If there actually is a child chapter book or band named after any of the following, I stand behind my opinions.
Speed composition of a book cover for C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia (if numbered correctly).
Assets are “Tambako the Jaguar’s” CC licensed photograph of a lion from Flickr, and Henningklevjer’s CC licensed cloth weave texture from the Wikimedia Commons. Fonts are Charlemagne and Mona Lisa Solid.
Under 111 minutes? No, but with the template established, the rest of the series should go faster.
Click image for 300dpi.
[Emphasis from original. Ellipses mine. Page numbers refer to the first edition Twelve Books hardcover.]
These mighty scholars may have written many evil things or many foolish things, and been laughably ignorant of the germ theory of disease or the place of the terrestrial globe in the solar system, let alone the universe, and this is the plain reason why there are no more of them today, and why there will be no more of them tomorrow. Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago…. We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why the devotions of today are only the echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness. (7)
As for consolation, since religious people so often insist that faith answers this supposed need, I shall simply say that those who offer false consolation are false friends. In any case, the critics of religion do not simply deny that it has a painkilling effect. Instead, they warn against the placebo and the bottle of colored water. (9)
[Quoting John Stuart Mill:] “He looked upon [religion] as the greatest enemy of morality: first, by setting up factitious excellencies–belief in creeds, devotional feelings, and ceremonies, not connected with the good of human kind–and causing these to be accepted as substitutes for genuine virtue: but above all, by radically vitiating the standard or morals; making it consist in doing the will of a being, on whom it lavishes indeed all the phrases of adulation, but whom in sober truth it depicts as eminently hateful.” (15)
It assures them that god cares for them individually, and claims that the cosmos was created with them specifically in mind. This explains the supercilious expression on the faces of those who practice religion ostentatiously: pray excuse my modesty and humility but I happen to be busy on an errand for god. (74)
In 2004, a soap-opera film about the death of Jesus was produced by an Australian fascist and ham actor named Mel Gibson. (110)
It was not until after the Second World War and the spread of decolonization and human rights that the cry for emancipation was raised again. In response, it was again very forcefully asserted (on American soil, in the second half of the twentieth century) that the discrepant descendants of Noah were not intended by god to be mixed. This barbaric stupidity had real-world consequences…. The entire self-definition of “the South” was that is was white, and Christian. This is exactly what gave Dr. King his moral leverage, because he could outpreach the rednecks. (179)
But to the totalitarian edicts that begin with revelation from absolute authority, and that are enforced by fear, and based on a sin that had been committed long ago, are added regulations that are often immoral and impossible at the same time. The essential principle of totalitarianism is to make laws that are impossible to obey. The resulting tyranny is even more impressive if it can be enforced by a privileged caste or party which is highly zealous in the detection of error. Most of humanity, throughout its history, has dwelt under a form of this stupefying dictatorship, and a large portion of it still does. (212)
In order to be a part of a totalitarian mind-set, it is not necessary to wear a uniform and carry a club or a whip. It is only necessary to wish for your own subjection, and to delight in the subjection of others. What is a totalitarian system if not one where the abject glorification of the perfect leader is matched by the surrender of all privacy and individuality, especially in matters sexual, and in denunciation and punishment–“for their own good”–of those who transgress? The sexual element is probably decisive, in that the dullest mind can grasp what Nathaniel Hawthorne captured in The Scarlet Letter: the deep connection between repression and perversion. (232)
[Quoting Blaise Pascal:] “Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie.”
