The boredom was partly a generational thing. Evelyn Waugh, b. 1903; Graham Greene, b. 1904; Cyril Connolly, b. 1903; Ian Fleming, b. 1908. These Englishmen came from a similar class background, and had writing careers which, from the outside at least, seemed characterised by brilliant success. They also had parallel lives as spies, soldiers, shaggers and men of action (or in Connolly's case, of inaction so spectacular that it, too, seems like a form of action). But all of them suffered from a desperate, crippling, lifelong fear of boredom. Greene's boredom was perhaps the best publicised, what with the Russian roulette and all that. In a sense, it was boredom that led him to Catholicism, since religion offered him the opportunity to regard every moment as a soul-imperilling drama, and therefore added a pleasant tang of chilli-heat to the things he was doing to keep the boredom at bay - brothel-visiting, opium, spying, having adulterous sex on church altars etc. Waugh feared boredom so much he used to have nightmares about it; Connolly based his whole adult personality on the idea of his battle with ennui. In many respects a childish man, he did at least face the truth that the main thing he was bored with was himself. Fleming, too, was chronically, cripplingly bored.It's tough out there.
John Lanchester in London Review of Books
"...the opening line of [Fleming's] first book, Casino Royale: 'The scent and smoke of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.'"
The time-music of the quasars. A huge volume of radio signals reaches this planet from space, crossing gigantic distances from the far side of the universe. It's hard to accept that these messages are meaningless, as they presumably are [...] Yet the hope remains that one day we will decode them, and find, not some intergalactic fax service, but a spontaneously generated choral music, a naive electro-magnetic architecture [...]
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition, 36
that Jewish writer who slept in a room lined with cork and wrote that famous book I could never read. You know, Marcel something... Nebbishly looking. He smelt of mothballs, wore a fur coat down to the ground, asked heaps about make-up. Would a duchess use rouge? Did demi-mondaines put Kohl on their eyes? How should I know? But then, how could I have known that he was going to be so famous? If so, I might have told him a thing or two.
Cosmetics Empress H. Rubinstein. Quoted in London Review of Books, Feb 5, 2004, 32.
Nach heutigem Wissensstand wird man vermutlich sagen muessen, dass das, was als Vernunft, Wille, Gefuehl usw. erfahren und bezeichnet wird, eine nachtraegliche Interpretation bereits vorliegender Resultate neurophysiologischer Operationen ist, also wohl deren Aufbereitung fuer bewusste Weiterbehandlung dient, aber keineswegs die ausschlaggebende Ursache menschlichen Verhaltens ist. Siehe z.B. Brian Massumi, The Autonomy of Affect, Cultural Critique 31 (1995), S. 83-109
According to contemporary research one presumably would have to concede that that which is experienced and designated as reason, will, affect, etc. is a retrospective interpretation of already existing results of neurophysiological processes, that is to say that it serves in the process of a conscious utilisation, but in no way constitutes the major cause for human behaviour. See e.g. Brian Massumi, The Autonomy of Affect, Cultural Critique 31 (1995), pp. 83-109
Niklas Luhmann, Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft, 25, fn.15
The search for a reliable, less expensive alternative to rag, scrap as the raw material for paper had been unsuccessful - though not for want of effort [...] A particularly imaginative source for rag, itself, was found in the mid-nineteenth century in Egyptian mummies. Shiploads of mummies were sent from Egypt to paper companies in the United States, where the linen wrappings were taken off and recycled, so to speak, into paper. [...] The only competition the papermakers had for the mummies was from the new Egyptian railroad, which, reportedly, used them as fuel.
Mark Stefik, Internet Dreams, p.75
(thanks to Chris for the reference)
...und obgleich die Strandfischer, wie ich glaube, dabei bewegt werden von denselben unbegreiflichen Gefuehlen, ist ein jeder von ihnen doch fuer sich ganz allein und hat Verlass nur auf sich selber und auf seine paar wenigen Ausruestungsgegenstaende, auf das Federmesserchen beispielsweise, den Thermosbehaelter oder das kleine Transistorradio, aus dem kaum hoerbar ein scharrendes Geraesch dringt, so als redeten untereinander die mit den Wellen zurueckrollenden Steine.
Die Ringe des Saturn, 68.
Samantha F., 27 (London):via monochrom
“I had such a lovely evening with the German and my mates: After the pub, we went dancing. My friends were thoroughly impressed by the German moves. I was gobsmacked when the German even cleaned my house the next day, before I was awake! Will definitely rent again.”
Carl Hagen, 58 (New York):
“After dinner, we watched TV together with the entire family. Suddenly the German started to cry. It was such real and pure emotion. I’d never seen this before. The support package cheered him up again and we read German poems together ‘til 3 am. Even Grandma stayed up and enjoyed the exotic sound of words like "Rasenmäher, Motorsäge or Solidargemeinschaft". Rented again, before our new friend left.”
