GM hasn’t provided details). Owners of 370,000 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups will need to find time to take their pickups to the dealer to get the software fixed. But because of its ability to send software updates to its vehicles wirelessly, the 29,222 Tesla Model S electric cars that were affected have already been fixed.



- Tesla Motors’ Over-the-Air Repairs Are the Way Forward | MIT Technology Review
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Terry Eagleton

eagleton-terry

The English critic and literary theorist TERENCE FRANCIS ‘TERRY’ EAGLETON (born 1943) has a lot of enemies. Some of them he made himself, others volunteered for the post, all agree that he is a bad man: an attack-dog apologist for religion who mocked Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens under the ‘solitary signifier’ Ditchkins; an about-face rejecter of the very postmodern theories that made him rich and famous; a property-owning careerist bastard (three houses!) who nevertheless preaches social justice and workers’ rights. A more charitable take on the best-selling author of Literary Theory (1983; revised 1996 and 2008) and After Theory (2003), among some forty other books, is that he is a man of firm ideological conviction — a subject about which, not surprisingly, he has written extensively. Radical Left-Catholic belief colours all of Eagleton’s work, both considered and caustic. He believes sincerely that casual relativism about truth is dangerous and that faith is no small thing in human affairs. He also writes with more grace and wit than most academics — though not as much as either Hitchens or Martin Amis, another regular intellectual sparring partner. The latter called Eagleton “an ideological relict… unable to get out of bed in the morning without the dual guidance of God and Karl Marx” — not necessarily an insult in the target’s eyes. A nastier fancy would have retroactively identified Mancunian striver T. Eagleton with the hapless, jumped-up working-class git ‘Terry’ who figures in Amis’s novel Success (1978), described as “a quivering condom of neurosis and ineptitude.”

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Ishmael Reed, Hugo Ball, Luis Buñuel, Joanna Russ.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Anti-Anti-Utopian (1934-43) and Blank (1944-53) Generations.

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Luis Buñuel

bunuel-tristana

If someone delights in flipping off authority at the age of 17, we may call it a phase; if they’re still flipping at 77, we must finally recognize a worldview and assess the damage. LUIS BUÑUEL (1900–83) was that age when he directed his last picture; and though That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) wasn’t his best work, it drew a crooked line from the obsessions projected nearly a half-century before in Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’age d’Or (1930), his collaborations with Dalí. Defining dream form for the screen, Buñuel employed döppelgangers and recurrences; dressed sexy beasts in evening wear; equated the shaven armpit and the pubic mound; and highlighted the erotic potential of Catholic statuary. While he was sufficiently masterful to impart grandeur to a literary adaptation (Wuthering Heights, Robinson Crusoe), his purest zones of inspiration were sociology colonized by surrealism (Los Olvidados) and manner devoured by hunger (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie). On one level, Buñuel’s career is crystallized, and justified, by a line in perhaps his greatest film, The Exterminating Angel (1962): “It is amusing. And strange.” On another, we square up before the components of his worldview — fathers, mothers, meat, feet, blood, dreams, death — and feel profoundly grateful to the artist who spent his life burrowing closer to the poetic basics of body and brain than most of us will ever be quite comfortable with. Buñuel gave Surrealism its smell.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Joanna Russ, Terry Eagleton, Ishmael Reed, Hugo Ball.

READ MORE about members of the Hardboiled Generation (1894-1903).

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No relation

"Davidson's representatives claim it is the first-ever intellectual property dispute over wigs."
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“in the past the catalog of sea creatures included every species: sea snakes, sea pigs, sea hares,…”

“in the past the catalog of sea creatures included every species: sea snakes, sea pigs, sea hares, and the appealing sea mouse that, according to Pliny, helps whales to see where they are heading by parting the heavy brows above their eyes.”

- Marina (!) Warner (via 30prufrock)
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February 21, 2014



February 21, 2014

My favorite Jacques Demy film is “Model Shop” starring Gary Lockwood and Anouk Aimée, who plays the same character that is in an early Demy film “Lola.” Not long ago, when I found myself in Paris, I purchased the Demy box dvd set.  I’m often in my bathtub screaming (not singing) tunes from “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.” So, by my very nature, this was an indispensable box-set for me to have.  I don’t know if Lockwood is my favorite actor, but he is one that I often reflect on.  Like million others, I admired Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey, ” but oddly enough I find his character in “Model Shop” more distant or foreign like.  He appears to be an astronaut who landed in Venice, California. 



As a child, I went to Venice all the time, and I have these faint images of the oil wells on the beach pumping the tar up from the ground. There was a consistent noise being produced by these giant horse shaped wells, that was creepy, and it seemed it went on for 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Watching “Model Shop” where the Lockwood character lived on the beach, Demy captures the sound in all its drama and surrealism.  I totally forgot the sound, till I saw the film, and brought back memories of Venice.  

One of the things I remember as a child quite visually was a drunk on the street walking down Ocean Front Walk, which is basically on the beach, and seeing him being tormented by a group of kids.  Maybe four or five kids in all, but what they do is taking turns in pushing the drunk to the ground.  Once he tries to get up, they keep pushing him back to the pavement.  What I remember is the sound of the oil wells blended in with the kids taunting the drunk, and his voice pleading for them to stop.  Then it got really ugly.  One of the children began to throw rocks at him.  In a way it was like trapping a small animal, and keeping it contained in a space, as you commit torture on the poor helpless beast. 



