Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And conservatives think the past is good

Your corrective to that evil idea is the photograph by Jack Delano at

http://www.shorpy.com/node/13647

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

White - unto the White Creator -

The Time magazine images at

http://lightbox.time.com/2012/08/23/the-convention-draws-near-the-romney-ryan-road-trip-to-the-party-in-tampa

show the current Republican candidates for President and Vice President campaigning and fund-raising in New England and Long Island. One hundred percent of the people in every photograph are white.

But in one of the photographs (by Lauren Fleishman) the personnel have become invisible. Their traces exist only outside the image frame. A moment prior to the image's time, something human, perhaps even something unwhite, created its composition and then removed itself. Alone before the composition now, we see a still life of an airplane's tray table in repose. Resting upon it are a plastic plate in green and yellow imitation wicker, a white napkin on which rests a single chocolate chip cookie, and a transparent plastic cup of milk. As the beloved hymn of the party of the War on Christmas says,

All is calm, all is bright.

Like a tag on a toe in a morgue, a caption informs us that the cookie is still warm. When old age shall this generation waste, it will remain.

Malevich, just think how much greater an artist you might have been if you had only owned a dacha in East Hampton!


Sources: Emily Dickinson, "Publication is the auction" (Fr788) and Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: White on White. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Area (adv.)

The paper on which George worked had one policy. It strove to mention by name in each issue, as many as possible of the inhabitants of the village. Like an excited dog, George Willard ran here and there, noting on his pad of paper who had gone on business to the county seat or had returned from a visit to a neighboring village. All day he wrote little facts upon the pad. "A. P. Wringlet has received a shipment of straw hats. Ed Byerbaum and Tom Marshall were in Cleveland Friday. Uncle Tom Sinnings is building a new barn on his place on the Valley Road."
          Sherwood Anderson, "The Thinker," in Winesburg, Ohio (1919)

In small American newspapers during the twentieth century, little facts like George's would be changed into narratives by complementation with headlines. Typically, a headline will create a sense of narrative by implying an answer to at least one of journalism's standard queries.

Area Man Has Interesting Hobby

Who? You know: man. Where? You know: area. In rewrite, the abstracted record of an event has become the promise of a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Furthermore, the story will name the man, and while it's at it it will name his hobby too.

But "area" is a word that never needed a name. "Area" has already and forever included all of us – not just the man with the hobby but everyone who can read a newspaper's mastheaded name (The Winesburg Eagle), because everyone under the shelter of (for instance) this eagle's wings has been given to believe he has always known where he is, and who and how and why. "Area," the noun, is a word that first enters our vocabulary through the inner ear, where the sense of balance makes us know ourselves to be at home upon firm earth. But after this particular noun has pervaded all of the ear and set to work modifying the sounds there, it begins to function as an adverb. Its grammar communicates a mode which once changed a man, for the brief instant it took to read his name, to this man. This man became one of the the marks left on George Willard's scrap of newsprint (boldly, ephemerally – take your pick of any adverb ending in -ly) to implore the passing tribute of a sigh.

That wasn't enough to hold a reader's interest, of course. At the end of his book, George himself boarded a train and rode out of the Eagle's range, his head filling with an idea of vanishing people doing vanishing things: "Butch Wheeler the lamp lighter of Winesburg hurrying through the streets on a summer evening and holding a torch in his hand, Helen White standing by a window in the Winesburg post office and putting a stamp on an envelope."  By now, George's scraps of newsprint have vanished too. A different kind of newspaper, The Onion, now transmits packets of information about events lacking who or why, and in those stories "area" is a word that can be understood only as an objet d'art.

Area Panty Lined


With narrative and its illusions gone, nothing remains but a decontextualized, defamiliarized word: panty, odd retroconversion of an adjective to a noun. But that gives the grammar its own narrative happy ending, doesn't it? After all, the silence surrounding panty is as much fun to hear as any word The Winesburg Eagle could ever print. In Winesburg, Ohio, says newsprint history, there once was a prose factory that manufactured garrulous sincerity out of short declarative sentences. But at the same instant, just two states to the east, there lived a doctor who noticed one rainy morning that a red wheelbarrow had begun automatically and inexhaustibly and wonderfully to fill itself with readable silence. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know


1/2 doz.

is the title of my new photochapbook. It's available free from the Issuu bookshelf at the bottom of your screen.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A morse of resin

Notice: this Jonathan Morse is not the one who wrote at http://jonathan-morse.com/blog on June 22, 1911:
business leaders believe their message is suited to inform a targeted audience of the product/service available.  many businesses restrict input and practice a fortress-like policy.  sadly, their message likely does not resinate with many in the audience.  in contrast, inviting and welcoming open dialogue with practiced listening holds the potential for tuned messaging, higher penetration and rewarding conversion.

