pondering proust on his birthday


Today is Marcel Proust’s birthday. I decided to look at some passages by him that I had noted as I read his great work, In Search of Lost Time. I have been missing reading poetry in the morning. This felt a bit like that for me. Sure enough, the first passage was practically a poem. I liked it so much I made a meme and posted it on Falsebook this morning.



So I’m home, sans Eileen. After unloading the car yesterday, I was surprisingly fatigued. I did make myself go to church, put up the hymn, and go over music for today. I noticed that the Gloria was omitted from the service for some reason. Our celebrant today is Val Ambrose. I will point the missing canticle out to her and tell her she can decide if she wants to omit it or add it. We have been singing a metrical version which is right in the hymnal.

I have Proust in several editions and at least two translations. Lydia Davis seems to have done a fine job. I only own the first volume, Swann’s Way, in her translation. I’m not seriously thinking of rereading this book, even in the new translation. Proust’s ideas, like Bach or Shakespeare, continue to inform and shape my world view.

It is fun to go back to my worn volumes and reread sections, however.

I’m about halfway through Hystopia by David Means. This is his first novel, but he has published three volumes of short stories. I’m finding him as engrossing as David Foster Wallace. I hope he doesn’t drop the ball, but so far it keeps sucking me in.

It’s good to be home, but I miss Eileen, of course. I have already spent some time with Bach on the piano this morning as well as listen to Salonen’s Violin Concerto. I embedded a bit of this last Friday. It makes me want to dig out my Ligeti Piano Etudes which are devilishly difficult for me.

Well, it’s time for me to rustle up some breakfast and then get ready for work.

‘This Has Pushed a Button’: Killings in Kenya Ignite National Outcry – The New York Times

A story I am following.

‘Bomb Robot’ Takes Down Dallas Gunman, but Raises Enforcement Questions – The New York Times

Although this particular innovation seems to have been improvised on the spot, it’s worth asking the question, is our police force too militarized. And for that matter, is our military abandoning all semblance of human ethics.

USA Today Ducking the Question of Militarism | FAIR

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) is indispensable to understanding current events as reported by corporate media (this includes the New York Times although I find they do a lot of good work).


1 thought on “pondering proust on his birthday

  1. I haven’t read your blog in a long time, but started again a couple weeks ago since you are visiting soon. Ironically, when I started reading it you are blogging about the same things you were maybe a year ago or so; playing music, politics and burnout. At least you’re consistent. =^)

    I just thought I would provide a comment

    The New York Times “bomb robot” article brings some valid food for thought. As I process this situation in Dallas, I keep reminding myself that this was an urban warfare firefight instigated by an aggressor, that targeted white people, specifically white police officers (as so far reported by the media). Granted, I am skeptical of the media as I continue to read about the situation and as with any story, it is bound to get twisted in emotional driven opinion, forgoing factual information.

    With regard to the United States police forces, I believe they are a far cry from being militarized in the literal sense. Just because they have significant tactical resources, doesn’t mean they could handle situations that call for military involvement. Some of the latest military gear is so far advanced that it makes most police unites look rather primitive, not to mention the military’s vast size. I’m not saying the police forces are unprepared or lacking in resources, but funding for the military and advanced research into the latest and most effective military tactical resources is and has always been, staggeringly higher than local law enforcement.

    With respect to the Dallas situation, my experience tells me that, for all practical purposes, a tactical decision was made during the firefight somewhere between the continued barrage of bantering bullets and broken negations, to gain the upper hand to prevent continued further killings. In this instance, it was to use a make shift intermittent explosive device (IED) carried by an explosive ordnance robot to stop the attack.

    Similar situations arise in military wars and depending on the scenario, what might seem like excessive force, is in fact a tactical practice that solves the immediate combat situation in favor of the attacked.

    For example, a battalion (relatively large amount of troops) of soldiers could be attacked by a regiment (even larger amount of troops) of enemy aggressors. The smaller battalion force could be eventually whittled down to a platoon or fire team (much smaller unites). In the interest of assuring the enemy does not move forward or gain the upper hand, the smaller team could call in an airstrike (meant to inflict maximum enemy casualties with the least effort and loss of friendly life) to basically take out the enemy’s position and secure the situation. Granted this is an exaggerated scenario, but is relevant for the discussion.

    Was the robot bombing excessive? Maybe, but it stopped the immediate situation and prevented the enemy from moving forward and gaining the upper hand, or rather, the aggressor from killing more people. Could a SWAT sniper have taken out the aggressor from a distance? Maybe, but in firefights, time is of the essence and tactics are dictated by the immediate needs of the situation.

    I’m not necessarily comparing the Dallas situation to a war time scenario, in the sense that excessive force is justified. The comparison is in the rules of engagement. Police must follow procedures and protect, preserve and serve dictated by policies that are in place to avoid breaking the rules of engagement. Similarly, in times of war there are rules of engagement with respect to excessive force. An example is that either party in a war should not be shooting a single soldier with a tank (it’s a Geneva Convention thing or the rules for war). However, it happens, especially if the single soldier is a critical player such as a radio operator. So too does excessive force happen during local engagement between police and lawbreakers, such as the situation in Dallas. I’m not advocating either way, I’m simply pointing out that old saying of “all’s fair in love and war” has some truth to it.

    I’m sure this is all irrelevant to you, since I know that you do not believe in war, killing or violence. FWIW, it’s just how I am and have been tracking these situations and processing them.

    Looking forward to the visit.

    David J

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