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Showing posts from October 10, 2021

Party time, #15 - a poem by Karen Chamisso

    “For look how oft I kiss the water under” - o claustrophobic opulence of this bathroom mirror Undine undone among   the social blunders Look at me. Look at me! Get a little nearer.   Echo leans blonde and   tall among the messes Pines behind a cigarette and stalks out Someone says the key to unlock this party’s wildernesses Is lost. A couple start to shout   In the corner at each other. “Nought is left but voice and bones.” In the morning she gets a call from her mother. Why is this gal all alone?

On the ending of novels

  Like the groundhog in Pennsylvania who sticks his head out of his hole every February to check on his shadow,  Viktor Shklovsky survived from the beginning to the Brezhnev stagnation by sticking his head out at the right time, understanding how the shadows fell, and finding just the right burrows to hide in if it was killing season. In 1978, he gave a series of interviews to an Italian Slavicist, Serena Vitale, who fled Moscow with her tapes after being pushed around by the KGB. The book was published in Italian and translated into English (Shklovsky: witness to an era), and it is as aphoristic as fuck, just like you’d expect. There’s a passage about the problem of ending, a perennially fascinating topic. -SV “So on the one hand, the impossibility of knowing the future makes it so that a writer can’t “finish” his novels; on the other, it seems like the great novels you’ve been talking about contain some sort of prophecy of the future. -S: The fact is that the writer “predicts”

Greatness is a rip off

  I was raised on the rhetoric of "greatness" like any other whitebread suburban boy. I have since gone through an education sentimentale about the whole greatness thing, finding the word great to be a hollow sham used by politicians, for the most part. Adam is learning "encadrement" in his school - which is basically a way of teaching that there are three relations between a whole number x and another number - greater, lesser, or equal. Here, the use of great is all on the surface. It is the transposition from the realm of quantity to the realm of quality that we run into problems. There have been psychological experiments done to see if transitivity holds among taste preferences - as was once assumed as an axiom by economists. This means that if one prefers x to y and y to z, then you should prefer x to z. However, it turns out that preferences are entangled. Some people do express their preferences in a transitive order, and some don't. This happens regardles