Month: November 2011

A joyful noyse?A joyful noyse?

“Does love for art really exist and has it ever existed?  Is it not a delusion?  When Lenin proclaimed that he loved Beethoven’s Appassionata above all else, what was it that he really loved?  What did he hear?  Music?  Or a majestic noise that reminded him of the solemn stirrings in his soul, a longing for blood, brotherhood, executions, justice, and the absolute?  Did he derive joy from the tones, or from the musings stimulated by those tones, which had nothing to do with art or with beauty?” — Milan Kundera, Immortality (trans. Kussi)

The best-dressed person in the graveyardThe best-dressed person in the graveyard

“Up to a certain moment our death seems too distant for us to occupy ourselves with it.  It is unseen and invisible.  That is the first, happy period of life.  But then we suddenly begin to see our death ahead of us and we can no longer keep ourselves from thinking about it.  It is with us.  And because immortality sticks to death as tightly as Laurel to Hardy, we can say that our immortality is with us, too.  And the moment we know it is with us we feverishly begin to look after it.  We have a formal suit made for it, we buy a new tie for it, worried that others might select the clothes and tie, and select badly.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality (trans. Kussi)

High Street 7.4 — Freedom’s Just Another Word (fin.)High Street 7.4 — Freedom’s Just Another Word (fin.)

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.  Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality (trans. Kussi)

High Street 7.4 — “Freedom’s Just Another Word” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 8 — “Plus ça Change”)

High Street 7.2 — Freedom’s Just Another Word (cont.)High Street 7.2 — Freedom’s Just Another Word (cont.)

“There’s nothing so beautiful as having a very difficult problem.  It gives purpose to life.” — Donald Barthelme (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 7.2 — “Freedom’s Just Another Word” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 7.3 — “Freedom’s Just Another Word” (cont.))

High Street 6.5 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.5 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“The four social classes under late capitalism are artists, rich people, the middle class, [and] poor people—this being the order of rank and precedence.  As the dominant class (morally/intellectually speaking), artists have a clear social responsibility to care for and nurture the three lower classes.  This is not by any means their primary responsibility, which is of course to art, but neither is it a negligible one.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.5 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.6 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 6.4 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.4 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“Art is always aimed (like a rifle, if  you wish) at the middle class.  The working class has its own culture and will have no truck with fanciness of any kind.  The upper class owns the world and thus needs know no more about the world than is necessary for its orderly exploitation.  The notion that art cuts across class boundaries to stir the hearts of hoe hand and Morgan alike is, at best, a fiction useful to the artist, his Hail Mary.  It is the poor puzzled bourgeoisie that is sufficiently uncertain, sufficiently hopeful, to pay attention to art.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.4 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.5 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 6.3 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.3 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“Where does desire go?  Always a traveling salesperson, desire goes hounding off into the trees, frequently, without direction from its putative master or mistress.  This is tragic and comic at the same time.  I should, in a well-ordered world, marry the intellectual hero my wicked uncle has selected for me.  Instead I run off with William of Ockham or Daffy Duck.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.3 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.4 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 6.2 — Life During Wartime (cont.)High Street 6.2 — Life During Wartime (cont.)

“Every woman artist will tell you that she exists in a universe of discourse created by men, works with a language created by men, a language suffused, colored, drenched in male desire.  That is, every woman artist is speaking a foreign language, like Beckett writing in French.  This should not be overstressed, because the languages involved have much in common—indeed, so much in common that they appear at times to be exactly congruent, like a photograph of a photograph.” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 6.2 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.3 — “Life During Wartime” (cont.))

High Street 5.5 — Criminal Defense (fin.)High Street 5.5 — Criminal Defense (fin.)

“Art is a commodity, art criticism is a commodity, the apple is a commodity, the air is a commodity, the ground under our feet is a commodity.  God is very much a commodity.  My emotions are a commodity, my desires the very locus of commodification.  My last illness is a commodity (twenty-two days at so much a day), my grave is a commodity (and not inexpensive).” — Donald Barthelme, “On the Level of Desire” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 5.5 — “Criminal Defense” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 6.1 — “Life During Wartime”)

High Street 5.4 — Criminal Defense (cont.)High Street 5.4 — Criminal Defense (cont.)

“One of the pleasures of art is that it enables the mind to move in unanticipated directions, to make connections that may be in some sense errors but are fruitful nonetheless.” — Donald Barthelme, “Reifications” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 5.4 — “Criminal Defense” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 5.5 — “Criminal Defense” (fin.))

High Street 5.2 — Criminal Defense (cont.)High Street 5.2 — Criminal Defense (cont.)

“It is the vocation of the artist, the fiction writer, the playwright, and the poet, to create new language.” — Walker Percy, quoted in “A Symposium on Fiction” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 5.2 — “Criminal Defense” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 5.3 — “Criminal Defense” (cont.))

High Street 4.9 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (fin.)High Street 4.9 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (fin.)

“Words get worn out, and instead of conveying meaning they act either as simulacra to conceal meaning or as if they were transparencies with no meaning.” — Walker Percy, quoted in “A Symposium on Fiction” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.9 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 5.1 — “Criminal Defense”)

High Street 4.6 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)High Street 4.6 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“A little thing may be perfect, but perfection is not a little thing.” — Thomas Bailey Aldrich (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVII, Ch. X, Sec. 3)

High Street 4.6 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.7 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

High Street 4.5 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)High Street 4.5 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Every writer in the country can write a beautiful sentence, or a hundred.  What I am interested in is the ugly sentence that is also somehow beautiful.  I agree that this is a highly-specialized enterprise.” — Donald Barthelme, “On ‘Paraguay’” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.5 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.6 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))