Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto:  Message ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Goto Page: PreviousFirst...1213141516171819202122Next
Current Page: 17 of 22
Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 10 March, 2021 06:54PM
I've taught a course in literature of the non-Western world, in which I was no expert, but I thought I could give the students something better than just predictable postcolonial modern stuff to read, so rather than wait for someone else at my university to develop the course, I did it.

We read some modern works, such as Achebe's No Longer at Ease, Narayan's The Guide, Tutuola's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Yoshimura's Shipwrecks (which ought to appeal to Clark Ashton Smith fans -- I shall say no more -- now don't cheat by looking up a summary, but trust me on this), etc. (not all of these in the same course). But I gave the students some kind of introduction to the Mahabharata, we read some of Hearn's Kwaidan, and, always, we read Arthur Waley's Monkey, a version of The Journey to the West by Wu Ch'Eng-En, &c., so it wasn't all just modern stuff.

As different as the traditional myths & epics were from the Western streams you mention, they all had the sense too of a divine order that should not be violated -- whether the outlook was Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.

I think Sophocles' drama would have been intelligible to them.

As I recall, the head of the family in "Colour" exhibits a sort of nobility of character rather than of blood.

C. S. Lewis tackled the business of Satan as Romantic hero in A Preface to Paradise Lost.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2021 11:14AM
By the way, I'm reading Peeples's The Man of the Crowd. This is a book about Poe, focusing on the cities in which he lived -- Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc. as they were in his time. My rule of thumb is to be distrustful of any book about literature from an academic press published after about 1980, but this one seems to be free of tedious excursions into factory-stamped Theory stuff, and it's (ah!) only around 200 pages or so, in a time when bloat seems to be common. The author writes in a straightforward manner rather than indulging in jargon. It might end up disappointing me, but so far I like it.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2021 12:06PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> By the way, I'm reading Peeples's The Man of the
> Crowd. This is a book about Poe, focusing on the
> cities in which he lived -- Richmond, Baltimore,
> Philadelphia, etc. as they were in his time. My
> rule of thumb is to be distrustful of any book
> about literature from an academic press published
> after about 1980, but this one seems to be free of
> tedious excursions into factory-stamped Theory
> stuff,

Hah!

It occurred to me at one point that the soft sciences and the humanities are fertile grounds for revisionist theory, in that most of the speculation is non-falsifiable, and hence many provocative claims can be made that cannot be tested in a systematic and objective manner.

Then it dawned on me what it must be like to be an academic in, say, sociology (a completely useful discipline within its inherent limitations). There has been a fair amount of theory established and fleshed out, and test as much as possible within the limitations of the field.

Now, how how does an ambitious young academic advance within one's field? Why, to attack and seek to revise foundational concepts. And since the foundational concepts were not falsifiable in the sense of scientific method, nor are the new competing hypotheses, anything goes.

This seems even more pronounced in the study of history, where there seems to be a professional premium placed on the construction of vile cabals of empowered manipulators who have made everyone today into a sad victim.

But one has difficulty finding a revisionist mathematician. Or physicist. Let's see a show of hands: Who remembers cold fusion?

Why is that, does one suppose?

> and it's (ah!) only around 200 pages or so,
> in a time when bloat seems to be common. The
> author writes in a straightforward manner rather
> than indulging in jargon. It might end up
> disappointing me, but so far I like it.


Please let us kow your opinion after completing it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2021 02:46PM
Even science and math are subject to pressure from -- I'll be frank -- the "progressives," the "woke." I like it that one can come to this place (ED) and not find a lot of political haranguerie, so I'll leave it at that.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2021 03:27PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Even science and math are subject to pressure from
> -- I'll be frank -- the "progressives," the
> "woke."

I wonder how a revisionist physicist might attack the 2nd Law of thermodynamics?

I mean, it's possible to *say* anything you want, but to be taken seriously in these fields you must provide a falsifiable test of the validity of the hypotheses, then turn everyone else loose to attempt to replicate your findings.

Whereas a revisionist historian could hypothesize that Lincoln was the first gay president, and this is not possible to falsify.

> I like it that one can come to this place
> (ED) and not find a lot of political haranguerie,
> so I'll leave it at that.

