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Our reaction is one we have when we hear recordings of ourselves: Do we really sound like that? American productions fare better. Dominic West in The Afffair is completely credible. Damien Lewis on Homeland , it seemed to us, was also pitch-perfect. In Billions, he was a bit less so; at times his accent was a near-burlesque of New Jerseyese. The voice of Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange , by contrast, was unplaceable and irritating. Was it intentional — and meaningful — that he sounded less and less American as his character became increasingly heroic?
The various mirrored lobby levels lend a sense of theatrical excitement to any evening, even before the stage curtain goes up. The daily experience of nature is fast becoming a luxury, and its lack will have disastrous long-term consequence. Commitment to the National Park Service should be the starting-point for an across-the-aisle coalition of resistance to current White House denizens.
As audience members what we endured instead was a kind of ethnographic distance. High modernism has become as foreign as archaic Cretan bull dances. Returning to New York City to see a Broadway show is a curious experience. Instead we found ourselves feeling like unpaid extras in a television commercial, being directed to cross the human vehicular traffic again and again. For us, the time there marked a distinct cultural moment, if not exactly a theatrical one. Based on a novel by P.
James, the film is set in the future, though its feels terrifyingly close to our present The performances were as excellent as anticipated, but what we were most struck with were the observations made by Savall during the pre-concert interview. Now that his oeuvre is truly complete, some New York publisher really needs to get moving!
What greater pleasure is there than to share an enthusiasm? His interpretations of a wide and wild variety of music are more than somewhat unorthodox; he has a less than perfect voice, which is part of its appeal; and the sheer volume of his recorded output can be overwhelming and therefore off-putting. All this acknowledged, we cherish our stack of Bleckmann collaborations from Winter and Winter.
We are mesmerized by The Young Pope , which we are watching in haunting alternation with the live news coverage of CNN. The hour is getting late. The other day we found ourselves in the basement of the Harvard Book Store, and there spread before us, like the feast of our dreams, was a set of remaindered New York Review of Books books. Does anyone really need a college education when the NYRB classics are so affordable? These days reverse snobbery and anti-intellectualism are our among our most serious adversaries. A true social meritocracy, of course, is still the ideal and, in our opinion, achievable through a renewed commitment to non-vouchered and non-chartered public education.
But in their attempt to avoid appearing snooty, American cultural figures mistakenly continue to bend over backwards to be appear populist and inclusive in ways that have turned out to be self-defeating. It provides images, representative anecdotes, emblems that condition us to confront what we must confront, and it disposes us to do what we must do, not only to fulfill ourselves but also to survive as human beings in a given place, time, circumstance, and predicament.
An alternate world to day-to-day life, our escapist evenings provided a parallel universe of stresses belonging to wholly imaginary people. Robot, The Americans and House of Cards. One of the oddest parts of the whole experience was how the same set of actors would weave in an out of the various casts, so that there was something dreamlike about going from one teleplay to another. These innumerable hours in front of the TV screen were full of political intrigue, sexual confusion, legal troubles, professional antagonisms and family tensions — all brought about in well-acted and well-dressed melodrama.
But in the end we have to admit we perhaps most enjoyed it when such soap-opera scenarios were ludicrously placed into pseudo-historical or fantastic contexts, such as in Game of Thrones , Penny Dreadful and Black Sails. Speaking of Alexander Calder see Nov. As a special insert, it reproduces on special Japanese paper a collotype print from a copper etching plate. And then in the gallery bookshop we came across a most wonderful accompanying book, Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint by Mary Jacobus.
There is a charming appropriateness to the location of the Berggruen Paul Klee Collection on the fifth floor of the Met Breuer. Looking out the gallery windows over city rooftops, the visitor has the momentary sense of having travelled up to the household nursery. Readers of this newsletter may have been given the mistaken impression that we have a low opinion of journalism.
