Friday, March 9, 2012

Paragraph O' Teh Week

A.O. Scott's review of the Israeli movie Footnote makes me want to see it, but the last paragraph makes me want to know A.O. Scott.
Academic life and family life are both built on love — the love of learning, the love of other people — but they survive on contention, renewing and extending quarrels from one generation to the next. Interpretation begets interpretation, and a father’s mistakes are corrected by the errors of his children. There is no reason to suppose, or to hope, that this will end. The substance of human existence is argument, and each of us has a footnote to contribute.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


There's a cool site for all things diabolical. Like this, for instance:
Azathoth – Rules all time and space from a black throne at the center of Chaos.

Sometimes a commenter at MeFi will post a definition out of a current post or comment just to be funny. I'm tempted.

MetaFilter: rules all time and space from a black throne at the center of Chaos.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Women's Campaign Fund?

Never heard of them. Until today, when suddenly it's decided that anytime anyone says anything sexist, the president needs to stop, turn around, call a news conference, and condemn it. Right.
Romney? Romney who? Limbaugh, oh that was so last week. Today it's Bill Maher 24/7.
Why? Well, cuz we're the Women's Campaign Fund, that's why.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dept. Of I Didn't Know That Dept.

Charles V, the Habsburg emperor, is alleged to have said that he spoke French to men and Italian to women; he also revealed that he conversed with God in Spanish and with his horse in German.
David Gilmour, The Pursuit of Italy

It's a much more interesting book, and more readable, than I anticipated. Reading about the reality of Italy and its history makes it a lot easier to understand its seemingly chaotic politics. Italians don't really identify as a single people of a single nation.
We talk of the Italian language and the Venetian dialect as if the second is a sort of deviant of the first whereas it is in fact much older, evolving from Latin centuries before the birth of Dante.
Venetian is only one example. There are dozens of dialects alive and well in Italy, where half the population speaks a dialect at home and thousands and tens of thousands still speak German, French, Slav, Arabic, Spanish and variations in different parts of the country.
They are as possessive of their dialects as any Native American tribe is of its lost language, and for much the same reason. Italy is a country of many tribes, not many of them ethnically "pure," however.
 It's the geography mostly, its vulnerability to invasion and the difficulty in travel with a mountain range dividing it north to south. I've lost that romantic notion of Italy and will henceforth retain it only for Tuscany. And Venice, of course. Fuck Rome and the Nazi horse you rode in on, Benedict.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Honorary Contrarienne

Alice Neel became a sort of feminist icon in the 1970's — and a frequent guest on the Johnny Carson show — after a lifetime of bohemian artistic obscurity, which her two children clearly still remembered with some bitterness long after her death and their long adult lives of success. Yet the two men retained her New York apartment after her death, and one of them used it to conduct business. They said they wanted to be near her.
I love her paintings and am thinking about getting a print of this.
There's no particular reason to feature Alice Neel today except I just finished watching the documentary about her done by her grandson Andrew Neel and have been thinking a lot about her, the sacrifices she made, the huge tragedies involved in her persistent pursuit of her art.
You can see a lot more of her portraits here.