Keine Patronen mehr. Den Feuerwechsel hatte Klaus unversehrt ueberstanden, war durch die Lichtung hindurch in die Tannen gefluechtet. Die Nacht legte sich, der Schnee knirschte. Er wusste weder wo er war, noch wohin er nun gehen konnte. Fahles Mondlicht streifte sein Antlitz. Wie lange bis der Feind seine Spur auffinden wuerde? Wie lange bis Sergej die Daumenschrauben nicht laenger wuerde ertragen koennen und seine Identitaet preisgeben musste ? Und nun als die Wolken sich vom Mond wegschoben erklang des markgerinnende Geheul der Taigawoelfe. Sie konnten nicht weit sein.
F.K. Konsalik, Die Verdammten der Taiga, 254.
Attack of the Clowns
The story so far: the Anakin Skywalker of the 1970s student politics joins the Dork Side of the Farce in 1981 and becomes the Darth Vader of the New Right, only to be disappointed when the ageing Emperor refuses to abdicate in his favour. Meanwhile, the valiant but unintelligible little droid R2D2 struggles to avoid disassembly at the hands of Jabba the Hutt. Australia was overwhelmed by this Attack of the Clowns when we allowed the Emperor to panic us with the Phantom Menace of asylum seekers.
Will there be A New Hope under the guidance of the wise Green Yoda, with the aid of the Ewoks who fight to protect the forests?
Paul Norton, Highgate Hill, Qld
And second, the US could have offered a massive reward (say $500 million - the equivalent of the cost of half a B-1 bomber) for bin Laden dead or alive. That sum of money would attract groups such as the Russian mafia to work with the Afghans to do the operation.Been hoping that this would sound as deluded NOW as it really was THEN, when this stooge was granted a mandate by editors who should know better. But don't.
The Age, (late 2001, I guess)
Okay, so it's not exactly what you planned on, not tenure at a research university - no booklined office overlooking the leafy squad, no slim, influential volumes from major university presses, no fetching graduate students hanging on your every word.
James Hynes, Kings of Infinite Space, 270
Standing in the east corner of her room, he would plan to call out to her words with the u sound: Urals, uremia, Uranus, usual, union, Uruguay, usury, Utopia, etc. etc. This would be followed by words with o: Oklahoma, odious, ore, oil, open, etc. Then words with k: Castle, card, Khartoum, care-free, catastrophe, catalque, Cabbala, Kabul, catharsis, cataracts, etc. The words with es: Esther, Estragon, escudos, Espana, Eskimo, etc. Then words with al: Albania, Alba, Alarcon, Alhambra, algebra, alkaloid, Almira, alms, etc. Then words with is: Istria, Ismail, Istanbul, Islam, etc.
Trümmer sind an sich Zukunft. Weil alles, was ist, vergeht. Es gibt dieses wunderbare Kapitel bei Jesaja, in dem es heißt: Über euren Städten wird Gras wachsen. Dieser Spruch hat mich immer fasziniert, schon als Kind. Diese Poesie, die Tatsache, dass man beides zugleich sieht. Jesaja sieht die Stadt und die anderen Schichten darüber, das Gras und wieder eine Stadt, das Gras und wieder eine Stadt.
Wenn er ihr aus dem Ofterdingen vorlese, verstehe sie oft ganze Abschnitte nicht, soll er zu Fro gesagt haben, er frage sie, ob sie aufmerksam zugehoert habe und sie antworte, sie habe aufmerksam zugehoert, sie haette aber nicht alles verstanden, dazu muss man wissen, dass der Ofterdingen, obwohl von ihr zum Unterschied von ihm, der den Ofterdingen nicht leiden koenne, geliebt war, doch ein sogenannes schwieriges Buch ist, ganz abgesehen davon, dass sie, liest er ihr sozusagen als Strafe aus dem Kropotkin, den er liebte, vor, absichtlich mindestens die Haelfte nicht verstanden haben wolle.
When he read to her from the Ofterdingen often she would not comprehend entire sections, he is supposed to have told Fro, he asked her had she listened attentively and she replied she had listened attentively, but she had not comprehended everything, and one ought to know that the Ofterdingen was what is called a difficult text, although he, in contrast to her who loved it, did not like the Ofterdingen, not to mention that if he read as punishment, as it were, from the Kropotkin which he loved, she would intentionally pretend not to have comprehended even half of it.
Nachdem sie ihr Hausvieh zuerst dumm gemacht haben und sorgfaeltig verhueteten, dass diese ruhigen Geschoepfe ja keinen Schritt ausser dem Gaengelwagen, darin sie sie einsperrten, wagen durften, so zeigen sie ihnen nachher die Gefahr, die ihnen droht, wenn sie es versuchen allein zu gehen. Nun ist diese Gefahr zwar eben so gross nicht, denn sie wuerden durch einigemal Fallen wohl endlich gehen lernen; allein ein Beispiel von der Art macht doch schuechtern und schreckt gemeiniglich von allen ferneren Versuchen ab.
Was ist Aufklaerung?
After the guardians have first made their domestic cattle dumb and have made sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone. Actually, however, this danger is not so great, for by falling a few times they would finally learn to walk alone. But an example of this failure makes them timid and ordinarily frightens them away from all further trials.What is Englightenment?
Entire Story here (via Cartoonist)Hattan wakes up one morning convinced that everything he owns has been stolen and replaced with a perfect replica. Even the buildings which surround his home appear strange to him. He feels as though he has been decontextualized in some bizarre way and begins looking for signs that all is not as it should be.