The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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Entries from February 2016

Bait your hook, drop your line

February 29th, 2016 · No Comments

“I think of writing as a long, tiring, pleasant seduction. The stories you tell, the words you use and work on, the characters you try to give life to, are only tools with which you circle around the evasive thing, unnamed and shapeless, which belongs only to you, and which is a sort of key […]

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Tags: Elena Ferrante · Lit & Crit

You gotta believe

February 28th, 2016 · No Comments

“Someone who truly loves literature is like a person of faith. The believer knows very well that there is nothing at all at the bureau of vital statistics about the Jesus that truly counts for him.” – Elena Ferrante, “The Author Is Purely a Name” (trans. Goldstein)

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Tags: Elena Ferrante · Lit & Crit

It’s not hard

February 27th, 2016 · No Comments

“Words draw out words: one can always write a banal, elegant, heartfelt, amusing coherent page on any subject, low or high, simple or complex, frivolous or fundamental.” – Elena Ferrante, “The Author Is Purely a Name” (trans. Goldstein)

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Tags: Elena Ferrante · Lit & Crit

What it was about

February 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“On April 19 [1945], we occupied Oranienburg, a city of 25,000 people about 35 miles from Berlin. In the middle of town was a walled compound called Sachsenhausen. Originally built for political prisoners, it was the first concentration camp, older than Dachau. For the first time we came upon survivors—just barely surviving. The majority were […]

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Tags: The Second World War

Orderly genocide

February 25th, 2016 · No Comments

“You cannot possibly imagine what a devastating impact it had on a front-line soldier, entering those factory-like buildings and discovering that this facility [Majdanek] was a death camp. What I saw upon entering that camp was a large building, and I remember there was a sign pointing to a ‘Bad und Disinfektion’ facility. The inside […]

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Tags: The Second World War

Same as we ever do

February 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“I write because I need to create a world I want, even if it can only exist in words.” – Daphne Gottlieb (interview by Jessa Crispin in Bookslut)

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Tags: Daphne Gottlieb · Lit & Crit

If not greater than

February 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“Peace is not a principle, it is only a desirable state of affairs, and can’t be obtained without a capacity for violence at least equal to the violence of the threat.” – Clive James, “Joseph Conrad: Anticipating Terrorism”

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War · The Second World War

Where you didn’t want to be

February 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

“All across Hamburg, the firestorm sucked air to feed itself. The fire raged three miles up, and winds were moving at 150 miles per hour. As the heat hit clouds overhead, a greasy, black rain started falling. On the ground, the intense heat set many people afire. Many people saved themselves by diving into canals […]

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Tags: The Second World War

Sums it up

February 21st, 2016 · No Comments

“What a lousy earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How […]

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Tags: Joseph Heller · Lit & Crit · The Second World War

Easily done

February 20th, 2016 · No Comments

“The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into […]

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Tags: Joseph Heller · Lit & Crit · The Second World War

Ask ’em, they’ll tell you

February 19th, 2016 · No Comments

“It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (emphasis in original)

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Tags: Joseph Heller · Lit & Crit · The Second World War

But they’re all great in their own way

February 18th, 2016 · No Comments

“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Tags: Joseph Heller · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Lemons, lemonade, etc.

February 17th, 2016 · No Comments

“Google ‘famous failures,’ and you’ll find an entire day’s reading, from the well-worn (Steve Jobs, J. K. Rowling, and Albert Einstein) to the obscure (Alan Hinkes, S. A. Andrée, Akio Morita). We reprint and repeat these tales of failure because we know they end well. They may contain plot twists and surprise endings, but before […]

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Tags: Jessica Lahey · Lit & Crit

Recognizing the difference

February 16th, 2016 · No Comments

“Elementary and secondary school teachers are professional teachers. Professors are professional scholars who share what they know with students as part of their agreement with the university—the rest of their commitment is to their own research and service to the university and their profession.” – Professor Michael Chemers (quoted by Jessica Lahey in The Gift […]

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Tags: Jessica Lahey · Lit & Crit

Let’s get this straight

February 15th, 2016 · No Comments

“A criminal citing any reason or religious text for his or her crime does not make that atrocious act less criminal, nor does it make those who take the classical sources and tradition seriously somehow implicitly connected to what is being done.” – Dr. Hatem Bazian, “ISIS’s compounded ignorance is criminal but not a theology”

