Local Souls, the most recent product from Allan Gurganus, is due back at the library today. PG is probably not going to finish it.
Mr. Gurganus is much loved by some. He is a good writer, who knows a lot of words. He plays the game well, with entertaining bookshow interviews, and snappy speeches at literary events. To the english department industrial complex, Mr. Gurganus is a star. This does not translate into being fun to read. Plays Well With Others was about a nightmare. Reading PWWO is suitably horrible.
PG was excited to see Local Souls at the library. The first novella is about a peculiar family arrangement. The young couple had moved to a suburb of Atlanta. On page 62, we learn the address: 110 Pickwich Drive, Collunus Heights, GA. According to wikipedia, and common sense, there is not, and never has been, a town called Collunus Heights, GA. This is the point where PG gave up.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
Dangerousminds brings the sad news that Pete Quaife, the original bass player for The Kinks , passed away yesterday. He was 66, and had been in dialysis for several years. Maybe it is time for Chamblee54 to do a post about The Kinks. This is a repost.
Battling brothers Ray and Dave Davies are the core of The Kinks. (The name is pronounced like the american Davis, as though the e did not exist). Ray was the vocalist, writer, and rhythm guitar player. Dave was the lead guitarist, and sparring partner for his brother. The fisticuffs were not restricted to the brothers. This led to the band being barred from performing in the United States between 1965 and 1969. The sixties happened anyway.
There were several hits in the early days, most notably “You really got me”. (This later became a signature tune for Van Halen). The band had numerous adventures, but never became the superstars that other British bands of that era did. Ray Davies developed as a songwriter, with many witty tunes, full of social commentary and britishness.(spell check suggestion:brutishness)
In the seventies The Kinks kept trooping on. They did an album called Preservation Act, which became the basis of a theatrical presentation. The next album was called Soap Opera, with a theater like production. This is where PG got to see The Kinks.
It was sometime in the spring of 1975, at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium. Elvin Bishop was the opening act. The Kinks had started when PG arrived, buying a $4.00 balcony seat. Alex Cooley was in the box office counting money, and broke open a roll of quarters to make change for a five.
The band was playing “Celluloid Heroes” when PG walked into the auditorium. There was no one on the door checking tickets, so PG walked onto the floor and found an empty seat on the 13th row. The next number was “Lola”.
Ray Davies introduced the song by saying ” If you are a man, sing LO. If you are a woman, sing LA. If you are not sure, clap your hands”. The next number was about demon alcohol. There were lights shining on the crowd during this number, as Ray Davies asked if there were any sinners in the audience. The band did several more songs, ending the first half of the evening with “You really got me”. Dave Davies got some spotlight time with a rave up intro to this number.
The second part of the show was a theatrical presentation of “Soap Opera”. The band wore rainbow colored wigs, and stood at the back of the stage while Ray Davies told the tale. “Soap Opera” was about a rock star who traded places with Norman, who lived a boring life. The flat Norman lived in has pictures of ducks on the wall, which drove Ray/Norman to scream “I can’t stand those f*****g ducks”. This led into a rocking ditty called, predictably, “Ducks on the Wall”.
As the show dragged on, Ray/Norman was embarrassed by the mess he was in. “You can’t say that in front of The Kinks, they are my band, and that is my audience.” The audience lights were turned on again, and the band played a medley of hits from 1964.
Finally, the real Norman came back to reclaim his wife, put the ducks back on the wall, and kick out The Kinks. The band gave up on theater before much longer, and were popular for the rest of the concert happy seventies. Ray Davies was the babydaddy for Chrissie Hynde . Eventually, the band quit performing, and continued to cash royalty checks.
Pictures are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”
It was another day. The outing of the afternoon was a ride to walmart. A bottle of liquid soap was purchased. On the way home, PG noticed the bike making a strange noise when braking. When he got home, he saw a liquid puddle under the bike. The top had come off the bottle of soap, and the cleaning product was everywhere.
After a bit of clean up, and a car trip to walmart customer service, PG got back into life. Eventually, he made another bike trip. This time ended without incident. The internet chipped in. A friend had taken a quiz, Which Poet Are You? The friend got Charles Bukowski. The friend is better looking than Mr. Bukowski. This is known as setting the bar low.
The quiz is a series of jaypegs, which means the text is not to be copied. Retyping all the questions might prove to be too much work. The first question is “Where do you like to write?”