(“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces makes me afraid.”) (253)
Everybody but the psychopath has this feeling to a greater or lesser extent…. Modern vernacular describes conscience–not too badly–as whatever it is that makes us behave well when nobody is looking. (256)
Paine’s Age of Reason marks almost the first time that frank contempt for organized religion was openly expressed. It had a tremendous worldwide effect. His American friends and contemporaries, partly inspired by him to declare independence from the Hanoverian usurpers and their private Anglican Church, meanwhile achieved an extraordinary and unprecedented thing: the writing of a democratic and republican constitution that made no mention of god and that mentioned religion only when guaranteeing that it would always be separated from the state. Almost all of the American founders died without any priest by their bedside, as also did Paine, who was much pestered in his last hours by religious hooligans who demanded that he accept Christ as his savior. Like David Hume, he declined all such consolation and his memory has outlasted the calumnious rumor that he begged to be reconciled with the church at the end. (The mere fact that such deathbed “repentances” were sought by the godly, let alone subsequently fabricated, speaks volumes about the bad faith of the faith-based.) (268-269)
The study of literature and poetry, both for its own sake and for the eternal ethical questions with which it deals, can now easily depose the scrutiny of sacred texts that have been found to be corrupt and confected. The pursuit of unfettered scientific inquiry, and the availability of new findings to masses of people by easy electronic means, will revolutionize our concept of research and development. Very importantly, the divorce between the sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual life and tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse. And all this and more is, for the first time in our history, within the reach if not the grasp of everyone. (283)
Just time this week to check in on the Times Best Sellers List…
|1.||THE LORDBURN REPETITION, by Kluey Part Smith. (Niffen, $26.00.) Super spy Rex Coulter must stop a large thing from happening.|
|2.||THE PERSPICACITY OF DOUBT, by Lucy Blovine. (Scor/Delfine, $26.50.) Summering on Wild Horse island, recent divorcee Hailiey McElle-Saphire meets an otherwise perfect man with a dark secret.|
|3.||CHURNED, by James Patterson and Olivia Sciatica. (Buffet, $28.00.) Ribald O’Makepeace will stop at nothing to avenge his carpool. Patterson Vermeers his name onto an eleventh USA Original-grade potboiler this year.|
|4.||ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE BORING, by Eric Von Lustbader. (Taipei Holdings Corp, $24.99.) Renegade agents delve underground as Von Lustbader continues to serve out some karmic purgatory inside the long-dead corpse of Ludlum.|
|5.||PIECES OF A LIFE ONCE LIVED, by Katherine Loft. (Shumberg, $26.00.) Nothing much happens.|
|6.||A MURDER IN THE COLON, by Dee Brettfield. (Snorium Mystery, $23.95.) Questions must be answered when bodies begin turning up outside homicide dick-turned-doc Rue Level’s Hollywood practice in Brettfield’s latest colonoscopy-flavored opus.|
|7.||HEART OF THE HEART, by Lisette Poe. (Snaf Books, $26.00.) A story about sisters in which they don’t just plain hate each other.|
|8.||STAR WARS: QUORUM OF THE JEDI: THE FORCE AND ITS DISCONTENTS, by Callista Quing. (DF, $24.00.) A whole galaxy at war and it’s the same ten goddamn planets and cast members. Followup to Star Wars: Quorum of the Jedi: Lodgers of the Force.|
|9.||JEREMIAH’S SWORD, by J. Luke Taper. (Swaggart Press, $23.99.) A young man’s flaming sword thrusts the spirit of God into the backs of the unrepentant in Taper’s post-Rapture Christian allegory.|
|10.||DEAD IN THE FAMILY, by Charlaine Harris. (Ace, $25.95.) Sookie Stackhouse is exhausted in the aftermath of a Fae war.|
|11.||PROFOUND TONE, by Paulo Coelho. (Shiv/Livertoot, $27.95.) The author of The Alchemist pads out another child chapter book plot with his trademark Buddhist Monk Voice.|
|1.||THAT WEBSITE: THE BOOK, by Stu Borgen et. al. (eBooks iPublications, $22.99.) That website, in book form for some reason. Destined for the can.|
|2.||IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO HAVE SEX WITH A GENERATION, I WOULD HAVE SEX WITH THE GREATEST GENERATION, by Tom Brokaw. (Culthouse, $24.00.) Further wankery on the generation that beat the Depression, World War II, blacks and women.|
|3.||MR. EIFFEL’S AWFULLY BIG TOWER, by Snake Morley. (B&W/Weege, $29.99.) New revelations on the temporary unpopularity of the monument, from the archives of the Parisian Ladies’ Anti-Berber League.|
|4.||STEPHENIE MEYER: CREEPY, SEXUALLY-REPRESSED MORMON BROOD MARE, by Deedee Copenham. (Salt Press, $22.00.) The authorized biography.|
|5.||FAILED GOVERNOR, by Mitt Romney. (Tankard, $28.50.) The one-term Massachusetts executive explains why he’s somehow relevant to national politics.|
|6.||I’M A CELEBRITY… FUCK!, by some chick or other. (Tarpaulin Books, $23.00.) Yet more reminiscences by the woman who has the routine about- Wait am I thinking of the other one? The one who was always drunk.|
|7.||MY MONEY IS IN MY SHOE, by Lou Dobbs. (Milli Press, $27.00.) Something about immigrants, something about gold, and other stuff it’s getting increasingly hard to classify from the former pundit.|
|8.||IN LEAGUE WITH DEVILS, by Gordon Bott. (Walden Press, $29.50.) It doesn’t matter what it’s about, the crappy university publisher didn’t expect it to do any business and it’ll be backordered for a month.|
|9.||WHEN WE DIE, WE DON’T DIE, by Premaketuur Jones. (Shambhala, $24.50.) Deep meditations on the large “Continue? 10… 9… 8…” screen that appears over our heads when we die if we properly practice spiritual quantum mindfulness soul vibration wellness.|
|10.||…AND HE PROBABLY HAS A TINY PENIS, TOO!, by Laura Ingraman. (John Birch Books, $24.95.) Ann Coulter takes us on another tour of vitriol, crackpot research and insinuation. Laura Ingraham. Whatever.|
|11.||COUNTERFACTUALS, by Malcolm Gladwell. (Greengreen, $24.99.) Sixteen more hilariously surprising bullshit essays, including “Reevaluating Ethyl,” “Anyone Could Teach Elementary School” and “Caesar Invented the Typewriter.”|
And properties that make interesting use of them.
