Reading, Current

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Scrapbook: to be absorbed by the Reading Notes menus, Reading Notes perhaps to be absorbed by /Teaching / Scholarship / Literature /
Grant Morrison

Supergods
blazed behind the starched-shirt front of hierarchical conformity.

slowly transformed into a marketing tool, a patriotic stooge

The writing is super, some of the best I’ve seen in a long time, from a guy who covets good writing in most circumstances. Bravo.

The Idea of America
2016 08 18 Very good, so far.

Finds the founding to be “legal”, p 12

behaviorist historians

men had come to conceive of ideas as ideologies men had come to conceive of ideas as ideologies or rationalizations, as masks obscuring the underlying interests and drives that actually determined social behavior.

[Marx said] he intended only to put Hegel’s head in its rightful place; he had no desire to cut it off.

The Revolution thus became a display of extraordinary skillfulness in the manipulation of public opinion.

It’s interesting to me to be reading this while the 2016 pres campaigning is going on: I see Trump and Clinton etc. etc. as utterly incapable of undertanding any of their ideas; they’re just manipulating the public (who absolutely have no capacity to understand the ideas.
My problem is that I don’t trust human reason, but that doesn’t mean I trust the church or God instead: I don’t trust anybody. But if I have to chose between human stupidity and human greed and human reason, I’ll pick stupidity. And greed.

What the Americans said could not be taken at face value but must be considered as a rhetorical disguise for some hidden interest.

Shadow Control
I must discuss media in relation to media’s power to cast a shadow over unwelcome material. Churches, schools, universities, press … Macbeth and his murders are immune to all exposure. Media herald whistleblowers without mentioning how many they stomped on before elevating any given hero. For instance, the Times printed a obit on Ivan Illich in 2002 from which you’d never guess the bulk of his work: and of course no mention was made of those disciples of his, namely me, who offered the world an Anarchrin internet decades ahead of the government controlled one I publish this over. Thanks to the Times, to NewsWeek, you don’t know much about it. Even if you read my rants you still don’t know much about it. We dutifully block what Macbeth bids us block. You’ll never learn about the crucifixion from the temple that did the crucifying.

Recent
2016 02 24 I’ve gone gaga for several writers since last participating with this post: Gay Talese, Joan Didion … Harper Lee, then Lee ups and dies! bk sent me a collection of Gay Talese profiles: Floyd Patterson, Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Louis, Muhammed Ali … I love his profile of the Times obit writer.

Joan Didion I’d known only through her script for Panic in Needle Park.
Jan and I have been reading via kindle on her couch, before her fireplace: wunderbar. The kindle battery is aging. We tried some Sherlock Holes in print too small: even with a magnifier I couldn’t get comfortable with the font.

Hard Start
2015 08 09 In college Trollope’s Barchester Towers was assigned. I turned to page one: “Who would be the new bishop?” Yawn, I started to nod, I started to snore. Later that week I tried again. Maybe I read two sentences before nodding.
Now, think back: honestly, how many of your favorite this and thats did you drag your feet over before falling in love with it? A half a dozen years later, in grad school I tried Barchester Towers. “Who would be the new bishop?” I got past sentence one, past paragraph one, past page one … and in no time I was rolling. It was hilarious, hysterical, slapstick, pie in the face. I loved it. I love it still. So many stiff English things crack me up: Brideshead Revisited: all those stuffed shirts skating around on the ballroom floor in the storm. In 1959 or so Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend was assigned. I worked hard, really hard to get into it. I struggled and struggled. Several months achieved perhaps one hundred pages. Then, suddenly, something stirred. Zhzoom. A couple of hours later I had to pee. I was no page seven hundred fifty, only a little further to go. Wow! What a great novel. Took a while to get the whale to swim, then, get out of it way.
Stuck one hundred pages into War and Peace around 1962 I had no idea what was going on, I could tell who was who. I didn’t ive up, I did a very right thing: I started over again, back to page one. Then the twelve hundred pages flew: for a year, but it was flying.
I bet I’m not the only one.
I was always complaining what a slow reader I was. (I was explaining, not complaining: slow, slow and thorough, was good.) I’ll never forget: my first encounter with Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf: a couple of hundred pages: I devoured them in an hour or so.
By now I expect to be able to force myself onto a project, and get results. So. Yesterday I decided it was high time I got past Virgil’s Arms and the Man in the Aeneid. Arma virumque canto. I downloaded it, put it on the Kindle, started reading it on the Mac. “Of arms I sing, and a man.” And Virgil is using words I don’t know and pushing a political bias. If you like the Greeks, like Homer, then Virgil is parochial, and pushy.
76 11/12ths. Why am I doing this? I won’t. Goodbye Virgil, you win, I give up.
The downside is, I still don’t know a damn thing about Dido.

Surviving Progress
Much of my great reading for the past few years has involved media other than print: on, in addition to print. Surviving Progress is a top notch documentary on work by Ronald Wright. See it, see it twice.
Thanks to Surviving Progress a second look at Margaret Attwood and her wonderful Penelopiad ravished me: now I’m wholly in love with Margaret Attwood, her writing, her diction, her wit, her all around learning and so forth. Fer instance, how’s this?

The man was thick as a brick and had the manners of a stump.

Here too:

Consider us pure symbol. We’re no more real than money.

I love her more by the minute.
(Now I’m looking forward to seeing if Attwood carries Odysseus / Penelope’s story to where as in Homer Odysseus has to kill the suitors’ families! That’s the Odyssey that I love and revere. later: yes, but she doesn’t emphasize it; Homer does! (me too!)

Scholarship

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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