Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Czech Magnesia Litera: Musical version of the new Bohemian Rhapsody

During these trying days of social distancing, self-isolating and quarantines, days rife with fear and anxiety, my colleagues and I thought you might like some company. So each day we will be introducing you to poets we have met over the years. The only contagion they will expose you to is a measure of joy, reflection and meditation brought on by “the best words in the best order.” Enjoy.
— Bill Moyers - 
… A Poet a Day: Rita Dove –

Elsewhere, Ian Frazier wrote “Talking about hunger and being hungry are two different things; talk can wait for a convenient moment, but when you’re hungry you’re hungry right now.” Frazier’s remark captures precisely the very general issue I am writing about, the discrepancy between words and feelings, between words and experiences.

Haruki Murakami wrote about life before and after the development of the electronic revolution recently. I was reminded of what he said about this issue in thinking about the death of Steve Jobs and his enormous influence on society.

By setting the story [“Town of Cats,” published in the New Yorker] in 1984, before cell phones and e-mail and the Internet had become common, I made it impossible for my characters to use such tools. This in turn was frustrating for me. I felt their absence slowing down the speed of the novel. When I thought about it, though, not having such devices at the time—both in daily life and in the story—ceased to be an inconvenience. If you wanted to make a phone call, you just found a public telephone; if you had to look something up, you went to the library; if you wanted to contact somebody, you put a stamp on a letter and mailed it. Those were the normal ways to do those things. While writing the novel (and experiencing a kind of time slip), I had a strong feeling of what the intervening twenty-seven years had meant. Sorry to state the obvious, but maybe there’s not much connection between the convenience of people’s surroundings and the degree of happiness they feel.

Musical version of the new Bohemian Rhapsody 

Two Victorian artists launch an online affordable art dealership for artists who have lost their income to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cream Town Is Making It Easy (And Affordable!) To Support Local Artists From Home

Apple Inc. By way of background

Magnesia Litera finalists 

       The Czech Magnesia Litera awards recently announced their shortlists, twenty-seven titles in eight categories, selected from 488 entries -- but they've delayed the winners announcement -- originally scheduled for 7 April -- until the fall. 

       Among the fiction finalists are books by Jiří Kratochvil and Jan Němec -- the intriguing-sounding Možnosti milostného románu; see also the Host publicity page --, as well as Štěpán Kučera's debut, Projekt Gilgameš; see the Druhé město publicty page

To be human is to be a miracle of evolution conscious of its own miraculousness — a consciousness beautiful and bittersweet, for we have paid for it with a parallel awareness not only of our fundamental improbability but of our staggering fragility, of how physiologically precarious our survival is and how psychologically vulnerable our sanity. To make that awareness bearable, we have evolved a singular faculty that might just be the crowning miracle of our consciousness: hope.

"I don't want my pictures to tell people what they should think" says Alastair Philip Wiper

British photographer Alastair Philip Wiper explores all kinds of factories, from pork slaughterhouses to sex doll workshops. He says he isn't trying to shock or influence, just to show people where things come from. Fotos of Factories ...

The Role of Philosophy & Philosophers In The Coronavirus Pandemic 

In a previous post, I asked for suggestions from readers for topics related to the pandemic to post about and discuss here. One suggestion, from Jonathan Fuller (Pittsburgh), was the role of philosophy and philosophers during the pandemic. In the following guest post*Alex Broadbent, Dean of Faculty of the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of Instit

An Antidote to Helplessness and Disorientation: The Great Humanistic Philosopher and Psychologist Erich Fromm on Our Human Fragility as the Key to Our Survival and Our Sanity