Saturday, May 19, 2018

Why A Nobel Prize For Literature Is A Bad Idea Anyway…

We want to be famous as a writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will. Why? Because we really don't love what we are doing. If you loved to sing, or to paint, or to write poems, if you really loved it you would not be concerned with whether you are famous or not.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti, born in 1895

Professionals are risking it all by and pursuing artisanal roles, making chairs, shoes, pottery and gin in a nostalgic bid for simpler times

Buddha Riding a Dragon (Utagawa Kunisada), Sonnet #404

Life is first boredom, then fear.
Whether or not we use it, it goes,
And leaves what something hidden from us chose,   
And age, and then the only end of age.

The question of responsibility
Is confronted where the wind meets the waves,
That filament of cause where the one laves
The other in strict reciprocity. 
Buddha and dragon each the other saves:
If the serpent throws him, the man will drown.
(He can walk on scales, but not on water.)
But, the mythic dragon cannot falter.
Faith in a faith will never let him down.
The mind of the monk may change, not alter.
Without the Buddha the dragon will die,
As a vacuum would kill the dragonfly.
I walk each day and watch the red-tail fly. 
 When I turn away, he holds  up the sky

The Most Expensive Books in the World | Reader's Digest

Full Marx: The 200th birthday of Karl Marx certainly didn't pass unnoticed, with much discussion of the old monster and his legacy in the press and on the radio over the weekend. Clearly much can justly be laid at his door, but I wonder if a lot of the bloody stuff mightn't have happened anyway, even if Marx had never written a word. After all, the template for murderous, all-devouring terror in the name of remaking the world (of course on 'scientific' principles) was set by the French revolution, and arguably the horrific Chinese and Cambodian revolutions, if not the Russian one, could have taken their 'thinking' straight from the French model. That the Russian revolution occurred as it did was the result of a particular freakish combination of events, and could never have been predicted – it certainly wasn't foreseen by Marx, nor has any revolution ever happened along the lines envisaged by the German sage (industrial proletariat seizes power as capitalism collapses under the weight of its own contradictions).
  So here's a thought experiment: what essential difference would it have made to the course of history (as against the history of ideas, social sciences, etc) if Marx had never existed, and the line of revolutionary terror had run straight from French 'Enlightenment' ideas to the revolutionaries of the 20th century? (Pol Pot and Deng Xiaoping both spent several years in France and Pol Pot greatly admired Rousseau.) Indeed, might not the roots of bloody revolution be traced still further back, to religiously based (Christian and Islamic) millennarian ideas about remaking and redeeming the human world at any cost? Or maybe even to something destructive and delusional in human nature itself...

The top 1 percent in income among American men live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent; for women, the gap is 10 years. These rich Americans have gained three years of longevity just in this century. They live longer almost without regard to where they live. Poor Americans had very little gain as a whole, with big differences among different places

Why A Nobel Prize For Literature Is A Bad Idea Anyway…

“Literature is not tennis or football, where international competition makes sense. It is intimately tied to the language and culture from which it emerges. Literary style distinguishes itself by its distance from the other styles that surround it, implying a community of readers with a shared knowledge of other literary works, of standard language usage and cultural context. What sense does it make for a group from one culture — be it Swedish, American, Nigerian or Japanese — to seek to compare a Bolivian poet with a Korean novelist, an American singer-songwriter with a Russian playwright, and so on? Why would we even want them to do that?”

The would-be artisans who ditch day jobs to chase a dream

Professionals are risking it all by and pursuing artisanal roles, making chairs, shoes, pottery and gin in a nostalgic bid for simpler times.

MAKE ORGIES GREAT AGAIN: Swingers flock to Vegas for world’s biggest orgy. But there’s rampant sex discrimination: “Tickets for the shindig cost $200 a couple and just $25 for a single woman. Solo men are banned from joining in the fun.”