Sunday, November 11, 2018

imagist tendencies in Bergman and Henry James.

(Note:  I try to remind myself of the Professional Fighting League Championship rounds which come up on New Year's Eve.  Each title match representing various weight classes carries a million dollar prize for the title winner.)

One could dismiss the work of Henry James as housewife fantasy, where they dream of getting a yearly salary, let the barrister handle that for you, and spend your hours making social calls on friends and acquaintances of good report, with little conversational gambits abounding and "making love" meant sitting three feet apart in the parlor while making sweet talk to one another.

One would be missing something if that made that mistake.  There is a whole world of technique in his books.  He minutely positions his characters and ultimately causes one to respect a globe-trotting elitist woman by showing her to be a bit tougher than we first think, and with integrity, to boot.

The "finery" of the story, as James himself would put it.  He also would talk about "picture" in a story, in which he the author would try to capture the essence of a scene, like the Osmond garden in Portrait of a Lady.  James the author would write sometimes while sitting with a group of painters in front of a subject that they were trying to emulate in their work.

So from the very beginning his work is far from "artless housewife stuff".

In his least favorite work of his own, he refrains from a variety of his usual artifice and captures a dead simple arc, controlling it, burning away nuisance elements, and leaving us with the raw concept laid out before us, though the story largely does not come into its own or achieve real merit until the final chapter, where we come then to respect a young lady who was denied her inheritance, and only because her father did not like her suitor.   She becomes an old maid in the last chapter(spoiler), and despite the dismal ending, we cannot help but, not pity her, because some will not like her suitor either, but respect the life she built for herself without her small fortune.

The titular Golden Bowl is a big symbol that Henry James swings at us.  I call it a symbol or an image, alternating the two terms.  A Golden Bowl with a crack in the side.  Now it makes one wonder, if the bowl is made of gold anyway, how does it have a crack?  Of course, the bowl is not a one trick pony.  In some senses it might be a marriage(as in its last scene in the book), or it might represent a lover or the wife, and of course there is infidelity in the story.  But in the end it is just a dream, a husband's dream and a wife's dream with that shifting shade of meaning running throughout the story.

Bergman's titular Virgin Spring, or the chessboard or the two main characters in the Seventh Seal are images.  But I think of the suitor accidentally breaking china in Summers with Monika.  It is not a plot point then, but a characterization of the suitor.  Bergman could and did use that particular symbol in any way he wanted.  It became over the course of a single scene two or three things, with the last being a symbol of a trimming of marriage and social life(as in the Jamesian social scene with all the meaningless visits to various parties, the letters written, sort of a stock trade between them all where they jockeyed to maintain reputation).

Saturday, November 10, 2018

(from the reading)sensory funnel/machine runtime: preliminary thoughts on Martin Heidigger

at least he's not dropping the phrase a priori more than five times a page like Kant.

Heidigger throws out there that we are immediately aware of being, that it is not something we realize deductively(or through trying to reason it out, as it were).  However, he acknowledges that any definition of being, despite each of us taking a share in the product, that definition remains murky, clouded in shadow.

I'm glad enough of that last, that he doesn't become overly preachy about it or even deny the common facts, relating instead to the common experience.

I rather postulate that the present, the being, or at least the a priori knowledge of such, is a bunch of material pressed through our senses, as of a sensory funnel, with the totality comprising being.  Like a computer's runtime, whatever is going through the processor at any given time, a machine listing of that AND various functions across the entire motherboard.  A snapshot of a moment.  Like looking at an old photograph of your yard or your family, your house, a car, something from when you were younger, and then comparing that to your old unreliable memory, whatever is in there. 

Was it the same, or were there differences?

That's your computer's existence, anyway.

*Transcendence is not defined among the classical philosophers the way we know it, thanks to an old translation of the word.  Turns out it just means "being", where today it means or implies becoming more, like approaching some higher state.  The approach or becoming meaning comes in part from the trans suffix.  But were the ancients telling of something, like a computer's runtime, something of that live moment of the present, that sits between future and past, sandwiched-like, the land of all of our realizations, both inductive and deductive.

Friday, November 9, 2018

the epic moment when Barry Barry becomes Barry Lyndon

a man, marching towards his own doom, itself become at once a self-fulfilling prophecy and a disturbing comment on the human condition.  Success at any cost comes with a heavy price, while some sit doing nothing, waiting on success to drop on their heads from out of thin air.  I personally am putting together the chapters for a new rough draft of a novel.  Brainstorming, as it were, coming up with the overall item and the individual items.

I've considered thinking of a good novel like a full season of a television show.  I note David Milch with some season-long story arcs, with the audience holding on for a promise of a cathartic blow and a resolution in the season-ending episode.  I also liken the idea originally to Seinfeld, in how there were continuing details the went along over the run of several episodes, while many of the episodes yet stand on their own.  Someone was saying the Lord of the Rings novels stand on their own, but I'm not the one to enter fantasy novel criticism.

Barry Lyndon.  Trying on waxen wings to fly to the sun, one hand of cards at a time.

I plan to buy some Sartre and KFC around Black Friday.  Sounds like a good plan for a spare weekend, but I got NCAA football and NFL to make my head turn towards the television.

Barry Lyndon.  The real celluloid psychosis, I wot.  And myself, in a state of agitation during the summer of 2008, afraid to post that movie review on the old Classic Futnuckery.  Because of you people.