Swagger

L. Paul Bremer III, who spent the Bush administration bringing disaster to Iraq, is now self-employed as a landscape painter in Vermont. At

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/02/the_watercolor_paintings_of_paul_bremer

you can find an illustrated article about his oeuvre. The man is every bit as good at being an artist as he was at being a proconsul. But he's confident enough nevertheless to bring his work before the public.

---

Here, in front of the cathedral in Padua, is the first Renaissance equestrian statue, Donatello’s image of the condottiere Gattamelata. In their own right, the armored image and the cathedral come to us massively, in the final rightness that history bestows on its darlings. But click the photograph anyway if you wish to enlarge it.


Sometimes confidence does bring forth works with the power to outlive. For them, "outlive" is an intransitive verb. It survives their makers, burning away all the evil of their beginning. They can kill, but the deaths they impose aren't just blundering Bremerian Fingerfehler. We love them for the reason Rilke loved his angels: because they serenely disdain to destroy us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Desolate is the roof where the cat sat


The only rhymes are above, dove, glove, and shove.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

From the history of gray

Paris, March 1839: Samuel F. B. Morse, in France to obtain European patents for his telegraph, attends a demonstration of Jacques Daguerre's new system for recording what has been seen. Taking note there of a gap in the record, he writes to a New York newspaper:
Objects moving are not impressed. The Boulevard, so constantly filled with a moving throng of pedestrians and carriages was perfectly solitary, except an individual who was having his boots brushed. His feet were compelled, of course, to be stationary for some time, one being on the box of the boot black, and the other on the ground. Consequently his boots and legs were well defined, but he is without body or head, because these were in motion. (Taft 12)
---


The headless, bodiless ghost that Morse saw in Daguerre's studio was probably this one.
Boulevard_du_Temple_by_Daguerre 
L. J. M. Daguerre, Boulevard du Temple, 1838 or 1839
Click to enlarge.

Just over a hundred years later, in America, another man fell under the influence of long exposure and went ghostly likewise.

1a33867v

Jack Delano, Street corner, Brockton, Mass., January 1941

The grammar of Morse's 1839 description is beautifully precise. The feet of the shoeshine man's customer are described in the past tense because their moment of stasis is now only a historical fact, but the body and head remain in the historical present (as in "In 1865, Lincoln dies") because their invisibility now belongs to the category of the forever after (as in Secretary of State Seward's sentence after Lincoln's last breath: "Now he belongs to the ages"). As history, too, Morse's description approaches the fundamental. It reminds us that photography has erased every identifying mark of the shoeshine man and his customer and sunk them deep in a memory record which endures only as its elemental daguerreotype forms, copper and silver and mercury and gold.

Later in the process, Jack Delano was able to supplement Daguerre's monochrome mnemotechnic with color. To him it was given to see an image through to its end in Kodachrome, the crystalline and slow to fade. But the ghost in the margin of Delano's record is even less visible than the one in Daguerre's. In each of these two photographs with men in their corners, the process has failed to hold life still at the instant of its final pose.

---

In ways that Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag have discussed, Delano's photograph of a street corner is history inscribed in the genre of elegy. Once, not long before the approach of a photographer named Jack, a New England storm swept through Brockton, Massachusetts. For the moment and yet also approximately forever, a memory of the storm remains in white on a utility pole. There, seen as an image in a photograph, the white is a metonym for "winter" or "New England" which any American will know how to read.  With the metonym's help, too, an archivist might be able to write (say) a history of snowplow routes in Brockton as of January 1941. But of course metonymy can't restore les neiges d'antan, or the way a winter day in Massachusetts would have made itself known to eye and flesh eleven months before Pearl Harbor, with so many of New England's soon to be dead still alive in their snow. In this image, snow reads its white to us, but its cloaking gray surround seems not yet to be readable, even after 71 years.

