Friday, November 11, 2005

1) Yep -- Kael, March of '75: "Nashville isn't in its final shape yet, and all I can hope to do is suggest something of its achievement." I suppose I have to admire even the semblance of that kind of humility from a critic -- don't see that sense of serving the advocated object in, oh, Denby or Lane much. K. also compares Altman to Joyce, twice. Oh -- and on Rosenbaum, whose seriousness of purpose I admire more than his prose, this is amusing.

2) The fellow quoted here sounds like he was gene-spliced from Jane and myself: "I look forward to their expressing themselves, with appropriate respect for human life, through the media of bonfires and chaos.". Also suggests that the fact that random personal attacks did not rise in number along with the instances of property violence speaks for the "rigor" of most participants. I hope that the fact that that analysis sounds correct to me is not wishful thinking.

And still, and still -- there is just some part of me that can't get with the program. Other than the fearful, quietist part, I mean. I can't explain it well, but: adolescent boys. (Read about their sisters.)

3) I thought the No Parasan guy was just a misanthrope, but a couple more days of posts have made it clear that he's just an ass. Link removed. Here are a few more pieces I found useful -- you can all find current news and burning-car stats by yourself.:Clearest discussion I've seen of the exact connotations of "karcherise."//U. T-top pointed me to this piece by former Liberation columnist Juan Cole (I almost mistyped his name). A sober response to racist interpretations -- see also the links there, in the graf on Beur youth culture.//Gloating that "the unrest has not had any effect on the overall state of the nation's economy" seems obnoxious, even for a Finance minister.//And I'm not sure I quite catch the tone of EU Parlimentarian Daniel Cohn-Bendit's comments on some largely Turkish areas of Berlin: Kreuzberg is ""an island of happiness compared with the situation in France."

4) The other Paris: "Thank you officer, we love the police!"

5) Henri Lefebvre, Dialectical Materialism, 1939: "The present multiform alienation of man and of the community is grounded in the inhuman situation of certain social groups....excluded from the community, or else admitted to it only in appearance, verbally. Neither in its material nor in its spiritual condition does it share in the community, and whenever it takes action in order to do so its enemies say that it is destroying the community!" (Well played, but damn, it takes him long enough to get there -- this book isn't long, but it's a slog, pitching strangely between dogma and passing idiosyncracies, and so abstract (esp. in sections on Man in Nature/Nature in Man, that one cannot say that it is the piece of work that one would use to convince someone that the topic mentioned in the title is not mystified/fying. Lebfevre's first book, well before he could be described as "heterodox." (I wonder what exactly made Nathaniel Tarn republish it in 1968.)

6) Was about 15 pages into Janet Malcolm's In the Freud Archives, which I'd picked up for no particular reason at a church rummage sale a few weeks back, before I looked more closely at the jacket copy and realized that this was a series of NYer features/profiles, not a novel written quite brilliantly in the manner of same. (I know, I know, don't I know what Malcolm does? Just wasn't thinking cleaarly about it.) Either way, still an elegant, pointedly inconclusive little book, even though I have no standing interest in the topic (basically, some episodes in the tangled early history of psychoanalysis, and the eccentrics who research them). Given the paper I've been working on, I should be reading her Diana and Nikon instead.

7) Just came back [this bit was written last night] from a student-plus-a-few-professionals NU production of Was, a new Wizard of Oz-themed musical by Barry Kleinbort and Joseph Thalkennew, based on a novel by Geoffrey Ryman. You know what would have improved it? E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen. You would have to not only have a high tolerance not only for musical theater, but for the very odd, self-serious yet kitschy genre that is contemporary post-Sondheim musical theater to cotton to this. It's not Wicked; this show alternates the stories of the real life model for the book's Dorothy, and a contemporary (well, '80s) gay man who travels to Kansas in search of signs of her existence. Sexual abuse and AIDS are broached. Nothing seems to end very happily, yet there is a big finale about finding the magic. But you know, you take this sort of thing for what it has to offer -- a couple of good voices, a couple interestingly-structured scenes, one love song that sounded more like "Saturday In The Park" than anything else. Too much flat expository language in the lyrics, though -- that's for the book.

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