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Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 27 March, 2021 03:32PM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> K, I ask this with a great deal of trepidation,
> but do you see the Great Deception as a part of a
> long-term strategy or plan, ...

I see it as long term strategy plan.

I am afraid I don't quite understand what the rest of your post is all about. But it seems to me like you get greatly provoked whenever I mention this particular subject of a ruling international financial elite. I wonder why this is so charged for you?

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: DrWho42 (IP Logged)
Date: 27 March, 2021 03:37PM
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: Eighteenth Series (1969) edited by Edward L. Ferman

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 28 March, 2021 06:20AM
Well anyway, I just read Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron", a nightmarish and effective expressionistic sketch about the future dictatorship in which enforced "humanitarian equality" has been pressed down upon the people, through the use of handicaps, so that no one, or group, can be better or more talented than any other. (There have been a couple of movie adaptions of this story, but they were not as good as Vonnegut's words, one moreover being padded with irrelative and unctuous romance.) It pretty much exactly describes what is in the middle prelude of happening right now, in Europe and the U.S.A., the prime targets so far. Other highly cultured countries, like Japan, are slowly being imposed with this change too.

I think the great L. P. Hartley wrote something similar in Facial Justice, but I have not read that one.

Well, enough of this. I just accidentally slipped into this subject, through the discussion about which particular Age we live in. I apologize if I have ruptured anyone's sense of well-being. That was not my intention.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28 Mar 21 | 06:25AM by Knygatin.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 28 March, 2021 01:16PM
Harrison Bergeron had a foundational effect on my worldview, Knygatin. It worked this way...

I first read it as a callow youth and of course Vonnegut's style evokes a laugh for no other reason than he portrays the outrageous as if it was everyday, commonplace, and that everyone takes the situations portrayed as perfectly normal.

So, at age 12-13, hah, hah, hah!

Then I read it again in college, as apart of an assignment, and HAH, HAH, HAH, again.

Then, about 10-12 years ago, at that time being a daily reader of The Atlantic, I started getting a disquieting feeling that I'd somehow experienced, or had been introduced to ("deja vu, all over again!"), some of the stuff in the Atlantic opinion pieces, which were becoming increasingly strident and intolerant.

I somehow made the connection to Bergeron, re-read it, and OH MY GOD!!! :^)

BTW, I had a mighty fine reply to you on this thread, referencing tangentially no less personages than Marx, Nietszche, Fidel Castro, and the current British royal family. It was a real winner, I tell you!

But for the first time on ED a weird thing happened: I was proof-reading it, and as I read in the compose window, a new in-coming message on the same thread from DrWho42 came in, and my entire compose window refreshed, taking the composition with it.

This must be a lot like what a mother bird feels like on returning to the nest and finding that it had been raided by a racoon, or something less charismatic.

So I looked and looked, but like almost all webpage composition, it does not live in a local buffer, sooo...

A black mood settled upon me, and for the remainder of the day I went out back, on the deck, and self-medicated from a bottle of sauvignon blanc.

I'll try to re-compose it today...

Take care!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28 Mar 21 | 01:34PM by Sawfish.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 28 March, 2021 03:12PM
Have you read much else by Vonnegut, Sawfish? The Sirens of Titan perhaps? Title sounds evocative.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 28 March, 2021 04:01PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Have you read much else by Vonnegut, Sawfish? The
> Sirens of Titan perhaps? Title sounds evocative.


Everything up to Breakfast of Champions.

My gut feeling is that there was an artistic tension in him from suppressing his WWII experiences, and he tackled this head-on on Slaughterhouse 5, after which his thematic content sorta rolled off the edge of the table, in my opinion.

The resolutions, such as it was, ruined him as a first rate author of social commentary.

He was, at his best, filled with skillful and effective irony. Not snark, but insights like in Harrison Bergeron.

Like having one of his characters state that SF writers were great great visionaries, but "could not write for beans".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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: 28 March, 2021 04:07PM
Quote:
K:
I see it as long term strategy plan.
I am afraid I don't quite understand what the rest of your post is all about. But it seems to me like you get greatly provoked whenever I mention this particular subject of a ruling international financial elite. I wonder why this is so charged for you?

Ah. Second attempt...

Nahhh, I'm not provoked, I'm simply exploring the implications of what it *seems* like you're saying: to wit, there's an enduring strategy of exploitation by one group, a ruling international financial elite, at the expense of another group, unnamed, but whom I'll assume to be the proletariat and the petite bourgeoisie, and this is not a reference to the Marxist definition, they are terms of art in economics.

And I believe that something that fits the description of one fairly distinct group exploiting another such, larger, group exists out there--it's just that we're like the proverbial blind men feeling up an elephant: you think an elephants is a lot like a rope, while I think it's more like a tree.