The third question is “What muse speaks to you?” There is a picture of a bronze Buddha, wearing a Prussian army helmet. This is a hard hat with a rhino spear rising out of the top. It is most phallic, and totally impractical in the nuclear age. This is more appealing than the bar sign, or the jazz musician.
The rest of the questions were stupid. You should pick a rhyme, like creep/sleep. The world ends with darkness. The best kind of poem, and almost the only one PG recognized, was the prose poem.
“Which Poet Are You? You got: Edgar Allen Poe. Your dark side is your best side. You excel at noticing the weird, the macabre, and the eerie. While others are frightened by darkness and strange, you feel right at home in it. As Poe would say, you are insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
What is so cool about a bird that says nevermore? Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
I can’t find any references, but I don’t think Miss O’Connor was bff with Carson McCullers ~ Has anyone ever admitted to doing those voices? ~ @mbsycamore The only thing worse than nostalgia is nostalgia for nostalgia. @chamblee54 @mbsycamore what about yesstalgia @mbsycamore @chamblee54 Yesstalgia does sound more dangerous. @mbsycamore Oh, no—I just responded sincerely to an ironic post. ~Hannah Gee · this article is pretty racist to both whites and blacks. why is buzzfeed always trying to divide us? Mark Ramsey · Because it increases their traffic. ~ maybe BF can just send some of that traffic to my blog ~ Is she the best we can do? ~ glisten ~ “Calling out is rarely a comfortable experience, but it IS an opportunity for growth and for building a truly inclusive, radical community.”. If someone says something inappropriate, then the person should deal with them in a quiet, private manner. Only that person should deal with the offender. It should not be an excuse for the gossip machine to crank up, and have the entire “radical community” defriend and defame this person. Should I remind you that this is a human being we are dealing with?And that maybe, just maybe, this person has a side to his/her story? Our “inclusive” community is going to be built on gossip, backstabbing, and community vengence. Is this what you really want? ~ I wonder if any of these people calling for action have ever been “called out”. ~ transcript ~ This so called radical community can be awfully self righteous, and good at ignoring our own flaws. …”learn about this and hopefully be more thoughtful and heart-centered in their words and actions going forward”… That includes taking a look at ourselves. Make sure that we do not become the evil that we think we are fighting. ~ That assumes that Jesus is the Christ. ~ I reposted a story at my blog today. It is about the start of the Sharon Needles meltdown. I saw something wrong happening, spoke out, and was villified. I see the way people came to Melissa’s defense, and remember the way I was treated two years ago. ~ If you have defriended a person, that person is not going to put much value in your wonderful opinions. This is a bit of residue from the anti racism crusades we have endured. ~ The following quote is about body parts. “As I have noted in the past, vaginas are like, a thousand times tougher than testicles. Those ladyparts are basically tough as tractor tires. Our balls are as tough as tissue paper. We get flicked in the nuts by a badminton birdie we’ll double over for twenty minutes, moaning and rocking back and forth. Our balls are like little yarn-bundles contained in a thin, wifty sack of outlying flesh. They unspool like bobbins of delicate thread when damaged. Women on the other hand push entire people out of their lady-realms like divine fucking beings. So, maybe that vagina-analog isn’t the best insult, misogynist dudes. Kay? Kay.”Chuck Wendig (contemp.) American novelist, screenwriter, game designer “Burning the MRA Playbook,” Terrible Minds blog (29 May 2014) ~ When we talk about inclusion, we might want to consider what could be called creepism. There are people that you simply don’t like. Should these people be shamed, and excluded from the community? ~ Many of these comments say more about the critic than they do you ~ There are always going to be people who simply don’t like each other. Some times it is mutual, some times it goes one way. If you don’t like me, then I don’t like you. This can be a problem in creating a safe space ~ is true religion an oxymoron? ~ Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. ~ selah
These author insults were borrowed from flavorwire. HT to Andrew Sullivan The pictures are from The Library of Congress This is a repost.
25. Gertrude Stein on Ezra Pound “A village explainer. Excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.”
24. Virginia Woolf on Aldous Huxley “All raw, uncooked, protesting.”
23. H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw “An idiot child screaming in a hospital.”
22. Joseph Conrad on D.H. Lawrence “Filth. Nothing but obscenities.”
21. Lord Byron on John Keats (1820) “Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God knows whom… No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.”
20. Vladimir Nabokov on Joseph Conrad “I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches.”
19. Dylan Thomas on Rudyard Kipling “Mr Kipling … stands for everything in this cankered world which I would wish were otherwise.”