That color-coded signal warns the eye that Massachusetts's gray extends not just through its space but through its time as well.

1a33866v

Jack Delano, Near the waterfront, New Bedford, Mass., January 1941

Yes, there's time in this picture. Those squat steel towers in their girdered cages were called gasometers, and few remain now in the United States. The smoke pollution may be due to return under a Republican administration, but for now it too is largely a thing of the past. And finally the image itself is depopulated of the people of 1941. As of 2012, what you see here of historic New Bedford is less a photograph in its own right than an architect's rendering of a not yet written history. It is a visual metonym for the past, camera-ready to be positioned on a page between paragraphs full of words about the past. Call your metonym something like "the gasometer era," and there's your symbol,  right in the illustration. As an illustration, too, the symbol may be applied to any number of subjects.

But its grays don't cling to anything like a subject. Jack Delano, a documentarian with the Farm Security Administration, certainly had subjects in mind when he arranged to depict them, but even if he had considered gray to be a political quality (as in a pictorial equivalent of a phrase like "the grim gray of industrial New England"), he couldn't have taught it to make a political impression. In Jack Delano's New Bedford, gray is the unruly all-color that takes dominion because it defies classification by hue. Sunk below form in the color layer, a surround that decolors the image it encloses, the gray will be seen always to have been ghosting itself away from subject and composition and social order. If we could speak of a form in transit into the unsymbolizable, we might be able to name that thing "Gray" and speak of it as such. But it can't be spoken of as such. It is only the gray: a form that neither Samuel Morse nor we know how to say we didn't see.

---

Source of the passage by Samuel Morse: Robert Taft, Photography and the American Scene. 1938; New York: Dover Publications, 1964.

I am not related to Samuel Morse.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Music for the manicure

Maeve Reston, "Donors arrive at Hamptons fundraisers with advice for Mitt Romney." Los Angeles Times 8 July 2012. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-hamptons-fundraiser-20120708,0,4909639.story

A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. "I don't think the common person is getting it," she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. "Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.
"We've got the message," she added. "But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."

Ladies, is the radio in your shop tuned to the right station?



Friday, July 6, 2012

For Newt, Dinesh, and Sheriff Joe

Taken from the lawn of Central Union Church (United Church of Christ) in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, this photograph (click it to enlarge) shows the Shinshu Kyokai Temple (Buddhist). The apartment building at the right is where President Obama spent his youth. The low, tin-roofed building between the temple and the apartment house is the True Jesus Mission, Church of the Latter Rain.



Donald and Mitt, would you be caught dead being born into such a neighborhood?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

The woe that is in marriage

I did a blog search for "Jonathan Morse." I discovered at

http://archives.mainegenealogy.net/2006/06/early-falmouth-marriage-intentions-m-s.html

that on November 23, 1754, in Falmouth, Maine (now Portland), Jonathan Morse, Jr., became engaged to Experience Paine.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eccentric billionaire

Trimalchio is forever young. As we read about him in delighted shame, we invest him with all the immortality of our desires. Down the ages his name will change, but he will not. Look at the Jumbotron, reader! Have you ever been silly? High above you on the screen, the billionaire Paul Allen is now throwing money away on his yachts and his Science Fiction Museum. Henceforth, forever, your own silliness will be both known to the universe and safely dead with you. Have you ever been unreasonable? Because the display on the Jumbotron now shows the billionaire Howard Ahmanson bankrolling the creationists of the Discovery Institute, nobody will have to know about that time when you too denied to yourself the truth of death. There will be more billionaires to come, too, because desire will never die. Watching the forecast on the Jumbotron, we suddenly understand how good that news is. In Petronius's original report, Trimalchio communed with his guests in meat and drink and then acted out his funeral. The guests escaped. They -- we -- had been returned to life.

