the new modernism

small girl on bus: I love that building! It’s so cool!
somewhat distracted mum: I think it’s stupid — it’s so ugly! Where are all the windows?
sgob: It has lots of windows! There’s all the little ones up the side, and then the roof is all windows. [triumphantly] It’s a HOUSE OF WINDOWS!”

The she got busted for having really dirty hands, which she blamed on stroking the CAT too much (nice save!), because the cat now sleeps in the DUSTBIN (hmmmm).

le beau sejour de commun jour

“But if you look long enough to understand it, to conceive its sentiment, you will find that these wanton lines have a spirit guiding their caprices. For there is style there; one temper has shaded the whole; and everything that has style, that has been done as no other man or age could have done it, as it could never, for all our trying, be done again, has its true value and interest.”
—Walter Pater, The Renaissance, Fontana Library, 2nd imp., 1964, pp.170-71

Pater knows and declares that the Pléiade were nostalgists rather than modernists; making not a people’s art, but the poetry and prose of and for a courtly few and a vanishing culture, “the losing side, the forlorn hope”… And yet they were the first to see modern (meaning 16th century) French as the language of subtler expression, at once flippant and melancholy, helping dethrone a millennium’s uncritical reverence for classical Greek or Latin as the only tongues of literature and scholarship and wisdom — and they also began gently to set out the argument for the here-and-now as the better time to treasure, rather than eternity to come: “their dejection at the thought of leaving this fair abode of our common day…”

As established realism in the early 16th century this last perhaps only had unimpeachable appeal to a privileged few, but as a call to arms, is life is short so seize the day — despite its counterintuitive and unpromising provenance here — ever in the end anything but a call to a radical democracy?

did you once see shelley er plain? (look it up) (<-- comedy meme)

“I’ve just remembered the high point of my career. At the Cities In The Park Festival I was backstage wearing a pinwheel hat (look it up). I was obsessed with pinwheel hats, you see, and had written a piece for Punch about trying to buy a pinwheel hat in New York. As I strolled about, one of De La Soul suddenly gave out an mighty cry and ran up and embraced me. He was, perhaps needless to say, also wearing a pinwheel hat.”

Alternative headline: “I refute it thus” (bah, yes, look that up too).

political discussion as defence against experience: worse than ever

“And the question to be asked is not: What is my opinion of all this? That question is easily answered, but those who ask only that have fallen into the trap, for it is precisely the greatest error of our intellectual life to assume that the most effective way of dealing with any phenomenon is to have an opinion about it. The real question is: What is my relation to all this?”

Not just “my” relation, surely? Josh quotes Warshow: who I should read, of course. Influence doesn’t exist, but the sky on my planet is still that shade of yellow some days (today, for example). Hi Josh.