18. Ralph Waldo Emerson on Jane Austen “Miss Austen’s novels . . . seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. The one problem in the mind of the writer . . . is marriageableness.”
17. Martin Amis on Miguel Cervantes “Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 — the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right; not tears of relief or regret but tears of pride. You made it, despite all that ‘Don Quixote’ could do.”
16. Charles Baudelaire on Voltaire (1864) “I grow bored in France — and the main reason is that everybody here resembles Voltaire…the king of nincompoops, the prince of the superficial, the anti-artist, the spokesman of janitresses, the Father Gigone of the editors of Siecle.”
15. William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
14. Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”
13. Gore Vidal on Truman Capote “He’s a full-fledged housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices.”
12. Oscar Wilde on Alexander Pope “There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.”
11. Vladimir Nabokov on Ernest Hemingway (1972) “As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.”
10. Henry James on Edgar Allan Poe (1876) “An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.”
09. Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
08. Elizabeth Bishop on J.D. Salinger “I HATED [Catcher in the Rye]. It took me days to go through it, gingerly, a page at a time, and blushing with embarrassment for him every ridiculous sentence of the way. How can they let him do it?”
07. D.H. Lawrence on Herman Melville (1923) “Nobody can be more clownish, more clumsy and sententiously in bad taste, than Herman Melville, even in a great book like ‘Moby Dick’…. One wearies of the grand serieux. There’s something false about it. And that’s Melville. Oh dear, when the solemn ass brays! brays! brays!”
06. W. H. Auden on Robert Browning “I don’t think Robert Browning was very good in bed. His wife probably didn’t care for him very much. He snored and had fantasies about twelve-year-old girls.”
05. Evelyn Waugh on Marcel Proust (1948) “I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.”
04. Mark Twain on Jane Austen (1898) “I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
03. Virginia Woolf on James Joyce “the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”
02. William Faulkner on Mark Twain (1922) “A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.”
01. D.H. Lawrence on James Joyce (1928) “My God, what a clumsy olla putrida James Joyce is! Nothing but old fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”
Bonus. Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman “Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the.”
Bonus two, a comment to the original post.: RomanHans Re “The Cardinal’s Mistress” by Benito Mussolini, Dorothy Parker wrote one of my favorite bon mots: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
Bonus Three, from Flannery O’Connor “I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.”
PG got in one night, and found a summer storm brewing on facebook. “Dear white people who still love Sharon Needles. Before you begin to defend her or justify this as art or whatever, please keep in mind that THERE IS AN ENTIRE POPULATION OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY RACISM WHO THINK THIS IS FUCKED UP. Can you respect that, or will you continue to tell people of color what does and does not oppress them?” The first question is, who is Sharon Needles? This is a repost.
A baby boy was born in Newton IA on November 28, 1981. His parents named him Aaron Coady. He did not fit in, and moved to Pittsburgh PA in 2004. His stage name was Sharon Needles. As the years went by, he developed a “personality”. There was a tv show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Miss Needles won season four. The Pittsburgh City Council honored her. Meanwhile, some people did not like her act.
There was a link on facebook, Dragged into Debate: Reality-TV fame puts spotlight on Sharon Needles’ controversial act. PG looked at the article, and found a video of a performance by Miss Needles. The show was in a noisy bar, with some drinking jokes. The makeup and costumes were flawless. (flawful might be better, if it wasn’t the name for hummus hushpuppies) The act was what one might expect of a button pushing drag queen. It is tough to be outrageous these days, but Sharon Needles is giving it the old college try.
Later, the matter got a bit more personal. “Sharon Needles recently performed in Nashville. I went to the performance. One of my friends got her autograph after the show. Sharon Needles wrote a note in the autograph in which she called my friend a n****r. Several of my white friends continue to loudly and publicly worship and promote Sharon Needles, despite having been at the show and knowing about the autograph (nevermind having heard other discussion about Needles’ unapologetic racism). Just thought y’all should know that supporting and promoting someone who is unapologetically perpetuating racism and refusing to be held accountable for it, is racist!
The fuss was a bit puzzling to PG. We can begin by breaking down the opening post. “THERE IS AN ENTIRE POPULATION OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY RACISM WHO THINK THIS IS FUCKED UP.” Does this include Ru Paul? What about the millions of People of Color (POC) who had never heard of Sharon Needles? Do all caps help to get the point across?