We like that happy ending, and so it has become a genre. But some stories in the genre don't fit well into any idea of a canon. What are we to do, for instance, with the tale of a billionaire who furiously buys multimillion-dollar house after multimillion-dollar house in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the United States, then partially demolishes his purchases and abandons their remains? The billionaire is eighty years old. Does he have long-term plans for a future that, in his case, isn't going to arrive? And why has he used one of his now vacant lots as a dump for dozens of enormous garden statues, and why does he putter around with gardening tools among his ruins? What sort of Eden might this billionaire have in mind? He isn't saying. As of the page we've reached so far, his story is unsatisfactory.

http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/05/21/15568-land-barren-japanese-billionaire-is-raising-eyebrows-razing-houses/

http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/05/22/15834-land-barren-who-is-genshiro-kawamoto/

http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/05/23/15868-land-barren-since-2005-dozens-of-violations-at-billionaires-properties/

The story isn't satisfactory and the billionaire isn't saying, but we all want somebody to say. Therefore, in partial satisfaction of that desire of ours, the canon has authorized release of a term into the lexicon of journalism: "eccentric billionaire." The term doesn't explain anything, but at least it has the outward generic form of a characterization. It signifies "apparent violation of convention; mysterious character with plot function to be revealed later in the story." Until the next Dickens comes along, that will probably have to do. In any case, it will equip us with some nomenclature to help us think the billionaire has been pinned down for us to observe. Of course, in what the media call real life and you and I call genre convention, the billionaire hasn't been pinned down. He refuses to talk to the media, leaves town to evade confrontation, seems to have found a way to silence anyone who has dealt with him, and in any case can't or won't speak English. But the phrase "eccentric billionaire" grants us the illusion of control over those epiphenomenal details. The billionaire has his billions, but we have our word "eccentric."

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep's faded papier-mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.

This poem, Stevens's last, bears an uncharacteristically hopeful title: "Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself." It may imply that we can attain to knowing -- knowing the what the word "eccentric" might mean, knowing therefore what the billionaire thinks, knowing some answer to the question "Why?," knowing -- if we can just bring ourselves to unscrew the locks from the doors, unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs, and head outside.

But recent discussions of Gertrude Stein's life from 1933 to 1945 remind us once again that of course there is no outside. Is it even possible to think of Gertrude Stein in, say, 1943, as someone with a life separable from the words she wrote then? Words that have successfully evaded genre, words that have no more concern for other people's categories than a billionaire with a copy of Atlas Shrugged in his man purse has for other people's laws? Bewildered, a blogger covering the controversy for The New Yorker reports that some of those other people seem actually not to want to know Stein -- or, at any rate, seem be be making an effort not to want to know about Stein.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/06/why-wont-the-met-tell-the-whole-truth-about-gertrude-stein.html

The title of that post, "Why Won't the Met Tell the Whole Truth About Gertrude Stein?" comes to us from the courtroom, where witnesses are formally asked, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" The title of Charles Bernstein's recent study in archival scholarship, "Gertrude Stein's War Years: Setting the Record Straight," comes from the same venue. Both titles share the optimistic assumption that there is a god -- that is, a stable source of meaning -- and that furthermore this god is a helpful god, a cheerfully obliging setter-straight of records. After he got done laughing at the joke, Wallace Stevens might disagree, and so might the history that Gertrude Stein lived through and helped, with her outlaw words, to write.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Being white: five flowers and a bird

The video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Shj-sKFEQhE . The music, by Steven Sondheim, comes from the soundtrack of Resnais's Stavisky.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ascend II

With no more papers to grade until August, the airship clicks to enlarge and then casts off.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Far from equal: the chimeric species "Judeo-Christian"

1
From Mitt Romney's commencement address, Liberty University, May 12, 2012:
You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal.  Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter.  His conclusion:  Culture makes all the difference.  Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-full-text-of-mitt-romneys-liberty-university-commencement-address-2012-5#ixzz1ui5Tj5KJ
2
A Judeo-Christian, type species:


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ascend

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hail, spring!

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Game theory

1

In the middle of Loren Eiseley's essay "How Flowers Changed the World," the freshman comp class snapped awake for a moment when a girl hit a startling assertion and uttered a pretty little scream.

"Flowers are sex organs?" she cried.

"What did you think they are?" I Socratically responded.

Pause.

And then the girl ventured: "For decoration?"

2

The woman's denim pants from South Korea are purses for an invisible currency. Their decorated pockets hold nothing but an object of imaginative speculation. Playfully, they deploy optical illusion to shape an idea of the body they coyly hide.