It's not so much that the idea of a "ruling international financial elite" sounds perilously like an allusion to the Illuminati or the villainous Freemasons--and in fact it sure *does* sound like that--but it's that within my own experience and observation, the members of such a group are far too motivated to knife each other over fairly minor advantages that it's just not possible for them to smugly meet in a cabal-like session behind closed doors, light up big cigars, and chortle at the riff-raff as they exploit them in an ordered, enduring strategy, all the while patting each other on the back, and lighting their cigars with 100 Euro banknotes.

Let's back it up to Marx, shall we?

He accurately has identified the dynamic social tension of modern class warfare: those owning the means of production vs those who supply the labor to work those means. He is woefully incorrect when he comes to the prescriptive part: enlightened workers' councils making informed strategic decisions on production/distribution for the betterment of all. There has been adequate time to see these social structures develop in the USSR, China, Cuba, etc., and none of them has. And here's why: Nietzsche.

Now for Nietzsche, he correctly assesses human nature, in my opinion: the common man and the exception man, and postulates the existence of a will to power (better understood as the enabling of of the desire to advance one's personal position in material ways) in all men. I believe that I see this in operation, also, just as I've seen the class warfare.

And Nietzcshe, like Marx, fails miserably when he comes to prescriptive ideas, since not even one percent of the world's population would be docile enough to live in such a system without constant turmoil.

And yet these two phenomena exist: class struggle and exception individuals exercising the will to power.

So what I *think* is out there is a vertical struggle within both the elites and the proletariat of exception individuals exercising a will to power. And it is of supreme importance to understand that while we refer to one group as "the elites", each group has its own elite group of exceptional individuals. The road to success is somewhat different for each group's leaders, in that the leader of the proletariat, like Fidel Castro, must necessarily rely on cooperation from many willing contributors, often ideologically or religiously driven (see Mohamed for an example of the later, Mao for the former), while the exceptional individual who is a member of the elite can essentially buy or coerce allies to a much larger degree--although charisma also helps them, too.

So you have fairly fluid power struggles within each group, and the top dog emerges as a sort of warlord *of each respective group*. The two groups then struggle, during which time it's possible for either leader to stumble, causing their group to falter, as well.

If the elites win, they continue to be the herdsman exploiting the herd in the ways that they have done in the past, with internecine struggles continuing, and if the proletariat wins, in extreme cases they upend the old system of exploitation and set up a brand new one, which may or may not work (see the Reign of Terror), or they simplify rename the same old systems and continue the old ways of exploitation (see the USA).

And during this process, the incompetent elites are somewhat buffered from the consequences of their mis-steps by their position and wealth (see the current British royal family), while the incompetent individuals in the proletariat fail still more miserably, or are simply exploited as before by their more able leaders.

In the end, it's a giant boiling cauldron of exception individuals exploiting whatever situation they are faced with; there will be temporary alliances that last only so long as it's convenient for both parties, and the instant one party sees an advantage, that's the end of the cabal.

Best answer for the individual? Try to be an exceptional individual in some way, or successfully attach yourself to, or align your material interests with, the interests of the exceptional.

So that's how I see the elephant...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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: 29 March, 2021 09:19AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knygatin Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> > Have you read much else by Vonnegut, Sawfish?
> > The Sirens of Titan perhaps? Title sounds evocative.
>
>
> Everything up to Breakfast of Champions.
>
> Slaughterhouse 5, after which his thematic content
> sorta rolled off the edge of the table, in my
> opinion.
>

Slaughterhouse 5 is Vonnegut's most famous and best regarded book, I understand. We were forced to read it in junior high school, but that was so long ago that I remember nothing of it.

Others prefer The Sirens of Titan, saying it has all of his talents. I may read that one, since I generally prefer reading books that are less known, and not read by the wide masses (with some exceptions. I made a grand mistake when, as a teen, I decided to read Burrough's Venus series instead of his famous Mars series (which I only picked up much later)).

Kurt Vonnegut was not a traditional science fiction author, was he? More of a "humanitarian" writer, ... using some of the old props from SF for symbolic effect?

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 29 March, 2021 09:37AM
Quote:
K:
Kurt Vonnegut was not a traditional science fiction author, was he? More of a "humanitarian" writer, ... using some of the old props from SF for symbolic effect?

I'd say he was a social commentarian, like Mark Twain or Tom Wolfe, and his better works have a deeply humanitarian sensibility, protected by ironic detachment.

As I recall, Sirens of Titan, like much of his work, gets kinda stretched out with evolving implausible situations that are vehicles for his observations. But he was self-aware enough to know this, and somehow effectively bound it up in comic detachment, a lot like Voltaire in Candide.