Yes, same here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 March, 2021 02:14PM
Sawfish Wrote (lifted from the thread "Cosmic horror by less known authors"):
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knygatin Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I made a comment about "bridges", and it
> developed
> > into a discussion. With respect to the original
> > thread starter, I will stop here. I may comment
> > the subject further in a more appropriate
> thread.
>
> FWIW, my preference is to continue a
> thread/thought until dropped by mutual or
> collective agreement, barring overt and déclassé
> abuse of a deeply personal nature.
>


But think of all those who are not involved in the off-topic discussion, and all the newcomers. There are a lot more viewers than commenters on the topics, perhaps 20-50 viewers, over time 100s. They see the thread title "Cosmic horror by less known authors", and hope to read something new and interesting about that, but instead have to wade through our off-topic comments. They are misled, and disappointed. It is a waste of their time. It's not fair. I really think off-topic comments should only be brief, and not derail the original topic. And I too need to discipline myself, and get better at that.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 15 March, 2021 07:46PM
Knygatin, I think moving the "bridge" discussion here as you did was appropriate.

This one particular thread welcomes discussion of a very wide range of topics. ED benefits from having a thread like this for open-ended conversation. If the thread specifies "William Hope Hodgson" or "Strange Tales Set in Wales" or whatever, it's be desirable to keep the focus pretty strictly on those matters, as I understand you to be saying, although a little room to move around is desirable to keep things from getting too formal.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 12:58AM
Knygatin Wrote (Lifted from the thread Golden Age of Modern Fantasy):
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > >Knygatin Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > >
> > > > Sawfish Wrote:
> > > >
> ------------------------------------------------
> > > > I'll add that I finished Lindsay's "The
> Haunted
> > > > Woman" and was very, very impressed with
> the
> > > > pacing, character development of the
> principal
> > > > character, Isbel (a woman I'd make it a
> point to
> > > > stay well away from), and of the supporting
> cast.
> > > >
> > > > The story, itself, seemed to delve into the
> ideas
> > > > of socially repressed sexual desire,
> "liberated"
> > > > in the ultra-dimensional rooms/passages of
> > > > Runhill. In this sense, many passages were
> > > > electric...
> > > >
> > > > Good recommendation, K!
> > >
> > >
> > > Did you find the fiddle player seen from the
> window creepy?
> > > I think there was some very good reason we
> were not
> > > allowed to see his face, but only his back.
> His
> > > long hair gave me the jitters. Not quite
> fully
> > > human.
> >
> > Yes, it was creepy. A tall, broadly built
> > *something* that had yellow hair and an
> > inexplicable costume...and the instrument he
> > played was similarly ambiguous.
> >
> > I expected that we *would* see his face, and it
> > seems like Judge saw it, and died, and earlier
> > there was another person who saw it (Mrs. B.?)
> and
> > died also.
> >
> > Very, very effective book.
>
>
> Perhaps it should be stacked and locked up
> alongside the forbidden tomes Necronomicon, The
> Book of Eibon, and Unaussprechlichen Kulten! Lest
> the seas will one day run red.

That was an attempt at joking. I meant by that, a spreading of corruption and violence. I borrowed the last expression from the film Evil Dead 2.

But we really live in an incomparable time of madness and preposterous decadence and corruption. And it is the Facebook- and Google-age, in which everyone's life should be exposed and mapped, among other things for direct marketing (I may add that I never registered with that first mentioned evil organization). Young people have no awareness of how bad this is. Like the very young lady mortician, at a large funeral home agency, who was given the trust to handle the funeral of a recently deceased family member. Among other commercial stunts, she insisted upon producing a lavish memory book (it was not an optional choice, but "included" in the price), with photos from the funeral service, the flowers, coffin, and such. Without asking she also photographed us and other attendants inside the church, which I find inappropriate. But it is a typical sign of the times. Why didn't she, as well, also photograph herself?, and included in the book; because she was a pre-eminent part at the funeral service too, and of the precedent planning.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 10:50AM
Knygatin wrote, "But we really live in an incomparable time of madness and preposterous decadence and corruption. And it is the Facebook- and Google-age, in which everyone's life should be exposed and mapped, among other things for direct marketing (I may add that I never registered with that first mentioned evil organization). Young people have no awareness of how bad this is. Like the very young lady mortician, at a large funeral home agency, who was given the trust to handle the funeral of a recently deceased family member. Among other commercial stunts, she insisted upon producing a lavish memory book (it was not an optional choice, but "included" in the price), with photos from the funeral service, the flowers, coffin, and such. Without asking she also photographed us and other attendants inside the church, which I find inappropriate. But it is a typical sign of the times. Why didn't she, as well, also photograph herself?, and included in the book; because she was a pre-eminent part at the funeral service too, and of the precedent planning."

