Sunday, December 30, 2007

editorial skullduggery in the TLS

For those half-educated truck drivers who enjoy a good read but whose delicate sensibilities are sometimes easily offended ... there is an extremely readable and illuminating essay by A. S. Byatt in the Times Literary Supplement dated November 30, 2007

The header to the article on page 16 reads, "Novel thoughts ... A way out of narcissism ?"

She lays out some careful and very interesting arguments about the evolving scope of the novel and it's subject matter.

But the flyer on the cover simply reads "No more sex in novels, please" , which was unfair to both the author and this reader, I think.
My advice is to ignore the flyer and enjoy the writer.

And then, in the same issue, if you have all day, Gabriel Josipovici's extended gallop around the subject of Modernism is also very useful. This time he looks at many kinds of writing, partly through the prism of Kierkegaard's ideas about existence.

I don't have the time or the talent to go to university and study all those books, so i'm grateful for these informative "tutorials" because they offer stimulus and perspective, navigational beacons in the jungle of ideas ... for those who must creep along the forest floor rather than go swinging through the treetops.

Paula's House of Toast

One of my favourite blogs is called Paula's House Of Toast ... I approach her blog reverentially, she's a wonderful photographer and seems to have a heart of jewelled gold, so i never ever thought I'd even slightly disagree with her about anything until today.

Her blog, titled Kindertotenlied, begins ...

"The Feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us that there is a physics of Good and Evil. In nature, every action has its equal and opposite reaction. The moral calculus may not be exactly the same, but the vectors are identical."

Well yes, sort of. In mechanics, it is useful to think of actions and re-actions. But our Universe isn't simply mechanical and so those naughty physicists have long since introduced the difficult concept of entropy to alarm and confuse us. No, I can't explain entropy easily ... so you'll have to go away and do some work on the subject ... if only out of respect for Paula.

My point, ( Ok, you can't really make clear points whilst foundering in my "fuzzy kind of logic" ) ... where Paula & I might differ, perhaps ... is that I sense that if we did exist in a "moral universe", (and I'm not at all religious), then we'd all be happily dedicated to resisting "moral entropy" ... analytical sociologists want to quantify human conduct but know that individuals can't and don't simply act as vectors, it's only a tendency not a rule ... I really do love the way that our planet's "evolution" seems to be achieving it's complexities as if in opposition to entropy ... but at this point my weary argument drifts off for breakfast ...
Later ...
on reflection, our perspectives don't diverge that much ...
on reflection, they seem almost convergent ...
I'd better take another pill and lie down now. See you later.