The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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My bag, my bundle, my bone

October 21st, 2016 · No Comments

“Only very wise people know how much they can do without before wasting many years doing with.” – George Scialabba, “Self-Reliance: A Syllabus”

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Insert scream here

October 20th, 2016 · No Comments

“Know thyself? If I truly knew myself, I should run screaming in the opposite direction.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Corrupting miasma

October 19th, 2016 · No Comments

“A world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by rich men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the finger man for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of money making, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the defence will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge. — It is not a very fragrant world, but it is the world you live in.” – Raymond Chandler, “The Simple Art of Murder”

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Every eye dotted

October 18th, 2016 · No Comments

“The English may not always be the best writers in the world, but they are incomparably the best dull writers.” – Raymond Chandler, “The Simple Art of Murder”

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For any sake

October 17th, 2016 · No Comments

“There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that.” – Raymond Chandler, “The Simple Art of Murder”

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Try it sometime

October 16th, 2016 · No Comments

“Honesty is not only the best policy; it is a necessary condition of good prose style.” – George Scialabba, “Honesty: A Syllabus”

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Fair and balanced

October 15th, 2016 · No Comments

“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. … Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. That is not the way to do justice to those arguments or to bring them into contact with his own mind. He must hear them from persons who actually believe them, who defend them in earnest and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and resolves that difficulty.” – John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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And that’s the truth

October 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“The liar’s punishment is not that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw

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The green flash

October 13th, 2016 · No Comments

“In the process of decline a civilization may, from time to time, rally for a while; but it is the overall trajectory, the structural properties of the situation, that ultimately determine the outcome.” – Morris Berman, Dark Ages America

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Free loaves at the circus tonight

October 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“The unrestricted movement of capital, the ultima ratio of American foreign and domestic policy, requires weak or corrupt—in any case, acquiescent—governments, since otherwise they might try to improve their bargaining position by combining with other governments and encouraging labor organization. Ineffectual governments and labor unions in turn require a weakening of impulses toward cooperation, solidarity, and citizen initiative. Very helpful toward that end is the redefinition of the good life as a life of continuous and increasing individual consumption—which, since it is a false definition, necessitates unremitting indoctrination by means of advertising. Expanding consumption in turn requires technological innovation, mass production, a population willing to put up with insecure, regimented, and frequently stupefying work (the effects of which are assuaged by entertainments only a little more refined and wholesome than Roman circuses), and the exploitation of resources on a vast scale.” – George Scialabba, “How Bad Is It?”

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Word up

October 11th, 2016 · No Comments

“Avoid swimming in places where you may resemble part of the food chain.” – The Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide

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But they’re such nice people

October 10th, 2016 · No Comments

“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents.” – Bob Walker (quoted by Jean Stein in West of Eden)

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Proper places all

October 9th, 2016 · No Comments

“The Nazi state’s sacrifice of the economic and intellectual potential of its women citizens came back to haunt the regime, just as the backward attitude of the Third Reich toward scientific research had undesired consequences in a surprisingly short space of time. While the leading Nazis obstructed the work of serious scientists or supported it only half-heartedly, they showed a lot of interest in obscure theories such as the Welteislehre, or the theory of eternal ice, developed by the Austrian engineer Hanns Hoerbiger. Meanwhile, the physicists they had driven out of the country were preparing for nuclear war. In much the same way, the idea of the ‘little woman at home’ also backfired. While the Germans waged a petty war on lipstick and nail polish and prohibited women from smoking in public, the Allied weapons industry primarily employed women.” – Anna Maria Sigmund, Women of the Third Reich (trans. NDE Publishing)

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October 8th, 2016 · No Comments

“In proportion as the body grows fat, so does the soul wither away.” – Abba Daniel of Skettis

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Prussic acid bath

October 7th, 2016 · No Comments

“Bearing the brunt of Russian hatred, East Prussia suffered the most terrible fate of all the occupied areas. The land was left devastated for several years. Houses were wither burned or stripped down to the most basic fittings. Even light bulbs had been taken by peasant soldiers who had no electricity at home. The farms were dead, with all the livestock slaughtered or taken to Russia. Low-lying ground reverted to swamp. But the fate of the civilians who failed to escape was worst of all. Most women and girls were marched off to the Soviet Union for forced labour ‘in forests, peat bogs and canals for fifteen to sixteen hours a day’. A little over half of them died in the following two years. Of the survivors, just under half had been raped. When they were returned to the Soviet occupied zone of Germany in April 1947, most had to be sent immediately to hospitals because they were suffering from tuberculosis and venereal disease.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Getting on with it

