Friday, December 29, 2017

Within A Budding Grove

Image result for images swann proust
“Good heavens!” exclaimed M. de Norpois, inspiring me with doubts of my own intelligence far more serious than those that ordinarily distracted me, when I saw that what I valued a thousand thousand times more than myself, what I regarded as the most exalted thing in the world, was for him at the very foot of the scale of admiration. “I do not share your son’s point of view. Bergotte is what I call a flute-player: one must admit that he plays on it very agreeably, although with a great deal of mannerism, of affectation. But when all is said, it is no more than that, and that is nothing very great. Nowhere does one find in his enervated writings anything that could be called construction. No action — or very little — but above all no range. His books fail at the foundation, or rather they have no foundation at all. At a time like the present, when the ever-increasing complexity of life leaves one scarcely a moment for reading, when the map of Europe has undergone radical alterations, and is on the eve, very probably, of undergoing others more drastic still, when so many new and threatening problems are arising on every side, you will allow me to suggest that one is entitled to ask that a writer should be something else than a fine intellect which makes us forget, amid otiose and byzantine discussions of the merits of pure form, that we may be overwhelmed at any moment by a double tide of barbarians, those from without and those from within our borders. I am aware that this is a blasphemy against the sacrosanct school of what these gentlemen term ‘Art for Art’s sake,’ but at this period of history there are tasks more urgent than the manipulation of words in a harmonious manner.

From  "Swann at Home"

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A New Way Forward

Will see me start blogging regularly again.  Good news for my millions of loyal readers.

I've felt less need to blog since I've returned from my long exile in California.  Most of the readers for whom I wrote posts now live in my area code.  That proximity takes away some of the urgency I felt about communicating my thoughts.   I think, though, that I've found a new way to make use of this space.  One that features thousands--literally thousands--of candid Kardashian pictures.  Plus, dancing dog gifs!

That's for the future, though.  This morning I'll just record the incredibly vivid dream I had last night. In it, Jon Gruden was teaching a class on "The Waste Land."  I was in the class, along with a lot of other high school students, and several professional football players.  Marshawn Lynch was sitting right next to me, wearing his Raiders outfit.  The lecture on "The Waste Land" itself didn't register.  I do remember that Gruden himself was very passionate about the material.  Then at some point the class devolved into a discussion of the subjunctive in English.  A heated debate broke out on whether or not the phrase "If I were a rich man" counted as subjunctive or not.  Marshawn Lynch came alive during this discussion, I remember.