Ever since then I never wanted to visit Venice, but I had to go with my parents because they had so many friends who lived there.  Every moment there my stomach would tie up in knots, and nothing could erase the anxiety till we actually leave the neighborhood.  I’m very sensitive to space and location, and if something happens within that specific site, I can never erase it from my mind.  So even watching Jacques Demy’s “Model Shop” brings back the violence of that neighborhood.  Even though I can’t be totally sure, but it seems that Lockwood’s small Venice house is located on or very close to the public beating I witnessed as a child.   By watching the film I become obsessed with the memories, but I know being at a distance and this is only a film, 
I’m fairly safe from the trauma.  


Living in the canyon areas of Los Angeles, we are often have unwelcome insects in our home.  The kitchen and bathroom would get a sizable population of ants marching on the counter and for some reason in the bathroom washbasin.  On hot days, ants I imagine being thirsty, so I would fill the basin with warm water, and watch them drown.  I would often give a few ants a chance to live or get out of the basin, but with perfect timing I would force the ant under the water to see what he or she will do.  Once it stops struggling, I feel immediately sad and depressed.  It reminded me of the drunk, and now, I also connect the soundtrack to “Model Shop” by the Topanga Canyon band Spirit.  To this day, I’m ashamed of my cruelty but very happy to have a dvd copy of Demy’s “Model Shop. ”

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fyblackwomenart: Artist: Leza One



fyblackwomenart:

Artist: Leza One

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Google announces Project Tango, a smartphone that can map the…



Google announces Project Tango, a smartphone that can map the world around it | The Verge

"Google has built a prototype Android smartphone that can learn and map the world around it. The device comes from a new initiative called Project Tango, and it’s ready to get the phone into developers’ hands to see what the technology is capable of. Google says that the phone will learn the dimension of rooms and spaces just by being moved around inside of them — walking around your bedroom, for example, would help the phone learn the shape of your home. The hope is that by creating a robust map of the world, Google’s phone could eventually give precise directions to any given point that needs to be reached."

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At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They’re Watching You -…



At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They’re Watching You - NYTimes.com

Visitors to Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport may notice the bright, clean lighting that now blankets the cavernous interior, courtesy of 171 recently installed LED fixtures. But they probably will not realize that the light fixtures are the backbone of a system that is watching them. Using an array of sensors and eight video cameras around the terminal, the light fixtures are part of a new wireless network that collects and feeds data into software that can spot long lines, recognize license plates and even identify suspicious activity, sending alerts to the appropriate staff. The project is still in its early stages, but executives with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, are already talking about expanding it to other terminals and buildings. To customers like the Port Authority, the systems hold the promise of better management of security as well as energy, traffic and people. But they also raise the specter of technology racing ahead of the ability to harness it, running risks of invading privacy and mismanaging information, privacy advocates say.
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Masked Man (9)

Ninth in a series of fifteen posts dedicated to evocative images of masked men from John Hilgart’s cornucopia of comics details 4CP.

medium_BlueBeetle9PortraitCrop

The Blue Beetle (1941)

***

MORE HILOBROW/4CP SERIES: BLOW UP YOUR COMICS — John Hilgart glosses 30 favorite 4CP images | The Art of 4CP | SUBSUPERMEN — Golden Age heroes who didn’t make the grade | MEET THE L.I.S. — Implicit superheroes, concealed within comic-book mastheads | 4CP FRIDAY — themed comic-book detail galleries, curated by 4CP fans

MORE COMICS-RELATED SERIES: KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM — 25 writers on 25 Jack Kirby panels | ANNOTATED GIF — Kerry Callen brings comic book covers to life | COMICALLY VINTAGE — that’s-what-she-said vintage comic panels | DC — THE NEW 52 — an 11-year-old reviews DC’s new lineup | SECRET PANEL — Silver Age comics’ double entendres | SKRULLICISM — they lurk among us

CLICK HERE for more comics and cartoon-related posts on HiLobrow.

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Nina Simone

nina-simone-1969

Many celebrities embrace social and political causes. But singer-songwriter NINA SIMONE (born Eunice Waymon, 1933—2003), a prominent figure at Civil Rights marches and author of the 1964 song “Mississippi Goddam” (“You don’t have to live next to me,/just give me my equality!”), was an activist first and foremost. “I was half-crazy with anger… a woman on fire,” she writes, about the Sixties, in her autobiography, “and that was how I felt most of the time as I watched my people struggling for their rightful place in America.” Best known today for her epic 1965 version of the traditional African American spiritual song “Sinnerman,” Simone was a passionate advocate for any action that would elevate the standing of African-Americans — and that passion got her into trouble. When she refused to pay her taxes in protest against the Vietnam War, she was forced to flee to Barbados. Her tumultuous life and vehement protests against inequality informed Simone’s stunning vocal performances, making her a hero to music fans and human rights activists alike.


***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: David Foster Wallace, Ellen Page, Anaïs Nin.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Postmodernist (1924-33) and Anti-Anti-Utopian (1934-43) Generations.

