This is not a high traffic site. I don’t post in full thoughts, I don’t have many visitors. Which is as it should be. But every couple of months, someone will actually use the Contact Us page to ask how to comment. Usually, late at night. So I ignore them.
I have the comments disabled because I weary of deleting spam. Whether it’s bad products, porn, or techno-fascists, subversives, state actors spewing bile, I don’t care to deal with it.
As with all things, this too will change. I am undergoing life churn and should be posting more and will possibly be seeking out actual correspondence. Or I might just randomly open/close the comments. You will have to be logged in to a WordPress account and your comment will have to be approved.
By A. Wallis Mills(Life time: 1878–1940) - Original publication: The Strand MagazineImmediate source: https://www.madameulalie.org/strand/Jeeves_Takes_Charge.html, PD-US-expired, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62767318
He makes me laugh. P.G. Wodehouse’s writing tickles me. His command of British upper class slang is wondrous. His characters are caricatures, and yes, the whole thing feels like a sardonic send-up of blue-bloods.
This is a short story and pretty much an introduction of Bertie Wooster, the man of leisure, and his competently in-charge valet Jeeves. It is from Bertie’s POV, making Jeeves mysterious and crafty behind the scenes.
Somehow Wodehouse belies my instinct to over analyze. The parameters are clear, Bertie is a very privileged, entitled, clueless wanker whose life is subtly controlled and protected by an expert manservant. Hilarity ensues. The prejudices and dark side of the supremely entitled are glossed over for the sake of a good yarn.
All in all, don’t expect an Marxist class analysis nor a terse defense of the Manor Life. Relax and let Wodehouse make you giggle at silly men.
A collection of essays based around the Jungian idea of a shadow self, the dark part of all of us.
There is this idea that as we work on ourselves, work to become blessed, enlightened, closer my God(dess) to Thee, we become better people. We correct ourselves to become pure beings of light.
This is obviously a one-sided, zero-sum idea. It is born from the idea that is Us vs. Them, Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Dark. Aristotelian dichotomy fed through Manicheism that somehow went from a proclaimed heresy to current Protestant orthodoxy.
This essays in the book discuss, from various points of view, the dark shadowy parts of our nature, from the deeply personal to our issues as a nation.
I’ve read this once so far, sitting serving on a Grand Jury during the government shutdown. I wasn’t that impressed at the time but the concept has kept with me. Sure, it is in part because we are watching America simultaneously confront and celebrate its Shadow self. Watching grown men punch teenagers in the face for asking that they wear a mask, racist vigilantes condoned on network television, children dying in cages, and large aspects of our democracy dismantled.
It will be a while before I can come back to this book objectively, if ever, through no fault of its own.
Burroughsian. I tend to use the term for two different currents of thought. Here we mean it for Edgar Rice, and not William S.
Lin Carter was a huge fan of Burroughsian heroic adventure. There are countless imitators of ERB. Lin Carter, at his best, can be judged against the master.
The premise is simple. Our crippled yet wealthy protagonist learns soul-casting or astral travel from Eckanar and an ancient Tibetan tome.
Let’s clear up the term Eckanar. This is a New-Age religion founded in 1965 by Paul Twitchell. The religion does teach that the Soul, or True Self, is able to separate from the body and travel across planes of existence in order to reach and conjoin with G*d. The term itself, according to the church, is to be translated Co-worker with G*d, which is the stated aim of their spiritual practice. It is not necessarily a “science of soul-travel”, as I’ve seen in many reviews and blurbs about this book. Another example of sloppy scholarship gaining a life of its own.
Lin Carter wasn’t the best writer, his quality varies. This sword-and-planet novel has thick, flowery prose, which I enjoy but is certainly not to universal taste. My next read of this I will pick out all the fun vocabulary words to share.
There are heroic ‘elven-esque’ warriors, fierce giant sized monsters, a shifty adversary, and stunningly beautiful women. One of these women is a strong bandit queen, another … well this is where it gets a bit problematic.
The love interest is a 14 year old princess. “She was young, a girl, a mere child: she looked perhaps fourteen when I saw her first in the Great Hall of Phaolon.” Later, Lin skirts around the age issue, pontificating on how the Green Star society doesn’t measure time like we do and not actually coming out and stating the princess’s age. She is very definitely described to look like a young adolescent. The word ‘lithe’ is thrown around a lot.
This pretty much ruined the re-read for me. My exploration into an inner bibliography has let me re-examine so many of the tropes that shaped me and all these ‘lithe’ love interests and ‘swarthy shifty’ bad guys are indicative on why ridding myself of this type of thinking is an on-going struggle.
All said and done, this a great example of the flawed (E.R.) Burroughsian tradition, warts and all.
I love an incongruous thought twixt seemingly unrelated media. This time it started with the film Ator: the fighting eagle, a sandals and sorcery yawner that even Rifftraz couldn’t make interesting. But I watched it enough to know that the bad guy was the Spider Lord. You could tell he was a bad guy because, duh, spiders.