October 6th, 2016 · No Comments

“Women in Berlin just wanted to get life back to some semblance of normality. The most common sight in Berlin became the Trümmerfrauen, the ‘rubble women’, forming human chains with buckets to clear smashed buildings and salvage bricks. Many of the German men left in the city were either in hiding or had collapsed with psychosomatic illnesses as soon as the fighting was over. Like most working parties, the women were paid at first in little more than handfuls of potatoes, yet the Berliner sense of humour did not fail. Every district was renamed. Charlottenburg had become ‘Klamottenberg’, which means ‘heap of rubbish’, Steglitz became ‘steht nichts’—‘nothing is standing’—and Lichterfelde became ‘Trichterfelde’—‘the field of craters’. To a large degree this was an outward courage masking resignation and quiet despair. ‘People were living with their fate,’ remarked one young Berliner.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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A carton for a concubine

October 5th, 2016 · No Comments

“In Berlin, the black-market exchange rate was based on Zigarettenwährung—‘cigarette currency’—so when American soldiers arrived with almost limitless cartons at their disposal, they did not need to rape. The definition of rape had become blurred into sexual coercion. A gun or physical violence became unnecessary when women faced starvation.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Whatever it takes

October 4th, 2016 · No Comments

“The reactions of German women to the experience of rape varied greatly. For many victims, especially protected young girls who had little idea of what was being done to them, the psychological effects could be devastating. Relationships with men became extremely difficult, often for the rest of their lives. Mothers were in general far more concerned about their children, and this priority made them surmount what they had endured. Other women, both young and adult, simply tried to blank out the experience. ‘I must repress a lot in order, to some extent, to be able to live,’ one woman acknowledged, when refusing to talk about the subject.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Ploughed and ploughing

October 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

“The worst mistake of the German military authorities had been their refusal to destroy alcohol stocks in the path of the Red Army’s advance. The decision was based on the idea that a drunken enemy could not fight. Tragically for the female population however, it was exactly what Red Army soldiers seemed to need to give them the courage to rape . . . . Women soon learned to disappear during the ‘hunting hours’ of the evening. Young daughters were hidden in storage lofts for days on end. . . . Sometimes the greatest danger came from one mother giving away the hiding place of other girls in a desperate bid to save her own daughters. . . . Because all the windows had been blown in, you could hear the screams every night. Estimates from the two main Berlin hospitals ranged from 95,000 to 130,000 rape victims. One doctor deduced that out of approximately 100,000 women raped in Berlin, some 10,000 died as a result, mostly from suicide. The death rate was thought to be much higher among the 1.4 million who had suffered in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia. Altogether at least 2 million German women are thought to have been raped, and a substantial minority, if not a majority, appear to have suffered multiple rape.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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What we don’t want the girls to know

October 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Rape has often been defined by writers on the subject as an act of violence which has little to do with sex. But this is a definition from the victim’s perspective. . . . In war, undisciplined soldiers without fear of retribution can rapidly revert to a primitive male sexuality . . . a dark area of male sexuality which can emerge all too easily.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Angels of mercy

October 1st, 2016 · No Comments

“Because of the virtual impossibility of obtaining official help, many wounded soldiers and civilians were tended to in the cellars of houses by mothers and girls. This was dangerous, however, because the Russians reacted to the presence of any soldier in a cellar as if the whole place were a defensive position. To avoid this, the women generally stripped the wounded of their uniforms, which they burned, and gave them spare clothes from upstairs. Another danger arose when members of the Volkssturm, on deciding to slip away home just before the Russians arrived, left behind the vast majority of their weapons and ammunition. Women who found any guns wasted no time in disposing of them. Word had got round that the Red Army was liable to execute all the inhabitants in a building where weapons were found.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Play as though your life depends on it

September 30th, 2016 · No Comments

“On the evening of 12 April [1945], the Berlin Philharmonic gave its last performance. Albert Speer, who organized it, had invited Grand Admiral Dönitz and also Hitler’s adjutant, Colonel von Below. The hall was properly lit for the occasion, despite the electricity cuts. ‘The concert took us back to another world,’ wrote Below. The programme included Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Bruckner’s 8th Symphony—(Speer later claimed that this was his warning signal to the orchestra to escape Berlin immediately after the performance to avoid being drafted into the Volkssturm)—and the finale to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Even if Wagner did not bring the audience back to present reality, the moment of escapism did not last long. It is said that, after the performance, the Nazi Party had organized Hitler Youth members to stand in uniform with baskets of cyanide capsules and offer them to members of the audience as they left.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Babes in warland

September 29th, 2016 · No Comments

“Berlin’s population in early April [1945] stood at anything between 3 and 3.5 million people, including around 120,000 infants. When General Reymann raised the problem of feeding these children at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery bunker, Hitler stared at him. ‘There are no children of that age left in Berlin,’ he said. Reymann finally understood that his supreme commander had no contact with human reality.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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The flower of the nation

