Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
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A follow-up to a previous discussion of how experts, and the media that aids and abets them, and the class interests that pay these experts’ salaries—they’re in the mask-making business.   A January 26 New York Times story reported that “according to an independent analysis” the proposed trade pact between North American countries, the United […]

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long exposure photo of lightning strikes; credit, n5mbm.net

Happiness courts us in her best array? An old friend, 70, after a perfectly successful career as a curator of nineteenth-century sculpture, has been reborn as a Facebook post-er. So many good posts, often several in a day, sometimes featuring photos she has taken, sometimes bits from the news, the Web. She is French, lives […]

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Magritte, L'Oasis (The Oasis), 1925-1927

Let the broken glass and the china lie out on the lawn and be tangled over with grass and wild berries.   Listening (had there been any one to listen) from the upper rooms of the empty house only gigantic chaos streaked with lightning could have been heard tumbling and tossing, as the winds and […]

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 5 Comments

Out of the hundred million people living in Soviet Russia, we should be able get 90 million behind us. The others, there’s no talking with them, they have to be annihilated. — Bolshevik leader Grigory Zinoviev, September 1918   Results. Approximately 245 000 deaths in the United States in [the year] 2000 were attributable to low […]

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 2 Comments

(1) One week this past October, The New Yorker’s television critic, Emily Nussbaum, wrote a piece which began by dissing—as making “little sense”; “élitism in the guise of hipness”—one of the great works of American cultural criticism, previous New Yorker writer George W.S. Trow’s “Within the Context of No Context.”[1] The week after Nussbaum’s piece […]

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(1) About two hundred pages into Kingsley Amis’s well-known and still wonderful comic novel Lucky Jim there is a paragraph that seems to rise above the rest, to take the novel’s vision of human behavior to another level, beyond particulars to revelation. Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, British musical comedians of Kingsley Amis’s generation, had […]

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sometimes I forget what country I’m in I could write poems in bed I think have some Americans look at your awful mov- ie to tell you when you’re wrong & just racist. I got this bug bite that could be anything. — the opening lines of Dissolution, by Eileen Myles[1]   The August 24 […]

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“Counting” is a beautiful little Philip Larkin poem that I had not read before encountering it in a bilingual collection, with French translations: La vie avec un trou dedans. Thinking in terms of one Is easily done — One room, one bed, one chair, One person there, Makes perfect sense; one set Of wishes can […]

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In 1949, the French writer, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau wrote a few lines about French politics at that time, lines that might help Americans today view their own political battles with more optimism than usual. In my translation: I know well that in 1949 politics are a big deal and the clashes of different […]

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In the woods of Michigan in 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville recounts, he found a not entirely unfamiliar solitude, but what was unusual was that, unlike previously, when he had visited the ruins of ancient European civilizations, the solitudes of America led his mind to project forward, losing itself “dans un immense avenir” (in a vast […]

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1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

Essay

June 14, 2018

The time that takes place in stories compared to the time that we actually live is radically abbreviated. It briskly sweeps aside all the commonplace moments that make up the long stretch of toilsome time and focuses instead on the interesting and compelling. With a mere section break or a simple transitional phrase, days, months, and whole years are disposed of as if they had no significance at all. “Then time passed slowly until the day arrived when….” A lot of important living is hidden in such a phrase. From the moment-to-moment flow of time, the storyteller lifts out only those narr...

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

Essay

May 11, 2018

Using personal essay, literary reference, and journalistic voice, the article plants itself on our existential doorstep while illuminating Barnes' novel one more time. Very strong. Thanks.

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

Essay

May 10, 2018

"When these new memories suddenly came upon me … time had been placed in reverse. As if, for that moment, the river ran upstream." Stolen from Barnes's book for my poem "From the Vale for a Soul Making". Great book to write about.

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