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Sam Peckinpah

peckinpah

Director SAM PECKINPAH (1925–84) re-invented and eulogized the American Western in the same cinematic breath. His masterpiece is The Wild Bunch (1969). Based on a true story about a triple-cross between train robbers, a bounty posse, and bandits, Peckinpah and his co-writer Walon Green set the tale in 1913 revolutionary Mexico. The rich railroad men make money off everyone, while the bottom-feeders yank the boots off freshly dead men and squabble over the spoils. Meanwhile, progress — in the form of autos, planes and trains — is steamrolling over men on horses. “Look, unless you conform, give in completely, you’re going to be alone in the world. But by giving in, you lose your independence as a human being,” said Peckinpah. “So I go for the loners. They’re cats who ran out of territory and they know it. They refuse to be diminished by it. They play their string out to the end.” When it was released, the film was called a “blood ballet.” The extreme violence in Peckinpah’s films was literally cathartic; his characters were so tormented that death was a release.

Straw Dogs (1971) sets violence on a slow boil in a contest between a mathematician and the small-town locals who lust after his bra-less, flirtatious wife. At the heart of the movie she is raped by the locals. Peckinpah told Playboy: “He (the husband) set the whole thing up. He could have stopped it any one of a dozen times. He was testing his wife; he was testing himself.” Is it a politically incorrect rape film or is it a straw dog?

Eventually, Peckinpah’s ornery pugilism exiled him in Hollywood. His quotes become self-parodies: “I’m a whore. I go where I’m kicked. But I’m a very good whore.” His later films, such as Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), can be seen as revenge fantasies — as if Peckinpah had become one of his own characters. In the end, everyone is complicit.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: David Foster Wallace, Ellen Page, Anaïs Nin.

READ MORE about members of the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).

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mirrormaskcamera: The original hand-written Oblique Strategies…











mirrormaskcamera:

The original hand-written Oblique Strategies by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, 1974

(via BRIAN ENO/ DARK SHARK)

Auto-reblog for being one of the greatest influences on me.

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theartofgooglebooks: Neon moiré. Throughout Ranch Life and the…







theartofgooglebooks:

Neon moiré.

Throughout Ranch Life and the Hunting-trail by Theodore Roosevelt (1888). Original from the New York Public Library. Digitized May 15, 2007.

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“The Atrocity Exhibition” by J.G. Ballard



First I have to make clear that this is not the ReSearch annotated edition, but a mass market book from a British publisher Thiad Panther, and issued in 1970.  Nevertheless this is a very stimulating book.  J.G. Ballard is probably one of the great visionary writers regarding culture as it is now.  I want to say he predict what will happen, but I think it was happening when he wrote his series of classic novels, but most of us were not aware of that 'Ballard' world that was and is clearly out there and here and everywhere.

"The Atrocity Exhibition" is a series of very brief narratives that deal with the John F. Kennedy assassination as the ground zero of anxiety, dread and fear.  For Americans at the moment, it's 9/11, but for my generation, the Kennedy assassination opened up an inner world of demons, secrets, and disappearing identities on a landscape one couldn't trust being there or being altered in some fashion.   I think Ballard is commenting on the role we all play, but especially the powers-to-be, whoever they may be, in planting a world that is not of our choosing, but one that we just have to deal with.  Which includes sexual desire when confronting death, shock, and machinery.  Ido not know if his novel "Crash" came before or after "The Atrocity Exhibition, but the book does deal with the same issues of the erotic pull of car accidents and iconic personalities.   Ballard gets extra points for including Ralph Nader among the celebrities that get maimed or killed by the automobile.  Now mostly remembered for his political viewpoints as well as running for President, he at the time of this novel was famous for going after the automobile industry for not making cars more safer with respect to seat belts, etc.  What we get here is a college effect of names, who at the time were still alive, being sacrificed to the automobile death culture as well as interesting commentary on the readers obsession with famous people and how they are placed in our world as entertainment, but also masking secret desires that are not fully exposed to the public.

Ballard mixes the agony of death, of losing someone, and how culture eats up the anxiety of the 20th century (and now the 21st...) and spits out in a diseased form, which can be this piece of literature.   A great book, whose sister is Burroughs' "Naked Lunch" and a cousin to classic Surrealist painters.


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February 20, 2014



February 20, 2014

People think I am a great reader, but I am actually one of those people who pick up a book and then leave it by the bathtub (I do a lot of reading while taking a bath), especially if its a collection of essays or short stories.  Those books take me the longest to finish, due that each piece in the book is sort of complete narrative or thought.  Right now I am reading Maurice Blanchot’s “Desperate Clarity” which is a collection of literary reviews he did during the Nazi occupation of France.  The most fascinating aspect of the book (so far) is what is not being said, and that silence is so powerful and depressing at the same time.  It got me thinking what is not being said, because we are so used to writing that deals directly with an issue, but now and even then, writing is sometimes about everything except that issue.



