The hehhing. My apologies about the recent melodramatic gazing navel and bleggal, not that it may stop, I'll see. I resort to what I always do when blocked on reading, listening, thinking fronts, turn to a Kazuo Ishiguro novel, this time bumping up the scheduled biennual rereading of Remains of the Day by six months:
I hope you will agree that in these two instances I have cited from his career - both of which I have had corroborated and believe to be accurate - my father not only manifests, but comes close to being the personification itself, of what the Hayes Society terms 'dignity in keeping with his position'. If one considers the difference between my father at such moments and a figure such as Mr Jack Neighbours even with the best of his technical flourishes, I believe one may begin to distinguish what it is that separates a 'great' butler from a merely competent one. We may now understand better, too, why my father was so fond of the story of the butler who failed to panic on discovering a tiger under the dining room table; it was because he knew instinctively that somewhere in this story lay the kernel of what true 'dignity' is. And let me now posit this: 'dignity' has to do crucially with a butler's ability not to abandon the profession he inhabits. Lesser butlers will abandon their professional being for the private one at the least provocation. For such person, being a butler is like playing some pantomime role; a small push, a slight stumble, and the facade will drop off to reveal the actor underneath. The great butlers are great by virtue of their ability to inhabit their professional role and inhabit it to the utmost; they will not be shaken out by external events, however surprising, alarming or vexing. They wear their profession as a decent gentleman will wear his suit: he will not let ruffians or circumstances tear if off him in the public gaze; he will discard it when, and only when, he wills it to do so, and this will invariably be when he is entirely alone. It is, as I say, a matter of 'dignity'.
Ah, better, a least a bit. Quotes daily until I finish the novel. I ask this on twitter every couple of months, I'll ask here, has anyone heard of anything about Ishiguro and a new novel? I read an interview he gave ten or more years ago in which he expressed fear that he'd be out of great novels by forty, out of novels by fifty, he's fifty-eight now. In any case, his meticulously crafted and mysteriously calm portrayals of the absurdity of one's self-definitions and one's self-serving relationships to one's self-deluding perceptions of an absurd world mesmerize me as well as unlock blocks, blocks caused no doubt by the absurdity of my self-definitions and their self-serving relationships to my self-deluding perceptions of an absurd world.
- Saw Lincoln last night - I was offered free tickets, asked Earthgirl out on a date. First time I've been in a movie theater in at least two years, Baal willing it will be another two years. I like movies when I see them, it doesn't occur to me to watch movies, but I do dislike movie theaters. Anyway. Schmaltzy movie - John Williams did the soundtrack, enough said. I was reminded, however, of Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy, how the English can't resist retelling the Henry VIII story over and over as signature historical event, how Americans can't resist anything and everything about the Civil War. I also wondered why Spielberg cast Kramer as Lincoln.
- Stand still for the apocalypse.
- Keepers of the gatekeepers.
- Today in pigs.
- Today in rightwing assholes.
- Today in liberal assholes.
- Today in liberal assholes. Yes, linked yesterday too.
- Oh dear, now Tom Ricks is a bad guy.
- Today in motherfucking blaager: as I type this, when I look at this shitty bleg in Firefox the updating blegrells are dead, defaulted to alphabetical order, when I look at this shitty bleg in chrome the updating blegrells work. Also, since posting, the spacing between youtubes and words reduced by one in two places, increased by two in a third, ate one of the youtubes, now back.
- Is God happy?
- Instead of losing.
- HEY! Twitter friend @anotherspammer has heard no news of new Ishiguro but Kindly sends along this flowchart. Thanks!
- Coetzee, for those of you who do.
- How poetry makes things happen, or not. No, I'm not charging royalties for the gag line.
- I've read one of the novels and two of the books of poetry.
- The fogeycore invasion.
- UPDATE! Hey! the dog's tail is wagging. Literally. If you gave, thanks.
- New Nick Cave and Bad Seeds plus more.
I have not felt a thing for weeks.
But getting up and going to work on time
I did what needed to be done, then rushed home.
And even the main streets, those ancient charmers,
Failed to amuse me, and the fight between
The upstairs couple was nothing but loud noise.
None of it touched me, except as an irritation,
And though I knew I could stop
And enjoy if I wanted to
The karate excitement and the crowd
That often gathers in front of funeral homes,
I denied myself these dependable pleasures,
The tricks of anti-depression
That had taken me so long to learn,
By now worn smooth with use, like bowling alleys in my soul.
And certain records that one can't hear without
Breaking into a smile, I refused to listen to
In order to find out what it would be like
To be cleansed of enthusiasm,
And to learn to honor my emptiness,
My indifference, myself at zero degrees.
More than any desire to indulge the numbness I wanted to be free of the bullying urge to feel, Or to care, or to sympathize. I have always dreaded admitting I was unfeeling From the time my father called me ‘a cold fish,' And I thought he might be right, at nine years old And ever since I have run around convincing everyone What a passionate, sympathetic person I am.
I would have said no poetry can come From a lack of enthusiasm; yet how much of my life, Of anyone's life, is spent in neutral gear? The economics of emotions demand it. Those rare intensities of love and anguish Are cheapened when you swamp them with souped-up ebulliences, A professional liveliness that wears so thin. There must be a poetry for that other state When I am feeling precisely nothing, there must Be an interesting way to write about it. There are continents of numbness to discover If I could have the patience or the courage.