We were in Politics and Prose Friday night. It's a very cool bookstore - an amazing fiction wall, a decent poetry row. It's a very silly bookstore - bad singer-songwriters in their twenties and thirties wearing hemp vests and straw fedoras sang bad original songs in the coffeeshop. I held in my hand the new paperback edition of Pynchon's
UPDATE! Charlie (not Slowes; he's down below calling the last out of yesterday's no-hitter) correctly points out that I'm a moron, the paperback I held in my hands was Bleeding Edge, not Inherent Vice, which I did read start to finish and enjoy, I remember reading it when we were on a Planet college tour, the New England one, I remember reading it in a hotel room in Lebanon New Hampshire the night after we visited Middlebury. And Charlie, don't start w/V, I think it's, besides Bleeding Edge, start with either Gravity's Rainbow or Against the Day.
- The places of history.
- Where is the anti-war movement?
- Liberalism and gentrification. I have friends who live in Shaw. They call in Bloomingdale.
- Urban history and the authority of images.
- Urban exploration: a glossary.
- Protests don't work.
- The Pedants' Revolt.
- Literature and gatekeepers.
- A prominent gatekeeper recently died.
- Richard Ford is 20-1 to win Nobel? First, an English language writer won last year, so.... and (b) Richard Ford? Isn't he a blogger in his parents' basement in Terre Haute Indiana?
- Listen to Charlie Slowes call the last out of Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter.
- Charlie Parker, for those of you who do.
- There will be a McGarrigle Sisters cascade sometime within the week, will include extended family but not the ex-husband.
- And this post's title, picked for the word inherent, means there is a Swans cascade in your future also too.
PARABLE OF THE SWAN
On a small lake off
the map of the world, two
swans lived. As swans,
they spent eighty percent of the day studying
themselves in the attentive water and
twenty percent ministering to the beloved
their fame as lovers stems
chiefly from narcissism, which leaves
so little leisure for
more general cruising. But
fate had other plans: after ten years, they hit
slimy water; whatever the filth was, it
clung to the male’s plumage, which turned
instantly gray; simultaneously,
the true purpose of his neck’s
flexible design revealed itself. So much
action on the flat lake, so much
he’s missed! Sooner or later in a long
life together, every couple encounters
some emergency like this, some
drama which results
in harm. This
occurs for a reason: to test
love and to demand
fresh articulation of its complex terms.
So it came to light that the male and female
flew under different banners: whereas
the male believed that love
was what one felt in one’s heart
the female believed
love was what one did. But this is not
a little story about the male’s
inherent corruption, using as evidence the swan’s
sleazy definition of purity. It is
a story of guile and innocence. For ten years
the female studied the male; she dallied
when he slept or when he was
conveniently absorbed in the water,
while the spontaneous male
acted casually, on
the whim of the moment. On the muddy water
they bickered awhile, in the fading light,
until the bickering grew
slowly abstract, becoming
part of their song
after a little longer.