Another reason why I just have to stop reading this book is because I dropped it in the bathtub.  When I go get a bath, I use Japanese bath power which gives the water a nice green visual as well as a smell that conveys the forest of one’s imagination.   So as I let that book dry, and myself as well, I go back to bed in the morning to read “The Futurist Manifesto” by F. T. Marinetti, written in 1909 and published in French in the newspaper Le Figaro.  My first thought was ‘how crazy that a newspaper would publish something so uncommon as this manifesto. ' Personally, I’m a huge fan of art related manifestos.  One of my favorite all-time books (and yes, I haven’t finished that one as well) is “Manifesto: A Century of Isms,” edited by Mary Ann Caws, where one can find “The Futurist Manifesto” in its complete romantic glory.



Marinetti strikes me as a man who is in love with the ideal of man-made world where machinery becomes sort of a God, or maybe not an actual ‘figure’ but the imagination of man (and I am using that gender specifically, because the Italian Futurists were not that hot on Feminism) is alone on a spiritual plane.  Some of their basic political ideals are dodgy at best, but one can admire their paintings, poetry, photographs, and I think especially music or sound making.  The whole ‘Art of Noise’ aesthetic is something that is still with us, and whenever there is sound, I think that concept is the foundation of our desire to make some music AKA noise.  John Cage, was too influenced by The Futurists’ approach to sounds, but he is more of a natural process or liking silence as a form of sound as well.  The beautiful photography by Ansel Adams is totally the opposite of Marinetti’s stance against nature, yet it takes a machine, the camera, to photograph what is the ‘ideal’ of nature at its most stunning.



For me personally, the sound of Poison Ivy’s guitar (The Cramps) is the most beautiful sound on the planet.  It has roots in “The Art of Noise” but a much warmer sense of chaos and there is a beauty in her performance that is touching as well as sexual and obsessive.  The obsession to capture either silence, pure noise, or even structured noise (music) is very appealing to me, in fact I also admire the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu for being on the tightrope between chaos and beautiful order.  Marinetti, I think is essentially looking for order within the spirit of the machine age and politics.  A zen liked peace in a horror landscape.  With that in thought I go back to the bathtub, with a fresh supply of Japanese bath scent of the forest, and continue reading Blanchot’s “Desperate Clarity. ”


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zavila: Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972)“We actually built a…



zavila:

Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972)

“We actually built a boat, partially in the treetop, which was 120ft high. It was heavy and huge. All for a sequence that lasts about 30 seconds. Who knows, it might actually still be up there.”
- Werner Herzog

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fyblackwomenart: Sunburst Nubian by SinitusTempo



fyblackwomenart:

Sunburst Nubian by SinitusTempo

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“Such a small animal. But I was very interested in their…



"Such a small animal. But I was very interested in their architecture…basically, they do most of the work."

Aganetha Dyck, The MMasked Ball, 2008, collaborative sculptures with honeybees; photo by Peter Dyck

v/ thisiscolossal

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Birds Eye launches Mashtags potato shapes, via Tom A.



Birds Eye launches Mashtags potato shapes, via Tom A.

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RealFlow Tv & Commercials



RealFlow Tv & Commercials

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The Lost Prince (8)

lost-prince

Frances Hodgson Burnett is best known for her sentimental children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885-6), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911). But HiLoBooks prefers a later Burnett novel: The Lost Prince, a 1915 Ruritanian-style thriller in which two adolescent boys, one of whom is a disabled street urchin called “The Rat,” play a proto-Alternate Reality Game about a revolution in far-off Samavia… which turns into the real thing.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize The Lost Prince, our first departure from Radium Age science fiction — into adventure fiction. A new installment will appear each week for thirty-one weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

Chapter 8: An Exciting Game

Loristan referred only once during the next day to what had happened.

“You did your errand well. You were not hurried or nervous,” he said. “The Prince was pleased with your calmness.”

No more was said. Marco knew that the quiet mention of the stranger’s title had been made merely as a designation. If it was necessary to mention him again in the future, he could be referred to as “the Prince.” In various Continental countries there were many princes who were not royal or even serene highnesses — who were merely princes as other nobles were dukes or barons. Nothing special was revealed when a man was spoken of as a prince. But though nothing was said on the subject of the incident, it was plain that much work was being done by Loristan and Lazarus. The sitting-room door was locked, and the maps and documents, usually kept in the iron box, were being used.

Marco went to the Tower of London and spent part of the day in living again the stories which, centuries past, had been inclosed within its massive and ancient stone walls. In this way, he had throughout boyhood become intimate with people who to most boys seemed only the unreal creatures who professed to be alive in school-books of history. He had learned to know them as men and women because he had stood in the palaces they had been born in and had played in as children, had died in at the end. He had seen the dungeons they had been imprisoned in, the blocks on which they had laid their heads, the battlements on which they had fought to defend their fortressed towers, the thrones they had sat upon, the crowns they had worn, and the jeweled scepters they had held. He had stood before their portraits and had gazed curiously at their “Robes of Investiture,” sewn with tens of thousands of seed-pearls. To look at a man’s face and feel his pictured eyes follow you as you move away from him, to see the strangely splendid garments he once warmed with his living flesh, is to realize that history is not a mere lesson in a school-book, but is a relation of the life stories of men and women who saw strange and splendid days, and sometimes suffered strange and terrible things.

