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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How Will Your Verse Be?...सांस्कृतिक आळस व स्वभाषेबद्दल तुच्छता !

John Keating: 

"...We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?..."


Nathan Heller:


"But given the wild outpouring of praise online, one has to wonder how much of what you see is just a public put-on. “OMG your Cartagena vacation looks AMAZING!!!”: Is this an expression of envy, interest, or a desire to have me shut up about it? The distance between earnestness and disingenuousness is vanishingly small, and—more alarming still—seems to matter less and less."   


अशोक शहाणे :

"...त्यात परत रामदासांनी मराठी मन अचूक हेरूनच  का काय, पण 'टवाळा आवडे विनोद' असे म्हणून टाकल्यावर नंतरच्या मराठी लोकांनी नेमकं तेच खरं  मानलं  अन  इथले लोक टवाळकीला विनोद समजायला लागले..." 

(महाराष्ट्र टाइ म्स , 1994 /  नपेक्षा, 2005)

अरुण  साधू:

"…एक विचित्र अशा ऐतिहासिक न्यून गं डाने  मराठी माणसाचे  व्यक्तिमत्व  आधुनिक का ळात  फाटून गेले आहे.. त्यात भर घातली आहे ती मराठी वृत्त पत्रांनी , मथळ्यान्मधे , उप मथळ्यान्मधे  मजकुरामधें जणू  शिवाजीमहाराज  किंवा  विष्णूशास्त्री चिपळूणकर  यांच्यावर सूड घेतल्यासारखी  इंग्रजी  शब्दसमुच्चयांची  मस्तवालपणे भेसळ  केली जाते . तेच बोलतानाही . सांस्कृतिक आळस  व  स्वभाषेबद्दल  तुच्छता !…"

(ललित , मार्च  2013)


Jaywant Dalwi (जयवंत दळवी) writes in his essay, dated 1980's,  on his close friend Vasant Sarwate (वसंत सरवटे) that if he asked Sarwate about a book and if the reply was "it's interesting", it meant only one thing-  "trash" (भिकार)!

When I first read this I could not stop laughing, for the way Dalvi used the Marathi word 'bhikar'.

Luckily, I have now met Mr. Sarwate a few times, also spoken to him on phone a few times,  and have always heard very carefully if he calls anything "interesting". (He might have called this blog 'interesting' once or twice!)

These days Marathi speaking "TV celebrities" use only following words to describe anything- from their poodle to cinematic  or theatrical experience-:

 'cute, amazing, incredible...'

"...judging something “cute” often “infantilizes" the beholder, as we melt into a puddle of oohs and aahs at the sight of a baby bunny eating a baby carrot. But just as a child might love a doll to tatters, our absorption with “cuteness” is born of both tenderness and aggression. Something cute is something we condescend to, even as we desire to touch and ruffle and hold and possess it...

...At its most thoughtful, calling something “interesting” might be an expression of indeterminacy, a placeholder for a future conversation. But more often than not, it’s just conversational filler, something dropped in when you don’t feel like judging at all.

(Hua Hsu, Slate, Review of 'Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting' by Sianne Ngai)

"moments when our assumptions around cuteness—the stability of feeling somehow “above” the cute object—melt away, for these images manage to be “helpless and aggressive” at the same time."

Artist: Yoshitomo Nara, 'Yellow in blue', 2005

 "Does anyone ever mean it when they say something is “interesting”—or do we all, in art and conversation, merely aspire to be interesting enough? We usually ponder the present condition by considering our consumer choices or modes of self-presentation. But perhaps the line around our imagination starts elsewhere, in those aesthetic experiences that happen on the edge of comprehension.  Before we are inventories of symbols and things, we are thinking, feeling people navigating a fluid, ever-changing world—a world where everything is interesting but not much more, where cuteness and zaniness are the only scales available to us when confronted with global vastness."


Artist: Robert Weber, The New Yorker 

In this cartoon of Mr. Weber for The New Yorker, we find as the woman does household chores with great intensity, a kid- presumably her- has appeared in the doorway and is saying:

'That was an incredible nap!'... Nothing less- just incredible. She could have also said: That was an amazing nap!
 
Bruce Eric Kaplan (BEK), a great cartoonist-(philosopher) himself and one of my favourites, says about the picture:

 "The meaning of the cartoon was clear to me -- it is a hilarious comment on the fact that we live in a culture that feels comfortable saying that anything is incredible, or, more often these days, "Amazing!" We have incredible lattes, amazing socks, etc. But apparently some readers didn't get this.

I have a theory I just came up with in this moment -- perhaps people don't get the genre of ironic cartoons because they themselves are incapable of irony. But then again, I have only had this theory for a few moments, and it may be completely off base."

Most middle-class Marathi readers, at least in this century, have been raised only on the diet of horseplay on TV / cinema masquerading as humour.  I can say with some confidence that  most of them don't get the genre of ironic cartoons because they themselves are incapable of irony.

At the top of this post,  I have quoted Mr. Ashok Shahane on what people of Maharashtra consider as humour....tomfoolery (टवाळकी)!