Wednesday, October 15, 2003 4:01 PM
The One Culture
Friedrich Nietzsche and C. P. Snow.
The Two Cultures Today, by Roger Kimball, which begins with a quotation from Nietzsche:
"It is not a question of annihilating science, but of controlling
Tuesday, October 14, 2003 4:07 PM
Saint Leonard's Day
From a review of Leonard Bernstein's 1973 Norton lectures at Harvard:
The truly emblematic twentieth-century composer is Mahler, whose attempts to relinquish tonality are reluctant and incomplete, and whose nostalgia for past practice is overt and tragic. Mahler's Ninth Symphony, his "last will and testament," shows "that ours is the century of death, and Mahler is its musical prophet." That is the "real reason" Mahler's music suffered posthumous neglect--it was, Bernstein says, "telling something too dreadful to hear." The Ninth Symphony embodies three kinds of death--Mahler's own, which he knew was imminent; the death of tonality, "which for him meant the death of music itself"; and "the death of society, of our Faustian culture." And yet this music, like all great art, paradoxically reanimates us.
-- Joseph Horowitz, New York Review of Books, June 10, 1993
Sunday, October 12, 2003 6:36 PM
"Dunne is to Irish Catholics as
Philip Roth is to Eastern European Jews,
and True Confessions is Dunne's
-- Amazon.com review
Sunday, October 12, 2003 2:36 PM
Spinnin' Wheel, Spinnin' True
See last year's
October 12 entry,
"She's a Twentieth Century Fox."
Saturday, October 11, 2003 1:00 AM
For Patricia Collinge
of Collinge-Pickman Casting, Boston, whose credits include casting for the film A Civil Action.
"Take us the foxes, the little foxes..."
KHYI just played Tish Hinojosa's "Something in the Rain." Here, Ms. Collinge, is a rather strange website related to the themes of A Civil Action and to Hinojosa's song:
Something in the Rain
Saturday, October 11, 2003 12:25 AM
The Mysterious West
Thanks again to KHYI, Plano, Texas, for great poetry. In tonight's KHYI playlist...
From Spike and Jamie:
WAIT A WHILE AND YOU'LL GROW OLDER;
NEVER MIND WHAT THE OLD FOLKS SAY.
JUST KEEP AN ANGEL ON YOUR SHOULDER;
AND NEVER THROW YOUR DREAMS AWAY
FOR THEY MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE ONE DAY.
SONG IS JUST A BOX OF VISIONS;
YOU CAN UNLOCK IT WITH A KEY--
A MESSAGE ROLLED UP INSIDE A BOTTLE
AND DROPPED INTO THE SALTY SEA.
SONG IS JUST A BOX OF VISIONS,
A JAR OF HARPS AND GYPSY'S EARS,
A LABYRINTH OF WILD ROSES,
A JOURNEY THROUGH A HOUSE OF MIRRORS.
WAIT A WHILE AND YOU'LL GROW STRONGER;
NEVER MIND WHAT THE SAD FOLKS SAY.
From Tish Hinojosa:
"It's the way of life in the real west..."
A search for information on the singer of "Real West" led to a site in Japan that mentions Hinojosa, among many other makers of recommended music:
Random Diary & Essay...
"an example of understand beyond language is still possible"
Such an example is one of the themes in a movie I admire greatly....
Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai.
The hero's understanding of what his friend says, even though he does not know the friend's language, is a recurring theme in this film.
As for me... "No entiendo. Sigo trabajando."
Friday, October 10, 2003 6:04 PM
As the president of Harvard has pointed out, many have found good reasons recently to become anti-Semites.
Here are three good reasons to be pro-Semitic:
Unlike many with a Harvard background who project with success the appearance of intelligence, Ellenberg seems to be in fact genuinely intelligent... a rare thing.
He also seems to be Jewish... This may be false, though, since Elllenberg, intelligently, does not state any ethnic or religious preferences.
Fine Hall 1201
The classic question of Sir Laurence Olivier-- "Is it safe?"-- may, in
view of the above, be answered in the affirmative... provided, that is, that the
"it" refers to number theory at Princeton... one of the crowning glories of
Friday, October 10, 2003 4:44 PM
To hear a story, or to read it straight through from start to finish, is to travel along a one-dimensional line. A well-structured story has, however, more than one dimension.
Juxtaposing scenes shows that details that seem to be far apart in the telling (or the living) of a story may in fact be closely related.
Here is an example from the film "Contact," in which a young girl's drawing and a vision of paradise are no longer separated by the time it takes to tell (or live) the story:
(See my entry of Michaelmas 2002.)
For details of how time is "folded"
by artists and poets, see the following:
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle,
Fold, by S. H. Cullinane.
Friday, October 10, 2003 1:35 AM
The West Wing's
News analysis by Judy Keen, USA TODAY
Posted 10/9/2003 9:40 PM
WASHINGTON — President Bush's fierce defense Thursday of the war with Iraq was part of an effort to regain control of the debate over the wisdom of the conflict....
Bush's insistence that the United States "won't run from a challenge" in Iraq was a sign that he and his top aides are doing what they always do when they're in trouble. They attempt to recapture equilibrium by confronting critics and trying to control the story line.
See also the "story theory of truth"
versus the "diamond theory of truth."
Wednesday, October 8, 2003 5:09 PM
"Fair and Balanced"?
"Schwarzenegger made a lot of promises that we
know are lies," Bob Mulholland, the campaign adviser to the California
Democratic Party, said today. "And now he's going to find out that being
in the governor's office is not a movie script. We'll be holding his feet
to the fire."