There were only a few people who were being led about sight-seeing. The man in the ancient Beef-eaters’ costume, who was their guide, was good-natured, and evidently fond of talking. He was a big and stout man, with a large face and a small, merry eye. He was rather like pictures of Henry the Eighth, himself, which Marco remembered having seen. He was specially talkative when he stood by the tablet that marks the spot where stood the block on which Lady Jane Grey had laid her young head. One of the sightseers who knew little of English history had asked some questions about the reasons for her execution.

“If her father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland, had left that young couple alone — her and her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley — they’d have kept their heads on. He was bound to make her a queen, and Mary Tudor was bound to be queen herself. The duke wasn’t clever enough to manage a conspiracy and work up the people. These Samavians we’re reading about in the papers would have done it better. And they’re half-savages.”

“They had a big battle outside Melzarr yesterday,” the sight-seer standing next to Marco said to the young woman who was his companion. “Thousands of ’em killed. I saw it in big letters on the boards as I rode on the top of the bus. They’re just slaughtering each other, that’s what they’re doing.”

The talkative Beef-eater heard him.

“They can’t even bury their dead fast enough,” he said. “There’ll be some sort of plague breaking out and sweeping into the countries nearest them. It’ll end by spreading all over Europe as it did in the Middle Ages. What the civilized countries have got to do is to make them choose a decent king and begin to behave themselves.”

“I’ll tell my father that too,” Marco thought. “It shows that everybody is thinking and talking of Samavia, and that even the common people know it must have a real king. This must be the time!” And what he meant was that this must be the time for which the Secret Party had waited and worked so long — the time for the Rising. But his father was out when he went back to Philibert Place, and Lazarus looked more silent than ever as he stood behind his chair and waited on him through his insignificant meal. However plain and scant the food they had to eat, it was always served with as much care and ceremony as if it had been a banquet.

“A man can eat dry bread and drink cold water as if he were a gentleman,” his father had said long ago. “And it is easy to form careless habits. Even if one is hungry enough to feel ravenous, a man who has been well bred will not allow himself to look so. A dog may, a man may not. Just as a dog may howl when he is angry or in pain and a man may not.”

It was only one of the small parts of the training which had quietly made the boy, even as a child, self-controlled and courteous, had taught him ease and grace of boyish carriage, the habit of holding his body well and his head erect, and had given him a certain look of young distinction which, though it assumed nothing, set him apart from boys of carelessly awkward bearing.

“Is there a newspaper here which tells of the battle, Lazarus?” he asked, after he had left the table.

“Yes, sir,” was the answer. “Your father said that you might read it. It is a black tale!” he added, as he handed him the paper.

It was a black tale. As he read, Marco felt as if he could scarcely bear it. It was as if Samavia swam in blood, and as if the other countries must stand aghast before such furious cruelties.

“Lazarus,” he said, springing to his feet at last, his eyes burning, “something must stop it! There must be something strong enough. The time has come. The time has come.” And he walked up and down the room because he was too excited to stand still.

How Lazarus watched him! What a strong and glowing feeling there was in his own restrained face!

“Yes, sir. Surely the time has come,” he answered. But that was all he said, and he turned and went out of the shabby back sitting-room at once. It was as if he felt it were wiser to go before he lost power over himself and said more.

Marco made his way to the meeting-place of the Squad, to which The Rat had in the past given the name of the Barracks. The Rat was sitting among his followers, and he had been reading the morning paper to them, the one which contained the account of the battle of Melzarr. The Squad had become the Secret Party, and each member of it was thrilled with the spirit of dark plot and adventure. They all whispered when they spoke.

“This is not the Barracks now,” The Rat said. “It is a subterranean cavern. Under the floor of it thousands of swords and guns are buried, and it is piled to the roof with them. There is only a small place left for us to sit and plot in. We crawl in through a hole, and the hole is hidden by bushes.”

To the rest of the boys this was only an exciting game, but Marco knew that to The Rat it was more. Though The Rat knew none of the things he knew, he saw that the whole story seemed to him a real thing. The struggles of Samavia, as he had heard and read of them in the newspapers, had taken possession of him. His passion for soldiering and warfare and his curiously mature brain had led him into following every detail he could lay hold of. He had listened to all he had heard with remarkable results. He remembered things older people forgot after they had mentioned them. He forgot nothing. He had drawn on the flagstones a map of Samavia which Marco saw was actually correct, and he had made a rough sketch of Melzarr and the battle which had had such disastrous results.

“The Maranovitch had possession of Melzarr,” he explained with feverish eagerness. “And the Iarovitch attacked them from here,” pointing with his finger. “That was a mistake. I should have attacked them from a place where they would not have been expecting it. They expected attack on their fortifications, and they were ready to defend them. I believe the enemy could have stolen up in the night and rushed in here,” pointing again. Marco thought he was right. The Rat had argued it all out, and had studied Melzarr as he might have studied a puzzle or an arithmetical problem. He was very clever, and as sharp as his queer face looked.

“I believe you would make a good general if you were grown up,” said Marco. “I’d like to show your maps to my father and ask him if he doesn’t think your stratagem would have been a good one.”

“Does he know much about Samavia?” asked The Rat.

“He has to read the newspapers because he writes things,” Marco answered. “And every one is thinking about the war. No one can help it.”

The Rat drew a dingy, folded paper out of his pocket and looked it over with an air of reflection.