And yet the media humiliated itself this election season. When were such people handed the mike with rhetorical impunity? Excellence does not acknowledge ethnicity or social class and the majority does not always choose in its own best interests. The outcome of the election rested on the failure of American education.
If so moved, the artistic and academic community should certainly join the protests now expressing themselves across the country. But we must remember that our most powerful medium of counterattack will always be the arts and sciences themselves. On the eve of the national election, we have a few thoughts to share about the federal government. At the National Gallery in Washington one recent weekday morning, among nearly empty galleries, we had a brief conversation with one of the young guards.
After the intermission, following two early rondos and the Piano Sonata No. We had the idea that such generous prize purses were originally intended for those working outside the usual cultural bureaucracies and academic contexts. Instead, the MacArthur Foundation evidently works in tandem with these institutions so that a majority of the recipients are already quite famous, even outside their respective specializations.
We also think there is some confusion about fame and populism among those currently serving on boards and award committees. Handy are not great art. As staunch book people, we consider the category of literature to be comprised of verbal works whose primary medium of expression is the page. From the perspective of a recent visit to still-Fascism-recalling Europe, the man looks like another familiar tyrannical buffoon Mussolini, Franco, Hitler , ludicrous yet nervous-making.
We know that enemy, or so we smugly thought. Reading literary discourse such as quoted above on our return to the States, however, has made us even less confident as to the possibilities for reasonable political discussion. What gets the most attention is what wins. In national politics as in literary criticism, there are times when it does appear that our country has completely lost its footing.
The lover, paradoxically, becomes grateful for the experience of mournful longing. The first two rooms struck us as especially masterful examples of museum curation. The opening wall formed a collage of photographs and drawings representing vocationally and personally related figures of early modernism. Drawn from the visual arts, music and dance, the set implied a still-little-known narrative of personal relations and forms of artistic support.
This and much more is all facilitated by the presence of sculptor Gertrude herself.
There she is in person, painted by Robert Henri as the consummate Greenwich Village saloniste she would become, shockingly moderne for , reclining in silk pajamas among her talented colleagues. We recognize that every writer has at least two jobs these days — author and publicity agent. Next spring a companion volume to Nine Over Sixes will be appearing just in time for a summer launch.
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What is being promoted is not the book but the person. The stand-alone work of literature seems to be an increasingly rare bird. And while no one show in either Wellfleet or Provincetown made very much of a case for any given concept or artist, the two new GAA galleries in both towns have introduced some freshly unexpected forms of excellence to the over-familiar local arts scene. A year has come and gone since our last posting here at the newsletter.
As anyone who has followed these ruminations on the arts would expect, the loss of poets Christopher Middleton and Yves Bonnefoy in the interim was especially strongly felt at LongNookBooks. While both were the subjects of international tributes, the American literary world hardly made note of their passing. They turn inward. They answer only to themselves.
Over the course of the last twenty years, when her translations were first published, the five elegiacs of the only female Latin poet whose work is extant has been increasingly acknowledged among classicists. It remains up to the reader to go back to the German and revisit it. We missed the Provincetown Arts party this year. What is displayed is kept at a distance, both literally and figuratively. What the place is most like, unsurprisingly, is a very expensive conceptual boutique where prices are not shown.
But throughout the institution all kinds of things are set at a discomfiting angle. The genderless watchers assigned to each room are themselves appareled in top-buttoned gray and black, lending a distinctly penitentiary quality to the converted factory. The interiors are designed with weird combinations of materials, as though an overcoat were made of both tire rubber and mink. Other surfaces are chicly left raw. Painted grills function as bathroom doors; a steel trough functions as a bathroom sink. The resulting experience is not merely dreamlike, but slightly nightmarish.
The Bar Luce designed by film director Wes Anderson should have been charming with its pink and green furnishings, pinball machine and jukebox. And we really did enjoy ourselves; the cocktails were excellent! Some find the ringing of village church bells maddening; others take comfort in their regular tolling. Either way, their pitched marking of the hours neatly divides each night and day.
