Browsing All Posts published on »June, 2007«

Freedom’s Failure (3)

June 29, 2007


A modern consumerist society dissolves the distinctions between good and evil, right and wrong, in the absolutist senses that used to apply to daily human conduct. For the most part rules for living are now informal. I think we would now be shocked by the sorts of social expectations, conformities, and restrictions that existed until […]

Freedom’s Failure (2)

June 28, 2007


After all, look at me.  Have I changed?  I wear my hat.  Grey as dust.  Can I?  No?  Yes?

Freedom’s Failure

June 27, 2007


To what degree can an act be pessimistic?  And is it something that should be thought about at all, how much of a failure this or that act is likely to be?  Should the idiom be: Fail again, fail better?  You set out to change the world but in the end it is the trivial that commands […]

Reason’s Idiots (2)

June 26, 2007


A C Grayling on God is not Great.  [Independent on Sunday, 24 Jun 07.] He behaves in the usual way; cheers from the sidelines someone who has the rational steadiness to realise folly when he sees it.  But one has to question how this can be rational: “Hitchens … answers the weary canard that the […]

Scraps (1)

June 23, 2007


Science fiction is full of longing.  But it longs for what doesn’t exist.  Which is why it longs for it.  The search for content is not factual but categorical. 

Happy Days

June 22, 2007


Saw Beckett’s Happy Days.  Unending daylight.  The apocalypse.  A fossilized narrative sense. The ‘story’ has stopped.  Or almost stopped.  Nothing happens.  Or: almost nothing happens.  Only a toothbrush and a handbag occur as events along with Willie’s reading a ‘stopped’ newspaper, his body crawling over the rubble.

Reason’s Idiots

June 20, 2007


Foolishness can be rational too.

Tin China

June 19, 2007


Kafka’s story: the innocent seeming phrases always yielding to contradiction; endlessly, dismayingly; the material beyond the scope of reason. For example, the beginning of the Great Wall of China; something like: “The Great Wall of China was completed …” (ah so, it was finished!) “…in its North Eastern Section.” (Ah, so it wasn’t finished.) One […]

Puerility as a Voice

June 18, 2007


A surprising number of contemporary British novelists have no ‘voice’. Not to name any names. But to compare the Americans. McCarthy; DeLillo; Ford; Salter. The Americans write prose often suited to being read aloud. I am about halfway through a sequel to The Graduate. It is by a writer with an instinct for dialogue. If life is becoming […]

Cake not Water

June 14, 2007


In The Passages of Joy the poet Thom Gunn writes about self-expression in a paradoxical way; in what amounts to a rare moment of self-revelation, he writes against it, seeing it as a form of disease.  The class he is taking have been writing poems about their lives. The subjects that they write about are traumatic and fraught: subjects such […]