G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dark Side of the Moon

In Marathi, I hear cartoons are increasingly being referred as हास्यचित्रे “Hasyachitre”. But cartoons are not necessarily about a laugh (हास्य) or a smile or even a chuckle.

Following cartoon made me cry. Tragedy of aging.


Artist : Richard Decker Publication: The New Yorker 19 April 1958

By the way moon travel itself has come under a lot of flack of late.

I remember post 1969, moon travel was every where. ‘Forts’ children make in Maharashtra during Diwali used to have themes of Apollo mission. Ganesh festival pandals exhibited moon landing ‘scenes’. Neil Armstrong for few years was as popular as Rajesh Khanna. Experts predicted that faith in astrology would come down because moon- who plays such an important part in one’s horoscope- was soiled by a mortal man.

Resurgent Hindu and Muslim fundamentalisms were few years away. Hence, no one talked about Buzz Aldrin performing the ritual of Holy Communion on the surface of the moon.

Gerard DeGroot
author of “Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest” calls moon missions “ A $35bn ego trip - an outrageous waste of money that should have been spent addressing problems on Earth. For him, Neil Armstrong’s “small step” on to the moon achieved nothing for mankind beyond a brief burst of media-generated euphoria. Its main purpose, to beat the Russians in the race to the moon, had been achieved. The astronauts were paid off and space travel gave way to other fads.”

“DeGroot, a fine writer with a real flair for storytelling, has fun with Nasa’s extravagance and its tendency to look for complex solutions where simple ones would do. For example, the agency developed a pen that would write in zero gravity - an invention that is still marketed to gadget enthusiasts. The Russians made do with pencils. And he demolishes the commonly accepted idea that Teflon and Velcro were spin-offs of the space race."

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