Therefore many exhibits at Expo Milano placed great emphasis on issues of sustainability and indigenous methods of agriculture. Despite its cutting-edge and energy-saving methodologies, the Expo obviously came about in large part as result of corporate money, industrial methods and commercial enterprise. In the end, to be perfectly honest, the whole thing struck us as an enormous albeit informative food court. One cultural attribute that has come into focus more sharply on our European travels is the American tendency to judge poets by their personal behaviors and political opinions rather than by the excellence of the work itself.
It is our opinion that art should not necessarily be obligated to draw attention to, let alone compensate for, the failures of government programs and legislative measures. What is called for in these instances is political activism. Elsewhere in the world there is less requirement that a poet be a source of political wisdom or a practitioner of ethical behavior.
Discussion of who should appear on stamps and currency is usually of little interest to us. In centuries to come, what American name will remain familiar to all? One prediction: Walt Whitman. Sometimes it takes distance — both linguistic and geographic— to see such cultural realities clearly. With all respect to Ulysses S. We looked at a Second Folio belonging to a Spanish House of the Jesuits, with offensively lascivious lines blacked out.
We held the notated prompt book from a production of Hamlet starring John Barrymore. Given their tendency to write easy-listening verse, we certainly understand why many poets would propose such a standard; for them, immediate accessibility is all. For one thing, some kinds of poems do need to be seen in print to be fully understood. Or what at first may seem difficult or inaccessible to the ear can become in time, paradoxically, a preferred style.
This melancholic inventory of three days on the Place Saint Sulpice has been masterfully translated by Marc Lowenthal. The book succeeds at what much conceptual poetry is currently failing to achieve, the sublime banality of experience captured through catalogue. We deeply regret that are not in a position to write proper reviews; all we can do is thank Wakefield for making these fantastic volumes available to English readers.
That sections from a journal, for example, can be assembled with interesting effect is inarguable. But the present rage for the memoir presented in fragments has become brutalizing.
John Ashbery, who mentioned that he was reading the Selected Poems in a recent interview, is only one among a group of distinguished advocates for the British poet Nicholas Moore. It is one of our most favorite books. It is precisely the fact that each man within the limits of his own society and culture speaks his own language that makes him human.
It would be quite easy to dismiss the work of Jean-Michel Othoniel as merely beautiful. And though you might not know it at first, given how immediately appealing his sculptures are, Othoniel is a very bookish and somewhat esoteric artist. It is, among other things, a kind of botanical curriculum vitae: My obsession with the hidden meanings of flowers, and with their symbolism, is not only a key to reading old paintings, it is also a way of looking at the world — and an expression of my desire to see the marvels that surround us.
When we find a book truly dreadful, our response is usually the result of great disappointment. There are also indications that the trobairitz were familiar with Latin lyricists, some of whom wrote in the voices of women; the works of the Roman Sulpicia, however, would have been attributed to Tibullus.
While we admit the fascinating culture of twelfth-century Southwest France is quite complex, Keelan makes an especial hash of it re: her summary of the Cathar heresy. In the end, it is our opinion that Keelan most betrays the the lyrics of the trobairitz by making them so ugly. What a lost opportunity. At LongNookBooks we like to think of ourselves as good readers. As most literary enthusiasts of our generation we read the first wave of continental theory the way many contemporaries tried psychedelics — with a kind of reckless openness to new experience.
We assert with some certainty that such thinkers would be aghast at the misapplication of their ideas. And then there are the reviews and interviews of contemporary poets endless, endless who speak and write with a incomprehensibility once associated with the sensations of a very bad trip. Important points are conveniently set in boldface type. Art books are art; not having those would be like living in a house without windows. The truth is that the only shelf we find it easy to empty is, in fact, the one packed with self-help books like this one by Marie Kondo.
But then we were deeply amused and fascinated at how the roles of scoundrel and saint can be so effectively reversed. Through rhetoric and that lawyerly slight-of-hand known as plausibility, history becomes a fresh drama; and everyone knows entertaining fiction trumps dull fact anytime.
