"It was time to go. The three friends had begun life together; and the last of the three had no motive, -- no attraction -- to carry it on after the others had gone. Education had ended for all three, and only beyond some remoter horizon could its values be fixed or renewed. Perhaps some day -- say 1938, their centenary, -- they might be allowed to return together for a holiday, to see the mistakes of their own lives made clear in the light of the mistakes of their successors; and perhaps then, for the first time since man began his education among the carnivores, they would find a world that sensitive and timid natures could regard without a shudder."
This confirms the opinion I'd already formed based on his vacant stare, perpetual toothy grin, and habit of shambling around publicly in his bathrobe: Death be not proud 'cause Death be a moron.
The widespread confusion between "obtuse" and "abstruse" puzzled me until I realized that it maps to the double meaning of "dense" in "dense writing" and in "dense reader."
When we want to point out inefficiency in the transmission of information (via peterme), we find it more idiomatic to point to the receiver or to the transmitter than to the wire between them. Since it doesn't really matter which of the two we point to, we end up using the same adjective for both.
Only someone with genre-blinders firmly set could call Patrick O'Brian's elaborately archaic prose more "simple and straightforward" than Raymond Carver's or E. L. Doctorow's, or claim that the tedium of MFA fiction results from its "artiness" rather than its pointlessness, or publish their praise of happy genre peasants (too delightfully unselfconscious to realize that they should be devoting their intelligence to SOUNDING JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE) in the New York Times. (Link via Juliet Clark, who adds, "In the same hard-hitting issue: 'Has the End Finally Come for the Old Wooden Barn?'")
In this paper I will argue.
Won't you argue now with me?
Everybody likes to argue;
No one likes to disagree.
In this paper I have proven
What somebody else has shown
Was maintained and demonstrated
Citing yet another drone.
"Cyberspace is no place for mommies." -- Karen Joy FowlerMaybe not, but The Reckless Moment proves that there's sure a place for 'em in film noir. In fact, as with a lot of formulas favored by self-pitying spoiled sons, film noir makes more sense with a mommy in the lead.
Sit-coms and comic strips love the American family because something big always seems to be happening but everything is back to normal by the end of the episode. The Reckless Moment repositions that once-a-day cycle from the mother's point of view: the family member's job is to present every passing fancy as an emergency to the mother, but the mother's job is to maintain stability at any cost. Where Douglas Sirk's domestic tragedies emphasize suffocation (the enveloping family keeps you warm at the cost of snuffing out flames), Ophuls pecks to death.
The eventual effect of this affection-hungry din is to level all stimuli out. Thus Ophuls's thoroughgoing use of a narrative technique I've never seen used anywhere else in film, fiction, or theater: the deliberate tossing away of obvious opportunities for suspense and emotional climaxes. Drama is replaced by fretfulness:
(Those intrigued by Ophuls's gynocentric approach to film noir should also seek out Caught, which must be the only Hollywood movie in which a miscarriage supplies the happy ending. And then probably move on to Jeanne Dielman 23 Quai Du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles....)
From PRODIGAL GENIUS: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J. O'Neill:
"I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them, for years; thousands of them, for who can tell --Juliet Clark: "Do you think Tesla knew how a man loves a woman?"
"But there was one pigeon, a beautiful bird, pure white with light gray tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I would know that pigeon anywhere.
"No matter where I was that pigeon would find me; when I wanted her I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. She understood me and I understood her.
"I loved that pigeon.
"Yes," he replied to an unasked question. "Yes, I loved that pigeon, I loved her as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. When she was ill I knew, and understood; she came to my room and I stayed beside her for days. I nursed her back to health. That pigeon was the joy of my life. If she needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I had her, there was a purpose in my life.
"Then one night as I was lying in my bed in the dark, solving problems, as usual, she flew in through the open window and stood on my desk. I knew she wanted me; she wanted to tell me something important so I got up and went to her.
"As I looked at her I knew she wanted to tell me -- she was dying. And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes -- powerful beams of light.
"Yes," he continued, again answering an unasked question, "it was a real light, a powerful, dazzling, blinding light, a light more intense than I had ever produced by the most powerful lamps in my laboratory.
"When that pigeon died, something went out of my life. Up to that time I knew with a certainty that I would complete my work, no matter how ambitious my program, but when that something went out of my life I knew my life's work was finished."
It's not always that critics are mean people. Sometimes we just tend to feel a little shy around what we love. Unfortunately that means we tend to be more expressive around what we have contempt for.
From schoolyard and classroom to bar and coffee-shop, American rhetoric is honed for debate and attack, for winning arguments and shooting off wisecracks. We don't receive the same level of training in the rhetoric of affection. And so even the most articulate of us can often only manage a fast embarrassed hug before dashing out the door. When what we should really be supplying is good solid Joy of Sex-type research....
Dedicated consumer and Mistress of Morbidity Beth Rust uncovers evidence of previously unsuspected information sharing between Amazon and DoubleClick:
They know too much about me... I just looked up a new Feng Shui book in Amazon - you know, the "put a green glass bowl in the southwest corner of your office to encourage the flow of energy" stuff - and the "Auctions" cross-reference that showed up was:POISON & DRUG Labels from 1910's-1920's: LOT of 10 (Current bid: $8.99)
|Errata: In our fifth year, we often repeated a riddle regarding a little moron who threw his clock out the window. Our answer, although explaining what the little moron expected to see, continued to leave open the question of just why a little moron would wish to see such a thing. We therefore did not completely fulfill our implied promise of clarifying the little moron's motive, leading to possible frustration on the part of our listeners.
It has since come to our attention that a better answer would perhaps have been, "Because he heard that time flies when you're having fun."
We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.
In the rain you go looking for a taxi. After maybe five or ten minutes you manage to flag one down. Getting in, you announce, "This is incredible -- I need a cab just now!"
Then you try to have it wait for you at each stop.
"Out, out damned dot-com!" - Julianne Leigh
|... an' anotha thing ...||... then again ...|