Monthly Archives: September 2007

I don’t get it


“Maintenant je sais” (1954) by Jean Gabin

Jean Gabin sings that now he knows he’ll never know. Like in South Park episode 1101 (#154), the “With Apologies to Jesse Jackson” episode, popularly known as the “Nigger guy” episode to which the conclusion was “I don’t get it” and Luc Tuymans current photo exposition in Antwerp with the same title.

World cinema classics #14


Blood Simple (1985) Joel and Ethan Coen

Today is Ethan Coen’s fiftieth birthday.

Look out for the scene where the detective opens the window; the woman slams it on top of his wrist and drives a knife through his hand into the windowsill. The original soundtrack is by Carter Burwell, who has done the soundtracks to all of the Coens’ films.

Previous “World Cinema Classics

She loves the alcohol on my lips

In the history of co-dependent relationships there is Hans and Unica, there is Scott and Zelda.

Zelda Fitzgerald

Of his relationship with Zelda, Scott says:

“Perhaps fifty percent of our friends and relations will tell you in good faith that it was my drinking that drove Zelda mad, and the other half would assure you that it was her madness that drove me to drink. Neither of these judgements means much of anything. These two groups of friends and relations would be unanimous in saying that each of us would have been much better off without the other. The irony is that we have never been more in love with each other in all our lives. She loves the alcohol on my lips. I cherish her most extravagant hallucinations. In the end, nothing really had much importance. We destroyed ourselves. But in all honesty, I never thought we destroyed each other.”

Inspired by the chapter “1874: Three Novellas, or “What Happened?”” in  Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari‘s A Thousand Plateaus (which begins with an illustration by Outcault). The chapter features the short stories/novellas “In the Cage” by Henry James, “The Crack-up” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “The Story of the Abyss and the Spyglass” by Pierrette Fleutiaux and begins with an analysis of the difference between the short story (nouvelle in the original French version, rendered as novella in Brian Massumi‘s translation) and the tale:

“It is not very difficult to determine the essence of the [short story] as a literary genre: Everything is organized around the question, “What happened? Whatever could have happened?” The tale is the opposite of the [short story], because it is an altogether different question that the reader asks with bated breath: “What is going to happen?” . . . Something always happens in the novel also, but the novel integrates elements of the [short story] and the tale into the variation of its perpetual living present.”

Elsewhere #4

The photographs of Jana Hojstricová depict a woman dressed up in tight and transparent clothes made from foil. via MOON RIVER, a newly discovered blog, which I should’ve found a long time ago. Fabulous. More on the photographic front is the city photography of Eugene de Salignac, a beautiful photograph of a girl undressing at the beach, the fetish photography of China Hamilton. Then there is a very special 18th-century coffee service, a new blog I’d like to present: gimcrack hospital (PG) (Gimcrack represents what I like best about blogs, succeeding in making a fictional place, in this case, a mental institution where Nurse Myra works). I have a Youtube clip from an old skool house music classic. L’Alamblog presents BIZARRE (nouvelle série, n° 31, 3e trimestre 1963). Censorshipwise there is a perfect illustration to forbidden libraries, a piece on German censorship in the 20th century. The always associative Quick Study on (un)satisfaction and Dennis Cooper gives you the funk.

Five wikis

Wiki is the format of the future and will eventually displace HTML as primary mark-up language. Interesting things are happening in the Wiki space. I’ve mentioned Citizendium. Here are five more wikis that have recently caught my attention.

One can clearly see from the last three examples that the diffusion of new technologies and new media always travels the viral path of sex. In the words of Gerard Van Der Leun, writing in 1993 for Wire magazine:

“Sex, as we know, is a heat-seeking missile that forever seeks out the newest medium for its transmission.”

P. S. The waiting – of course – is still for a good bliki platform.

Camille Paglia and black music

Camille Paglia was at the height of her popularity in the early and mid 1990s, right after the publication of her magnum opus Sexual Personae. While she is currently dismissed as a provocateur (or should I say une provocatrice?), her thought and writing are still valuable to me and she still is one of my main inspirations in the nobrow canon. Consider for example a speech she gave exactly 26 years ago at the M.I.T. where she said the following about black music:

“[…] you cannot be graduating from an American liberal arts college without knowing about black music. This is a great art form we have given to the world. Jazz, blues, Billie Holiday, Coltrane, Charlie Parker–there is no true liberal arts education in this country without that. We must do something to the curriculum to build that in. Right now dance, which is this enormous form, the most ancient of all art forms, is off there in the Phys. Ed. department–you go and take an aerobics class! You are not a liberal arts graduate until you know about dance–you know about it. You know about Martha Graham, you know about ballet, you know about the incredible contributions that African-Americans have made to dance.”