The snows are almost completely melted here on the Outer Cape, revealing once again the gray-green geography of the National Seashore. Even if we managed to talk the business staff into it, we suspect that the logistics of such a venture would not be likely to go smoothly. There are some indisputable masterpieces among the VistaVision catalogue, of course. But there was even more jaw-dropping free stuff Giacometti! All things considered, the company managed pretty well with the couplets penned by the brainy Ives — a writer better known for his Venus in Fur, among other original plays.
In fact, the surfeit of clumsy rhymes became a self-conscious joke, one of several gags that grew a bit tired. In his embrace of sonic variety, John Zorn is a model of artistic daring and generosity. We like to think that his record label, Tzadik, has inspired some of our own enterprises. As these titles suggest, Zorn is into some deep stuff, and though much of it is way beyond the likes of us, we enjoy the regular sensation of pleasurable bafflement these discs provide.
Frankly, it sounded like a bit of a snore. In the end, the happy union of the two lovers was not just deeply moving but completely enervating — something very much like the experience of love itself. In the face of misunderstanding or silence, it takes a lot of backbone for any writer not to give in and produce work certain to provoke immediate interest and acclaim. Recent real-life events in Copenhagen seem to have been prophesied by our binge viewing of the ten-episode television series, Bron-Broen The Bridge. The show is about a lot of things differences in the temperaments of Danes and Swedes, for example , but in the end, it makes a point we agree with: Whatever the political, religious or social motivations they present for their actions, terrorists are just very troubled individuals, nothing more than psychopaths and criminals with unjustifiable agendas.
The Library of American volume is like a museum containing room after well-lit room of both familiar and unfamiliar treasures, a series of galleries displaying artworks of greatness and beauty whose existence as an impeccable collection was long presumed to be only a rumor. These are pastoral people, persisting like wild vines upon the intricacies of a great city, a phantasmagoria of all that is most contemporary in hardness of material and of appetite. In my opinion they embody with great beauty and fullness not only their own personal and historical selves but also, in fundamental terms, a natural history of the soul, which I presume also to be warm-blooded, and pastoral, and, as a rule, from its first conscious instant onward, as fantastically misplanted in the urgent metropolis of the body, as the body in the world.
This window looked out on a garden; or, rather, it would have looked out on a garden if it had not been for the leaves and branches of a large tree which pressed directly against the window. Everything one saw from this window, then, was filtered through these leaves. And this window was a kind of universe, moaning and wailing when it rained, light of the morning, and as blue as the blues when the last light of the sun departed.
What we instead took from the book was a visceral sense of how tentative the whole project of art actually is. Success, in any of its definitions, feels completely fortuitous. At such times, our sense of the potential for failed expression is almost overwhelming. The fortepiano was, to be honest, a harder sell. The recent James Laughlin bio by Ian S. Just as the book presents him, Jas was handsome, generous and courtly — as well as something of a rake.
But for us this seems beside the point. The fact is that the man was a real person who treated those he encountered as something other than commodities; he paid no attention to either accountants or marketing experts. But what an emperor! His rule was a remarkable, if imperfect, era of editorial enlightenment. For one thing, actual Manhattan streets are more intensively policed and therefore safer — at least for its well-heeled residents. But as we worked our way through the discs, the closer the fiction plausibly came to overlap with reality. Just in these half-dozen issues sent to the recycling bin, there were so many great pieces by regular contributors such as David Thomson or Jed Perl.
In the very last, special anniversary issue, there was a terrific short piece on the unsung hero Harris Wofford. Where will we look now for note of the likes of Harris Wofford? Even before the curtain fell, evidently the staff had a distinct sense of their doom. May it also be our own. Accessible textbases and shared publication platforms are creating new and highly problematic issues for scholarship; all kinds of practical and ethical issues related to collaborative efforts are presenting themselves.