Click to enlarge.

Playfully, too, they are labeled with nonsense words and an anachronistic image from a symbol system which still retains prestige in its provincial borderlands.

H. M. Regiment of Royal Korean Cowgirls.

3

The beggar is holding a sign which we can't read at that angle.


“Beggar’s dog – Hoboken,” ca. 1910-1915

Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection


But we can be sure what it must say. Advancing on our sympathy behind the shield of his sign, the beggar is notionally selling pencils and shoelaces: things everybody needs, things with a value in any economic system. But in the trade zone behind the sign, what is transacted is only an exchange of money from one pocket to another. Except for that transfer, everything in this image is decoration. The beggar's pencils are no more for writing with than a hedge funder's bling watch is for telling time.

Making it playful, the beggar has alienated his tin cup from the transaction by hanging it around his dog's neck. Accustomed to seeing pictures by the rules of narrative convention, we think of the dog as smiling. The dog is also wrapped in something gauzy. It may be something like a woman's shawl; it may be a completely threadbare blanket. Presumably it is worn against the cold, but we are going to read it too as part of the game. Coming closer and closer to the outline of the dog's body, it playfully beckons the decorative twists of the iron bars behind it into what might look like the final shape of a life.

That gauze, those iron helices, that dozing bald man, have become part of a pattern they can no longer outlive.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world

The fat man appears to be airborne over the ship's deck, hovering with arms stiffly extended forward and down like landing gear. His cushiony, shock-absorbing hands appear to be huge, but perhaps that's an illusion produced by foreshortening. In his image, outlined by a rectangular frame of decayed photographic emulsion, he is strongly foreshortened at every point.


 "W. N. McMillan." G. G. Bain collection, Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ggbain.18560/  
Click to enlarge.


At and around the man's hands, further decay has accentuated the contrast between the image's light and dark areas. The decay has done an artist's job: it has shaped an outline.

---

An outline is usually a line of demarcation which an artist lays down between his creation and the rest of the universe. Here, however, outline is an index of decay. The universe has invaded the physiology of this image like a virus and set it to manufacturing a counterfeit of the artist’s death-defying gesture of separation from time.


And the optics of photographic image-making have bloated the man into an incipient sphere: a fruit rounding as it ripens toward decay.


The rounding has been preserved in its incipience, however. It comes to us educationally, preserved through natural history as if it and we had been destined from the beginning to face each other from opposite sides of a vitrine.


Surrounded by the Library of Congress’s explanatory words, the image is a fat mute struldbrug surrounded by volubly signifying youthfulness. The words singing in the surround are a choir of still unravished brides.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A polite request for a miracle

As of March 31, Pastor Benny Hinn is in Honolulu for what his host church, King’s Cathedral on Kalanianaole Highway, is calling a miracle service. Mr. Hinn, a well known televangelist, is famous for waving his white jacket at a congregation and causing people to fall down en hysterical masse, as at a funeral service for a North Korean statesman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVG1x-rh6FE

Another event on March 31 is that Honolulu’s streets are crumbling after a month of heavy rain. Right in front of King’s Cathedral the other day I hit a pothole that almost broke an axle. So here’s a request, Pastor Benny:
as long as you’re there, would you mind stepping out the front door of King’s Cathedral for a moment, walking through the parking lot past the Kentucky Fried Chicken, waving your jacket at that pothole, and getting it healed?

And all the other potholes while you’re at it?

Thank you. We’ll all appreciate it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vigilantly maintain hygiene!

Broad masses, click to enlarge!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Conservative aesthetics: a constructive suggestion

http://theartpart.jonathanmorse.net/2012/03/conservative-aesthetics-a-constructive-suggestion/

Chiral

All of us dwellers in the universe share the property of chirality, or handedness. It keeps us from ever becoming perfectly symmetrical. We can never again be simple unisex spheres, as we were (Aristophanes assures us) in the days before there was love.