“I’ll make a clean one,” he said. “I’d like a grown-up man to look at it and see if it’s all right. My father was more than half-drunk when I was drawing this, so I couldn’t ask him questions. He’ll kill himself before long. He had a sort of fit last night.”

“Tell us, Rat, wot you an’ Marco’ll ’ave ter do. Let’s ’ear wot you’ve made up,” suggested Cad. He drew closer, and so did the rest of the circle, hugging their knees with their arms.

“This is what we shall have to do,” began The Rat, in the hollow whisper of a Secret Party. “The hour has come. To all the Secret Ones in Samavia, and to the friends of the Secret Party in every country, the sign must be carried. It must be carried by some one who could not be suspected. Who would suspect two boys — and one of them a cripple? The best thing of all for us is that I am a cripple. Who would suspect a cripple? When my father is drunk and beats me, he does it because I won’t go out and beg in the streets and bring him the money I get. He says that people will nearly always give money to a cripple. I won’t be a beggar for him — the swine — but I will be one for Samavia and the Lost Prince. Marco shall pretend to be my brother and take care of me. I say,” speaking to Marco with a sudden change of voice, “can you sing anything? It doesn’t matter how you do it.”

“Yes, I can sing,” Marco replied.

“Then Marco will pretend he is singing to make people give him money. I’ll get a pair of crutches somewhere, and part of the time I will go on crutches and part of the time on my platform. We’ll live like beggars and go wherever we want to. I can whiz past a man and give the sign and no one will know. Some times Marco can give it when people are dropping money into his cap. We can pass from one country to another and rouse everybody who is of the Secret Party. We’ll work our way into Samavia, and we’ll be only two boys — and one a cripple — and nobody will think we could be doing anything. We’ll beg in great cities and on the highroad.”

“Where’ll you get the money to travel?” said Cad.

“The Secret Party will give it to us, and we sha’n’t need much. We could beg enough, for that matter. We’ll sleep under the stars, or under bridges, or archways, or in dark corners of streets. I’ve done it myself many a time when my father drove me out of doors. If it’s cold weather, it’s bad enough but if it’s fine weather, it’s better than sleeping in the kind of place I’m used to. Comrade,” to Marco, “are you ready?”

He said “Comrade” as Loristan did, and somehow Marco did not resent it, because he was ready to labor for Samavia. It was only a game, but it made them comrades — and was it really only a game, after all? His excited voice and his strange, lined face made it singularly unlike one.

“Yes, Comrade, I am ready,” Marco answered him.

“We shall be in Samavia when the fighting for the Lost Prince begins.” The Rat carried on his story with fire. “We may see a battle. We might do something to help. We might carry messages under a rain of bullets — a rain of bullets!” The thought so elated him that he forgot his whisper and his voice rang out fiercely. “Boys have been in battles before. We might find the Lost King — no, the Found King — and ask him to let us be his servants. He could send us where he couldn’t send bigger people. I could say to him, ‘Your Majesty, I am called “The Rat,” because I can creep through holes and into corners and dart about. Order me into any danger and I will obey you. Let me die like a soldier if I can’t live like one.’”

Suddenly he threw his ragged coat sleeve up across his eyes. He had wrought himself up tremendously with the picture of the rain of bullets. And he felt as if he saw the King who had at last been found. The next moment he uncovered his face.

“That’s what we’ve got to do,” he said. “Just that, if you want to know. And a lot more. There’s no end to it!”

Marco’s thoughts were in a whirl. It ought not to be nothing but a game. He grew quite hot all over. If the Secret Party wanted to send messengers no one would think of suspecting, who could be more harmless-looking than two vagabond boys wandering about picking up their living as best they could, not seeming to belong to any one? And one a cripple. It was true — yes, it was true, as The Rat said, that his being a cripple made him look safer than any one else. Marco actually put his forehead in his hands and pressed his temples.

“What’s the matter?” exclaimed The Rat. “What are you thinking about?”

“I’m thinking what a general you would make. I’m thinking that it might all be real — every word of it. It mightn’t be a game at all,” said Marco.

“No, it mightn’t,” The Rat answered. “If I knew where the Secret Party was, I’d like to go and tell them about it. What’s that!” he said, suddenly turning his head toward the street. “What are they calling out?”

Some newsboy with a particularly shrill voice was shouting out something at the topmost of his lungs.

Tense and excited, no member of the circle stirred or spoke for a few seconds. The Rat listened, Marco listened, the whole Squad listened, pricking up their ears.

“Startling news from Samavia,” the newsboy was shrilling out. “Amazing story! Descendant of the Lost Prince found! Descendant of the Lost Prince found!”

“Any chap got a penny?” snapped The Rat, beginning to shuffle toward the arched passage.

“I have!” answered Marco, following him.

“Come on!” The Rat yelled. “Let’s go and get a paper!” And he whizzed down the passage with his swiftest rat-like dart, while the Squad followed him, shouting and tumbling over each other.