My how the night goes slowly, and the daylight has grown shorter, still, in these recent days.

Monday, November 5, 2018

thoughts on a rising tide.

There is a Reaganomics phrase some of the "conservatives", or should I say "professional conservatives" like to toss out there, where it can sit like a turd:  "A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS."  They espouse a top-down stimulus effect to the economy, by offering tax incentives and other goodies to the top of the economic ladder.

The term "trickle-down" refers to the effect of the extra investment and other economic activity of the upper class(rising tide) actually helping the middle and lower classes to some extent(all boats).

Just today, I saw a mentally handicapped man bumming spare change.  A mile down the road at another shopping center, he was there.  I had not even a penny, nickel or dime in my own pocket, but as I walked around the store, I resolved to speak to the man, give some encouraging word.  However, when next I saw him, he was talking heatedly to himself, which I found off-putting, so I walked on.

That's our attitude, I guess.  Too much walking on without doing something first.

Imagine a disabled man, a recipient of SSI and maybe other benefits, still bumming spare change out of need.  These are people caught outside of the system, I wot, yet at the mercy of the crumbs that rain down from beneath the great cogs.

During my own time with social anxiety disorder, my only viable option for income was SSI benefits that would have amounted to less than 700 dollars per month.  Not a living wage.  I was a virtual shut-in at the time, who only went to two places in town, otherwise staying home, or sitting in the parking lot.  In other words, a man with a problem, let down by the system, under-served.  Luckily I had a niggling hope that spurred my own and aided in my eventual recovery from the crippling disorder.

We look at raising the minimum wage, noting it would destroy the fast food industry as we know it today, but is there any realistic way to expand the food stamp program?  Increase Social Security and SSI, so that people can live?  Would that not realistically act as economic stimulation, with so much of that extra capital coming back as taxes?

A republican friend spoke of a fast food employee noting the person "shouldn't have had children."  Yet I note that speaker had a large inheritance from a family business.  These people throw out the phrase "that is just how it is."  I would go so far as to say, when they get serious, these people are the enemies of common decency.

beneath a mauve umbrella

Beneath the mauve umbrella,
children barefoot
interlace their toes
-a tangled hysteria of digits-
filthy from the walk.

The disheveled ancient,
peering at them from the window,
warming chocolate on the stove,
goes to invite them in,
into the rain
and flying leaves in the gale,
but the bus has came;
they are not there.

On the big diesel bus,
raindrops glisten on the mauve umbrella,
rolling along the fabric,
ever downward toward the plastic floor.

They pass by another two,
another mauve umbrella:
lovers, huddled together,
thinking of their love,
the depth of their feeling,
and all the happiness of the future,
as if they could comprehend that,
that very immense thing;
yet it is all lost in a hapless word.

In the school,
the mauve umbrella sits,
with the coat pile
in the front hall;
unbeknownst,
drug-sniffing police dog
surveys the scene when
the scene has cleared;
quiet in the hall and
the children safely in their classrooms,
so that the children do not see:

so that the children do not see.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Pestering the great polar bear by poking at his ears.

It is a fortified knowledge I speak of here, that goes beyond a simple belief matrix, or a particular worldview, but a created thing, like a skeleton hulk of a skyscraper, like the end of Mad Max when the children see the post-apocalyptic world.  How can knowledge by so formed, as of an ice sculpture, yet fragmentary, maybe like a tiny frozen nativity scene.

Or the epic frankenstein scene where the villagers are storming the creepy castle with their burning torches and their oaken log that they use as a battering ram.

A singularity that is built and grows everyday, like some sourdough, to be nurtured, spit upon, covered with a greasy kitchen towel and sit on the buckboard.  Stab the sourdough like is proper food for a fork to pierce, cut it, pinch-off pieces to give to your aunts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

rudiments of orthodoxy: a bigger picture filled with blessings comes into focus

I hasten to say the right actually fears the left, it's prodigious anger, which seems poised to lash-out an anything that doesn't follow a given menu of pre-set directives, approved by the committee, the representation of the collective in the DNC.  So the right sets its jaw stern and bears its teeth indignantly and tries to cure what it sees as a toxic venom, by spewing its own toxic venom.

Deeply-committed, deeply entrenched, opposing lawn sprinklers.  One side shooting onto the driveway, while the other is tormenting passing traffic.  Meanwhile, the man in the little truck is pestering motorists, pedestrians around town yelling about abortion, and each time his spiel starts, the police are called.

The put the Trump tweets on the screen, giving him a larger audience still, like they aren't(the news media) the biggest Trump megaphone, meanwhile, I think his diatribes make like a mosaic of some sort, a kind of art in the age of social media.

The Trump collage of various elements, is like a picture of real America, without an activist agenda, portraying real people.  We could say Trump even talks like a real, regular person.  And he is on my side religiously, however I more and more have qualms about certain aspects of the faith being put into law.

Half the day, they criticize his choice of words, while the later half of the day, to keep the righteous outrage going, decides to focus on his actions, instead of humping the dry well from earlier, so in the cable news day, (built up to twenty hours now!)Trump is entirely taken apart and put back together again, but with the pieces slightly out of place, so he looks like a horrifying Frankenstein version of himself.

And that visage, too, is art.  Not a Jihadi video of beheadings, like some C-list celebrity having a fake disembodied Trump head.