What will be the role of the individual in complex digital systems? New approaches to the teaching of literature also are being proposed, as those with recent degrees are encouraged to expand their job search beyond exclusively academic contexts. Another set of options, a fresh set of paying students, may be found outside of institutional settings. The tack we would have followed would have been to note that the principle of written law is based on shared concepts of right and wrong.
The earliest textual source for the idea of justice can be traced to authors of not legal or religious texts but imaginative literature, the realm of myth. With societal and cultural changes, the form of these narratives alter, but poets still engage in defining and redefining ideas of fairness and right social behavior. An interesting assortment of publications from Pressed Wafer arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. We especially responded to W.
The long-delayed opening of the renovated Harvard Art Museums has rightly been greeted with considerable fanfare. Maybe the space of the Calderwood Courtyard seemed to us a little spare the afternoon we visited, as an early winter day darkened into evening on Quincy Street. Instead, by the time we got there, the cafe was already closed and the gift-shop clerks were already making their after-work plans. Why that installation is not being made a permanent exhibit is a mystery to us. Published by the Colby Museum of Art and Libellum books, these conversational texts serve to remind the currently market-oriented art world of the enormous impact of those shoestring-budgeted collaborative galleries.
But is a requested compliment never sincere? Do book-cover declarations have more weight than private, unprompted expressions?
the crowded stairs of sanity a pirate poetic epic Manual
On both points, we think not, even though we find ourselves in an ironic position as far as the matter of name-dropping. And, of course, the approach, really a great idea! And the volume is beautiful to behold and hold. Shoulder-high frames were placed around town, with captured current perspectives and vintage photographs of the same locale set side by side.
At the Art Association itself, some wonderfully unpretentious documentaries made by Sun Gallery director Yvonne Andersen were on view. The comfy couches and coffee tables provided an especially homey touch. The third part of the project is still in the process of being put together, as townspeople and visitors are called upon to contribute their own photographs and memories of this remarkable place; a communal table full of scrapbooks-in-progress as well as a recording booth have been provided for this purpose. The whole exhibition was a wonderful concept, beautifully executed by the architectural firm of Tsao and McKown.
The first half of the concert was comprised of two song cycles by Robert Schumann. All the renderings were skilled, intelligent and thoughtful, but the first set of songs made the greatest impression on us. It was evident that a lot of thought had gone into these.
Not to discount the subtle modulations of Padmore or the interpretive ballast provided by the piano, but finally it was Schumann who entranced us. Off the page she was equally amazing. Maggie was also the wife of the architect Charles Jencks, whose work as an architectural historian we came to know as undergraduates. Perhaps as a result of his connection to the tradition of modernist architecture on the Outer Cape, we confess we now think of him as a sort of relative — well, at least as a fellow Outer Cape Codder.
His family has long ties to the area his father Gardner was a pianist and composer and his sister is the sculptor Penelope Jencks. Perhaps there is a real possibility that such structures and approaches to treatment might soon be implemented here on our own shores. Now comes the hard part. The dialogue between Judith Shulevitz and Rebecca Traister covered a lot of territory. Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality.
But what a drawer! But the entire show was wonderful: In quick summary, it presented black and white artists, black and white subjects, in mostly black and white media. And the Kentridges did not disappoint. When it becomes impossible to recreate an art experience in words, an artist is on to something.
We are all increasingly being reduced to a set of shared numbers FICO, blood tests results , with apps that track our footsteps, our heartbeat, our dream states. Literary criticism is also being translated into such a digit, with online listings tending to borrow five-star restaurant models GoodReads or athletic performance methods BookScore.
All forms of art, of course, function in time and space, yet the mystery is how they somehow defy and transcend those measured limits. As writers who have on occasion been paid for our literary work, word count has always struck us as a somewhat bizarre reference for monetary compensation. Obviously with our income-resisting projects, we are having trouble growing up. The paid assignment seems an extension of the term paper, the time clock another version of required coursework. On the other hand, such limits can be thought of and embraced as received forms.
