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Archives for January 2012

Fabians

I’ve been reading David Lodge’s latest, a fictional biography of H.G. Wells – A Man of Parts. I’m only about a third of the way through at this point, so I can’t speak to the overall quality of the book. Further, I only made it about a third of the way through Author, Author before I had to return the audiobook to the library and I know this book is in some ways a counterpoint to that one (which focused on the life of Henry James.)

H.G. Wells’ involvement in the early development of the Fabian Society is a continuing theme of the book, particularly the fact that it afforded Wells manifold opportunities for fraternization with free-thinking young women. There’s some mention of the enthusiasm for eugenics shared by many of the progressives at the time, as mentioned in Wells’ own Anticipations:

‘The nation that most resolutely picks over, educates, sterilizes, exports, or poisons its People of the Abyss; the nation that succeeds most subtly in checking gambling and the moral decay of women and homes that gambling inevitably entails; the nation that by wise interventions, death duties and the like, contrives to expropriate and extinguish incompetent rich families while leaving individual ambitions free; the nation, in a word, that turns the greatest proportion of its irresponsible adiposity into social muscle, will certainly be the most powerful or dominant nation before the year 2000.’

There really is nothing new under the sun. The magnanimous masturbator seeking to direct his “donor-sexual” energies towards the greater good isn’t that different from the impotent sexologist who surely would have approved of this means of improving upon the gene pool.

From A Man of Parts:

Later that day, before dinner, he (H.G.) went for a stroll with Edith (Bland, who wrote under the pen name E. Nesbit.). They passed beyond the confines of the moat and wandered through the overgrown and largely untended grounds until they came to an old summerhouse, and sat down on an ancient wicker sofa, where a most interesting conversation took place.

‘Why didn’t you like A Modern Utopia the first time you read it?’ he asked her.

‘I didn’t like the idea that married men could have affairs but their wives couldn’t.’

‘You think married women should be able to have affairs too?’

‘No. I don’t think either of them should,’ she said. He was surprised by this answer, which did not accord with what he knew about the history of her marriage, but he could hardly say so. Noting his silence, she said: ‘I mean I know they do, the flesh is weak, the heart is susceptible . . . I won’t claim that Hubert and I have been entirely . . . But I don’t think it should be publicly approved, taken for granted, as it is in your Utopia. I think we must uphold the traditional principle that sexual intercourse should be restricted to married couples.’

‘Even though we know it isn’t?’

‘Yes. If you had daughters like Rosamund you would agree with me. Young girls like her know everything and fear nothing. They don’t believe in religion, they read any books they like, Darwin, Marx, French novels, Havelock Ellis, I wouldn’t be surprised, because we’ve brought them up—I mean liberal progressive people like us have brought our children up—in complete intellectual freedom. It makes them terribly vulnerable.

Man Goes to Extremes Just to Make Korrektiv Blog

36-Year-Old Virgin Fathers 14 Children

“I’ve committed 100 percent of my sexual energy for producing sperm for childless couples to have babies. So I don’t have other activity outside of that,” he said.

Arsenault, who calls himself a “donor-sexual,” doesn’t charge couples for his sperm, but his unconventional methods have caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a cease-and-desist order, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

You know what I don’t get? His website has a whole list of articles about the perspective of sperm-donor children, many of them negative.

Exhibit A: Churchill?

People Using Pseudonyms Leave Better Blog Comments.

Posted without comment.

Second Official Publicity Shot for Gerasene 12


In which several themes are invoked simultaneously…

Ναθαναήλ

“Ἐκ Ναζαρὲτ δύναταί τι ἀγαθὸν εἶναι;”

So Philip stops me at my plow, out of breath.
His eyes are bright and dark, and good with news –
“There’s men this world denies that others choose.
Who’d guess such good could come from Nazareth?”

With acres left to share, the shade beneath
A fig extends its branches. “What’s your news?”
(As coulter slices, so the mouldboard chews…)
“What is this good that comes from Nazareth?”

With furrowed brow, I hear – and watch the death
Of day proclaim the sun with darker news
That shares its share alike for pagans, Jews –
“Can anything of good come from Nazareth?”
In answer, light and shadow carve a path
Through fields and moments greater than the plow’s.

From the YouTube Music Video Archives: From the Indies to the Andes in his Undies

While trying to get the lowdown on Fair Use laws, I came across this old gem from the Hoosier Hot Shots. As is typical of the music videos genre, there’s a fair amount of debauchery in this epic of Otto Zilch. So consider yourself warned.

From the Indies to the Andes, What a mission! / Stopping only now and then to do some fishin’ / And he went without a copyright permission / Was a very daring thing to do

Korrektiv: The Early Years

“I went to a school with no grades”

I feel like this could have been funnier if they’d taken me up on the suggestions I posted to my Tumblr.

The Korrektiv in literature.