The next day I read through P.K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. In order to show use the android’s lack of empathy they take a captured spider away from their dimwitted host. “Cut off it’s legs ad see if it can crawl with only four of them”. While they sit and watch a TV celebrity (an undercover android) declare that empathy is a hoax, the android Pris is at the kitchen table with a pair of scissors, mutilating what could be the last spider in the building.
1st repeat of a theme is happenstance, the 2nd is coincidence….
My next read, Under the Green Star by by Lin Carter, a classic Burroughsian fantasy. I’ll talk about it more in my DAW reads. The pertinent part to our thread here is when the hero fights a a giant spider to save the obligatory princess. The spider is a monster, an “albino vampire”.
—and the 3rd is a communication…
“The Bugs are not like us. The Pseudo-Arachnids aren’t even like spiders. They are arthropods who happen to look like a madman’s conception of a giant, intelligent spider, but their organization, psychological and economic, is more like that of ants or termites; they are communal entities, the ultimate dictatorship of the hive…..Their warriors are smart, skilled, and aggressive—smarter than you are, by the only universal rule, if the Bug shoots first. You can burn off one leg, two legs, three legs, and he just keeps on coming; burn off four on one side and he topples over—but keeps on shooting. You have to spot the nerve case and get it . . . whereupon he will trot right on past you, shooting at nothing, until he crashes into a wall or something.”
We have in a short time random media introducing the spider as a loved pet, then a helpless mutilated plot device, a fierce adversary, and then our ultimate inhuman enemy in an interstellar war.
The last quote is from Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, a novel I am struggling philosophical with as I re-read it three- and a-half decades since my first time through. It is Heinlein at his most right-wing, hiding behind ‘hip libertarian’ language. But notice the image of the 4 legged spider brought back. Here again the android, in this case Heinlein’s military mouthpiece in his power-armor, mutilating the spider. It’s ok for our military hero though, he has an alien opponent whom he has further ‘othered’, calling them “Bugs”.
This is what dehumanizing, ‘othering’, does. It is us giving ourselves permission to ignore our empathy so that we may create 4 legged spiders, ultimately dehumanizing ourselves.
Just finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by P.K.Dick for the first time. One of his more solid novels.
The theme of empathy is threaded throughout, being the main difference between humans and the Nexus 6 androids. The androids at one point declare that empathy is a lie, a myth that humans perpetuate to oppress them.
It is not difficult to look at this through eyes accustomed to our modern circumstances. We’ve all seen the arguments about masks. My wife and I watched the PBS interview with Dr, Fauci and one of the questions he was asked was about anti-vaxxers. There is a concerted effort to quash empathetic action so the privileged are not inconvenienced.
This got me thinking about the nature vs. nurture. Some humans, eg. sociopaths, psychopaths, the deeply autistic, are born without empathy, while others are programmed by propaganda. Ultimately this what the Black Lives Matter is in essence, a cry for empathy.
I have been thinking a lot of the various memes that Roald Dahl created with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They are referenced often, probably more than the old favorite The Wizard of Oz.
My wife and I have been steadily making our way through the multitude of seasons of the Amazing Race. There is Golden Gnome ticket in one season, another a contestant compares a ballon ride to the Glass Elevator bursting through the top of the factory.
A random episode of Travel Man, with my hero Richard Ayoade. They are about to climb up a medieval tower, and the guest references the same Glass Elevator.
Of course, The Office episode with the Golden Ticket in the paper.
In the first episode of the show Hannibal, the analogy of the golden ticket is used to describe what a serial killer is looking for in his victims, that spark of life that for a moment satisfies his desires. It is properly Qabalalistic interpretation, where we must dive from Malkuth into the Tunnels of Set, seeking out the sparks of light lost at the Tzimtzum, when the retreat of Ain Soph from the world shattered the vessels and scattered the light.
Most of the references of course are made from a merely popular culture level, informed by the Gene Hackman movie and possibly the Depp/Burton version. I’m not sure, I tend to be removed from the popular and cinema-informed.
Over the last couple of weeks my laptop screen has been dim, hard to see. Maybe because I was growing old…..
Or maybe I needed to restart the graphics driver:
Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B
Worked like a charm.
In 1971, editor Donald A Wolheim left Ace Books to start an imprint with his wife Elsie. The new DAW Books were mass market paperbacks with a distinctive yellow spine and the DAW logo on the front.
Growing up, my mother loved to drag her sons to various thrift shops. An avid reader from an early age, I would scour the used books for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and obscure non-fiction, especially fringe religion. Those habits never changed.
DAW yellow spines were my favorites, although they tended to be hit or miss. A few years ago I decided to collect and read through the imprint until they changed the design away from the classic yellow spine.
These are their stories.