For whether an actual authority figure is involved or not, any artist of necessity takes up the challenge of a given tradition. The predecessor functions as both boss and teacher.
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The disparity between works published by men and women writers, especially in the field of cultural criticism, seems to us especially shameful. Our initial hypothesis that works published by a man are given more respect than those signed by a woman remains unproved, though the query in the form of a publication has certainly been an interesting experiment! The name or gender of their author is a trivial matter. First of all, the named editors take full responsibility for our choices, errors and omissions. Taking on such a role has only increased our respect for the editing and production of that extinction-approaching species, the paper periodical.
And thirdly, the project is not virtual. Its ink-laced pages comprise a fully tactile thing, a beautiful object to be held in the hand or placed on a table. Simply put, there are considerably less expensive modes of production and distribution. Consider these pages then, an homage to the past. Commercial writers are often asked by their publishers to consider their market, to take into account issues of supply and demand. Do we know how lucky we are to be able to write and publish exactly the kind of things we ourselves would like to read, even though our present readership is relatively minuscule?
You bet we do. Sieburth is a felicitous choice for several reasons. This little book marks a significant milestone for a tradition of European lyric that has run now for over a millennium. And from a certain perspective, this makes perfect sense — after all, both Mozart and Eisler were peripatetic sons of Austria. Its design seems to draw inspiration from D. As an independent publisher, LongNookBooks is in the unusual position of being able to function outside the mainstream commercial marketplace. Free copies will be available through the website, though we ask, on the honor system, that a suitable donation be made directly to a nonprofit arts foundation or institution.
Artworks are something quite other than a tradable commodity within a free market system. Buy books! Buy paintings! Of course, purchase does provide vital income. Yet this action alone even with generous publisher and dealer advances only reinforces the market model — that the things that are good are those that get purchased.
After all, it takes years for important work to get produced; encouragement as well as financial support is required far ahead of exhibition or publication. Tax credits for nonprofits and corporate giving as progressive as the principles behind them are have a limited effect. The arts in America require something closer to a gift economy, subject to a completely different system of value.
We believe the idea of formal meaning applies not only to poems but to books themselves. Those interested in the history of documentary film should note that the project was put together by Joris Ivens! A late collaboration with composer Darius Milhaud to star Michel Simon similarly failed to gain backing.
In this unforgettably creepy episode, Cavalcanti directs Michael Redgrave as an unbalanced ventriloquist in a disturbing relationship with his independent-minded dummy. On that same set, Renoir will meet his second wife, the year-old Dido Freire, whom Cavalcanti was looking after at the request of her Brazilian father. How can this continue to be so? There is now the real possibility of an American woman president slowly our Republic catches up with Western Europe on that score , and perusal of the news on any given day confirms that things in most fields have improved, with so many leaders in technology, business, media now women.
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One thread we encountered recently was on the high percentage of female students in poetry workshops two out of three being the proportion informally bandied about ; someone posited that more than half of poetry MFAs are female. Certainly the proportion of women teachers in both academic fields and creative writing programs needs to be reckoned in relation to student numbers. And yet it remains a source of continued amazement to us that Mathews, one of the most important living American writers, is better known in France than in the States.
Mathews was the first American member of Oulipo and dear friend of the immortal Georges Perec. He was first married to the sculptor Niki de Saint-Phalle. His current wife is the French novelist Marie Chaix. Our sense is that the book is an imaginative reworking of the experience of various fellow American expatriates such as the late Peter Matthiessen. And then there are the poems.
Just as adults make new friends electronic or otherwise through socializing with friends of friends, we became introduced to certain writers through the generous impulses of their publishers. Others off the top of our heads that have been important to us include the little Jonathan Cape editions; Dalkey Archive Press; the wide-ranging Ecco Press reprints; the beautiful books still put out by David Godine; and the ongoing Green Integer series. All these lists, it seems, were built up through the determined tastes and colleagues of one person — whether that be James Laughlin, Douglas Messerli, Daniel Halpern or Jack Shoemaker.