Me, my favorite is Mother Night. Darker than some of the others (and that's pretty dark), with a deeply romantic streak.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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: 30 March, 2021 05:59AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> ironic detachment
>


"We made friends with a cab driver. His name was Gerhard Müller. ... His mother was incinerated in the Dresden fire-storm. So it goes."

So it goes? I don't doubt Vonnegut may be an interesting writer, but that is a really cynical and unsympathetically detached remark. I find it hard to stomach.

But I am not prejudiced, and will read him. I have selected three books: Slaughterhouse 5, The Sirens of Titan, and Cat's Cradle.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 March, 2021 09:17AM
Quote:
K:
"We made friends with a cab driver. His name was Gerhard Müller. ... His mother was incinerated in the Dresden fire-storm. So it goes."
So it goes? I don't doubt Vonnegut may be an interesting writer, but that is a really cynical and unsympathetically detached remark. I find it hard to stomach.

Oh, my.

If you come at Vonnegut with a pre-conceived idea of what's a proper subject for discussion, or in what terms it should be discussed, you'll have a tough time of it.

A very tough time. You might as well toss it in now.

You don't have to agree/disagree with every statement made by someone in good faith, you know. Read it. Let it take you where it leads. If you don't like where you're going, get off the bus.

Vonnegut is a guy in very great pain, and in his novels, he tries to come to grips with it. He's a deeply humanistic and gentle *child*, really, who cannot adapt to what's out there, rather than what he was led to believe what *should* be out there.

I think he must have been as crazy as David Foster Wallace.

You read Bergeron. It is a view of the world by a very sensitive individual who is on the one had objectively detached sufficiently to see an actual, verifiable reality that is inexplicable under his deeply felt worldview, and he's trying to find some way to deal with it. So he uses cynical detachment. In the case of Bergeron, he invented an entire social sensibility that did not at that time exist, but he logically followed what *might* happen if the ideals of equality of individuals, which ever since the Enlightenment has had a significant following, were actually carried out to its extremes.

And in an irony appropriate to Vonnegut, we find *right now* that such notions as equality of individuals has gained popular traction, and as a culture, we seem caught in a disorienting vortex of paradox and cognitive dissonance that seems only to get more pronounced. So we can expect Diana Moon Glampers at any moment...

Start with Sirens of Titan. You'll find less to reflexively be offended by, since it's clearly a constructed fantasy, with no uncomfortable relationship to reality--its didacticism is more easily categorized as abstract. Slaughterhouse-5, as you know by now, is nominally about a guy who, as a prisoner of war in WWII, was forced to clean up after the firebombing of Dresden. That person was Vonnegut, himself, so you've got a very intimate interface to that reality.

Now, you don't need to either take is side, or oppose him. Just mine what this very damaged, intelligent, and above all *sensitive* person is telling you, exposing himself as he is his writing.

I mean, after reading a lot of his stuff and digesting it thoroughly, then comparing it alongside my father's early childhood, and how *he* coped with it--which was almost completely the opposite of Vonnegut, in that he never let *anything* get to him--I came to the conclusion that for me, my dad's way was far, far better, and that this subliminally informed my own way of interfacing with what can be seen as a *very* ugly world.

It's much uglier if you measure it against what you think it *should* be (based on no very good reasons, as far as I can see), rather than what it is, and as far as I can tell from reading history, always has been.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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: 1 April, 2021 03:18AM
Dale Nelson Wrote (lifted from The Beautiful thread):
-------------------------------------------------------
> I like The Green Round very much and have read it
> five times.
>

Dale, you have read a lot of books, many of them several times. I don't quite understand how you find the time for it. May I ask you by what mental and visual technique you read? Do you read aloud? Or, do you intone the words inside your head? Do you use different cadences for different characters, and tonally emphasize vital words and concepts? Or do you grasp several words at once, without voice or mental articulation, perhaps a whole line, and then immediately jump to the next? I understand that there are some individuals who are actually able to read two lines at once.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2021 09:29AM
Knygatin, I'll be 66 this year and began reading books for adults when I was 11, so that's given me a lot of time to read. For many years I have hardly watched TV or movies, etc. I never had a long commute to work (usually I was able to walk), and I was fully retired three years ago. That helps, too.

For many years I did read a loud to the missus, but we gradually got out of the habit. I don't read aloud to myself as much as I should (e.g. when reading Coleridge's poetry). I think I probably "hear" the sounds of the words in my "mental ear" to a considerable degree. I learned to read by sounding out the letters. Occasionally that gave rise to errors (for some time I thought "unique" was pronounced "un-IQ"). But I advocate phonics rather than "whole language" instruction. We homeschooled our four children, by the way. They all grew up with good verbal skills. They're in their late 20s and 30s now.

