1. That night Nelson Farina dressed his daughter up in her best clothes and sent her to the senator. Two guards armed with rifles who were nodding from the heat in the borrowed house ordered her to wait on the only chair in the vestibule.

    The senator was in the next room meeting with the important people of Rosal del Virrey, whom he had gathered together in order to sing for them the truths he had left out of his speeches. They looked so much like all the ones he always met in all the towns in the desert that even the senator himself was sick and tired of that perpetual nightly session. His shirt was soaked with sweat and he was trying to dry it on his body with the hot breeze from an electric fan that was buzzing like a horse fly in the heavy heat of the room.

    "We, of course, can’t eat paper birds," he said. "You and I know that the day there are trees and flowers in this heap of goat dung, the day there are shad instead of worms in the water holes, that day neither you nor I will have anything to do here, do I make myself clear?"

    No one answered. While he was speaking, the senator had torn a sheet off the calendar and fashioned a paper butterfly out of it with his hands. He tossed it with no particular aim into the air current coming from the fan and the butterfly flew about the room and then went out through the half‐open door. The senator went on speaking with a control aided by the complicity of death.

    "Therefore," he said, "I don’t have to repeat to you what you already know too well: that my reelection is a better piece of business for you than it is for me, because I’m fed up with stagnant water and Indian sweat, while you people, on the other hand, make your living from it."

    Laura Farina saw the paper butterfly come out. Only she saw it because the guards in the vestibule had fallen asleep on the steps, hugging their rifles. After a few turns, the large lithographed butterfly unfolded completely, flattened against the wall, and remained stuck there. Laura Farina tried to pull it off with her nails. One of the guards, who woke up with the applause from the next room, noticed her vain attempt.

    "It won’t come off," he said sleepily. "It’s painted on the wall."

    Gabriel García Márquez, "Death Constant Beyond Love" (trans. Gregory Rabassa and J. S. Bernstein)
  2. 20:10 16th Apr 2014

    Notes: 4012

    Reblogged from taifunu

    image: Download

    (Source: farawayflask)

  3. 20:08

    Notes: 673

    Reblogged from separatioleprosorum


    The Course of Empire, Thomas Cole (1801-1848), 1833-1836.
    The Hudson River School.

    There is the moral of all human tales;
    'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.

    First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
    Wealth, vice, corruption - barbarism at last.
    And History, with all her volumes vast,
    Hath but one page…
    (from Canto VI, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage byLord Byron.)

    i. The Savage State, 1834.
    ii. The Arcadian or Pastoral State, 1834.
    iii. The Consummation of Empire, 1836.
    iv. Destruction, 1836.
    v. Desolation, 1836.

  4. 19:11 15th Apr 2014

    Notes: 108

    Reblogged from fleurdulys

    image: Download


Couple Riding - Wassily Kandinsky


    Couple Riding - Wassily Kandinsky


  5. 15:47

    Notes: 638

    Reblogged from karamazove

    Tags: lol

    image: Download


Theory (1779-1780) — Sir Joshua Reynolds


    Theory (1779-1780) — Sir Joshua Reynolds

  6. 13:43

    Notes: 22

    Reblogged from talesofpassingtime

    Can we make a refrigerator? Can we even explain how it works? What is electricity? What is light? We experience these things every day of our lives but what good does it do if we find ourselves hurled back in time and we can’t even tell people the basic principles much less actually make something that could improve conditions. Name one thing you could make. Could you make a simple wooden match that you could strike on a rock to make a flame? We think we’re so great and modern. Moon landings, and artificial hearts.
    Don DeLillo, White Noise (via evanmsaregood)
  7. To take the allegory for the truth is the error which supranaturalists and Rationalists agree in making. The former will assert that the allegory is in itself true; the latter will twist and bend its meaning until they have, according to their own lights, made it true in itself. Each party is accordingly able to make pertinent and valid points against the other. The Rationalists say to the supranaturalists: ‘Your doctrine isn’t true.’ The latter retort: ‘Your doctrine isn’t Christianity.’ Both are right. The Rationalists believe they are taking reason as their standard: in fact, however, their standard is only reason caught up in the presuppositions of theism and optimism, rather like Rousseau’s Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard, that prototype of all Rationalism. Of Christian dogma they will grant validity to nothing but what they hold true sensu proprio: namely, theism and the immortality of the soul. While supranaturalism possesses at any rate allegorical truth, Rationalism cannot be accorded any truth at all.
    Arthur Schopenhauer, “On Religion,” Essays and Aphorisms (trans. R. J. Hollingdale)
  8. 11:17