1. Frankenstein Creations: Powerful, perhaps immortal confusions of once-dead human parts reanimated by Dr. Frankenstein’s (always) secret method. Not to be overly confused with James Whale’s 1931 film with its constricted, single-location plot, dim bolt-necked creation, and memorable use of Nicola Tesla-inspired electrical equipment as the (revealed) method of cell reanimation.
Franken Fran: A manga series about a loveable but somehow unmistakeably monsterous patchwork girl who inhabits a mansion full of equally bizarre creations, “helping” people as she sees fit, and awaiting the return of her creator.
2. Dopplegangers: Classically, a mute apparition of oneself that appears to warn against impending danger.
Arcana: Another manga, slow to start, in which a girl matching no missing person’s report is found by the police, and by her ability to see ghosts proves useful in investigating a series of brutal murders.
3. Former Tenants: Beings who inhabited the Earth long before humans, and who want their world back.
The short stories of H.P. Lovecraft: Lovecraft lived in the era when man was pushing into the final dark corners of the map. His dominant theme was a fear that the dark corners would push back. The double-switch Lovecraft plays in “At the Mountains of Madness” is particularly impressive. (Cthulhu, despite his fame, is a relatively minor player.)
4. Sirens: Beautiful female creatures, often with the aspects of seabirds, who lure men (and women?) to a watery death with an irresistable song.
There is a Japanese survival horror videogame series called “Siren,” but it appears to have very little to do with the western myth.
5. The Motif of Harmful Sensation: Related to the siren, a broader term for the idea of a piece of sensory input that can cause a physical effect on the victim. (Well explained in the finest deleted Wikipedia article I’ve ever come across.)
BLIT: David Langford’s remarkable short story revolves around the discovery of a class of images that “crash” the human brain, killing anyone who views them.
On paper, at least, India under the Raj wasn’t the single nation “India” as we know it today, but a massively fractured series of kingdoms and micro-nations. (Think of the Warring States period in China, or Italy until the late 19th century — but cloned many times over.) Each was (in theory) independent, though deeply linked with the others through trade and treaty. Each (in theory) had its own arrangements with the British. In practice they were vassal states to a virtual vassal state (“India”) of Britain.
In ethical terms, there is a difference between taking advantage of a period of unrest to loot art objects, and taking things with the permission of whomever is in charge of the place where the artifacts are located. (In some cases, like Boston’s Japanese art collection, the items were literally being discarded during a period of unrest, and would no longer exist if some foreigner hadn’t taken a shine to them. VERY tricky.) Obviously leaders change, and by the standards of democracy virtually no leader from the past would now be considered “legitimate” — but that’s applying modern ethics to the past. Modern ethics are a modern technology.
Indians are wonderfully legalistic, and I’d be a little disappointed if they didn’t try to make a case for having the items returned. But Indians have a bad habit of building a convoluted case and then BELIEVING it too. I’m afraid that what this probably comes down to is nationalism, and that’s something that I, personally, have no truck with.
Stitched together in Hugin from eighteen camera phone pictures. Mercator projection.
I can’t quite manage to not get happy listening to “Merumo.” Slick, stylish and fun “faux jazz” in the ’60s orchestra style. John Barry on a bender.
Speed composition of a book cover for John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Assets are a photo of Michelle Webster from a shoot we did in March, and Ivan Tortuga’s public domain image of a moth from the Wikimedia Commons. Fonts are Zdenek Gromnica’s InfraRed and Gerard E. Bernor’s Bambi Bold.