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

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Scott Wannberg

scott_wannberg

Poet SCOTT WANNBERG (1953–2011) worked for over twenty years as a bookseller and book buyer at Dutton’s in Brentwood, Calif., where his advice was much sought-after. Not only a passionate advocate for books that he believed in, he had extraordinary insight into what a specific person might want — or need — to read. (He was also beloved by customers’ dogs.) Although he was a profoundly kind, generous, and warm person, Wannberg’s poetry — collected in Nomads of Oblivion and other books, including his last, Strange Movie Full of Death — exposed a darker side of him. For example, this excerpt from “Agony River”:

Agony River just called collect
promises to flow to the front door in a few hours
Strange faces from ongoing confusion
only make the decision that much harder

Pull the plug or mop the bleeding deck one last time
in hope it will never show up again
Pain aches for you and it calls me over and
wants to know the secret of reaching you

A member of the traveling poetry troupe The Carma Bums throughout the ’90s, Wannberg’s spirit was at the heart of the Los Angeles poetry scene during that era and the ’80s; he was also a staple at Venice, Calif.’s literary space Beyond Baroque. He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 58.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Rihanna, Manny Farber, Poison Ivy.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Blank Generation (1944–53) and the Original Generation X (1954–63).

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Kurt Cobain

cobain

The musical shaman who gave birth to grunge was also youth culture’s most salient critic. Disgusted by the consumer roboticism which in the late 1980s sucked at the televisual teat of the Celine Dion — Michael Bolton — Vanilla Ice hegemony, KURT COBAIN (1967–1994) and his band Nirvana leapt out of Seattle wrapped in plaid shirts and emotive, anthemic musical existentialism. His legacy is more than musical; his journals — in which he says, of the late ’80s, “this is a subliminal example of a society that has sucked & fucked itself into a rehashing value of greed” — are also brilliant. He knew that his aura would be commodified; his signature song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” evoked the brand name of his girlfriend’s deodorant. He counts among his heirs both those who ape the Pacific Northwest’s hipster ethos and Portlandia, which mocks it. In today’s social-media miasma, where everybody is connected and no one talks to each other, Cobain’s visceral, Nietzsche-meets-Ramones presence is his lasting act of resistance.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Rihanna, Manny Farber, Poison Ivy.

READ MORE about members of the Reconstructionist Generation (1964–73).

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E. Steichen & the Female Gaze



E. Steichen & the Female Gaze

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(via Edward Steichen Lives in Photography – Photo Essays – TIME)



(via Edward Steichen Lives in Photography - Photo Essays - TIME)

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timeless-couture: Stephanie Seymour photographed by Greg Kadel…



timeless-couture:

Stephanie Seymour photographed by Greg Kadel for Numéro #97 September 2008

another E. Steichen homage?

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polychroniadis: Jean-Baptiste Courtier - ‘Elephant Rose’.



polychroniadis:

Jean-Baptiste Courtier - ‘Elephant Rose’.

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February 19, 2014




February 19, 2014


The 1928 surrealist novel “Nadja” by Andre Breton is a huge influence on my own writing as well as a lifestyle choice.  As a teenager one is dying to join a much bigger gang, yet, I couldn’t find anything that interesting besides music.  I was the sole kid in Taft High School who was a fan of Lou Christie. I became obsessed with not only the sound of his records, but like “Nadja” he conveyed ‘another wordless” with his voice.  Also I was deeply connected to his songwriting partner, the much older than him, Twyla Herbert, a mystic and classical trained pianist.  Life is often thinking about individuals, and then combining them and one sees a natural order of things or a common ground between the individuals.


For me, the main quotation from the Breton novel “Don't I love her? When I am near her I am nearer things which are near her. ” very much describes my definition of true love.  Nadja is important, but I actually find objects she touched, she wears, and locations that she was at, more enticing and erotic to me.  To this day, I am obsessed with women who I find beautiful, their natural surroundings, and why they choose certain objects over other items.  For me, it goes from the habitual obsession with a woman’s clothing to the connoisseur aesthetic of what they actually touched.



I remember I had my private “Nadja” and I brought her the Breton novel as a gift.  I told her to read the book, and if possible, could she bring it back to me.   About two months later, we had dinner and she brought the novel back to me.  I asked her if I could borrow it, and she, without giving it another thought, said “sure.” When I got back later that night, I went over each page, and imaged her actually touching the book, and perhaps wondering about a specific paragraph or phrase that she found in the novel.  She was the type of reader who liked to underline certain passages or quotes as well as writing down someone’s phone number on the title page.  I immediately felt the pain of jealousy, wondering whose number she wrote down.  I was tempted to make the phone call, but I kept hesitating, because in reality I didn’t want to lose that feeling of jealousy.

One of the lines that she underlined, got to me the most.  "He cannot enter, he does not enter.” I had no doubt that the “he” in this sentence was me.   I was only wondering if she was commenting on me, or something much larger than that.  Perhaps she feels the same way as I do, regarding that love is far more potent when attached to things or locations.  The thought that we are having an affair between us through this book made this specific edition of “Nadja” into an erotic object.



One of my favorite songs by Lou Christie is “Rhapsody In The Rain, ” which he co-wrote with Twyla Herbert.  The song is about a teenager’s memory of a sexual experience in the backseat of a car.  I was intrigued because it placed a sensual act within the weather (the rain) and an automobile.

Baby, the raindrops play for me/
A lonely rhapsody 'cause on our first date/
We were makin' out in the rain/
And in this car our love went much too far/
It was exciting as thunder/
Tonight I wonder, where you are?