That heading captures for us exactly the country in which we we truly reside, an international literary commonwealth first made known to us through books. A number of years ago we were in correspondence with the late Guy Davenport. That he was encouraging of our interests and projects meant a very great deal to us. Produced by Tricycle Theatre at St. By way of contrast, the existing stylized norms of Edmund Kean are presented by the supporting cast with uproarious effect. A being who is capable of conscious art — this seems to us to come very close to a working definition of what it means to be human.
The lack of critical filter for online poetry has been an ongoing challenge for some time. As we begin our spring garden tasks, we remember a great book we came across completely by accident in a Cape bookstore two years ago. One purpose of the book is to show Welty as a serious gardener and to narrate the part gardens played in her life and upbringing. For as the book details, in Welty met and fell in love with the dashing John Robinson, a flyer for the American Air Force and involved in military intelligence.
Gardening is an expression of perseverance, an active form of hope. The genus was one for which the two shared an especial passion. I think with pleasure and comfort of my little plants and the roses are growing and blooming. Well, flowers are older than war. We picked up a copy of Daniel E. Whistler may have been conceited and eccentric he was nearly contemporary in his energetic modes of self-promotion , but he was both serious and sincere in his pursuit of art.
By the time that scandal had subsided, the unpaid but party-throwing Whistler found himself deeply in debt. The imagination, the inner life of heart and mind, should have the legal status of a sanctuary. Voluntary abandonment of privacy online journaling such as Facebook, tumblr, etc. Widespread internet surveillance as PEN research recently confirmed is even affecting how fiction and nonfiction writers approach research on certain controversial topics.
Yet despite the intended and even well-meaning purposes of such policing as when, for example, a violent fantasy is the expression of an actual intention , there is an obvious peril in such censorship. For artists especially there remains the absolute necessity to speak up and defend not only free speech but the life of the imagination itself. We admit that not a few of our own encounters with certain such expressions whether via literary works, through visual art or on social media have been deeply disturbing. In a true democracy there can be no such thing as a thought crime.
After months of research and hands-on playing, destiny led us to the work of the contemporary cello maker, Marten Cornelissen. Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition on the Christian nations. This was the first step backwards. The second step, degrading human thought yet further, was the acceptance of the struggle for existence as a basic law, simply because that struggle can be observed among animals and plants.
According to this theory the destruction of the weakest is a law which should not be opposed. In reply to the question: what must we do? Some disjointed writings, striving after effect in a most sordid manner, appear, written by a daring, but limited and abnormal German, suffering from power mania. Neither in talent nor in their basic argument to these writings justify public attention. In the days of Kant, Leibniz , or Hume , or even fifty years ago, such writings would not only have received no attention, but they would not even have appeared.
But today all the so called educated people are praising the ravings of Mr. N, arguing about him, elucidating him, and countless copies of his works are printed in all languages. The whole world knows that virtue consists in the subjugation of one's passions, or in self-renunciation. It is not just the Christian world, against whom Nietzsche howls, that knows this, but it is an eternal supreme law towards which all humanity has developed, including Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and the ancient Persian religion.
And suddenly a man appears who declares that he is convinced that self-renunciation, meekness, submissiveness and love are all vices that destroy humanity he has in mind Christianity, ignoring all the other religions.
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One can understand why such a declaration baffled people at first. But after giving it a little thought and failing to find any proof of the strange propositions, any rational person ought to throw the books aside and wonder if there is any kind of rubbish that would not find a publisher today. And all this has come about because the majority of pseudo-enlightened men of today object to any reminder of virtue, or to its chief premise: self-renunciation and love—virtues that restrain and condemn the animal side of their life.
They gladly welcome a doctrine, however incoherently and disjointedly expressed, of egotism and cruelty, sanctioning the idea of personal happiness and superiority over the lives of others, by which they live.