For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover’s intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment. Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side, by side and to say to them, “What do you people want of one another?” they would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: “Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another’s company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul instead of two — I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire, and whether you are satisfied to attain this?” — there is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.
-- Plato, Symposium, trans. Jowett 

About that interesting characteristic there's a new Issuu book on the wooden-looking shelf at the bottom of the screen. It's a free download.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Adjective neutral, noun bad

 
At minute 4 of this video about a small lake in New Hampshire called Jew Pond, the director of the New Hampshire Jewish Federation makes the point that the noun "Jew" is pejorative when it's used as an adjective. His examples are "Jew politician" and "Jew lawyer," and he might also have mentioned T. S. Eliot's scornful phrase about one of his benefactors, "Jew publisher." "If the name had been 'Jewish Pond,'" the director tells the interviewer, "we would not be having this conversation."

And that's why Republicans say "Democrat Party."



Addendum: Gary Ostrower writes to recommend the Wikipedia article “Democrat Party (phrase)," and adds,

“The difference between using ‘Democrat’ as an adjective and ‘Jew’ as an adjective is that the latter has nearly 2000 years of negative connotation behind it. Not so ‘Democrat.’ Most — maybe all — of my own students would not recognize ‘Democrat’ as slur; not so with ‘Jew.’”

And that’s true enough. Just two days ago one of my own rhythm-challenged students sent me a friendly e-mail beginning, “High Professor Morse.” No, he didn’t mean “Herr Oberprofessor,” and no he couldn’t hear the pause where the comma should go. For that matter, when I took my physical exam for the draft in 1966 the sergeant in charge of the paperwork instructed us to fill in the Race blank “Neg” if we were, as he carefully put it, Negroic.

---

Further note, March 14, 2012: Jew Pond will now be renamed. Story here:

http://forward.com/articles/152987/nh-town-votes-to-rename-jew-pond

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coed

Note: Belatedly I've realized that Windows Live Writer, in which I've been writing my WordPress blog, will let me copy posts to my Blogger blog as well. I've been using the Blogger blog only as an archive of my pre-WordPress posts, but the machine seems to have been with me all along.

So:

In the course of the Republican primary campaign of 2012, the conservative policy intellectual Rush Limbaugh weighed in on Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student who had addressed some Democratic members of the House in favor of birth control coverage under government-mandated health insurance. According to David Crary's article for the Associated Press (Honolulu Star-Advertiser 3 March 2012: A3), Mr. Limbaugh told his radio audience on February 29:

What does it say about the college coed . . . who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

About that, three language notes.

1. A septuagenarian myself, I remember the term "coed" from the 1950s. I don't think I've heard it since then.

2. The OED traces the term back to 1893. From 1903, it offers an anti-Limbauvian quotation: "Any college where the girls are commonly called ‘co-eds’ is not a truly co-educational institution."

3. For conservatives who understand that conservatism of thought entails conservatism of language, Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France" offers this reassuring statement of faith.

I almost venture to affirm that not one in a hundred amongst us participates in the "triumph" of the Revolution Society. If the king and queen of France and their children were to fall into our hands by the chance of war, in the most acrimonious of all hostilities, (I deprecate such an event, I deprecate such hostility,) they would be treated with another sort of triumphal entry into London. We formerly have had a king of France in that situation: you have read how he was treated by the victor in the field, and in what manner he was afterwards received in England. Four hundred years have gone over us; but I believe we are not materially changed since that period. Thanks to our sullen resistance to innovation, thanks to the cold sluggishness of our national character, we still bear the stamp of our forefathers. We have not (as I conceive) lost the generosity and dignity of thinking of the fourteenth century; nor as yet have we subtilized ourselves into savages. We are not the converts of Rousseau; we are not the disciples of Voltaire; Helvetius has made no progress amongst us. Atheists are not our preachers; madmen are not our lawgivers. We know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made, in morality,— nor many in the great principles of government, nor in the ideas of liberty, which were understood long before we were born altogether as well as they will be after the grave has heaped its mould upon our presumption, and the silent tomb shall have imposed its law on our pert loquacity. In England we have not yet been completely embowelled of our natural entrails: we still feel within us, and we cherish and cultivate, those inbred sentiments which are the faithful guardians, the active monitors of our duty, the true supporters of all liberal and manly morals. We have not been drawn and trussed, in order that we may be filled, like stuffed birds in a museum, with chaff and rags, and paltry, blurred shreds of paper about the rights of man. We preserve the whole of our feelings still native and entire, unsophisticated by pedantry and infidelity.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

She reads Anne Sexton

Click to enlarge.