September 28th, 2016 · No Comments

“The Führer’s response to the onrush of Soviet tank brigades towards Berlin had been to order the establishment of a Panzerjagd Division, but in typical Nazi style, this impressive-sounding organization for destroying tanks failed to live up to its title. It consisted of bicycle companies mainly from the Hitler Youth. Each bicyclist was to carry two panzerfaust anti-tank launchers clamped upright either side of the front wheel and attached to the handlebars. The bicyclist was supposed to be able to dismount in a moment and be ready for action against a T-34 or Stalin tank. Even the Japanese did not expect their kamikazes to ride into battle on a bicycle.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Jornada del muerto

September 27th, 2016 · No Comments

“The snow was deep on the roads and eventually most women had to abandon their prams and carry the youngest children. In the icy wind they also found that their thermoses had cooled. There was only one way to feed a hungry infant, but they could not find any shelter in which to breast-feed. All the houses were locked, either abandoned already or owned by people who refused to open their door to anyone. . . . One young wife, in a letter to her mother explaining the death from cold of her own child, also described the fate of other mothers, some crying over a bundle which contained a baby frozen to death, others sitting in the snow, propped against a tree by the side of the road, with older children standing nearby whimpering in fear, not knowing whether their mother was unconscious or dead.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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September 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“Although the Soviet authorities were well aware of the terrible retribution being exacted in East Prussia, they seemed angered, in fact almost offended, to find that German civilians were fleeing. Countryside and town were virtually depopulated. The NKVD chief of the 2nd Belorussian Front reported to G. F. Aleksandrov, the chief ideologist on the central committee, that there were ‘very few Germans left . . . many settlements are completely abandoned.’ He gave examples of villages where half a dozen people remained and small towns with fifteen people or so, almost all over forty-five years of age. The ‘noble fury’ was triggering the largest panic migration in history. Between 12 January and mid-February 1945, almost 8.5 million Germans fled their homes in the eastern provinces of the Reich.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945 (ellipsis in original)

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September 25th, 2016 · No Comments

“Few things reveal more about political leaders and their systems than the manner of their downfall.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Take it now and make payments

September 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“The deepest determinant of contemporary social psychology is not mass unbelief but mass production. Industrialism has decisively undermined the republican ideals of independence, self-sufficiency, and proprietorship—the ‘modest competence’ postulated by early democratic theorists as the basis of civic virtue and civil equality. It is the practice of demanding skills, rather than fragmented and routinized drudgery, that disciplines us and makes mutual respect and sympathy possible. Work that provides scope for the exercise of virtues and talents; a physical, social, and political environment commensurate in scale with our authentic, non-manufactured needs and appetites; and a much greater degree of equality, with fewer status distinctions, and those resting on inner qualities rather than money—these are the requirements of psychic health at present. The alternative is infantilism and authoritarianism, compensated—at least until the earth’s ecology breaks down—by frantic consumption.”  – George Scialabba, “The Wages of Original Sin”

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Storm force 7

September 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“What can motivate ordinary men and women to behave decently most of the time and heroically in emergencies? Perhaps it might help to reduce the many temptations to behave otherwise. Chief among these in twenty-first-century America are the relentless sexualization of advertising and entertainment, the pervasive economic insecurity engineered by business and government (especially Republican) policies, and the enfeeblement of civic life entailed by extreme laissez-faire ideology. These things make it harder to maintain dignity or restraint and to trust or care about other people. None of them are necessary consequences of skepticism or intellectual freedom, and some of them are promoted most vigorously by people who loudly proclaim themselves religious.” – George Scialabba, “The Wages of Original Sin”

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Something to believe in

September 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Prescribing religion in its generic form has become commonplace among social critics, particularly communitarians. They have a point. No society—for that matter, no individual—can flourish without a great deal of trust, devotion, solidarity, and self-discipline. Religion often fosters these things, and not only among co-religionists. But although untrammeled sexual freedom is not a requirement of human flourishing, any more than the untrammeled freedom to accumulate money, untrammeled intellectual freedom most certainly is. Unquestioned authority is not merely undesirable, it is impossible, a contradiction in terms. Authority is what remains after all questions have been asked, all objections posed, all doubts explored. Until then, there is only superstition or cowed silence. Religious orthodoxy, and in particular the theistic hypothesis, has had many centuries to establish its intellectual authority. Its prospects are dwindling. If trust, devotion, and the other requisites of community depend on a general belief in supernatural agencies, then the triumph of the therapeutic is probably permanent.” – George Scialabba, “The Wages of Original Sin”

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