Saturday, June 08, 2019

Tolkien: Classic Fiction Is Confessional – Tell Your Secrets. But In The Social Media Age…

“Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it; so that a man rich in such lore, like Sancho Panza, can always find a venerable maxim to fortify the view he happens to be taking.”
George Santayana, The Life of Reason

US and Russian ships narrowly miss colliding in Philippines waters

Each side blamed the other for the episode, which took place in waters that have been the site of an intense naval rivalry between the United States and China.

Turn down an empty glass: actually, make that two

Just prior to his death, G.B. Smith wrote a letter to J.R.R. Tolkien:

My chief consolation is that if I am scuppered tonight there will still be left a member [of our school group] to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve [the group]. Death can make us loathsome and helpless as individuals, but it cannot put an end to the immortal four! May God bless you my dear John Ronald and may you say things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them if such be my lot.

As they reflect on Geoffrey’s life, Tolkien shares that of everyone he knew, Geoffrey “embodied best what it means to love and be loved.”
South African born J.R.R. Tolkien wrote some of the most beloved fantasy works of the past century, including "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." The new film "Tolkien," starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins, depicts the author's early years. But what's the true story of "Tolkien"? Dr. Corey Olsen told, "Tolkien lost and lost and lost thing after thing. But that's something that shaped him in a really positive and constructive way, and you can still feel that in all of his works."'Tolkien' Review: A Fellowship That Rings Obvious

Love, or fellowship as it is put elsewhere in the film, is the main theme. When Tolkien and schoolmates Robert Gilson, Christopher Wiseman, and Geoffrey decide to form the Tea Club and Barrovian Society, Gilson declares: “This is more than just a friendship. It’s an alliance, an invincible alliance.”

Not even death can conquer friendship, as Geoffrey reminds Tolkien in his last letter. “Tolkien” does a masterful job capturing the power of fraternal love.
For Tolkien, who died in 1973 at 81, faith was the key to the greatest fairy-story, greater even than his masterful “Lord of the Rings.”Why Make Movies About Writers?

Analysis of 4 Million Pitches Shows How Many Mistakes Umpires Make Ponderwall

Classic Fiction Is Confessional – Tell Your Secrets. But In The Social Media Age…

…what if the opposite is true? That your secrets, the things only you know about yourself, are in fact the most trivial, most banal things about you? In a society where many of us who don’t qualify as public figures spend a lot of time projecting our lives and our personalities in public, the biggest secret of all might be that, in whatever privacy we have left, we don’t have any secrets. – Book Forum

Catholic Nun Beheaded By Muslim Militia.
The ongoing purge of Christians and Jews from the non-Israeli parts of the Middle East (ie, almost the whole region) is a story for some reason the press just isn’t much interested in reporting.

My favorite Indy movie was Last Crusade, not least because the relationship between Indiana and his dad reminded me — and several of my friends — of the relationship between me and my dad. I haven’t seen it since it was in the theaters, though, so I don’t know if I’d feel the same way today.

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”
Mandy Hale

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Brigitte Reimann's Diaries, 1955-1963, I Have No Regrets, just out from Seagull Books. 

       I've always had something of a soft spot for East German literature, and Reimann is certainly one of the must-read authors of that era; amazingly, none of her work appears to have been translated into English yet -- not even her classicFranziska Linkerhand, one of the iconic novels of the GDR (and college GDR-literature-course staple). (I gobbled up her books back in the 1980s -- so I actually haven't read the new, unabridged edition of Franziska Linkerhand, which only came out in 1998; Ill have to pick that up.) 
       I'm not that big on diaries, but Reimann and the East German literary scene ... of course I've immediately ordered the 1964-1970 diaries 

       As hlo reports, János Térey Has Passed Away Age 49. 
       While he seems to be very highly regarded in Hungary, not much of his work is available in translation -- but (nudged by) taking a closer look at some of the information it sounds like some of his work really should be translated: at the end of the hlo piece they have links to a few excerpts, and the Sárközy & Co. Literary Agency pages have more information about several of his titles -- like the 403-page novel-in-verseProtocol, "not just a portrait of Budapest after the turn of the millennium, but of the world of globalised politics at the same time". Novels in verse ! I'm always intrigued by those ..... 

The hottest tickets at the Sydney Film Festival

As 12 days of screenings get underway, here's a guide to the city's biggest annual film event.

Inside the heavily secured complex outside Shenzen, China, known as the Foxconn City, we find the home of about 420,000 workers[...] Foxconn is perhaps most famous for the recent string of suicides[...] On the surface, Foxconn does not look like a labour camp. A guided tour through the premises yields a picture quite unlike the factories of the industrial dark ages. Here we find swimming pools, tennis courts and gyms as well as numerous clubs for employees, in chess, calligraphy and fishing, to name a few. The only catch is that none of these facilities are to be used. Apart from short breaks for lunch and sleep, the workers have no free time[...]

To investigate the working conditions at Foxconn, the Chinese newspaper Southern Quarterly sent a team of undercoer reporters. After 28 days of immense suffering they came back to report about a life completely overtaken by work. As they reported: 'The workers we have spoken to say that their hands continue to twitch at night, or that when they are walking down the street they cannot help but mimic the motion. They are never able to relax their minds. As one of the reporters surmised, 'for many workers, the only escape from this cycle was to end their lives'. In the attempt to curb the suicide epidemic, Foxconn management have gone to great lengths. They have put safety nets between buildings to catch falling workers. They have opened a stress room, where employees can beat up life-sized dolls with baseball bats. Only a hundred counsellors have been called in. And thirty Buddhist monks have been summoned 'to release the suicide souls from purgatory'. Foxconn are now leading innovations in a new field of management ... suicide management.

from Carl Cederstrom and Peter Fleming, Dead Man Working

 Bruce Springsteen, Accidental Patriot: How Bruce Springsteen helped reelect Ronald Reagan. “With the album’s release, the flag became the star image of the summer of 1984. Back then, hit LPs were a kind of American wallpaper: You’d see them everywhere. Everyone spent a lot of time in malls, all of the malls had record stores, and all of the record stores displayed their best-selling and most eye-catching albums. Sticking in the top ten all summer, Born in the U.S.A., featuring Springsteen’s white T-shirt and blue jeans in front of the flag’s stripes, was emblazoned on America’s retina. It was an unintended gift to Reagan’s reelection campaign. It helped make America feel good about itself, even great about itself. When, that August, America dominated in the Los Angeles Summer Games that were being boycotted by the Soviet Union and its lackeys, it was the most patriotic moment since the moon landing. For good measure, the hit movie at the time was Red Dawn. Reagan’s landslide was assured before election season even kicked off after Labor Day.”
Related (From Ed): ‘Born In the USA’ Now Fits The Conservative Message.