Knygatin, I hang out online with people who write similar expressions of dismay regarding culture ("signs of the times") today. Before I retired, I tried in various (I trust) appropriate, and not overbearing, ways, to encourage students to push back. One of the problems for them is their low view of what being human means. I'm not sure how you would deal with that. Even when it's sharply satirical of human follies, classic literature before the 20th century exhibits some sense of human dignity, if only indirectly. Swift may want to force us to see the Yahoo in ourselves, but his is not a mind promoting vulgarity, a cheapened sense of the human. (I wish I could find a certain quotation from T. S. Eliot on this.) It is one thing to make us feel ashamed of the way we live, another to promote the worst in us, as our social media and so on tend to do.

By the way -- I mean to say more about him later, but let me recommend the poetry of Martyn Skinner (1906-1993). He worked with traditional poetic forms and I think you might appreciate his attitude towards modernity.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 11:17AM
Quote:
K:
That was an attempt at joking. I meant by that, a spreading of corruption and violence. I borrowed the last expression from the film Evil Dead 2.
But we really live in an incomparable time of madness and preposterous decadence and corruption. And it is the Facebook- and Google-age, in which everyone's life should be exposed and mapped, among other things for direct marketing (I may add that I never registered with that first mentioned evil organization). Young people have no awareness of how bad this is. Like the very young lady mortician, at a large funeral home agency, who was given the trust to handle the funeral of a recently deceased family member. Among other commercial stunts, she insisted upon producing a lavish memory book (it was not an optional choice, but "included" in the price), with photos from the funeral service, the flowers, coffin, and such. Without asking she also photographed us and other attendants inside the church, which I find inappropriate. But it is a typical sign of the times. Why didn't she, as well, also photograph herself?, and included in the book; because she was a pre-eminent part at the funeral service too, and of the precedent planning.

Very apt observations, and I hope not to offer offense, but frequently I'm driven to venting, simply to remain tolerable companion for my wife.

Knygatin, just as there was the Age of Reason, the Age of Enlightenment, the Iron Age. the Golden Age, we are living in an identifiable "age": The Age of Outrage.

Those most prominent and most popularly (although not deeply--depth not having much value currently) esteemed are those who are most able to appear publicly outraged.

And the most frustrating part, for me, is that no consistency and precious little logic is ever applied in seeing outrage in any given situation. It's like a self-confirming observation, if the a priori belief held by a person of this age is that there are moral outrages everywhere we look because society is itself rife with abuses and outrages, and they then find a confirming outrage in almost every situation. Nor do we want to apply such disciplines as logic, or muddle a completely fine example of an outrage with inconvenient facts, so we just ignore these aspects of how to evaluate what we see.

That must be what's going on, mentally, for all those out there who find pleasure and satisfaction in finding a new outrage under every bed, like Joe McCarthy with his omni-present communists.

</venting OFF>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 11:35AM
"Outrage" is the new "sexual freedom." What some of the Sixties activists hoped to find in sex, some of today's activists seem to hope to find in outrage, a kind of bogus "ecstasy." Both exhibited a perverse will to power, but power not really expended in something fertile but as an end itself. Porno users find they have to resort to more and more outrageous scenarios to acquire arousal, while some of the activists have to seek out ever more absurd things to be outraged about.

I submit that what I have just written is at best half-baked!

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 11:47AM
Quote:
DN:
One of the problems for them is their low view of what being human means. I'm not sure how you would deal with that. Even when it's sharply satirical of human follies, classic literature before the 20th century exhibits some sense of human dignity, if only indirectly. Swift may want to force us to see the Yahoo in ourselves, but his is not a mind promoting vulgarity, a cheapened sense of the human. (I wish I could find a certain quotation from T. S. Eliot on this.) It is one thing to make us feel ashamed of the way we live, another to promote the worst in us, as our social media and so on tend to do.

Very, very interesting observation, Dale. Let me zero in on one part only:

"...their low view of what being human means."

I will state up front that my own view of this, evolved over 70+ years, could be described using your phrase, but with one very important addition:

"...and yet not feel debased by this realization."

Kids my daughter's age, 24, graduated from Vassar two years ago, can be filled with a smugly immature snark over this very issue. She does not fall completely within this group description, but shares a sort of "generational loyalty", as I, and perhaps you, did in the 60s to the emerging Boomer generation.

So what we all "knew" and "thought" was the truth, as we saw it...

