Saturday, December 24, 2022

"If you say why not bomb them tomorrow, I say why not today?"

Lorentzen on Cormac McCarthy

According to Alicia, the love between the siblings is a matter of mutual recognition in a world where neither of them otherwise belongs. ‘I knew that I wasnt supposed to be in Wartburg Tennessee and I thought it possible that Bobby had found where it was that I was supposed to be. Where we were supposed to be.’ She names the mountains of Romania. ‘For how long did you entertain this fantasy?’ Cohen asks. She replies: ‘I entertain it yet.’

Her comment suggests that the motive of her suicide might be to join her brother, whom she has taken for dead, and that the act is something beyond her free will. Bobby’s realisation that he is in love with his sister, when he was a grad student and she was thirteen, is similarly presented as something beyond his conscious reckoning: ‘Watching her that summer evening he knew that he was lost. His heart in his throat. His life no longer his.’ What he is watching is Alicia performing the role of Medea, alone and in costume, on the floor of a quarry, lit by smoky homemade kerosene lamps. It’s a powerful image and one that comes completely out of the blue. There is another temptation for the reader: to connect these children and their behaviour to their father, the bomb maker, to see the bomb as something that emerged from the collective human unconscious, something animals made while tending to their own survival. Alicia tells Cohen that ‘anyone who doesnt understand that the Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in human history hasnt been paying attention. It’s up there with fire and language ... and it may be number one.’ As for its makers: ‘I think most of the scientists didnt give that much thought to what was going to happen. They were just having a good time. They all said the same thing about the Manhattan Project. That they’d never had so much fun in their lives.’ Some have their fun actually burning down the world, others write novels.

2007 One I haven't repeated, 

Dennett and Determinism, Bill and Buddha Nature: Killers as Heroes (and actors as gods) in the Films of Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino's movies are as politically reactionary as Mel Gibson's, but only one of them gets called for it. Honesty in Kill Bill is the following of one's true self. Clark Kent is the sham persona. Bill reminds Beatrix that she's a killer, and that her daughter is one as well. This is neither moral nor immoral but simple determinism, whether genetic or metaphysical is irrelevant. And Beatrix is both the hero and the victor. The best killer wins.

tags: Mannerism and The GothicThe Dark Knight and Epic CinemaDeterminismKubrick, etc.

We'll meet again, Don't know where, Don't know when, But I know we'll meet again some sunny day

I could add something about Game of Thrones, but that would be obvious.

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
—The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.
And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Aubade, Philip Larkin

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