I find that fortunately and unfortunately I am a sensitive soul. Over sensitive. It often feels like my insides are on my outside, so that the people who brush me leave indelible marks in my psyche. They persist for a while and disturb me. Then fade.
One thing that helps them fade is reading.
I read Daniel Clowes funny little collection of comics, Wilson, yesterday.
Wilson is a 21st century curmudgeon/asshole. His idiocy made me smile. Refreshing, up to date juvenile humor for old people I guess.
Then I turned to Maurice Sendak’s interesting book, My Brother’s Book.
The words in this book take a few minutes to read. The pictures are a fascinating combination of signature Sendak, William Blake and surrealism gentle rendered in washed out water colors.
I was confused by the first reading.
I didn’t know enough Shakespeare to sort out Sendak’s story from the reference to A Winter’s Tale in the introduction by Stephen Greenblatt.
A couple of readings later, I could understand a story about the lost Jack (Sendak’s brother’s name) and Guy (whom I thought of as Sendak himself). Read that way, the story is an ironic opening into Sendak’s wonderful pictures most of which are referential to Blake.
Here’s a link to an analysis that I found helpful: Annotating My Brother’s Book: Some initial thoughts on Sendak’s use of Blake’s pictorial language. A guest post by Mark Cro
Yesterday I also read a few chapters in Rachel Maddow’s Drift: Unmooring American Military Power. It has just recently been issued in paperback and some of the notices made me think about her again.
Maddow’s TV career began after I gave up on TV and Radio journalism. When the left began to emulate the hate radio of the right, I lost interest. Then the screaming liberal heads on TV started joining their fact free right wing brothers and sisters.
I wasn’t interested.
But recently I heard some family members talking about Maddow. I got the impression that her book was a memoir. But reading about it recently made me think that there might be more to it than that.
My brother has thoughtfully linked me to his big collection of ebooks. I looked through it and sure enough there was Maddow. I guiltily downloaded it to my Kindle and read it.
The introduction and chapter one are sort of an extremely user friendly recap of some military history…. Vietnam. Despite the annoying colloquialisms (provided no doubt for Maddow’s TV fans), I learned stuff from these chapters.
Then in chapter three she turns to Reagan.
At that point I began to feel like I was trapped in my own liberal echo chamber. I didn’t learn anything about Reagan from Maddow. I lived through Reagan and remember him clearly through my own experience of the reporting of his life at the time. I always thought he was a calculated projection of some kind of persona, an actor who took his chops to the political arena. He was a rabid weird creature of the modern right. I hesitate to actually call the right conservative because of the history of the last few decades where the emerging right wing in America is so radical it gives the old Students for Democracy (the real crazies of the sixties and seventies) a run for their money only from the other extreme.
Maddow interestingly makes a plea in her introduction for being conservative with a little “c.” I quite like that. I decided to tape her TV shows to check them out.
My late father used to typify himself as a progressive conservative. He (and the meaning of the words themselves) left me personally attracted by both notions: conserving (under which I put not only the wisdom to carefully examine change, but also PREserving a connection to the wisdom of the past) and liberality as in freedom, generosity and tolerance.
Silly fucking me, eh?
This is a link to letters to the editor regarding a recent article about reading in Mexico. I read the original but did not bookmark it. I agree with the letter writer that the comments about Mexico’s forlorn lack of literacy and its effect on people’s understanding of government is simply in the same in the USA.
This is an old link. I heard a passing reference on BBC radio this morning to a protest in Damascus where the protesters wrote words on ping pong balls and then rolled mass numbers of them at police. I liked that and looked up this reporting of it.
This is such a bizarre story. As far as I can tell, the person convicted didn’t actually do anything except violate some police procedures by looking at records. But his fantasies once found out may have doomed him.
Warning! This is a liberal blog, not journalism. I found the way the writer attempts to reframe political questions in terms of killing not economic metaphors very attractive.
I love this blog. The writers travel Europe, take pictures, do research and put up the results. This entry has some beautiful fascinating stuff in it.