    Notes: 398

    Reblogged from batvalentinworld


Argentinian Surrealist painter, Leonor Fini | Cérémonie | 1960.


    Argentinian Surrealist painter, Leonor Fini | Cérémonie | 1960.

  9. 20:06 13th Apr 2014

    Notes: 13

    Reblogged from talesofpassingtime

    Hustlers of the world, there is one Mark you cannot beat: The Mark Inside.
    William Burroughs, Naked Lunch (via casualboundaries)
  10. 20:05

    Notes: 50

    Reblogged from blastedheath

    image: Download


Augustus John (British, 1878-1961), The Marchesa Casati, 1919. Oil on canvas, 68.6 x 96.5 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Via Wikimedia Commons.


    Augustus John (British, 1878-1961), The Marchesa Casati, 1919. Oil on canvas, 68.6 x 96.5 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Via Wikimedia Commons.

  11. Here’s a book I’d like to read, but which I have no desire to write.  I put it out there for the enterprising graduate student in the relevant disciplines (English, cultural studies, American studies, maybe a really daring sociology program, etc.). 

    I’ve read books and articles that have skirted, circled, or addressed an aspect or two of this topic, but I think somebody has to, um, bite the whole enchilada (or whatever metaphor is appropriate):

    The Gnostic Revival in American Culture, 1989-2001

    Thesis: The 1990s—more abstractly, the brief interregnum between Cold War and War on Terror (both of which turned attention outward from the self)—were the period in which the twentieth-century rediscovery of gnosticism decisively entered American academic, artistic, and popular culture.  A wide variety of 1990s media told us that individuals bear a divine spark.  Tending this spark would either lead to social transformation through the agency of the liberated spirit or at least lead the seeker out of the corrupt world of illusion toward the pleroma beyond our fallen cosmos.

    Texts to consider:

    • The Oprah Winfrey Show in its middle period, in which it promoted such New Agers as Gary Zukav, Marianne Williamson, etc.*
    • Oprah’s beneficiary Toni Morrison, whose two great novels of the 1990s (Jazz and Paradise) bore epigraphs from the Nag Hammadi
    • the popular scholarship of Elaine Pagels and Harold Bloom (hint: if you think The Western Canon is a conservative book, you haven’t read it; Bloom’s argument, with which I have some sneaking sympathy, is that Marxism and its materialist offshoots are the real conservatism)
    • Chris Carter’s television work (yes, The X-Files, but the under-praised Millennium even more relevantly); when it comes to TV, the truly venturesome might also want to take another look at Roseanne
    • the aesthetic mood of early Vertigo comics, especially Grant Morrison’s work**
    • the end-of-the-decade rise of the “mindfuck” film—The Matrix, Dark City, The Truman Show, Being John Malkovich etc.—which collectively suggest that our reality is a simulation or delusion
    • the dissident feminist rock music of the time, not the over-analyzed Riot Grrl stuff, which I find one-dimensionally platitudinous in its banal and adolescent punk (i.e., Puritan) ethos, but rather the much-dispraised though more interesting spiritually searching Lilith Fair type material
    • hacker and cyberpunk culture as instances of an attempt either to see “reality” as consensual hallucination or to find the pleroma within the world

    There you go!  That would be a brilliant book!  Almost all of the above phenomena have been labelled (sometimes by their authors) as “gnostic,” but no one has tied it all together in an epochal analysis, as far as I know.  There’s a part of me that wants to do so but there’s a bigger part of me that is unwilling to re-view all the Oprah I used to watch when the bulk of Proust and all of The Magic Mountain remain unread and my next novel remains unwritten.  So some other scholar should really go to it!***  (If, on the other hand, somebody wants to pay me to write this, then my attitude would change in a hurry.)

