Revealed for Our Sins

The previous post on a “squib” of Baudelaire’s was actually not what I had intended to write. Rather, it was a redheaded beggar girl I meant to display. That is, I had been reading Keith Waldrop’s translation (2006) of Fleurs du Mal when I remembered I also had Richard Howard’s (1982) on the shelf. So off I went in order to see how these were…

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Squibs…

An oft-quoted line of Baudelaire’s (born in the same year as Melville, 1819) is: Dieu est le seul être qui, pour régner, n’ait même pas besoin d’exister. God is the only being who need not even exist in order to reign. This is from the first of the ““Fusées” or”Squibs” written in 1867 but only published posthumously in 1887. For those of you who wonder,…

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Quibbles?

A friend asked recently, well, what are you reading now that you’ve stopped doing the radio show (for which all my reading energy was spent)? Honestly, I wasn’t really reading anything. Dipping into many things without real interest. But I’ve not begun reading Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century, by Charles…

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Arts Interchange – This Little Mayberry: Will Johnson’s Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm

AUDIO LINK: This Little Mayberry: Will Johnson’s Hatteras Night Our show is “This Little Mayberry” and my guest is singer-songwriter and painter Will Johnson. Johnson might be best known as the lead singer of Centro-Matic which disbanded at the end of 2014. But he’s also the leader of South San Gabriel which persists and contains the same musicians. Today we discuss the ways the bands…

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Natasha Lennard’s “We, Anti-Fascists”

In her new book, Being Numerous, published by Verso, Natasha Lennard offers “Essays on Non-Fascist Life.” It’s currently only $9.98. Here is the publisher description: Being Numerous shatters the mainstream consensus on politics and personhood, offering in its place a bracing analysis of a perilous world and how we should live in it. Beginning with an interrogation of what it means to fight fascism, Natasha…

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters,” Buddy Glass [the author’s alter ego] comes across these words in Seymour’s diary [the “sage” of the family who committed suicide]; they concern what Seymour believes to be the dishonesty of the Gettysburg Address: He [a psychoanalyst Seymour was…

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Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. Thank God they cannot cut down the clouds! Henry David Thoreau, journal entry, January 21, 1852 “A study just published in the journal Nature Geoscience shows that if we continue with business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions, the atmosphere will hold 1,200 parts per million CO2 in…

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Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number of “boutique” and highly produced television shows. These may be good, but like most in the “televisual” medium, they are not meant to be indelible. I don’t just cast aspersions outward… Let us choose to think. Here are representative pieces of American Literature (USA) that…

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Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales and wishes of complete knowledge are always disastrous. If you know the hour of your death you live “against it” or are perhaps completely tugged into the orbit of it. In Climate disruption; in the constant use of fossil fuels and toxins; we “know” a…

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Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions may continue. What we can’t do: continue using electricity; continue “producing” anything. All systems are entangled. “We” also can’t do anything about anyone else’s use of electricity. Globally, we are not going to be able to make any difference. If there is no “will” here,…

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