“Can you respect that, or will you continue to tell people of color what does and does not oppress them?” Are those the only two options here? To “respect” the notion that a nightclub performer in Pennsylvania is oppressing 35 million Americans? Or, if you don’t “respect” this highly questionable concept, you “you continue to tell people of color what does and does not oppress them.” Are these the only two choices? What if you ignore the peroxide poster girl, and treat your neighbor with respect?
There is also the $64 question, is Sharon Needles racist? (Winning a tv contest hosted by RuPaul should be remembered.) The tumblr Fuck Yea Sharon Needles has a picture of the performer in blackface. She is singing the opening number of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” … a pair of lips against a black background. PG did not hear anything racist in the video he endured.
Facebook is a magnet for people who enjoy a digital quarrel. Evidently, that sometimes includes PG. He made a comment: “There was a line in an article about Miss Needles that gave me a good laugh…”If Needles “were a straight person” engaging in this behavior, he adds, “people would feel more comfortable” criticizing it.”… I had never heard of this person before this conversation, and can’t say that I really enjoy her persona. It is like Charlie Brown after a four day speed binge. She is on the edge, which is where gay performers have traditionally been. I saw a video of her, and did not hear any racist comments… not that I doubt they exist. I found her act tough to enjoy, for reasons that have nothing to do with racism. Just ignore her, and find something more important to whine about. “
There was a reply. “Hey Luther, I don’t know how you meant for that to come off, but it’s not your job to tell us to ignore someone who is contributing to our oppression. Also, when you say, “find something more important to whine about,” I feel disappointed and dismayed because it sounds to me like you don’t understand that A) this is important to some of us, especially to those of us who are people of color, and it can be a very dehumanizing experience to be constantly confronted with people’s apathy around something that impacts our lives so intimately; and B) calling out racism in our community and “whining” are not the same thing, and, again, it’s really dehumanizing when we try to talk about something so important to us and people in the mostly-white communities around us dismiss our conversations as “whining” because they think our concerns or experiences are trivial, particularly when they personally, as white people, do not experience racism with the same intensity that people of color do. Obviously this is important to us and we have thought about it a lot. I stated that this has been going on (in my personal experience) for over a year and the autograph posted was signed months ago. It has actually taken us a long time to decide to say something so publicly about it, but I personally said something because THIS IS IMPORTANT AND PEOPLE NEED TO STOP IGNORING IT.
This person does not know very much about PG. All this person knows is that PG does not take a Pennsylvania drag queen seriously as an agent of oppression.
There is a lot of noise about racism. It is very one sided. The talk gets in the way of constructive action. There needs to be compassion and kindness for both people of color, and white people. To focus this kind of attention on a drag queen says more about the complainer than it does the performer. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. They are Union Soldiers, from 1861-1865.
This is the 2014 repost of a previously published effort. This is a work of speculation, and has no basis in proven fact. The thesis of this post cannot be proved nor disproved.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These images are from the Crimean War, the first war to be photographed. It was the conflict that gave us “The charge of the light brigade”, with the line “ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die”. Or often, to do and die. Thousands of men died in the Crimean War, and not one person today can tell you why.
Listening to talk radio while you drive is a dangerous activity. You might start to think, and look at the man behind the screen. Neal Boortz (spell check suggestions:Boor, Booster, Boozer) was on a rant today about Jane Fonda. It it the same story you have heard many times…she gave aid and comfort to the enemy, she is a traitor, American troops died because of her,she should have been executed.
Sometimes when you hear something too many times, you begin to have doubts about what you heard. A light bulb went off in PG’s head when he heard the Fonda Rant again.. .What if Jane Fonda was working for the US government when she went to Hanoi?
What was in it for the government? This trip gave our government a discredited leader of the antiwar movement to denounce. When the government was trashing Jane Fonda, they did not have to defend the disastrous policies of that war.
Miss Fonda has been an icon of right wing hatred ever since, as well as of military training. One story has Miss Fonda giving the North Vietnamese information about activities by American forces. How would she get this information?
The infamous trip to Hanoi took place in the Summer of 1972. American troops were being withdrawn, and anti war protests lost most of their passion. (It was also soon after the death of F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover, and the Watergate burglary) The war in Vietnam was essentially over for America. We were no longer trying to win, but to negotiate a face saving treaty. President Nixon called it “Peace with Honor”. Miss Fonda’s actions had little impact on these negotiations.