    *I’ve often thought that Oprah’s late-’90s shift from the (admittedly silly) New Agers to the behaviorist Dr. Phil marked the movement to the cultural conservatism that defines the present century so far, from the Bush-bin Laden clash of fundamentalisms in its right-wing first decade to the deterministic “social justice” identity politics and materialism in our current left-wing decade. 

    **Oprah’s turn to the mechanistic McGraw is mirrored in Vertigo’s shift from Gaiman and Morrison to Ennis and Ellis as flagship authors, the latter being bearers of a boringly “aggressive” action-oriented materialism at the level of form, which replaces the earlier works’ much richer inward focus (and this despite the superficial “gnosticism” of Preacher's puerile plot).  Other evidence: mindfuck cinema is replaced by dystopia, Toni Morrison's mythic modernism is replaced by Jonathan Franzen's social realism, and, in politics, various versions of a my-way-or-the-highway kulturkampf, from neoconservative imperialism to culture-based SJWism, replace any hope of a cosmopolitan and syncretic civilizational politics appropriate to the globalization of communications.

    ***This has indeed been another entry in my Tumblr series, “If we must do it at all, let us do this ’90s revival right!”

    (Source: vimeo.com)

  12. Anybody who enjoyed my Darren Aronofsky essay should check out the much more thorough tour of his career being conducted brilliantly by Lisa Thatcher over at Wordpress.  Here’s a sample, from her enumeration of the philosophical topoi addressed by Black Swan:

    Despite the inevitable guffaws from a typical audience, the Nietzschean Apollonian / Dionysian split, Schopenhauer’s principle of individuation, Dostoyevsky’s double, Freud’s ego triumvirate split, Carl Jung’s shadow, Lacan’s object petit a, and Cixous’ transition from jouissance to ecriture feminine is all here, laid out feast like, in a perfectly edited, superbly performed visual orgy that sees the culmination of what Aronofsky can do brought to a bubbling and chaotic surface.

    P.S. I will say something about Noah eventually—I just haven’t been able to see it yet.  It’s too middlebrow for the theater in the hipster neighborhood and the theater in my part of the city is occupied for two weeks with a film festival.  I could bus it out to a suburban mall…but I won’t.  (I did do so for Paranormal Activity 5: Solidarity Is for White WomenThe Marked Ones, so I guess that shows where my priorities are.)

  13. 10:11

    Notes: 2563

    Reblogged from thebirthofdeath


    Haunting Statues From Around the World

    1) David Cerny Sculptures from Czech Republic

    2) The Cloaks of Conscience can be found in Austria, Greece, Italy, Czech Rep, and Austria.

    3) Statues of Indian Sculpture Park at Victoria’s Way made in India, located in Ireland.

    4) Transi De Rene De Chalon in France

    5) Virgin Mother in New York

  14. Maxims for Apolitical Artists 30

    Fiction can’t be subversive. If the reader feels threatened, then he’ll stopped reading. The reader will only continue reading if he is being entertained. Subversion in any art form is impossible. Even nonfiction can’t be subversive. It may be used to serve some person or group’s preconceived purposes, usually to gain power, but its ideas will be recast and deliberately skewed. Freud, Marx, and all religious doctrines are obvious examples of this.

    Thomas Ligotti

  15. 22:33 9th Apr 2014

    Notes: 121

    Reblogged from fleurdulys

    image: Download


A Couple - Henry Patrick Raleigh
20th century


    A Couple - Henry Patrick Raleigh

    20th century