Under 111 minutes? Close.
Click image for 300dpi.
Blosxom still pretty much just damn works, but it’s dying. A dead News link on a project site is never a good sign. It won’t be long before the STP will have to move to another weblog backend, but that’s for another day.
Today’s issue: Facebook keeps inexplicably dropping my RSS feed. Facebook is of course happy to pretend there isn’t an internet outside its walls, but I get a lot more feedback on my ideas through Facebook than in the blog comments. Whether it’s the cause of this problem or not, in keeping with its age, Blosxom serves feeds in the RSS 0.90 format, which would be a bit of a ColecoVision even if Blosxom had ever done it right.
I’ve modified my copy of the blosxom.cgi script to produce a modern RSS 2.0 feed that validates correctly. You can do the same. Here’s how:
1. Open blosxom.cgi in a text editor and scroll to the bottom.
2. Replace this rubbish:
rss content_type text/xml
rss head <?xml version=”1.0″?>\n<!– name=”generator”
content=”blosxom/$version” –>\n<!DOCTYPE rss PUBLIC “-//Netscape
Communications//DTD RSS 0.91//EN”
<title>$blog_title $path_info_da $path_info_mo
rss story <item>\n
rss date \n
rss foot </channel>\n</rss>
3. With this rubbish:
rss content_type text/xml
rss head <?xml version=”1.0″?>\n\n<rss
<title>$blog_title $path_info_da $path_info_mo
rss story <item>\n
<pubDate>$dw, $da $mo $yr $ti:00
rss date \n
rss foot </channel>\n</rss>
1. verb. Treating a verifiable fact as a philosophical opinion. (Evolution, heliocentrism, tax rates, etc.)
2. adjective. An idea which is neither fringe nor mainstream; a plausible idea without sufficient refuting or corroborating evidence.
3. noun. The desire to marry outside one’s ethnicity, religion or culture.
4. noun. The talent for attracting resources to oneself, as distinct from talent or charm.
5. noun. The peculiar semi-English used in Indian advertising. India’s version of “Engerish.”
6. noun. Putting a great deal of work into looking less attractive.
7. noun. The inflated price of a good or service from which a predetermined “discount” is expected to be deducted. (Magazines, cars, medical services, etc.)
8. verb. Looking for attractive friends-of-friends on a social networking site.
9. adjective. The quality of a language to sound good rapped.
10. noun. An imagined period of time which doesn’t fit into the known timeline of history. (Nationalist myths, “ancient wisdom,” the 1001 Nights stories, etc.)
11. noun. The ageing character who survives the story despite having little concern about his or her death. (The hostages in the Nausicaa mangas, Terence Stamp’s character in The Limey, etc.)
12. pronoun. A neuter third-person singular.
13. pronoun. A second-person plural distinct from the second-person singular.
You’ll notice that there are no adverbs on the list. We have more than enough adverbs as it is, and compositions are usually improved by their deletion.
Some suggestions for the above:
1. To murdoch? In honor of its greatest worldwide proponent.
2. Borderland? Useful for grain-of-salt publications like “Counterpunch.”
3. No idea. “Exo-” constructs sound too cold.
4. Does this already exist as an off-label use of the word “gravity?”
5. Hindlish? (Hindi + English.) Not entirely accurate, but most Indian culture that reaches the West escapes via (Hindi speaking) Bollywood.
6. Emoing down? More of a term than a word.
8. This usually gets lost under the broader term “Facebook stalking.”
9. Spittable? As in “Korean is not very spittable.”
10. i-time? Ugly, esoteric and hyphenated. Refers to the mathematical concept of i — imaginary numbers which can be visualized as extending to the left and right of the number line.
11. Old soldier? Most stock characters get a term, not a word.
12. Ee? (False root of “he” and “she.”) None of our other pronouns have this problem.
13. Yall? I still flinch when I hear “y’all,” but unless we somehow bring back the third person singular “thou,” it’s our best hope. Perhaps we should drop the apostrophe and make it a proper word.
The YouTube Captioning Thing has been upgraded to handle higher resolution videos. Find more captioned videos from KKDW, TheDiva, GlitterRock and myself at YouTubeCapper.Blogspot.com. Create your own embeddable captioned YouTube videos here.
Stitched together in Hugin from fifteen camera phone pictures. Mercator projection.
Massive Attack is dangerous. Massive Attack is back.