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

Providing it is a bond and not a breakage

February 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“Perfection is not what holds a family together; the bond forged through shared struggle is what endures over the long haul.” – Jessica Lahey, The Gift of Failure

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Tags: Jessica Lahey · Lit & Crit

Or withholds it altogether

February 13th, 2016 · No Comments

“The worst kind of controlling parenting is the type that either withholds affection or makes it contingent on performance. This kind of parenting hits kids where they are most vulnerable: their basic sense of safety and fear of abandonment. Even subtle withdrawal has a deleterious effect on children’s sense of security.” – Jessica Lahey, The […]

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Tags: Jessica Lahey · Lit & Crit

Carrots and sticks work only on asses

February 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“Rewards work for repetitive, uncomplicated, or boring tasks, but when it comes to creativity and nuanced learning, they are lousy motivators.” – Jessica Lahey, The Gift of Failure

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Tags: Jessica Lahey · Lit & Crit

Nutty

February 11th, 2016 · No Comments

“Before I joined the army I’d’ve thought it was certain death to dig a hole in the back garden and live in it for the winter, but that’s what we did. The sergeant said, ‘Well, squirrels do it every year.’ ‘Yes,’ I thought, ‘but they don’t man machine guns as well.’ ” – Unidentified British […]

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Tags: The Second World War

Payment in specie not required

February 10th, 2016 · No Comments

“Virtue for virtue’s sake, faith without reason, art for art, and other purities of purpose will not suffice for happiness unless ideals can be betrayed on a regular basis.” – William H. Gass, The Tunnel

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

And it’s easy

February 9th, 2016 · No Comments

“The greatest gift you can give another human being is to let them warm you till, in passing beyond pleasure, your defenses fall, your ego surrenders, its structure melts, its towers topple, lies, fancies, vanities, blow away in no wind, and you return, not to the clay you came from—the unfired vessel—but to the original […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Divine limerick

February 8th, 2016 · No Comments

“Suppose a mad god in a fuss went round the world on a bus, and for each kiss he blew, he ran over two; what good would ensue? Please discuss.” – William H. Gass, The Tunnel

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Yield to merging traffic

February 7th, 2016 · No Comments

“The automobile is the world’s most effective killing machine, with victims outnumbering any war, with millions maimed, shocked, crazed by the car, half the world trashed by its production, made brutal, ugly, used up, useless, with endless highways and hospitals to maintain, most citizens in debt to their eyes for this toy . . . […]

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Tags: Adolf Hitler · Economics · Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

The routine burden of evil

February 6th, 2016 · No Comments

“It is easy to be a victim, you don’t have to do a thing, you simply weep and bleed—but, ah, the beater, to be the beater is not a role whose easy mastery is readily admittable; sympathies in such a cause are not idly, not routinely, not frequently enlisted; and were they to be, what […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Not a mensch

February 5th, 2016 · No Comments

“Sure, Adolf Hitler knew how to play the piano (badly), how to type (slowly), how to drive a car (erratically), how to draw (inadequately), how to write (drivel), how to remember (photographically), and how to bombast (beautifully). But bombast isn’t bombing. He was in fact a petty little twerp. A man of such meager means […]

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Tags: Adolf Hitler · Lit & Crit · The Second World War · William H. Gass

But everyone knows more is better

February 4th, 2016 · No Comments

“Slowly slime is covering the earth, more of it made every day—more whiny people, more filthy thoughts, crummy plans, cruddy things, contemptible actions—multiplying like evil spores (we were told to be fruitful, not to trash the place); so that now there are more artifacts and less art, more that is tame, little that is wild, […]

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

The politics of resentment

February 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

“Revolutionaries and other malcontents, because they are not in the place of power, or perhaps, in a nation, are the country’s restive minorities, or sometimes because they are spiteful courtiers out of favor: these desperadoes—sort of, aren’t they?—preach a rigid dogma to their followers, and wild relativism to the rest. Anarchists. Communists. Suffragettes. Separatists. Special […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · William H. Gass

Depends on how you look at it

February 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Relativism as a theory really reflects an intellectual failure of nerve which is the result of Colonial guilt, commercial greed, the placation of the mob, and a total loss of taste.” – William H. Gass, The Tunnel

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Equal equals

February 1st, 2016 · No Comments

“We who are as good as you swear to you who are no better than we, to accept you as our king and sovereign lord, provided you observe all our liberties and laws; but if not, not.” – Council of Aragon Oath of Allegiance (J. H. Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716)

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Tags: Politics & Law