Who shows up at Mass with Father Smith?  “A scoffing Irish behaviorist, the sort in whom irony is so piled up on irony, jokes so encrusted in jokes, winks and nudges and in-jokes so convoluted, that anticlericalism has become anti-anti-clerical, gone so far out that it has come back in as clericalism and comes down on the side of Rome where he started.”

50 Years Ago in Catholic Publishing…

…the Time Inc. Reading Program issued a reprint of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, complete with an introduction from the editors of Time.  Here ’tis.  Apparently, Greene was also well acquainted with suicide.  Anyway, it’s all pretty remarkable.

[Read more…]

BK (Before Korrektiv): Texpat Transcript

“I don’t know, I just kind of want to join their blog, because, and I know this is bad, but I just cannot STAND to only be talking to groups of WOMEN all the time. That’s bad. I know that’s bad. There is just so much SUBTEXT and you always have to be clarifying that I-don’t-mean-to-say-that-so-and-so and I only get to talk about CHILDREN and I just miss having REAL CONVERSATIONS do you know what I MEAN?”

(reaches for Blanton’s) “Yeah, I do know what you mean.”

“I am just SAYING and now I feel bad, because I don’t really mean that about only talking to women all the time, but it’s just – you know what? I *do* mean that. Everything has to be overanalyzed and I just cannot keep talking about PARENTING just because I am a WOMAN I mean when you are hanging out with guys you can just say what you MEAN, you know? Without all this worrying about what they are going to read into what you’re saying?”

(it has dawned upon him that there is no correct response in this situation. He tries to feign slumber).

“Why are you LOOKING at me like that? What are you THINKING? Are you thinking that I am just crazy? What does that look MEAN?”

The Kollektiv

From left to right: Potter, Expat, JOB, Lickona, Webb. Not present: Finnegan.

For Betty Duffy

Noel Coward, 1954.  Those days will never be long past.

 

Φίλιππος

“Διακοσίων δηναρίων ἄρτοι οὐκ ἀρκοῦσιν
αὐτοῖς ἵνα ἕκαστος βραχύ τι λάβῃ.”

Our boats provided cheaper shade at noon
Than what the Tarsi and their tent-markets sold.
We leaned against our hulls and watched the sun
In shade ignite our morning catch. Now piled
In baskets by our sails and sheets, these scaled
Medallions, shivered loss and spangled gain.
Ad hoc accountant for the family guild,
I knew what price such fish would fetch in grain.

So at Bethsaida, Rabbi had his man:
I’d made my reputation’s bottom line
As taut and fast as nets. But when he called
For multiples on divinity’s yield –
My human digits fished for thrift in vain.
He broke with love the cost of bread alone.

Against SoulMateism.

Timothy Keller in Relevant Magazine:

As a pastor I have spoken to thousands of couples, some working on marriage-seeking, some working on marriage-sustaining and some working on marriage-saving. I’ve heard them say over and over, “Love shouldn’t be this hard, it should come naturally.” In response I always say something like: “Why believe that? Would someone who wants to play professional baseball say, ‘It shouldn’t be so hard to hit a fastball’? Would someone who wants to write the greatest American novel of her generation say, ‘It shouldn’t be hard to create believable characters and compelling narrative’?” The understandable retort is: “But this is not baseball or literature. This is love. Love should just come naturally if two people are compatible, if they are truly soul-mates.”

The Last Gentlemen

The Gorey-Kierkegaard Connection

"Cover and Typography by Edward Gorey"


Also the Potter-Webb Connection, since Webb has had my copy of Vol. I for about twenty years, while Vol. II has sat there on the shelf looking infinitely resigned.

Imprimi Potest, all that plus Bird’s Nest

This NYT article about an exhibit of hundreds of historical punches and matrices of various typefaces and dozens of books on view at Manhattan’s Grolier Club came out last year – LAST YEAR, friends – but remains relevant even today.

They offer a reminder, in the ethereal era of bitmapping, that type was once the tangible province of engravers and metal casters who labored in unforgiving but enduring media. To make a C with a cedilla, for example, involved a lot more effort and thought than holding down the Option key on your Mac. A comma-shaped steel appendage had to be lashed with string to the bottom of the C punch to produce a new matrix.

“People are practically printing books with their smartphones,” Mr. Fletcher said, in a tone suggesting that he did not think this was such a good idea. “It’s much more gratifying to be able to touch something and find out it’s real, rather than a matter of bits and bytes.”

Reminiscent of a certain character in a certain book forthcoming from Korrektiv Press:

He copied the drawing and put it up with the rest of his poems on a blog so as to be able to access them from the computers at school, and now all he had to do was find someone who’d be willing to publish it as a chapbook. He’d found a number of smaller presses that, provided with enough funds, seemed to specialize in this. Of course the way things seemed to be going, blogs were the future anyway. Maybe poets would soon stop bothering with the chapbooks and go to electronic self publishing. But there’s something about holding a book in your hands; something about paper that still seems to constitute something more real.