But these currently emerging Zoomers, secure in their self-assessed sophistication, feel a certainly level of damning guilt-or at least obligation--about it, where as I feel that a human is an animal very much like a dog, but more socially sophisticated by a couple orders of magnitude, at least.

I came to see humans as basically driven by instinct, but because of sophistication in verbal expression, have come to convince each other that we're something more. But basically, we're not, and to think otherwise is a sort of "human exceptionalism" that is mostly misplaced when applied to ideas of moral and spiritual goals.

In short, we can conceive that it would be "good" to be nice to each other--and it certainly is a pleasant and warm feeling of comaraderie--but we can only do this consistently so long as we have access to adequate physical resourced. As resources become scarcer, the impetus toward adhering to ideas of moral and spiritual "goodness" deteriorate, almosst in direct correlation, until at the end it's basically dog-eat-dog...every man for himself and God against all.

Once you see existence in this light, and recognize that you prefer the ambience of living in a kinder, gentler society, you can see the value in aggregate societal wealth.

Now this aggregate wealth itself creates its own problems in distribution because its very existence stimulates a *very* powerful instictive human response: envy.

And so it goes...

But in point of fact, at least so far as I can see it, the phenomenal collective wealth of the US allows the society to entertain as public policy such bizarre and obvious fallacies as complete equality between individuals--a noble idea demolished by the fact that you and I will have never been able to play in the NBA, even though we are of course equal in every way to those who *do* play.

Right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 11:54AM
Excellent parallel! Popular outrage as a porno addiction!

I LIKE it!!!!

But having lived my life thru the early popular phase of the sexual revolution (as bohemian sexual customs began to wedge into popular society--because believe me, much as I liked to think of myself as avant garde, I'm purely middle-of-the-road), I can say with confidence that I had one hell of a lot more fun than the outrage addicts seem to be having currently.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. But give a man a boat,
a case of beer, and a few sticks of dynamite..." -- Sawfish

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 12:11PM
Sawfish, your comment about how "the phenomenal collective wealth of the US allows the society to entertain as public policy such bizarre and obvious fallacies" is just the sort of remark I have often made when venting my dismay to my wife. But unfortunately it's not even simply America's actual wealth that's being spent; it's the presumed wealth of generations to come, who had no opportunity to vote as to whether they wanted to pay for our ridiculous national investment in social reconstruction.

That is one reason that I have used Knygatin's word about "decadence" so often when "venting." We use that word "decadent" -- and the terrible thing is that it is really true; we are used to words being used for fleeting and illegitimate emotive value; but decadent is what our society truly is.

We may forget that we have international enemies. How they must be loving our zany decadence.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 23 March, 2021 02:13PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That is one reason that I have used Knygatin's
> word about "decadence" so often when "venting."
> We use that word "decadent" -- and the terrible
> thing is that it is really true; we are used to
> words being used for fleeting and illegitimate
> emotive value; but decadent is what our society
> truly is.

As someone above the Millennial cut-off but younger than all active members here, I've seen a good deal of what's popular and I think "decadent" isn't too far off the mark. I suppose the U. S. as a whole has been on an intellectual and artistic decline for ages, but it's amazing what teens and young adults consider normal these days! Videos of people eating inedible objects, videos of millionaires showing off how much money they have by blowing it on outrageous things, videos of people who scream as their only form of dialogue, and not to mention the tendency to completely ignore an entire argument in favor of picking at one little detail, usually out of context. And in spite of all that, I've seen people boast that their generation is intellectually and morally superior to all others!

Regarding "Zoomers", I think it's become a trend among them to criticize the "outraged" tendencies of the previous generation, which might be a step in a more balanced direction (one can hope). I have nephews and nieces in high school who complain to me about how their teachers and older peers are obnoxiously obsessed with social outrage and social justice. And these kids are fully Japanese! Well, fully Americanized Japanese kids who have never visited Japan, like myself. As someone who has always been a bit of a loner and never cared too deeply for my Asian heritage, a lot of complaints people make about this or that outrage strike me as pointless.

> We may forget that we have international enemies.
> How they must be loving our zany decadence.

Although outrage as a fad is fairly global at this point, all of my online friends are from other countries (in Europe and Asia), and they snicker and laugh at the U. S. indeed! One common stereotype of Americans shared within all of my friends' countries is that we all like to file lawsuits over the littlest things! Stubbed your toe? Sue the owner or manufacturer of the damned table!!!

Goto Page: PreviousFirst...1213141516171819202122Next
Current Page: 17 of 22


Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
Top of Page