To confuse the newshounds

"To confuse the newshounds, he joked, the bride would be dressed as a lifeguard while the groom would wear green satin and a white veil and carry an orange umbrella."



Vico's age of heroes and the age of men...

Great big thanks to BOBBY CAMPBELL for putting this one up. Cheers:

Title: Vico's age of heroes and the age of men in John Ford's film 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.' (Giambattista Vico)
Author(s): Vittorio Hosle and Mark W. Roche
Source: CLIO. 23.2 (Winter 1994): p131. From Literature Resource Center.
Document Type: Article
Vico, the father of historicism, discovered that the nature of man changes: the archaic man feels, thinks, acts in a way completely different from modern man. In Vico's scheme of the necessary evolution of every culture, three phases are distinguished: the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men. The age of gods is characterized by a theocratic government: it is anterior to any differentiation of the various aspects of curlture such as religion, politics, or art. The age of heroes, on the other hand, is dominated by the conflict between classes, the heroes and the plebeians. This age does not yet have a state; therefore, force and violence reign. The right of the stronger is the main ground of legitimacy. Two types of relations are characteristic of this age: the relation between enemies who fight each other, risking their own lives and those of their combatants, and the relation between master and servant. The duel, a fight between two heroes accompanied by their servants, is the symbolic action of the heroic age. In it the value of a person is proved, even constituted. Relations toward wives in the age of heroes are clearly asymmetric: women are not yet recognized as having the same human nature as men. "Love of ease, tenderness toward children, love of women, and desire of life" are alien to the heroes, so Vico once sums up his view of the heroic age.(1)  CONTINUED

W.B Yeats and Avision

Snipped from the NATION:

Think back to the autumn of 1917. Stuck in the Ashdown Forest Hotel, her four-day-old marriage a disaster, George began (by her own admission) to “fake” automatic writing in order to entertain her despondent husband: she then felt her hand seized by an unseen power. Willy described what happened next in the revised edition of A Vision (1937), the esoteric account of all human history and personality that the automatic writing ultimately made possible:
What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two day after day to the unknown writer, and after some half-dozen such hours offered to spend what remained of life explaining and piecing together those scattered sentences, “No,” was the answer, “we have come to give you metaphors for poetry.”

Over the next several years, Willy and George produced more than 3,600 pages of script, his questions, her answers. This is their most intimate exchange, and it is almost never referred to in the actual letters Willy and George wrote to each other.
The first few days of automatic writing have not been preserved (the remainder having lately been transcribed and edited by George Mills Harper and a fleet of assistants), so there is no record of Yeats being assured that the spirits had contacted him, through his wife, to further his poetic career. George remembered the initial contact differently: “What you have done is right for both the cat and the hare,” she scribbled, confident that her husband would understand that the hare was Iseult Gonne and the cat was herself, which he did. In the approximately 450 sessions of automatic writing that followed, the intimate sex life of George and Willy Yeats looms as prominently as metaphors for poetry (though Willy would go on to write great poems about sex). “What is important,” says one spirit through George, is “that both the desire of the medium and her desire for your desire should be satisfied.” Willy is advised to keep up his strength by making love to his wife more than once a day: “it is like not taking enough exercise & a long walk exhausts you.” “You mean,” asked Willy, “by doing it once I will lose power of doing it twice.” Yes, came the answer, “& then of doing it once.”
The automatic script ranges widely over innumerable topics; it is often tedious; it calls on vast reserves of esoteric knowledge. But one theme is constant: if the conversations are to continue, the medium (or “interpreter,” as George preferred to be called) must be satisfied. And when the interpreter is not satisfied, the script shouts it out loud and clear:
     I dont like you
     You neglect me
     You dont give me physical symbols
to use
 Despite the aura of possible chicanery that inevitably surrounds such an enterprise, George emerges from it as the same brilliantly capable person who managed her husband’s career while also raising two children and electing to spend her summers in a castle with no electricity, no indoor plumbing, jackdaws nesting in the chimneys and a first floor that regularly flooded to a height of two feet.


FIENDISH PLOTS (RAW thought of the Month)

21 SHa`baan 1422 A.H.

Fu who?

Last night I looked at THE FIENDISH PLOT OF DR. FU MANCHU on TV, partly because it starred Peter Sellers as both Dr. Fu and his enemy Nayland Smith of Scotland Yard, and partly because I wanted to compare the epic battle between Fu and Smith with the current rumble between Dubya and Osama bin Laden.

I have long regarded Dr Fu as both archetype and stereotype -- the incarnation of British fear of Oriental revenge for imperialist invasions. Osama fits that role very well indeed, and the Dubya/Smith parallel came across with almost synchronistic shock:

"The difference between Fu and me," Smith sez, "is that I'm Good and he's Evil."

Have Dubya's speech-writers read the original Fu novels or just seen this film?

Unlike the novels, the film does not portray Dr Fu as driven by "motiveless malignancy" [like Dubya explaining Osama: "He is a man who is an evil man."] On the contrary, Fu has a personal grudge we can understand: as a boy he had to work in his father's laundry at Eton, and starching all those white collars drove him bonkers. That makes more sense to me as a novelist than the unmotivelated malice of Osama, as portrayed by Dubya, CNN and the other corporate spin doctors.

Fear not, O true believers: the film didn't mention imperialism, any more than the novels -- or Dubya's speech-writers.
Meanwhile, another of my favorite villians has resurfaced:

Adapted from the Irish Times 5 Nov 2001
The cannabis campaigner, "Ming the Merciless", has been arrested in Dublin this afternoon in connection with posting what is believed to be cannabis too close to 300 politicians and journalists.
He was detained while attempting to hand deliver a potted cannabis plant to the offices of a senior Government Minister,and taken to Pearse Street Garda station where he is being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Earlier today, several letters containing what is believed to be cannabis and addressed to politicians at their offices were discovered by officials checking the post following recent anthrax scares.
"Ming the Merciless", whose real name is Luke Flanagan from County Roscommon, is a well-known campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis. He ran in Galway West on a legalise cannabis ticket during the 1997 general election and also ran on the same platform in the European Parliamentary elections in the constituency of Connacht-Ulster.
Every country gets the villians it deserves. And as Joyce would say, there's lots of fun in Flanagan's work.