Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Renoir Victor Chocquet

{click for Renoir, Love: Pdf}   Harvard’s Fogg Museum does not think of itself as “portrait gallery”—it includes more than “just” portraits. Nonetheless, I am prepared to make the following, likely unprovable, assertion: The percentage of wonderful portraits to total number of artworks on display is greater at the Fogg than at any other museum […]

ZiLL
snapping turtle claws

As evening was coming on, at the end of a cove in a nature preserve, I saw in the water some dark, complex something. Two box-like shapes, attached to one another. An abandoned part of a car engine? Approaching a little closer, I saw that in fact it was two midsized, black-backed turtles, one clamped […]

ZiLL
Kiki Smith, image of "Pee Body," as photographed at Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis

Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still (T.S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday”)   Crouching, but hardly cornered, on the first floor of the Fogg Museum at Harvard is Kiki Smith’s wax sculpture of a naked woman crouching to pee—or having peed; streams of yellow glass beads are spread on the […]

ZiLL
La Sapienza

  Love, the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has been translated (perhaps inaccurately) as saying, involves giving something you haven’t got to someone who doesn’t exist. It might be more simply proposed that movies involve offering illusions to people who are in the dark. And the next step for a purist would be to propose that […]

ZiLL
Iraq mobile production lab

False Claims / Empty Beliefs: Why is this not a comedy?   A month or two ago it was brought to my attention that, as there are Holocaust deniers, so there are now those (in Iran, for example) who say that some or all of the “Charlie Hebdo” events in Paris did not happen. The […]

ZiLL
Figure of a Woman in Ceremonial Dress (Veracruz) 3

This post juxtaposes brief notes with reproductions of five women-focused works at Chicago’s Art Institute. Readers are invited to make whatever connections they will and draw whatever conclusions they might between the art works, which seem to me unified only in their focus on women, in the genius of their making (by men, by the way), and […]

ZiLL
Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, Pearl Theater

A favorite short speech from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. A young prince, in love with a lovely, seeming shepherd girl (see photo above), is warned by his father’s right-hand man to take heed, “be advised.” The young man’s response echoes the human response to life in general. I am advised, he says— by my fancy: […]

ZiLL
Cineastas 2

Between the invention of movies and the year 2013, approximately 400,000 films have been made worldwide. Were someone to try to watch all of these films, without a moment’s pause, it would take about 92 years. Our fictions last longer than our lives. . . . [H]ay cosas que son efímeras, las vidas, las relaciones, […]

ZiLL
rubybridges - young black girl going to school

I come back to this famous photo, from 1960, of U.S. Marshals escorting Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. I come back to this photo after seeing documentary footage of Martin Luther King preaching, in April 1963, to black people in a church in Montgomery: You know […]

ZiLL
Photo by Lloyd Mulvey shows actors Gibson Frazier (playing Anton) and Zoe Winters (playing Alina) in the Pearl Theatre’s staged reading of Oded Gross’s The Government Inspector, January 2015; directed by Lucie Tiberghien.

The comedian, actor, songwriter, and playwright Oded Gross has done a marvelous (to include quite funny) job of updating Gogol’s classic satire of bad government: The Government Inspector. I will get right to the new text, near the beginning, when the officials of a small town realize that a government inspector is coming. ARTEMIS (The […]

ZiLL
Citizenfour

This piece is excerpted from a longer essay: “Snowden, Jesus” (click for pdf). When faced with the canvas that Edward Snowden, his colleagues and others have—with not a little idealism and courage—painted for all eyes to see, it is possible to feel frightened, panicked even, and helpless. Most everything we are doing with the aid […]

ZiLL

Recent Comments

A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

This piece is excerpted from a longer essay: “Snowden, Jesus” (click for pdf). When faced with the canvas that Edward Snowden, his colleagues and others have—with not a little idealism and courage—painted for all eyes to see, it is possible to feel frightened, panicked even, and helpless. Most everything we are doing with the aid […]

ZiR

February 8, 2017

How does the slogan “man is a wolf to man” fit in with your later, somewhat hopeful image of camaraderie in the class struggle? I mean, if your starting assessment of human nature is correct, then doesn’t the class struggle actually come down to one group of savage beasts fighting another, the exploited class merely comprising those wolves with less opportunity to express their lupine ferocity? And don’t the exploiters no less than the exploited regularly turn against one another, so that besides the strife of classes, there is also the strife of each wolf against every other wolf? Wha...

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Beyoncé

This piece is excerpted from a longer essay: “Snowden, Jesus” (click for pdf). When faced with the canvas that Edward Snowden, his colleagues and others have—with not a little idealism and courage—painted for all eyes to see, it is possible to feel frightened, panicked even, and helpless. Most everything we are doing with the aid […]

Article

December 13, 2016

Any doubts I may have had have been thoroughly quashed.

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Bakewell on Sartre: “Of course, he was monstrous. He was self-indulgent, demanding, bad-tempered. … I disagree with quite a lot in Sartre. But then there is the question of ‘character’—and Sartre is full of character. He bursts out on side sides with energy, peculiarity, generosity, and communicativeness.”

This piece is excerpted from a longer essay: “Snowden, Jesus” (click for pdf). When faced with the canvas that Edward Snowden, his colleagues and others have—with not a little idealism and courage—painted for all eyes to see, it is possible to feel frightened, panicked even, and helpless. Most everything we are doing with the aid […]

Review

November 29, 2016

What a nice review ! I've read Bakewell and admire her courage and skill in mixing biography and philosophy in such an attractive way -- and I admire your skill in presenting the figures and themes of existentialism in an equally attractive way ! Mazel tov !

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