Friday, February 20, 2015

But the Fantasy Makes It Ours, a Kind of Fence-Sitting Raised to the Level of an Esthetic Ideal

This Scott Walker + Sunn0))) album is my favorite of the past few months.

Saw this last night:

Voting for Hillary matters if you care about who the next SCOTUS appointees are. It matters a lot.

It's the first plea to SCOTUS extortion in Hillary's name for POTUS 16 I've seen. Expect more. Lots more. Saturation more. It was used in support of Obama during POTUS 08 and POTUS 12. Obama has yet the chance to nominate a justice except like for like, he hasn't the chance at a swing vote yet. During POTUS 12, early on, I wished for John Roberts to be hit by a bus early summer 2012 to force Obama to nominate Roberts' replacement and name a new Chief Justice at the height of Obama's reelection campaign - to challenge the assertion that the crucial reason for supporting Obama is and was SCOTUS. Because it still can be: please Baal, any time between now and November 2016 but please please please Baal, in March 2016, when Hillary Inevitability is the nominee, may John Roberts be hit by a bus so this hypothesis be tested once and for all.


  • For the record, I would be delighted to be wrong re: the person I think Obama/Hillary/professional Democrats would nominate, but I bet pints the nominee would be adamantly pro-Triskelion.
  • A voice from Troy. On Gaza.
  • Ishiguro's new novel is fantasy set in medieval England? For the reader, though, the language and the appearance of the kinds of creature more usually associated with the fantasy genre is something of a shock. Ishiguro is moderately sympathetic, although to him, of course, it makes perfect sense. “I often don’t appreciate the extent to which it might be a surprise,” he concedes. “I’ve come at it from the inside. What you see at the end is my arrival point. I’ve got there with what to me are fairly logical steps, but if you encounter it cold you think, ‘God, this is odd.’ This is quite a departure.” I'm game.
  • Ishiguro's new novel: Mr. Ishiguro still seems slightly anxious about how the book will be received. It could be embraced as brilliant and groundbreaking, or it could be a spectacular flop if readers balk at his full-on excursion into fantasy... “As a longtime Ishiguro reader, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and I got it,” Lev Grossman, the fantasy novelist and book critic, said of “The Buried Giant.” “A misty Arthurian epic is just about the last thing I would have seen coming.” Some fans view “The Buried Giant” as a leap not just for Mr. Ishiguro, but also for fantasy literature as a whole. David Mitchell, author of “Cloud Atlas,” said in an email that if he was “forced at knife point” to name his favorite Ishiguro novel, he would choose “The Buried Giant” for the way it uses fantasy tropes to explore questions about love and mortality. I'm game.
  • The Unconsoled reconsidered.
  • My bigotry: everything in a book cover to keep me from reading the novel.
  • Science fiction, "characters," and individualism.
  • Armantrout.


John Ashbery

Barely tolerated, living on the margin
In our technological society, we were always having to be rescued   
On the brink of destruction, like heroines in Orlando Furioso
Before it was time to start all over again.
There would be thunder in the bushes, a rustling of coils,   
And Angelica, in the Ingres painting, was considering
The colorful but small monster near her toe, as though wondering whether forgetting
The whole thing might not, in the end, be the only solution.   
And then there always came a time when
Happy Hooligan in his rusted green automobile
Came plowing down the course, just to make sure everything was O.K.,   
Only by that time we were in another chapter and confused   
About how to receive this latest piece of information.   
Was it information? Weren’t we rather acting this out   
For someone else’s benefit, thoughts in a mind
With room enough and to spare for our little problems (so they began to seem),
Our daily quandary about food and the rent and bills to be paid?   
To reduce all this to a small variant,
To step free at last, minuscule on the gigantic plateau—
This was our ambition: to be small and clear and free.   
Alas, the summer’s energy wanes quickly,
A moment and it is gone. And no longer
May we make the necessary arrangements, simple as they are.   
Our star was brighter perhaps when it had water in it.   
Now there is no question even of that, but only
Of holding on to the hard earth so as not to get thrown off,   
With an occasional dream, a vision: a robin flies across   
The upper corner of the window, you brush your hair away
And cannot quite see, or a wound will flash
Against the sweet faces of the others, something like:   
This is what you wanted to hear, so why
Did you think of listening to something else? We are all talkers   
It is true, but underneath the talk lies
The moving and not wanting to be moved, the loose
Meaning, untidy and simple like a threshing floor.

These then were some hazards of the course,
Yet though we knew the course was hazards and nothing else   
It was still a shock when, almost a quarter of a century later,   
The clarity of the rules dawned on you for the first time.   
They were the players, and we who had struggled at the game   
Were merely spectators, though subject to its vicissitudes
And moving with it out of the tearful stadium, borne on shoulders, at last.
Night after night this message returns, repeated
In the flickering bulbs of the sky, raised past us, taken away from us,   
Yet ours over and over until the end that is past truth,   
The being of our sentences, in the climate that fostered them,   
Not ours to own, like a book, but to be with, and sometimes   
To be without, alone and desperate.
But the fantasy makes it ours, a kind of fence-sitting
Raised to the level of an esthetic ideal. These were moments, years,   
Solid with reality, faces, namable events, kisses, heroic acts,   
But like the friendly beginning of a geometrical progression
Not too reassuring, as though meaning could be cast aside some day   
When it had been outgrown. Better, you said, to stay cowering   
Like this in the early lessons, since the promise of learning   
Is a delusion, and I agreed, adding that
Tomorrow would alter the sense of what had already been learned,   
That the learning process is extended in this way, so that from this standpoint
None of us ever graduates from college,
For time is an emulsion, and probably thinking not to grow up   
Is the brightest kind of maturity for us, right now at any rate.
And you see, both of us were right, though nothing
Has somehow come to nothing; the avatars
Of our conforming to the rules and living
Around the home have made—well, in a sense, “good citizens” of us,   
Brushing the teeth and all that, and learning to accept
The charity of the hard moments as they are doled out,
For this is action, this not being sure, this careless
Preparing, sowing the seeds crooked in the furrow,
Making ready to forget, and always coming back
To the mooring of starting out, that day so long ago.


  1. Seriously? How can you lose that bet? Who could anyone nominate who isn't pro-Triskelion? I could go on, but I'd have to add "with love," which automatically renders the comment unkind (I'm not being a dick, I actually think that if I have to add that, it makes the comment unkind). But I will say this (with love):Dammit, guess I won't say it after all.

    Not to be construed as Hillary love. Because I don't.

    1. Well yes, we agree! even if TV's Frank doesn't. And I'd still like John Roberts to be hit by a bus even when Obama nominates John Roberts Clone to replace him.

  2. I got my first I'm defending my gender by voting for Hillary the other day. I said I am totally pro-choice on WW3. Will it be better to be a misogynist for disliking the policies of Hillary than being a racist for disliking Obama's policies? Stay tuned! Also, when the campaigns crank up, I'm abandoning all social media. I can't take it anymore.