Miss Fonda made some radio broadcasts from Hanoi. Is it possible that coded messages to our troops were included in these broadcasts? Is it also possible that she gave the North Vietnamese misinformation on purpose?
Why would a women known for her left wing activism do such a thing? Maybe, the FBI had some dirt on her, and blackmailed her.
In 1967, Kurt Vonnegut published a book titled “Mother Night”. It tells the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr. Mr. Campbell made propaganda broadcasts for Germany in World War II, which were secretly used to pass coded messages to the Allies. He was condemned as a traitor after the war, but never prosecuted. He did not win an Academy Award.
The role of the government in this affair could have taken another role. Perhaps Miss Fonda was sincere in her actions, but aided by the government. Miss Fonda was under surveillance in 1972. The government would have known about her plans to go to North Vietnam, and perhaps could have stopped her. But, because her going to Hanoi was to their advantage, the government allowed the trip to take place.
The above is speculation, and could be horribly wrong. The fact that Miss Fonda has expressed regrets over her trip neither proves nor disproves this. She got great movie roles, and won two Academy Awards, during the seventies. This may be a coincidence, or maybe it was a reward for her service.
Clearly, the trip she made to Hanoi had propaganda value to the US government. It has been a Godsend over the years. You should always consider who benefits from an action.
During his rant today, Mr. Boortz said that US troops died because of Miss Fonda. (He does not discuss the man who went to Nam in his place, after his draft deferment.) By saying this, he can ignore the tens of thousands of troops who died because Richard Nixon chose to wait until 1973 to sign a “peace treaty”. He could have made the same deal in 1969. Peace with honor indeed.
This is a repost, through and through. Pictures are from The Library of Congress
A few days ago, the possibility that the government allowed Jane Fonda to go to Hanoi was discussed. Ms. Fonda’s trip to North Vietnam had numerous propaganda/p.r. advantages to the American government. Direct government sponsorship cannot be ruled out. Another scenario would have the government knowing about the trip, having the ability to stop the trip, but allowing it to happen. For the purposes of today’s discussion, we will call this the “Hoover Option”(HO). It is named for John Edgar Hoover, the publicity savvy director of the FBI until his death in 1972.
HO is a favorite of conspiracy theorists. It is difficult to prove or disprove, and explains a lot of things.
Another conspiracy rich event is the shooting of John Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The various hypotheses on this event are well known. Numerous people wanted JFK to retire…gangsters, teamsters, Republicans, Lyndon Johnson, Vietnamese… to the point to where it is tough to sort out all the possible candidates. The thinking goes here, that J. Edgar Hoover knew of the plot to kill JFK, could have stopped it, but chose to allow it to happen. Even conspiracy skeptics think this is plausible.
The concept of Lee Harvey Oswald working alone does not eliminate the possibility of HO. Here was a sketchy character, known to have traveled to the Soviet Union, and favor “fair play for Cuba”. He worked in a building on the parade route. As much as the FBI knew…especially about those with Soviet connections…is it possible that Mr. Hoover knew what Mr. Oswald was going to do that Friday? And decided to allow it to happen. And why did Jackie choose that photogenic pink outfit?
A few years later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, TN. Mr. Hoover had a well known hatred of Dr. King. How did a sketchy character get a room, within gunshot range of the hotel Dr. King stayed in? How did he know when Dr. King would be stepping on the balcony? Did Mr. Hoover know all of this, and still allow the shooting to take place? Why was Jesse Jackson there?
J. Edgar Hoover died on May 2, 1972. This was 13 days before Arthur Bremer shot George Wallace, six weeks before the Watergate burglary, and eight weeks before Jane Fonda went to Hanoi. Mr. Hoover died at the height of the Nixon administrations “dirty tricks”, just a few weeks before they got caught. No doubt, Mr. Hoover knew what Tricky Dick was up to.
HO has probably been in existence throughout history. Most leaders have blood on their hands, and it is always better to get someone else to do the dirty work.
Pearl Harbor has long been the object of this speculation. There is little doubt that Mr. Roosevelt wanted the United States to join the war, but was having a tough time with an isolationist public. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Mr. Roosevelt got what he wanted. It has long been speculated that he knew in advance about the attack, and let it go down. There were obvious advantages to him.
Which brings us to the Pearl Harbor of the modern era, 911. The attacks that day were a political jackpot for George W. Bush. He was able to ram many restrictions on civil liberties through congress, and begin a war in Iraq, that had clearly been planned for some time. Did our government know about plans for the 911 attacks, and quietly let them happen?