I regard myself as a slow reader and was told I was by one of my professors who was alarmed by how long it took me to read some book or other in her class. (This was a course on literature for adolescents and we might be expected to read a book in an evening or thereabouts, I guess. This was a long time ago.)

I'm easily distracted by thoughts of the computer and am trying to improve that situation.

I have wondered about how many books I've actually read, i.e. how many titles: that is, if I've read The House on the Borderland four times, say, that would count as one. Because I reread so much, I haven't actually read a great many different books considering how much time I've put into reading. I do not regret this.

How about others? What are your reading habits?

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2021 12:07PM
Quote:
DN:
How about others? What are your reading habits?

That was really interesting, Dale. A lot of it is very similar to what I'd say.

I don't think I "hear" the words, and so I believe I derive less aesthetic pleasure from the sound of the language than perhaps others here, although I'm aware of alliteration, and sometimes slant rhymes, in prose.

I tend to think of that as "neat, really neat!" or clever, and move on.

What seems to be rhythm I can sometimes hear/enjoy, so I guess that I do "hear" the phrases, to a degree.

I also learned to read phonetically, and my mom maybe taught it to me this way, because I could read when I started school in rural CA, in 1st grade; my district did not have kindergartens. I also taught reading as a grade school teacher for 7 years, and used phonetics, which was far, far out of vogue in the mid-70s. I now think that a modestly skilled reader quickly progresses to "sight reading", but that phonetics is a very reassuring skill to have, because it allows one to attack a hitherto unfamiliar word with at least a hope of success.

It's the linguistic equivalent of knowing karate or ju-jitsu if you get into "trouble".

Oh, and here's a grim observation, one that informed my later worldview: it was at this same stage of my life that I realized that indeed, there was a sizable portion of kids I taught who absolutely needed to have a phonetic approach to reading because they never would develop a large sight vocabulary--they'd be stuck forever at pretty much sounding out many words, over and over and over.

And so, you see, these are the people who never read for pleasure, but watch TV, instead.

Then, the very worst implication came to me: the skill of reading was the most difficult intellectual skill that this sizable portion of young humans would accomplish in life.

Yep. I had no doubts at that point, and have seen nothing to convince me otherwise since then. And that's perfectly OK by me, honestly. We're an evolving species, after all. In some ways I'm the recipient of a huge portion of "birth luck", and I know it.


But this idea of re-reading, this really, really rings true for me. There are many, many novels I've read multiple times. I'd guess--no exaggeration--that I've read Catch-22 *at least* 10 times. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think that the novels I re-read, many of the times I do it for either very comic (to me) passages (like in Catch-22, in Clevenger's interrogation by his superiors, being forced to phrase his response on never having witnessed Yossarian doing something proscribed "He always didn't do it, sir!"), or mood/setting.

Sometimes it'll be characters--I'll find a character amusing or admirable, like characteristics I'd see in friends.

Then, too, I tend to revisit powerful, visceral themes. Seldom novels of manners or social behavior of a given class or stratum.

If I get all of these aspects in one book, I'm almost sure to re-read it a lot.

Yep, I have always tended to walk around the house with a book in hand. I needed, and still need, a place to go other than the normal world, which is fine at times, but easily exhausted of high quality mental stimulus.

...and oh, yeah...I move my lips... ;^)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 1 Apr 21 | 12:28PM by Sawfish.

Re: The Super thread of literature, art, music, life, and the universe in general
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2021 12:25PM
A quick semi-comic diversions, friends and fellow-suffers...

Anyone retired here in ED will know what I'm talking about: the amount of "junk" or spam phone calls per day is a significant annoyance. I realize that I could take measures, but the problem is that I strongly feel that I shouldn't have to go to extra efforts simply to be left alone in my own home.

So...

We've got a new administration, with a bright future promised us. Now, if our esteemed leaders really meant that, and they really wished to curry favor without end among the popular electorate, they'd include as a priority a federal level program to eliminate such incoming calls.

I'm looking for something along the lines of a national effort equivalent at least to the Apollo program, but aimed at tracing, seizing, and harshly punishing these junk call factories, wherever in the world they may originate.

This might include air strikes without warning by B2 bombers. Napalm would be suitable, but if ineffective, I'd not take the nuclear option off the table.

There could be covert commando strikes by elite troops, like the Navy Seals, similar to the assassination of bin Lauden. Think of how decisive this made Obama look! It's a no lose policy!

It might also be good to capture some of the miscreants alive, put them before a tribunal and charge them with crimes against humanity, and after a swift show trial, publicly execute them, maybe at the halftime of the Super Bowl, instead of the sorry excuse for "entertainment" that fills that slot now.

Who's with me?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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

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