Franken disgusts me, so I'm with Arnie.
As for Mulholland... click here.
Update of 5:35 PM
I see the NY Times has killed Semple's story and replaced it with another at
the above Times link.
Wednesday, October 8, 2003 1:06 AM
"A ray of light striking through a wall or window... is a conventional sign of the Annunciation."
by James Cameron, 1991
Tuesday, October 7, 2003 5:09 PM
"...Mondrian and Malevich are not discussing canvas or pigment or graphite or any other form of matter. They are talking about Being or Mind or Spirit. From their point of view, the grid is a staircase to the Universal...."
-- Rosalind Krauss, "Grids"
Krauss is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University.
For more on Meyer Schapiro, see the link on the phrase "art historian" in my March 10, 2003, entry.
To view that entry in a larger context, see the web page Art at the Vanishing Point, which includes a picture of Mondrian's own Paris staircase. The picture below might be thought of as illustrating Krauss's "grid is a staircase"... a staircase to, in fact, a vanishing point.
Frame not included in
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
For a different view of what the New York Times Book Review has characterized as "high culture," see the link on that phrase also in my March 10, 2003, entry. This leads to a work by T. S. Eliot titled Christianity and Culture. See too the remarks of the Meyer Schapiro Professor in my Oct. 5, 2003, entry, "Art Theory for Yom Kippur," in which she likens the Cross to Pandora's box.
Eliot's attitude toward this Jewish approach to high culture might be summarized by the following remarks of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day--
Dr. Silberman: You broke my arm!
Sarah Connor: There are two-hundred-fifteen bones in the human body,
[expletive deleted]. That's one.
Sunday, October 5, 2003 5:01 PM
Born on this date:
Producer Joshua Logan.
March 9, 1975:
Broadway Tribute to Joshua Logan
March 9, 2000:
Is Nothing Sacred?
"Of course there is nothing afterwards."
-- Thoughts of a dying man in Nabokov's The Gift
"There is nothing like a dame."
-- Oscar Hammerstein II, South Pacific
For more on the religious significance of the date March 9, see
Sunday, October 5, 2003 5:09 AM
At Mount Sinai:
Art Theory for Yom Kippur
From the New York Times of Sunday, October 5, 2003 (the day that Yom Kippur begins at sunset):
"Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, whose interpretations of religious law helped sustain Lithuanian Jews during Nazi occupation.... died on Sept. 28 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. He was 89."
For a fictional portrait of Lithuanian Jews during Nazi occupation, see the E. L. Doctorow novel City of God.
For meditations on the spiritual in art, see the Rosalind Krauss essay "Grids." As a memorial to Rabbi Oshry, here is a grid-based version of the Hebrew letter aleph:
Click on the aleph for details.
"In the garden of Adding
live Even and Odd..."
-- The Midrash Jazz Quartet in
City of God, by E. L. Doctorow
Here are two
on Even and Odd for Yom Kippur:
From Rosalind Krauss, "Grids":
"If we open any tract-- Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art or The Non-Objective World, for instance-- we will find that Mondrian and Malevich are not discussing canvas or pigment or graphite or any other form of matter. They are talking about Being or Mind or Spirit. From their point of view, the grid is a staircase to the Universal, and they are not interested in what happens below in the Concrete.
Or, to take a more up-to-date example, we could think about Ad Reinhardt who, despite his repeated insistence that 'Art is art,' ended up by painting a series of black nine-square grids in which the motif that inescapably emerges is a Greek cross. There is no painter in the West who can be unaware of the symbolic power of the cruciform shape and the Pandora's box of spiritual reference that is opened once one uses it."
Here, for reference, is a
within a nine-square grid:
Doctorow's "Garden of Adding"...
4 + 5 =
Saturday, October 4, 2003 5:48 PM
Today's birthday: ageless Charlton Heston.
authority on the Gnostic gospels,
p. 12, New York Review of Books,
issue dated Oct. 23, 2003
Saturday, October 4, 2003 1:29 AM
Meditation for the High Holy Days:
Noble Lies or Criminal Fraud?
On Noble Lies:
"Leo Strauss, who for many years taught an esoteric reading of Plato at the University of Chicago, believed that an educated elite could rule through deception. A circle of his former students, now in appointed public office, are in a position to make Strauss's teaching national practice."
-- America, the Jesuit weekly, July 7, 2003
("Words are events."-- Walter J. Ong, S.J.)
On Criminal Fraud:
"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas.... This whole thing was a fraud."
-- Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Iraq war, Sept. 18, 2003
"Nothing could be a more serious violation of public trust than to consciously make a war based on false claims.... [The Bush administration's] handling of intelligence and its retaliation against its critics may have been criminal."
-- Gen. Wesley Clark, Oct. 3, 2003
On the Good versus the True
According to one reading of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance-- a book that deals with, among other things, the reading of Plato at the University of Chicago (see the Jesuit remarks above)-- the Good is the enemy of the True. This is a reading that may well appeal to Bush supporters, who would of course like to be on the side of the Good. Let them recall two Middle Eastern sayings:
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend,"
"Satan is the father of lies."
Friday, October 3, 2003 8:23 PM
Time and the Grid
Art theorist Rosalind Krauss and poet T. S. Eliot on time, timelessness, and the
Thursday, October 2, 2003 6:15 AM
For Wallace Stevens's Birthday
Annie Dillard Revisited
of Annie Dillard