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Blog Archive August 2010

Sir Frank Kermode and Shigeo Tokuda: Scholar and Porn Star

I want to write about sex and about death. Since writing was invented it is hard to think of a writer who didn’t embrace these two states of the human condition. They jockey throughout life like two racecars fighting for pole position, and we go along for the ride, strapped into the passenger’s seat of both cars, pretending that we are at the wheel. We avoid thinking that sooner or later we are going to crash both cars. Our brains program us to believe that we are Formula A professional drivers. That individually our skill shapes, alters and controls our destiny. It’s a simple delusion that sitting in the back is the same as being at the wheel but it does pull us through the day (and night).

That’s the reality of life. Your two cars are going over the cliff and into the void. Sex is the one that usually stalls out and sputters to a stop first. Old age sputters, too, and sometimes needs a little push before gravity takes over. And if you look in the rearview mirror, you’ll see a long line of cars right on your bumper about to follow you into the void.

Read more:

Posted: 8/19/2010 10:19:57 PM 


Enlightened and Enriched

The role and importance of the enlightenment continues to be debated. The early start is traced back to the 1660s in England.This article reviews that past and the twist and turns these ideas have taken through later centuries. "Even more important was the Enlightenment notion of freedom of expression. In our age, we think of technological change as natural and obvious; indeed, we consider its absence a source of concern. Not so in the past: inventors were seen as disrespectful, rebelling against the existing order, threatening the stability of the regime and the Church, and jeopardizing employment. In the eighteenth century, this notion slowly began to give way to tolerance, to the belief that those with odd notions should be allowed to subject them to a market test." And the nature of nationalism: "In the nineteenth century, Europeans used their new technology to oppress, exploit, and murder non-Europeans; in the late nineteenth century, they replaced the transnational ideals of some enlightened thinkers wit:h an often ugly nationalism that taught the masses that the way to show love for their country was to hate its neighbors; and in the first half of the twentieth century, they turned on one another with a brutality and destructiveness that history had never witnessed before."


Posted: 8/8/2010 11:19:47 PM 



If you enjoy novels with a political twist, here is a list of the best 50 novels for political junkies.

The top five are:

·  Brave New World, Aldous Huxley: Aldous Huxley’s classic novel is set in a world where a global government limits procreation and forces its citizens into a cycle of endless economic consumption. A must-read for anyone interested in tales of the extent to which a body will go to control its subjects.

·  1984, George Orwell: Released in 1949, Orwell’s novel depicts a totalitarian society in which the government constantly revises historical records in order to appear blameless and correct. Chilling and ahead of its time.

·  Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury: The controlling political system of Bradbury’s dystopia has outlawed reading and, by extension, free and critical thought. The novel revolves around the way people cede control of their lives to silent governing units.

·  Blindness, Jose Saramago: Jose Saramago’s searing work won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. His novel deals with the citizens of an unnamed city as they succumb to a freak epidemic of global blindness. The splintered government quarantines more and more of the people as society devolves. A harrowing look at how oppressive systems exist on all levels.

·  Seeing, Jose Saramago: The sequel to Blindness finds many of the same characters returning, this time for a more direct attack on corrupt politics. The populace casts blank ballots at an election to protest the government’s distance and detachment, spurring the government to greater heights of alienation and control.


Posted: 8/8/2010 11:18:03 PM 


Bangkok’s Multiple Personalities

J.Sydney Jones's interview with me is up at Scene of the Crime "Bangkok’s Multiple Personalities: Christopher G. Moore's Vincent Calvino Novels." http://is.gd/e5pVZ

Posted: 8/6/2010 1:36:56 AM 



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