Abiding by the containment requirements is a class privilege. The most insecure do not have the luxury of telecommuting or sitting on their wages for a few months. And death has always been part of everyday life—it is in the night, it is in the streets, it is in hunger, it is in power, it is in fathers and husbands.
Twombly’s work is a win-win because it does not force us to think or feel at all, except insofar as the work reminds us that most of what we think and feel we are afraid to speak publicly about. (And this, perhaps, for good reason?)
Re-translation and notes regarding a chapter from Paul Valéry’s Degas Danse Dessin. Thus: reflections on landscape painting and many other things, including the idea that « L’homme complet se meurt. » The whole human being is dying. With images from Aelbert Cuyp, Claude le Lorrain, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock, Jenny Holzer, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mark Bradford, Judith Bernstein, the Cranachs, and William Eaton (the re-translator).
How 1940s American pop songs framed the world beyond the United States as exotic playgrounds or lands of folly and belittled non-Europeans. The songs discussed: “Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo),” “The Coffee Song,” “The Maharajah of Madagor,” “Managua, Nicaragua,” and “Rum and Coca Cola.”
Aspects of our social and sexual lives discussed in dialogue with poetry by a young woman who in adolescence became addicted to Internet porn. Among the questions: What if, as Freud proposed, civilization does indeed involve the repression of our emotional lives? And what if our selves have become what we have to sell? Also noted: a young heterosexual male would not be allowed to write about his addiction to Internet porn unless he were featuring himself as an example of “toxic masculinity.”
“The Negro Is the Negro Still” How spiritualism grappled with slavery and race in the Civil War era By Emily Sosolik [In the Summerland] all distinctions between [African Americans] and white spirits cease to exist, they then having become as white, beautiful, refined, and intellectual as these. — Spiritualist Eugene Crowell, “The Spirit World: Its Inhabitants, Nature, and Philosophy” The Civil War era produced extraordinary change in nearly every aspect of American life. From the annexation of Texas in 1845 […]
By Oriana Schällibaum and Marcel Grissmer As I went out one morning may strike the casual listener as one of the more insipid songs Bob Dylan ever wrote. Recorded for the 1967 John Wesley Harding album it has never been very important to Dylan; he recorded the song in only five takes and, to date, has performed it in concert only once (in 1974). Yet, “As I went out one morning”—apart from being a joy to listen to—is worth a […]
. . . la lecture, . . . ce miracle fécond d’une communication au sein de la solitude, . . . (reading, this fertile miracle of communication in the midst of solitude) — Marcel Proust, Pastiches et mélanges This year Gallimard published, in French, an amalgam of some of Proust’s writing on reading. Herewith my gloss of a passage that speaks across the span of a century since Proust wrote it: An idleness or frivolity prevents some people from […]
Revisiting the US entry into World War I, including the Anti-War Movement, Propaganda, and the Sedition Act By Martin Green One hundred years ago, in early April 1917, on a drizzly Washington evening, President Woodrow Wilson went before Congress seeking a declaration of war against Imperial Germany, thus placing the United States into the midst of what had become known as the Great War. According to Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin, the Great War, or World War I as […]
“I Know Nothing”: Faith, Fear, and Politics in Antebellum America By Emily Sosolik Let our opponents torture and distort the truth as they may, no specious reasoning, no political sophistry can alter the fact that those who are constantly laboring to fight down Americanism and Protestantism are enemies of their country, and tories or traitors of their native land. — The Know Nothing Almanac and True Americans’ Manual for 1856 The fear of the other has manifested wildly […]
The famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson writes that the attraction of a photograph is not that it captures reality but that it just barely glimpses it. His photograph Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare captures, in mid-air, a man in a suit and hat attempting a hopeless leap over a large puddle of water. If we had been standing behind the Saint-Lazare train station we would not have been able to see what the photograph shows us—we cannot register images in 1/64th of […]
The French Revolution, the Declaration, and Olympe de Gouges’s “Rights of Woman” By Emily Sosolik Homme, es-tu capable d’être juste ? C’est une femme qui t’en fait la question ; tu ne lui ôteras pas moins ce droit. Dis-moi ? Qui t’a donné le souverain empire d’opprimer mon sexe ? Ta force ? Tes talents ? (Man, are you capable of being just? It’s a woman who is asking this question; you will, at least, not take this right from her. […]
Review of H.L. Hix, American Anger: An Evidentiary (Etruscan Press, 2016). “I’ve got a family to feed, a neighborhood to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, a principle to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, my honor to defend.” — H.L. Hix, American Anger These lines taken from separate poems in the first section—“Aggression Cues”—of H. L. Hix’s recent poetry collection, American Anger, can serve as elements of a mantra for the entire book. The voice […]
By您好, yangyang Geng Memory heals the scars of time. Photography documents the wounds. — Michael Ignatieff It requires constant vigilance to see people as they are. — Olive Pierce The Portraits of the Jefferson Park Housing Project in Cambridge and No Easy Roses Olive Pierce was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1925 and died on May 23, 2016. She was a lifelong photographer and political activist. She was educated at Vassar College and, in 1948, she traveled with […]
Well just look at all the other Musas in this dive, one by one, and imagine—as I do—how they could have survived a shot fired in bright sunlight or how they managed never to cross paths with that writer of yours or, in a word, how they’ve managed to not be dead yet. — The Meursault Investigation, Kamel Daoud (translated by John Cullen) The question is not whether Lincoln [in the Gettysburg Address] truly meant “government of the people” but […]
By Ed Mooney, Zeteo Contributor These are preliminary notes on a tension between philosophy and friendship. They are prompted by two texts I encountered nearly in conjunction, within the passage of just a few days. The first is a remarkable passage from Moby Dick where Ishmael, the narrator whose name echoes the Biblical figure cast into wilderness, reflects on friendship. Specifically, he reflects on his bond with Quequeeg, a tattooed, South Pacific, Muslim “Cannibal.” From the deck of the […]
* What is the gap between a vivid experience of the world and my postmortem, delayed, and limping descriptions? I’m in the midst of responding to a friend about his photos of trees and streams taken while walking. His is an immersion in the world unmediated by sentences. Perhaps the world’s address, for him, is more like a musical address than a courtroom or classroom address. If the world’s address can at times resemble musical address, then we might be […]
A discussion of Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Dying Tiger” which includes sensuality, mortality and even, perhaps, vulgarity, but no sex, no consummation and no communion either. The poem’s two bodies, and two selves, never even touch, and it is this distance that kills the male and condemns the female to waste away (though she lives on with her poetry and regrets).
A book by an American scholar of Japanese literature briefly discusses one of the anecdotes of The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko, a classic which dates back to the fourteenth century. The scholar, Linda Chance, offers the following translation: A priest of the Ninnaji, regretting that he had not paid his respects at Iwashimizu [a Shinto shrine not far from Kyoto] before growing old, took it into his head to do so and set out alone on foot. He prayed at Gokurakuji […]