Friday, January 11, 2008

Local trees

from Robert Bolano's "Dictionary of Nazi Literature in the Americas"--The Many Masks of Max Mirebelais--


Port-au-Prince, 1941—Les Cayes, 1998

His real name was probably Max Mirebalais, although we will never know for sure. His first steps in literature remain mysterious: one day he turned up in a newspaper editor's office; the next, he was out on the streets, looking for stories, or more often running errands for the senior staff. In the course of his apprenticeship, he was subjected to all the miseries and servitudes of Haitian journalism. But thanks to his determination, after two years, he rose to the position of assistant social reporter for the Port-au-Prince Monitor, and in that capacity, awed and puzzled, he attended parties and soirées held in the capital's grandest houses. There can be no doubt that as soon as he glimpsed that world, he wanted to belong to it. He soon realized that there were only two ways to achieve his aim: through violence, which was out of the question, since he was peaceable and timorous by nature, appalled by the mere sight of blood; or through literature, which is a surreptitious form of violence, a passport to respectability, and can, in certain young and sensitive nations, disguise the social climber's origins..."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES notes: on the 21st an evening of rare films by Charles Burnett, including "Killer of Sheep", the next night John Sayles picks Sam Fuller's film about his newspaper days "Park Row", which I've never seen...

“Blood and Ink”: Fuller and the Fourth Estate in Park Row

Combustible Celluloid film review - Killer of Sheep (1977)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

nice to see in Jon Stewart's montage of male politicians weeping last night (re Hillary) a personal favorite in the manly-stoicism-cracking-at-last-genre YouTube - Bob Dole Cries At Nixon Funeral 1994, which choked me up at the time, I admit...

way to go Hillary!

"Clinton won tonight because in the last few days, the level of misogyny directed toward her had reached a fever pitch, and the women of New Hampshire decided that they’d had enough of it..."

The witch ain't dead, and Chris Matthews is a ding-dong

"Is it possible that for the first time in my life, my reaction to a political news cycle could have mirrored a larger national feeling? Could Matthews and his threatened brethren, who came damned close to putting this Hillary disbeliever on the path to feminist redemption (who knows how I'll vote; but I do know that I am happy that I'll now likely have the opportunity to cast a vote for the candidate of my choice and not of MSNBC's), actually have shaped what happened on Tuesday in New Hampshire in a similar fashion? Exit polling and analysis be damned, we'll likely never really know what electoral alchemy landed Hillary Clinton an unexpected victory. Finally, around 11:30, Matthews was forced to suck it up. Looking like he was chewing on a lemon, he said of his nemesis, "She stood there and took the heat under what looked to be a difficult time. I give her a lot of personal credit. I will never underestimate Hillary Clinton again..."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

what's keeping Tim Raines out of the Hall of Fame?

Eli Miller's Seltzer Delivery Service

"In Ben Katchor’s graphic novel The Jew of New York, an 1830s seltzer aficionado named Francis Oriole concocts a business plan of tremendous, kooky grandeur: he dreams of carbonating Lake Erie and piping fresh soda water to New York City. Seltzer must have seemed like a miraculous remedy in 1830, and still a relatively novel one—Joseph Priestly, who is credited with stumbling on the happy accident of carbonated water, made his findings known in the 1770s. In Oriole’s plan, seltzer would run—or spritz, I suppose—from every tap, and no one would suffer from indigestion. (Many of the book’s characters appreciate a good burp, which Katchor refers to by its wonderfully onomatopoeic Yiddish name: greptz...)

"A new Pentagon term came into use in the Bush era. With the invasion of Iraq, reporters were said to be "embedded" in U.S. military units. That term -- so close in sound to "in bed with" -- should have wider uses. You could, for instance, say that Americans have, since September 2001, been "embedded," largely willingly, in a new lockdown universe defined by a general acceptance of widespread acts of torture and abuse, as well as of the right to kidnap (known as "extraordinary rendition"), and the creation and expansion of an offshore Bermuda Triangle of injustice, all based on the principle that a human being is guilty unless proven (sometimes even if proven) innocent. What might originally have seemed like emergency measures in a moment of crisis is now an institutionalized way of life. Whether we like it or not, these methods increasingly define what it means to be an American. In this manner, despite the "freedom" rhetoric of the Bush administration, the phrase "the price of freedom" has been superseded by the price of what passes for "safety" and "security."

Media coverage of such subjects reflects this. The cases above, all reported in December, barely scratch the surface of this universe. Just a glance at other December stories -- some barely attended to, or dealt with by minor outlets or in humdrum ways, but many well covered in major papers and still causing little consternation -- indicates just how normalized all this has become..."

via mefi a list of Cliopatra Awards for a very interesting passel of history blogs...

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Medium" back tonight at 10...

Isola di Rifiuti reads reads Scroggins, Zukofsky & Einstein--

"What has been overlooked . . . is the irrational, the inconsistent, the droll, even the insane, which nature, inexhaustible operative, implants in an individual, seemingly for her own amusement. But these things are singled out only in the crucible of one’s own mind. This is as it should be. For, otherwise how could the isolation of distance be approximated?"

Sunday, January 06, 2008

the new onedit has complete books by Miles Champion, Elieni Sikelianos, Khaled Hakim and (above) Stephen Rodefer & (click on image!) Harry Gilonis/Erica van Horn...

Vinyl Sleeve Heads


Nonist has a bunch of interesting bookbinding=related links up...