What’s erotic to me is the raindrops and imagine what the car looked like and smelt like that moment that he made love in that automobile.   Beyond that, I also want to find out where the car was parked, and I would have loved to go there with my Nadja, and make love to her in that car.
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fyblackwomenart: t-funster: Morgan le Fay in a gorget,…



fyblackwomenart:

t-funster:

Morgan le Fay in a gorget, comissioned by perplexingly.


 : : submission : :

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Cool CG Fluid Morphing with RealFlow (by fusioncis)



Cool CG Fluid Morphing with RealFlow (by fusioncis)

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Regeneration

I have a secret passion for the group blog Anole Annals - anoles are one of the critters I most enjoy watching in Cayman - but the pictures at this post are particularly appealing!
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Tonight at Barnard

Emily Wilson is lecturing tonight at Barnard - I'm really looking forward to this one:
Emily Wilson, author of various books including The Death of Socrates and translator of Six Tragedies of Seneca, discusses the challenges she has encountered in her current project: re-translating Homer. In particular, she focuses on the problem of translating violence and ponders how a modern translator can render into modern English one of the most violent authors of all time.
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Ruined by a passion for the Russians

From P.J. Kavanagh, The Perfect Stranger:
Whatever my self-dissatisfaction I knew I had one gift for sure, an ability to recognise the best when my nose was rubbed into it. Indeed it was sometimes more like a curse, accounting for my restless disappointment with almost everything. But the best I was willing to give my life to, and it needs that kind of service. It is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it needs recognition to be fully itself; appreciation gives it a patina, helps it to bloom.
Another aside that snagged my attention: "(It was about this time that I realised my greatest single literary influence had been Constance Garnett. Any chance of a decent style I'd ever had, ruined by my passion for the Russians.)"

I liked David Remnick's piece some years ago on translation:
As a literary achievement, Garnett’s may have been of the second order, but it was vast. With her pale, watery eyes, her gray hair in a chignon, she was the genteel face of tireless industry. She translated seventy volumes of Russian prose for commercial publication, including all of Dostoyevsky’s novels; hundreds of Chekhov’s stories and two volumes of his plays; all of Turgenev’s principal works and nearly all of Tolstoy’s; and selected texts by Herzen, Goncharov, and Ostrovsky. A friend of Garnett’s, D. H. Lawrence, was in awe of her matter-of-fact endurance, recalling her “sitting out in the garden turning out reams of her marvelous translations from the Russian. She would finish a page, and throw it off on a pile on the floor without looking up, and start a new page. That pile would be this high—really, almost up to her knees, and all magical.”
But I want to read someone's more ruminative essay on Garnett, Moncrieff and the other incredibly productive and influential translators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (James Strachey's Freud should be in there too?). Andre Aciman prefers the Moncrieff translation to Lydia Davis et al.
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Ruined by a passion for the Russians

From P.J. Kavanagh, The Perfect Stranger:
Whatever my self-dissatisfaction I knew I had one gift for sure, an ability to recognise the best when my nose was rubbed into it. Indeed it was sometimes more like a curse, accounting for my restless disappointment with almost everything. But the best I was willing to give my life to, and it needs that kind of service. It is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it needs recognition to be fully itself; appreciation gives it a patina, helps it to bloom.
Another aside that snagged my attention: "(It was about this time that I realised my greatest single literary influence had been Constance Garnett. Any chance of a decent style I'd ever had, ruined by my passion for the Russians.)"

I liked David Remnick's piece some years ago on translation:
As a literary achievement, Garnett’s may have been of the second order, but it was vast. With her pale, watery eyes, her gray hair in a chignon, she was the genteel face of tireless industry. She translated seventy volumes of Russian prose for commercial publication, including all of Dostoyevsky’s novels; hundreds of Chekhov’s stories and two volumes of his plays; all of Turgenev’s principal works and nearly all of Tolstoy’s; and selected texts by Herzen, Goncharov, and Ostrovsky. A friend of Garnett’s, D. H. Lawrence, was in awe of her matter-of-fact endurance, recalling her “sitting out in the garden turning out reams of her marvelous translations from the Russian. She would finish a page, and throw it off on a pile on the floor without looking up, and start a new page. That pile would be this high—really, almost up to her knees, and all magical.”
But I want to read someone's more ruminative essay on Garnett, Moncrieff and the other incredibly productive and influential translators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (James Strachey's Freud should be in there too?). Andre Aciman prefers the Moncrieff translation to Lydia Davis et al.
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‘Testament’ Omnibus Edition Released

 

The comic series I wrote for DC Vertigo is now, finally, available in a digital, omnibus edition at Comixology. It's a retelling of the Bible in a near-future of crypto-currency, artificial intelligence, techno-mysticism, corporate militarism and sex magick.

The complete edition includes annotation to the entire text, as well as explanations of the mythologies on which characters and themes are based. The comic won best comic series from Rolling Stone, and a bunch of other accolades. But more importantly, it let me break some of the boundaries between the panels and page, human time and eternal time, kairos and chronos. It also let me show the sex magickal origins of the Torah, as well as the efforts to keep those aspects under covers. 

For more on what I was up to then, check out these other reviews and interviews. Or, get the complete omnibus here: Testament Omnibus at Comixology

 

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